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How Much Money Do I Need for Ho Chi Minh (Saigon)

how-much-money-do-i-need-for-ho-chi-minh- Notre Dame Cathedral in Ho Chi Minh

Ho Chi Minh City is arguably the most expensive city in Vietnam, yet it is still budget-friendly for most travelers. To stay in Ho Chi Minh City, you will have to take care of fees such as accommodation, transportation, and eating. If you have 3 days in Ho Chi Minh City, here is a breakdown of how much money you will need for your trip.

Ho Chi Minh City Travel Budget

This chart is a summary of how much you will roughly need to spend on your 3-day trip in Ho Chi Minh City. For the estimated price of each item, please refer to the tables in the following sections.

 Items  Estimated Price (US$)
 Budget  Midrange  Highend
 Accommodation  20/night x 3 nights = 60  60/night x 3 nights = 180  200/night x 3 nights = 600
 Transportation  30  30  30
 Food and Drinks  10/day x 3 days = 30  30/day x 3 days = 90  50/day x 3 days = 150
 Attractions Entrance Fee  10  10  10
 TOTAL  130  310  790


*For simple illustrative purposes for our international readers, we will use US Dollars as our currency spending guide, but in Vietnam, you should exchange your foreign currency to the Vietnam Dong (VND). US Dollars and credit cards are accepted at limited places only. In this blog we use the exchange rate US$1 = VND 23,000 (as of Sept 2018). Read our local guide to learn more about the Vietnamese Currency.

Accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City

how much money do i need for ho chi minh hotel

There are several types of accommodation from high-end to middle range and economic in Ho Chi Minh City's center. The two most common types are the hotel and hostel. You can find luxury hotels in Ben Nghe Ward in District 1, and some middle range and economic rooms in backpackers’ district, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1.

 Items  Estimated Price
 Hotel  US$22 - US$200/night
 Hostel  US$4.5 - US$9/night
 
 


Transportation in Ho Chi Minh City

The most commonly used vehicle in Ho Chi Minh City is the motorbike. It is also convenient and fun to travel by bike. Check out our motorbike tour in Ho Chi Minh City and explore the streets with us.

how much money do i need for ho chi minh transportation

There are also other options such as cars, or public transport like taxis and motorbike taxis. You can refer to the estimated price below and our guide Getting around Ho Chi Minh City to choose a suitable means of transportation for you.

 Items  Estimated Price
 Car rental  VND 2,000,000 ~ US$75 – US$ 88 per 8 hours (transport only, without guide)
 Taxis  VND 13,000 ~ US$0.6/km (within 30 km) 4-seater
 VND 15,000 ~ US$0.7/km (within 30 km) 7-seater
 Motorbike taxis  VND 8,000 ~ US$0.4/km

 

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Foods and Drinks in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City is truly a food paradise because there are all kinds of foods from around the world, from many regions of Vietnam and of course delicious street foods. And it is also a wide range of price for any budget and the same of tastiness. Read more on What to Expect on Your Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) Food Tours.

 Items  Estimated Price (depends on the dishes and number of dishes)
 Breakfast  US$2 - US$5
 Lunch  US$3 - US$16
 Dinner  US$3 - US$22
 Street food snacks  US$1 - US$5
 Non-alcoholic drinks  US$2.5 - US$5


If you go on your own without a local tour guide, the price could be a little bit higher. Many food vendors, small stores offer a reasonable price and good foods, but if you are wary about the quality of these food sellers, you can also find many convenient stores like Family Mart, Mini Stop, and Circle K that open 24/7. In these stores, there are some Vietnamese dishes or Vietnamese foods inspired dishes during lunch hours for a good price.

how much money do i need for ho chi minh food

Entrance Fee of Attractions in Ho Chi Minh City

how much money do i need for ho chi minh attractions

The best thing about visiting attractions in Ho Chi Minh City is that many of them are free entrances or charge you for only a small amount.

Notes: The museum entrance fees are updated from January 2018.

 Items  Estimated Price
 Saigon Central Post Office  Free
 Notre Dame Cathedral
 Free
 Jade Emperor Pagoda  Free
 Thien Hau Temple  Free
 Ben Thanh Market  Free
 Museum of Southern Vietnamese Women  Free
 Bui Vien Walking Street  Free
 Nguyen Hue Walking Street  Free
 Nguyen Van Binh Book Street  Free
 Museum of Ho Chi Minh (Bach Dang Wharf)  Free
 Reunification Palace  VND 40,000 ~ US$1.8
 War Remnants Museum  VND 40,000 ~ US$1.8
 Museum of Ho Chi Minh City  VND 30,000 ~ US$1.3
 Vietnam History Museum  VND 30,000 ~ US$1.3
 Fine Art Museum  VND 30,000 ~ US$1.3
 Ao dai Museum  VND 90,000 ~ US$4.5


For more locations to visit, check out our guide Ho Chi Minh City One-Day Itineraries and Ho Chi Minh City Three-Day Itineraries.

To have fun trips in Ho Chi Minh City, check out our authentic motorbike tours with professional local guides!

 

Activities and Entertainments in Ho Chi Minh City

how much money do i need for ho chi minh activities

Besides the attractions, there are also many activities in Ho Chi Minh City you could try to understand more about the beauty of Vietnam and enjoy the tourism service quality. Read more on Outrageous Things to do in Ho Chi Minh City.

 Items  Estimated Price
 Zoo and Botanical Garden  VND 50,000 ~ US$2.5
 Water Puppets Show  VND 150,000 ~ US$7 (depends on theatre)
 Massage  US$15 (60 mins body massage)


Shopping and Souvenirs in Ho Chi Minh City

how much money do i need for ho chi minh shopping

You may want to take something home to keep or share these experiences and memory in Ho Chi Minh City from small stuff like keychains, postcards, or clothing and Vietnamese specialties. Read more on Vietnamese Souvenirs to Buy in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).

 Items  Estimated Price
 Postcard  US$0.4
 T-shirt  US$2.5 – US$9
 Conical hat  US$1 – US$3
 Ao dai  US$22 – US$45
 Candies  US$1.5 – US$2.5
 Coffee  US$4.5 per 500 grams


Tipping in Vietnam

Tipping in Vietnam is not expected at most local and small businesses, but as the service industry develops, it becomes more of an essential and sometimes main income of some service providers. You can give a tip to encourage the staff to keep up the good job, but you don’t have to if you don’t find the service especially exceptional.

 Items  Estimated Price
 Hotel staff  US$1
 Waiter/Waitress  US$1.5 (depends on restaurants), some bills automatically include the 5% - 8% service charge 
 Tour guides  US$5 - $20/day (depends on your tour group size)


Coming to Ho Chi Minh City

If you are travel from another country to Ho Chi Minh City, you may need to apply for a Vietnam visa. However, you can also check if your country is on the list of visa exemption. Read more on our Vietnam visa guide for more information. You will also need to buy travel insurance to cover fees if some unexpected thing happens on the way.

Items  Estimated Price
 Tourist visa  US$25 (depends on nationality)
 Insurance  US$100 (depends on the plan)

Get a quote for your insurance plan:

 

Once you are in Vietnam, it is recommended to buy a local SIM card to avoid the high charge of roaming fees, especially if you are going to stay in Vietnam for more than one or two days.

 Items  Estimated Price
 SIM Cards (Tourist SIM Cards) US$9
 Mobile Data Plan 3G/4G US$3 – US$9/month (the rate is different across carriers)


Read more on our guide on Where to buy SIM cards in Ho Chi Minh City.

Spending Tips for Budget Travelers

Below are some small tips when spending money in Vietnam that can be useful for your trip. Check out our guide Vietnam Budget Travel: 11 Ways to Save Money in Vietnam and How to Visit Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) on a Budget.

  • Visit free entrance attractions
  • Bargain and shop around
  • Buy souvenirs at a less touristy place
  • Book flight train hotel early and economy
  • Travel on foot and motorbike
  • Eat and drink like a local
  • Keep the bill with similar color separately to avoid giving the wrong one
  • Exchange to Vietnamese currency and use cash instead of cards
  • Spend and convert the money you have left before leaving

Summary of How Much Money Do I Need for Ho Chi Minh

Ho Chi Minh City is not only wonderful but also cheap to explore. You can often travel, visit many attractions, and join activities in Ho Chi Minh City in 3 days with a low budget. We hope our guide could you have a better idea of how much this Ho Chi Minh City trip may cost and planning your trip would become easier.

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Comments

Guest - Norman Gates on Thursday, 28 November 2019 23:55

traveling in Saigon is pretty cheap, but you can totally splurge staying and hanging out in central districts

traveling in Saigon is pretty cheap, but you can totally splurge staying and hanging out in central districts
Guest - Sam Kellgren on Tuesday, 01 October 2019 19:19

Thank you for the very detailed blog. I would apply this in my trip for sure.

Thank you for the very detailed blog. I would apply this in my trip for sure.
Guest - Rosa on Monday, 03 December 2018 10:27

Hi,

Thank you for the much needed info. The article is very helpful. May I know, is it okay to book train transfers online through the booking site?

Hi, Thank you for the much needed info. The article is very helpful. May I know, is it okay to book train transfers online through the booking site? :)
Guest - Grace on Thursday, 06 December 2018 09:23

I booked the online train from Saigon to Phan Thiet and it was good. Never tried other routes. On a side note, it gives you a good sense of price comparison so that you can avoid scams.

I booked the online train from Saigon to Phan Thiet and it was good. Never tried other routes. On a side note, it gives you a good sense of price comparison so that you can avoid scams.
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