My costs start at the Halong ferry terminal and include:
- A walk from there to my hotel (free)
- 4 nights in a GRANDPAcking Standard hotel
- Food & Drink
- Mobile Data / Communications
- Visa cost apportionment
- Tourist Bus to Hanoi
For more detail, read about Halong – Vietnam – Information.
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Read About – GRANDPAcking Costs if you don’t know how to interpret my figures.
MY ACTUAL 1 PERSON GRANDPAcking COSTS:
Accommodation: My accommodation was a ‘GRANDPAcking Standard’ Double with aircon and cable TV (with English sports & movie channels) in Bai Chay Town / Halong. No breakfast included.
Transport: You can walk around town. You can rent bicycles and scooters but there isn’t really anywhere to go.
Communications & Fees: In Saigon, I had already purchased a 1 month Viettel SIMcard which I had already ‘topped up’ with another 1.5Gb of data in Hoi An. I needed it as, outside of my hotel, I couldn’t always find a cafe / restaurant with free WiFi.
Food: I averaged VND130k / day.
LIVING Costs: There isn’t much to do in Bai Chay except relax and wait for your Halong Bay cruise. I spent very little on LIVING. I was going to book a Halong Bay cruise but the weather forecast for the days that I wanted to go was ‘rain’.
The VND600k 6 hour cruise didn’t really go anywhere that I had not already seen, the 2 day / 1 night VND1m cruise only went from noon to noon and didn’t see much more, and I deemed the US$200 3 day / 2 night cruises too expensive given the rainy weather.
My ‘Cost of Existing / Day’ was VND306k / NZ$21 / US$14 / €13 / £10.
This put a ‘good’ roof over my head, gave me necessary transport & other basic necessities, fed me 3 times each day in a local cafe, and paid for my refreshments.
My available ‘LIVING Funds’ each day were VND835k / NZ$59 / US$39 / €36 / £27.
My actual GRANDPAcking costs came in at VND421k / NZ$29 / US$20 / €18 / £13 per day. This was only 37% of my total budget… I still had 63% of my budget left.
I had more than enough LIVING funds to have fun as and when I wanted to.
WHAT IT SHOULD COST 2 GRANDPAckers:
Accommodation: You should easily be able to book a GRANDPAcking Standard room online for VND245k / night (US$11 / night) for your first couple of nights. This should be in Bai Chay Town and excludes breakfast. For VND200k / night (US$9), you should be able to negotiate a long term rental (excluding breakfast) walking in off the street.
Transport: I have included a shared scooter for 1 day each week (including petrol) so that you can get out of town on excursions.
Communications: I have included a prepaid 1 Month Viettel 3GB package with 30 minutes of talk time.
Food: You should be able to get a Vietnamese breakfast with a black coffee and water for VND50k each. For Lunch and Dinner, I have included a budget for eating in local cafes or down the market.
The ‘Costs Of Existence’ of 2 GRANDPAckers is about VND576k / NZ$40 / US$27 / €25 / £18 per day.
This is about VND565k per day to LIVE on (i.e. 49% of your GRANDPAcking budget).
With that money you could:
- Upgrade your dinner to something like a seafood hotpot (and still have VND300-400k left)
- Drink 56 pints of draft beer (Bia Hoi)
- Rent a scooter with petrol for the day (and still have over VND400k left)
- Save up for 2 days and both go on a 6 hour Halong Bay cruise
With that amount of LIVING funds available each day, every day is a good day.
Come in Shoulder Season when you get sunny weather and can get the best out of what Halong Bay has to offer.
I have done a full 1 month budget for comparison purposes. However, Bai Chay is not a long-term destination… you will go ‘stir crazy’ if you stay too long. 1 to 2 days is more than enough.
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