Guidebook The tips and tricks of doing Vietnam low-cost

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The tips and tricks of doing Vietnam low-cost

You can easily survive for under $20 a day, says Matthew Pike at The Culture Trip, as long as “you’re willing to look around for deals and eat like a local.” Here are some tips on how to do Vietnam on the cheap:

Go camping: “Vietnam has some incredible countryside and coastline, views that shouldn’t be wasted by sleeping inside … camping is most popular within the National Parks up and down Vietnam … when camping isn’t an option i.e. busy streets, cities and high tides then go for the hostel dorms … a great back up option for as little as $4 a night.” (The Broke Backpacker)

Buy (and then sell) a motorbike: “Just punch a few choice words like “Motorbikes for sale” and “Hanoi” into Google and you’ll have hundreds of bikes to choose from … with a bit of searching, you can easily find decent motorbikes for under $400 that you can resell for almost the same price once you’re finished with them. We recommend you stay away from fully-automatic bikes, though, since they don’t handle distances well and repairs can easily cost more than the purchase price of the bike.” (The Culture Trip)

Sleep on the overnight bus: “If you are travelling extensively through Vietnam, you will almost certainly be making some looooong journeys -- we’re talking 8 hours plus … save on a hostel by taking these journeys at night -- this is not a guaranteed good night’s sleep, but you can always spend the next day dozing at the beach or taking it easy wandering around your next destination.” (Budget Traveller)

Keep it Local: “Where possible drink the local beer, eat the local delicacies and for day trips, try to use local companies … by using local companies you can haggle a bargain price that larger, international tour operators won’t offer.” (The Broke Backpacker)

Use local tour operators: “Either before you arrive or on the ground; they’ll arrange your entire trip or just the first few days to get you started … fixing it up before you arrive saves time, though all local operators will also arrange an itinerary for you on the spot … prices will be generally cheaper with a local operator and they should have more in-depth local knowledge … however, you’ll need to check carefully that they’re financially sound, reliable and can deliver what they promise -- never deal with a company that demands cash upfront or refuses to accept payment by credit card, and get references if you can.” (Rough Guides)

Book accommodation in advance and keep an eye out for deals: “Some places will assume you’re out of options if you show up at their door and give you their highest price because they know you need a bed … the cheapest options will always be large rooms with bunks beds … while this can provide for a lot of fun because of easy friendships with interesting people, you’ll often get lumped in with obnoxious drunks that have zero consideration for you or your schedule … bring high-quality earplugs with you and let the front desk know you what time you need to be up so they can come get you when you inevitably sleep through your alarm.” (The Culture Trip)

Drink bia hoi: “Often dubbed ‘cheapest beer in the world’, bia hoi is a draught beer freshly brewed on the day and served from a keg or container on the side of the street … nothing beats sitting on a street corner littered with plastic chairs and locals, sipping this cheap and cheerful beer ... and at around 15-30 cents, even the risk of getting a particularly watery batch is worth it.” (Budget Traveller)

Barter, and barter hard, for sourvenirs and clothing: “Most foreigners don’t know the extent of bartering in Vietnam… be prepared to walk away and you’ll find out what the actual prices are. Keep in mind that sellers in touristy areas barter every day and they’re probably better at it than you … try to never show your actual interest in an item, because that’s when they dig their heels in.” (The Culture Trip)

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