Vietnam Travel Guide For Backpackers & Digital Nomads

Vietnam is one of the most popular travel destinations in Southeast Asia that awaits you to explore its complex history, impressive natural beauty, winding streets full of food trucks and motorcycles. It is a diverse country which can’t be experienced in one go but with this guide, you’ll know all the places to visit, where to stay, and other important information you might need to know to backpack through Vietnam. Using this backpacking travel guide, you’ll fall in love with this country’s people, beauty, and food.

Vietnam at a Glace




Vietnamese dong

Best Money Exchange

ATMs, Money Changers

Local Dishes

Bun cha

Drones Allowed


Top Phone Providers

Viettel | VNPT

Is water safe to drink



Check CDC

Power Plug Type

A, C and F

Car Sharing Options

Comfort and Citycab

Peak Season

March - May & September- November

Country Code


Backpacker Friendly


Hitch hiker Friendly


Credit Cards Accepted


Preferred Payment Method


Low Season

June - August, December-February

Police Number


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Vietnam Visa Requirements

Most visitors from western countries will be required to get a visa before entering the country. Head on to Vietnam’s immigration websitePay the e-Visa fee of 25 USD and within 3 working days you will have your results. Print out at least two copies of your e-Visa to be presented at the immigration counters once you arrive.

Does Vietnam Offer a Digital Nomad Visa?

Not precisely a Digital Nomad Visa, but rather, a Visa-on-Arrival. For circumstances of Multiple-Entry or Intended Stay of More than 30 Days, you will need to apply for a Visa-on-Arrival and then follow the following steps: Step 1: Prepare
    One digital (4cm x 6cm or 2” x 2”) passport photo in format with a white background.
  • Current Passport that is valid for at least six months prior to entering Vietnam.
  • Where you will apply, and where you intend to receive your Visa-on-Arrival
  • A Debit or credit card for payment. ($25 for Single-Entry and $30 for Multiple-Entry)
  • A Letter of Approval from a Vietnamese embassy or consulate (if you are picking up your visa at the airport).
Step 2: Fill out the form found on Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. Step 3: Claim your Visa-on-Arrival on where you designated it. Bring the Letter of Approval together with a visa application form and your other documents to the Visa-on-Arrival counter at the airport when you land.

Best Cities In Vietnam For Digital Nomads

1. Hanoi

Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam full of history, impressive architecture..

2. Hoi An

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, dotted with buzzing food markets, Chinese temples, colonial villas, and quaint shophouses.

3. Sapa

Where people can hike through lush valleys and rice terraces. Try the famous rice wine, Happy Water.

4. Ha Long Bay

One of the world’s new seven natural wonders, a Vietnamese coastline with its numerous limestone karst peaks that poke out of the islands.

5. Ninh Binh

The main points of interest here are all the nature parks surrounded by peaks, rivers, caves, and ancient pagodas.

Currently, Hanoi, Da Nang and Hoi An, are favorites for digital nomads. There are many things to do in the Hanoi Old Quarter, for a charming local area. Da nang has many cafes and coworking spaces, so its easy to meet nomads. Hoi An, is simply beautiful, with a popular night market.

Other Things to See and Do in Vietnam

1. Nha Trang

One of the country’s most famous seaside resort towns, housing various dive sites and beaches ideal for swimming and snorkeling. The city is full of Champa Kingdom architecture, Catholic churches, local restaurants, stunning waterfalls, and natural hot springs.

2. Dalat

Dalat is an elegant city having French colonial villas with European influences, colorful gardens, winding streets, markets, and churches. In its surrounding, there are lakes and waterfalls ideal for biking, trekking, and rock-climbing.

3. Ho Chi Minh City

This vibrant district in Singapore is fully packed with Hindu temples, traditional restaurants, stalls, spice shops, garland stores, and more. The narrow lanes and bustling community offer unexpected opportunities to make visitors enjoy their trip to the fullest.A cultural hub of Vietnam that has tons of exciting sites to explore, including The War Remnants Museum, China Town, Ben Thanh Market, Cu Chi Tunnels, and the Mekong Delta.

4. Da Nang

Da Nang serves as a holiday destination for those who want to relax on the white sand. The My Khe Beach coastline is great for water sports fanatics and people needing some space can head to Lang Co Beach having clear waters and gentle lapping waves.

5. Hue

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hue was once the country’s Imperial City but later was devastated by a war with America. However, it is still filled with temples, palaces, and tombs.

6. Can Tho

Known for its floating markets, Can Tho is a merchant trading center located in the heart of Mekong Delta. People can enjoy the dreamy sunset walks along the riverside promenade while chatting with people along the way.

7. Kon Tum

Kon Tum is a quiet and cool destination that is often visited by tourists willing to learn about the Vietnamese culture.

8. Mui Ne

Looking for a unique experience? Come here for sand dunes! Ride a buggy or sandboard. See this Mui Ne Travel Guide for more.

There are many amazing things to do throughout Vietnam, though one of my favorite places was Hoi An, check the best things to do in Hoi An.

Typical Costs

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Bus Icon


Bus travel in Vietnam is quite inexpensive. Public buses in Ho Chi Minh City cost around $1 per ride. You can also take overnight buses that take you to different cities and cost between $5-$25. The bus ride from Ho Chi Minh City to Cambodia costs $15 per person. Another cheap mode of travel within the country is the train with a journey from Da Nang to Hanoi costing around $30. There are also some budget airlines that can take you around the country for as little as $25.

Motel Icon


Expect to pay around $4 per night for basic accommodation. Private rooms cost at least $15-$20/night for a double room. Many of the hostels provide free Wi-fi service, free breakfast, or free beer during certain hours of the day. Expect to pay around $10 a night for a double-bed room in a budget hotel with free breakfast and Wi-fi service. I managed to rent a penthouse for $75/night while in Hanoi which was cool.

Dish Icon


Many restaurants in Vietnam are inexpensive costing around $2-$5 per meal. You can eat a bowl of pho or a rice dish for even less than a dollar. The fancier restaurants and Western meals are relatively expensive. Beer or soda cost around $1-$2. Those who prefer cooking their own meals will pay around $15 a week for basic groceries. To save some money, shop at the local markets to get the cheapest and freshest food.

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As most of the activities in Vietnam are centered around its natural beauty, they cost very little. For organized tours like the tour of Cu Chi Tunnels, expect to pay between $10. The Halong Bay tours from Hanoi begins around $35-$65 for a two-day trip. Biking tours are greatly targeted at tourists so they cost even more like $15. For canoeing in Da Lat, price starts at about $20 but can increase as much as $75.

Cost Of Living In Vietnam

The cost of accommodation varies depending on the city you choose to live in. A decent studio apartment costs around $200-$300 per month in cities like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, which are the central cities in Vietnam. The cost of groceries that you can cook at home every day is just about $100-$150 per month. If you have an international driver’s permit, you can also rent a motorbike for $40-$50 per month.

Travel Medical Insurance – Vietnam requires insurance with coverage of at least $10,000. This typically costs a minimum of $40 per month.

Suggested Budget

Wondering how much does it cost to visit Vietnam? Have a look at the following table!

Budgeting Tips

Vietnam is an affordable tourist destination in Southeast Asia where budget-conscious travelers can enjoy a range of activities and experiences at affordable rates.

1. Savor the local food

Vietnamese food is considered one of the healthiest cuisines in the world. Though fine-dining restaurants can be found all across the country, still the most authentic dishes are available at roadside stalls, food carts, and markets.

2. Haggling

With shopping, you can immerse yourself in the local culture during your stay in Vietnam. You can find various food items, handicrafts, and apparel at really reasonable prices in the markets. When purchasing any item, bargaining is a must for better deals as vendors usually charge extra for tourists. If you still feel that the price isn’t as per your liking, politely decline, and head to the next vendor. I got an ‘under armour’ shirt down to about $3 vs the $12 they wanted initially.

3. Enjoy Bia Hoi

Alcohol is cheap cheap cheap in Vietnam like all other Southeast Asian countries. However, the cheapest beer in Vietnam is Bia Hoi which can be enjoyed as little as $0.5 a glass. You can enjoy it by visiting the Bia Hoi Junction in the Old Quarter.

4. Get a local SIM card

If you are traveling for a longer duration, getting a local SIM card indicates that you don’t have to pay additional roaming charges during your stay in Vietnam. You can easily buy the local sim at the airport or convenience stores throughout Vietnam.

5. Visit free attractions

Vietnam is full of breathtaking natural landscapes, making it a must-see amongst nature lovers. Many sites can be visited for free,such as lakes, parks, and Buddhist temples.

6. Explore on foot

Instead of spending money on taxis, most of the Vietnamese cities are accessible on foot. Free maps are available at various tourist information centers. So, all you need is to grab a bottle of water, wear comfortable shoes, and explore Vietnam. But beware of the traffic as it gets dangerous while crossing the roads.

6. Carry the water bottle

It is common in Southeast Asia to carry a water bottle with a purifier since the tap water isn’t safe. This way, you’ll save money and thousands of plastic bottles.

Food In Vietnam

You will find lots of cheap noodle and rice based dishes all around Vietnam. I myself love the $1 -$2 pho in local neighborhoods. Soups are made with different meat stocks. Here are some popular vegetarian food options in Vietnam:
  1. Pho Chay (Vegetarian Pho)

    A vegetarian version of the famous Vietnamese noodle soup, made with rice noodles, tofu, vegetables and herbs.

  2. Banh Mi Chay (Vegetarian Banh Mi)

    A vegetarian sandwich made with a French baguette, pickled vegetables, tofu, and soy sauce.

  3. Goi Cuon Chay (Vegetarian Spring Rolls)

    Fresh spring rolls filled with vegetables, tofu, and herbs.

  4. Com Chay (Vegetarian Rice)

    Steamed rice served with stir-fried vegetables and tofu.

  5. Bun Cha Gio Chay (Vegetarian Fried Spring Rolls with Vermicelli)

    Fried vegetarian spring rolls served with vermicelli noodles, vegetables, and herbs.

  6. Banh Xeo Chay (Vegetarian Pancake)

    A crispy pancake filled with bean sprouts, mushrooms, and tofu.

  7. Canh Chua Chay (Vegetarian Sour Soup)

    A sour soup made with vegetables, pineapple, and tamarind.

  8. Chao Chay (Vegetarian Porridge)

    A rice porridge made with vegetables and tofu.

  9. Xoi Chay (Vegetarian Sticky Rice)

    A sweet and savory dish made with sticky rice, mushrooms, and soy sauce.

Best Cities In Vietnam For Digital Nomads

1. Ho Chi Minh.

Also known as Saigon, this city is well known as one of the central economic hubs of Vietnam. The city with the biggest population too, Ho Chi Minh may be a bit overwhelming for some who don’t like crowds. Nevertheless, with an average of only $1000-$1500 monthly cost of living including rent and other expenses, numerous tourist/cultural destinations, more than 100 co-working spaces, and a sprightly vibe suitable for digital nomads,  Ho Chi Minh is a great first choice for those who have yet to learn more about Vietnam.

Suggested Place to Stay: Meander Saigon (Hostel Coworking & Events Space)
The hostel is 2 km from a public market and only 8 km away from Tan Son Nhat International Airport. The cheapest offers are air-conditioned dorms of bunk beds with privacy curtains, lockers, and Wi-Fi. Upgrade to a private room for en suite bathroom, TV, and a mini-fridge. The hostel has its own co-working space, and the staff is all English speakers too!

Address: 3B Lý Tự Trọng, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh 70000, Vietnam
Website: Meander Saigon Website

2. Hanoi.

The nation’s capital and another bustling city comparable to Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi is a city filled with life. Hanoi was actually once a French colonial city. So to those who are familiar, there will surely be hints of Europe’s influence in both the cuisine and the architecture seen inside the city. For expenses, Hanoi is as affordable as the previous. A $1500 monthly budget will already give you a single-bedroom accommodation in the center of the city, more than enough budget for groceries and essentials, transportation, and enough budget for entertainment such as night outs, trips, etc. There are also more than 70 co-working spaces to choose from, and the overall atmosphere is a bit more relaxed than that of Ho Chi Minh.

Suggested Place to Stay: Old Quarter View Hanoi Hostel
The hostel offers bunk beds and different dorms with modern facilities for each be. Wi-Fi is free for all guests and is accessible throughout the hostel. Reception is open 24/7, with English-speaking staff as well. Old Quarter is one of the cheapest options for accommodation, the price can go as low as $10 per night! (depending on the season)

Address: (No 3 Noi Mieu) 42 Hang Giay, Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam
Website: Old Quarter View Hanoi Hostel

3. Sa Pa.

Tired of the blinding lights and blaring noise of the city? Sa Pa is your great escape. A town for those who need a dose of nature, cool weather, and a slow-life experience! Distinctly cheaper than the urban cities, Sa Pa offers a simple way of living to those who wish to stay. But to those who require steady and speedy internet coverage, Sa Pa is a tad unreliable. There are little to no known co-working spaces inside too. So if you are fine with just hotel/accommodation wifi, a prepaid sim for internet backup, and coffee shops as alternative working spaces, then staying in Sa Pa is highly recommended. As they say: a monotonous life will drain you, but you will feel grand in green!

Suggested Place to Stay: Lustig Hostel
One of the few modern hostels in Sapa. Lustig Hostel offers dorm rooms with utilities that are necessities to digital nomads such as a good internet connection, an international socket type, and public spaces that can be either for dining or as a working space. A bed in the said dorm rooms only costs below $10 a night, and that’s throughout the year!

Address: 762 Điện Biên Phủ, Sapa, Vietnam
Website: Lustig Hostel on

4. Da Nang.

Instead of Green, how about Blue? Da Nang is a city with an amazing river and wonderful beaches. A city as modern as the first two, but with a good amount of nature in it too! The contradiction between the colorless buildings and skyscrapers, and the vibrant view of the beach is awesome to see. Little less cheap than Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi, a month of stay will just cost you about $800 to $1000 according to modesty. Internet connection is reliable as well, with some (around 20) co-working spaces available, and lots of coffee shops, Da Nang is a lovely city to sea! (excuse the pun). Most people travel from Hanoi to Danang on their vietnam journey.

Suggested Place to Stay: Rom Casa Da Nang
Ever experienced staying in a shipping container? A unique stay wherein former shipping containers are refurbished into modern and stylish quarters! A private 1-bedroom costs around $12 per night, with free breakfast, access to a good internet connection, and of course, right by the beach!

Address: 47 An Thượng 4, Bắc Mỹ An, Ngũ Hành Sơn, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam
Website: Rom Casa Da Nang on

Hoi An. Still talking about colors? How about arguably the most diversely hued town in Vietnam? It is a port town filled with a mix of multiple cultures (mainly due to the international trade happening here). From clothes, cuisines, and even residents! A growing number of expats choose to stay here in Hoi An. A two-bedroom apartment only costs only about $500, food and groceries are cheap (and with a wide variety!), and if you choose to eat out as much as 5 nights a week, everything will only cost you about $1500 for TWO people! There are also some co-working spaces and several online groups for digital nomads that you can join for your social needs!

Suggested Place to Stay: Mad Monkey Hostel
A backpacker hostel that is equipped with a stunning pool, countless open and airy common spaces, a deck area overlooking lush rice paddies, and a large alfresco-style bar and restaurant. Accommodations from mixed dorms as the cheapest (around $6/night) to superior rooms as their premium (around $40/night), Mad Monkey is a well-known affordable hostel for tourists! They also have their own unique tours/experiences that they call MAdventures, tailored for both locals and foreigners alike!

Address: 250 Cửa Đại, Cẩm Sơn, Hội An, Quảng Nam 51000, Vietnam
Website: Mad Monkey Hostels

Where To Stay


Little Charm Hanoi Hostel

Hoi An

Vy Khanh Hostel

Ninh Binh




Ha Long Bay




Nomad Networking

For digital nomad events and workshops, some hostels hold their own, a sample of that is Meander Saigon Hostel. Don’t hesitate to ask beforehand, especially if you are booking a backpacker’s hostel where a lot of nomads prefer to stay.

Besides that, joining a Facebook group for Expats in Vietnam is your best bet in finding your network.

Here are a few groups you should join to look for guides, current news, and events:

Saigon Language & Culture Meetup
New York Vietnamese Meetup Group
SEA(South East Asia) Meetup
ベトナム交流会 / Vietnam Club
Austin Vietnamese Circle
Vietnamese Cooking Class
Torus Vietnamese Language Meetup
Saigon G.A.L.A. Society – Vietnamese Group
Phởlifornia – California Pho Lovers
Vietnam Travel Meetup Group
Vietnam Travel Guide & Reviews
AVCJ Vietnam
Vietnam Investments

Nomad Coworking And Working Spots

You cant be a digital nomad without wifi. So below are some spots where one can work comfortably. Don’t forget to check my nomad lunch break section for places you can still visit and/or work from during lunch. #nomadworkspace


Le Gecko Café: Address

Ha Long Bay

Cafe bamboo: Address



Nomad Lunch Breaks

Balancing work and exploring can be tough, here are some activities or places you can visit during a lunch hour. You will see the words hotspot, wifi, or break which indicates what you can use to work there, or if you cant and its time for a work break. #nomadlunchbreak



Hoi An


Ninh Binh




Ha Long Bay




Wifi And Internet

Sim Card. Getting a sim card in Vietnam for internet access is highly recommended. The process of getting a SIM card is relatively easy and can be done at any convenience store or mobile phone shop. To activate the SIM card, one needs to provide their passport or any other form of identification. Topping up the account can be done at any convenience store or mobile phone shop.

There are three main mobile network providers in Vietnam, namely: Viettel, Mobifone, and Vinaphone, and each provider offers different packages for data, and local/international voice call and messaging access.

Internet Connection and WiFi Access. Vietnam has a well-developed internet infrastructure, with most cities and towns having high-speed internet access. However, internet speeds in rural areas may be slower.

It is recommended that foreigners use a virtual private network (VPN) to access the internet to protect their online privacy and access websites and services that may be blocked in Vietnam

How To Get Around Vietnam

Vietnam is an amazing country to visit and explore through various transportation modes available in the country. Following are some of the major modes you can use for getting around:
tuk tuk


Trishaws (like rickshaws) aren’t famous in Singapore now, but can be seen along some of the tourist routes. You’ll pay around $40 for a 30-minute ride.

Taxi Icon

Ride Sharing

Taxis are quite affordable in Vietnam and they are metered in the major cities. This is a reliable and safe mode to get around. Rates usually start from less than a dollar per kilometer.
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Train is the most recommended mode to travel in Vietnam as it is quite safe, comfortable, and affordable. Though some routes might be slow, the rail network can get you to all corners of the country while offering some great views of the countryside. A train journey from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi starts from almost $35. You can use the website Baolau to check the train schedules and book train tickets.

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There are various bus tours running from Hanoi to Hue and ending at Ho Chi Minh City. You can freely hop on or off at any stop along the way. This is quite a cheap mode of transportation that caters to tourists too. Prices vary depending on the route but generally it is between $30-$80.

Airplane Icon


If you have limited time to visit the country, flying is a great option. For instance, a flight from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City takes two hours and starts around $25.

Airplane Icon

Bicycle rickshaws

In small cities and towns, bicycle rickshaws are the cheapest to get around. A short ride will cost you even less than a dollar while the longer rides can cost around $2-$5. Another popular option is a motorbike taxi whose fare starts from about a dollar.


When To Visit Vietnam: Weather And Seasons

If you want to enjoy a bit of everything, you should work around the regional weather differences. Generally, Spring (March-April) and Autumn (September-December) are the most favorable seasons if you plan to cover the entire country. The rainy season starts from May to November which includes heavy downpours in the afternoon. It is a great time to visit the country. February to May is another great time to visit the northern part of the region (Da Nang and Hue).

Pros And Cons Of Living As A Digital Nomad In Vietnam


  • Low Cost of Living

    Both the two largest cities of Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi) are on the list of the cheapest countries in Southeast Asia. That shows how affordable it is to stay in this country!


  • Internet Connection

    According to’s Global Index, Vietnam has a good internet connection with an average download speed of 91.60 Mbps. From the past year, it already jumped 6 spots up, placing 1 spot ahead of the Philippines. That’s a big improvement in a single year!


  • Things to Experience

    Culture, food, amazing sceneries, and memorable activities. Vietnam has it all made unique!


  • Crowds

    Cities specifically Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi are overly crowded be it off or peak season.


  • Traffic Congestion

    Lots of vehicles, scooters, and motorbikes, plus an inefficient traffic system; this may be your biggest problem and could hinder your perfectly allotted time for your trips.


  • Language Barrier

    Not all are fluent in speaking English, but this can be easily resolved through translation apps and proper planning.


  • Pollution

    Due to the overpopulation of both humans and vehicles in the cities; noise, air, and water pollution are prevalent.


Common Questions About Vietnam

No. Vietnam removed all requirements about vaccines, CoVid Tests, etc. So only your travel requirements such as Passport, Visa, Place of Stay, and others are asked by the immigration.
Only some establishments like certain hotels or restaurants accept payments in USD or other currencies. But booking/paying online is possible using USD or any currency (conversion fees apply)
The US Dollar is the easiest to exchange. Banks, money exchange stalls, some hotels, and even local jewelry shops accept USD to VND exchange.

How To Stay Safe and Aware of Scams

Vietnam is a safe place to travel even if you are traveling alone or as a female solo traveler. But there are some common scams around for which you need to practice some safety measures. Here are a few tips that can help you keep safe while in Vietnam:

1. Beware of bag snatchers

Bag snatching is a common crime in Vietnam, especially in touristy areas. Bag snatchers operate in groups and they’ll try to snatch bags with thin or single straps. So, if you have such a bag, try to keep it on the side away from the traffic. For this reason, backpacks are the best.

2. Avoid tap water

Avoid using tap water to drink or brush teeth as it isn’t recommended. The street food is safe but don’t use the tap water for drinking purposes.

3. Taxi scam

If a taxi driver seems shady, it is better to stop the taxi and get out of it. It is necessary to remove yourself from this situation. You can ask your hotel staff to arrange a licensed taxi for you.

4. Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is very important as it protects you against theft, illness, and cancellations.

Packing List

If you plan to visit Vietnam, you might be wondering what items should be carried along. Following are the few essential things you need to consider before hopping on your flight:
Shorts Icon

2 Pairs of Shorts

Polo Shirt Icon

2 long sleeve

Underwear Icon

8 pairs of underwear

medicine icon


Jeans Icon

Breezy cotton pants

Flip Flop Icon

Flip flops

toiletries icon

Toiletries: Toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, floss, shampoo and body wash

Lock Icon

Locks: Some hostels provide locks for a fee, so bring your own

Trunk Icon

Swim Trunks

Shoe Icon

Comfortable Sneakers

Towels Icon

Quick dry towel

Bag Icon

Laundry Bag

Shirt Icon

3 shirts

Socks Icon

8 pairs of socks

Deodorant Icon


Hand Soap Icon

Hand Sanitizer

Power Bank



Sun Glasses

Sun Screen

raincoat icon

Rain jacket

Cap Icon



Water bottle

Mosquito repellent Icon

Mosquito repellent

power adapter icon

Travel adapter

Cap Icon



Hiking shoes

Mosquito repellent Icon


Final Thoughts: Is Vietnam Good For Digital Nomads?

Vietnam has many opportunties for exploring both city and countryside life. Internet is strong, and overall cost of living is cheap. I would rank Vietnam, 3rd, after Thailand and Bali.

Did I Miss Something? Let Me Know In The Comments!

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