Vietnam is a country that offers a rich and diverse experience for backpackers. Whether you are looking for stunning natural scenery, vibrant cities, delicious cuisine, or fascinating history, Vietnam has something for everyone. And the best part is, you can travel Vietnam on a budget without sacrificing comfort or quality.In this Vietnam backpacking guide, we will share with you everything you need to know to plan your trip, including the best places to visit, how to get around, where to stay, what to eat, and how to save money. We will also give you some tips and tricks to make your Vietnam backpacking adventure more enjoyable and memorable.

Why Backpack Vietnam?

There are many reasons why Vietnam is a popular destination among backpackers. Here are some of them:

  • It’s cheap. Vietnam is one of the most affordable countries in Southeast Asia, and you can easily travel on a budget of $20-$30 USD per day. You can find cheap accommodation, food, transportation, and activities everywhere. You can also bargain for lower prices at markets and shops.
  • It’s beautiful. Vietnam has a diverse landscape that ranges from lush mountains and rice terraces in the north, to sandy beaches and islands in the south, to caves and jungles in the central region. You can also admire the colonial architecture, ancient temples, and colorful markets in the cities.
  • It’s fun. Vietnam has a lively backpacking scene, with many hostels, bars, clubs, and tours that cater to travelers. You can meet other backpackers from around the world, join parties and pub crawls, or take part in various activities such as cooking classes, bike tours, or trekking.
  • It’s interesting. Vietnam has a rich and turbulent history that has shaped its culture and identity. You can learn more about the Vietnam War, the French colonization, the Chinese influence, and the local traditions by visiting museums, monuments, and historical sites. You can also interact with the friendly and hospitable Vietnamese people and experience their daily life.

Best Time to Travel Vietnam

Vietnam has a tropical climate that varies depending on the region and the season. Generally speaking, the best time to visit Vietnam is from October to April, when the weather is dry and cool. However, this also depends on your preferences and itinerary.

Here is a breakdown of the weather in different regions of Vietnam:

  • North Vietnam: The north has four seasons: spring (February-April), summer (May-August), autumn (September-November), and winter (December-January). The spring and autumn are the best times to visit, as the weather is mild and pleasant. The summer is hot and humid, with frequent rainstorms. The winter is cold and foggy, especially in the mountainous areas.
  • Central Vietnam: The central region has two seasons: dry (January-August) and wet (September-December). The dry season is hot and sunny, with occasional showers. The wet season is rainy and stormy, with possible floods and typhoons. The best time to visit is from January to June, when the weather is stable and comfortable.
  • South Vietnam: The south has a tropical climate with two seasons: dry (November-April) and wet (May-October). The dry season is warm and sunny, with occasional cool breezes. The wet season is hot and humid, with heavy rainfalls. The best time to visit is from December to March, when the weather is dry and pleasant.

How to Get Around Vietnam

There are many ways to get around Vietnam, depending on your budget, time, and preference. Here are some of the most common options:

  • Bus: Bus is the cheapest and most convenient way to travel between cities in Vietnam. There are many bus companies that offer comfortable seats, air-conditioning, wifi, and snacks. You can book your tickets online or at bus stations or travel agencies. Some popular bus routes are:
    • Hanoi – Sapa: 6 hours
    • Hanoi – Ha Long Bay: 4 hours
    • Hanoi – Ninh Binh: 2 hours
    • Hanoi – Hue: 12 hours
    • Hue – Da Nang: 3 hours
    • Da Nang – Hoi An: 1 hour
    • Da Nang – Nha Trang: 10 hours
    • Nha Trang – Da Lat: 4 hours
    • Nha Trang – Ho Chi Minh City: 10 hours
    • Ho Chi Minh City – Mui Ne: 5 hours
    • Ho Chi Minh City – Phu Quoc: 6 hours by bus + ferry
  • Train: Train is another cheap and comfortable way to travel in Vietnam. The trains run along the coast from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, stopping at major cities along the way. You can choose from different classes of seats, from hard seats to soft sleepers. You can book your tickets online or at train stations or travel agencies. Some popular train routes are:
    • Hanoi – Sapa: 8 hours
    • Hanoi – Ha Long Bay: 5 hours
    • Hanoi – Hue: 13 hours
    • Hue – Da Nang: 3 hours
    • Da Nang – Nha Trang: 9 hours
    • Nha Trang – Ho Chi Minh City: 8 hours
  • Motorbike: Motorbike is the most adventurous and flexible way to travel in Vietnam. You can rent a motorbike from many shops or hostels, or buy one from other travelers. You can drive along scenic routes, such as the Ha Giang Loop, the Hai Van Pass, or the Ho Chi Minh Trail, and stop at any place you like. However, you need to have a valid driver’s license, insurance, and helmet, and be aware of the traffic rules and risks. Some popular motorbike routes are:
    • Hanoi – Sapa: 320 km
    • Hanoi – Ha Long Bay: 160 km
    • Hanoi – Ninh Binh: 100 km
    • Hanoi – Hue: 660 km
    • Hue – Da Nang: 100 km
    • Da Nang – Hoi An: 30 km
    • Da Nang – Nha Trang: 520 km
    • Nha Trang – Da Lat: 140 km
    • Nha Trang – Ho Chi Minh City: 440 km
    • Ho Chi Minh City – Mui Ne: 220 km
    • Ho Chi Minh City – Phu Quoc: 300 km by motorbike + ferry
  • Flight: Flight is the fastest and most comfortable way to travel in Vietnam. There are many domestic airlines that offer cheap flights between major cities and islands. You can book your tickets online or at airports or travel agencies. Some popular flight routes are:
    • Hanoi – Sapa: 1 hour
    • Hanoi – Ha Long Bay: 45 minutes
    • Hanoi – Hue: 1 hour
    • Hue – Da Nang: 30 minutes
    • Da Nang – Nha Trang: 1 hour
    • Nha Trang – Ho Chi Minh City: 1 hour
    • Ho Chi Minh City – Phu Quoc: 1 hour
  • Taxi: Taxi is a convenient way to get around within cities in Vietnam. There are many taxi companies that offer metered fares, air-conditioning, and English-speaking drivers. You can hail a taxi on the street or call one by phone or app. Some popular taxi companies are:
    • Mai Linh Taxi
    • Vinasun Taxi
    • Grab Taxi
  • Cyclo: Cyclo is a traditional and fun way to explore the old quarters and markets of cities in Vietnam. A cyclo is a three-wheeled bicycle with a passenger seat in front of the driver. You can negotiate the price and duration of the ride with the driver before hopping on. Some popular places to take a cyclo ride are:
    • Hanoi Old Quarter
    • Hue Imperial City
    • Hoi An Ancient Town

(Also Read: Guide to book International Flight Tickets at cheap price)

Where to Stay in Vietnam

There are many types of accommodation in Vietnam, ranging from budget hostels to luxury hotels. You can find accommodation online or on arrival, depending on your preference and availability. Here are some of the most common types of accommodation in Vietnam:

  • Hostel: Hostel is the cheapest and most social type of accommodation in Vietnam. You can find hostels in every city, with dorm beds starting from $3 USD per night. You can also enjoy facilities such as wifi, lockers, laundry, kitchen, bar, and common area. You can meet other backpackers, join activities, or book tours at hostels. Some popular hostels in Vietnam are:
    • Hanoi Backpackers Hostel
    • Vietnam Backpacker Hostels Original
    • The Hideout Hostel Saigon
  • Guesthouse: Guesthouse is another cheap and comfortable type of accommodation in Vietnam. You can find guesthouses in every city, with private rooms starting from $10 USD per night. You can also enjoy facilities such as wifi, air-conditioning, TV, fridge, and bathroom. You can interact with the local owners, who may offer you breakfast or tips on what to do and see. Some popular guesthouses in Vietnam are:
    • Little Leo Homestay & Hostel
    • Tam Coc Bungalow
    • Mui Ne Hills Budget Hotel
  • Hotel: Hotel is a more expensive and luxurious type of accommodation in Vietnam. You can find hotels in every city, with standard rooms starting from $20 USD per night. You can also enjoy facilities such as wifi, air-conditioning, TV, fridge, bathroom, pool, spa, and restaurant. You can expect a high level of service, comfort, and privacy at hotels. Some popular hotels in Vietnam are:
    • Hanoi La Siesta Hotel & Spa
    • Hue Serene Palace Hotel
    • Hoi An Silk Marina Resort & Spa
  • Homestay: Homestay is a unique and authentic type of accommodation in Vietnam. You can find homestays in rural areas, where you can stay with a local family in their house or farm. You can also enjoy facilities such as wifi, air-conditioning, TV, fridge, bathroom, and meals. You can experience the culture, lifestyle, and cuisine of the local people at homestays. Some popular homestays in Vietnam are:
    • Sapa Eco-Home Mountain Retreat
    • Phong Nha Farmstay
    • Mekong Rustic Can Tho

What to Eat in Vietnam

One of the highlights of backpacking Vietnam is the food. Vietnamese cuisine is famous for its freshness, diversity, and flavor. You can find a variety of dishes, from street food to fine dining, from north to south, from vegetarian to meaty. Here are some of the most delicious and popular dishes in Vietnam:

  • Pho: Pho is the national dish of Vietnam, and a must-try for any backpacker. Pho is a noodle soup with beef or chicken broth, rice noodles, herbs, and spices. You can customize your pho with lime, chili, bean sprouts, and basil. You can find pho everywhere in Vietnam, from street stalls to restaurants.
  • Banh Mi: Banh Mi is a Vietnamese sandwich that combines French and Vietnamese influences. Banh Mi consists of a baguette filled with meat (such as pork, chicken, or pate), vegetables (such as cucumber, carrot, and cilantro), and sauces (such as mayonnaise, soy sauce, and chili). You can find banh mi everywhere in Vietnam, especially in the south.
  • Bun Cha: Bun Cha is a grilled pork and noodle dish that originated in Hanoi. Bun Cha consists of grilled pork patties or slices served with rice noodles, herbs, and dipping sauce. You can also add fried spring rolls or crab cakes to your bun cha. You can find bun cha mainly in the north.
  • Banh Xeo: Banh Xeo is a crispy pancake that is stuffed with various ingredients. Banh Xeo is made of rice flour batter mixed with turmeric and coconut milk, and fried with pork, shrimp, bean sprouts, and herbs. You can wrap your banh xeo with lettuce or rice paper and dip it in fish sauce. You can find banh xeo mainly in the south.
  • Cao Lau: Cao Lau is a noodle dish that is unique to Hoi An. Cao Lau consists of thick rice noodles topped with pork slices, bean sprouts, herbs, and crispy crackers. The noodles are cooked with water from an ancient well in Hoi An, which gives them a special flavor. You can only find cao lau in Hoi An.

Best Places to Visit in Vietnam

Vietnam has many amazing places to visit for backpackers. You can explore the natural wonders, the cultural heritage, the urban attractions, and the island paradises of Vietnam. Here are some of the best places to visit in Vietnam:

  • Hanoi: Hanoi is the capital and the cultural heart of Vietnam. Hanoi has a charming old quarter that is full of history, architecture, and atmosphere. You can wander around the narrow streets lined with shops, cafes, temples, and museums. You can also visit the Hoan Kiem Lake, the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Temple of Literature, and the One Pillar Pagoda. Hanoi is also a great base to explore other attractions nearby such as Sapa, Ha Long Bay, and Ninh Binh.
  • Hue: Hue is the former imperial capital of Vietnam and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hue has a rich and turbulent history that is reflected in its monuments and buildings. You can visit the Citadel, where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled for over a century. You can also visit the Thien Mu Pagoda, the Tomb of Tu Duc, and the Perfume River. Hue is also famous for its cuisine and festivals.
  • Hoi An: Hoi An is another UNESCO World Heritage Site that is known for its well-preserved ancient town. Hoi An has a charming and romantic atmosphere that attracts many visitors. You can admire the architecture, the lanterns, the bridges, and the canals of Hoi An. You can also shop for souvenirs, clothes, and art at the markets and tailors. Hoi An is also a great place to enjoy the beach, the countryside, and the food.
  • Nha Trang: Nha Trang is a coastal city that is popular for its beach and nightlife. Nha Trang has a long and sandy beach that is ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. You can also visit the Vinpearl Land, a theme park that has a cable car, a water park, an aquarium, and a golf course. Nha Trang is also a great place to party, with many bars, clubs, and restaurants.
  • Da Lat: Da Lat is a hill station that is known for its cool climate and scenic beauty. Da Lat has a European feel that is different from the rest of Vietnam. You can explore the nature, the waterfalls, the lakes, and the flowers of Da Lat. You can also visit the Crazy House, a bizarre and whimsical hotel that looks like a fairy tale. Da Lat is also a great place to relax, enjoy the coffee, and try the local specialties.
  • Ho Chi Minh City: Ho Chi Minh City is the largest and most modern city in Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh City has a dynamic and vibrant vibe that is full of energy and excitement. You can experience the culture, the history, the shopping, and the entertainment of Ho Chi Minh City. You can also visit the War Remnants Museum, the Reunification Palace, the Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Ben Thanh Market. Ho Chi Minh City is also a great base to explore other attractions nearby such as Mui Ne, Cu Chi Tunnels, and Mekong Delta.
  • Phu Quoc: Phu Quoc is an island paradise that is located in the Gulf of Thailand. Phu Quoc has some of the best beaches in Vietnam, with clear water, white sand, and palm trees. You can relax, swim, snorkel, or dive at Phu Quoc. You can also visit the Phu Quoc National Park, where you can see wildlife and nature. Phu Quoc is also famous for its seafood and its fish sauce.

Tips and Tricks for Backpacking Vietnam

To make your Vietnam backpacking trip more enjoyable and memorable, here are some tips and tricks that you should know:

  • Get a visa: Depending on your nationality and length of stay, you may need to get a visa before entering Vietnam. You can apply for an e-visa online or get a visa on arrival at certain airports. You can check the visa requirements and fees on the official website.
  • Get a SIM card: To stay connected and access internet in Vietnam, you should get a SIM card from one of the local providers such as Viettel, Vinaphone, or Mobifone. You can buy a SIM card at airports or shops for around $5 USD and top up as you go.
  • Get vaccinated: To prevent any health issues in Vietnam, you should get vaccinated against common diseases such as hepatitis A, typhoid, tetanus, rabies, and malaria. You should also bring some medication for diarrhea, fever, painkillers, and insect repellent.
  • Learn some Vietnamese: To communicate better with the locals and show respect for their culture, you should learn some basic Vietnamese phrases such as hello (xin chao), thank you (cam on), sorry (xin loi), how much (bao nhieu), and delicious (ngon). You can also use apps such as Google Translate or Duolingo to help you learn more.
  • Be respectful: To avoid any cultural misunderstandings or conflicts in Vietnam, you should be respectful of their customs and traditions. You should dress modestly when visiting temples or religious sites. You should not touch anyone’s head or point your feet at anyone. You should not display public affection or criticize their government or history.
  • Be careful: To avoid any scams or dangers in Vietnam, you should be careful of your surroundings and belongings. You should not accept any offers from strangers or touts. You should not exchange money on the street or use unofficial taxis. You should not drink tap water or eat raw food. You should always wear a helmet when riding a motorbike.


Here are some frequently asked questions about backpacking Vietnam:

How long should I backpack Vietnam?

There is no definitive answer to this question, as it depends on your budget, time, preference, and itinerary. However, a general possible response:

However, a general guideline is that you should spend at least two weeks to backpack Vietnam, as this will allow you to see the main highlights and attractions of the country. If you have more time, you can spend up to a month or more to explore more of the off-the-beaten-path destinations and experience more of the local culture and lifestyle.

How much does it cost to backpack Vietnam?

The cost of backpacking Vietnam depends on your travel style, preference, and itinerary. However, a general estimate is that you can backpack Vietnam on a budget of $20-$30 USD per day. This includes accommodation, food, transportation, and activities. Of course, you can spend more or less depending on your choices and needs.

What are the best backpacking routes in Vietnam?

There are many possible backpacking routes in Vietnam, depending on your interests and time. However, a common route is to start from Hanoi in the north and make your way down to Ho Chi Minh City in the south, or vice versa. Along the way, you can stop at places such as Sapa, Ha Long Bay, Ninh Binh, Hue, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Da Lat, Mui Ne, and Phu Quoc. This route will cover most of the major attractions and regions of Vietnam.

Another option is to focus on one region of Vietnam, such as the north, the central, or the south. This way, you can explore more in depth and discover more hidden gems and local experiences. For example, you can spend two weeks in the north and visit places such as Ha Giang, Ba Be Lake, Cao Bang, Mai Chau, Tam Coc, Cat Ba Island, and Ninh Binh.


Vietnam is a wonderful country that offers a lot of opportunities for backpackers. You can enjoy the beauty, the culture, the food, and the fun of Vietnam without breaking the bank. You can also learn more about the history, the people, and the traditions of Vietnam by interacting with them and respecting them. Vietnam is a place that will leave you with unforgettable memories and stories to tell.

We hope that this Vietnam backpacking guide has given you some useful information and tips on how to plan your trip. We also hope that you have a great time backpacking Vietnam and discovering its wonders. Happy travels! 😊