Vietnam is a very affordable country for small budgets. The cost of living is very inexpensive , and you can eat for almost nothing. It does not change that if you're traveling for a long time or you have a tight budget, no matter what the country, you have to be careful. Especially that unfortunately in Vietnam the scams against foreigners are very frequent, and even if it is small sums that represent more for them than for us, and well the action in itself leaves a bitter taste. Better be prepared! Here are some tips and tricks to avoid this and travel cheaper :
Nothing better than Street Food :
Whether it be the street vendor or the little street shop, you will find your happiness tastefully and financially! Follow the locals, look where they eat: it's not expensive and moreover, it's good (as well, taste as for health!). As often to eat cheap, it is necessary to eat local , and street food is part of the Vietnamese culture. You can also find sorts of small restaurants often open, where you eat at the ground on chairs that seem to be for children (at first, it's a little gymnastics, then you get used to). As soon as the restaurants start to be a bit more "crested", and so western, the prices double up (and then it's not necessarily good ! The only time I was a little bad, is eating a pizza ... )
Find small markets :
They are not always in the open air, sometimes you have to enter a building to discover them. We discovered one at random in Da Nang, it was great, both for the atmosphere and for eating ! For a huge bowl of spring rolls, we paid 1 € for 2 ... In addition, the products are fresh even if it is better to avoid meat and fish after a certain time since the markets start very early in the morning. Watch out for thefts , a little granny tried to steal Nils' cell phone from his pants pocket, she played the innocent, but no luck, I took her on the fact. Keep an eye on your stuff !
Knowing the local currency :
The dong, the currency of Vietnam is quite impressive, because it is composed of amazing sums . For example, 100 000 dong = about 4 €. So get used to it, and look at the banknote to avoid mixing them up. Once the habit is taken, it is less shocking to give such sums !
Negotiate guesthouse prices :
Prices are not always displayed, due to the competition is tough. So the owners will drop them for you to stay there. Generally for a double room with wi-fi and private bathroom, we paid 3 to 4 euros for one night. Almost always, if you stay long enough in the same place, you will be charged a discount. Talk about it from the beginning to see if it's possible !
Agree with a firm price :
This is especially important for hotels and taxis, they will announce a price and in the end, it will have magically increased. More than once they tried to do it to us, but if you are firm and show that they have tried on the wrong person (but still with calm) they will quickly back off and stay on the agreed price. So set the price early and keep it.
Become a spy :Have a tourist head which means there you are necessarily rich, prices will not be the same for you. They will even increase well. They made it to us from the beginning (hello the 1st impression), and more often, they laugh at their combination between themselves and in their language (no need to speak vietnamese to understand when someone laughs at you). As a result, we developed a technique: we put ourselves on the side and we wait for a local to paid (no need to wait long, be reassured). We look at how much money he gave (refer to the colors of the tickets to help you) and give the same just afterwards. By doing this, it shows you know the price and no scam possible ! It's a bit sad to have to do this, but hey, it's always better than getting scammed (yes, you understand, I hate it).
Become a ninja :
As you can see, Vietnam allow you to develop many capacities ! Almost all tourist attractions are chargeable and often, this is excessive. If you want to visit, but not to pay (just the tourists who pay obviously), do the tour, they only monitor the main entrance and each time there is another passage that it's a small alley, or an entry that leads to the site. So be just attentive and the trick is played !
Always have change :
If you pay with a big banknote, there is a lot of chance that they will not give you change. To avoid spending minutes to insist with the seller, have a maximum of change to be able to pay the small sums. Don't hesitate to ask in any case, if by discomfort or otherwise, you let go, they will continue, and I know that we are not the only people to have had to fight against this!
Be careful when you are approached :
Often, if the locals come to approach you by proposing to take pictures with you or something similar : they will ask you something in return. Either money or buying something. We were duped once in Hoi An with ladies who sold fruit, they were friendly and in the end, they just wanted us to bought them fruit.
Travel by night :
In Vietnam, traveling at night is mostly possible via the train. Since they are slow, sometimes it takes 12 hours to reach your destination! If you're traveling at night, it saves you the price of a hotel night and you're on the move. And then it's a great experience. Personally, I loved trains in Vietnam, it's a different way of seeing the country. The prices are, moreover, not too expensive.