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Vietnam vs Thailand: Which is Cheaper for Travelers?

by Holly

When planning a trip to Southeast Asia, two popular destinations that often come to mind are Vietnam and Thailand. Both countries boast stunning landscapes, rich cultures, and delicious cuisines, making them attractive choices for travelers. However, one critical factor that influences travelers’ decisions is the cost of the trip. In this article, we will conduct a comprehensive comparative analysis of the cost of living, accommodation, transportation, food, and other essential aspects to determine which country is cheaper for tourists.

1. Cost of Living

The cost of living is a crucial aspect to consider when comparing the affordability of Vietnam and Thailand. Generally, both countries offer relatively low living expenses compared to many Western nations. In Vietnam, cities like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi may offer more affordable options for accommodation and daily expenses compared to Bangkok or Phuket in Thailand. However, rural areas in both countries tend to be even more budget-friendly, with Vietnam possibly having a slight edge in this aspect.

2. Accommodation

Accommodation costs can significantly impact a traveler’s budget. In Thailand, popular tourist destinations can have a wider range of accommodation options, catering to various budgets. While luxurious resorts can be expensive, budget travelers can still find reasonably priced guesthouses and hostels. Vietnam also provides affordable accommodation options, with the added advantage of a variety of budget hotels and homestays that offer a glimpse into local life.

3. Transportation

Getting around in both Vietnam and Thailand is relatively affordable, but there are some differences to consider. In Thailand, domestic flights between major cities are quite common, and budget airlines offer competitive prices. On the other hand, Vietnam has an extensive network of sleeper buses and trains, which can be a more economical option for longer journeys. Local transport, such as tuk-tuks and motorbike taxis, may be slightly cheaper in Vietnam.

4. Food and Dining

Sampling local cuisine is a highlight of any travel experience, and both Vietnam and Thailand offer a diverse array of mouthwatering dishes. In terms of cost, street food in Vietnam is often cheaper than in Thailand. Vietnamese street vendors serve up delicious Banh Mi, Pho, and various rice dishes at wallet-friendly prices. While Thailand’s street food is still reasonably priced, some popular tourist spots may have slightly higher costs.

5. Sightseeing and Activities

When it comes to sightseeing and activities, both Vietnam and Thailand have numerous attractions to explore. Entrance fees to popular temples, historical sites, and national parks are generally affordable in both countries. However, some specific activities, such as scuba diving or trekking, may vary in price. Thailand’s reputation as a party destination may lead to higher expenses for nightlife and entertainment compared to Vietnam.

6. Visa and Travel Costs

Obtaining a visa is an essential consideration for travelers, as it can add to the overall expenses. Thailand offers a visa exemption for citizens of many countries, allowing them to stay for up to 30 days without a visa. Vietnam also provides visa exemptions for some nationalities, but the duration is generally shorter. Longer stays or specific types of visas may require additional fees, so it’s essential to check the latest visa regulations before planning your trip.

7. Safety and Health Expenses

Health and safety are paramount when traveling abroad. Both Vietnam and Thailand are relatively safe destinations for tourists, but travel insurance is highly recommended to cover unforeseen medical expenses and potential emergencies. Healthcare costs in Vietnam are generally lower than in Thailand, making it an appealing option for budget-conscious travelers.

8. Currency Exchange and Payment Methods

Currency exchange rates can impact the purchasing power of tourists. As of the time of writing, the Vietnamese Dong (VND) tends to have a lower exchange rate compared to the Thai Baht (THB). However, Vietnam’s lower overall costs can offset this difference, providing travelers with a more budget-friendly experience.


After a thorough analysis of various aspects related to the cost of traveling in Vietnam and Thailand, it is evident that both countries offer budget-friendly options for tourists. However, Vietnam may have a slight edge in terms of lower accommodation costs, cheaper street food, and affordable domestic transport. Thailand, with its well-established tourism infrastructure, may offer a more diverse range of accommodation options and activities for travelers with varying budgets.

Ultimately, the choice between Vietnam and Thailand depends on individual preferences, travel itineraries, and the experiences one seeks. Both countries provide unique cultural experiences and unforgettable adventures, ensuring that travelers will have a memorable time, regardless of the destination they choose. Before embarking on a journey, it is essential to conduct further research and consider personal preferences to make an informed decision for a cost-effective and enjoyable trip.

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