Money is crucial when it comes to traveling. Here I’m going to write down in details how much I spent on things during my Asia trip in Korea and Vietnam from 3rd of July to 3rd of September 2019.
Flight tickets between countries
My itinerary was flying from Budapest to Hanoi. This one was the most expensive one. Then from Hanoi I flew to Busan (south part of South Korea). I travelled in Korea where my last stop was Seoul, so I flew back to Hanoi from Seoul. You might wonder why I had to go to Vietnam first. Firstly, I had a lot of stuff from Hungary so I felt a part of it in Vietnam and only brought fewer belongings to Korea. Secondly, the return ticket from Europe to Asia is cheaper than one-way tickets. It would be more expensive if my itinerary was Budapest-Korea-Vietnam-Budapest.
On Vietjet or any other low-cost airline, if you have checked-in baggage you have to pay extra according to the plus weigh you have.
The prices are in HUF. The total is: 277691 HUF ~ 940 USD
My insurance for 63 days was 30933 HUF ~ 105 USD. I had to consult and search a lot of travel insurance plan to decide on this one. Luckily I didn’t have to use it, but it made me feel safe to have it just in case. Since I brought laptop with me I had to make sure, the insurance plan included electronic objects part.
Transporting between cities
All the prices are in HUF. The total cost is 23.337 HUF ~ 80 USD.
I bought a return ticket from Busan to Jeju and back. The good part of Jinair is that up to a certain kilogram the checked-in baggage is free. You should read the baggage allowance and fees of it on the website to have more accurate information.
Korail is a website where you can reserve the train ticket. Usually the KTX, the fast train is the most expensive. From Busan to Ulsan it was a KTX ticket price. From Ulsan to Gyeongju was a regular train.
Since going by train from Gyeongju to Seoul would be too expensive, I decided to go by Express bus, which was way much cheaper. For the Korea’s buses click here.
All the prices are in HUF. The total price for 17 nights was 80.273 HUF ~ 272 USD.
You can see the name of each places as well. Even if they are guesthouse I highly recommend them. The Jeju’s guesthouse is near Seungsan Ilchulbong and the sea as well. They have snorkelling activity to which you can sign up to. The owners of the Gyeongju’s guesthouse are backpacker travellers so they can share a lot of interesting experience from their adventure and they are welcoming hosts who know how to treat guests. As for the Seoul’s guesthouse, I was staying there for the second time since their price is affordable and I had my own private room. The host is welcoming as well. In Ulsan I stayed at my friend’s house so I don’t know about the hotels’ price. As for the Airbnb’s apartment, it is located in the mountainous area which has clean, fresh air. The owner is welcoming as well. You can find the place here.
All the prices are in Korean Won. The total price is 242.320 KRW ~ 208 USD.
A main meal like Bibimbap cost around 4000 – 15000 KRW. A bubble tea cost around 3800 KRW. The street food can cost around 2000-7000 KRW. It all depends on where you eat them. For example the prices in Gyeongju is cheaper than in Seoul, so I ate much more in Gyeongju.
All the prices are in KRW. The total price is 169.600 KRW ~ 145 USD.
Entertainment includes the entrance fees to each places like museums, national parks, magnets, souvenirs, books. Magnets cost between 3000-7000 KRW, a postcard around 2000 – 4000 KRW. Books can vary around 8000-20.000 KRW. The DMZ tour in Seoul cost 50.000 KRW.
In Busan I also applied to a Foodcourt tour which cost 11.336 HUF ~ 38 USD. The host took me around the market where I could taste all the street food. Moreover she told me all the stories relating to Busan including the mysterious one, which I found very interesting and value for money service.
When I visited the Buddhist temples I also donated some. All the donations were 13.030 KRW ~ 11 USD.
The price I paid to reload the T-money tap card was 60.000 KRW ~ 52 USD. If you are in South Korea, I highly recommend you to buy a T-money card and reload the money on it as the cost for public transport would be much less than paying cash each time you get on the bus. You can the T-money card at any convenience store like GS25, or the reloading machines in the subway.
The airport shuttle bus I took from the Seoul train station cost me 9000 KRW ~ 8 USD. You can pay by T-money card or in cash as well, the price doesn’t change.
I rented a car in Jeju island. The petrol cost me in total 70.000 KRW ~ 60 USD. 50.000 KRW ( ~43 USD) is needed to refuel the car fully.
The car rental fee that I reserved on the website (rentalcars.com) was 42.845 HUF (~145 USD) for 4 days with full coverance of insurance. Unfortunately I got into accident and had to pay 26.668 HUF (~ 90 USD). However, in the policy it was written like, in case of accident I had to pay the fee first then claim it back from the agent company where I reserved the car. I filed the claim and I got back the refund of 26.668 HUF (~ 90 USD). I was lucky in this case.
In total (if you add all the highlighted prices) I spent 1019 USD in South Korea for 20 days.
Transporting between cities
I spent the first 10 days of my trip with my relatives, so my cousin bought me the neccessary tickets. Since I had a checked-in baggage I had to pay 3461 HUF more. The flight ticket from Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) to Hue city and from Hue city to Hanoi was in total 32.302 HUF. All that in total makes 35.763 HUF ~ 121 USD.
The bus tickets from and to cities were booked by telephone. I either called them and got the paper ticket there or I went to their office to book. It’s quite rare to book the bus transportation online. You can still check which bus companies are operated in Vietnam. However, in most hotels, guesthouses they offer to book the bus for you so to make your travel easier. All the bus ticket cost 650.000 VND ~ 28 USD.
In total I paid 149 USD on transporting between cities.
The total cost for the accommodation was 2.246.000 VND ~ 97 USD.
As I spent the first 10 days travelling with my relatives I didn’t pay for the accommodation. In Hanoi I stayed at my relative’s place, so it was free. In Kien Giang (6 nights) and in HCMC (2 nights), I spent my nights in the Buddhist temple so I didn’t pay either. However, I donated 100 USD to each temple (that makes 200 USD) I stayed since I knew the masters there.
But as you see the total cost of the price in the table above, the price of the hotels, guesthouse is absolutely affordable. If you like fancy, luxurious hotels, one night is between 2.000.000 VND – 5.000.000 VND (~ 90 – 210 USD). But regular hostels, guesthouses are around 160.000 – 200.000 VND (~ 7-9 USD) per night.
The total cost for the food for 30 days was 1.834.000 VND ~ 80 USD.
Of course since I travelled with my relatives and stayed in the Buddhist temples I didn’t pay for those foods. Beside that whenever I could I ate desserts like Chè which cost around 30.000 VND (~ 1.30 USD), main dishes like fried noodle, bun cha which cost around 50.000-110.000 VND (~ 2-5 USD). A bubble tea cost around 60.000 VND (~ 2.60 USD).
When it comes to Vietnam, food is invincible. You can taste all the authentic food at an affordable price. And anywhere since food stall is in every corner.
As for the entertainment I bought a tour around Mui Ne which took me around to see the best places of the city. The public transportation in Vietnam is not the best so taking the tour was a much easier way to look around. I paid for the tour in HUF so 5348 HUF is ~ 18 USD.
As for the rest of 5.155.000 VND ~ 223 USD, it includes all the entrance fees to national parks, the cable car fee to Fansipan (750.000 VND ~ 32 USD), books (10 USD for 4 books) , magnets (15.000 VND ~ 0.65 USD), tour to Ha Long Bay (1.150.000 VND ~ 50 USD). The expensive ones are the entrance fees and cable cars.
The total cost for the public transport was 2.586.000 VND ~ 112 USD.
Since the public transportation system is not that good in Vietnam, I mainly called motortaxi. A ride cost around 25.000 – 60.000 VND (1 – 2.60 USD). You can imagine how much cheaper a bus ticket could cost. It’s only between 7000 – 9000 VND (~ 0.40 – 0.60 VND). A taxi can cost much more which can be around 100.000-200.000 VND (~ 4-8 USD).
Since Vietnam now has Grab and Goviet application, it’s much easier to call motortaxi. Which is more convenient since you know the price through the app. Through the app you can also call for delivery. However, it’s not everywhere yet. Some places like Sapa, the Grab is not available yet. In Hue or Phan Thiet it’s not popular yet. With the traditional xe om (motortaxi) service you need to know the distance and bargain the price, so it’s might be a bit more inconvenient. However, if you find a good, reliabe driver, you can discuss to hire them for the whole day tour. Which means they would take you anywhere for the whole day and you agree on that whole day fare. If you are good in negotiating, it can be a good deal. Mine was a Grab driver who took me from Phan Thiet to Dalat and back for a total of 700.000 VND (~30 USD) by motorbike which means it was a 10-hour ride.
In total (if you add all the highlighted prices) I spent 879 USD in Vietnam for 37 days.
This price would be higher if my relatives and Buddhist masters wouldn’t help, but according to the prices, it wouldn’t be a big difference either. It mainly depends on what you spend your money on in Vietnam. I bought a lot of things that usually I wouldn’t buy and ate much more than usual as well, therefore the prices for the entertainment was high.
As for the public transport if you are OK to use the bus, the travel expense would be a whole lot lower.