Skip to Content

These Are 5 Of The Top Destinations In Southeast Asia’s Cheapest Country

Share The Article

Last Updated


Southeast Asia (commonly shortened to SEA) is every backpacker traveler's dream destination.

An incredibly diverse subcontinent where hyper-inflated Western prices are not a habitual concern, and foreigners are warmly welcomed, it's been soaring in popularity this year as visitation rules are eased and tourist visas become less bureaucratic, but no country has proven to be as trendy as Vietnam.

Aerial View Of A Beach Area In Nha Trang, Central Vietnam, Southeast Asia

Deemed SEA's cheapest destination, with incredibly low consumer prices and a devalued national currency that increases the average Westerner's purchasing power, this tropical gem straddles the azure East Sea, and it's your best bet at an off-path tropical getaway that will not break the bank.

Having explored Vietnam extensively ourselves, we have rounded up the five best destinations for both affordability and culture this upcoming winter:

Mui Ne

Sandy Beach In The Mui Ne Phan Thiet Province, Southern Vietnam, Southeast Asia

A sleepy fishing town in South Vietnam, Mui Ne is easily the country's most underrated coastal spot, as it combines both culture and wellness in a single destination.

It is home to an up-and-coming development strip, where new resorts are popping up every few months, including The Anam, a charming boutique hotel we reviewed earlier this year, unspoiled reserves, sand dunes, family-owned restaurants, and centuries-old historical Cham towers.

With overnight rates as low as $114 and sitting at Mui Ne's high street, as opposed to a remote location away from all the action, The Anam provides the ideal base for travelers looking to explore the town, as well as the wider province.

Infinity Pool Cascading Down To The Beach In The Anam Mui Ne, Mui Ne Province, Southern Vietnam, Southeast Asia

The region is best known for its seafood, especially its fish sauce, and there is a plethora of traditional eateries outside the resort complex serving Viet delicacies, most famously rice noodle soup and sea snails, for as cheap as five dollars.

Hoi An

The jewel in Vietnam's crown, Hoi An is a beautifully-preserved historical river port characterized by its yellow-tinged houses and narrow alleys, and a History spanning more than 2,000 years.

Located in Central Vietnam, midway between Vietnam's two largest metropolises of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, it has an eclectic architecture with Chinese, Japanese and European influences, a clear reminder of the consecutive colonization periods, and Hoi An's multicultural character.

Aerial View Of The Yellow Cityscape Of Hoi An Old Town, Vietnam, Southeast Asia

Strolling its lively streets, you will find medieval Sino pagodas, beautiful displays of colorful, brightly-painted paper lanterns, a Japanese temple bridge spanning a picturesque canal, and a number of French-built civic structures dating back to the French Indochina period.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hoi An is a mandatory stopover on your journey from North to South Vietnam, or vice-versa, and much like other Vietnamese hotspots, it fits your budget, with a 3-day budget stay averaging only fifty dollars, excluding accommodation.

Ho Chi Minh City

Notre Dame Cathedral ho chi minh city

The largest in Vietnam, though it is no longer a national capital, Ho Chi Minh City (shortened to HCMC and formerly known as Saigon), was the cultural and political heart of the defunct capitalist state of South Vietnam.

It's still the country's most Western and outward-looking city, and its thriving expat community has ensured HCMC has evolved with the times, placing it among one of the best Southeast Asian hubs to invest and conduct business.

It may be a favorite among digital nomads and young entrepreneurs, but the 8.4 million-strong metropolis is again a vibrant city travelers can't miss out on when adventuring across Vietnam, with its striking French colonial architecture, war museums, and electric nightlife.

Tourists get around on Cyclo in Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam

Some of the top attractions in and around HCMC include the Cu Chi Tunnels, which Viet combatants used during the War, the Independence Palace, where the former South Vietnam Government was housed, and the Notre Dame Cathedral, a French Neo-Gothic effort.

HCMC is surprisingly cheap compared to other major urban centers in the subcontinent, with budget travelers expected to spend a negligible $30 per day, excluding accommodation.

Nha Trang

The new digital nomad favorite in Southeast Asia, Nha Trang is yet another popular holiday resort and bustling coastal metropolis lining the East Sea, where tall hotel towers and skyscrapers are bounded by a long stretch of white sand.

Spotless Golden Sand Beach In My Khe, Near Da Nang, Central Vietnam, Southeast Asia

With over 500,000 inhabitants, it is one of Vietnam's largest cities and the country's go-to sunny spot, with a population of vacationers that tends to soar in the peak travel season, which comprises the months between November and February, when less precipitation is recorded.

With a collection of luxury hotels lining the beachfront and a plethora of world-class restaurants serving traditional seafood from Central Vietnam, the lesser-known Nha Trang is quickly becoming one of Southeast Asia's most popular alternatives for a coastal city break.

Overall, tourists should plan on spending only $41 per day, on average, in Nha Trang, with an additional $27 for hotels per night.

A Door Open Showing Luggage Beside A Made Hotel Bed In A Hotel Room, Unspecified Location

Other than the beaches and impressive shopping centers, visitors can immerse themselves in Vietnamese culture by paying a visit to the nearby Po Nagar ruins, an ancient temple founded as early as the 8th century by the bygone Cham civilization.

Hanoi

No article on Vietnam's most exciting destinations would be complete without mentioning Hanoi, the national capital following the Reunification War, and the cultural and financial center of North Vietnam, rivaling Ho Chi Minh City in the South.

Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi is best known for its wide, leafy, European-style boulevards and a higher level of social development compared to other poorer parts of Vietnam:

As it is the seat of the Government and a financial hub, it is a lot cleaner, the traffic less chaotic, and it boasts better infrastructure than the average Vietnamese city.

Visitors love it not only for that reason but also for Hanoi's high concentration of historic temples, colonial landmarks dating back to the French period, and vast, open green spaces, which provide a temporary escape from the fast-paced Hanoian life.

Tourists Taking Videos Of A Train Crossing A Narrow Street In Hanoi, Vietnam, Southeast Asia

Additionally, seeing that Hanoi offers connections to off-path sites in North Vietnam, tourists often use Hanoi as a base for exploring the region's wild nature, which includes majestic mountain ranges, the scenic UNESCO-listed Halong Bay, and golden rice fields.

Hanoi is definitely the most expensive option out of the five, with daily expenses for tourists averaging $50, but it is still hugely affordable by Western standards and certainly on the cheaper side compared to other Asian metropolises like Singapore or Hong Kong.

Visiting Vietnam soon? Learn more about the Southeast Asian gem, and what are some of the rules for visiting here.

↓ Join Our Community ↓

The Travel Off Path Community FB group has all the latest travel news, conversations, and Q&A's happening daily! 

Travel-off-Path-group-1-1
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR LATEST POSTS

Enter your email address to subscribe to Travel Off Path's latest breaking travel news, straight to your inbox.

This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.