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Vietnam: What a Dollar Can Buy You

Vietnam would be a dirt-cheap country – if visitors could only pay the local prices. But more often than not, tourists are charged inflated rates for pretty much everything. With this in mind, we had to really kick it up a notch and work the Vietnamese with our superb bargaining skills.

And even with that, we stayed just within budget. I have to admit, we put out a lot more money on upgrades: a deluxe Halong Bay cruise, more polished hotels, and fancy sleeper trains. And our fabulous Food-Venture set us back a bit which, I’m ecstatic to say, was worth every dong. (Oh, dong jokes – we’ve heard them all.)

Overall, Vietnam is still very affordable and there are plenty of things you can get for 20,000 dong or about a buck:

  • 1 day of bicycle rental
  • 2 Vietnamese coffees with sweet condensed milk
  • 15 minutes of air time on a Mobifone sim card
  • 1 bowl of pho bo
  • 1 small load of laundry
  • 250 grams of candied ginger
  • 1 Chinese lantern made of bamboo and fabric
  • 40 quail eggs
  • 1 Vietnamese conical hat (non la)
  • 7 liters of drinking water
  • 2 tickets to the Temple of Literature in Hanoi
  • 2 chilled Halida beers
  • 1.25 liters of gasoline
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