Hanoi Vietnam one month expense report

So, last month we spent 28 days in Hanoi Vietnam, this was our cheapest month yet, here you’ll find our expense report, this is my 4th expense report so far, for my previous reports, see the following

Note: these prices are the total for 2 people, doing this trip solo would be half the prices, except for the accommodation.

Hanoi expense report

Hanoi expense report

Hanoi Trip Expenses

  • Visas £162
  • Bus (from Nanning China to Hanoi) £36
  • Accommodation + electricity £243.7
  • Food, drinks, taxi, bus, cinema £274.82

Total £716.52
Cost per person £358.26
Cost per day (per person) £12.79
Cost per day per person excluding the now non required Visa £9.90

This was insanely cheap, at no time did we feel we were on a budget, we had a brilliant apartment over looking the water, the list of costs above doesn’t explain too much, so I’ve included a screen shot of our excel spreadsheet, we update this daily, it greatly helps us plan for future days a head. The spreadsheet is excluding the accommodation cost, we keep this in a separate sheet.

Hanoi traffic

Hanoi traffic

The brilliant thing about only spending £716.52 for the month is that this is considerably less than our passive income, so in theory we could live in Hanoi forever, eat out every meal and never work a day again, I say “in theory” as we’d have trouble getting a permanent Visa.

After eating out every meal for a week, it becomes quite boring and you really crave a home cooked meal, and you actually crave simple things, this could be anything, a plain potato, a bowl of 2 minute noodles, a salad or a full on roast.

We started shopping roughly every second day, if you take a look at our spreadsheet you’ll see the days we shopped were our most expensive, followed by a much cheaper following day.

In Hanoi beers range anywhere from 7 for £1 to 1 for £1, if you drink and eat in a Bia Hoi you can manage 7 beers for £1 if you find a really cheap Bia hoi at 5,000 dong a beer, at the time the exchange rate hit £1 = 35,000 dong.

Hanoi West Lake

Hanoi West Lake

We’d go to a Bia Hoi almost every day, the beer is cold and low in alcohol, so it was very refreshing and the food is also very cheap and enjoyable. The service is brilliant, the staff watch your glass like a hawk, if it becomes empty there is already a new beer on your table.

Hanoi was always very hot and very humid, this was helped a little by having an apartment right on west lake, the wind off the lake provided a nice constant breeze. We also had the water park just a few hundred metres up the road.

I really enjoyed our time in Hanoi, the food was great, beers were cheap, fruit was plentiful and the Vietnamese great to drink with, we made friends with locals and expats, the area we lived had a lot of expats, on our final night our expat and Vietnamese friends all threw a party for us on our rooftop.

Hanoi rooftop party

Hanoi rooftop party


How to get from Nanning to Hanoi by bus and how much does the bus cost

Having recently completed this trip and having found conflicting info on-line, I thought I’d blog the correct information here on How to get from Nanning to Hanoi by bus and some tips etc.
Go by bus, you can go by train overnight, but expect to be woken at the border in the middle of the night.

The Chinese coach is nice, but without a toilet, the bus will stop twice for a toilet break and once for the border, one of the toilet breaks includes a 20 minute meal break, but just take snacks and wait till you get to Hanoi to eat.

The bus costs 168 Yuan and leaves at 8:30, 9:00, 9:30 and around 12:30.Nanning Bus Station Map

The bus leaves from the Langdong Bus Station Ticket Office on You’ai rd (or Lu as the roads seem to be called), all the street signs have the names in English so you can relax.

I recommend the 9:30 bus as I’m not a morning person, and the 12:30 will arrive late in the evening. The 9:30 bus will arrive around 7pm, the trip isn’t as long as it sounds, a good one to two hours is spent at the border.

You’ll have to arrive an hour early to buy your tickets. If you have time the day before, why not buy your tickets then?

Vietnam Border

Vietnam Border

Once you’ve crossed the border on foot (this is a requirement) and spent 10 minutes at Chinese customs, it’ll take you about 30 minutes to an hour to get through the slow Vietnam border control, then you’ll wait anywhere up to an hour for a bus.

The bus goes to 3 separate locations in Hanoi, you’ll most likely want to arrive near the old quarter, tell the bus driver at the Vietnam border “Hong Ha” or better still have it written on a piece of paper, Vietnamese uses a derivative of the Latin alphabet, he’ll understand the name.

The bus stop is a 2km walk or a taxi ride, you’ll most likely get ripped off a few $s, these taxi drivers are expecting new arrivals with no clue, if you’re travelling lite and on a budget or enjoy some exercise after sitting for so long, you can walk to the old quarter, but a taxi is easiest, depending on your negotiating skills it should be no more than 90,000 dong at the upper price range, however the taxi will try you for 200,000+ dong, by the meter it should be about 60,000.

The bus trip was great fun, we got to the bus station in Nanning to find that there was 10 other people from our hostel catching the same bus.

You’ll be given a small bottle of water and some sweet bread, but it’s a long day and Vietnam can be hot, so take plenty of snacks and water.

Enjoy Hanoi!

Relaxing in Hanoi

Relaxing in Hanoi