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Tourist guide: Things you can buy with $1 in Vietnam

Tourist guide Things you can buy with $1 in Vietnam

Vietnam’s affordability is a significant draw for travelers, offering a lifestyle filled with luxuries that would be unaffordable elsewhere. With the exchange rate around VND25,000 to US$1, visitors can stretch their dollars impressively far in Vietnam.

Here are what you can buy for $1 in Vietnam

Culinary delights

Culinary Delights

A key pleasure is the food. Many expats in Vietnam rarely cook, enjoying instead the vibrant street food culture. Although iconic dishes like bun cha and pho might slightly exceed a dollar, there are still plenty of delicious options. For instance, xoi (sticky rice), bun moc, bun thang, and the ubiquitous banh mi are easily available for under VND25,000.

However, the lower cost does come with less stringent food safety standards, which can sometimes lead to food poisoning, as seen in a recent incident in Dong Nai Province where over 500 people were hospitalized after eating banh mi from a local eatery.

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Coffee culture

Coffee culture

For coffee lovers, Vietnam is a paradise. A ca phe sua (milk coffee) can be enjoyed for around VND14,750 (US$0.59), This means one could enjoy a week’s worth of coffee in Vietnam for the price of a single coffee in the U.S. ($2.95).

Affordable transportation

Affordable transportation

Transportation is another area where a dollar goes a long way. One liter of RON95 fuel costs about VND23,130, meaning a full tank for a motorbike costs significantly less than in Western countries. Ride-hailing apps offer short motorbike rides across cities for under a dollar, an unimaginable deal in cities like London, New York, or Paris.

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Alcohol and social life

Alcohol and social life

Vietnam also has incredibly cheap alcohol. Bia hoi (fresh beer) can be enjoyed for less than a dollar, allowing for a few drinks with friends for a minimal cost. Alternatively, for the adventurous, a shot of local rice wine can be had for under a dollar. In comparison, a pint of beer in the U.K. can cost around US$5, highlighting the vast difference in leisure expenses.

Fresh smoothies and juices

Fresh smoothies and juices

For those seeking non-alcoholic refreshments, Vietnam’s tropical climate means fresh fruit smoothies and juices are abundant and affordable. A smoothie or two sugarcane juices can be purchased for under a dollar, a fraction of the cost in Western cafes.

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Affordable services

Affordable services

Simple services, often expensive in other countries, are remarkably cheap in Vietnam. Getting a key cut, fixing a watch, replacing a battery, or washing a motorbike typically costs less than a dollar. These services are quick and convenient, unlike in the West where they often involve long waiting times and higher costs.

Memorable souvenirs

Memorable souvenirs

Tourists can also pick up memorable souvenirs like the iconic non la (conical hat) for under a dollar, providing a lasting memento of their trip. It’s a common sight to see travelers proudly wearing these hats as they head home.