Travel Expense: Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia

It’s not the cheapest of trips (specially if you see the version where my personal shopping was included), but relative to how much I spent on previous trips, this is pretty good for a 2-week jaunt across three countries. The tickets I hoarded last year played a big part in keeping the budget low. For a total of Php 5,275.85, I was able to fly to Saigon from Manila, Saigon to Da Nang, Hanoi to Bangkok, Bangkok to Krabi, Krabi to Kuala Lumpur and Kuala Lumpur to Manila.

Vietnam was pretty cheap. Dining at the restaurants can set you back around Php 300, while dining in the streets or markets can go as low as Php 40. Accommodation is also relatively inexpensive. My rooms range from $15 to $18, all with air conditioning and a fan, with ensuite toilet & bath, cable TV, a closet and even a small fridge. While the xe om is the most popular way to getting around town, I prefer to hop on a cab. The taxis in Vietnam are well kept with good air conditioning. Meter starts at VND 9,000 for the small cars, VND 10,000 for the sedans and VND 12,000 for the vans (depends on the company). Be careful about the taxis though; there are rogue taxis that use a very fast meter! They use the same name as the big cab companies, only changing one letter and using almost identical hotline numbers.

Krabi, on the otherhand, is pretty expensive (as expected). However, in the midst of the Thai and Italian restaurants, there are small street stalls selling noodles and rice. I stayed in Ao Nang beach, and it’s small enough to walk around. You can take the tuktuk around town, but to go beyond, you’d either have to ride the government songtheow (with routes to Krabi and other places) or hire a taxi (taxis in Krabi are Toyota Fortuner. Sosyal!)

Bangkok and Kuala lumpur are only in the itinerary for transit and shopping.

Vietnam – Thailand – Malaysia
June 16 – July 1, 2010
US$ 1 = PHP 46.45 THB 1 = PHP 1.43
VND 1,000 = PHP 2.43 MYR 1 = PHP 14.56

Cost Actual Cost
(in local currency) (in Peso)
Air Transfers
Manila – Saigon
Cebu Pacific PHP 36.00 PHP 36.00 1
Saigon – Da Nang
Vietnam Airways VND 1,089,000.00 PHP 2,720.59
Hanoi – Bangkok
Air Asia US$ 21.00 PHP 987.08 2
Bangkok – Krabi
Air Asia THB 157.00 PHP 225.27 3
Krabi – Kuala Lumpur
Air Asia THB 530.00 PHP 760.05 3
Kuala Lumpur – Manila
Cebu Pacific PHP 546.86 PHP 546.86

Philippine Travel Tax PHP 1,620.00 PHP 1,620.00
NAIA Airport Tax PHP 750.00 PHP 750.00

Taxi to NAIA PHP 200.00 PHP 200.00
Taxi from NAIA PHP 350.00 PHP 350.00

Bich Duyen
4 days, 3 nights, $17 per night US$ 51.00 PHP 2,368.95

Hoi An
Vinh Huy
3 days, 2 nights, $15 per night US$ 30.00 PHP 1,393.50

3 days, 2 nights, $10 per night US$ 16.00 PHP 743.20

Hanoi Guesthouse
4 days, 3 nights, $18 per night US$ 54.00 PHP 2,508.30

Old Charm Guesthouse
1 night, THB 990 per night THB 990.00 PHP 1,415.70 4

Buri Tara Resort
3 days, 2 nights, $30 per night US$ 60.60 PHP 2,814.87 5

Land Transport
Giang Son airport taxi (2-way) US$ 26.00 PHP 1,207.70
Hanoi airport taxi US$ 15.00 PHP 696.75
Vietnam Open Bus VND 380,000.00 PHP 923.40 7
Hoi An transport VND 428,500.00 PHP 1,040.04 8
Hue transport VND 157,000.00 PHP 381.51 9
Hanoi transport VND 460,000.00 PHP 1,117.80 10
Bangkok airport taxi (2-way) THB 500.00 PHP 715.00 11
Bangkok transport THB 100.00 PHP 143.00 12
Krabi airport bus (2-way) THB 300.00 PHP 429.00
Krabi transport THB 40.00 PHP 57.20 13
KLIA Transit (2-way) MYR 25.00 PHP 364.00 14
KL transport MYR 3.20 PHP 46.59

Food Expenses
Saigon VND 451,500.00 PHP 1,097.15
Hoi An VND 409,000.00 PHP 993.87
Hue VND 426,000.00 PHP 1,035.18
Hanoi VND 833,500.00 PHP 2,025.41
Bangkok THB 541.00 PHP 773.63
Krabi THB 1,444.16 PHP 2,065.15
Kuala Lumpur MYR 22.90 PHP 333.42

Travel insurance PHP 1,173.00 PHP 1,173.00
Laundry US$ 5.00 PHP 232.25
Internet THB 500.00 PHP 715.00
Admission fees VND 225,000.00 PHP 546.75 15
Hue tour VND 150,000.00 PHP 364.50 16
Halong Bay Tour US$ 35.00 PHP 1,627.50 17
Beach lounge VND 30,000.00 PHP 72.90
Souvenirs – Vietnam VND 280,000.00 PHP 680.40
Souvenirs – Thailand THB 262.00 PHP 374.66
Souvenirs – Malaysia MYR 39.90 PHP 580.94
Postage VND 60,000.00 PHP 146.15
Locker storage MYR 20.00 PHP 291.20

Total: PHP 41,691.42

1 Hell yeah.
2 Thanks you Air Asia Bangkok sale!
3 Thank you Air Asia zero fare sale!
4 Most charming place in Bangkok!
5 I figured I deserved a treat!
7 The bus that took me from Hoi An to Hue and from Hue to Hanoi
8 Includes taxi from the airport in Da Nang, taxi to and from Cua Dai beach
9 Too hot, too lazy.
10 Includes a very bloated meter price. Damn that taxi.
11 Just the regular metered taxi.
12 Loaded THB 100 unto my BTS card, but ended up only using the remaining balance. At least I have loaded BTS card for the next time I’m in BKK!
13 Took the tuk-tuk once going back to the resort.
14 KLIA Transit is the cheaper (and longer) counterpart of the KLIA Express that takes you from the LCCT to KL Sentral in 50 minutes
15 Reunification Palace and Revolutionary Museum in Saigon, Imperial Palace and other places in Hue
16 Tour is cheap because you have to pay for the entrance fees.Transport, guide and lunch is included, but bitin (unsatisfactory).
17 Includes admission fees, transport, kayak, guide, 2 bottles of water and pretty good lunch
RELATED:   Vietnam Diaries: The heat is on in Saigon

Vietnam 2010.xls (24k)
Vietnam 2010.pdf (92k)

Article by Nina Fuentes

Nina doesn't aim to travel to every country in the world -- she just wants to travel to the places that means the most to her. She started traveling in 2006, and hopes to travel for as long as she can. Her travel blog, Just Wandering won the Best Travel Blog in the 2010 Philippine Blog Awards and in the 2011 Nuffnang Asia Pacific Blog Awards.

This Article Has 21 Comments
  1. carlo says:

    how did you score 36 peso tickets to saigon? man!

  2. dyanie says:

    wow sowcial nga ang taxi. pwede na ang fee sa halong bay tour may kasama na din palang lunch un. im excited to see your krabi post esp the beach!!!

  3. Travel and Transport says:

    as the traveling is a very nice habit but i is very expensive also and no every one effort it you produce a great post about the expenses i really like it keep it up.

  4. nina says:

    Carlo: It was from the piso fare sale last November. The fare was supposed to be Php 136, but since I didn’t have check in luggage, I got the Php100 discount :)

    Dyanie: Fail yung isang taxi na nakita ko, Fortuner pero yung logo niya Lexus XD The Krabi post will be boring, don’t get your hopes up XD

  5. freeze says:

    which part of Kuala Lumpur is nearest to shopping malls and public transportation?

  6. Chris says:

    wow.. that’s very cheap… and i salute you as you were able to track all of your expenses. galing! ive been trying to do that but I always fail.. but maybe for my next travel. :)

  7. I’m heading to Hanoi in a few weeks, thanks for these price suggestions on transportation and places that you stayed.

  8. Wow, that’s very affordable for a half month trip.
    what are the suggested tour destinations in Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur?

  9. nina says:

    Leave the cube: Batu Caves, Genting Highlands and a trip to Melaka. Ironically, all outside KL.

  10. Joyceee says:

    wow nina! you went traveling again pala! @_@ i envy you! :)

  11. Toni says:

    Where po pwede mag avail ng travel insurance? will be going to 3 asian countries in november.. thanks!

  12. angelsouza says:

    idol! i wish can do what you did…book super cheap airfares! i have to work harder. thanks for this

  13. grace pasion says:

    just wondering, all the airfares indicated above include the surcharges and other charges?

  14. Jeff says:

    Its me Ate Nina, I already joined travel factor and journeying james. Thanks for those sites. I have a question dito sa mga gastos mo. Hehe. Ask ko lang if yun bang mga hotel na pinagstay mo sa saigon, malayasia and thailand will still give me the same rate? I know prices are dynamic pero sa tingin mo kaya mura pa kaya yung mga hotel na yun if ever. I am preparing na for my vietnam, cambodia and malaysia trip early next year. Tsaka ate nina, san ko maganda una umpisahan, malaysia, cambodia or vietnam? Any suggestions po. Thanks :-)

    • Nina says:

      Hi Jeff, expect mo na nagtaas na ang mga presyo, pero sa tingin ko, unless nag renovate sila ng bonggang bongga, di naman dodoble ang rate. Karamihan diyan may mga website, or nasa Hostelworld. I-Google mo nalang kung hindi ko na-link. Actually, baka may mahanap ka pang mas mura, tingin ka sa

      Isang trip ba yang tatlo or hiwa-hiwalay? Pinaka mura sa tatlo ang Vietnam, pinaka madali na ikutan Thailand and Malaysia. Kung isang trip lang yan, suggestion ko mag start ka either sa Vietnam or Malaysia, kasi sila yung nasa dulo, at parehong may direct flight from Manila. Puede kang lumipad to Hanoi or Ho Chi Min, overland border crossing to Cambodia, then Thailand, Malaysia, tapos dun ka na mag exit going back to Manila. Puede rin pakabilang direction. Ako kasi pag nag travel ayokong mag back track, kaya kung posible, direcho ang mga ruta ko, kasi ayokong pabalik-balik, unless walang choice.

      Pinakamadali, tingin ka sa map at tignan mo kung alin ang mga magkakalapit. Markahan mo and mga gusto mong puntahan, tapos markahan mo rin kung alin ang may mga direct flight galing sa Manila. Sana nakatulong to :)

      Kung nag re-research ka, punta ka sa, daming info dyan about traveling in those countries. Good luck!

  15. Jeff says:

    Nag research na ako sa mga destinations na pupuntahan ko ate nina. Thank you sa It helps! A lot. Isang trip yung tatlo. Early next year na. Thank you po sa advise. Sana hindi ako maligaw at magkaproblema kasi ako na naman mag isa ang magtatravel. Wala talaga ako mayaya for next year. Haha. Sabi din ng friend ko start ko daw sa Malaysia or Vietnam, ask lang ako ng second opinion. And may idea na ako paano siya isusunod sunod.

    • Nina says:

      Mas masaya nga kapag naliligaw, kasi mas madami kang nadi-discover ;)

      Kung first time mo mag travel out of the country, I think mas maigi na mag start ka sa Malaysia, kasi mas madali siya. Mas madali in terms na mas madami kang ma-encounter na marunong mag English, may mga signs in English, mas madaming transportation options. Kung hindi ka mag Thailand, from Malaysia lipad ka to Siem Reap. For sure may flights ang Air Asia going there. From Seam Reap, may mga bus na papuntang Phnom Penh, then from there to HCMC. Check ka din dito:

      Kaya mo yan!

      • whatzitooyah says:

        Hi, kung first time traveler po and college students kami tapos ang route ay MNL-KUL, KUL-BKK then land travel to cambodia and vietnam saka pa lang balik ng MNL, hindi po ba kami maquequestion ksa immigration kasi medyo odd yung route especially for first timers and we’re young(both 18 and female)? Nagtanong na rin po ako sa isa pang blogger ang sabi niya ay baka maquestion nga kami. What do you think? Pero sa tingin ko naman, we would be able to get through it kasi legit naman yung reason for travel, and we have hotel reservations, tour tickets and printed itinerary and enough cash naman. We’ll bring additional docs na rin just to be sure.

      • Nina says:

        You might be questioned, true, but as long as you answer confidently and provide documents that will prove you have incentives to come back to the Philippines, I don’t see what the problem is. Just be sure you have tickets coming back to Manila.

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