Backpacking trip thru Asia.

I'm off on a backpacking trip thru Hong Kong-China,Vietnam,Laos,Thailand and Malaysia. Am on a very small budget,will stay in hostels and take the public transport.I am a 25 year old woman traveling alone.Want pointers from people who've taken such trips on how best to economise on time and money. What to pack,where to eat in each place,Hostel info at each city and travel within the places.Thank you!!


Country: Vietnam


Hi!I live in Viet Nam and I can help you information about our country. Actually you can do budget travel in Viet Nam, Lao, Cambodia and Thailand, the expenses are pretty same in these countries,not so much.You can find a pretty good place for sleep around 10-12$ per night,and ofcourse a half if you can find some one to share with or reach to Backpack hostle,request dorm room about at least 2 to 12 people one room. Lastime I did travel alone also with budget and I shared almost of time with another traveller who I met on the way (of course at least I feel safe and trustworthy enough to share),so on that way I m not worried as a lonly girl traveller overseas also save a lot of money... About food, you can try many kinds on streets. I can say in SouthEast Asia sometimes street food is much better but cheaper than restaurant.But for sure about your stomach, you better take a lot of medicine just in case
By the way I have this idea for you if it can work well. There are some sites of sharing travel's experience especially for lonely taveller are: and . Throught these sites and ofcourse you better register as a member, i think you can surf accomodation from another memebers who live at places you would want to travel lately. I did the same last time and sometimes I got luck, some of them accepted to host me for couple of days. Its really a good way to share.You do not spend money, also you have some local people who can give you a lot of useful information and probably can hang out with you,that depends...The point here you better make them believe in you enough to host you because you would be new memeber, and throughout others's references who were hotsted at their place before to check trust leves with hosts... Its really a good way to do budget travel alone in my opinion :-) Just try to drop out or become a member soon. If you go there, you can search me as my user name is Dracula224,and my name there is Quyen Nguyen in Hanoi - Viet Nam. If you need any information just email me :
Hope you would find best choice.Good luck!
Ps: I think you have books of Lonely Planet already? They are very useful for you...
Hi !

I can give you see adress in Hanoi.
Hostel in center 48 Ngo Huyen.(Its 2 Australien man take care of it)
Hi I'm Joe I live in Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam. I've traveled to HongKong, Vietnam,Thailand and Malaysia. If you have travel books like lonely planet it gives some information but not actually the cheapest in the place I've used them but found out that local people still are the best guides. I have some contacts to all the cities you've mentioned except laos but i also have info on that. Coz I was supposed to go there too. I recently just traveled to the places you've mentioned so i have fresh info for you. I do suggest that you go to Saigon, Vietnam or now called Ho Chi Minh City so I can give you the information. Buses to take best routes and cheapest hotels where to eat. You can add me to your messenger my add is . If you are already in town you can call me at +841225002521. I'll be glad to help you
Welcome to Vietnam! From an ASEAN country, you can fly by or to Vietnam or by border crossing from Lao and Cambodia. Public bus is popular in Vietnam but you should have a very tiny place to seat, i mean 1 seat for 2 people and the ticket tariff is unchanged. You can also travel by train on hard, soft seats or berth. Check the website for train journey and tariff. From Hanoi airport, you can take Vietnam Airlines minivan or bus to go to city centre (35kms = 1 hour). Tariff is 25.000 VND (1 usd = 17.400 vnd). If go by taxi, please use the NOI BAI airport taxi as many fault taxi can give you trouble. Budget guest house are in Tam Thuong hamlet on the Hang Bong street corner at about 10usd/ room/ night. In Ho Chi Minh city or other place, you can use Mai Linh taxi. If you choose the motorbike taxi (xe Om) or cyclo pousse, you should bargain before enter on it. Budget hotel in Saigon (HCM) are on Pham Ngu Lao, Cong Quynh street. You can also visit for more information for accommodation. If you want a 25usd room/ night, please contact me at . Enjoy your trip!
Well start by a light packback- clothes are very cheap in most countries you will visit- try to book cheap hostels before u go......and if u cant make it then amend your booking to another day- this is always free and is not like a prepared!. Apart from books/internet/blogs- try lots of ways to get info on places/restaurants etc etc. And remember, almost all Lonely planet readers have a massive bottle of water with them where-ever they go- even when its not needed- its a real wate of money, it looks like they are heading to the Sahara for holidays.....good luck
Hi! I'm living in Saigon. You can stay at Pham Ngu Lao and De Tham on District 1. This is a hot point for backpacker. They have cheap accomodation, foods, drinks,dancing, shopping. It located at downtown, near Ben Thanh Market and other interesting places of the city. There are many low price hotels here, you can find one easily. In case you want to find a place for taking a short break, or just want to chit-chat; this area has many small pubs and bars. The biggest one in this place is Go 2 Bar (at the conner of De Tham and Bui Vien). For lower price but good service, pleae come to Le Pub (175/22 Pham Ngu Lao, D1), they have promotion for everday (Monday:Tequila night - 1$, Tuesday: Vodka and mixer - 1$, Wed: Gin night 1$, Thursday: all cocktails - 2$, Fri.: "mostly" a jug of Tiger beer - 9$ = 150,000 VND; Sat.: a jug of Cocktail - 9$). When you arrive in SGN, you can take a bus (Bus No. 152). It'll take you to the downtown (Ben Thanh Market, De Tham, Pham Ngu Lao.), its working hour is from 6am - 7pm. Bus fare: 2,000 - 4,000 VND, so cheap huh? What to wear in Saigon?--> Saigon is almost hot and humid; so t-shirt and shorts/skirt are ideal outfit for hanging around this city. Eat what?---> anythings you can find along walk side of the road. If you need more information, you can find at Tourist Information Center (TIC) at 4G-4h Le Loi Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; or you can catch me at .

Have a good trip!
Hi.. great to hear someone want to visit Viet Nam. Two questions I would raise:
1. How long you gonna stay in Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand
2. Prefer stay in the city (Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh) or beach resort in other cities.
So we can start and I may recommend from both answers.

Welcome to Hanoi. When you've already in here, I suggest 2 things you shouldn't forget if you're in a budget-trip: Luong Ngoc Quyen Street and food in the old square.
Fisrtly, Luong Ngoc quyen street is very popular for cheap hostels, tour-agent and its beer. You can also buy food from vendors there.
Secondly, you should try food in the Old square. Many famous places are: Nem tai Ba Hong, Nem chua nuong Nha tho, Banh ran, Banh cuon Ha Chung, Bun oc Doi Can, Banh tom Ho Tay.
If you need any more supports, please message me at this number: +841258201673 within 10 days from now on (Feb 25); I'll give you more imformation.
Good luck for your trip.
Bahn Tom Ho Tay Restaurant may have good food, (I thought it was less than awesome) but the service is disgusting- The lake stinks too because too many people throw rubbish in it- I do NOT recommend Bahn Tom Ho Tay unless you like rude and slow service, and can put up with the smell of sewage in the lake.
Throughout Vietnam in particular, there are excellent bus routes that go all the way from north to south and vice versa, at incredibly cheap rates. A/C, good seats, and a great "drop off where you like" scheme, and they will pick you up again when you like to continue the journey.

The buses will take you to suitable hotels that are cheaper than hostels back in the west, and are usually of a pretty good standard. Try Sinh Cafe bus tours. They go almost everywhere in Vietnam.
In Hanoi, the "old Quarter" has lots and lots of little hotels that are quite nice for a low price- Bit small sometimes. I always find it best just to turn up. Booking in advance by internet often doesnt work well in Vietnam- Dont worry-there WILL be vacancies if you just arrive on the doorstep.
In Saigon- head to Pham Ngu Lao St- Its a real buzzing western area with tons of suitable little hotels tucked in fascinating alleys. Great place to use as a base. Lots of good little cafes, but be warned that some of the western places serving food, do so at western prices. Good one is ZEN Vego- In an alley off Pham Ngu Lao St. The "high end" of town is at Dong Khoi St, but super ritzy and exo.Good to look at, but exy to buy at. (eg Majestic Hotel $150 per night. Trains? On long hauls, bit uncomfy, but from Saigon to Nha trang is a superb 5 star de-luxe job! (Good for pampering yourself.)

Clothes? This is clothes shopping Heaven- very cheap-pack only the bare necessities.Bring you own knickers-here they are small, and bring your own tampons- usually hard to find here.

Out of the major cities, there are myriads of wonderful things to see, and the people are the amazing part. Just chill out with them-they will stare, but you soon get over it.
To sum up-everything here is so cheap, you dont really need to think too hard about economising.
If you'll stay in Ho Chi Minh City:
- Hotels: on Pham Ngu Lao street, district 1, rate from $10/night. It's near by Ben Thanh Market - center of HCMC []

- Meal: "Quan Ngon" - 138 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia street, district 1, just take 10' from Pham Ngu Lão street. This is a Vietnamese food small restaurant, rate from US$1/dish.

- Transportation:"xe om" is ok for you, the driver will bring you around with moto bike and helmet

- Open tour: Sing Cafe Travel agent on De Tham street[] (just 5' walking from Pham Ngu Lao street)
You can go in to here you can find some of the hostels and you can have online help finding the solution to economise on time and money just for you.
if you wanner go Munie we have cheep guestroom availble for you, there you find sunshine and beach just 1 minuts walk and you will be in the oceanwater
Hi Joy,
With a small budget traveler, you still have a great time in Vietnam. It's cheap to travel here!
Use public transports to travel like:
- motorbike taxi "xe om" to go around the city. Cost around 5000 VND/km
- with longer distances: from Hanoi to Halong bay, Hue, HoiAn, Sai Gon - The public buses are always available like: Hoang Long, Camel Travel or Hung Thanh buses. They are very convenient and so cheap.
You also can find lots of cheap guest-house in Vietnam with budget from $10 to 15$ per night.
Treet food is great in Vietnam, with a meal for less than $2.
Good luck and happy travel!
Use Lonely Planet as a base, gives u an idea of what to do and how much.
Quite good also for your first night in new towns, then, once u're there, the best thing to do is go checking prices door to door(4 hostels/accommodation)
Expect to spend an average of 6 to 10 $ night.
The cheapest food is always next to the markets, some places has a proper foodmarket, where u can have good quality food at locals prices.

For the rest, word of mouth is the best way to deal with a trip.
You'll meet tons of people, just share your experience and they'll do the same with u.

Have fun!!!
Hi Roy, i see you have had many replies so i will not confuse you any more, the reply by Ray Connors is probably the best advice you will get. Enjoy your trip and maybe see you on your travels.
Thanks for your kind words Ian.
Too many "bush lawyeres" . Make it difficult for new comers- keep it simple-hey?
Hi Ray, no problem, trying to help travellers enjoy their stay in vietnam is what its all about.
Cheers mate.
I've been backpacking for 6 months, also in Hong Kong-China,Vietnam,Laos,Thailand and Malaysia. My advise; forget about Lonely Planet and use your common sense. Look around for nice places to sleep, ask for the rates, and decide on the spot if you want or can afford it. Compared to Vietnam, Laos and Thailand, China and Malaysia are more expensive and Hongkong will most likely blow your budget. Once you start travelling you'll receive usefull hints from people you meet during your trip. I have a list of hostels I slept. Let me know if you're interested. But it's your journey so don't be a copycat and create your own adventure. ENJOY!
Many backpackers travel like you thru Vietnam. But you will have some difficulties in Vietnam that the traffic in Vietnam is different to all other countries in the world and when you use the public transport most people there can not speak English or just a little bit. Hope you can enjoy your trip!
Hi, I am Kathy. Very happy to hear that you will come to our beautiful country.

So many advice for you, rite? Many places to go. One more place that I want to recommend to you is Vung Tau City. Not very far, just 2hrs to travel by bus. You will see the city in the night, fresh air, nice people and very good seafood.

Try to discover Vietnam as much as you can and I am sure that you will never forget this small but beautiful country.

Have you considered homestays? We find this to be the most cost-effective and enjoyable solution for both time and money.

Almost no travel organization can deliver a more realistic and genuine experience than a local family!!!
what time you will come to Viet Nam? how many place or province you visit? you should have a list and i will recommend some exact best services (transport,hostel,meals..) for you or contact with me, im very glad to welcome you to my country and can become your friend in Viet Nam.
Tell me how you want your tour or visit in Vietnam to be - is it adventure, cycling, trekking, cruising etc. You can do so by going to , click on trip planner, you will be immediately taken to a free trip planner page. Here you can fill in how you will like your tour to be - your taste, holiday period, interest etc. and we will take care of the rest, just make sure your email address is correct. Otherwise you may contact us on or by Email , Remember quality service is what we are after. We will make it cheaper for you. Thanks
it would cheaper if you just travel to Vietnam, laos, thailand and malaysia only because the price is not high as hongkong and china.
In Vietnam and Laos You can stay in a small hotel which is only 7$/day or less. it cost also about 5$/day for eating, you can walk or use bus. it is much cheaper.

I would like to know when you will come? how much in the budget will you have approximately? I am willing to help you and arrange for you if you would like to

email me whenever you need:
I've travelled to China, Thailand & Malaysia and my family ties are also in HK however, next to Cambodia & Laos, you left out the most humblest of nations, Burma, where your tight budget would become something like travelling on a piggy bank amount only and you will have the satisfaction of meeting such wonderful and down to earth people you can ever meet in Asia.

If you are back already, it would be marvelous to hear from you...

I hope you enjoyed yrself Roy and had the "time of yr life..." I know I had at your age and its my most magnificent years back then too...:)))

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