A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Ho Chi Minh City vs. Ulaanbaatar for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Ho Chi Minh City or Ulaanbaatar?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Ho Chi Minh City and Ulaanbaatar can help you decide which place is right for you.

Where Should I go: Ho Chi Minh City or Ulaanbaatar?

Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, is the largest city in Vietnam. It previously served as the capital of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam). The metropolitan area, including Ho Chi Minh City, Thu Dau Mot, Di An, Bien Hoa, and other surrounding towns, has a population of more than 9 million people and continues to grow.

Ulaanbaatar

Ulaanbaatar is Mongolia's capital city. It has a population of slightly over two million people, or about sixty percent of the country's entire population. You are likely to arrive in Ulaanbaatar either by train, coming from China or Russia, or by plane. Many people use Ulaanbaatar as a stop off while doing the Transsiberian Railway. The city is a great place to organize a tour of the surrounding countryside. It's also good city to relax, so make sure you allow yourself a few days to recover from your tour, enjoy some of the great food options, and see some of the fascinating cultural sights around town.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Historical Tours in Vietnam, The Best 10-Day Tours in Vietnam, The Best Adventure Tours to Mongolia, and The Best Luxury Tours to Mongolia.


Which place is cheaper, Ulaanbaatar or Ho Chi Minh City?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Ho Chi Minh City is $80, while the average daily cost in Ulaanbaatar is $25. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Ho Chi Minh City and Ulaanbaatar in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Ho Chi Minh City $48
    Ulaanbaatar $12
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Ho Chi Minh City $96
    Ulaanbaatar $24
Compare Hotels in Ho Chi Minh City and Ulaanbaatar

Looking for a hotel in Ho Chi Minh City or Ulaanbaatar? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Ho Chi Minh City


Hotels in Ulaanbaatar


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Ho Chi Minh City Hotel Prices and Ulaanbaatar Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Ho Chi Minh City $15
    Ulaanbaatar $2.91
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Ho Chi Minh City

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Ho Chi Minh City:


  • Short Taxi Ride
    $1.37
  • Taxi From Airport
    $7.86
  • Cyclo Ride (One Hour)
    $1.57

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Ho Chi Minh City

Also for Ho Chi Minh City, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Airport Transfer (From Hotels in Ho Chi Minh to Airport) Private 4 Seats Car: $38
  • Airport Transfer From Hotel in Ho Chi Minh to Airport By 4 Seats Car: $35
  • Airport Transfers (Airport - Ho Chi Minh,Private 16 Seats Car): $52
  • Airport Transfers From Airport to Hotels in Ho Chi Minh City 7 seat Car: $46
  • Airport transfer from TAN SON NHAT airport to HO CHI MINH: $22
  • Bus transfer between Sai Gon and Da Lat - “City of Flowers”: $27
  • CONVENIENT AIRPORT TRANSFER by PRIVATE CAR or SCOOTERS | KissTour: $28
  • Cam Ranh Riviera to Nha Trang - Private Transfer: $20
  • Can Tho: Bus transfer directly to/from Saigon City: $9.76
  • Duyen Ha Resort to Nha Trang - Private Transfer: $20
  • Golden Bridge &Marble Mountain With Guide &Transfer from Chan May: $110
  • Golden Bridge Trip with guide, lunch &Transfer from Chan May Port: $189

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Ulaanbaatar

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Ulaanbaatar:

  • Private Transfer from Ulaanbaatar Airport: $75
  • Private Transfer from Ulaanbaatar to or from Terelj National Park: $60
  • Airport transfer service: $50
  • Private Departure Transfer: Ulaanbaatar Airport: $41
  • Airport - Ulaanbaatar transfer service: $40
  • Private Transfer from Chinggis Khaan Airport to Ulaanbaatar: $37
  • VIP Pick Up Or Drop Off Airport Transfer In Ulaanbaatar City (UB): $35
  • Private Transfer Ulaanbaatar Airport ULN to Ulaanbaatar City : $28
  • Private Transfer to Ulaanbaatar Airport ULN by Business Vehicle: $28
  • 2024 Ulaanbaatar Airport Transfer & Taxi Shuttle Service - Best!: $18
  • Mongolia Airport Transfer & Taxi Service -BEST!: $18

Is it cheaper to fly into Ho Chi Minh City or Ulaanbaatar?

Prices for flights to both Ulaanbaatar and Ho Chi Minh City change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Ho Chi Minh City $14
    Ulaanbaatar $8.94
Typical Food Prices in Ho Chi Minh City

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Ho Chi Minh City:


  • Street Food Dinner (for Two)
    $4.20
  • Pizza
    $5.11
  • Sweet Rice
    $1.18
  • Pork Sandwich
    $0.59
  • Casual Lunch (for Two)
    $6.67
  • Western Lunch (for Two)
    $12

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Ho Chi Minh City

For Ho Chi Minh City, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Saigon: Street Food Tour: $4.09
  • 2 Hour Ho Chi Minh Guided Street Food Tour: $16
  • Saigon tour Walking Chinatown or HCM city walking food tour: $19
  • Ao Dai Girls Rider: 12 Tasting Food Tour With Beer & Seafood: $21
  • Ho Chi Minh Street Food Tour By Motorbike/Car + Sightseeing + Fun: $25
  • Private Walking Food Tour with Local Students : $26
  • Saigon: Backstreets Private Walking Food Tour & 13+ Tastings: $27
  • Food Tour by Scooter with Eleven Tastings: $27
  • Private Walking Food Tour with 13 Tastings: $28
  • Ho Chi Minh Street Food Tour By Motorbike (Unique & Authentic): $28
  • Private Half-Day Ho Chi Minh Food Tour with Local Students: $29
  • Ho Chi Minh Private Half Day Street Food Tour with Local Students: $29

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Ulaanbaatar

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Ulaanbaatar.

  • Cooking Class in a Traditional Ger Home in Ulaanbaatar Suburbs: $100
  • Farm to Table: Organic Farm Visit and Mongolian Cooking Class: $160

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Ho Chi Minh City $20
    Ulaanbaatar $4.42
Typical Entertainment Prices in Ho Chi Minh City

For Ho Chi Minh City, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • Massage
    $5.50

Tours and Activities in Ho Chi Minh City

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Ho Chi Minh City.

  • Ho Chi Minh City Free Walking Tour: $1.00
  • Saigon Sites and Stories - Walking Tour: $4.09
  • Saigon: Experience A Unique Culinary Tour By Night: $6.94
  • Panoramic Bus City Sightseeing Tour: $7.00
  • Saigon: City Sightseeing 45-Minute Panoramic Night Tour: $7.00
  • Saigon: City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour: $7.00
  • Night Bus Tour in Ho Chi Minh City: $7.50
  • Ho Chi Minh Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $7.83
  • 3-Hours Trekking Tour to Hidden Waterfall and Sturgeon Farm: $8.06
  • Ho Chi Minh: Fito Museum Admission Ticket: $8.44
  • Ho Chi Minh City Tour and Independence Palace Ticket 2 in 1: $8.46
  • 1 ROUND MIDNIGHT BUS TOUR: $9.00

Tours and Activities in Ulaanbaatar

Here are a few actual costs in Ulaanbaatar for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Full Day Private Tour in Terelj: $177
  • 1 Day Coach Tour of Genghis Khan Statue Complex and Terelj (FREE dog sledding): $89
  • 1 Day Coach Tour of Genghis Khan Statue Complex and Terelj National Park Including Lunch: $83
  • 1 Day Coach Tour of Terelj National Park Including Lunch And Free Camel Ride: $83
  • 1 Day Semi-Gobi All-included tour : $146
  • 1 Day Semi-Gobi Tour Including Lunch And Free Camel +Bonus Khustai National Park: $169
  • 1 Day Semi-Gobi Tour Including Lunch And Free Camel or Horseback Ride: $145
  • 1 Day Tour: Khustai National Park: $193
  • 1 Day Tour: Terelj National Park And Chinggis Statue: $193
  • 1 Day tour: Khustai National Park: Przewalski's wild horses: $190
  • 1 Session with Shaman and know your future tour: $149
  • 1 day tour Chinggis khan statue, Terelj national park: $95

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Ho Chi Minh City $7.85
    Ulaanbaatar $3.83
Typical Alcohol Prices in Ho Chi Minh City

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in Ho Chi Minh City:


  • Beer
    $0.39


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Ho Chi Minh City and Ulaanbaatar, we can see that Ho Chi Minh City is more expensive. And not only is Ulaanbaatar much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Ulaanbaatar would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Ulaanbaatar and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Ho Chi Minh City would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Ho Chi Minh City than you might in Ulaanbaatar.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Ho Chi Minh City Expensive? and Is Ulaanbaatar Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Ho Chi Minh City or Ulaanbaatar?

Ho Chi Minh City has a larger population, and is about 4 times larger than the population of Ulaanbaatar. When comparing the sizes of Ho Chi Minh City and Ulaanbaatar, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.