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 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.

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.

Which city 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 $71, while the average daily cost in Ulaanbaatar is $24. 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 city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Ho Chi Minh City and Ulaanbaatar in more detail.



Accommodation

Double occupancy rooms typically run around $86 in Ho Chi Minh City For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.

If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $11. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Ulaanbaatar the cost is $22 on average.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Ho Chi Minh City $43
    Ulaanbaatar $11
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Ho Chi Minh City $86
    Ulaanbaatar $22

Food

The average traveler spends about $13 per day in Ho Chi Minh City for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.

In Ulaanbaatar travelers spend around $8.68 a day on food. You can save money by choosing casual restaurants or food stalls, or you can spend plenty more by dining in nicer restaurants at every meal.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Ho Chi Minh City $13
    Ulaanbaatar $8.68
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)
    $4.70
  • Pizza
    $5.71
  • Sweet Rice
    $1.32
  • Pork Sandwich
    $0.66
  • Casual Lunch (for Two)
    $7.46
  • Western Lunch (for Two)
    $13

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:

  • Seafood Dinner in Altitude Rooftop Bar at Sheraton Nha Trang : $15
  • Ho Chi Minh Private Half Day Street Food Tour with Local Students: $18
  • The Home Pizza Phu Quoc Cash Voucher 500.000VND : $19
  • SaiGon Street Food Tour By Scooter With Student: $22
  • Tra Que Vegetable Village and Cooking Class Experience in Hoi An: $24
  • Tam Giang Lagoon Private Half Day Tour with Seafood Dinner: $26
  • Half-Day Tam Giang Sunset Tour with Dinner on Floating Restaurant: $26
  • Walking Food Tour With Local Student: $26
  • Private Street Food Tour on Motorbikes: $28
  • Hoi An City and Food Tour with Foot Massage: $28
  • Vegetarian Cooking Class in Hanoi: $28
  • Private Half-Day Ho Chi Minh Food Tour with Local Students: $28

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 the Suburbs of Ulaanbaatar: $50
  • Cooking famous Mongolian dumplings with local nomads: $205

Local Transportation

Ho Chi Minh City's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $13 per person, per day on transportation in Ho Chi Minh City.

The cost of a taxi ride in Ulaanbaatar is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $2.82 per person, per day, on local transportation in Ulaanbaatar.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Ho Chi Minh City $13
    Ulaanbaatar $2.82
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
    $1.54
  • Taxi From Airport
    $8.79
  • Cyclo Ride (One Hour)
    $1.76

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Ho Chi Minh City

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

  • 3D2N Radisson Blu Resort Phu Quoc with Free Airport Transfer, Optional F&B Credit or Vinwonders + Vinpearl Safari Ticket : $154
  • Private Round Trip Transfers Between Da Nang City and Coconut Forest: $21
  • Private Round Trip Transfers between Hoi An and My Son Sanctuary: $30
  • The Shells Resort and Spa Phu Quoc with Breakfast and Roundtrip Airport Transfer: $70
  • 2-Days Cu Chi Tunnels-Mekong Delta with Airport Transfer Small Group Tour: $69
  • 2D1N Sapa Tour from Hanoi with Dcar Bus Transfers: $71
  • 3D2N Sapa Tour from Hanoi with Dcar Bus Transfers: $102
  • Airport Transfer: $85
  • Airport Transfer (From Airport - Ho Chi Minh City (Private 16 Seats Car): $54
  • Airport Transfer (From Hotels in Ho Chi Minh to Airport) Private 4 Seats Car: $28
  • Airport Transfer (From Hotels in Ho Chi Minh to Airport) Private 7 Seats Car: $34
  • Airport Transfers (Airport - Ho Chi Minh,Private 16 Seats Car): $52

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Ulaanbaatar

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Ulaanbaatar:

  • Departure Private Transfer to New Ulaanbaatar Airport UBN by Business Vehicle: $52
  • Transfer service to Terelj national park: $51
  • Airport transfer service: $43
  • Ulaanbaatar Arrival Transfer: Airport to Hotel: $33
  • Ulaanbaatar Departure Transfer: Hotel to Airport: $33
  • Private Pickup Transfer from Chinggis Khaan Airport to Hotels in Ulaanbaatar: $27
  • Private Drop off Transfer to Chinggis Khaan Airport from Downtown Ulaanbaatar: $27
  • Airport Transfer Service: $25
  • Airport Transfer: $21
  • Arrival Private Transfer Ulaanbaatar Train Station to City by Business Vehicle: $16
  • Departure Private Transfer City to Ulaanbaatar Train Stationby Business Vehicle: $16

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.





Entertainment

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Ho Chi Minh City can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $18 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.

Entertainment and activities in Ulaanbaatar typically cost an average of $4.29 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Ho Chi Minh City $18
    Ulaanbaatar $4.29
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
    $6.15

Tours and Activities in Ho Chi Minh City

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

  • Do Quyen Spa Private Experience in Sapa: $1.75
  • Hi Spa Experience in Ho Chi Minh City : $1.99
  • L'Belle Beauty Spa Experience in Ho Chi Minh: $1.99
  • Lasenta Spa Experience in Ho Chi Minh City: $2.39
  • World Coffee Museum Ticket in Central Highland: $2.65
  • [SALE 50%] Art in Paradise 3D Museum Ticket in Da Nang: $3.09
  • The Bachelorette Full Day Private Tour with Pickup: $3.24
  • LVES Spa in Saigon - VND88.000 for 60-minute Experience: $3.89
  • Upside Down World Ticket in Da Nang: $4.05
  • Traditional Singing Performance on Huong River Ticket in Hue: $4.19
  • Alba Thanh Tan Hot Springs Ticket in Hue City: $4.19
  • Ngo Spa & Massage Experience in Ho Chi Minh City: $4.39

Tours and Activities in Ulaanbaatar

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

  • 1 Day - Tour of Hustai National Park: $262
  • 1 Day City Sightseeing with Bogd Khan Winter Palace: $77
  • 1 Day City Sightseeing with Bogd Khan Winter Palace and Traditional Concert: $97
  • 1 Day Coach Tour of Aglag Buteel Monastery and Meditation Center Including Lunch: $106
  • 1 Day Coach Tour of Genghis Khan Statue Complex and Terelj (FREE dog sledding): $163
  • 1 Day Coach Tour of Genghis Khan Statue Complex and Terelj National Park Including Lunch: $124
  • 1 Day Coach Tour of Genghis Khan Statue Complex and Terelj National Park Including Lunch and FREE Concert ticket: $138
  • 1 Day Coach Tour of Manzushir Monastery Including Lunch: $106
  • 1 Day Coach Tour of Terelj National Park Including Lunch And Free Camel Ride: $123
  • 1 Day Erdenezuu Monastery Coach Tour Including Lunch: $118
  • 1 Day Horseback Riding Tour with Historic Temple in Mongolia Including Lunch: $111
  • 1 Day Private Tour of Taste of Mongolia (With Hotel Pickup and Meals): $790

Alcohol

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Ho Chi Minh City, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $7.02.

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Ulaanbaatar may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $3.72 per day on alcoholic beverages.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Ho Chi Minh City $7.02
    Ulaanbaatar $3.72
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
    $0.44


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.

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Ho Chi Minh City vs. Ulaanbaatar Travel Comparison

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