Are you looking for the cheapest places to travel in Asia? Then you have many wonderful options to choose from!
Made up of 48 countries, the Asian continent is the largest in the world. Whilst countries like Japan and Singapore may be off the list for the traveler on a budget, there are plenty of cheap destinations in Asia, with diverse landscapes and unique cultures.
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Read on to discover some of the most affordable destinations in Asia and the reasons I recommend visiting them.
Indonesia may not leap to mind when you think of cheap Asia vacations – after all, the island of Bali has a reputation for luxury and is certainly not ideal for the cost-conscious!
But other Indonesian islands – particularly Java and Sumatra – are much more affordable, and equally wonderful to visit!
Easily accessible from all over the world, Indonesia has lots to offer its visitors, from beautiful sunbathing beaches and diverse wildlife to ecotourism and surfing.
If you are on a tight budget it would be possible to get by in Indonesia for around $25 per day.
An average meal will cost you around $3, although this can be more expensive depending on the quality of the restaurant. Alternatively, you can stick to enjoying Indonesia’s amazing street food, with a simple noodle or rice dish costing as little as 50 cents.
Accommodation is affordable too. You can find a bed for the night in a decent hostel for as little as $2, rising to up to $20 per night for the more luxurious options while hotel rooms start at around $45 per night.
Transportation is cheap, especially buses which will rarely cost you more than a dollar. Alternatively, you can rent a scooter for the whole day for less than $5.
Malaysia is Southeast Asia’s most highly developed country. In addition to its stunning beaches, it boasts excellent shopping malls and modern cities.
Rich in culture, it also has many sites of historical interest, plus some of the world’s most incredible architecture.
Its people are naturally welcoming and friendly, representing a melting pot of cultures that give the country its amazingly diverse appeal.
Whilst it is a bit more expensive to visit than Thailand or Indonesia, Malaysia is still one of the cheapest places to travel in Asia. It would be possible to manage on as little as $25 per day if your budget is limited.
A bed in a good quality hostel costs from as little as $6 per night, whereas you should expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $100 per night for a hotel room, depending on location.
Malaysian food is wonderful – a mix of Chinese, Indian, and Malay flavors. Street food starts at around $1.50 for a simple meal, and even a restaurant meal is unlikely to set you back more than a few dollars.
It is also cheap to get around. You can rent a scooter for anywhere between $2.50 and $10 per day, whilst the long-distance buses – the best way to travel between cities – cost between $5 and $23 per journey, depending on length.
Of all the cheap Asian countries to visit, Cambodia may be one of the most popular. There are many reasons for this, ranging from the especially warm hospitality of its people to its spectacular natural scenery.
Home to Angkor Wat – the world’s largest religious monument – Cambodia has a rich culture, often celebrated via dance, traditional music, or elaborate ceremonies.
Bustling markets are central to Cambodian life and fascinating to visitors, whilst the diverse landscape offers lots of opportunities for exploration.
If you are visiting on a budget, you could get away with spending as little as $18 to $20 per day.
Hostels tend to cost around $2 but you can even find a few offering beds for as little as $1 per night! There are a few upgraded hostels in Cambodia too, offering extras like swimming pools and breakfast.
There are still very reasonable, at around $8 per night on average. The cost for a hotel room starts at around $20 per night.
Food is incredibly affordable too, with a simple curry from a street vendor costing you little more than one dollar and only around $3 for a meal at an inexpensive restaurant.
You have various options for transportation, all reasonably priced.
Long-distance bus journeys average around $1 per hour of travel, whilst it’s possible to hire a motorbike for around $5 per day. Tuk-tuk rides tend to cost between $1 and $10.
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Vietnam may have had a troubled past but it is difficult to recall when you see its stunningly beautiful landscape. A mixture of soaring mountains, limestone islands, caves, and verdant paddy fields, the views at every turn are unforgettable.
You can do everything in Vietnam from sunbathing on its pristine white beaches to visiting its old pagodas. Its people will give you a warm welcome, whether in one of its modern cities or in its more remote communities.
Despite its popularity, Vietnam remains one of the cheap countries in Asia to visit. A budget of around $30 is all you will need for an enjoyable stay, during which you can indulge in the amazing local street food and sleep in clean and comfortable accommodation.
Expect to spend a minimum of $4 per night on a hostel bed, rising to around $15 per night for a higher-end hostel with luxury touches. Hotel rooms vary between $13 and upwards from $50 per night, depending on location.
You can get a tasty meal from a street vendor for as little as 50 cents and should expect to pay anywhere from $3 to $5 for a meal in a local restaurant.
Travel around the country is easy and affordable, with taxis charging around 60 cents per kilometer and motorbike taxis costing even less! You can get a bicycle rickshaw for between $4 and $8 per hour for one person, whilst local buses are incredibly cheap at under 50 cents per journey.
Scooter hire is around $5 per day and long-distance bus journeys vary depending on the route, averaging around $2 to $3 per 100 kilometers.
Despite being one of the world’s most visited tourist spots, Thailand is still one of the most affordable destinations in Asia.
There are just so many things to enjoy about the country, from the happy, friendly locals to some of the most delicious cuisine in the world.
Some of its more remote islands are picture-perfect and its lush jungles offer the opportunity for some serious trekking, with stunning views, refreshing waterfalls, and abundant wildlife.
Its cities are brash and noisy, but in a good way, with a cosmopolitan feel and a never-ending supply of things to do!
It is slightly cheaper to get by in the north of the country than in the south, although the average cost per day for the budget traveler is only around $28.
Hostel accommodation can cost anywhere from $3 to $7 per night, whereas the cost of hotels can vary widely. At the very minimum, you should expect to pay around $20 per night.
Street food in Thailand is very affordable – the average meal costs around $2. If you feel like splashing out a little, then you can treat yourself to a meal at a local restaurant for around $5 per dish.
There are plenty of cheap transport options, too. Taxis start at around $1, making them cheaper than tuk-tuks, whilst trains are great for getting around Bangkok. Tickets cost between 70 cents and $1.40.
Local buses are very cheap, at around 30 to 75 cents per journey, whilst long-distance buses cost between $1 and $3 per hour. You can rent a scooter for around $5 per day.
Whilst some of the cheap destinations in Asia included in this guide have a reputation for being a little noisy and chaotic, Laos is known for its laid-back atmosphere.
Its scenery is quite beautiful and – in many places – totally unspoiled. Scenic villages dot the mountains whilst the capital – Vientiane – sits beside the Mekong, with its floating markets and houses.
It is very easy to visit Laos without breaking the bank. A budget of around $25 per day can give you a comfortable stay in a decent hostel, with plenty of delicious street food to enjoy!
Expect to spend anywhere from $3 to $12 per night for a bed in a hostel dorm, depending on the quality you are looking for. A room in a hotel or guesthouse, meanwhile, will set you back anywhere from $10 to $50 per night.
You can get a simple but delicious meal from a street vendor for under one dollar, whilst even a more elaborate feast will only cost around $5. Restaurant meals are – of course – more expensive, although you still won’t need to fork out much more than $8 per meal on average.
Taxi journeys generally cost a few dollars for a short trip, but your initial quote will often be far more than you should pay. So be prepared to haggle! Jumbos – the Laos version of tuk-tuks – are cheaper, but you will still need to negotiate the best price!
Scooters cost anywhere from $8 to $15 to hire, whilst long-distance buses charge between $1 to $2 per hour.
Nepal may be one of the most friendly cheap Asian countries to visit. In fact, the Nepalese have a certain phrase – ‘guests are God’ – that sums up their welcoming attitude to visitors.
The world’s tallest mountains are to be found here, giving rise to Nepal’s nickname of the ‘Switzerland of Asia’. The Nepalese government is proud of the country’s geographical diversity and it is very well protected, so there is unspoiled beauty everywhere.
There is also lots to do, with a wide variety of high-octane adventure sports available for thrill-seekers and a plethora of temples and palaces for lovers of history and culture.
You can get by in Nepal on a budget of around $25 per day. Hostel accommodation starts from around $8 per night whilst you should expect to pay anywhere from $27 per night for a room in a basic hotel.
Nepalese street food is incredibly cheap, with the simplest meals coming in at under one dollar, whilst the price of a meal at a basic restaurant can be as low as $2!
Public transport in Nepal is pretty efficient and there are lots of different bus networks, some charging as low as 20 cents per ticket! Taxis usually have a starting fee of $2 and then charge around 50 cents per kilometer traveled.
Scooters and motorbikes are widely available to rent and start at around $7 per day.
Made up of more than 7,000 islands, the Philippines is often overlooked when it comes to cheap Asia vacations.
But it is definitely a destination worth considering, with beautiful marine life, a captivating culture, a vibrant nightlife, and some of the most welcoming locals you will ever encounter!
The north is popular with travelers, home to the country’s capital – Manila – and lots of pretty outlying islands. The central Philippines boasts many attractions, too, from deserted beaches to the opportunity to swim with sharks!
A budget as low as $20 per day can still ensure an unforgettable visit to this beautiful destination. Hostel accommodation starts at around $5 per night whereas the average nightly rate for a hotel room is $50.
You can enjoy a meal from a street food stall for as little as $1, whereas restaurant meals tend to start at around $5.
You will be doing a lot of traveling by ferry in order to visit many of the different islands. A ticket costs between 60 cents and $1.40 for a short ride, to around $9 for trips lasting several hours.
Bus journeys are very cheap, starting at under one dollar and costing around $1 per hour for longer journeys. Motorbike or scooter rentals start at around $6 per day.
Final Thoughts On The Cheapest Places To Travel In Asia
If you have been wondering how to travel on a budget in Asia, I hope this guide has helped you see just how affordable a visit to this continent can be!
Whether you are looking to experience a new culture, visit incredible historical sites, or simply enjoy the natural beauty of a far-flung destination, I hope you enjoy every moment of your trip.
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