The Eight Cheapest Holiday Destinations in Asia for the Budget Traveler

Travelling can be an expensive affair and here at Travelog, we understand the need to travel despite having an almost-empty wallet. Here are eight cheapest holiday destinations in Asia that are dirt cheap that will startle you (in a good way) every time you look at the price tag. Despite the cheap prices, the quality of your travel would definitely not be compromised. We hope these recommendations would satisfy your travel lust without burning a hole in your pocket.

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1. Thailand

With Bangkok being the most visited city in 2013, there is no reason not to visit this amazing city that has enthralled many others. However, other than its famed capital city, Thailand has so much more to offer. From the warm and beautiful white beaches in Phuket and Koh Samui to the fabulous scenery in the North, there are numerous adventures hiding in every corner of this breath-taking country. If you are on a tight budget, head straight to northern Thailand where prices become ridiculously cheap. Not only is the north less touristy, the views there are simply magnificent. Remember not to overspend in restaurants, instead head out to the streets and enjoy the excellent local street food that costs almost nothing.

Average cost in Bangkok, Thailand:
Hostel:  VX the fifty – 250 baht/night
Food: 150 baht
Transportation: 40 baht
Attractions: 200 baht
Daily expense:  640 baht = S$25.60/day

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2.  Vietnam

Blessed with immaculate beaches, graceful boulevards, majestic mountains, thriving markets and not to forget, the flavorful and outstanding Vietnamese cuisine, Vietnam is the cherry on top of the cake. Like Thailand, the country offers dirt cheap accommodation, inexpensive transport, mouth-watering street food and possibly the cheapest beer in the world. Take some time out of your busy schedule to visit the thousands of stunning limestone islands at Halong Bay, wander around the grand architecture in Hoi An or just simply unwind and let your hair down in Sapa, a beautiful tribal village with beautiful, verdant mountains. A cultural smorgasbord, Vietnam would definitely not disappoint the budget traveller.

Average cost in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam:
Hostel: My My Arthouse – 118,820 dong/night
Food: 160,000 dong
Transportation: 30,000 dong
Attractions: 30,000 dong
Daily expense: 338,820 dong = S$20.20/day

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3.  Indonesia

Leap away from the country’s main tourist destination and spend your pennies in Ubud, Lombok or Sumatra instead. We know that it’s tough avoiding Bali because of the hype surrounding it, but just give the other parts of Indonesia a chance and you’ll realise how much more wonderful Indonesia is when you aren’t spending half the time reaching into your wallet or swiping your card. Be adventurous and travel through the more authentic regions of Indonesia that is still blessed with local prices due to the absence of tourism.  Hike around the world’s largest archipelago, including the volcanic Lake Toba and breathtaking Mt. Bormo and experience the true Indonesia without worrying about burning a hole in your pocket.

Average cost in Jakarta, Indonesia:
Hostel: Hunny Hostel Jakarta – 116,300 rupiah/night
Food: 100,000 rupiah
Transportation: 10,000 rupiah
Attractions: 15,000 rupiah
Daily expense: 241,300 rupiah = S$25.68/day

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4.  Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a hidden gem. Filled with endless beaches, fun festivals, colonial architecture and welcoming locals, this often forgotten country boasts 2000+ years of culture. With eight UNESCO Heritage Sites scattered around the country, Sri Lanka is a small haven for the history and architecture lover.  Head to Kandy in August to participate in the local Tooth Festival where for a week, the Hindu parties spill into the main parade with their gorgeous decorated elephants. Bask in the festive atmosphere all for the price of – nothing. The festival is just one out of many free amazing experiences that you can have in this little wonderland. Quickly head down to Sri Lanka before the crowd spills in and enjoy the natural state of the country.

Average cost in Colombo, Sri Lanka:
Hostel: Adikaram Sea View Hostel – 1,200 rupee/night
Food: 800 rupee
Transportation: 120 rupee
Attractions: 250 rupee
Daily expense: 2,370 rupee = S$22.90/day

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5. Cambodia

Home to the world’s cheapest hostel beds, Cambodia is not only one of the more affordable travel destinations in Asia, it is also a country that has something for everyone. While most people head to Cambodia for the temples of Angkor Wat, you can avoid the crowd and head to the stunning tropical beaches of Sihanouksvile or explore the Cardamom Mountains for jungle trekking and waterfalls.  The greatest part of Cambodia would be the haggling. Be prepared to haggle away for simply everything that you want to buy there. Most shop owners welcome haggling and even mark the prices up (even though the marked prices are already amazingly cheap) so they can give you a ‘discount’ upon haggling. Never buy anything at its original price but don’t go overboard either.

Average cost in Siem Reap, Cambodia:
Hostel: Advisor Anchor Villa Siem Reap – 3.92 USD/night
Food: 6 USD
Transportation: 2 USD
Attractions: 10 USD
Daily expense: 21.92 USD = S$27.68

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6.  Philippines

Fondly called ‘Pearl of the Orient’, Philippines is a kaleidoscope of vibrant colours, grand nature and colonial cities. It is one of the most popular Asian countries due to its long, luscious beaches, mysterious underground caves and the wide diversity of adventures and fun around its seven thousand islands. Increasingly modernized, one can not only find UNESCO world heritage sites or beautiful old churches in Philippines, there are also tons of malls and shopping areas around. Relax and just enjoy the country without having to count your change and restrict yourself to a budget.

Average cost in Manila, Philippines:
Hostel: Our Awesome Hostel – 400 peso/night
Food: 380 peso
Transportation: 30 peso
Attractions: 180 peso
Daily expense: 990 peso = S$28.40/day

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7.  Nepal

Known for its numerous elaborate treks and for housing the world’s highest mountain, the Mount Everest, Nepal is much more than what the normal traveller perceives it to be. For the party-goer, enjoy the Nepali full-moon trance parties, lasting for 2-3 days. For the artists, learn the art of Thangka painting. Not only are there a myriad of activities going on in the various cities, it is all going at such cheap prices. The cheapest city in Asia is also said to be located in Nepal. Pokhara, the infamous cheapest city is the starting point of many fabulous treks and a peaceful place to just wander and luxuriate. Like Cambodia, be prepared to haggle for everything – including your hostel prices and save so much more.

Average cost in Pokhara, Nepal:
Hostel: Karma Guest House – 345 rupee/night
Food: 390 rupee
Transportation: 100 rupee
Attractions: 120 rupee
Daily expense: 955 rupee = S$12.40

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8.  Laos

Laos is another easily-missed country due to its landlocked location but the amazing Lao wilderness is attracting backpackers looking for nature, adventure or both. Spend your days exploring the ancient Khmer temple ruins, zip-lining through the forests in northern Laos, boating through a 7km limestone cave in central Laos or trekking through the ‘100 waterfalls.’ The best country to experience its well-kept elements of ‘Old Asia’, Laos it becoming one of the most frequented countries for travellers looking to experience the Asian culture. If you looking to just lounge and take in the country, head down to Luang Prabang where the local attractions are all practically free and you can get an ice-cold Beerlao (one of the best beers I’ve ever tried) at dirt-cheap prices.

Average cost in Luang Prabang, Laos:
Hostel: Khammany Inn Guest House – 43,145 kip/night
Food: 70,000 kip
Transportation: 20,000 kip
Attractions: 25,000 kip
Daily expense: 158,145 kip = S$24.80

For more information and tips on traveling on a budget in Asia visit Travelog here.


Images (from top to bottom) courtesy of Telegraph.co.uk, Mike Andrew Photography,  Credit Suisse, Zet Travel, Journeys of Distinction, Phillipine EmbassyAccess Nepal Tour and Trekking and Wikipedia.

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