23 Cheapest Asian Countries to Visit in 2024

Pagodas on Ngwe Saung Beach

If you’re looking for some of the cheapest Asian countries to visit on your next trip, you have come to the right place!

With 48 countries, Asia is the largest continent in the world, and it’s also my favourite one. This continent is home to some of the world’s friendliest people, tons of beautiful landmarks , interesting cultures and delicious food. Although not all Asian countries are cheap (think about Bhutan, Japan or Singapore, for example), Asia has plenty of budget-friendly destinations too.

This guide contains some of the best budget destinations in Asia, from popular destinations like Thailand and Sri Lanka to more off-the-beaten-path countries like Bangladesh and Kazakhstan.

I’ve been travelling through Asia for over two years as I’m writing this and I’m updating this post frequently to make sure the information is up to date.

Cheapest Asian Countries to Visit

cheap asia travel destinations

It’s important to know that your daily budget will depend on your travel style and the activities you choose to do. While it’s possible to travel with a budget of $20 a day in many of the destinations featured in this list, you might have to stay in dorms and eat street food to do so.

But without further ado, let’s dive right into it! Here are the cheapest countries to travel to in Asia.

Cheap Destinations in Southeast Asia

1. indonesia.

cheap asia travel destinations

Indonesia is one of these incredibly varied destinations I just can’t get enough of. With over 17,000 islands , you could easily spend a lifetime exploring this country alone.

Every island is different and there are more than 300 ethnic groups in the country, each with its own culture and traditions.

Apart from that, you will also find lush green forests, picture-perfect beaches, beautiful volcanoes and much more here. And the best part is that Indonesia is one of the most affordable countries in Asia.

It’s good to know, however, that some islands are cheaper than others . Bali, for example – home to the famous digital nomad and party destination Canggu – is one of the most expensive ones. Sumatra and Java, on the other hand, are some of the cheaper islands.

Conical hat souvenir from Vietnam

With mesmerizing sights like Ha Long Bay, the Ban Gioc Waterfall, the Mekong Delta , Hà Giang and many, many more, Vietnam is one of the top travel destinations in Asia .

This country is known for its delicious food, mesmerizing landscapes, vibrant culture and some of the most beautiful caves in the world . It’s a place where you will be able to visit sacred temples one day, then see the remnants of the Vietnam War and learn more about its history the next.

As Vietnam is also one of the cheapest Asian countries to visit, it’s the perfect place to head to if you’re looking for an affordable destination with an abundance of places to explore.

I travelled around Vietnam solo for two months and had a great time.

>> Read: 21 Souvenirs From Vietnam That Don’t Suck

3. Cambodia

Angkor Wat in Cambodia

When mentioning Cambodia, many people will immediately think about Angkor Wat , the largest and oldest religious monument in the world. After all, watching the sunrise at this immense temple complex is one of these bucket list travel experiences you can’t miss when you’re visiting this country.

But there’s more to Cambodia than Angkor Wat alone. This destination is also the perfect place to explore vibrant cities, go diving, relax at the beach, try delicious food, visit the salt fields in Kampot and learn more about the country’s culture and history.

Cambodia is cheaper than its neighbours Vietnam and Thailand, making it one of the cheapest exotic destinations in Southeast Asia.

Cheapeast Asian countries Laos

Laos is known for being one of Asia’s most relaxed and laid-back destinations . This is an authentic country with colourful temples, French colonial architecture and breathtaking landscapes.

Here, you will truly feel as if you were stepping back in time. You will get to soak up the country’s rich traditions and savour some of the world’s best food.

From Khone Pabeng , Southeast Asia’s largest waterfall to the city of Luang Prabang with its former royal palaces – Laos is a budget-friendly Asian destination that will make sure to astonish you. This is the perfect place to go if you’re looking for a cheap Southeast Asian country that isn’t packed with tourists (yet).

Prices here are pretty similar to, yet slightly cheaper than, neighbouring Cambodia.

5. Myanmar (Burma)

Bagan Sunrise with pagodas

Ah, Myanmar – this is one of my favourite travel destinations in the world!

This country’s landscapes are filled with temples and gilded pagodas, and the Burmese are some of the most friendly people in the world.

From the beautiful temples of Bagan to the mountains and caves of Hpa An, there are plenty of beautiful places in Myanmar and this is a country that simply doesn’t disappoint.

The thing I love the most about this country is its authenticity . Myanmar has only been opening up to tourists recently and it hasn’t much been influenced by the globalised world yet.

Although Myanmar is one of the cheapest Asian countries to visit, prices here have increased over the years, especially when it comes to accommodation. It’s good to know that this country is more expensive than countries like Cambodia and Vietnam, for example.

6. Thailand

Cheapest Asian countries to visit Thailand

Often nicknamed “The Land of Smiles”, Thailand may just be the most popular stop along the Southeast Asia backpacking route.

This country is known for its glorious beaches, glittering temples, lush green jungle and delicious cuisine. On top of all that, Thailand is a great scuba diving destination too.

This country is easy to travel through and has something to offer to nearly any type of traveller, whether you’re looking for a crazy bucket list adventure , a lazy beach holiday or an all-in vacation.

Although Thailand remains one of the cheapest Asian countries to visit, the cost of travelling here has increased over the years and the Kingdom is slightly more expensive than its neighbours Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos. It’s also good to know that the north of Thailand is cheaper than the south of the country.

7. The Philippines


If diving, snorkelling and island hopping sound like your kind of holiday, then The Philippines should be on top of your Asian travel bucket list. This country is home to over 7,000 islands full of tropical white-sand beaches, palm trees and blue lagoons.

And there’s more – swimming in waterfalls, climbing volcanoes, admiring the colonial architecture and visiting rice terraces are just a few of the other highlights of The Philippines.

This country is a bit more expensive than other Southeast Asian destinations but still very affordable compared to Western countries.

8. Malaysia

Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Malaysia is one of the most developed countries in Southeast Asia. It’s also a very diverse destination with towering skyscrapers, countless temples and mosques, stunning nature, beautiful beaches and amazing wildlife.

Although a lot of visitors will spend most of their time in Kuala Lumpur, the capital, Malaysia has much more to offer. From scuba diving and jungle trekking to visiting the famous Batu Caves , this country doesn’t lack activities.

On top of that, Malaysia is one of the cheapest Asian countries to visit (except for alcohol, which is pretty expensive) and quite contrary to what many people think, Malaysia is cheaper than Thailand!

It’s also good to know that thanks to its good infrastructure with high-speed internet, Malaysia is a great destination for digital nomads .

Cheapest South Asian Countries to Visit

Laura Meyers at Annapurna basecamp in Nepal ABC trek

Nepal is one of my favourite destinations in the world and it’s also one of the most affordable Asian countries to travel to.

With its vibrant culture, lush green jungles and stunning Himalayan Mountains (including Mount Everest ), this country has a lot to offer. If you’re an adventurous type of traveller who also enjoys learning about different cultures, you will LOVE Nepal.

Some other reasons to visit Nepal are that the Nepali are renowned for being some of the friendliest people in the world and that country is full of beautiful landmarks and unforgettable adventures.

When visiting Nepal on a budget, it’s good to know that it is possible to hike and trek in the Himalayas without spending a fortune on a guide. However, this is not recommended for all treks, so it’s advisable to do some research in advance.

Famous landmarks in Asia Taj Mahal India

With places like the Taj Mahal and the Hawa Mahal, and states like Goa and Rajasthan , India is one of the top travel destinations in the world.

Not only is the packed with incredible Indian landmarks , but it also offers a lot of variation. Not every country offers the possibility to combine mountains, deserts, beaches, jungles and cities in one trip, after all. On top of that, India is huge. I spent over 10 months travelling through this country and there are still so many places left to discover.

One of the things India is best known for is its incredibly rich culture. It was here that Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and other religions were born. So if cultural or spiritual travel is your thing, India should be on top of your list.

When it comes to the cost of travel in India , it’s good to know that the south of the country is a little more expensive than the north. Still, India is one of the cheapest Asian countries on this list.

11. Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka, a cheap Asian destination

Often nicknamed “The Teardrop of India”, the country island of Sri Lanka is located in the Indian Ocean. This is a very diverse destination with white sand beaches, a rich culture and beautiful Sri Lankan landmarks .

On top of that, with hikes like Littl e Adam’s Peak , Ella Rock and World’s End, Sri Lanka is also a great place for hiking and nature lovers.

Although Sri Lanka might be small, there’s an incredible amount of things to do in this country. Whether you’re a wildlife enthusiast, adventure seeker, history buff or beach lover, Sri Lanka has got something for you.

I spent 6 weeks exploring this country and, although I’m not much of a beach person, this is a place I would love to go back to. Sti Lanka’s lush green jungles, exotic wildlife and friendly locals stole my heart!

Sri Lanka is less expensive than India, so it’s a very budget-friendly destination where you won’t need to worry about spending too much money.

12. Bangladesh

Bangladesh, one of the cheapest countries in Asia

If you’re looking for a cheap, off-the-beaten-path destination in Asia, then Bangladesh is the place for you. This country, which borders India and Myanmar, is often skipped by tourists, meaning you will probably have all the tourist sites to yourself.

Bangladesh has got a lot to offer, though. With its numerous archaeological sites, large forests, beautiful beaches and friendly locals, it’s a destination that will surely surprise you. This country is also home to the world’s longest sea beach – Cox’s Bazar – which is 120 km (74,5 mi) long.

I spent a month backpacking in Bangladesh and it was an unforgettable experience! Bangladeshi are some of the most hospitable people in the entire world (along with Pakistanis, #13 on this list) and believe me, travelling here will be memorable!

All in all, Bangladesh is one of the most hospitable and cheapest Asian countries to visit and it’s perfect for those who are looking for a more off-the-beaten-path travel destination.

13. Pakistan

Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, pakistan

Pakistan might not be the first destination to think of when you’re planning a trip to Asia, but it is one of my favourite destinations in the world.

With some of the highest mountain peaks in the world, beautiful deserts, untouched beaches and historical cities like Lahore , this is a dream destination for both nature lovers as well as history buffs.

Contrary to the country’s reputation, Pakistan is now – relatively – safe to travel to (although it speaks for itself that you should always be cautious and use your common sense) and it is attracting more and more adventurous tourists.

Pakistan is cheaper than India, which makes it one of the cheapest countries on this list.

>> Read: What to Wear in Pakistan: Dress Code + Outfit Ideas

Cheapest Countries to Visit in East Asia

Terracotta warriors xian

With fascinating ancient places like the Terracotta Warriors of Xi’An, the Forbidden City of Beijing, and the famous Great Wall, China is one of these countries you could explore for years on end because there’s so much to see. This is one of Asia’s best cultural destinations .

One striking thing about China is the contrast between ancient and modern . You will find traditional Chinese architecture on one side of the city and hyper-modern buildings on the other side.

Keep in mind that some places are more expensive than others when you’re visiting China. Shanghai, Bejing and the autonomous region of Macau, for example, are some of the pricier destinations in the country. If you avoid these places and do some research in advance, it is possible to travel to China on a shoestring budget though.


Taiwan may be pretty small, but this island doesn’t lack beautiful places to visit or interesting things to do.

This country (which is officially called the Republic of China) is home to very diverse landscapes consisting of mountains, beaches, hot springs, waterfalls and more.

If you’re more of a city person, you will love Taipei, the vibrant capital which is known for its modern architecture, traditional temples and food markets.

Although Taiwan is one of the more expensive countries on this list, it’s just slightly more expensive than China and still pretty cheap compared to Western standards.

16. Mongolia

Mongolia, one of the cheapest asian countries to visit

Mongolia, landlocked between Russia and China, is a mountainous country with unspoilt nature and unique culture . It’s one of these beautiful, off-the-beaten-path destinations where the tourism industry is still in its early stages.

For many travellers, one of the top experiences to have here is to stay with a nomadic family and learn about their way of life. After all, Mongolia is home to one of the last remaining traditional nomad cultures.

While it is possible to visit Mongolia independently, it’s not the easiest country to travel through if you don’t want to hire a guide or take tours. The reason for this is a lack of transportation to tourist sites. It is possible, however, to rent a jeep in Ulaanbaatar.

Cheapest Western Asian Countries to Visit


One of the things Iran is most famous for is its architecture with gorgeous colours and pretty mosaics. This country is home to some of the most beautiful landmarks in Asia. But there’s much more to this country!

If you’re interested in Persian culture and history , for example, this destination will surely astonish you. On top of that, Iran is filled with natural wonders, from mountains and deserts to caves and waterfalls. All in all, Iran has got something to offer to any type of traveller, whether you’re into history, culture, art or nature.

Iran is a country that only started attracting more tourists in the last couple of years and it was gaining popularity among travellers quickly. However, due to the current political situation, tourism in Iran has been declining again.

18. Azerbaijan


Azerbaijan is a mysterious country that’s often nicknamed “The Land of Fire” due to its large amount of natural gas reserves.

Back in the day, gas often leaked to the surface in Azerbaijan, which resulted in spontaneous fires. Today though, most of these fires have been extinguished, but Yanar Dag is one of the few remaining natural gas fires.

Fire isn’t the only thing Azerbaijan is famous for, though. With its ancient temples, modern capital, mud volcanoes and remote mountain villages, this country is quite diverse. It’s a unique destination that you will fall in love with if you enjoy travelling off the beaten path.

19. Armenia

Armenia, one of the Cheapest Asian countries to visit

If you’re looking for the cheapest Asian countries to visit on your next trip, you might want to consider heading to Armenia, a small country sandwiched between Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Iran.

This little-visited country is full of stunning monasteries and churches (over 4.000 in total), vibrant cities and incredible hikes . It’s an underrated destination with plenty of things to discover.

It’s good to know that although Armenia may be geographically located in Asia, culturally, this country leans more towards Europe (though it has Asian influences as well).

Cheapest Countries to Visit in Central Asia

20. kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan, one of the cheapest asian countries to visit

Kazakhstan is another beautiful, off-the-beaten-path destination with plenty of hidden treasures. This former Soviet Republic is the biggest country in Central Asia .

If you enjoy spending time in nature, then this country full of canyons, mountains, lakes and deserts is the one for you!

Apart from that, Kazakhstan will also astonish you if you enjoy visiting more unusual places. From the futuristic capital, Nur-Sultan to the abandoned seaport of Aralsk, this country is full of unique sights.

The best part is that Kazakhstan is one of these affordable destinations where you won’t need to worry about spending tons of money on your travels.

21. Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan cheapest destinations

Another great country for lovers of nature and the great outdoors is Kyrgyzstan. With its high mountains, undiscovered canyons and beautiful glaciers, this destination has a lot to offer.

Some of the best cultural things to do here are staying in a yurt, learning about the traditional handicrafts of felt-making and eagle hunting, and learning about the country’s Soviet history. Kyrgyzstan is a country that won’t bore you, as there’s so much to see and do here!

Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan share similar traditions, but it’s good to know that the latter is slightly cheaper.

22. Uzbekistan


Uzbekistan, the last of the Stans featured on this list, is a little bit more expensive than Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, but it’s still pretty affordable.

This country is home to some amazing Islamic architecture and interesting historical sites . The highlights of Uzbekistan are the medieval cities of Samarkand, Bukhara and Kiva, where you can immerse yourself in the country’s history and traditions.

With places like the ship graveyard of the Aral Sea and the ghost town of Angren, Uzbekistan is another affordable destination that will delight you if you enjoy exploring more remote and unusual places.

23. Tajikistan

Iskanderkul Lake in Tajikistan.

I’m in Tajikistan as I’m writing this and, although it’s slightly more expensive than neighbouring Uzbekistan, this is another pretty cheap Asian country to travel in.

Tajikistan is most famous for the Pamir Highway , which stretches over more than 1,300 km (808 mi). This is one of the highest roads in the world and it offers spectacular mountain views. But you will also find plenty of other beautiful places in Tajikistan, like Iskanderkul Lake, Panjakent and Jizeu Valley.

So, if you like the mountains, Tajikistan is a great, affordable option!

Asian Countries to Avoid if You’re Travelling on a Budget

Burj Khalifa and Gold Souks

If you’re planning on heading to Asia and don’t want to spend a fortune, there are some countries that you will want to avoid.

There may be lots of cheap destinations in Asia, but this continent is also home to some of the most expensive cities in the world.

So if you’re on a tight budget, you will want to avoid the following countries, these are the most expensive countries in Asia:

  • South Korea

Check out my post about the cost of travelling in Dubai if you’re curious to know how much it costs to travel here.

Tips to Save Money While Travelling in Asia

Apart from the local prices, how much money you will spend also depends on your travel style.

Travelling on a shoestring budget mostly comes down to planning and researching your destination before heading there and avoiding expensive activities . Capital cities tend to be more expensive, for example, so try not to spend too much time there.

You will save a lot of money by staying in dorms , choosing street food or local restaurants over tourist restaurants and using public transportation , for example.

It’s also good to learn how to haggle and avoid restaurants or shops near tourist attractions , as these tend to be way more expensive.

But even if you’re planning on staying in 5-star hotels and eating out every night, you still won’t spend nearly as much money in these cheap Asian countries as you would in most European countries.

Hawa Mahal in India

Cheapest Asian Countries: Final Thoughts

I hope that you have found exactly what you were looking for in this list and that it inspires you to travel to Asia. After all, this continent is full of beautiful and affordable destinations.

From popular backpacking destinations like Thailand, Vietnam and Nepal to off-the-beaten-path destinations like Azerbaijan and Bangladesh , Asia has something to offer to every type of traveller.

As I’m living/travelling in Asia at the moment and have been doing this for the last couple of years, I’m keeping my eyes open for the price of each country I visit and am updating this post regularly.

Which of the cheapest Asian countries would you like to visit and which ones have you visited already? Let me know in the comments below!

Are you curious to find out what the cheapest countries in the EU are too? Check out the following post next: 11 Cheapest EU Countries to Live In

Pin it for later: Did you find this post helpful? Save it on Pinterest and follow me on Instagram and Facebook for more travel tips and inspiration.

Cheapest Asian countries to visit

Laura Meyers

Laura Meyers is the founder of Laure Wanders. She was born in Belgium and has travelled to over 40 countries, many of them solo. She currently spends most of her time between Belgium and South Asia and loves helping other travellers plan their adventures abroad.

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Hey, Laura! My solo backpacking dreams were itching to be released as soon as I saw your post. Now I can finally get a rough estimate on how much a two-month-long trip in Southeast Asia would cost me. This post has truly been insightful and informative. Thank you for sharing!

Hi Dakota, thank you for the lovely comment, I’m happy to hear that 😊 Asia is wonderfull, I can’t wait to return myself 🤩

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Hi Laurie – love your blog post on Asia. Obviously, with Covid, trying to work out destinations is difficult. Maybe things will improve in a few months. The other issue is off course, airfares… From Australia, all the cheap airfares to Asia have dried up thanks to Covid and low cost Airline disruptions. (think Air Asia) . with the exception of Bali, which is like a suburb of Australia !

Hi Lawrence, thank you for your comment! 🙂 I sure hope things will improve soon and that the airfares will go back to normal as well. I haven’t been to Bali myself but it must be a nice place to start exploring Indonesia. 🤩

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India is indeed an affordable and budget-friendly destination. I am glad that you added it to the list. The best part is India offers both budget-friendly and luxury stays. I mostly travel via train and public transport, which helps me to save more.

So do I, it’s a great way of saving money! 🙂

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Cheapest Asian Countries to Visit on a Budget

El Nido in the Philippines, one of the cheapest Asian countries to visit

We all want adventure in the great wide somewhere, but sometimes our bank accounts don't coordinate. Luckily, a lack of funds doesn't mean we have to give up travel, just that we have to forget the idea of luxury resorts and yachts. 

Asia is known for being a perfect affordable travel destination, providing amazing experiences, rich history and great food for a very reasonable price. Vietnam and Thailand come to mind first, but there are several other low-cost countries you can venture around for less than $100 a day. 

These are the cheapest Asian countries to visit on a budget.

Note: We may earn money from affiliate partners if you buy through links on our site.

Taipei Gate in Taiwan

Average daily cost: $98*

As one of the smallest countries in Asia, Taiwan is often overlooked by travelers. But those wise enough to get to this island nation find one of the coolest places on the whole entire continent. 

Let us put it like this — we have never  met anyone  who didn't like Taiwan. There are very few other places that hold this honor. The locals are notoriously open and friendly (Taiwan is often deemed as the safest and most welcoming Asian country for LGBTQIA people), and there are a million things to do.

Taipei offers a typical bustling city vibe and great nightlife. It's also just a short train ride away from beaches and mountains. Food, particularly in street stalls, is very affordable and delicious. And it's easy to find bargain prices for accommodations. What's not to like?

*All average daily costs are based on estimates from Budget Your Trip .

Best Budget Stay in Taiwan

Yi Su Hotel-Taipei Ningxia

For less than $20 a night, you can enjoy an actual hotel experience at the Yi Su Hotel – Taipei Ningxia .

That's right, you don't have to stay in a hostel dorm to keep within budget. Amenities include free tea and coffee-making facilities in-suite, air conditioning and free WiFi.

13. Thailand

Kao Sok National Park lake and villagers sheds

Average daily cost: $94

Ah, Thailand, the place where every backpacker with no money and a proclivity for walking around barefoot ends up. The large Southeast Asian country has an undeniable charm with swirling temples hiding giant golden Buddhas, jungles vibrating to the stomps of elephants, limestone cliffs dipping into turquoise waters and some of the best food you will ever eat in your life. And it offers all this for very, very cheap. 

It's really no wonder why this country has become a broke gap-year traveler paradise, though some (us) would argue that this popularity has brought overtourism and overdevelopment to the country.

Our advice would be to head to the touristy spots for a couple of days and then hop to other places that aren't yet plagued with stalls selling tacky T-shirts to tourists. Oh, and get a Thai massage as often as possible.

Best Budget Stay in Thailand

Flower Power Thai resort

For about $10 a night, the Flower Power Farm Village & Restaurant offers an idyllic escape on the island of Ko Phayam.

It offers simple and cozy bungalows, a restaurant that serves fruits right from the property and a peaceful setting. 

12. South Korea

Bukchon Hanok Village in Seoul, South Korea

Average daily cost: $93

It's a bit surprising to see South Korea have a slightly lower average cost than Thailand, though we suspect this has to do with the fact that there are many ultra-luxury Thai resorts. 

Still, the beautiful peninsula of South Korea is much more affordable than people think. Accommodations will be your biggest expense, and food is generally very cheap and very good. You can easily pay $10-$15 for a Korean BBQ dinner at a restaurant in Hongdae, one of the most frequented nightlife districts in Seoul (yes, New York's K-Town prices are an absolute scam). Other delicious dishes like red pepper soup (gochujang) or kimchi fried rice are generally under 10 dollars — and that's including all the numerous and generous side dishes.

Soju is also extremely cheap , as is norebang (the Korean equivalent of karaoke), so going out and having fun won't leave you destitute. Plus, you can travel around the country in the low-cost and highly efficient train and bus system. 

Best Budget Stay in South Korea

Hostel Korea exterior

Accommodation isn't cheap in Korea, especially in Seoul. But Hostel Korea provides a stay in a convenient location for less than $30 a night. 

If that's still over budget for you, let us bring you into a local secret: jjimjilbangs. These public bathhouses are great for relaxing during the day. But people often also stay the night in the common areas where day users take naps.

Shanghai, China

Average daily cost: $69

It's difficult to make sweeping statements about the second-largest country on Earth. But we can say with certainty that a budget trip to China is easy to achieve.

Large cities offer something for every budget, from accommodations to food and things to do. Landmarks are also fairly priced. For instance, the entrance to the Forbidden City in Beijing is less than $10.

Outside of the major metropolises, food and accommodations are even cheaper, though you're also less likely to find someone who speaks English. Hey, that's part of the adventure.

While traveling within China with a limited budget, keep in mind that you'll need to pay around $140 to apply for a travel visa.

Best Budget Stay in China

Ibis Hotel Beijing Jian'guomen

You'll have to pay around $50 a night to stay at the Ibis Hotel Beijing Guloudajie , but that's a great deal for Beijing. 

In smaller cities or more rural areas of the country, you'll be able to find much better prices.

10. Malaysia

Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Average daily cost: $68

Bordering Thailand and Indonesia, many travelers make the mistake of skipping over Malaysia. Most people associate the country with its ultra-modern capital Kuala Lumpur, whose iconic Petronas Twin Towers give off a feeling of opulence rather than being budget-friendly. Thankfully, this couldn't be farther from the truth. 

The country is split into two main parts. One is at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, and the other is in Borneo. While we personally think Borneo is one of the coolest places you could ever visit (two words: pigmy elephants), it's more cost-effective to head to the "mainland."

Besides visiting modern cities, you can go to temples hidden in caves, visit national parks and enjoy perfect beaches that aren't as overrun by tourists as those in neighboring Thailand.

Best Budget Stay in Malaysia

Moon Eleven Hostel

At Moon Eleven Hostel , you can spend a night in Kuala Lumpur for about $11.

Even better, a private room will only set you back $15.

9. The Philippines

Batad Rice Terraces in Northern Luzon, Philippines

Average daily cost: $56

With more than 7,000 islands (2,000 of which are inhabited), no one ever really gets to see the entire Philippines. But you can definitely enjoy parts of it without breaking the bank. Use Manila to fly in and out of the country, as flights will be cheaper, but don't stay too long here. Leave the dizzying capital behind in favor of some of the absolute best and most beautiful beaches in Asia (and the world). 

El Nido, in Palawan, has become a favored place to visit after Boracay temporarily shut down due to overtourism. You won't find the quiet secluded island you would've seen a decade ago, but if you choose your location right, you'll still get plenty of time to enjoy nature without pollution and crowds. 

Beer, food and accommodations are so cheap that many people stay an entire month. And then they simply leave because that's the limit for visa-less travel.

Best Budget Stay in the Philippines

Mad Monkey Nacpan Beach

You don't have to spend the big bucks to enjoy the gorgeous beaches of El Nido.

Mad Monkey Nacpan Beach offers dorms for $8 to $30, and it's located right on the sand. 

7. Vietnam (Tie)

Ninh Bình in Vietnam on canoes

Average daily cost: $52

It may be cliché, but Vietnam is one of our most favorite countries in the entire world. Yes, there are so many motorcycles that they often require entire sidewalks as parking spaces. And yes, crossing the street can be scary. But these don't even count as minor inconveniences, really.

You'll forget about obstructed sidewalk when you're being revitalized by a hot plate of pho or in complete awe seeing one man and five dogs ride down the street on a single bike (true story).

Plus, the long country has incredibly diverse landscapes — from beaches to rice terraces to cities hiding a colonial past. The most astonishing place is without a doubt Ha Long Bay. Limestone cliffs form a dragon descending into emerald waters that, at the right time of year, glow with magical bioluminescence .

Like Thailand, Vietnam is a backpacker's delight, one that most people begrudgingly leave, wanting to come back as soon as possible. 

Best Budget Stay in Vietnam

Little Charm Hanoi Hostel and Homestay

Stay in a renovated Art Deco building in Hanoi's Old Quarter at Little Charm Hanoi Hostel and Homestay. The price is dirt cheap — we're talking around $10 a night, and the reviews are great.

Plus, there's a pool that helps you escape the heat of the Vietnamese city.

7. Bangladesh (Tie)

Sunset on the Batiaghata in Khulna, Bangladesh

Bangladesh is just as cheap as Vietnam but definitely not as popular. The South Asian country has historically been ignored by travelers, probably because it still lacks a developed international tourism infrastructure. In our book, this is a plus. 

Travelers who want to get off the backpacker trail but still want an affordable (and veritable) adventure will love Bangladesh. You won't have a cushy vacation where English-speaking staff caters to your every need. But you'll get to see how people really live when they're not shaping themselves to the tourism industry.

And you definitely won't find entire streets that exist for the sole purpose of selling cheesy souvenirs to drunk tourists (sorry Thailand, it's hard to psychologically recover from Khaosan Road). 

Learn a bit of the local language (which you should do anyway when you travel), and dive head first into an intrepid quest. 

Best Budget Stay in Bangladesh

Hotel Omni Residency in Dhaka, Bangladesh

How often do you get to stay at a four-star hotel for $52 a night?

Enjoy luxury on a budget at the Hotel Omni Residency in Dhaka. 

5. Indonesia (Tie)

Uluwatu Temple in Bali, Indonesia

Average daily cost: $50

Few places embody the spirit of digital nomadism as much as Bali. Or, depending on how you look at it, few places have been invaded by remote workers as much as this Indonesian island. 

Either way, it's undeniable that Indonesia has landscapes so beautiful they will make you cry, as well as intricate temples, tall volcanic peaks that provide great sunrise views and plenty of secluded beaches.

For around $50 a day, you can enjoy a jungle bungalow not far from the beach on many islands, including Bali. This unrivaled charm at a great price is what has attracted so many expats to the country. If you have time, try to island-hop a bit, as each region has its distinct culture, cuisine and landscape.

Best Budget Stay in Indonesia

Villa Purin Royan

A villa with a pool that's a five-minute walk from the beach usually costs money.

But at Villa Purin Royan , you'll enjoy great amenities and a great location for less than $10 a night.

5. Cambodia (Tie)

Faces of Bayon temple in Angkor, Cambodia

Most people go to Cambodia to see Angkor Wat and then leave without a second thought. And don't get us wrong, the largest religious complex on Earth is one of the most awe-inspiring places you will ever see. It's also affordable for pretty much any traveler, especially since everything else is so economical. 

But after crossing that off your bucket list, make plans to head back to the country and visit its less-explored (and even more affordable) areas. Many travelers rent a motorbike for the entirety of their stay and explore freely, but hiring a tuk-tuk driver is also doable.

Plus, if you ask, they can take you to the places where locals eat. Based on our personal experience, these are more than 10 times cheaper than the touristy eateries. 

Best Budget Stay in Cambodia

Happy Guesthouse Siem Reap

Siem Reap travelers who stay at Happy Guesthouse seem to indeed leave quite happy.

Part of that is the cheap price (around $13 a night), but we imagine the accommodation's great hospitality, convenient location and good vibes have something to do with it as well. 

Women walking into Amber Fort in Jaipur, India

Average daily cost: $33

Heading to India with few earthly possessions to seek spiritual enlightenment is so overdone, that it has almost become a cartoonish representation of travelers. But you don't have to "Eat, Pray, Love" your trip to India. In fact, we encourage you not to.

It's entirely possible to experience all the best things this country has to offer without being reductionist about its religion and culture. And you can do so with very little money. This is part of what has driven droves of young travelers to the region since the 1960s. 

What's best, because India is so incredibly big (it's the seventh-largest country in the world), you can go back again and again and never step into the same river twice. The country provides a lifetime of wallet-friendly travel experiences.

Best Budget Stay in India

Mavens White Gurgaon

At New Delhi's Mavens White Gurgaon you'll get amenities like free bike rentals, a private bathroom and a flat-screen TV for as little as $7. 

There's also a shared kitchen where you can cook meals if you're looking to save even more money.

Machhapuchhre and terraced fields in Nepal

Average daily cost: $32

Similar to India, Nepal offers temples, mouthwatering food and the Himalayas for a little over $30 a day. 

Many people come to try to conquer the crown jewel of the country: Mount Everest. And while that's definitely an experience only for the rich or sponsored, climbing other areas of the impressive mountain range, or getting to Everest Base Camp is not out of reach for the average traveler. 

Outside of the mountains, you'll find deep spiritualism, not unlike that of Nepal's neighbor, but one that has not yet been as exploited for the sake of pleasing tourists. And do we even have to mention momos? We'd get on a plane just for Nepalese dumplings any day.

Best Budget Stay in Nepal

Hotel Lapha in Nepal

You'd usually expect only hostels to be as cheap as $6 a night, but Hotel Lapha offers a no-frills experience that doesn't require you to share a room or a bathroom. 

The hotel is conveniently located near landmarks such as the Garden of Dreams and the Narayanhity Palace Museum in Kathmandu.

1. Sri Lanka (Tie)

Stilt fishermen of Sri Lanka

Average daily cost: $19

India, Nepal and Bangladesh are not the only affordable places on the Indian subcontinent. The clear winner in terms of cost-effectiveness is the very underrated island of Sri Lanka. 

Floating on the Indian Ocean not too far from India, Sri Lanka is a hidden treasure. Tourism was driven away by conflict in the '90s and early 2000s, but the area has enjoyed relative stability for many years now, and it won't be too long until groups of travelers start popping up more and more frequently on its shores. 

Hinduism and Buddhism are the main religions, as evidenced by the imposing temples scattered throughout the country. There are also landmarks that are almost hard to believe, like the City of Sigiriya, an ancient settlement almost entirely carved into a 660-foot-tall rock.

Sri Lanka ties with another underrated destination as the cheapest country in Asia.

Best Budget Stay in Sri Lanka

Hive 68 hotel in Colombo

Sri Lanka is so affordable, that you can stay at a three-star hotel for $10. Sure, you could find even cheaper hostels, but for just a few more bucks, we'd recommend staying at Hive 68 . You'll get a private room and bathroom and could also have a private balcony overlooking the water.

Or treat yourself to a five-star hotel for only $57 a night by booking the Mandarina Colombo .

1. Laos (Tie)

Patuxai Monument In Vientiane

If you're looking for the absolute cheapest Asian country to visit and don't want to do Sri Lanka, head to Laos. It's interesting that this country hasn't been invaded by tourists like its neighboring countries, though many committed gap-year travelers do take the time to cross into it from Vietnam or Thailand. 

But regardless of why it's managed to keep overtourism at bay, the authenticity of Laos is what makes it a memorable destination. Even Vientiane, the capital, is nowhere near as busy and loud as its counterparts, even though it has many beautiful temples.

With a delightfully slow pace and prices that few other countries could offer, Laos should top your list of the best Asian countries.

Best Budget Stay in Laos

V Hotel Vientianne

Located in the Vientianne city center, the three-star V Hotel costs about $6 a night. While amenities are limited, you won't have to stay in a dorm, and many of the rooms have private balconies. 

Plus, you'll be in the middle of the action and close to landmarks like the Lao National Museum.

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10 cheapest nicest places to visit in Asia

By Ria Gupta

10 cheapest nicest places to visit in Asia in 2023

Let’s face it – taking an international trip can call for a lot of planning. From finding the best hotels to digging up those airline discounts and choosing from your extensive travel bucket list , there’s ample to do before finalising the perfect time, place, occasion and destination to travel. But the one thing that influences all these factors is budget . So to help make planning easier, we rounded up a list of 10 cheap countries in Asia that tip the balance with their low exchange rates. These countries have a weaker currency than the British pound, which means that you can get a bigger bang for your buck here than anywhere else.

10 cheap countries to visit in Asia

The Golden Bridge Ba Na hills

1 GBP = 28,942.25 VND Vietnam packs a dizzying bunch of surprises for travellers. There are surreal rice terraces, stunning temples and some 3,000 km of tropical coastline. The tunnels of Ho Chi Min lead you through the country’s past, while an impressive array of bars and restaurants lend you a taste of local food and culture. And then there are the majestic karst mountains with their caves, sinkholes and water bodies snaking through the valley – a beauty best witnessed in person.

Wat Non Kum temple

1 GBP = 20,810.63 LAK For those looking to step beyond the trite getaway suggestions of Thailand and Vietnam, head to Laos . This southeast Asian country boasts emerald beauty with tea plantations and pristine rivers. At the Four Thousand Islands archipelago on the Mekong river, you’ll find yourself entirely detached from the sight of concrete jungles, with nothing but rock and water till as far as the eyes can see. There are also ample forests to trek through and national parks to visit. In the capital of Luang Prabang, you’ll find wats and temples lining the streets, myriad boutique hotels and French architecture.

Uluwatu temple Bali

1 GBP = 18,629.46 IDR For a country perched by the Pacific Ring of Fire, Indonesia sure is a cool place – you can tour the hundreds of active volcanoes here, but also experience sensuous luxury, golden beaches and kaleidoscopic waters of the country. There’s Bali with its dreamy villas and its quieter cousin Sumba with its wild horses and surf breaks. Then there is the alfresco dining scene of Jakarta for those looking to taste the urban life, and a number of national parks peppering the country for a peek into Indonesia ’s wild, wildlife.

Angkor Wat

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1 GBP = 5,002.00 KHR Cambodia is fed by the Mekong river, and bordered by stunning beaches and populated by majestic religious sites. It’s home to one of the world’s largest temples, Angkor Wat, where the sun rises right behind the central tower during summer. You can also walk with elephants here, ride on bamboo trains in Battambang and catch an artistic circus without animals at Phare Ponleu Selpak.


1 GBP = 2,586.72 MMK In Myanmar, soar high in a balloon over Bagan and watch the city’s ancient pagodas begin to catch light at sunrise – it’s the ideal way to get your head in the clouds, literally and figuratively. A trip to Myanmar will disconnect you from the real world as you know it. The colonial buildings of Yangon, the dirt roads of lake Inle, untouched landscapes, welcoming locals in beautiful sarongs and so much more await you here. Culinary trails across Myanmar are another slice of adventure; the country’s food has been influenced by most of its sister countries and reflects a unique diversity in flavour.

Sigiriya rock fortress

1 GBP = 397.21 LKR The streets of Sri Lanka have much on offer from fresh spices antiques and clothing. And there’s more to the country beyond shopping, from endless beaches and breathtaking ruins to lip-smacking food. Visit ancient temples, climb the peaks and see the colonial sites in Colombo while you’re here.

Tatev Monastery

1 GBP = 478.04 AMD This transcontinental nation has some unusual experiences on offer. Breathtaking medieval architecture stands against stunning natural backdrops here, like the Monastery of Geghard in Kotayk half-carved into a rock. And cognac isn’t the only drink in abundance in Armenia – anywhere you go, you’ll find water fountains on every corner with fresh mountain spring water to drink. Also visit the Biblical mountain of Ararat, which today supplies fresh grapes for an extensive range of wines in the country . And then there’s the Wings of Tatev cable car. A five-kilometre journey on the longest double-track cable car in the world some 1,000 feet above the ground, this experience is not for the faint-hearted.  

The Annapurna peak

1 GBP = 162.76 NPR A lower exchange rate and a sea of hidden gems – what’s not to like about Nepal? Beyond Mount Everest, you can scale seven of the world’s highest peaks in Nepal. If that too seems ambitious, scour the temples and monuments on the plain land of Kathmandu, spot wildlife in Chitwan and Bardia national parks and dive into Tibetan Buddhist culture in Mustang.

Puthia temple complex Rajshahi

1 GBP = 131.78 BDT Bangladesh is known for the Sundarbans, home to the Royal Bengal tiger. But while you’re here, also visit the south of the country for its tropical beaches such as Cox Bazar – one of the longest beaches in the world. The cramped streets of Dhaka now host a thriving art scene, while Sylhet with its Sufi shrines and verdant tea plantations is an unassuming getaway from the monotony of city life. Don’t forget this is also the land of jhal muri, so have a taste and see how familiar flavours differ across the mingling cultures of two sister countries.

Tigers Nest Monastery Bhutan

1 GBP = 101.73 BTN Bhutan is for the immersive traveller looking to lose themself in the culture of a land. Look out for the Buddhist mask dance, a cultural celebration in the Drametse community that takes place only twice a year. Take the recently launched Trans Bhutan Trail , a 403km route that lets you walk, run or cycle from Haa in western Bhutan to Trashigang in the east. The Himalayan kingdom has unending natural beauty, wildlife, culture and spirituality on offer. The trail, passing through 27 local villages, dozens of temples, and 12 mountain passes, lets you experience a hefty chunk of it all. In Thimphu, visit local stores and eateries serving traditional Bhutanese fare from stir-fried noodles to momos. And while hotel tariffs may seem higher on average as compared to other countries in the region, it's not impossible to find a decent stay in the country for less (factor in the recently imposed sustainable development fee, which is lower for tourists from India, Bangladesh and Maldives compared to any other country in the world).

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10 Of The Cheapest Countries In Asia For Budget Travellers

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thailand solo backpacker walking on wooden bridge through fields

10 of The Cheapest Countries in Asia for Budget Travellers

1. thailand, best volunteer opportunities in thailand.

  • Budget Hostel: $10 for a dorm/$25 for a private room
  • Local beer: $2 
  • Budget Restaurant per person: Street food 30-60 baht ($1-2 USD) Restaurant Meal around 90 – 150 baht

solo female traveller smiling as elephant uses trunk to spray her with water

2. The Philippines

Best volunteer opportunities in the philippines.

  • Budget Hostel: $10 for a private room/$5 for a dorm
  • Local beer: $1.20
  • Budget Restaurant: street food $5/meal in restaurant $12

boy stands at the edge of a fishing boat ready to jump into the turquoise sea

Best Volunteer Opportunities in Laos

  • Budget Hostel: Dorm $5-10/ private room $15 
  • Local beer: $1
  • Budget Restaurant per person: $2 street food/$10 for 2 course meal + beer in restaurant

mountain cliff over Mekong river cruise Laos

Best Volunteer Opportunities in India

  • Budget Restaurant per person: $2 for curry & rice/ $1 dosa

group of students a hiking excursion with workaway volunteers and teachers

5. Mongolia

  • Touristic yurt camps: these will have the most home comforts
  • Guest-yurts by nomadic families: the most authentic style of yurt
  • Camping: the closest to nature but you’ll need to bring your own supplies

Best Volunteer Opportunities in Mongolia

  • Accommodation: $35+ Mongolian yurt
  • Budget Restaurant per person: $10 restaurant including drinks/ $3 street food

traveller and local child cuddling lambs with Mongolian yurt and desert at the background

Best Volunteer Opportunities in Nepal

tibetan prayer flags merging with himalayan peaks

7. Sri Lanka

Best volunteer opportunities in sri lanka.

  • Budget Hostel: $7
  • Budget Restaurant per person: $5 (seafood & streetfood is particularly cheap)

travel couple picking tea at tea plantation in Sri lanka

8. Cambodia 

Best volunteer opportunities in cambodia.

  • Budget Hostel: $10 for a private room/$5 for a shared dorm
  • Local beer: $0.50
  • Budget local meal per person: $3

workaway volunteer in Cambodian village swimming in the river with children

9. Vietnam 

Best volunteer opportunities in vietnam.

  • Budget Hostel: $15 for a private room/$5 for a shared dorm

local Vietnamese woman showing traveller how to use fishing net

10. Indonesia

Best volunteer opportunities in indonesia.

  • Local beer: $2
  • Budget local meal per person: $3-$5

travel community volunteering at sustainable project centre with local helper holding up a biodiversity map

About Lauren

Growing up in a small coastal village in Scotland inspired Lauren to seek adventure and challenge the norm. Armed with just her backpack and trusty travel companion Darren, she quit her day job to liv ... show more... e her daydream and travel the world! ​​​​​After their first Workaway in 2017, they had officially caught the travel bug and decided to share behind the scenes from life on the road through their travel blog Faramagan. Their blog shares the tales (and fails) of two clueless millennials avoiding adulthood one adventure at a time with Darren the technical wizard and Lauren the content creator. When the backpack is off, Lauren can usually be found cooking, writing or attempting yoga while saving for her next plane ticket.

View all posts by Lauren

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The adventurous feet

23 Cheapest Asian Countries to Visit This Year

Want to travel to Asia on a budget? Here is the list of the cheapest Asian countries to visit plus the daily budget of each country.

Despite being the largest continent in the world and hosting some of the most expensive countries like Japan and Singapore, Asia is still one of the favorite destinations for backpackers who want to get the most bang for their buck.

Easy to travel to, it offers exceptional landscapes, amazing UNESCO sites , and a guaranteed cultural shock.

And good news everybody, it is one of the cheap travel destinations in the world!

So if you’re planning for your next budget-friendly trip, here is a quick guide on the cheapest Asian countries to visit.

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Quick note: Please note that the daily budgets described in this article correspond to a budget for backpacking on a shoestring, including food, accommodation, and activities. The cost of your trip largely depends on how you travel; are you using public transport or a private driver, are you eating street food or dining at fancy restaurants, are you sleeping in dorm rooms or paying for private rooms, paying for guided tours, or self-guided tours?

All this has a huge impact on your budget… but don’t forget, the less you spend per day the longer you can travel.

But before we explore the cheap places in Asia, below are some Asia Travel essentials you’ll need.

QUICK TIPS TO PLAN YOUR TRIP TO ASIA – Asia is a great continent but it can be overwhelming due to a number of scams. To make sure you protect your valuables, purchase travel insurance before you go and  Worldomads  is the one I highly recommend. – Since the idea is to travel to Asia on a budget, the best way to get the most out of it is by sleeping in hostels.  Hostelworld  is the best website to find the best and cheapest hostels around Asia. – It is certainly possible to enjoy Asia individually but if you want to opt for a tour,   Klook   has the best tours priced to fit your budget even as a backpacker. – Stay connected on the internet while in Asia.  Book your 4G Wi-Fi device  before you go. – For your transportation needs around Asia whether by train, bus, flight, or even ship, I recommend booking with  12.goAsia  for the best prices and to have your tickets in advance.

Psst… Looking for cheap countries in Europe instead? Then check out my detailed post on the cheap European countries to visit .

Cheapest Countries in Asia

In no particular order, here is a list of the cheapest countries in Asia.

India is one of the cheapest countries in Asia

Welcome to the land of the mighty Taj Mahal ! From its superb beaches in the south to the Himalayas in the north and the historical sites in the center, India is a world in its own right and a fascinating country to discover on a low budget making it the cheapest Asian country to visit.

Luckily it is also one of the cheap destinations in Asia, especially in the northern half of the country .

Though the south is more touristic and slightly more expensive, it also remains very affordable.

The cost of living is so low that you can fully enjoy your trip without the guilt of spending too much.

Transportation (rickshaw, taxis, buses, or trains) is incredibly cheap. For example, a 20-hour train ride will cost you less than $9.

To book all your transportation in India, I recommend booking with 12go. Asia , from bus tickets, and train tickets, to ferries. Don’t be afraid to try street food as there is no better way to eat cheap than this. Veg-thali is less than $2, a glass of fresh fruit juice costs only a few cents, and classic restaurants are about $4- $7.

Accommodation in India is also cheap with a night in a dormitory varying between $2 and $5.

So if you were wondering whether it’s possible to live on less than $15 a day, then India is one of the cheap Asian countries to visit to experience just that.

But before you go, make sure you read these tips on how to survive in India as a tourist.

India’s daily budget: Between $10 and $15 

Related post: Best places to visit in North India

2. Cambodia

cambodia is one of the cheap asia destinations

Due to its central position, Cambodia is the perfect place to start your trip to Asia.

It is not only one of the best places to visit in Asia but also one of the cheapest places to backpack! No wonder Siem Reap is called the “backpacker’s world capital”.

The country, one of the cheap travel destinations in Asia, is most known for its famous Angkor Temples but it actually has much more to offer!

From taking a bike ride through the rice fields to relaxing on the white sand beaches of the Koh Rong Islands, there is a lot to do for all kinds of travelers.

Indubitably cheaper than its neighbor Thailand, everything here is at a very low price.

You will find superb hostels and guest houses for just $3 a night.

And if you’re not a fan of street food, even more traditional restaurants are affordable going for less than $5.

And while you’re there, make sure to try the delicious local food like the Amok, a fish cooked in banana leaves with coconut cream!

Public transportation especially buses and tuk-yuk are also very cheap and convenient.

A visit to the world-famous Angkor Temples will cost you extra but you can choose between this 1, 3, or 7-day Angkor Wat tourist pass to visit it on a budget.

I highly recommend getting the 3-day pass to fully explore the area which costs around $60.

It might seem a bit expensive but I guarantee that you will not regret it! But all in all, Cambodia is one of the cheap Asian countries to visit that won’t rob you of your arm or leg.

Cambodia’s daily budget: between $10 and $20 

Pro tip* For all your transportation in Asia whether it is by train, bus, or ferry, use the  12go.Asia website   to book all your tickets in advance.

laos is one of the cheap countries to visit in asia

Due to the lack of a coastline, Laos is often neglected but that’s a huge mistake!

This small and authentic country has a lot to provide. Both untamed and welcoming, life in Laos is slightly more expensive than in Cambodia, especially in touristy cities like Luang Prabang and Vientiane.

But if you’re not too “greedy” and get off the beaten track you’ll get away with it for a cheap price.

Bus rides cost around $1 per hour and the classic fried rice that you can find everywhere costs roughly $2. There’s no reason not to enjoy it!

A three-course meal in a restaurant is approximately $10 and private rooms can be found at $20.

Laos also offers an opportunity to do outdoor activities like kayaking, hiking , ziplining, and hot air ballooning at undeniably budget-friendly prices making it one of the cheap places to travel in Asia.

Laos’ daily budget: between $10 and $25 

Related post: Bucket List destinations in Africa

Vietnam is one of the cheapest Asian countries to visit

Halong Bay, a World Heritage site, and its dozens of islands covered with a tropical forest is probably one of the most beautiful places in the world .

Still protected from mass tourism, Vietnam is perfectly adapted to world travelers.

15 bucks a day will be more than enough to travel, eat, sleep, and discover this country which has managed to preserve its cultural heritage perfectly.

A pint of Bia Hoi, the cheapest beer in the world only costs a few dozens of cents, a meal will cost you less than $4 and you can easily find private rooms for under $10.

Renting a motorbike, which I highly recommend to truly explore the country, costs around $13 per day.

So whether it’s biking through the country or camping in the third world’s biggest cave of Hang En, Vietnam will definitely offer you some of the best cheap holidays in Asia.

Vietnam’s daily budget: between $10 and $25 

5. Indonesia

Indonesia is the cheapest country in Asia

With over 17,000 islands, Indonesia is a land of contrast and variation.

From forests, volcanoes, and beaches to wildlife, Indonesia has so much to offer if you are willing to go off the beaten tracks.

Each island is different when it comes to food, language, religion, and culture.

So versatile, it is difficult to establish a budget for food, accommodation, or transportation as the cost of living differs from one region to another!

Bucket list destination Bali or Jakarta can be extremely expensive but once you get away from the most tourist areas, prices become lower.

As a rule of thumb, street food is the way to go to eat cheaply (between $3 and $5). You will also be able to find dorms for $5 and private rooms starting at $15.

Even though the daily budget immensely differs from island to Island, Indonesia is still one of the cheap countries to visit in Asia.

Indonesia’s daily budget: between $15 and $25

Read more: Best countries to visit in Africa

6. Myanmar (Burma)

Myanmar is one of the cheapest countries in Asia

You better hurry up and go to Myanmar ! At first inaccessible, the country has been gradually opening up to tourists since the end of the dictatorship in 2011.

Still affordable, prices are rising from year to year and rumor has it that the government wants to make the country a luxury destination!

Nothing very surprising as the country has so many wonders to offer. The ancient city of Bagan, a UNESCO world heritage site , is alone a reason to visit Myanmar.

Even though the prices are skyrocketing, it is still possible to find cheap food.

The train is very affordable but the buses are a bit more expensive compared to other Asian countries but the comfort they provide makes up for it.

The main costs in Mynamar will be on accommodation as it is sometimes difficult to find dorms yet private rooms go for about $20 to $25.

Pro tip* Cut down the expenses by meeting other travelers and sharing private rooms – a tip that will make your stay in Burma one of the cheapest holiday destinations in Asia.

Myanmar’s daily budget: between $20 and $35 

Related post: Best cities to visit in Europe

7. The Philippines

Philippines is one of the cheap holiday destinations in Asia

Palms trees, beautiful beaches, wonderful diving spots, and unforgettable sunsets make the Philippines the perfect country to indulge yourself and have a pleasant time while still traveling on a budget .

Even though visiting the country will cost you slightly more than the others mentioned above (especially since you will most likely be using domestic flights), it is quite possible to keep a reasonable budget if you avoid large cities.

A night in a dorm room will cost between $10 and $15. The boat offers a good alternative to the plane since it goes for a little under $10 but is also very slow.

As always, street food is cheap (between $3 and $7). Since beer is around $1, a parameter that is used by many travelers to determine whether a country is cheap to travel to or not, The Philippines qualifies to be on this list of the cheapest countries in Southeast Asia.

The Philippines’ daily budget: between $25 and $35

8. Thailand

Thailand is one of the cheap countries in Asia

With a country brimming with beauty, you’ll be surprised to know that it’s one of the cheapest countries to visit in Asia.

With everything well organized compared to other cheap places in Asia, Thailand is an easy country to travel in by all kinds of travelers – no wonder it has become a popular destination for backpackers.

From the chaotic city of Bangkok, the underlying beauty of Chiang Mai, to incredibly beautiful beaches in Phuket, Thailand is a must-visit place if you’re looking for the cheapest country to travel in Asia without compromising on beauty.

Though some resorts are a bit more pricey than others, the best way to stay on a budget is to stick to the wide variety of street food, sleep in hostels, and use public transportation.

Sleeping in a private room at a hostel will cost you around $8 but can go as low as $5 if you opt for a shared dorm room.

You can expect to spend $3 on street food and around $5 on transportation within the city per day.

Since Thailand has a number of activities to do, you can expect to spend a little more and $10 would be a good average for a day.

With an average budget of $30 per day, Thailand truly qualifies to be one of the cheapest places to visit in Asia.

Thailand’s daily budget: between $25 and $30 

Related post: Tips for staying in a hostel

Nepal is one of the cheap Asian destinations

Home to the highest mountains in the world, Nepal has become a perfect hiking destination for many hikers.

And since it’s one of the cheap countries in Asia, the number of backpackers keeps increasing every now and then.

From the impressive views from a flight over Mount Everest, and incredible hikes to the Himalayas, to the beautiful views of rice terraces, there are so many things to do in Nepal.

Even though the flight over Mt. Everest is expensive, (which you can skip if your budget doesn’t allow it or make it that splurge moment), the general cost of living is low making it the cheapest country in Asia.

One tip to save money in Nepal is to stay away from organized guided hiking trips since the country is mostly about hiking.

If you can do it on your own or with other travelers, that would be great.

To give you a breakdown of some costs in Nepal, budget $5 for a dorm room and slightly more for a guest house private room.

Food is pretty cheap and that should set you behind by just $2. Expect to spend around $4 on a bus of 5 hours but transportation within one area can be around $1.5.

Since the country is majorly about trekking, trekking is the most expensive activity with most trekking permits going for around $20.

However not every day will be a hiking day, so you’ll save money on those days you won’t go hiking hence bringing down your overall budget.

Nepal’s daily budget: between $20 and $30

Related post : Hiking tips for beginners

10. Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is one of the cheap destinations in Asia

Sri Lanka is ridiculously one of the cheap countries to travel in Asia despite the immense beauty that lies in the little gem.

Not so little though, Sri Lanka has become a popular destination among travelers especially backpackers due to its unbelievably low cost of living.

This Asian Island boasts over 8 Unesco World Heritage sites , incredible wildlife, amazing white sand beaches, and incredible landscapes that are picture-perfect.

From incredible Asian landmarks like Sigiriya, Adam’s Peak, and Ella, you’d think that you need a lot of money to enjoy Sri Lanka.

But with an average budget of $20 a day, you can expect to enjoy Sri Lanka to the fullest.

Food in Sri Lanka is really cheap, so you can expect to spend $2 on a meal, $7 on accommodation, $8 on activities, and $2 on transportation.

With that low cost of living, it’s undeniably true that Sri Lanka is one of the cheapest countries to visit in Asia.

Sri Lanka’s daily budget: between $20 and $30

11. Malaysia

Petronas Towers in Malaysia is one of the famous monuments of Asia

Malaysia is a top holiday spot and one of the cheapest countries in Southeast Asia to visit.

Its strong economy and affluent areas like Kuala Lumpur have people thinking it’s an expensive country but that’s not the case.

Famous for its pristine beaches, enchanting islands, modern shopping malls, glorious national parks , theme parks, incredible landmarks , fishing villages, and hiking spots, there are many things for every type of traveler to enjoy.

For backpackers, peninsular Malaysia is way cheaper than Malaysia Borneo, but the overall cost of travel is relatively cheaper than the neighboring country, Thailand.

An average price of $25 per day is more than enough for your food, transport, and accommodation.

A hostel room in Malaysia will cost you about $6 per night, fish curry for $1.45, and street stall food is less than a dollar but a “proper” meal in an inexpensive restaurant will cost you $3.

Public transport is also cheaper, ranging from $0.19 – $1.90 but using a cashless TNG card (a contactless payment card accepted across all Malaysian public transport) is even way cheaper.

However, the price of alcohol is a bit high in Malaysia, with a local beer going for $4.

So if you want to have a little bit of everything from city life to national parks, Malaysia is one of the cheap countries in Asia that offers all that at under $25 a day.

Malaysia’s average daily budget: Between $20 and $25 

12. Pakistan

Pakistan is one of the cheapest Asian countries to visit

Being the third cheapest country in the world, it’s no surprise that Pakistan is on this list of the cheapest countries in Asia .

Though many tourists have overlooked it as a tourist destination because of its decades of political instability, the country has improved its political and security stability, and travelers can visit it with no worries.

Known for its many rugged snow-capped mountains with 108 peaks above 7000 meters, beautiful valleys, beautiful beaches, and bustling cities, Pakistan has so much to offer for a budget traveler.

Cheap accommodation is available for backpackers, like a hostel in Lahore will cost you $5. A taxi ride will cost you about $4.59, and public transportation is even way cheaper.

Meals for the whole day can cost you $8, which can be cheaper if you try street foods.

Tickets to attractions, museums, and other sightseeing can cost $3.46, and alcoholic beverages go for $2.30.

With an average daily budget of $29, Pakistan is indeed one of the cheapest places to travel in Asia.

Pakistan’s daily budget: Between $25 and $30 

Watching the dancing fountain at the Sultanahmet park is one of the best ways to enjoy Istanbul nightlife

Famously known for its strategic positioning between Asia and Europe, Turkey is brimming with culture, history, and immense beauty that it’s even hard to imagine it as a cheap country in Asia.

Istanbul city divides the two continents, and you can get from Asia to Europe in less than an hour! Its geographical location not only makes it a cheap destination in Asia but also in Europe since it’s easily accessible by either train, flight, or sea.

With its striking coastal areas, spectacular beaches, beautiful landscape, and bustling cities, there are so many things to do in Turkey that all kinds of travelers will enjoy.

With a tight budget, Eastern Turkey will be more favorable as the cost of living is lower than in Western Turkey.

An average daily cost of $35 is enough to get you accommodation for $12, meals for $7, and transportation setting you back as low as $2 within the same city or $7 to different cities.

Turkey’s street food is the way to go if you are on a tight budget- it’s pretty tasty too. Sandwiches, desserts, and snacks are all less than $3. Lunch can range from $5- $8 depending on what you take. And don’t forget to taste the famous Turkish tea.

Overnight buses will save you money during intercity travel, and did you know that you can bargain the bus ticket price and hotel prices? Yes, so carry your bargaining powers with you!

So if you have always wanted to enjoy the mishmash of history and modernity that Turkey offers but were afraid of the budget, now you know that you can actually afford it since it’s one of the cheapest countries to visit in Asia.

Turkey’s daily budget: Between $25 and $30 

Related posts: Best free things to do in Istanbul How to travel to Istanbul on a budget Important things to know before traveling to Istanbul

14. Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan is one of the cheap countries in Asia to visit

With an average cost of $10 a day per person, Kazakhstan is one of the cheap Asian countries to visit.

Located in central Asia, the country is the 9th largest globally and has five climatic zones and two time zones.

It is the world’s largest landlocked country and is famous for its geographical diversity.

Its seamless desserts, majestic canyons, hills, deltas, plains, colossal glaciers, UNESCO world heritage sites, dazzling towers, and futuristic skyscrapers attract travelers across the globe. The country is also famous for bird watching.

Everything here is cheap, starting from accommodation which you can get for as low as $2.86. Food is also affordable, and the most inexpensive means of transport is by bus.

If you’re a backpacker looking for cheap countries to visit in Asia, then Kazakhstan should top your Asian bucket list .

Kazakhstan’s average daily budget: Between $8 and $12 

15. Bangladesh

Bangladesh is one of the cheapest countries to visit in Asia

Bangladesh may not be the most popular tourist destination but its low cost of travel is starting to change backpackers’ minds.

Known for harboring the largest mangrove swamp and the world’s longest beach, Bangladesh is a cheap Asian country that nature lovers, beach lovers, and cultural enthusiasts will find fascinating.

Getting around Bangladesh is cheap! An Uber can cost about $3 but using public transport like buses is even cheaper.

You’ll find street food on almost every corner for around $1 while a full-course meal at a local restaurant will cost less than $5. Accommodation is also super affordable and the same goes for visiting attractions.

With a daily budget of $23, you can find a place to sleep, eat, and explore Bangladesh, making it one of the cheapest places to visit in Asia.

Bangladesh’s average daily budget: Between $18 and $25

16. Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is one of the cheap places to travel Asia

Although slightly more expensive than Kazakhstan, Uzbekista n is also among the cheap destinations in Asia.

It is one of the two double-locked countries and is famous for being home to 3 important Silk Road cities; Samarkand , Bukhara , and Khiva .

This historical, cultural, and architectural country will leave you in awe if you love beautiful Islamic architecture and historical sites.

All the Silk Road cities are connected by bus and train, making them easily accessible for budget travelers.

Tickets for some museums, mosques, madrasahs, and shrines are cheap, costing $2- $5. With $4, you can get food in an inexpensive restaurant, a local beer goes for $1.35 and a dorm room will set you back as far as $8 on average.

Of course, you might spend a bit more in Khiva than in other lesser-known places, but at an average of $25, you can be sure to have a fun stay in Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan’s average daily budget: Between $25 and $30

The Great Wall of China, China is one of the famous landmarks in Asia

The big cities of China and the Chinese landmarks like the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City might make you think that China is expensive to travel to but it’s not.

Of course, it’s not the cheapest country in Asia but if you spend wisely and apply all the tips for traveling on a budget , you’ll be able to enjoy China at a bargain!

Famous for being the second most populated country globally with impeccable Asian natural wonders , like the adorable giant panda, and its varied cuisine, China offers a number of tourist activities.

China can be budget-friendly if you opt to stay in hostels. You only need to get a Hosteling International Card as most hostels in China offer discounts to guests with membership cards. Hostels range from $6 – $15 depending on the city.

The other way to minimize your budget is by eating street foods as it’s cheaper than sit-down restaurants. You will also get to enjoy excellent authentic Chinese food from the food market in all cities.

Local public transport is also affordable but fast trains are a bit on the higher end but the money you save on food and accommodation will make up for this.

Regardless, an average of $30 per day will be enough to cater for food, accommodation, activities, and transportation proving that if you budget your money well, China can also be a cheap country to visit in Asia.

China’s average daily budget: Between $30 and $35

18. Mongolia

Mongolia is one of the cheapest places to travel in Asia

Sandwiched between Russia to the north and China to the south, Mongolia is one of the cheap if not the cheapest country to travel in Asia.

It is a unique country situated on mountains and plateaus, and it’s known to be the world’s highest country with an elevation of 5280ft.

Its iconic mountains, rugged landscapes, and rich history attract thousands of tourists every year who want to enjoy its beautiful landscapes or even learn about its history by visiting its ancient Buddhist temples and shrines.

Restaurants here are reasonably priced, and you can get a pizza for as low as $3; local eateries have even cheaper foods.

Using local transport like buses and trains will help you get around Mongolia relatively cheaper at $3 while accommodation can range between $7-$10.

With an average budget of $20, it’s not hard to see why Mongolia is one of the cheapest Asian countries to visit.

Mongolia’s average daily budget: Between $20 and $25

19. Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan is one of the cheap countries to visit in Asia

Azerbaijan is a backpacker’s dream as it is one of the cheap places in Asia. Why you may ask? It is rich in both petrol and gas which makes the cost of transportation really cheap.

Also, fast foods in local eateries are very affordable with a satisfying meal going for about $3 while sit-down restaurants can go up to $10 and a beer for less than a dollar.

The country is bordered by Russia, Iran, Turkey, and Georgia, giving it a blend of both the East and Western cultures.

Also known as the secular republic, alcohol is widely available compared to other Islamic countries.

Soviet buildings, epic mountain ranges, and vineyards are some of the attractions that make Azerbaijan worth visiting.

While it’s a bit more expensive than some of the places we’ve looked at above, Azerbaijan is still one of the cheapest countries in Asia with an average daily budget of $30.

Azerbaijan’s average daily budget: Between $30 and $35

20. Armenia

Armenia is the cheapest place to travel in Asia

Not yet overrun by tourists, Armenia is still one of the cheapest countries to visit in Asia.

The country is rich in history and offers stunning views of the peak of Mount Ararat. And if you love visiting churches and admiring their architecture, Armenia will not disappoint as it has some of the most beautiful churches in the world.

Hostels are affordable at as low as $4, $2 will be enough for public transport while meals will cost you $4.

A budget of $18 a day is enough to make you enjoy this beautiful country with all that it offers.

Armenia’s average daily budget: Between $15 and $20

21. Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan is the cheapest place to travel in asia.

One of the cheapest countries to travel in Asia is none other than Tajikistan in Central Asia.

Although it often flies under the radar compared to other cheapest places in Asia, it still offers unique experiences to budget travelers.

Nestled among some of the world’s highest mountains, this country offers natural beauty at a fraction of the cost you’d pay in more popular destinations.

A daily budget of around $30-$40 will take you a long way in Tajikistan. Accommodation in guesthouses can be as cheap as $10 per night, and a satisfying meal at a local restaurant will set you back only around $5.

Local transport is also inexpensive; expect to pay about $1 for short distances within cities.

For the adventurer in you, the Pamir Highway is a must-do. It’s one of the world’s most scenic drives, and while getting a vehicle can be a bit pricier, sharing costs with fellow travelers can make it quite affordable.

Bargaining is common in local bazaars, so bring your haggling skills to get the best prices on unique crafts and fresh produce. And don’t forget to try the local dishes like Shashlik and Plov!

If you’re keen on experiencing a mix of natural wonders and rich cultural history without emptying your wallet, Tajikistan should definitely be on your list of the cheapest travel destinations in Asia.

Tajikistan’s average daily budget: Between $30 and $40

22. Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan is one of the cheapest countries in asia to visit.

If you’re all about exploring untamed natural landscapes and ancient cultures without breaking the bank, then Kyrgyzstan is one of the most affordable Asian countries to visit.

This country is a paradise for backpackers and adventure seekers on a budget. Accommodation, even in the capital city of Bishkek, is affordable; you can find guesthouses and hostels for around $10-$15 a night.

Meals at local eateries will cost you about $5, and public transportation is as cheap as it gets, usually less than a dollar for city rides.

But what’s really amazing about Kyrgyzstan (besides its affordability) is the natural beauty you get to enjoy.

The country is home to stunning alpine lakes like Issyk-Kul and lush green valleys that look like they’re straight out of a postcard. It’s a hiker’s dream come true with trails that won’t cost you a dime to explore.

You can even live like a local by spending a night or two in a yurt, which is often an affordable and unforgettable experience.

If you’re into horseback riding or want to try your hand at falconry, those are cheap options here as well.

Kyrgyzstan’s average daily budget: Between $40 and $50

Iran is one of the cheap places to travel to in asia.

If rich history, culture, and stunning landscapes are what you’re looking for, Iran offers it all, and guess what? It’s incredibly budget-friendly too.

You can have a full experience of Iran’s wonders without stretching your wallet too thin, with a daily budget ranging from $25 to $40.

Accommodation options like guesthouses and local inns in cities like Tehran and Shiraz can cost as low as $10-$20 per night.

Local cuisine is not just mouth-wateringly delicious but also very affordable; you can feast on kebabs, rice dishes, and local sweets for about $5-$7 per meal.

Iran is also home to a number of awe-inspiring architectural wonders, like the ancient Persepolis and the colorful mosques with intricate designs, which often have no entry fee or a very nominal one.

The country’s public transport network is both efficient and cheap, making it easy to hop from one city to another for just a few bucks.

But what truly sets Iran apart from other cheapest destinations in Asia is its warm and welcoming locals, unlike what is portrayed in the media!

You’ll often find yourself invited for tea or a homemade meal, making your trip not just budget-friendly but also enriched with authentic experiences.

Iran’s average daily budget: Between $25 and $40

Some FAQs About The Cheap Countries to Visit in Asia

The Grand Palace in Thailand is one of the famous landmarks in Asia

What is the cheapest country to visit in Asia?

In my opinion, India is the cheapest Asian country to Visit. However, Kazakhstan can also easily take this spot.

Is Asia cheaper than Europe?

Generally speaking, Asia is cheaper than Europe! However, there are some countries in Asia that are more expensive than some countries in Europe. For example, countries like Japan and Singapore are more expensive than some European countries like say; Portugal or Greece.

Is Thailand cheaper than Malaysia?

If you go back to the breakdown of prices I gave you while talking about the cheapest countries in Asia, you’ll realize that Thailand is slightly more expensive than Malaysia considering that you’re traveling to both countries in the same way of budget travel.

Have more questions about the cheap destinations in Asia? Leave them in the comment section and I’ll answer them as soon as possible.

And What About The Not so Cheap Places to Visit in Asia

cheapest places to travel in asia

Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and South Korea… All these countries can be really expensive to travel to and are not budget-friendly at all.

Even if you travel as cheaply as possible doing hitchhiking, Couchsurfing, cooking for yourself, or even eating once a day, you will not be able to hide from the high cost of living.

And what about China? Well, China might not be the cheapest country in Asia but it is a particular case.

Just like the Philippines or Indonesia, some parts of the country can be very expensive and others relatively cheap.

The main expense will probably be transportation. China is such a vast country that you won’t be able to avoid taking the fast train, which is absolutely awesome but rather expensive.

But if you want to learn more about how to travel cheaply, check out my post on how to travel on a budget .

Final Thoughts on the Cheap Asian Countries to Visit

Just like traveling to any other place, you can still spend more money in these Asian countries if you travel lavishly or if you don’t manage your budget well.

But the rule of thumb that will help you stay on a budget while traveling in Asia is sleeping in hostels, eating street food which is very delicious by the way, and using local transportation instead of hiring private taxis.

If you follow all these, you’ll be able to enjoy Asia on a budget!

Now that you know most of the cheap Asian countries to travel to, you can start planning your trip around this incredibly amazing and diverse continent of Asia.

Have you been to any of these cheapest countries in Asia? How much was your average budget in that specific country? Let me know in the comments below.

NEVER TRAVEL ANYWHERE WITHOUT TRAVEL INSURANCE One of the biggest mistakes you’ll ever make when planning a trip is to forego Travel Insurance! You might think that it’s expensive, but when you think of how much it will save you when you lose your valuables or even get sick, then you’ll know that it’s  NOT  that expensive! There are many Travel Insurance companies out there, but I love  World Nomads ! They cover almost every single thing you might face/do while traveling, it is easy to request a quote, and if you ever need to claim, the claiming process is not a rat race! I’ve used World Nomads on all my trips, and I am confident and happy to recommend it to you! No worries if you’re not yet ready to book your trip, you can request a  free quote from World Nomads here  and see if it suits your personal needs!

More posts to inspire you to travel to Asia

  • Most beautiful cities to visit in Asia
  • Famous landmarks to visit in Asia
  • Best places to visit in India
  • Most beautiful landmarks in China
  • Important things to know before traveling to India

Was this post on the cheapest countries in Asia helpful? Then please consider sharing it with others

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I love this article! It’s so informative and helpful for anyone who wants to travel to Asia on a budget. I’ve been to some of these countries and I agree that they are amazing and affordable. I especially enjoyed Vietnam and Nepal. Thanks for sharing your tips and insights!

I am glad you found the article helpful! They’re definetely the best countries to start with if you’re traveling on a budget.

Loved your article but I wanted to add that Pakistan is even cheaper than India when it comes to accommodation, travelling & food. I’ll be really glad if you’d give it a thought and edit the article. God bless you, co

Thank you for the suggestion! I haven’t explored Pakistan yet but I am glad to know that it’s among the cheapest Asian countries to visit for backpackers. If I ever visit, I’ll definitely add it.

This is a really helpful post, Esther. With so many places to choose from in Asia, this narrows the choice down for budget travellers. Thanks for sharing.

Thank you, I am glad that you found this post helpful

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cheap asia travel destinations

The 10 Cheapest Countries to Travel in Asia in 2024

Are you looking to travel to Asia on a budget? You’re in luck! There are plenty of cheap places to visit in Asia. In this blog post, we’ll count down the 10 cheapest countries to travel in Asia.

From vibrant cities to beautiful beaches and mountains, these cheap destinations in Asia offer something for everyone. On top of that, I’ll go through the daily budget you should plan for each one of the cheapest destinations we’ll discuss.

I’ll be honest, Asia is my favorite place to travel. The countries in Southeast Asia are stunning, the locals are friendly, and it’s easy to get around. I’ll include some other guides that you might want to check out, too, if you’re picking one of these cheapest countries.

Now, without further ado, let’s jump right in, I can’t wait to tell you about these cheapest holiday destinations in Asia.

El Nido Palawan Philippines cheapest countries to visit in Asia

Table of Contents ⬇️

Cheapest Countries to Travel in Asia – Overview

The philippines, 10 cheapest asian countries to visit.

There is something about Asia that just draws people in. Maybe it’s the fact to be the most diverse and just happens to be the cheapest continent in the world.

Or maybe it’s the diverse cultures or the stunning landscapes. Or could it be the delicious street food? No matter what it is, there are a lot of amazing places to visit in Asia – and they’re not all expensive!

Here are 10 of the best cheap countries to travel to in Asia. So pack your bags and get ready for an adventure!

A word of caution before getting started – the average daily budget that I’ll indicate for each country depends on your lifestyle. Of course, while these are cheap countries in Asia, don’t expect to sleep in 5-star hotels for $10 per night. That said, you’ll find your happiness no matter what.

Among the most popular and cheapest countries in Asia is Thailand, known for its picture-perfect beaches, temples, and rich culture. Budget-friendly options abound in Thailand, from cheap eats to inexpensive accommodation.

When it comes to transportation, you can save money by taking Songtaews, the public red cars, or calling Grab taxis, the equivalent of Uber, for only a few dollars a ride, including in tourist spots like Krabi or the capital city Bangkok .

The great thing about Thailand is the attractions . There are plenty of free or low-cost options, such as exploring local temples or taking a walk through a nature park. Whether you’re looking for an affordable beach vacation or a cultural getaway, Thailand is an excellent choice.

Plus, it’s one of the cheapest Asian country to live in, and that is interesting if you plan on living in southeast Asia.

Cheapest Places to Visit in Thailand

Thailand as a whole is quite a cheap country to visit, with lots of street food and hostels everywhere, but some places are more affordable than others.

Here are the cities in Thailand with reasonable prices for cheap vacations in Asia.

  • Bangkok, Thailand’s capital city

Daily Budget for Thailand

Thailand is one of the cheapest countries to travel in Asia and is known for its incredible street foods, lush white sand beaches, and friendly locals. As a result, it’s often seen as a budget-friendly destination.

You can expect to spend about $20 to $30 daily , but this will require some careful planning. Street foods and local restaurants are typically the cheapest options for meals, and hostels or humble hotels can be found for as little as $10 per night.

However, day trips in Thailand, such as elephant rides and island hopping, can add up very quickly. For instance, spending half a day in an elephant sanctuary will set you back $50 alone.

So it’s important to plan accordingly if you travel on a budget.

cheap asia travel destinations

Want to know more?

Check out all our guides about Thailand here.

Wat Arun Temple Bangkok cheapest countries to travel in Asia

Vietnam is another of the most affordable countries to visit in Asia. Despite its growing popularity with tourists, Vietnam has managed to retain its culture and charm.

From Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to the historical site of My Son and the beaches of Phu Quoc, there is something for everyone in Vietnam.

One of the best things about Vietnam is that it is possible to travel on a shoestring budget. Accommodation, food, and transportation are all very affordable, and there are plenty of free activities to enjoy as well.

It’s worth noting that Vietnam is full of UNESCO World Heritage Sites , including Hoi An old town , that you shouldn’t skip.

Whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in the local culture or relax on an unspoiled beach, Vietnam is the perfect destination for budget-minded travelers.

Cheapest Places to Visit in Vietnam

Vietnam is often referred to as the cheapest country in the world – and while I wouldn’t go that far, it’s pretty close. You can eat for less than a dollar, stay in a hotel for $5 or less, and taxis are super cheap.

If you’re looking for the cheapest destinations, these are some places with reasonable prices.

  • Ho Chi Minh City

Daily Budget for Vietnam

If you’re on a tight budget, Vietnam is the perfect place to visit. You can easily get by on $20 to $30 per day , and that includes everything from accommodation and food to transportation and activities.

Of course, if you want to splash out a bit more, you can always find ways to spend more. But if you’re looking to save some cash, Vietnam is definitely the place for you.

Here are some tips for sticking to your budget in Vietnam:

  • Choose accommodation carefully. Plenty of cheap hotels and hostels are available, so there’s no need to break the bank.
  • Travel with Grab Scooter and Taxi in cities, and fly with Vietjet Air from North to South – these are the cheapest options.
  • When it comes to food, street food is cheap and delicious. Don’t bother cooking your own meals; eating out is very cheap.

Lastly, there are plenty of free things to do in Vietnam. From exploring temples and hiking through national parks to simply taking in the sights and sounds of the major cities, there’s no shortage of ways to entertain yourself without breaking the bank.

cheap asia travel destinations

Check out all our guides about Vietnam here.

cheap asia travel destinations

Indonesia is an archipelago made up of more than 17,000 islands, so it’s no surprise that there are plenty of cheap places to visit. Among the most popular destinations are Bali, the Nusa Islands , and Flores, which offer stunning beaches, world-class diving, and lush jungle scenery.

Further inland, you can explore Indonesia’s fascinating cultural heritage in cities like Yogyakarta and Solo. And for those looking to really get off the beaten track, there are plenty of remote island villages to discover.

Indonesia is simply one of the best and cheapest countries in Asia to visit this year.

Cheapest Places to Visit in Indonesia

Everywhere you go in Indonesia will be cheap. Despite all the luxury hotels that are portrayed in Bali, you can spend days in Indonesia with only a few bucks in your pocket.

All in all, apart from the day trips, these are the cheapest places to visit in Indonesia :

  • Gili Islands
  • Komodo National Park

Daily Budget for Indonesia

Indonesia is incredibly cheap all around, and if you travel to bigger cities like Java, Jakarta, and Bali, then you can easily travel for $20 per day .

It’s not unusual to find hostels in Bali for $5, street food for $1 or $2, and renting a scooter won’t cost you more than $10. Can you think of cooler, cheapest countries to travel in Asia?

Man hiking with view of a mountain peak.

Indonesia is amazing!

Check out all our guides about Indonesia here.

Nusa Penida Bali cheapest places to travel in Asia

Cambodia is a country in Southeast Asia bordering Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand, famous for its sober history, Angkor Wat, the Mekong Delta, mountains, and glossy rice fields.

While Cambodia is far less developed than Thailand or Vietnam, it’s still very pleasant and safe to travel and one that I thoroughly enjoyed! Of course, it’s one of the cheapest countries to visit , and I’m confident you’ll love your time here.

In its capital, Phnom Penh, French colonial architecture sits alongside Buddhist pagodas such as the silver-painted Wat Phnom temple. In Siem Reap , tourists flock to see Angkor Wat, a monument UNESCO has labeled “the largest religious site in the world.”

Although Cambodia is still emerging from a tragic history – including genocide committed by the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s – it’s now known for its safety, hospitality, and affordable travel costs.

What I really loved about this incredible country is that there are endless things to do in Cambodia .

When compared with other popular tourist destinations in Asia, such as Thailand and Japan, Cambodia offers better value for money. Budget travelers can find accommodation for as little as $5 USD per night and meals for less than $2 USD.

With its rich history and culture, things to do in Kampot , Siem Reap, and Phnom Penh, Cambodia is an ideal destination for those looking to explore Asia on a budget.

Cheapest Places to Visit in Cambodia

Cambodia is one of the cheapest countries to visit, and you’ll see why as soon as you land.

Hotels are super cheap, street food is some of the most affordable I’ve seen, and cocktails are only a few dollars. Here are some cheap destination ideas in Cambodia.

  • Koh Rong Island

Daily Budget for Cambodia

Cambodia is a relatively inexpensive place to travel, and it’s possible to get by on a budget of $20 per day . However, if you want to rent a scooter, take a day trip, or eat at a nice restaurant, you’ll need to budget for more like $30-$40 per day .

Accommodation in Cambodia is very affordable, with basic rooms starting at around $5 to $10 per night. Food is also relatively cheap, and you can get a good meal for less than $10. Transportation costs are also reasonable, with bus tickets starting at around $5.

Overall, Cambodia is a great place to visit on a budget. With careful planning, it’s possible to have a great time while spending very little money.

cheap asia travel destinations

Cambodia is super cheap!

Check out all our guides about Cambodia here.

Angkor Wat Siem Reap Cambodia cheapest places to travel in Asia

When it comes to travel, Asia is a vast continent with a wide range of options to suit every budget. For those looking to stretch their dollar a little further, the Philippines and its amazing islands are an excellent choice.

And it’s one of my favorite places to visit in Southeast Asia !

Although it is not the cheapest country in Asia, especially due to its transportation system, the Philippines offers a good mix of affordable accommodation, food, and activities.

You can find plenty of street food for under $2, and hotels with private rooms start at around $10 per night. The country also boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and fascinating historical and cultural sites. So, if you’re looking for an affordable Asian adventure, be sure to add the Philippines to your list.

Cheapest Places to Visit in the Philippines

The cheapest places to travel in the Philippines are Luzon, Manila, Bohol, and Camiguin. I’d also add Siargao Island to this list, but restaurants and accommodation cost more than average, even if street food is cheap.

It’s worth noting that getting to the Philippines islands can be expensive since you’ll likely have to stop over in Cebu, and flights aren’t that cheap, especially during peak times. However, if you plan to visit 2 or 3 islands and Manila, then you can easily stay here cheaply.

Lastly, when visiting Palawan, you can spend some time in Busuanga Island , which is a cheaper alternative to places like El Nido!

Daily Budget for the Philippines

When traveling to the Philippines, you should plan at least $50 per day, including food and transportation. I recommend planning a little bit more if you are planning on taking several day trips. However, overall, for a week in the Philippines, $500 per person is enough to have a great time.

cheap asia travel destinations

Check out all our guides about the Philippines here.

cheap asia travel destinations

In my opinion, Malaysia is one of the most attractive Asian countries to visit for budget travelers, as there are many opportunities to explore the beautiful country on a tight budget.

While some of the surrounding islands can be pricey, traditional Malaysian cities like Kuala Lumpur, Melaka, and Penang have a variety of low-cost activities and attractions to keep you entertained. Accommodation starts at as cheap as $10 per night, while delicious local cuisines, such as satay and noodles, can be found in street stalls around major towns and cities.

Malaysia is also home to some of Southeast Asia’s most beautiful beaches, so it’s the perfect place to relax and unwind after a long day of sightseeing. Popular attractions include Petronas Towers, Batu Caves, and Langkawi Island.

If you’re looking to explore the famous sites of Southeast Asia without breaking the bank, Malaysia should definitely be at the top of your list.

Cheapest Areas to Visit in Malaysia

Housing some of the cheapest cities in Asia, many tourists turn to Penang, Langkawi, Melaka, and Johor Bahru for their travel needs. These places boast inexpensive public transportation systems and accommodations, making them easy on the pocketbook.

They’ve got everything from beachfront hotels to lush green forests and from shopping hubs to night markets!

Add an exciting food scene into the mix, and you have more than enough reason to plan your next trip there – without worrying about exorbitant bills!

Daily Budget for Malaysia

Traveling to Malaysia on a budget is entirely possible; with just $40 per day , it is possible to experience almost everything that the country has to offer.

Although luxuries such as fancy hotels or dinners at high-end restaurants may be out of reach, you can immerse yourself in all the country’s local attractions and vibrant culture.

Georgetown in Penang

Want a great time?

Make sure to read our guides about Malaysia here.

Malaysia cheap countries in Asia

Next is Nepal, an ideal destination for those looking to explore Asia on a budget. It is one of the cheapest countries in the region but offers travelers a variety of incredible sights and experiences.

Without having to spend too much, visitors can trek through stunning Himalayan landscapes, explore the ancient city of Kathmandu, get a glimpse into monastic life, and do some light shopping.

What’s more, there are plenty of opportunities for budget accommodation and local cuisine that won’t empty your wallet – you can easily find hotels for less than $10 a night!

Whether you’re after adventure or peaceful exploration, Nepal has something for everyone without breaking the bank.

Cheapest Areas to Visit in Nepal

There’s no shortage of wonderful vacation spots in Nepal, but if you’re looking for an affordable travel experience without sacrificing pleasure, these four destinations will certainly fit the bill:

Kathmandu is home to stunning historical landmarks and cultural gems, such as Swayambhunath and Narayanhiti Palace Museum. Pokhara provides access to beautiful lakes with crystal-clear mountain views in the backdrop. Be sure to bring your camera with you to capture these amazing sights!

Lumbini may be known for its gardens, but the true highlight here is the chance to explore one of Buddhism’s holiest sites – the place where Siddhartha Gautama was born! Finally, Nagarkot provides breathtaking vistas of some of Nepal’s most famous mountains and ample chances to participate in outdoor activities like hiking and bird watching.

Daily Budget for Nepal

Visiting Nepal doesn’t need to be expensive. Believe it or not, you can get a taste of all this remarkable country has to offer with only $30 to $40 per day . From strolling through the vibrant markets of Kathmandu to tasting Masala Tea in Dharan, you’ll have plenty of options at accessible prices.

Spend your mornings hiking through stunning landscapes and exploring breathtaking temples, then head into the cities for some street food, local events, and more.

Holy shrine in Kathmandu Nepal.jpg

Planning cheap Asia vacations is not complete without visiting Laos! Home to breathtaking waterfalls, epic Mekong river cruises, and mysterious jungle forests, there are plenty of stunning sights for an affordable price.

Laos is often overlooked by travelers, but it’s actually a great destination for budget travelers who are looking for an authentic experience. The country is home to many ethnic minority groups as well as stunning natural scenery.

Nestled between Thailand and Vietnam, the laidback country is cloaked in lush nature and burgeoning cities. From the ancient UNESCO World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang with ancient temples to Elephant hide-and-seek in Phou Hin Poun National Protected Area, you won’t be short of amazing experiences.

On top of that, mouth-watering local dishes are readily available at every corner, which are a definite must-try! So if you haven’t already visited Laos, it should be at the top of your traveling list.

Cheapest Areas to Visit in Laos

Laos is an awesome travel destination for budget travelers and backpackers willing to take in a unique culture and enjoy delicious food at a fraction of the price they’d pay back home.

Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Savannakhet, and Champasak all make excellent destinations for those who want to save even more and experience each place with an authentic feel. Plus, the warm hospitality of the people in Laos makes it a truly memorable adventure.

Plus, you could travel around the countryside and visit natural wonders like the Kuang Si Waterfalls , which are a must-see when coming to Laos, and the entrance fee is just about US$2.30!

Daily Budget for Laos

You can enjoy a full day out in Laos while sticking to a budget of just $15.

For one dollar, you can buy some delicious street food like nom khao – crispy rice salad with herbs and meat, often served with a fiery chili sauce – so your daily budget can quickly disappear into your belly. Alternatively, you can stop at an inexpensive restaurant. There are lots of options.

With that leftover money, you could grab some ice-cold Beer Lao for two bucks or explore one of the buzzing local markets where colorful fabrics and trinkets await. Whichever you choose, there’s plenty to experience without draining your wallet dry.

Luang Prabang cheapest countries to travel in Asia

Sri Lanka is an island nation that’s nothing short of incredible. With its pristine beaches, rolling tea estates, and ancient temples, Sri Lanka packs an unforgettable punch, especially when you consider the affordable cost!

From chic yet affordable beachside bungalows to mouthwatering street food that costs less than a dollar, Sri Lanka is a paradise for those who love to explore without emptying their wallets.

You can bask in the comfort of boutique hotels with ocean views, often at prices that will make you do a double-take, especially when compared to other island destinations in Asia.

While in Sri Lanka, don’t miss the opportunity to visit Ella – a beautiful hill country village known for its breathtaking views and hikes, all without costing an arm and a leg.

Additionally, daily necessities like groceries and local handicrafts are remarkably affordable, making Sri Lanka a dream destination if you want a mix of adventure and affordability.

Cheapest Places to Visit in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is the go-to destination for savvy travelers seeking a mix of adventure and tranquility without the hefty price tag. These budget-friendly spots in Sri Lanka should definitely be on your radar.

Arugam Bay, with its laid-back surfer vibe and stunning beaches, is perfect for those looking to catch some waves or just soak in the sun. Heading up north, Kandy offers a cultural feast with its sacred Buddhist sites and scenic lake, all at low-cost entry fees.

For a peaceful retreat, consider the small town of Mirissa, where you can enjoy whale watching and quiet beaches. Or, explore the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, where history comes alive amidst age-old ruins without a hefty entrance fee.

Sigiriya, with its iconic rock fortress, might have a slightly higher entrance fee, but the panoramic views and historical significance are worth every penny, and I’m confident you’ll have the time of your life there.

Daily Budget for Sri Lanka

You can easily travel around Sri Lanka for about $25 per day. The average cost-conscious traveler spends about $30 per day, but by eating local food, staying in guesthouses or hostels, and using public transportation, you can easily explore for less than that.

Not only does this approach stretch your dollar, but it also immerses you in the authentic Sri Lankan way of life. Try some scrumptious hoppers or kottu roti from a local vendor, ride the scenic train routes, drive a tuk-tuk in Sri Lanka , or join a traditional dance show in a village!

cheap asia travel destinations

Things to Know Before You Go

Traveling to Asia can be a life-changing experience. To make sure it’s a positive one, there are certain precautions and tips that you should keep in mind when planning your trip.

Travel Tips to Visit Asia

Knowing the cheapest countries to visit isn’t all, you’ll also want to know other essentials before going, and here are my personal recommendations.

Firstly, pack light! You don’t want to lug around too many bags as you explore the various attractions across Asia. Make sure you also have appropriate clothes for temple visits as exposing skin is frowned upon.

Get Travel Insurance

Your health and safety should remain paramount, so having travel insurance, getting vaccinated (especially when trekking in remote locations) and only drinking bottled water is essential.

Keep Cash With You

Living solely off of your credit or debit cards will not be possible wherever you go – the majority of smaller stores and street food vendors do not take cards as a method of payment, so take some local (or safe) currency with you, just in case.

Don’t Hesitate to Bargain

Don’t forget that bargaining is a common practice, especially in Southeast Asia, so if you feel comfortable doing this then use it to your advantage! Remember these simple yet vital travel tips and enjoy an unforgettable trip to Asia.

Which Countries in Asia Are Cheapest to Visit?

The good news is that you don’t have to break the bank to explore Asia. Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Nepal are some of the most affordable destinations in Asia.

From the bustling streets of Bangkok to the charming temples of Luang Prabang, these countries offer a unique blend of history, nature, and adventure.

Whether you want to visit ancient temples, sail along the Mekong River, or taste exotic dishes, there’s something for every budget and taste!

What is the Cheapest Way to Travel in Asia?

There are affordable transportation options available that won’t require you to spend a fortune.

First, you can book a bus on websites like 12Go.asia , which offers plenty of options for bus and train routes and schedules. Not only is this option budget-friendly, but you’ll also get to witness the beauty of Asia from a different viewpoint.

Alternatively, you could take flights with AirAsia or other cheaper airlines operating in the region. With some careful planning, you’ll be able to find some great deals that’ll help you save a considerable amount of money.

Which Countries are Cheaper Than Thailand?

While Thailand is a popular Southeast Asian destination, it’s not the only budget-friendly option.

Head over to Laos, where you can explore ancient temples and stunning waterfalls without spending a fortune. In Vietnam, experience the bustling cities and beautiful beaches for a fraction of the cost.

Cambodia offers a unique blend of history and natural beauty, with iconic landmarks like Angkor Wat and the stunning coastline of Sihanoukville.

For those interested in exploring the vibrant cultures and flavors of India, you’ll find a wealth of affordable options for food, transportation, and lodging. And lastly, there’s Indonesia, where you can soak up the sun on the beaches of Bali or explore the jungles of Sumatra without feeling the pinch in your wallet.

What to Pack for Asia

Whether you’re going on a leisurely vacation or a backpacking journey, it’s important to pack the right things. Here is a list of what you’ll need to make your trip to Asia comfortable and enjoyable:

  • Mobile router
  • A comfortable backpack
  • Long skirt and pants to visit temples

So there you have it—our list of 10 cheapest places to travel in Asia! This whirlwind tour of Asia’s most affordable destinations just goes to show that you don’t need a fortune to experience the cultures, landscapes, and delicious cuisines that Asia has to offer.

These destinations prove that the best things in travel don’t always come with a hefty price tag.

It’s all about immersing yourself in new experiences, meeting locals, sampling street food, and making memories that will last a lifetime – and you can do it all without breaking the bank!

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The best Asian countries to visit on a budget

Read all about the best Asian countries to visit: stunning destinations which are also among the cheapest places in the world.

cheap asia travel destinations

Jan 09, 2024

best asian countries to visit

Asia is a vast continent containing a mind-boggling array of landscapes, cultures and people. From the mountains of Nepal to the rain forests of Indonesia , and from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo to the laid-back charm of Chiang Mai – Asia has flavours to suit all tastes. But what are the best Asian countries to visit? 

It's obviously a personal question, and each traveller might have their own take on it. To help you make your choice, I've narrowed it down to 4 Asian destinations which are not only worth a visit but also very budget-friendly.

If you're wondering  where to travel to in Asia on a budget, here's what I would recommend:

Best Asian countries to visit on a budget 

For those looking for places to take a long vacation, I would definitely recommend these amazing Asian countries that have cheap attractions and accomodation. 

1. Stay a little while in Cambodia

best asian countries to visit

This Southeast Asian country bordered by Thailand, Laos and Vietnam is a great choice for travellers on a shoestring. In my opinion, Cambodia is definitely one of the best Asian countries to visit for anyone looking for a memorable travel experience . 

Good news is, you can easily keep daily costs below 40 dollars while travelling here. A cheap guesthouse room will set you back around 10 dollars and a meal in a simple restaurant costs around 5 dollars. You can also get around pretty inexpensively by using public buses. 

Travelling around Cambodia i s surprisingly easy and journeys between cities and tourist destinations do not tend to take very long due to the country being relatively small and largely flat. 

Some of Cambodia’s highlights include Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Battambang, Kampot and Kep. Shall we get to know them, and understand why I think this is one of the best Asian countries to visit?

One of the main reasons people come to Cambodia is to visit the Angkor Wat temple complex close to Siem Reap. And that’s not surprising; visiting these ancient temples surrounded by jungle is a mind-blowing experience. 

To make the most of your visit and soak up the magic of the place, it’s advisable to buy the three-day pass. Another tip is to rent a bicycle and explore the ruins at your own pace – this is not a place to be rushed!

In Phnom Penh, you have plenty of opportunities to learn about Cambodia’s history . Visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields to find out about the atrocities that occurred here in the 1970s. 

It’s a harrowing yet essential experience, as everyone you meet in Cambodia will have either lived through the Khmer Rouge regime, or know people who did. It’s impossible not to be moved by the stories you hear and by the resilience of the every-friendly Cambodian people.

Battambang is a laid-back city, a far cry from the commotion of the capital and devoid of tourist crowds. Come here to relax, enjoy the quirky cafés, ride the bamboo train and rent a bike or scooter in order to explore the surrounding countryside and traditional villages. 

  • Kampot and Kep

Finally, Kampot and Kep on the south coast are well worth a visit. Kampot is a sleepy riverside town with a lively backpacker scene. Highlights here include taking a sunset river cruise, exploring local caves and touring a pepper plantation. 

Coastal town Kep is just a short drive away and a great place to spot abandoned houses (it was the country’s top seaside destination until the 1960s), relax on the beach and eat the local speciality: crab with green peppercorns. 

You might also like these articles:

  • Is Cambodia safe to visit? What you need to know before you travel
  • 10 things you need to know about backpacking Myanmar  
  • 10 best places to visit in Thailand  

2. Travel through India like a local 

best asian countries to visit

You’ll be surprised at how far your money can go in India. Travellers on a budget can expect to spend up to 3000 rupees ($40) per day on accommodation, meals, travel expenses and admission to a museum or two, making it our second place in the list of the best Asian countries to visit on a budget.

Being such a huge country, your biggest expenditure could be travelling from A to B. But long distance travel doesn’t have to cost much. If you really want to save money and don’t mind roughing it on long journeys, take the train and choose sleeper class. Not only is it dirt cheap, it’s also a great cultural experience that will give you a glimpse into the lives of ordinary Indians. 

Not only on the train itself – where hawkers walk up and down the aisles selling sweet masala chai and all kinds of snacks and where whole families travel together with what seems like all their belongings – but also along the railway tracks. There is no glass in the windows in sleeper class, so you can stick your head out of the train (being careful, of course) and absorb the sights, sounds and smells that pass by.

The Indian subcontinent is so extensive and varied that you may want to focus on a particular area. Here are some ideas:

  • Visit the Himalayan North for mountains, Buddhist temples, cool hill stations and holy river sources. 
  • Focus on the central plains if you want to see some of the country’s most iconic sights. New Delhi (the Red Fort, Humayun’s Tomb and the Jama Masjid), Amritsar (the Golden Temple) and Agra ( Taj Mahal ) can all be found in this region. 
  • For stunning desert scenes and colourful ancient cities, visit Gujarat and Rajasthan in the north-western part of the country. Further to the south is the vibrant city of Mumbai (home of Bollywood ) and the beautiful palm-fringed beaches of Goa . 
  • Even further southward is Southern India , where you’ll find ancient temples, lush jungle, tropical beaches and lots and lots of spicy vegetarian food. 
  • Eastern India , home to the city of Calcutta, is less visited by travellers and you’ll really feel like you’re going off-the-beaten track here. 
  • The same can be said of North-Eastern India, where you’ll find miles upon miles of tea plantations and traditional forest-dwelling tribes.

3. Have a slow travel experience in Bali

visit bali on a budget

Indonesia's diverse landscapes, rich cultural heritage , and warm hospitality make it an amazing travel destination. From the stunning beaches of Bali to the ancient temples of Borobudur and the lush jungles of Borneo, Indonesia has something for every type of traveler.

Bali is just one of Indonesia’s many islands (there are more than 17,000 of them), but it’s easy to see why it’s also the most popular . And despite this popularity, it’s still one of the best places in Asia to visit on a budget.

$40 dollars a day should be manageable for the most thrifty travellers, though prices do vary greatly depending on where you are on the island. 

One way to save money in Bali is to travel there outside peak season (which means avoiding the school summer holidays and the period around Christmas and New Year). 

Another way you can keep to a tight budget is to eat in warungs – cheap local restaurants that serve a wide variety of delicious Indonesian dishes . And to keep travel costs to a minimum, you might consider renting a motorbike for just $5 a day!

Bali is surprisingly diverse and has something to satisfy all kinds of travellers. 

  • The southern part of the island sees the most tourists as it is home to the main city Denpasar and to the surf resort Kuta Beach. If you like crowds and parties , these destinations are for you. 
  • If you prefer a less hectic and more authentic experience, venture further away and see what else Bali has to offer. Like Central Bali , which is the cultural heart of the island and full of Hindu temples, traditional villages, verdant mountains and gorgeous waterfalls. 
  • Ubud is a great place to see a cultural dance performance, visit a spa (sometimes you need to splash out and treat yourself) or buy Balinese arts and crafts. 
  • For wild nature, empty beaches, great diving and top-class surfing, make your way to West Bali – the least populated and visited part of the island. 
  • East Bali boasts the mighty Mount Agung, lush rainforest, traditional fishing villages, an active volcano and stunning rice terraces. It’s also where you can take a ferry to the nearby island of Lombok. 

Other islands you may want to visit while you’re in Bali are Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida – all great destinations to enjoy everything beach life has to offer (which in Bali also means awesome surf, diving and snorkelling).

Read more articles about Asia:   What I learned during my first Worldpackers trip in Vietnam

4. Enjoy the calmary of Laos on a budget

laos is one of the cheapest asian countries

You’ll feel like a millionaire in Laos. Literally. If you take 100 dollars out of a cash machine, you’ll end up with more than one million Lao kip (the local currency)! And all those kip go far – a cheap hostel room will cost you around $5, a simple meal $3, and you can expect to pay around $2 per 100 km when travelling by local bus. 

While it’s a fairly small country, infrastructure isn’t very developed so expect long journeys. But one of the great things about Laos is the slow pace of life; nobody is in a hurry here and you’ll almost feel as though you have travelled back in time . You have no choice but to chill out, enjoy the moment and live in slow motion.

Laos is one of the least-visited countries in Southeast Asia but also one of the most breath-taking. It has gilded temples, dramatic waterfalls, extensive cave networks, high mountains and sun-kissed river islands. Trust me: if you want to get off the beaten path, this is definitely one of the best Asian countries to visit.

Vientiane , the sleepy capital that feels more like a small town, is a great place to start your travels in Laos . Explore the city’s many temples and get a feel for this country’s strong Buddhist traditions, visit the National Museum to find out about the history of Laos, buy authentic handicrafts at the local shops and then relax with a cold Beer Lao while watching the sun go down over the Mekong River. 

  • Luang Prabang

From Vientiane, you can take local buses to a wide variety of destinations across the country. Luang Prabang is a UNESCO world heritage site that will wow you with its beautiful temples and colonial-era architecture. 

  • Vang Vieng and Si Phan Don   

Get a glimpse of the rare black crested gibbon at the Gibbon Experience in the Bokeo Nature Reserve. 

Enjoy outdoor activities like mountain biking, kayaking and trekking in Vang Vieng (which has gone from being a notorious backpacker party town to an eco-tourism centre) or go island hopping in Si Phan Don and maybe even see a river dolphin or two while relaxing along the banks of the mighty Mekong. 

There’s something for everyone in Laos, and it’s particularly well-suited to travellers looking for the best Asian countries to visit on a budget.

How to enjoy the most of these and other Asian countries

volunteer in asia and travel for cheap

Avoiding peak season, travelling by local bus, eating street food and sleeping in hostel dorms are all great ways to save money while travelling. 

However, one of the most effective ways to stick to a tight budget in Asia or anywhere else in the world is to take part in a work exchange ; volunteer while travelling and exchange your time and effort for free accommodation and free or cheap meals. 

The Worldpackers platform allows you to do just that: it puts together thousands of volunteering opportunities of all kinds, with hosts ranging from party hostels to social and eco projects. Besides being a great way to save money, these experiences can be life changing , teaching you a lot about local culture and about yourself.

Check out these Worldpackers experiences in Cambodia , India and Bali and start dreaming about your next trip to Asia! 

  • Have you ever thought about living in a community in India? This project is recruiting volunteers to  look after rescue animals
  • Volunteers with interest and expertise in digital marketing are being needed in a pepper farm in Cambodia!
  • This other project in Bali needs help from volunteers to teach local students to improve their French in exchange of free acommodation and meals, so if you're a fluent speaker, that's your chance!

All the positions above give the volunteer the opportunity to travel longer and cheaper by staying with a host that will provide bed and food (in some cases), and other amenities. In most cases you will be very close to tourist points of interest, and making local friends is a plus.

If you don’t just want to save money but also want to make money while you travel, take a look at this article describing 10 easy and creative ways to save money while traveling ! 

best asian countries to visit

FAQ about the best Asian countries to visit on a budget

Are these asian countries safe for travelers.

All of these best Asian countries to visit are generally safe countries for travellers, but like in any destination, it's good to take basic precautions like avoiding poorly lit areas at night and respecting local customs and traditions. Here's an overview of the safety situation in each country:

India: it's a vast and diverse country, and safety can vary depending on the region you visit. Overall, major tourist destinations and popular cities are considered safe for travellers. However, it's advisable to be cautious in crowded places and be aware of petty theft and pickpocketing in tourist areas.

Cambodia: it's a safe country for travelers, but it's still important to exercise vigilance, especially in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, which are popular tourist destinations. Avoid walking alone at night and take care of your belongings in crowded places. 

Indonesia : Bali and other major tourist areas are considered safe, but remote areas may have different safety considerations. Natural disasters, such as earthquakes and tsunamis, can occur, so it's essential to stay informed about the latest travel advisories.

Laos:  the country has a relatively low crime rate. However, like any destination, exercise caution in tourist areas and busy markets to prevent petty theft. 

Please note that the safety situation in any country can change over time, so it's good to seek the most recent information and advice from official sources before traveling.

visit laos

When is the best time to visit these Asian countries?

That greatly varies depending on the region and your preferences. Generally, India is best visited during the cooler months of November to February, Cambodia and Laos during the dry season from November to April, and Indonesia can be visited year-round, but some areas have wet and dry seasons.

I hope you enjoyed this list of Asian countries to visit on a budget! Keep reading our blog for more travel tips and inspiration.

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Helen Talbot

I quit my job as a teacher to travel around Portugal and Brazil to improve my language skills. I've ended up learning loads more than just Portuguese and am having an amazing Worldpackers experience. Passionate about travel too? Get in touch.

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Best & Cheapest Asian Countries To Visit

  • by Jonny Duncan
  • June 7, 2023 January 3, 2024

Asia has some of the best budget travel destinations in the world and for the budget backpacker, this is the ultimate cheapest Asian country to visit.

I’ve given a quick rundown of 9 more of the cheapest Asian countries to visit to begin with and the number one cheapest Asian country to visit is at the end of the article.

Let’s start with the first 10 cheapest counties in Asia.

10 Cheapest Asian Countries

Cheapest Asian country to visit, walking in hills in Laos.

Laos is undoubtedly an awesome country to visit on a budget and is part of the backpacker’s paradise of 4 countries all interlinked with each other that are great to visit, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos.

Laos also has some great temples in the city of Luang Prabang, which is one of the most chilled-out cities in southeast Asia to visit and hang out in, with many stunning nature trips nearby as well.

cheap asia travel destinations

Cambodia is home to one of the most famous temple complexes in Asia , if not the world, Angkor Wat. If you have any interest in ancient architecture in Asia, then Cambodia is a must-visit country.

As far as the cheapest Asian country to visit goes, this is also one of the best, and apart from Angkor Wat, there is plenty of jungle activities to do and some laid back beaches in the south to relax on.

Things to do in Lopburi Thailand.

Thailand is known as the ‘Land of the Smiles’ and for good reason, it’s one of the friendliest countries and is seriously a cheapest Asian country to visit as far as things to do there go.

There’s a reason I spent several years of my life living in Thailand (it’s also where I met my wife.)

It also has some of the best food in Asia!

Add to that some of the best islands in Asia, beaches, nightlife in Bangkok, plenty of historic temples in the ancient old city of Chiang Mai, and hill-tribe hiking in the north where you can also stay in chilled backpacker hangouts like the village of Pai.

I have written many guides to Thailand but the one I will recommend here is my guide to the city of Lopburi which is where I lived for 2 years.

Cheapest Asian country to visit, man on horse with an eagle.

Ah, Kyrgyzstan! One of my favourite countries in the world. Friendly people. epic mountains and some of the best hikes in Asia, along with different cultures all sharing this small country together.

The best experience I had in the country was attending the World Nomad Games on 2 occasions, once in 2014 and the other in 2016, where nomadic tribes from around the world came to compete in ancient nomadic sports.

Tana Toraja, Sulawesi.

Having spent the best part of a year on different trips in Indonesia exploring many places, I can easily say that Indonesia is one of the best budget-friendly countries in Asia to travel to and also one of the most fascinating.

From great hiking and tribal adventures in Papua to ancient rituals in Tana Toraja in Sulawesi, and beach time relaxing in many areas, it’s the ultimate destination for backpackers.

Cameron Highlands attractions valley tea.

Many travellers just visit Peninsula Malaysia as it’s easy to get to between Thailand and Singapore or as a jumping-off point to the Indonesian Island of Sumatra. But Malaysia has some of the best adventures to offer in Asia on the Malaysian part of Borneo

The Cameron Highlands are a top choice for backpackers on Peninsula Malaysia for hiking and tea plantations to chill out in.

The one problem with being a cheapest Asian country to visit is that if you do go to the Borneo part and do some of the best activities there, then it will add up to your budget, such as flying to the Kelabit Highlands .

Sunset in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is like a mini version of India and maybe a little easier for travelling, and not just for the obvious reason of being a smaller country than India, but also because it has a more relaxed vibe to it (read: less hassle.)

Backpacking in Sri Lanka is one of the best destinations in Asia for backpackers as it has so much to offer for its relatively small size.

You have epic surfer beaches, hills, mountains, wildlife safaris, ancient temples, and much more. It’s also one of the cheapest places in Asia to visit.

Hue or Hoi An. Palace in Hue.

Vietnam completes the ‘Golden Circuit’ of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. These four countries are a backpacker’s haven.

Vietnam is one of the most fascinating countries to visit in Asia and offers up everything from ancient historical cities, beach hangouts, and nightlife in Ho Chi Minh City, with lots of jungle and nature activities as well.

Two of my favourite cities in Vietnam are Hue and Hoi An .

cheap asia travel destinations

Nepal is one of the ultimate destinations in Asia for those seeking mountain thrills. I visited in 2001, and out of all the countries in Asia to visit, this is one of the best, by far.

It’s cheap to travel and as the main activity to do there is mountain trekking in the Himalayas, it won’t cost you much either, as long as you trek alone and not with an organised tour.

Kathmandu city has some awesome historical places to visit as well and the south has Chitwan National Park where you can adventure into the jungle and seek out wild elephants as well as crocodiles by the river, and more.

Backpacking in Pakistan.

Ok, Pakistan may not be the cheapest Asian country to visit overall, but it certainly is cheap if you get away from the cities and head into the mountains of the north where epic mountains await and friendly tribes welcome you to stay.

I’m a bit biased on this one, having lived for 3 years in Pakistan and exploring all over the country. It’s one of the best countries in Asia for mountain adventures, and off-the-beaten-path for many backpackers.

Read my guides to Pakistan .

Cheapest Asian Country To Visit

And the cheapest Asian country to visit is…

Train in India.

Yes, although there are plenty of budget-friendly countries in Asia to visit, India really is the best bang-for-your-buck destination out there.

When I spent several months backpacking in India I managed to travel very cheaply and yet had a great time and saw and did many things.

India just has so many experiences to have, from epic mountain hiking in the Himalayas in the north, the historic desert cities of Rajasthan state, mind-boggling big cities like Mumbai, ancient places like Varanasi on the holy Ganges River , to relaxing on the beaches of Goa and Kerala.

Go Budget Backpacking In Asia

Asia is a backpacker’s paradise and if you’re on a tight budget, then any of the countries listed here will be excellent places to visit.

For an overview of budget travel around the world take a look at the 25 cheapest countries to travel to .

For loads of more travel in Asia, have a read of my guides to Asia .

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Top 15 Cheapest Countries to Visit in Asia That Won’t Break the Bank

Who doesn’t love a good vacation? A break from everyday life can be refreshing. But it is not always easy on the wallet. In that case, Asia can be the perfect place for budget travellers ! It is a fascinating continent with so many countries to explore.

This article lists the top 15 cheapest countries to visit in Asia that fit into any budget! If you wanted to read about world Best Cities to Visit read here

Asia, in general, is a culturally rich region of the world. There are so many countries with different cultures to explore. It can be challenging to know where you should start when planning your trip! If you are looking for the cheapest way, the below discussion will help you make the decision!

When travelling all over Asia, it is best to have travel insurance for your safe journey. Find out How to Buy The Best Travel Insurance here.

Disclaimer: Please note that the countries mentioned in this article as being affordable travel destinations were based on factors such as budget accommodations and street food options. However, individual experiences may vary, and it is important to research and plan accordingly before traveling to any destination.


The Most Affordable & Cheapest Countries to Visit in Asia

1. cambodia.

Cheapest Countries to Visit in Asia: Cambodia

To start your backpacker tour or Simply just visiting in Asia, you can head down first in Cambodia . As it is placed at the centre of Southeast Asia, Cambodia is the easiest and cheapest option to start your journey. U$10.00 to U$20.00 is enough for a day in Cambodia.

Though Cambodia is one of the cheapest countries in Asia, that doesn’t mean it’s not unique! Travelers visit Cambodia for its temples and warm locals. Siem Reap is the most visited and budget-friendly place in Cambodia. Some other places to visit in Cambodia are Angkor Wat , Bayon Temple, Royal Palace, and a ton more. Don’t forget to explore Phnom Penh , the bustling metropolis capital of Cambodia.

Street food in Cambodia includes seafood, meat skewers, fried chicken, vegetables and more. The most popular dishes are Amok (fish in banana leaf), Fish Amok (fish curry), Samlor (soup) and many more. Within U$5.00, you can have a full belly meal.


Laos is another cheapest country in Asia to visit. You can expect to spend less than U$15.00 a day. As with other affordable destinations , Laos is getting more popular each year thanks to its jungles, waterfalls and rustic charm – not to mention amiable locals! 

Moreover, adventurous travelers are heading here to enjoy the thrill of white-water rafting, hiking, kayaking, and exploring Laos’ dense forests. Kuang Si Waterfall, Phousi Hill, Golden Temple and more are popular attractions in Laos.

Laos is famous for its cheap but delicious street food. Popular dishes include Khao Jee (fried rice), Khao Tom (soup), Lab Pib(spicy grilled skewers), Sai Our (spicy sausage) and many more. All these items come at a very affordable price.

3. Myanmar (Burma)


Burma is rich in natural beauty and Buddhist art, architecture and culture. It has a lot of historical sites to explore, but people travel to Burma for its friendly locals rather than the attractions. 

Its ancient city Bagan is recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site which can be the sole reason to visit Myanmar. Despite its recent history, Burma remains a beautiful country with many attractions, such as gorgeous temples and palaces, awe-inspiring landscapes and, most notably, it’s incredibly kind people. 

Burmese food is generally very spicy, but it’s delicious as well. The most popular dishes are Mohinga (rice noodles), Ohn No (coconut milk soup), Lahpet (pickled tea leaves) and many more. You can have food for less than U$1.00 But the transportation and accommodation can be a bit expensive than in other countries in Asia. It may cost you U$20.00 to U$35.00 a day to live on in Myanmar.

4. Malaysia


Malaysia has uncountable gems for tourists. Your Asia tour would be incomplete without visiting the historical, cultural, and natural beauty of Malaysia. Its capital state Kuala Lumpur contains so many histories and architectural landmarks that you can explore. And there are more incredible states and cities like Selangor, Pahang, Perak, Putrajaya, Melaka and many others, which have numerous underrated jewels.

Malaysia is a budget-friendly country, and it is cheaper than its neighboring country Singapore or even Thailand. You can get by on under U$25.00 a day. Food, transport, and accommodation are all very affordable here. You can book a Klook Pass for all the best places in Kuala Lumpur at a reasonable price.

Malaysia is also very safe for solo female travellers . The locals are generally amiable, which makes Malaysia one of the best countries in Southeast Asia to visit. Batu Caves, i-City, Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve, Mount Kinabalu, Langkawi, Kinabalu Park and many more are the most exciting attractions in Malaysia. 


5. Thailand


Whenever we plan to have a tour of Asia, Thailand is the top-listed country that comes to our mind. From its vibrant city of Bangkok to the fascinating beaches in Phuket, all turn the country into a must-visit destination. 

Thailand is well-known worldwide to be a budget tourist spot. The country used to be more expensive than it is today. From U$25.00 to U$30.00, you can spend a day in Thailand.

Thailand has become one of the cheapest places in Southeast Asia to visit – especially if you travel on a shoestring budget! The Grand Palace, Railay Beach, Wat Phra Kaew are the most-visited tourist destinations in Thailand.

Thailand is famous for its delicious, spicy food. If you love seafood, Thai cuisine may be for you since it uses so much fresh fish! You don’t have to spend more than U$3.00 on food in this country. 

6. The Philippines


The Philippines is known for its beautiful beaches, tropical climate, delicious food, and friendly locals who are always keen to chat with you or play music for you! The country offers you so many places to visit and things to do that are beyond imagination. Especially its capital Manila is a vibrant city which so many hidden gems.

If you’re going to the Philippines, expect to spend about U$25.00 a day. Chocolate Hills, Malapascua Island, Boracay Island, Siquijor Island are the must-visit tourist attractions in the Philippines. 

Most popular dishes include Adobo (meat or vegetables cooked in soy sauce), Pancit Palabok (noodles), Inihaw na Manok (grilled chicken) and many more that can satisfy your appetite. If you eat street foods, your food cost would be less than U$5.00, which is quite affordable.

Accommodation can be expensive here. Try to find a dorm room that will cost you between U$10.00 to U$15.00

7. Indonesia


Indonesia has plenty of diversity with thousands of islands to explore, each with its own unique culture and beauty. The budget of the country is significantly different from Island to Island. So, it is pretty challenging to say a day’s budget, but within $15 to $25, you can make your day.

It’s a cheap country to visit, and it’s also a great way for solo female travelers to meet new friends! Borobudur Temple, Uluwatu Temple, Tanah Lot Temple and many more historical sites are the popular tourist destinations of this country.

Food in Indonesia is generally cheap and delicious, with popular Indonesian dishes including Nasi Goreng (fried rice), Rendang (spicy meat stew), Mi Goreng (fried noodles) and so on. Try to spend $3 to $5 on food so that you can balance your budget.


Vietnam is one of the most beautiful countries in Southeast Asia. The divine sights, waterfall, islands, and hills make this country the top destination to visit in Asia.

Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, is a paradise for city lovers. From iconic buildings to golden temples, modern skyscrapers, to quaint cafes, there is so much to see and do here that you will not get bored! 

Cu Chi Tunnel, Temple of Literature, Notre-Dame Cathedral are the top tourist attractions in Vietnam. Some of their most popular dishes are pho, banh mi, and bun cha that you must try. There are many more delicious foods found in this great country so find your next favourite!

The best part about this country is how cheap it can be. With a daily budget of just $15 per person, including accommodations, food, transportation, and activities, you can have a very affordable trip to Vietnam.


India is the third-largest country in Asia, just after China. But according to the budget, you can’t imagine how cheap and affordable this country is! 

India has a mixture of attractions, from religious sites to natural scenery – and fast-developing modern cities. Not in every country of Asia, you’ll see the combination of desert, beaches, mountains, jungle, and cities. From Darjeeling to Kashmir , every part of India has a touch of beauty.

India is the top destination for backpackers because it offers many wonders at less than $15 a day. Accommodations are cheap, especially if you opt for a good hotel not in the touristy areas. It may cost you $2 to $5. India’s famous historical places are the Taj Mahal, Red Fort, Amber Palace, Guwahati, etc.

Make yourself comfortable to have street food because it comes less than $3. The transportations are also very reasonable in price. 12GoAsia can help you to check the right price and book transportations such as buses and trains.


Nepal is not as cheap as it once was, but it’s still more affordable than many other countries in the world. You can still get by on less than $30 a day. Nepal has always been famous for its mountains and incredible mountain views everywhere you go – especially around Pokhara! 

Travellers come here to enjoy the fresh air and tranquillity or experience the famous Mustang district near the Himalayas – one of the last untouched areas in Asia (and maybe even in the world!). Boudha Stupa, Chitwan National Park, Bhaktapur Durbar Square are the must-visit destinations in Nepal. 

The country is famous for hiking, but to save your budget, avoid organised guided trips. Other expenses like food or transportation come by $3 and $1.5 respectively.

11. Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka might not be the first place you think of visiting, but it’s becoming more popular with budget travellers. While Sri Lanka is still developing as a tourist destination, its neighbouring countries are already very developed and expensive. That makes Sri Lanka an ideal alternative for those on smaller budgets who want to explore South Asia! 

Yala National Park Safari, Sri Pada, Sri Dalada Maligawa and many more are the most interesting attractions in Sri Lanka. You can expect to live on $20 a day, which is remarkably cheap and affordable.

Accommodations start from as cheap as $7 a night, while food will set you back at less than $5 for a tasty meal. Seafood is plentiful and cheap, while Sri Lanka’s delicious street food is also very affordable.

12. Bangladesh


Bangladesh may not be the top tourist destination in Asia, but backpackers find it an incredible place to visit. Often tourists skip this country, but the country offers a lot of history and culture that you can explore. 

The star attraction of Bangladesh is Sundarban , the most extensive mangrove forest in the world. Not only that, but the country is also the home of the world’s largest sea-beach, Cox’s Bazar. Rangamati is a city with endless beauty, which you can only explore by visiting Bangladesh. And the good news is you can explore all of these places with a daily budget of $20. 

13. Pakistan


Often travellers avoid Pakistan because of its political problem. But now, the country has overcome this problem and increased its security system. So, for budget travellers, Pakistan is a great destination.

It is said that “if there is heaven on earth, then it is in Kashmir, Pakistan”. The old-style streets and buildings and Islamic culture make the country fascinating.

You can expect to spend less than $15 a day in Pakistan. Badshahi Mosque, Lahore Fort, Margalla Hills National Park, Thatta Kedona are the most-visited tourist attractions.

14. Azerbaijan


Azerbaijan is famous and widely known as ” The Land of Fire” because of its natural gas reserve. And as the country is rich in both petrol and gas, the transportation cost is meagre here. 

Azerbaijan is a country worth exploring if you’re looking for some great architecture. It has many gorgeous buildings, especially in Baku. You are welcome to head down to the city for its photo opportunities and quaintness. 

There are also amazing places to visit like Sheki, Gebele, Nakhchivan, Quba and Khinalig. Travellers can visit Azerbaijan for $22 to $30 a day.

The cuisine that connects Azerbaijan is famous noodles called Khingal. Although it is thought that the origin of Khingal is Armenia, it is actually an Azerbaijani cuisine. The exquisite dish is served with browned onions and ground lamb as toppings.

You can also choose mushrooms as toppings instead of lamb if you are a vegetarian. The dish is served in almost every restaurant and cafe of Azerbaijan. You can also buy the ingredients and try the recipe yourself.

. The food price starts from $3 to $10.

15. Armenia


Placed in the middle of two continents of Asia and Europe, Armenia is a country that has a unique history. This country contains cultures of both continents, Europe and Asia. 

Despite being a small country, Armenian offers you stunning architecture, rich history, thrilling adventure, delicious food, and warm hospitality. And all of these come with budgets that fit you.

Travellers, especially history buffs, are drawn to the ancient temples and Churches in Armenia. You can explore its vibrant capital Yerevan, along with Lake Sevan, Lake Arpi, and several other places without breaking the bank.

Food available at Armenian takeaways are usually delicacies such as Lavash (bread), Khorovats (Armenian BBQ) or Kebab. You are expected to spend $4 to $6 on food in Armenia. 

Moreover, hostels and transport are also affordable and come in $4 and $2, respectively. So, within $15 to $20 a day, you can enjoy this prettiest country with all that it offers.

A Few Things to Keep in Mind:

Although all these countries offer highly affordable prices, keeping a few things in mind is still essential. The first thing you should check before booking or arriving at your destination is the current exchange rates for U.S. dollars and the local currency. That can help you make a proper budget for what things cost and how much money you will get back when you leave.

Another vital thing is that the cheapest time to go to these countries is during their monsoon seasons, which usually fall between June and September. It is more difficult for tourists to get around due to bad weather, but prices become cheaper and more manageable.

The same goes for their winter seasons (December to February) but keep in mind that some activities and transportation may be difficult to do during this time of year.

Make sure you check out these beautiful countries because they are the perfect destination for backpackers ! And share your story with us.

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Khinkali is Georgian, not Azerbaijani. Besides, it is eaten plain without sour cream and vinegar, not to be confused with Russian Pelmeni.

Khinkali is Georgian, not Azerbaijani. Besides, it is traditionally eaten plain without sour cream and vinegar, that is Russian Pelmeni!

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Thanks for the information. I was confused between Khingal and Khinkali. I’ll fix it.

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Its highly appreciate information.

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The Frugal Expat

The 15 Cheapest Countries to Travel in Asia For Tourists on a Budget

Steve Cummings

April 13, 2023

what is geo arbitrage

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Asia is renowned for being the ideal budget travel destination, offering beautiful experiences, a fascinating history, and delicious food for a meager cost.

Nobody can deny that they love a good trip. A break from routine can be rejuvenating. But, it does not need to be expensive. In such a case, Asia may be an ideal destination for travelers on a budget. With so many countries to discover, it is a fascinating continent. Let's uncover the cheapest countries to travel in Asia that won't break the bank, and every destination would be worth visiting.

15 of the Cheapest Countries to Travel in Asia

Asia is everyone's favorite. Below are the names of the surprisingly beautiful and budget-friendly places you can visit here.

1.     Cambodia


You can start your backpacker tour of Asia by going to Cambodia first. It is the most convenient and affordable spot to begin your adventure in Southeast Asia. For a day in Cambodia, you need between $10.00 to $20.00.

Although this country is economical, you will still see appreciable sights here. It has so much to offer to its visitors. The most popular and cost-effective destination in Cambodia is Siem Reap. Likewise, Angkor Wat, Bayon Temple, the Royal Palace, and numerous other attractions of Cambodia are featured with appealing visions and are budget-friendly at the same time.

2.   Indonesia

Since Bali is known for luxury and is not a place for those on a budget, Indonesia might not come to mind when you think of inexpensive Asia trips. But Java and Sumatra , in particular, are far more reasonably priced and great to visit.

Indonesia is easily accessible from all corners of the globe. It holds from natural to man-made surprising places to showcase to tourists, including stunning beaches for tanning, wildlife, ecotourism, and surfing.

3.   Vietnam

Well, Vietnam has always been admired as one of the top travel destinations in Asia. This country is renowned for its delectable cuisine, captivating landscapes, vibrant culture, and some of the world's most stunning caverns. It's home to breathtaking views like Ha Long Bay, Ban Gioc Waterfall, the province of Hà Giang with its highlands, and countless others.

Regarding a reasonably priced location, Vietnam is the ideal destination with various sites. So if you are seeking the least expensive country to visit, map out your plans for Vietnam.

4.   The Philippines

El Nido The Philippines

No one ever gets to see the Philippines because there are more than 7,000 islands.

The Philippines can be at the top of your list of places to visit if snorkeling, diving, and island hopping seem like your idea for a good vacation. Although this country is a little more expensive than other Southeast Asian vacation spots, it is still quite reasonable compared to Western countries.

5.   Bangladesh

Bangladesh falls in the category of the best destination if you're budget conscious but want to explore a unique cultural hub. An immense mangrove forest in the world, the Sundarbans is located in Bangladesh. Another highlight is Cox's Bazar, the world's longest uninterrupted sandy beach.

You can indulge and occasionally enjoy first-rate hotel rooms and upscale dining establishments in Bangladesh with a daily budget of 4,000 takas (about £34). However, a meal in a budget restaurant costs about 150 Bangladeshi takas, or about £1.27. You can learn about historical temples in Puthia, Barisal's river life, ancient remains in Gaur, and more.

6.   Laos

Laos is occasionally disregarded as a travel destination, yet anyone who has been there will testify to its great value. It's a feast for the eyes, filled with Buddhist temples, rice farms, and stunning extended forests. There are many things to explore, including French colonial architecture, former royal palaces, and Southeast Asia's largest waterfall.

Prices here are similar to those in nearby countries. On average, hostel beds cost $10 per night. Even cheaper are dorm rooms, which can sometimes cost as little as $2 for a larger dorm.

7.   Thailand

what is geo arbitrage

Thailand probably comes to mind when considering an affordable Asian destination. Beyond bucket cocktails and full moon parties, this vast country provides remarkable adventures.

Of course, we are not overlooking the meal. Thailand offers unique experiences at a very reasonable cost, such as diving at world-famous spots, elephant trekking through the Thai jungle, and strolling around the turquoise lakes. It is one of Asia's most well-liked inexpensive travel destinations for food because local delicacies like Pad Thai, Mango Sticky Rice, and Beef Panang Curry can be purchased from street vendors for as low as $1.

8.   Malaysia

Tourists can find countless treasures in Malaysia. Your trip to Asia would be incomplete without visiting Malaysia's historical, cultural, and natural splendor. Kuala Lumpur, the state's capital, is coupled with historical sites and notable buildings worth exploring.

Budget-friendly Malaysia is less expensive than Thailand, which is its neighbor. In fact, you can survive on less than $25.00 per day. Additionally, several unique states and cities have several undiscovered gems, like Selangor, Pahang, Perak, Putrajaya, Melaka, and many others.

9.   Nepal

The actual prices of visiting Nepal are overly reasonable- however, expensive activities like multi-day hikes in the Himalayas and sightseeing flights over Mount Everest can drive up costs dramatically.

An inexpensive meal in a restaurant will cost you about 200 Nepalese rupees (or roughly £1.20), and you can find a cheap double room in a Kathmandu guest house for as little as 650 rupees (or nearly £4) each night. With that said, If you're on a trip to Nepal with friends, this can keep the costs relatively cheap.

India is among Asia's cheapest travel destinations for people seeking a place rich in diversity, one-of-a-kind attractions, and well-known sites.

India has a long list of cities worth staying in and exploring, such as Goa, Delhi, and Mumbai. Of course, arranging a trip to Agra to see the Taj Mahal, the nation's most popular attraction, is equally essential. Some other crucial Indian landmarks that can be added to your itinerary are Red Fort, Lotus Temple, and Mysore Palace, only to name a few.

11. Mongolia


With an elevation of 5280 feet, Mongolia is the highest country in the world. Its fascinating landscape ranges from the Gobi Desert to the Altai Mountains . Mongolia tucked away between China and Russia, should be at the top of your list if you're looking for inexpensive Asian destinations.

In this magnificent country, there are few hotels near Ulaanbaatar. Instead, yurts (covered and insulated portable round-shaped tents), also known as gers, are preferred by the nomadic tribes of Mongolia because they are easy to erect, lightweight, and windproof. If you intend to limit your spending on food, keep in mind that Mongolian street food culture is still very famous.

12. Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is another excellent option to travel if you're looking for a place with gorgeous beaches, divine cultural food, and fantastic wildlife. To fully experience Sri Lanka, you should stay there for at least ten days. And don't worry; this country won't cost you an arm or leg. 

Colombo, Ella, Nuwara Eliya, and Mirissa are cities you should include in your itinerary to Sri Lanka. You can see a lot of well-known sites when you are here. Plan a vacation to Yala National Park to go on a safari and experience seeing wild creatures like elephants and leopards. It is a not to be missed “ Eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites .”

13. Myanmar (Burma)

Burma is abundant in natural beauty, Buddhist art, architecture, culture, and whatnot. Although there are many historical sites to see, tourists visit Burma more for the welcoming people than tourist attractions.

The only reason to travel to Myanmar could be to see the ancient city of Bagan, which has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It continues to be a stunning country with numerous attractions, including stunning temples and palaces, spectacular landscapes, and, most importantly, its incredibly kind people. Most Burmese cuisines are spicy but also extensively popular. 

China is a large country with significant disparities between contemporary cities and rural villages, but it also offers major attractions that never fail to dazzle. It is one of the world's most diversified countries, including attractions like the Great Wall of China, The Bund in Shanghai, the Terracotta Warriors, and Pandas in Chengdu.

Travel along the Yangtze River, experience a spiritual awakening in the semi-autonomous region of Tibet and explore Suzhou's breathtaking gardens. Regarding the affordability factor, smaller cities offer cheap lodging, with dorm beds starting at around 30 Chinese renminbi (around £3.30). Nevertheless, you should expect to pay about 90 renminbi (or about £9.90) each night in bigger cities.

Iran is an affordable travel option for those who independently explore this old-age religious-centric country. Still, some nationals, such as those from the USA and the UK, can only go to Iran as part of a group trip. Additionally, remember that since Iran is not a part of the global financial system, you must bring enough cash with you to last the duration of your trip because it is tough to receive backup funds.

Highlights nevertheless include Tehran's brilliant Golestan Palace, Shiraz's magnificent “Pink Mosque,” the Persepolis archaeological ruins, and the Varzaneh Desert. Furthermore, bus travel is a reasonably priced form of transportation.

Related: The 14 Cheapest and Best Places to Visit in Europe

Final Thoughts:

Asia is considered a continent famous for its diversified culture, upscale hotels and eateries, fantastic local food, and beautiful places to visit. A trip here is inexpensive, but the top-listed destinations will be manageable for your pockets. So, consider visiting here when planning a trip on a low budget. It can't get any better seeing beautiful places that are considered affordable and cheap.

cheap asia travel destinations

I’m Steve. I’m an English Teacher, traveler, and an avid outdoorsman. If you’d like to comment, ask a question, or simply say hi, leave me a message here, on Twitter (@thefrugalexpat1). Many of my posts have been written to help those in their journey to financial independence. I am on my journey, and as I learn more I hope to share more.  And as always, thanks for reading The Frugal Expat.

3 thoughts on “The 15 Cheapest Countries to Travel in Asia For Tourists on a Budget”

Always wanted to visit Thailand – it’s definitely on the bucket list. Great list!

I love Asia! It is an incredible place with so much to see and do. Thailand is an amazing place and it is so affordable too.

Thailand is a beautiful place with many things to see and do. The great thing is that is a very affordable place to visit. I hope you go and visit. Make sure to have some Mango sticky rice. It is delicious.

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15 Cheapest Countries in Asia to Visit on Your Next Holiday

Asia, the largest continent in the world, is filled with breathtaking destinations to travel. From Uzbekistan to Thailand, the Philippines, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, and more, these are some of the cheapest travel destinations in Asia . All these countries offer you timeless landscapes, natural wonders, rich heritage, culinary delights, and much more without putting a strain on your pocket. Asia is a paradise on earth that anyone can explore without spending much. If you are a budget-concentrated traveler, you are at the right place. We have curated a list of the cheapest countries in Asia you can traverse on your next vacation. Be ready to explore the distinct history, culture, and traditions of these Asian countries. Top 15 Budget-friendly Countries to Explore in Asia For budget travelers, here are the cheap places to travel in Asia . Skim through the list one by one.   1. Uzbekistan

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Hidden Gems: 10 Of The Cheapest Countries To Visit In Asia

Picture savoring delectable cuisines, uncovering hidden gems, and marveling at natural wonders in these Asian countries without breaking the bank.

  • Sri Lanka is an underrated country in Asia with remarkable UNESCO sites, wildlife, and beautiful beaches, making it perfect for budget travelers.
  • Laos offers natural beauty, tasty street food, and attractions such as Kuang Si Falls, making it a paradise for food lovers and nature enthusiasts.
  • Myanmar is one of the cheapest countries in Asia to visit, with rich traditions, unspoiled sights, and attractions like the Mahamuni Buddha Temple and Kandawgyi Lake.

Asia, the world’s most populous continent , leading by a significant margin, is worth visiting for its mind-blowing diversity. The continent boasts of having it all, from cities with cutting-edge technology and majestic historical attractions to breathtaking natural wonders, all scattered across various countries.

However, while Asia has incredible countries that should be on everyone’s bucket list , some are home to expensive destinations that put a strain on a budget traveler’s pocket. But the good news is that amidst Asia’s vastness are cheap countries with hidden gems that promise inexpensive experiences. Here are the cheapest countries to visit in Asia, some of which are packed with some of the most underrated Asian destinations worth every tourist’s attention .

Related: 10 Underrated Asia Destinations Where You Can See Fall Foliage (& Where To Stay)

10 Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka boasts eight remarkable UNESCO World Heritage sites, incredible wildlife, and stunning white sand beaches. As one of the underrated countries in Asia, Sri Lanka makes the perfect vacation spot for travelers with a shoestring budget.

Despite being cheap to visit, Sri Lanka has incredible activities adventurers should try , including going on a safari ride to see wildlife animals in their unspoiled habitats, especially at Udawalawe National Park . This park is home to over 500 elephants, water buffaloes, and various bird species, such as kingfishers, peacocks, and eagles.

  • Cheapest time to visit Sri Lanka: May to October
  • Top Attractions in Sri Lanka: Sigiriya, Galle Dutch Fort, Yala National Park, Sri Dalada Maligawa, Mirissa, Dambulla Royal Cave Temple and Golden Temple

Tourists should maximize their time in Sri Lanka and visit Galle Fort, Asia's largest remaining colonial European port . It's free to visit, so budget travelers only cater for transport.

Laos is a laid-back Asian country worth visiting for its natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. This overlooked destination is one of the cheapest Asian countries to visit and is a haven for food lovers for its low-priced but tasty street food.

Some must tastes include the traditional Khao jee sticky rice pancakes and Sai oua, a spicy sausage made with chopped pork seasoned with cilantro, chilies, garlic, and kaffirs lime grass.

Laos is also a nature lover's paradise with its pristine jungles and waterfalls, such as the famed Kuang Si Falls, known for its scenic natural pools . Tourists pay an entrance fee of $2.30, and it's best to visit early in the morning before the crowds arrive.

  • Cheapest time to visit Laos: March to May (during the off-season)
  • Top Attractions in Laos: Pha That Luang Vientiane, Phousi Hill, Vat Phou, Wat Sisaket, Pak Ou Caves

Related: Laos' Buddha Park: Why It's One Of The Most Remarkable Buddhist Sculpture Parks In The World

Myanmar sits in Southeast Asia and appeals to travelers with its rich traditions and unspoiled natural sights. It's one of the cheapest countries to visit in Asia, thanks to its many budget hotel and hostel choices, efficient public transportation, and free things to do.

Some pocket-friendly things to do in Myanmar include exploring the Mahamuni Buddha Temple, home to the most revered Buddha image, and visiting Kandawgyi Lake. Located in Yangon, Kandawgyi Lake comes to life at night with colorful, shimmering lights, making it a sight to behold.

  • Cheapest time to visit Myanmar: Off-peak seasons from April to June and September to November
  • Top Attractions in Myanmar: Inle Lake, Ngapali Beach, Old Bagan, Kuthodaw Pagoda, Htilominlo Pahto, Shwedagon Pagoda

Read up on a guide explaining how tourists should plan their trip to Myanmar based on 10 important things .

7 The Philippines

Known for some of the most magnificent beaches in the world, the Philippines also falls among the cheapest countries in Asia. The Philippines has some of the most budget-friendly places to visit , inexpensive accommodation options, cheap street food choices, and night markets that further lower the cost of traveling.

To get a bang for their buck, travelers visit Siargao Island, which offers a variety of free and pocket-friendly things to do. Named one of the most beautiful Asian islands , Siargao delights surfers with surfable waves at Cloud 9. On the other hand, beach lovers explore the nearby Magpupungko Rock Pools at low tide.

  • Cheapest time to visit The Philippines: June through September
  • Top Attractions in The Philippines: Kawasan Falls, Rizal Park (free to visit), White Beach, Chocolate Hills, National Museum of Fine Arts, Boracay Island

Related: Stay At These 10 Eco-Friendly Philippines Resorts For A Sustainable Southeast Asia Vacation

6 Bangladesh

Bangladesh is a highly overlooked country, yet it's home to stunning attractions that don't cost a fortune to see. This country in southern Asia fascinates with its diverse natural beauty, national parks teeming with wildlife, and rich heritage.

As an underrated Asian country, travelers enjoy a good bargain for accommodation and explore the attractions without keeping up with the crowds.

Some highlights in Bangladesh include the world’s most extensive mangrove forest, the Sundarbans Reserve Forest , and Cox’s Bazar Beach , the world’s longest natural sea beach. However, beach lovers should check if the beach is open before putting it on their itinerary.

  • Cheapest time to visit Bangladesh: April to June during the wet season
  • Top Attractions in Bangladesh: Sajek Valley, Cox’s Bazar Beach, Ratargul Swamp Forest, Liberation War Museum, Sompur Mavihara, Central Shaheed Minar

Despite being one of the cheapest countries to visit in Asia, Nepal offers travelers a variety of fantastic sights and outdoor experiences. Vacationers explore historical landmarks and bask in the beauty of mountain and lake vistas in Pokhara, one of Nepal's cities.

As one of the must-visit places in Nepal, Pokhara offers easy access to some of Nepal’s tranquil lakes, such as Phewa Lake . Surrounded by lush green forests and staggering mountains, Phewa Lake is free to visit and offers awe-inspiring views, especially during sunrise.

  • Cheapest time to visit Nepal: The low season from June to September and December to February
  • Top Attractions in Nepal: Sagarmatha National Park, Garden of Dreams, International Mountain Museum, Kathmandu Durbar Square, Bardiya National Park

Nepal is one of the world's most mountainous countries, but there are other thrilling things to do in Nepal besides mountaineering .

It's impressive how Cambodia offers tourists authentic experiences without breaking the bank — add to that its cheap accommodations. The country is home to one of the remaining tropical rainforests in the region, located in the Cardamom Mountains, offering scenic hiking opportunities.

Budget travelers base their vacation in Siem Reap, a gateway to the 12th-century temple complex Angkor Wat. In the evening, vacationers admire a romantic sunset at Angkor Wat for free or enjoy occasional performances at the Royal Crusade for Independence Gardens.

  • Cheapest time to visit Cambodia: June to September during the rainy season
  • Top Attractions in Cambodia: Prasat Preah Vihear, Royal Palace, Koh Rong Sanloem Island, Banteay Cchmar, Tonle Sap

Related: Budget Guide: This Is What Visiting Cambodia Might Cost You

3 Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan is an under-the-radar tourist destination in Central Asia waiting to be discovered for its unique culture and captivating natural beauty. Besides getting a bang for their buck, travelers stand in awe of Kyrgyzstan’s lakes, such as the endorheic emerald-colored Issyk Kul Lake.

A trek to the southern shore of this alpine lake leads adventurers to the Skazka Canyon, which offers a spectacular sight during sunrise. With no crowds in the area, travelers get to soak in this picturesque sight and even take pictures of the beautiful hues of red and pink.

  • Cheapest time to visit Kyrgyzstan: The end of the busy tourist season from October to December
  • Top Attractions in Kyrgyzstan: Ala Archa National Park, Burana Tower, State History Museum, Rukh Ordo, Altyn-Arashan

From the lively Ho Chi Minh City to the enchanting Ban Gioc Waterfall, Vietnam offers plenty to see without emptying the wallet. To save on costs, travelers eat delicious street food and grab scooters to explore the towns. One of the most affordable destinations in Vietnam is Hoi An Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Quang Nam province.

Hoi An has a thriving, diverse community and intriguing architectural masterpieces that reflect its heritage, like the 17th-century Phuc Kien Assembly Hall. The hall has an ornate, pink-colored gate, making it a popular photo op in Hoi An.

Tourists can also discover off-the-beaten-track attractions in Vietnam , and since they are less touristy, travelers end up paying less for exciting experiences.

  • Cheapest time to visit Vietnam: March during the dry season and August and September during the typhoon season
  • Top Attractions in Vietnam: Cu Chi Tunnel, Temple of Literature, Ha Long Bay, Phu Quoc Island, Hoa Lo Prison Relic

Related: These 10 Incredible Geological Wonders In India Are A Must-Visit

India intrigues budget travelers with its rich and colorful culture, magnificent landscapes, and delicious cuisine. The low prices extend to accommodations, attraction prices, food options, and transportation.

Besides its affordability, India has a combination of attractions catering to every kind of traveler. Beach lovers enjoy dazzling sunsets at the picture-perfect Azhithala Beach in Neeleshwar, while city explorers find impressive palaces and old temples in Udaipur. Well, these are just a few of the many attractions India has.

  • Cheapest time to visit India: The off-season from early May to late September
  • Top Attractions in India: Amber Palace, Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Jim Corbett National Park, Hawa Mahal

Cheapest Asian countries to visit in 2024

Asian culture is famous worldwide for its cordial and respectful attitude toward guests.

Sometimes, travelers from Europe or America fear long and expensive flights to Asia. Unfortunately, the flight is long, but if you take the plunge, you will open a chest of treasures unlike anywhere else.

A woman standing at Phi Phi View Point And see the view from a bird's eye view of the mountains, the sea and the sunset. and town on Phi Phi Island, Krabi Province, Thailand

We have put together a list of the most affordable countries to travel to in Asia so that the cost of living and exchange rates can compensate for your ticket expenses. Our Flight search will always find something special that fits your budget.

Cheap Asian destinations where you can travel on a tight budget

  • Philippines

India – A diverse country like no other

Of all the countries in the world, it is India that will change a person’s worldview and the idea of ​​life, death, and happiness all in one trip. Traveling through this extensive and multi-colored country will truly open your eyes like no other.

India is very affordable for travelers. In the capital of this great country, you can find a double room in a hotel with all the amenities starting at $5 per day. Such accommodation is not chic-but that doesn’t matter because there are so many stunning places to go, so you’ll only need your hotel to sleep.

Best places to visit in India

Although India is a cheap destination, prices vary from city to city. Let’s look at the cheapest and most fantastic vacation spots in the country.

Kolkata- A whole different side to India

India, West Bengal, Kolkata, Nakhoda mosque

Kolkata is a perfect place to stay for a while to get to know Indian culture. Here, you can walk along the central streets of the old city, look into the temple of the goddess Kali, and visit the Kumartuli artisans’ quarter. But on the other side of the city, you can see the harsh reality for some locals in the slums where they live.

Agonda – Relax at the beach and feel the local vibes

The best thing about Agonda is that it provides visitors with an escape from the country’s hustle and bustle. It is a small village in Goa with a single street running along the sea. The street has no name and offers visitors a couple of convenience stores, a wine shop, and a clean white-sand beach with a calm sea. Not much, but if you’re looking for a true relaxing getaway, do you even need anything else?

Delhi – The capital with a far-reaching cultural life

If you want to discover Delhi, you might need several weeks. Check out the city’s main sights (among many): the Lal Qila or Red Fort, the Qutb Minar mosque, and the Lakshmi Narayan Temple. Although it is a capital city, staying there is very affordable for the average traveler.

Everything you did not know about India in numbers

Average monthly temperatures in new delhi, india.

Avg Temp New Delhi India

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Cambodia – A truly new and under rated travel experience

Unlike certain Asian countries, Cambodia is still an untouched story waiting to be read, which means attractive prices for trips there. However, it will not always be like this. Considering Cambodia’s stunning beauty and nature, the country is slowly seeing an influx of travelers each year. But you still have time to taste authentic Cambodia before it turns into a second Thailand or Bali.

Best places to visit in Cambodia

Let’s look at the top-rated cheap spots of the country where Angelina Jolie fought multi-armed stone demons in the role of Lara Croft.

Go to the main sea resort of the country – Sihanoukville

Sihanoukville is a fantastic place to have a beach holiday. If you get bored of relaxing, the temples of Wat Leu will open you up to the marvelous world of ancient Cambodia.

Siem Reap – A mecca for adventure lovers

Siem Reap has many things to see and do that the most tempted adventure-seekers will need at least three days in this city. Even if adventure and history are not your cup of tea, the Angkor Wat temple will still amaze you.

Angkor Wat

See where the past and present meet in Phnom Penh

The capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, was once one of the most beautiful cities in French colonial Asia before numerous wars destroyed the city. But nowadays, it is a lovely metropolis where posh modern buildings and ancient holdovers like the Royal Palace mix together.

Everything you did not know about Cambodia in numbers

Average monthly temperatures in phnom penh, cambodia.

Avg Temp Phnom Penh Cambodia

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Laos – A vacation here is as good as Thailand, but much cheaper

Laos is the country where time stops. The relaxed, leisurely atmosphere, and the friendly Laotians who have retained the same way of life for hundreds of years, have made Laos an unconventional dream destination.

Laos is moderately wild, exotic, and much cheaper than neighboring Vietnam and Thailand. There is no sea here, but ancient temples are dotted among tropical forests and picturesque mountains.

Best places to visit in Laos

Regarding travel, Laos can be divided into three regions-North, Center, and South. Each part is exciting and unique in its own way.

Luang Prabang – Come here if you want to see one of the most outstanding cities of Asia

Luang Prabang is Laos’s ancient city and a fascinating place to visit. It’s on its way to making it onto the UNESCO World Heritage List. No one can feel indifferent about it after visiting its monasteries and temples, like the Wat Xieng Thong Monastery or the That Chomsi Pagoda.

Luang Prabang

Wake up early to see a procession of Buddhist monks through the streets. An old, respected tradition that is repeated every day in Luang Prabang.

Si Phan Don – A place for a cozy escape

Head south to Si Phan Don to experience authentic tropical laziness. Si Phan Don is a cluster of islands: during the dry season, the waters descend, and thousands more small islands appear on the surface, which again disappear underwater during the rainy season. It’s a stunning picturesque view away from civilization.

The most oversized island, Don Khong, is a languorous, genuine place to spend your holiday on a hammock at the beach.

Two smaller islands, Don Khon and Don Det, are kind of a backpacker mecca with a multitude of budget accommodation options.

Vientiane – A day or two in the tiny capital

To be fair, you shouldn’t expect much from Vientiane: the capital is really small, and tourists mostly don’t stay there for a long time. Usually, they stop there for a few days on their way to the popular village of Vang Vieng. Nevertheless, if you spend several days in the capital, you will be satisfied by the abundance of incredible temples and other architectural masterpieces that can be found in various corners.

Everything you did not know about Laos in numbers

Average monthly temperatures in vientiane, laos.

Avg Temp Vientiane Laos

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Indonesia – An inexpensive paradise on Earth

Indonesia is worth visiting for its unique geographical position: it connects two continents and separates two oceans. It holds a unique biodiversity and stunning forms of nature. Wait until you see what the cultural side of this vast country can offer you when you visit.

Best places to visit in Indonesia

Since Indonesia is quite a popular destination, let’s look at less promoted and more budget-friendly places.

Jimbaran – A cozy village and heaven for foodies on a budget

The small village of Jimbaran is located not far from the big city of Denpasar and is surrounded by a calm bay. When you kick back on the local beach, you can see planes landing over your head at the airport. Jimbaran is an ideal place for foodies: the cheapest seafood you can get is shark, and it only costs just $1 for a kilogram

If you’re a lover of nighttime, come to Kuta

Kuta Beach is a hot spot for those who adore parties and vibrant nightlife. This place has everything that those who travel for nighttime entertainment: various bars, fancy discos, well-lit streets through to the morning, and bustling night markets.

Of course, daytime attractions are also available, including the Waterboom Park water park and thrilling parks for fans of bungee jumping (Adrenaline Park, Bali Bangy).

Indonesia can be great even without the sea – Check out Jakarta

Indonesia’s capital has no sea, yet the metropolis is charming. The former ancient seaport will leave a positive impression on shoppers and foodies. Large shopping malls have everything for those looking to drop a few dollars. Restaurants and street food counters offer extensive menus at reasonable prices. In addition, there are many interesting museums and spacious parks for kids and adults.

Jakarta's New Icon, Semanggi Overpass, in a Super Bright Day

Everything you did not know about Indonesia in numbers

Average monthly temperatures in jakarta, indonesia.

Avg Temp Jakarta Indonesia

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Bangladesh – A country of immense kindness

Bangladesh is a country of stunning nature, great tourism potential, and, unfortunately, high poverty levels. But do not rush to the conclusion that Bangladesh is not safe – on the contrary, all travelers have noted that the local people are very friendly, the crime rate is extremely low, and tourists are welcomed as dear guests.

Best places to visit in Bangladesh

Bangladesh itself is a cheap country, but you should know which are the most affordable places to see if you’re on a budget.

Find the longest beach in the world in Cox’s Bazar

Cox’s Bazar is the only seaside area in Bangladesh. Come and relax on delightful beaches with golden sand and clear water. Cox’s Bazar holds the longest natural beach in the world, at a length of 125 km.

Chittagong – A big city with a big history

Chittagong, officially called Chattogram, has a rich history you can discover by walking around the city’s cute streets. The city is known as the “cemetery of ships” due to an abandoned ship fleet placed there: you can walk on the coastline, and thousands of dismantled ships will be scattered along it.

Experience Banglasedhi life in Dhaka

Dhaka is not that big of a city. Spend one or two days there to experience every day Bangladesh life. The main attractions are the Pink Palace, the Lalbagh Fort, and the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque.

Traffic Jam in Dhaka

Everything you did not know about Bangladesh in numbers

Average monthly temperatures in dhaka, bangladesh.

Avg Teamp Dhaka Bangladesh

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The Philippines – The homeland of karaoke and the only Christian country in Asia

If you think karaoke was invented in Japan, here is a big surprise: it actually comes from the Philippines. The Philippines is a musical nation. Don’t be surprised if the locals make you sing and dance with them.

The Philippines is the only Christian country in Asia, meaning travelers will feel comfortable regarding religious or alcohol rules during the trip.

The country is dotted with perfect white sand beaches and incredibly beautiful coral reefs.

Best places to visit in the Philippines

Look at these top-rated affordable spots in the Philippines.

Discover a tropical fairy tale in Boracay

Boracay is blessed with stunning sceneries we’re used to seeing in romantic movies set on tropical islands. On one side is White Beach, which is perfect for those who like a calm and laid-back holiday with swimming and lying around. On the other side, there is Bulabog, with its constant crashing waves, mostly for windsurfers and kitesurfers.

White Beach, Boracay, Philippines

Manila – A capital where you can relax

Though it is the capital and is known to be chaotic at the best times, there are cozy corners in Manila where you can escape from the commotion and chill out on the beach. Besides sea leisure, tourists can also see many unique architectural and historical monuments of the ancient city.

Everything you did not know about the Philippines in numbers

Average monthly temperatures in manila, philippines.

Avg Temp Manila Philippines

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Best places to visit in asia.

From megacities to remote islands, Asia's top travel spots offer a hearty dose of adventure, ancient history and culture. And with most Asian destinations now fully open after years of pandemic restrictions, there has never been a better time to plan a trip. After considering local prices, accessibility and the variety of attractions in each destination, along with traveler feedback, U.S. News ranked the best places to visit in Asia. Contribute to next year's list by casting your vote below.

Sagarmatha National Park

Railay beach, guilin and lijiang river national park.

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If your dream vacation involves posting up on a postcard-worthy beach, the Maldives is for you. This far-flung destination, which is located about 370 miles from civilization in the Indian Ocean, is made up of more than 1,100 idyllic islands (roughly 200 of which are inhabited). The Maldives feature lush tropical landscapes, unparalleled white sand beaches, crystal-clear ocean waters and coral reefs that prompt extensive exploration. The best way to experience this slice of paradise? Stay in one of many overwater bungalows , of course.

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Tokyo is as fast-paced as cities come – it's the most populated city in the world, after all. Japan's capital features neon-lit skyscrapers and crowded streets that novice visitors may find dizzying, but its one-of-a-kind offerings can't be missed. Spend days touring quirky museums, exploring fascinating architecture or visiting Odaiba for its premier shopping scene. Or, take in some quieter, more peaceful moments at a holy site like the Meiji Shrine or Sensoji Temple. Tokyo's unrivaled gastronomic landscape (think: sushi, ramen, sky-high cocktail bars and more Michelin darlings than you could hope to visit) also makes it a bucket list destination for foodies.

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Phuket, Thailand's elongated beaches and cerulean waters embody a paradise that few other Asian destinations can rival. Besides swimming and relaxing on the beach, visitors can take traditional, wooden longtail boat tours to James Bond Island in Phang Nga Bay to see the surreal limestone rock formations that rise from the sea. The towering Big Buddha statue is also a top attraction, while Phuket's buzzing beach clubs and nightlife options hold appeal for those looking to let loose. What's more, like most destinations in Thailand, travelers can find relatively affordable lodging options here.

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This Nepalese national park is famous for housing the behemoth that is Mount Everest, the highest point on earth, and promises a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. However, it is important to know that Sagarmatha is not just Everest. The UNESCO-listed park also offers several other sky-high Himalayan peaks, as well as sweeping valleys, scenic glaciers, deep gorges and incredible wildlife, including snow leopards and red pandas. Just note, seeing the park's top attractions typically requires at least two weeks of trekking, and due to Sagarmatha's high elevation and rocky, steep terrain, a trip here isn't for the faint of heart.

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A British colony until 1997, Hong Kong's strong Western influence sets it apart from China's mainland metropolises. Beyond Hong Kong's sleek, towering skyscrapers (best admired from Victoria Peak), visitors can find natural and cultural gems on the more than 250 outlying islands, such as Lantau Island, or shop the city's bustling street markets. Dim sum is a must, but Hong Kong's robust dining scene also offers everything from street food to Michelin-starred fine dining. And when the sun goes down, watch the Symphony of Lights laser show dazzle the skyline along Victoria Harbor.

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Tucked among lush mountains in northwest Thailand, Chiang Mai offers a sized-down version of Bangkok's buzz paired with a tranquil culture and natural beauty. Your urban itinerary should include tuk-tuk rides, tours of breathtaking temples like Wat Chedi Luang Varavihara and Wat Phra Singh, trips to night markets and a cooking class to try your hand at pad Thai. Then, step outside of the city walls to visit an ethical elephant sanctuary or two and a wander through beautiful Doi Suthep-Pui National Park.

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History lovers and Instagrammers alike will revel in the sites of Kyoto. The city, which used to be Japan's capital until imperial times, is awash with centuries-old shrines and temples, including the gilded Kinkakuji and Fushimi Inari Taisha, a shrine that dates back to A.D. 711. In addition to saving time for religious sites, be sure to visit the famous Philosopher's Path, preferably during cherry blossom season, and the mystical Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. When hunger strikes, treat yourself to kaiseki: a traditional multicourse meal native to Japan. For another essential Japanese experience, stay at one of the many ryokans (traditional Japanese inns) in Kyoto. 

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From the moment you touchdown at Singapore Changi Airport (a tourist destination in itself), Singapore shows off its futuristic embellishment. But this Southeast Asia jewel is also unique for its amalgamation of cultures. This fusion takes form in the city's colorful neighborhoods, eclectic culinary scene and overall modern atmosphere. After shopping on flashy Orchard Road and chowing down in cultural enclaves like Little India or Chinatown, head downtown to take in the towering skyscrapers from Merlion Park, the Singapore Flyer or the sky-high Gardens by the Bay.

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The island nation of Sri Lanka, located off the southern tip of India, boasts rainforests, beaches and ruins without the tourist crowds of other popular Asian destinations. Despite its small footprint, Sri Lanka features 26 national parks, many of which are ideal for a safari excursion to encounter elephants, leopards and sloth bears. Meanwhile, ancient sites like Sigiriya, a 600-foot-high fortress, and the temples of Polonnaruwa hold their own appeal, and the palm-fringed golden beaches that line the shores are never too far away for those seeking a more laid-back vacation.

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Hanoi is perfect for first-time Vietnam visitors, with tranquil lakes offsetting its fast-paced bustle and darting motorbikes. The country's capital offers plenty in the way of history, culture, shopping, dining and natural splendor. Start your day off with a Vietnamese coffee, then head to Hanoi's central Old Quarter for a stroll through the many narrow, colorful streets and a taste of mouthwatering street food. After that, check out one of the city's many temples, including the ancient Temple of Literature, which dates back to the 11th century, or head to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, a must-visit for history buffs.

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Bali's natural beauty is so profound, travelers have been known to refer to the Indonesian destination as "heaven on Earth." Here, lush rainforests, picturesque mountains, sweeping valleys and scenic beaches all sit side by side. You'll also find a handful of serene temples in this Southeast Asia hot spot, including Uluwatu and Tanah Lot temples – both excellent places to catch a sunset. And no first-time trip to Bali would be complete without on a visit to Ubud, Bali's cultural capital and home of the region's famous rice terraces.

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Whether you visit in spring (for cherry blossoms), summer (for climbing), autumn (for foliage) or winter (for nearby ski resorts), Japan's highest peak and imposing attraction is sure to capture your attention. Mount Fuji lies about 60 miles southwest of Tokyo, perfect for a daytrip from the city or a glimpse from a train ride, but this active volcano is also worthy of deeper exploration. Base yourself in the Fuji Five Lakes area to enjoy picture-perfect views at Arakurayama Sengen Park or from one of Lake Kawaguchiko's onsens (hot springs), and don't leave without sampling local hoto noodles.  

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If you only have time to go to one beach in Thailand, make it Railay Beach, one of the world's most beautiful beaches . Located in the country's Krabi province, Railay Beach features glistening white sands and is surrounded by limestone rock formations (covered in leafy green vegetation) that jut out from the sea. If you're feeling adventurous, explore the area's natural wonders with a rock climbing excursion or go for a nighttime kayak trip to see bioluminescent plankton. As if this beach destination couldn't get more alluring, you're only able to reach it by boat. Daytrips from nearby Ao Nang are popular among travelers.

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Siem Reap is the home of Angkor Wat, an ornate Buddhist temple built in the 12th century that is believed to be the largest religious monument in the world. The impressive landmark is just one of many must-sees within Cambodia's UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor. The complex also includes the equally detailed Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm Temple. Because of the immense popularity of Angkor (the site receives millions of visitors per year), you may want to travel during a shoulder month like March or November to avoid bumping elbows with fellow travelers.

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Travel to the capital of Indian state Rajasthan to marvel at the "Pink City's" incredible architecture. Hawa Mahal, a pink sandstone palace that was modeled after Hindu god Krishna's crown, is Jaipur's biggest claim to fame. The property's astounding 953 honeycomb-patterned windows allowed the original ladies of the royal family to view the comings and goings of the Indian city without being seen. Other structures worth seeing are the Jaigarh Fort, Panna Meena ka Kund and Jantar Mantar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that displays larger-than-life astronomical instruments.

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Thailand's capital city is filled to the brim with eye-catching Hindu sites, nonstop nightlife and incredible Thai cuisine. Sacred sites like Wat Arun and Wat Pho are pockets of calm amidst Bangkok's skyscrapers. Shoppers can enjoy the Chatuchak Weekend Market, one of the world's largest street markets, or venture to one of the floating markets located outside the city. While in Bangkok, grab as much grub as possible from the street stalls, and at night, you won't want to miss the lofty views from one of the many rooftop bars.

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This national park is so loved and respected, its image is featured on China's paper currency. Guilin and Lijiang River National Park is located in the Guangxi region in the southeastern part of China. The Lijiang River runs about 50 miles from Guilin to Yangshuo, passing stunning landscapes and towering green karsts (eroded limestone) along the way. The best way to take in the otherworldly scenery is by boat cruise, though you may want to splurge on a luxury option since the trip can take up to five hours. Tourists who prefer to travel on their own time can also hike or bike along the river.

Multi-Day Tours with Culture Trip

Experience deeply immersive 7-14 days itineraries with a small group of like-minded people. See all tours

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South Korea 10 Day s

Soulful South Korea

Connect with Korea through its food, natural splendor and vibrant cultural heritage.

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Taiwan 9 Day s

A Taste of Taiwan by Train

From city night markets to serene lakes via stunning coastal train routes in tranquil Taiwan.

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Japan 12 Day s

Japan by Train: The Grand Tour

Osaka to Tokyo, via historic cities and natural wonders, on Japan’s high-tech train network.

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Thailand & Laos 14 Day s

Incredible Thailand and Laos by Train

This border-crossing epic marries Southeast Asian escapism with the timeless romance of train travel.

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Southeast Asia Travel Guide

Last Updated: November 27, 2023

A lone person standing on lush, green rice terraces in Southeast Asia on a bright sunny day

Backpackers have been traveling through Southeast Asia since the late 1960s and early 1970s, leaving a well-worn trail around the region.

Starting in beautiful Thailand, the trail makes its way to up-and-coming Laos, through Vietnam, and to the temples of Angkor Wat. It then winds back into Thailand, where people head south to party in the Thai islands before moving down to Malaysia and Singapore.

There are a few variations to the trail, but this is what it mostly covers.

I’ve been visiting this region since 2004 and spent years living in Thailand . I love backpacking Southeast Asia and have written extensively about it as I know it like the back of my hand.

It’s an especially great region for new travelers because it’s easy to travel around, it’s safe, and there are lots of other travelers you can meet. But it’s also perfect for veteran travelers too as there are tons of off-the-beaten-path destinations that the standard backpacker trail doesn’t cover.

In short, Southeast Asia has something for every traveler — and every budget.

This Southeast Asia travel guide will help you travel the region like a pro, ensuring you save money and make the most of your time in this fun, gorgeous, and lively corner of the world.

Table of Contents

  • Things to See and Do
  • Typical Costs
  • Suggested Budget
  • Money-Saving Tips
  • Where to Stay
  • How to Get Around
  • How to Stay Safe
  • Best Places to Book Your Trip
  • Related Blogs on Southeast Asia

Click Here for Country Guides

Top 5 things to see and do in southeast asia.

A lone person standing on lush, green rice terraces in Southeast Asia on a bright sunny day

1. Admire Angkor Wat

One of the greatest human creations in history, the Angkor Wat temple complex is best explored over the course of a few days. The area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site created by the Khmer Empire and absolutely enormous. Temples to visit include Angkor Wat, Bayon Temple which has 216 gigantic stone face carvings, and Ta Prohm. I spent three days here and that simply wasn’t enough. A one-day pass is $37 USD, while a 1-week pass is $72 USD. If you’re here for multiple days, be sure to hire a driver and see some of the more out of the way ruins away from the main temple complex (and the crowds).

2. Explore Bangkok

Bangkok is the hub of travel activity in Southeast Asia. You can get anywhere you want from here. Though I hated it at first, the more I’ve spent time here the more I love it. Bangkok is like an onion whose many layers need to be peeled back. Some things not to miss include the spectacular Bangkok Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Chatuchak Market and Asiatique, and a canal trip on the Chao Phraya River. This is a city for foodies and wild nightlife.

3. Relax on some tropical islands

No visit to Southeast Asia would be complete without a visit to at least one of the thousands of tropical islands in the region. My top five include the Perhentian Islands (Malaysia), Rabbit Island (Cambodia), Ko Lanta (Thailand), and Boracay (Philippines). Lombok Island (Indonesia) has a chill vibe with unspoiled, perfect “desert island” beaches. There’s so many islands to visit. Be sure to add at least one to your trip. The country guides will have more information for you.

4. See Ha Long Bay

Sailing trips to this island-filled bay with stunning emerald waters, limestone formations, and marine life give you an appreciation for the natural beauty in Vietnam. Tours from Hanoi start at around $110 USD for two-day trips and increase from there. I love the colorful grottoes, hanging stalactites, and stalagmites of Surprise Cave (Sung Sot), Fairy Cave (Tien Ong), and Heaven Palace (Thien Cung). Make sure you go with a reputable company though as some of the cheaper boats are less than ideal. If you’d rather just visit for one day, day trips from Hanoi cost $55 USD.

5. Wander Kuala Lumpur

Other things to see and do in southeast asia, 1. go jungle trekking.

This region of the world is covered in amazing jungles with diverse wildlife, plentiful camping opportunities, and cool waterfalls. The best jungle treks are found in northern Thailand, Western Laos, and Malaysian Borneo (the latter are also the hardest and most intense). Some of my favorites include Danum Valley (Borneo) for its incredible wildlife; Ratanakiri (Cambodia) for its pristine wilderness and thousand-year-old trees; and Pu Luong Nature Reserve (Vietnam). Costs vary but jungle trekking generally costs $30-50 USD per day.

2. Attend the Full Moon Party

The biggest one-night party in the world welcomes up to 30,000 people with a party that stretches until dawn. Cover yourself in glow paint, grab a bucket of booze, and dance the night away with new friends on the island of Ko Phangan in Thailand. As the name would suggest, the party is on the night of the full moon. If you miss it, there’s always the half-moon party, quarter-moon party, and black-moon party. Really, every night is a party on Ko Phangan . Just avoid the flaming jump rope that occurs — I’ve seen people get burned badly!

3. Learn to dive

There are many great dive sites around the region for those interested in underwater exploration. You can learn to dive here at a fraction of what it would cost back home too. Some of the best places are Ko Tao (Thailand), Sipadan (Malaysia), as well as Gili Islands (Indonesia) and Coron, Palawan (The Philippines). A typical diving course is completed in three days. A PADI course typically runs $275 USD in Thailand, including three nights’ accommodation, though at smaller schools you can often negotiate down to $250 USD. Day trips for certified divers start at $165 USD. For information on Ko Tao, check out this blog post .

4. Eat street food in Singapore

Singapore is a foodie’s heaven. Try the hawker stalls of Singapore as well as Little India and Chinatown for some of the best and cheapest food in Asia. If you’re looking for a nice place to sit down and eat, eat at Singapore’s famed restaurants during lunch when restaurants offer discounts, making them a great deal. You’ll also find the most affordable Michelin-starred restaurants here (Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice and Hawker Chan), offering world-class meals for just a couple of bucks!

5. Overload on temples

You can’t turn a corner without seeing a Buddhist temple in this part of the world. You’ll get temple overload at some point but visit as many as you can as each is unique to the country and region of the temple. There are so many places with high concentrations of ornate and beautiful temples. Check out Chiang Mai’s Wat Doi Suthep Temple and hike up the 300 steps to the golden Chedi that’s 600 years old!; Bagan’s Shwesandaw Pagoda from the 11th century with its stunning golden dome; Angkor Wat’s Ta Prohm is covered in iconic vines and enveloped in ancient jungle roots; Hue’s colorful Thien Mu Pagoda is perched atop a lush green embankment; Hoi An’s Quan Cong Temple with incredible Chinese architecture with hand-carved beauty and skill, and Luang Prabang’s Vat Xieng Thong with its golden, canopied roof. Most are free to enter, however, dress codes are enforced (you need to have your shoulders and legs covered).

6. Dive Sipadan

Located off Malaysian Borneo, Sipadan is one of the best dive sites in the world. If you have your dive certificate, make sure you venture out here. I absolutely love this area because it’s teeming with live turtles, diverse cave systems, sharks, dolphins, colorful coral, bright fish, and everything in between. Not a lot of people make it to this part of Malaysia, but it’s worth it to go the extra mile and make your way off the tourist trail a bit. Don’t miss Barracuda Point and The Drop-Off. Keep in mind that only 176 permits to dive at the island are issued each day, costing 140 MYR per person. The resorts on the neighboring islands each get a specific number of permits per day and require divers to stay with them for a few days. So you’ll need to stay at those resorts and dive into the surrounding areas before they can get you a Sipadan permit.

7. Fall in love with Bali

Bali is the most popular destination in Indonesia, and its famous Kuta beach is known for its wild parties and surfing ( though I think it’s overrated ). However, there is much more to Bali than just wild nights and sun-soaked days. If you’re a thrill seeker, hike up to the top of Mount Batur, an active volcano, for a breathtaking sunrise. Paragliding and white water rafting are also super popular here, as is surfing (it’s an affordable place to learn if you’ve never done it). There are also lots of hot springs to enjoy, the Ubud Monkey Forest (a popular temple and nature reserve home to hundreds of monkeys), and numerous places to scuba dive, including the Liberty wreck and Manta Point.

8. Take in Ho Chi Minh City

Frantic, chaotic, and crazy, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam is the embodiment of the controlled chaos that rules Southeast Asia. You can’t quite figure out how this teeming mass of people and cars work together, but it does. Highlights here include touring the tunnels used by the Viet Cong in the 1960s, taking in the view from the Saigon Skydeck, eating your way through the street food scene, and seeing the city’s numerous temples.

9. Admire the sunrise over an Indonesian Volcano

One of the most popular tourist attractions on Java is Mount Bromo and its National Park. Don’t miss out on getting a photo of the smoldering Bromo volcano as it lies surrounded by the almost lunar landscape of the Sea of Sand. Get up early to catch one of the most memorable sunrises of your life. If you’re there in mid-August, you’ll be just in time to see Upacara Kasada, the traditional Hindu ritual of the Tenggerese, a Javanese tribe of the region.

10. Hike in Khao Sok National Park

Located in southern Thailand, Khao Sok National Park is constantly rated as one of the best parks in Thailand, with incredible trekking, camping, limestone karsts, cooling rivers, and a glistening lake. Visit for semi-challenging hikes, tons of wildlife, walking paths, and breathtaking sunsets. Park entrance costs around $6 USD while full-day guided tours are $95 USD. I highly recommend spending at least one night here to get the full experience.

11. Visit Kampot

Most people come to Kampot to enjoy the scenic riverside views, as well as the rolling hills that surround the city. Since you can explore easily enough on foot or by bicycle, Kampot is a great place to slow down and relax. There’s not much to do here but have lazy days by the river, chill, and eat (don’t miss the famous Rusty Keyhole for BBQ!). Don’t miss the pepper farms, as this region of Cambodia is filled with pepper farms where you can learn about the history of the spice, see how it is grown, and pick up what is considered some of the finest pepper in the world. Tours are usually free.

12. Take a cooking class

Food from this region is as varied as the countries themselves and learning how to cook a few dishes is a great souvenir of your time here. Even if you don’t plan to cook back home, you can still spend a day making and eating scrumptious food. Most big cities have cooking schools offering classes of 2-6 hours, often including a trip to the local market beforehand to select ingredients. I absolutely love cooking classes and urge you to take one at least once. They are a fun experience!

13. Take a food tour

If you’d rather eat instead of cook, taking a food tour is a fun way to gain insight into the region’s amazing noodle dishes, fresh seafood, sweets, and street food while learning about the history and culture behind the cuisine. Most major cities in Southeast Asia offer food tours. These include tours around local markets, street stalls, and tours to locally-owned restaurants and cafes where you can sample the local cuisine and connect with a local chef. If you’re nervous about street food, this is a great way to try some in a controlled setting. Tours usually last 2-4 hours and include multiple stops and several different dishes, with prices costing $40-75 USD per person.

14. Visit an elephant sanctuary

While riding an elephant is on many a Southeast Asia bucket list, once you know how much the animals suffer from abuse in order to provide these rides, you might think twice about taking one. An even better way to interact with elephants is to volunteer at or visit the Elephant Nature Park near Chiang Mai in Thailand. It’s a phenomenal place, allowing you to give back to the community and these magnificent animals all at once. After coming here, you will understand why you should NEVER ride an elephant. A one-day visit costs $70 USD.

15. See The Killing Fields

A visit to Choeung Ek, also known as the Killing Fields, may not be the most cheerful way to spend an afternoon, but it makes for an educational and memorable experience. Over 3 million people were killed by Pol Pot’s regime, including countless women and children. I recommend getting a guide so you can really understand what you’re seeing as you explore the area. Also, this horrific tragedy took place less than 50 years ago and is still very present so please be respectful as a visitor.  The site is located 10 miles from Phnom Penh. Half-day guided tours start at $66 USD.

16. Swim with Whale Sharks in Donsol

If you’re in the Philippines, check out the Donsol Whale Shark Interactive Ecosystem Project because there are not many experiences quite as adrenaline-inducing as swimming with a whale shark for the first time in crystal waters. These incredible creatures are around 45 feet (14 meters) long and yet incredibly gentle and curious. I loved floating at the surface being able to look below and see them slowly swim below me. Get some people together and rent a boat for a half day, explore the area, and go ‘shark-seeing’ for a good cause.  

  For a ton more information, visit my country specific travel guides for more detailed information on each place:

  • Cambodia Travel Guide
  • Indonesia Travel Guide
  • Laos Travel Guide
  • Malaysia Travel Guide
  • Singapore Travel Guide
  • Thailand Travel Guide
  • Vietnam Travel Guide

Southeast Asia Travel Costs

A lone person standing on lush, green rice terraces in Southeast Asia on a bright sunny day

Accommodation – Accommodation in Southeast Asia is really cheap, making it the perfect place to travel if you are on a budget. Hostels are plentiful, as are budget guesthouses and hotels. It’s also very cheap to splash out here if you’re in need of some luxury.

Generally, you can find hostel dorm rooms for as little as $6-8 USD in Cambodia and $3-6 USD in Laos. In Thailand, 4-6-bed dorm rooms are $8-12 USD, while in Vietnam you can expect to pay $5-7 USD. In Indonesia, prices range between $5-10 USD for a 4-6-bed dorm room. Expect to pay at least $15-20 per night for a private room with air conditioning. Free Wi-Fi is standard in most hostels, free breakfast is common, and many hostels even have pools. In more remote areas, hot water isn’t common so make sure to check in advance if that’s an issue for you.

Simple guesthouses or bungalows throughout Southeast Asia generally cost $12-20 USD per night for a basic room with a fan (sometimes air conditioning) and hot water. If you want something nicer that includes a more comfortable bed and a TV, expect to pay $25-35 USD per night.

For backpackers, budgeting around $10 USD per night for accommodation is pretty safe no matter where you go in Southeast Asia. If you’re looking for a higher-end hotel room with more amenities, expect to pay $20-50 USD per night for a room. Anything over that is luxury territory.

Camping is available in certain areas, usually for just a few dollars per night for a basic tent plot without electricity. However, this is about the same price as hostels so it’s not really any cheaper.

Food – While each country’s cuisine varies, overall, Southeast Asian food is aromatic, spicy, and flavorful. Typical spices and herbs include garlic, basil, galangal, cilantro, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, chilies, and fish sauce. No matter what region you’re in, you can expect to find a variety of curries, salads, soups, noodle dishes, and stir-fries.

Rice and noodles are central to Southeast Asian food, while the meat is usually pork, chicken, fish, or seafood, which is everywhere on the islands and coastal areas.

While traveling Southeast Asia, street food is the most popular food and cheapest option. On average, these meals cost $1-5 USD. You find these stalls throughout this region lining most streets and every market. They are ubiquitous in the region. In Singapore, street food (from “hawker stands” as they’re known there) costs around $4-5 USD for a meal. Even if you go into small local restaurants, the price doesn’t increase that much.

Food that costs $2 USD at a street stall generally only costs $4-6 USD at a local restaurant. If you went into a restaurant in Thailand, you’d pay around $3-4 USD for a pad Thai that would have cost $1-2 USD on the street.

In Cambodia, street food is around $1-2 USD, while restaurants charge around $3-5 USD for a dish like amok (a coconut milk dish) or luc lac (pepper gravy beef).

Western meals, including burgers, pizza, and sandwiches usually cost around $7-10 USD. But these generally aren’t that great. If you want something that actually tastes as it does back home, expect to spend at least $10-12 USD for your meal.

While cheap, alcohol can take a bite out of your budget if you’re not careful. Those $1-2 USD beers add up! Wine and cocktails are more expensive, generally around $3-5 USD. A cappuccino is typically around $2 USD. Bottled water is plentiful and costs less than $1 USD.

There’s a growing cutting-edge foodie scene in the region and, if you want to splurge, you can do so on some really good meals. Big cities like Bangkok, KL, and Singapore, all have world-class Michelin star restaurants as well some incredible fusion restaurants.

Since dining out is so cheap in the region, there’s no point in grocery shopping unless you’re looking to get some pre-made salads or fruits. Additionally, a general lack of kitchens in most hostels and hotels makes it difficult to cook even if you wanted to. If you do purchase your own groceries, expect to spend around $25 USD per week for basic groceries like local produce, rice, and some meat (while avoiding expensive imported items like cheese and wine).

Backpacking Southeast Asia Suggested Budgets

On a backpacker budget of $45 USD per day, you can stay in hostel dorms, eat out at local markets and street stalls, limit your drinking, do mostly free activities, minimize paid activities, and use public transportation to get around. You’re not going to be able to splash out but you’ll be able to live the typical backpacker experience without really stressing over expenses.

On a mid-range budget of $85 USD per day, you can stay in budget hotels or private hostel rooms, eat more restaurant meals, do more paid activities like cooking classes, take some taxis, and enjoy a few more drinks. You won’t live large, but you won’t be missing out either.

On an upscale budget of $150 USD or more per day, you can stay in nicer hotels with more amenities, eat out as much as you want, do more paid tours including private tours, hire a driver, fly between destinations, and basically do whatever you want. The sky is the limit with this kind of budget!

You can use the chart below to get some idea of how much you need to budget daily, depending on your travel style. Keep in mind these are daily averages — some days you’ll spend more, some days you’ll spend less (you might spend less every day). We just want to give you a general idea of how to make your budget. Prices are in USD.

Southeast Asia Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips

Backpacking Southeast Asia is cheap. There’s little opportunity to spend a lot of money since everything is already so inexpensive unless you intentionally are trying to splash out on fancy meals and high end hotels. The two reasons why most travelers end up overspending is that they eat a lot of Western food and drink way too much. If you want to save money while traveling in this part of the world, cut down on your drinking and skip the Western food. While country guides have more specific ways to save money, here are some general ways to save money in Southeast Asia:

  • Stay with a local – Accommodation is cheap in Southeast Asia but nothing’s cheaper than free! Use Couchsurfing to stay with locals who have extra beds and couches for free. You’ll also meet great people who can show you around and share their insider tips and advice.
  • Book tours and day trips as a group – You have more negotiation power when you’re with a group of people buying multiple spots or tickets. Traveling alone? Meet a friend at a hostel and see if they want to join the same tour as you. I’ve met some great friends over the years doing this and highly recommend it.
  • Don’t book in advance – Don’t book any tours or activities before you get to your destination. They’ll be much cheaper when you arrive as you’ll be able to negotiate a lower price as you’ll find companies are often offering the same tour and competing. Anything you see online is more expensive than you need to pay!
  • Eat on the street – The street food is the best food. The food is the best and cheapest you’ll find. It’s a great way to try new foods and get to chat with locals as well. This is where locals eat so if you want insight into local culture, good food, and savings, eat the street food. Look for where locals are eating to ensure that it’s safe to eat.
  • Bargain hard – Nothing is ever at face value here. Bargain with sellers as most of the time, the price they’ve quoted is way higher. There’s a haggling culture in the region so play the game and save some money. It’s important not to convert it in your head to your own currency because it will usually sound cheap even though you might still be getting ripped off. You’ll never get the local price, but you might come close!
  • Minimize your drinking – Drinks really add up. Even with cheap drinks, if you’re not aware, you’ll end up spending more money on beer than on food and accommodation. If you want to drink, head to the supermarkets, drink at the hostel, or check out the local happy hours.
  • Pack a water bottle – A water bottle with a purifier comes particularly in handy in Southeast Asia since you can’t usually drink the tap water. Save money and thousands of plastic bottles and get a bottle that can purify the tap water for you. My preferred bottle is LifeStraw as it has a built-in filter that ensures your water is always safe and clean.

Where to Stay in Southeast Asia

I’ve been traveling Southeast Asia since 2005 and have stayed in hundreds of places. Here are some of my favorite places to stay in Southeast Asia:

  • The Siem Reap Pub Hostel (Siem Reap)
  • Onederz Siem Reap (Siem Reap)
  • Mad Monkey Siem Reap (Siem Reap)
  • Onederz Sihanoukville (Sihanoukville)
  • Monkey Republic (Sihanoukville)
  • Onederz Phnom Penh (Phnom Penh)
  • Sla Boutique Hostel (Phnom Penh)
  • The Magic Sponge (Kampot)
  • Indigo House Hotel (Luang Prabang)
  • Sa Sa Lao (Luang Prabang)
  • Sanga Hostel (Pakse)
  • Nana Backpackers Hostel (Vang Vieng)
  • Dream Home Hostel (Vientiane)
  • Traveller Bunker Hostel (Cameron Highlands)
  • De’Native Guest House (Cameron Highlands)
  • Kitez Hotel & Bunks (Kuala Lumpur)
  • Sunshine Bedz Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur)
  • Ryokan Muntri Boutique Hostel (Penang)
  • Mad Monkey Hostel (Bangkok)
  • D&D Inn (Bangkok)
  • Kodchasri B&B (Chiang Mai)
  • The Royal Guest House (Chiang Mai)
  • Green Leaf (Khao Yai)
  • Lonely Beach Resort (Ko Chang)
  • The Sanctuary (Koh Phangan)
  • Na-Tub Hostel (Koh Phangan)
  • Pineapple Guesthouse (Phuket)
  • Dream Lodge
  • The Pod Capsule Hostel
  • The Scarlet
  • Under the Coconut Tree Guesthouse (Hoi An)
  • Fuse Beachside (Hoi An)
  • Pretty Backpackers House (Da Lat)
  • Hanoi Old Quarter Hostel (Hanoi)
  • Luxury Backpackers Hostel (Hanoi)
  • The Hideout (HCMC)
  • City Backpackers Hostel (HCMC)

How to Get Around Southeast Asia

A lone person standing on lush, green rice terraces in Southeast Asia on a bright sunny day

Public transportation – Public transportation costs from a few pennies to a few dollars, with Singapore and Malaysia offering the most comprehensive public transportation systems. In Thailand, local buses cost around $0.25 USD per trip, while the Metro and Skytrain in Bangkok cost $0.50-1.50 USD per trip. In Cambodia, a bus ticket in Phnom Penh costs just $0.40 USD per ride.

Major cities generally have subway systems but mostly you’ll be using the bus or shared taxis to get around.

Tuk-tuks (small, shared taxis with no meter) are available around much of the region and require a bit of haggling. They usually have 3-6 seats and generally cost more than public transportation but are faster. To find a reputable driver, ask your accommodation as they usually know someone. Tuk-tuk drivers can often be hired for the day for a discounted rate (this is what a lot of people do to visit the Killing Fields and Angkor Wat in Cambodia, for example).

Taxi – Taxis in the region are generally safe, though it’s not uncommon to have to haggle. Scams to rip you off aren’t uncommon either, so always ask your accommodation to call you a taxi whenever possible so you know you’ll get a reputable company.

In Singapore and Indonesia, taxi drivers do put on the meter. In Bangkok, you can get taxi drivers to use the meter, but if you’re hailing one in a tourist area, he might try to avoid using it. In Vietnam, the meter is sometimes rigged, but if you can get a reputable company like Mai Linh, you won’t have any problems.

Ridesharing – Grab, DiDi, and Gojek are Asia’s answer to Uber. They work the same way: you hire a driver to take you somewhere via the app, and you can pay via the app or in cash. It’s often more affordable than a regular taxi, though drivers are a bit unreliable as the practice is not as widespread here as in other parts of the world.

Just keep in mind that some drivers are driving motorcycles so be sure to double check what kind of vehicle is picking you up if you don’t want to ride on the back of one.

Bus – The easiest and cheapest way to travel around Southeast Asia is by bus. The backpacker trail is so worn that there is a very well-established tourist bus system to take you anywhere. Buses costs vary between $5-25 USD for a 5-6 hour journey. Overnight buses cost $20-35 USD depending on distance (they often have reclining seats so you can get a decent sleep).

You can check ticket prices and book tickets for all the different bus companies across Southeast Asia at 12go.asia.

Train – Train service is limited in the region and not something to really consider when you travel Southeast Asia. You can take a train up and down the coast of Vietnam and there’s some limited scenic rails in Malaysia. Thailand is the only country that has an extensive train system that lets you travel all its regions (and onward to Singapore) from Bangkok.

The train prices in Southeast Asia are determined by distance and class. Night trains with sleeper cars are more expensive than day trains. The night train to Chiang Mai from Bangkok takes twelve hours and costs $27 USD for a sleeper seat. However, that same train during the day is $8-9 USD. In Vietnam, trains run up and down the coast and cost $60 USD from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City.

Flying – The cost of flying around Southeast Asia has come down in recent years due to the rise of low-cost airlines. Scoot, Jetstar, and AirAsia are the biggest. Nok Air has a lot of flights within Thailand , and VietJet Air is popular in Vietnam . Lion Air serves Indonesia , but its safety record is really spotty and I personally would not fly them. If you book early, you can save on fares, as most of the airlines offer deeply discounted fare sales all the time, especially Air Asia.

Just make sure that the airport these budget airlines fly into isn’t too far out of your way (transportation from the secondary airport sometimes negates the savings from using the budget airline itself).

Also, keep in mind that you usually must pay to check your baggage on these cheap flights. If you wait to pay for your luggage at the gate, you end up paying almost double. Travel carry-on only to avoid this added cost.

All in all, I only recommend flying if you are pressed for time or find a super cheap deal. Otherwise, stick to the bus.

Hitchhiking – Hitchhiking in Southeast Asia is safe, though popularity of the practice varies by country (it’s more common in Malaysia, but not so much in Cambodia). Dress respectably, smile while making eye contact with drivers, and use a cardboard sign to tell people where you’re headed. Be prepared for long bouts of no pick-ups, especially if you’re traveling through more rural areas. Pack plenty of water and food. Also, make sure the people picking you up understand you’re hitchhiking and not flagging down a taxi.

Hitchwiki is a great resource for hitchhiking tips.

Car rental I don’t recommend renting a car in Southeast Asia. Rental cars are expensive ($40 USD per day or more) and the roads here are in poor shape. I would never drive around the region.

When to Go to Southeast Asia

The best time of year to visit Southeast Asia is from November to April when temperatures are milder (though temperatures vary drastically by region). It may be mild in Thailand in January and hot in Malaysia but in Northern Vietnam, it’s cold! Also, one of the biggest mistakes people make is not taking into account the rainy season. In some cases it won’t make a big difference but definitely does if it’s a beach trip.

In Indonesia, the best time to visit is April to October. Temperatures average 24-30ºC (75-86ºF), and the weather is mostly dry. July to September is the peak holiday season and when you can expect to pay the highest rates. December to February is the rainy season.

In Malaysia, January-March and June-September are the best time to visit, as these months have the lowest average rainfall. It is still hot and humid during this time though. The rainy season is from October to December. Singapore’s climate/weather is much like Malaysia’s.

In Vietnam, the weather varies by region. In Central Vietnam (including Hoi An and Nha Trang), January-May is the best time to visit because it is dry and the temperatures average 21-30°C (70-86°F). June to August is also a decent time to visit. If you want to stick around Hanoi, March to April is great, or October to December (for mildest temperatures). The rainy season is May-September.

Thailand has three seasons: hot, hotter, and hottest. It’s always warm, though the weather is nicest between November and February (which is also peak tourist season). Bangkok is “coolest” and driest during this time (but still averaging a hot 29°C/85°F each day). April and May are the hottest months, and the rainy season is June-October. The gulf islands get pretty rainy from August to December.

The dry season in Cambodia is from November-May and the cool season is from November-February (and when most people visit). Temperatures during this time are still high, but humidity is lower. Laos has the same cool season as Cambodia, with the dry season running from November-April.

In the Philippines, it’s mostly warm all year long with an average daily high of 26°C (80°F). There are rainy and dry seasons and temperatures are hot and dry from March-May and cooler December-February. The best time to visit is between January-April when it’s less humid. Monsoon Season is July-October.

For more information on when to go to places, visit the specific country guides.

How to Stay Safe in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is an incredibly safe place to backpack and travel — even if you’re traveling solo and even as a solo female traveler. Violent crime is super, duper rare. Petty theft (including bag snatching) is the most common type of crime in Southeast Asia, especially around popular tourist landmarks. Always keep your valuables out of reach on public transportation and in crowds just to be safe. Never leave your valuables unattended while at the beach and always keep a hold of your purse/bag when out and about as bag snatching is common.

That said, outside touristy areas, theft is really rare. Heck, it’s pretty rare in touristy areas too! But a little vigilance goes a long way and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

There are some common scams around that you’ll want to be aware of, such as the motorbike scam. This involves a bike rental company trying to charge you for damage to the bike that you didn’t cause. To avoid this, always take photos of your rental before you leave so you can protect yourself from baseless claims.

Another common scam involves a tuk-tuk driver taking you somewhere you didn’t want to go in hopes you’ll buy something from the shop/restaurant he dropped you off at (he gets a commission if you do). Simply refuse to buy anything and demand to go back to where you were — or find another driver.

For other common travel scams, read this post about major travel scams to avoid in the region .

Solo female travelers should feel safe here, though it’s generally a good idea to avoid walking around alone at night just to be safe. It’s always a good idea to carry some extra cash to get home in a taxi if you need to. Additionally, always keep an eye on your drink at the bar and never accept drinks from strangers. Be sensible when it comes to dating while traveling and meeting people in public places. As I’m not a woman, please check out some solo female travel blogs to get the best insight.

Overall, the people who get in trouble here tend to be involved with drugs or sex tourism. Avoid those two things and you should be fine. Keep in mind that it’s not always obvious how old someone is or if they’re a sex worker so be mindful when getting involved in romantic interactions. Also, penalties for drug use in this region are stiff so even if you’re here to party, skip the drugs.

Always trust your gut instinct. Make copies of your personal documents, including your passport and ID. Forward your itinerary along to loved ones so they’ll know where you are.

For more in-depth coverage of how to stay safe in Southeast Asia, check out this post that answers some frequently asked questions and concerns.

The most important piece of advice I can offer is to purchase good travel insurance. Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. You can use the widget below to find the policy right for you:

Southeast Asia Travel Guide: The Best Booking Resources

These are my favorite companies to use when I travel. They consistently have the best deals, offer world-class customer service and great value, and overall, are better than their competitors. They are the companies I use the most and are always the starting point in my search for travel deals.

  • Skyscanner – Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine. They search small websites and budget airlines that larger search sites tend to miss. They are hands down the number one place to start.
  • Hostelworld – This is the best hostel accommodation site out there with the largest inventory, best search interface, and widest availability.
  • Agoda – Other than Hostelworld, Agoda is the best hotel accommodation site for Asia.
  • Booking.com – The best all around booking site that constantly provides the cheapest and lowest rates. They have the widest selection of budget accommodation. In all my tests, they’ve always had the cheapest rates out of all the booking websites.
  • Get Your Guide – Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace for tours and excursions. They have tons of tour options available in cities all around the world, including everything from cooking classes, walking tours, street art lessons, and more!
  • SafetyWing – Safety Wing offers convenient and affordable plans tailored to digital nomads and long-term travelers. They have cheap monthly plans, great customer service, and an easy-to-use claims process that makes it perfect for those on the road.
  • LifeStraw – My go-to company for reusable water bottles with built-in filters so you can ensure your drinking water is always clean and safe.
  • Unbound Merino – They make lightweight, durable, easy-to-clean travel clothing.

Get the In-Depth Budget Guide to Thailand!

Get the In-Depth Budget Guide to Thailand!

My detailed 350+ page guidebook is made for budget travelers like you! It cuts out the fluff found in other guidebooks and gets straight to the practical information you need to travel around Thailand. You’ll find suggested itineraries, budgets, ways to save money, on and off-the-beaten-path things to see and do, non-touristy restaurants, markets, bars, safety tips, and much more! Click here to learn more and get your copy today.

Southeast Asia Travel Guide: Related Articles

Want more info? Check out all the articles I’ve written on Southeast Asia travel and continue planning your trip:

The 4 Best Hostels in Singapore

The 4 Best Hostels in Singapore

The 6 Best Hostels in Bali

The 6 Best Hostels in Bali

The 22 Best Things to Do in Bangkok

The 22 Best Things to Do in Bangkok

5 LGBTQ Travel Tips for Asia

5 LGBTQ Travel Tips for Asia

Is Southeast Asia Safe for Travelers?

Is Southeast Asia Safe for Travelers?

Backpacking Cambodia: 3 Suggested Itineraries for Your Trip

Backpacking Cambodia: 3 Suggested Itineraries for Your Trip

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