How Much Does It Really Cost To Travel In Southeast Asia?
Southeast Asia is famous for being the spiritual home of backpacking. Often considered more adventurous than backpacking in Europe but more accessible than travelling in South America, Southeast Asia has seen millions of first-time backpackers.
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So how much does it cost to travel in Southeast Asia?
Overall, backpacking through Southeast Asia can be incredibly cheap, with many travellers actually spending less money on the road than they would at home!
No matter if you are travelling on the Banana Pancake Trail, or trying to hit some more off the beaten track spots, Southeast Asia is a super affordable region to travel through. Sure, some countries cost more than others but that doesn’t mean you can’t visit on a budget!
For those of you really strapped for cash but determined to make the most of your trip, check out our readers poll of the cheapest countries to travel in Southeast Asia!
For a full breakdown of the costs involved when travelling in an individual country, check out these guides!
Daily Cost Of Backpacking In Southeast Asia – Quick Answers!
- Cost of Street Food: 80 cents – $4 USD per meal
- Cost of Local Food in a Restaurant: $4-$12 USD per meal
- Cost of Western Food in a Restaurant: $7.50-$17.50 USD per meal
- Cost of Water: 40 cents – $1.20 USD for a big bottle (For your wallet and the environment’s sake, you should take your own filtered water bottle!)
- Cost of Beer: $1.40-$6.20 USD – per bottle
- Cost of a Hostel Bed: $3.50-$18 USD per night
- Cost of a Private Room: $10-$80 USD per night
- Cost of Scooter Hire: $6.50-$21 USD per day
- Cost of a Massage: $10 USD per one hour
How Much Does a Trip to Southeast Asia Cost?
Cost of Street Food in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asian street food has been the staple diet of many a backpacker. Whether it’s Pad Thai on the streets of Thailand or Banh Mi in Vietnam, you’re bound to find your new favourite dish while travelling!
The average price of a basic street food meal in Southeast Asia is mind-blowing. In many countries, such as Thailand and Vietnam, you can get a full nutritious (and delicious!) meal of rice or noodles for under a dollar. Even in more expensive spots, like Singapore, you’ll rarely be paying more than $3-$4 USD.
Eating street food in Southeast Asia is delicious and a great way to save money!
Cost of Restaurant Food in Southeast Asia
While street food is a bloody great bargain, sometimes you might not feel like squashing yourself into a small plastic chair next to a busy road. Thankfully, throughout most of Southeast Asia, you’ll find affordable restaurants without too much trouble. The food is very similar to the food found on the street but you’ll be paying for the privilege of sitting indoors!
Presentation will cost you more!
Throughout most of the region, you’ll find good restaurant food for $4-$17.50 USD per dish. Western food (sandwiches, pizzas, pastas, burgers etc.) will be on the higher end of this budget while local food is pretty much always around the mid to low end. Of course, as with all things, there are plenty of swanky restaurants selling local or fusion dishes for much higher prices but they are not aimed at us backpackers!
Cost of Water in Southeast Asia
In much of Southeast Asia, tap water is not safe to drink. That’s not to say it would kill you but chances are the dreaded traveller’s tummy will make you regret taking the gamble!
Thankfully, bottled water is cheap and easy to find. Usually less than $1 USD for a big bottle from shops, supermarkets or street vendors. In very touristy locations, such as Angkor Wat or Khao San Road, expect to pay more.
If you are concerned about single-use plastic (and you should be!) we strongly advise that you consider investing in a filtered water bottle. These allow you to make tap water perfectly safe to drink, saving you money on bottled water and helping to slow the scourge of single-use plastic. Our personal favourite is the Grayl Geopress, which after the initial investment can easily save you hundreds of dollars over an extended trip!
Plastic waste is a huge problem in Southeast Asia.
Cost of Beer in Southeast Asia
Where would backpackers be without beer?! Being able to sit outside with an ice-cold beer and spend a few hours people watching is one of the joys of travel. Some of you reading this will be like me and enjoy just having a few quiet bevvies in the afternoon while some of you will be keen to sink as many as you can while bar-hopping your way down Pub Street in Siem Reap.
Either way, Southeast Asia has your back. In most countries, you’ll find a big bottle of locally brewed beer for around $2 USD. Even the tightest budgets can allow for the odd pint here and there! Some must try beers are: BeerLao (Laos), Angkor Beer (Cambodia), Beer Hanoi (Vietnam) Singha (Thailand) and every backpacker’s favourite cheapo beer, Chang!
And, don’t forget good old Bia Hoi, the Vietnamese draft beer that’s the cheapest drink in Southeast Asia! Shockingly cheap.
Bia Hoi – 5,000 VND = 20 cents a glass!
Remember, in more religious countries like Malaysia and Sri Lanka, alcohol can be more difficult to come across and much more expensive than in more liberal countries like Thailand and Laos.
Cost of Accommodation in Southeast Asia
Cheap places to sleep in Southeast Asia are plentiful. The price of a hostel bed changes a lot depending on where you are but on average they’ll set you back $3.50 – $18 USD. Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia and Thailand all have beds for below this price range whereas spots like Singapore or the Philippines can be slightly higher. On average, you’re looking at $8 US per night for a decent bed. See our Southeast Asia hostels guide for more information and local variations.
Sick of sharing a room with the lads on tour and Geoffrey who does a cracking chainsaw impression at 2:30am every morning? Treat yourself to a private room for a more relaxing night’s sleep!
Most hostels throughout the region will have private rooms that you can often pick up much cheaper than a hotel room. If you are travelling as a couple or with a close friend, getting a double or twin room between the two of you often works out more cost-effective than getting two dorm beds! It’s a win-win situation, as you get to enjoy the social aspect of hostel life, but get the privacy of your own room and a good night’s sleep!
Not into that hostel life? Or just looking for a proper treat? Southeast Asia offers some great hotels at great prices, especially when compared with the equivalent hotels back home!
On average these start at around $10 USD per night but can be much higher in more expensive spots. If you are only going to treat yourself to a nice hotel from time to time, try to pick somewhere like Indonesia, Thailand or Malaysia where you’ll find the prices to be best!
Cinnamon Hotel in Hanoi is an example of a boutique hotel for $65 US.
Suggested Daily Budgets For Travelling In Southeast Asia
All of the numbers below are average costs for travelling in the region. If you are visiting more expensive spots, such as Singapore or the Philippines, expect to spend more than these estimates per day. On the other hand, if you are visiting the cheaper countries, such as Vietnam or Cambodia, for most of your trip, you can expect to spend less.
Shoestring Backpacker = $22-$35 USD / Day
A shoestring backpacker in Southeast Asia can expect to spend less than $35USD per day, more like $25 per day in cheaper countries like Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. You’ll be pretty much exclusively staying in dorm rooms but may be able to treat yourself to a private room in a guesthouse now and again.
Most of your meals will be street food or stuff you’ve prepared yourself from local grocery stores. You’ll need to keep drinking down to a minimum, especially in more religious countries, like Malaysia, where booze is expensive!
As far as transport goes, you’ll be sticking to cheap overland buses, with the occasional train or ferry thrown in. Flying around the region will be out of your price range so load up that kindle for the long bus journeys you’ll be faced with! The good news is that if you want to get a little more off the beaten track, you should definitely be able to afford to rent a scooter from time to time. Tip – It will also help your budget if you learn how to haggle!
You’ll need to watch how often you splash out on tours as these can really eat into your budget, so only choose the ones that you really want to do and hunt around for bargains (like this cheap-as-chips Halong Bay Tour) . Activities like scuba diving in Koh Tao (a backpacker rite of passage) may be out of your price range, but why not snorkel instead?
You can see some pretty amazing underwater life just by snorkeling!
Overall, you’ll find travelling through Southeast Asia on a shoestring budget pretty easy. Hundreds of thousands of people do it every year and as long as you don’t get swept up with a group of people spending more than you can afford, staying in the region for months is possible by spending very little!
Slow Travel – One of the best ways to exist on a budget in Southeast Asia is to find yourself a base and chill out in one spot for a while. Long-term rates on accommodation and your own wheels work out super cheap. For example, in Thailand, it is easy to get a really nice bungalow for less than 10,000 THB/month (approx $315 US) and rent a scooter for around 3,000 THB/month (approx $95). (This was a recent cost for us on the island of Koh Phangan. In the North (where prices are cheaper), you could get accommodation and a bike for less, in places like Chiang Mai, Pai and Mae Hong Son (on of our favourites).
Living It Large Backpacker = $40-$55USD
For those of you travelling with a slightly higher budget than the shoestringers, Southeast Asia is your playground! For around $50 USD per day, you’ll have your choice of great backpacker dorms or nice private rooms to sleep in. You’ll be able to eat in restaurants or on the street but you’ll never have to worry about cooking for yourself if you don’t want to. Providing you are not overindulging in places like Singapore or Malaysia, you’ll be able to afford enough booze at enough parties to ensure your trip is full of incredible, if not embarrassing anecdotes!
While buses will be your predominant form of long-distance transport, you may be able to find good deals on cheap local flights. Check sites such as Skyscanner for a rough idea of costs and then move onto the individual airlines own websites for the best deals. (AirAsia is the most popular budget airline in the region.)
If you wanted to take on the Thakhek or Ha Giang Loops, two of the most popular motorcycle road trips in Southeast Asia, you’ll easily be able to afford to rent a scooter for a week or so at a time! When it comes to trips and tours, as long as you choose the company you go with wisely, you’ll be able to tick most items off your bucket list and enjoy activities like diving, rock climbing, trekking tours and boat trips!
Learning to dive will cost around $350 US for a 3-4 day course.
Overall, travelling through Southeast Asia on a living it large backpacker budget is plain sailing. By mixing it up between dorms and private rooms you’ll see your budget stretch on even further than planned! A few dollars saved per night really makes a big difference over a long trip. Expats living in Southeast Asia are probably spending less money per day than this, so you really can extend your trip for a long time if you are sensible!
Flashpacker = $60-$90 USD
The flashpackers among you will be amazed at just how far your money can stretch in Southeast Asia. For less than $100 USD per day, you’ll find yourself staying in amazing private rooms, eating at top quality restaurants and be able to buy more alcohol than you thought possible. If you plan on visiting some swanky bars or restaurants, like the rooftop bars in Bangkok, make sure you pack a smart outfit!
You’ll easily to able to afford to fly from place to place but unless you are really short on time, consider taking overland options as they are far friendlier to the planet! If renting a scooter is your thing, you could essentially rent one for every day you’re travelling without noticing a dent in your budget.
Travelling as a flashpacker in Southeast Asia will be as close to living as royalty as most of us will ever get! You’ll find your money goes a very long way here. Just don’t be too flashy with your cash, you don’t want to make a target of yourself!
How Much Does it Cost to Travel in Southeast Asia for 3 Months
Pin me! How much does it cost to travel in Southeast Asia
I call myself a budget traveler, but I was feeling self conscious about writing this article disclosing how much money I spent traveling through Southeast Asia for 3 months with my boyfriend (check out the route we took here!). We could definitely have done it cheaper, I was thinking! But then we wouldn’t have gotten to volunteer with Elephants in Thailand, or stay the night in the tallest treehouse in the world in Laos, or God forbid miss Angkor Wat! So I’m calling myself an Experience-Led Budget traveler.
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What is an Experience-Led Budget Traveler?
An Experience-led budget traveler is a traveler who prioritizes experiences while still on a budget. We spent money on an across-the-world ticket, travel insurance, and travel gear. We spent time planning the trip and taking time off from our careers. Traveling is a huge investment of time and money, and we wanted to get our dividends back in experiences.
We had a number ‘big things’ that we really wanted to do, even though they were expensive. They included volunteering with elephants for a week in Thailand, staying in the highest treehouses in the world in Laos, getting a 3 day ticket for Angkor Wat in Cambodia, an overnight boat trip through Lan Ha Bay, rock climbing in Laos and Cambodia, and taking a cooking class in every country. Those experiences are the highlights of our trip!
I’m not saying your trip is a failure if you don’t go scuba diving. I’m saying that if scuba diving in Southeast Asia is something that is very important to you, then you should go for it, even though it’s expensive!
At the same time, experience-led budget travelers are still on a budget! We shopped around for discounted guesthouses, ate mostly cheap food, walked places regularly, and often took cheaper transportation. The good news is that there are many inexpensive options in Southeast Asia that are also great experiences!
Budget Travel in Southeast Asia
Here are the ways we saved money while traveling in Southeast Asia:
- Wetraveled in the off season. We got discounts on some activities, souvenirs, and most importantly lodging. The cheapest hostels were still similar priced, but we were often able to book mid-range accommodations for the price of the cheapest hostels.
- Travel with a partner. Traveling with a partner is undeniably cheaper, as we could split a room for less than the price of two beds. If we wanted to try some new snack or dish, we could buy one and split it. I love solo travel, but when it comes to budget, partner travel wins.
- Eat street food. As long as it’s freshly cooked, street food is by and large safe to eat. It’s cheap, easy, and so effing delicious!
- Eat at markets. You can find a night market in most cities in Southeast Asia, and it’s a great way to find cheap delicious food.
- Take a tour. I’m not always a fan of tours, but sometimes it’s the cheapest way to get to a more remote destination.
- Buy fruit for breakfasts and snacks. It’s cheap, healthy, and local.
- Buy water from grocery stores. You can buy bottled water anywhere, but the cheapest comes in giant jugs from grocery stores that you then can use to fill up your water bottle.
- Take local transportation. Local buses are cheap and a great way to see the countryside.
- Explore on foot. Walking around a new place is free and a great way to explore.
- Get a bank account with no ATM fees! I use Charles Schwab and love it.
- However, don’t be a dick! Sometimes there’s a ‘tourist tax’, where tourists are expected to pay more than locals for things: pay it! It’s common practice in Laos, for example, for tourists to have to get off boats a stop early, and then have to take a tuk tuk to their destination, while locals get to go on to the boat dock in town. We heard a story of some tourists who refused to get off, so everybody, locals included, got kicked off at the early stop. Don’t do that!
How Much Does it Cost to Travel in Southeast Asia?
On to why you’re actually here. I’m going to give you a rough breakdown of the costs, and then provide daily averages.
Preparations and Prudence
Flight: Los Angeles to Bangkok: $556.58
Flight: Hanoi to Denver: $770.03
Travel Insurance: $430.19
Travel Clinic visit + vaccines: $173
Japanese Encephalitis vaccine in Thailand: $38.16
Total per person: $1967.96
Money Spent in Southeast Asia
Total for two people: $6768.67
Total per person: $3384.33
Tailor made clothes + gifts: $619.82 per person (completely optional!)
Read about how to get tailor made clothes here and custom leather shoes here!
How Much Does it Cost to Travel in Southeast Asia Per Day?
For our total travel time of 89 days, these are the per day averages:
Complete total per day per person: $67.10
Complete total per day per person without tailor made clothes: $60.14
Total per day without flights, insurance, medical, or tailors: $38.03 per day
Since flight costs vary on your home location, you possibly have different insurance, and you can choose to not get tailor made clothing, I think the most useful number is:
$38.03 per person per day for lodging, food, travel, and activities in Southeast Asia
In conclusion, as an experience-led budget traveler, you can expect to spend about $40 per day traveling through Southeast Asia. I encourage you to actually partake in experiences that interest you while traveling, even if they are more expensive. Nomadic Matt talks about his definition of a budget traveler, and I think experience-led budget travelers are exactly what he’s talking about! Be frugal, not cheap!
In the end, our memories and experiences are the most precious things we have! But lets not get into debt while we’re at it! Are you a budget traveler, an experience-led budget traveler, or do you prefer to pay for luxury experiences while on vacation? (No wrong answer!) If you’ve traveled through Southeast Asia, what was your budget? Do you regret spending money on something, or missing an experience because of the cost? Please let me know, I’m always interested to hear other opinions!
ULTIMATE SOUTHEAST ASIA TRAVEL BUDGET: How much does it cost to travel in Southeast Asia
I’ve been living and travelling around Southeast Asia since 2015. I’ve witnessed so many changes over the years one of those is the significant change in the cost of travelling in Southeast Asia.
The ultimate question I constantly receive whilst travelling and on my email is “what is the right budget for Southeast Asia?” The truth is, there is no right Southeast Asia budget because it will be down to the way you will travel, however, hiking alone for 90 days without your survival kit is almost like a suicide. Let’s make sure you get the trip of your life by giving you an idea of how to prepare the ultimate Southeast Asia travel budget.
Before you hop on your backpacking in Southeast Asia, first off, let’s list down the possible countries you want to visit and how long is the ideal time to spend in every destination. In this way, we can figure out the daily budget for travelling Southeast Asia.
SOUTHEAST ASIA TRAVEL TIPS
- Visas for Southeast Asia – don’t forget to check this to avoid hassle on your trip or worse, waste money
- How I travelled inSoutheast Asia with $2000 for six months – travelling on a budget is not a problem in Southeast Asia; find out how I managed to do it
- Southeast Asia travel route and itineraries– here’s a guide to help you plan a suitable travel itinerary for you
- Crossing the border from Melaka to Singapore by bus – get to Singapore from Malaysia without spending too much
- When is the best time to go to Southeast Asia– find out when is the time of the year to travel in this region
- Vaccinations for Southeast Asia– get the shots you might need
HOW LONG SHOULD I STAY IN EACH SOUTHEAST ASIAN COUNTRIES
- Brunei – 1-2 weeks ( this country is very small but have loads of attractions to offer)
- Cambodia 2-3 weeks is plenty to explore this fascinating destination
- Laos – 3 weeks (you can buy a motorbike and travel slowly)
- Indonesia – 1 month (or more) this country has 17.5K islands
- Malaysia – 3 weeks (you can easily spend more here, buy a motorbike and travel in your own way)
- Myanmar – 28 days (the maximum single entry visa is only for 28 days, you can always get another visa if you want to stay longer)
- Philippines – 1 month (or more) since this country has 7,000+ islands, mostly can be travelled by ferry or aeroplanes
- Singapore – 2 weeks (this will give you plenty of time to explore slowly)
- Thailand – 4 weeks (hopping on the islands takes time)
- Timor-Leste – 2 weeks
- Vietnam – 3 weeks on a motorbike | 2.5 weeks on public transportations
TIP: If your time permits, stay as long as you can to explore the small and unbeaten areas of each destination. You can never stay too long in places that you find fascinating.
TRAVEL TOOLS FOR SOUTHEAST ASIA
SOUTHEAST ASIA TRAVEL BUDGET PER COUNTRY
This article of Southeast Asia backpacking budget is a roughly an estimation guide. People travel differently and in different styles. Even you prefer private room, it doesn’t mean you can’t go backpacking in this region.
All you need to do is to know what your preference is. For example, you can spend more money on accommodation and cheap out of food. Personally, I always cheap out on accommodation and transportation and prefer to spend money on food and tours.
LEGEND: VOA (Visa On Arrival) | Prices are in US Dollars
Brunei Travel Budget
Even Brunei is such a small country, located right next to Malaysia, it has something to offer to its visitors. From its stunning landscape, the local food can surely find its way to every traveller’s heart. Since it’s a relatively small country, travelling around in Brunei is easy and surprisingly affordable.
Visa: Free visa & VOA – check out the list
Dorm: $10 – affordable accommodations in Brunei
Private room: $18
Transportation: $1 for a short ride to go on the other side of the city
Tours: there are a lot of free things to do or check these things to do in Brunei
Cambodia Travel Budget
Travelling around Southeast Asia can be cheap, but no one prepared me how affordable backpacking in Cambodia is! If you really want to travel Southeast Asia on a shoestring budget, head to Cambodia. Since Cambodia mainly uses US dollars, it feels like the prices are more expensive than the rest of Southeast Asia, but if you look closely and convert the prices in Thailand or Vietnam to US dollars, Cambodia is the cheapest on all of them.
Visa: 30 days VOA (check the visa guide for Cambodia) – Apply now!
Dorm: $2-$5 (check out the list of hostels where I stayed in Cambodia)
Private room: $5-$15
Food: $1 (side street food vendor) $2 (average small side street restaurants) $3-$4 (regular price on casual restaurants)
Sim Card: $4- Cellcard (this company offers cheap options but fast internet speed: 30 GB data for 30 days)
Transportation: $8 for a six-hour bus
Motorbike: $300-$400 (one of the few things that are more expensive in Cambodia compared to Vietnam)
Tours: $5 for short day tours (normally this is only for the transportation like in Phnom Penh) -There are great tours for only $15
Indonesia Travel Budget
Are you up for an adventure? Why not travel a country with 17,000 islands plus loads of active volcanoes? Indonesia attracts a lot of travellers not only because of these features but also for being such an affordable travel destination. Bali is one of the most visited cities in Indonesia, check this Bali on a budget guide.
Visa: Free-visa is offered to almost everyone in the world for 30-days (check if you need a visa)
Dorm: $5 – affordable accommodations in Indonesia or check these accommodations in Bali
Private room: $10
Food: $2 – you can easily find them from the street vendors, get away from where tourist hangout to find the cheap eats
Sim Card: $10 – XL or Telkomsel (you get 12 GB)
Transportation: $0.50 for the intercity public transportations, ferries are about $2-$3
Motorbike: $5-20 per day
Tours: $12 – check here the cool tours, for as low as $30
Malaysia Travel Budget
I didn’t originally plan to visit Malaysia, but I’m glad I did. I find the locals very friendly and the food super tasty. Malaysia is also great for travellers on a budget, make sure you visit Langkawi for probably the most affordable destination in Southeast Asia since it’s a tax-free island. For more details, check this Malaysia travel cost guide.
Visa: Free visa – 90 days for EU (check the visa guide for Malaysia) – Apply now!
Dorm: $5-$8 (check hostels that I personally stayed in Malaysia)
Private room: $10-$15
Sim Card: $10 – Digi (this company offer high-speed internet that works from the North of Malaysia to the South: 10 GB for 30 days )
Transportation: $18 (domestic flight) $15 (9-hour bus)
Tours: $15 tours can be found in Langkawi – Tours can be pretty pricey especially in Kuala Lumpur – but you can find affordable ones here
Myanmar Travel Budget
Myanmar is not as affordable as I thought, however, I managed to travel for 21 days and spent $750 including a one-way flight from Bangkok and a bus from the border of Myanmar to the city centre of Bangkok. I find the accommodation is the most expensive, so the best way is to travel with someone and share a private room instead of staying in dorm rooms. I also hitchhiked in Myanmar and slept in monasteries which I highly recommend.
Visa: Free visa – ASEAN countries (check the visa guide for Myanmar) – Apply now!
Private room: $10-20
Sim Card: $10 – Telenor (the internet in Myanmar, in general, is painfully slow, I was only able to use it on my online map)
Transportation: $10 (9-hour bus)
Tours: $20 (admission fee in archaeological areas; Bagan, Mandalay Hill) – it’s hard to find trustable tour agencies in Myanmar, you may check out my recommendations
Philippines Travel Budget
The Philippines is not bordered to any countries, therefore, if you decide to let this country show its charm to you, flights from the neighbouring countries can be as low as $50 for one-way. The Philipines also has 7,000+, the warm and hospitable locals speak English, and the scenery can easily capture your heart.
Visa: Free visa & VOA (check the visa guide for the Philipines)
Dorm: $5 (check the best hostels in the Philippines)
Private room: $8-$10
Food: $.50 (side street places) $1 fast food $1.5 casual restaurants
Sim Card: $10 – Globe (take note that the internet is not very good in the Philippines, personally I use the company Talk N’ Text. I can register on unlimited mobile data for $.50 valid for 24-hours, which I can use as a hotspot for my laptop)
Transportation: $5 (9-hour local non-AC bus)
Tours: $ 10-day tours – you can get an organised tour for cheap as $30
Singapore Travel Budget
Despite being such an expensive country to live and travel to, Singapore can easily be part of your itinerary. Why? Because this country has such a wealthy economy, great public transportation, and beautiful skyscrapers. A lot of travellers are curious about what Singapore is like.
Visa: Free visa for Europeans, Americans (North and South), and Southeast Asians (check here to see if you need a visa)
Dorm: $15 (affordable hostels in Singapore)
Private room: $30
Food: $2 – Look out for hawkers for cheap but awesome local food
Sim Card: $10 – Klook travel sim card (can be picked up at the Changi Airport- 100 GB mobile data)
Transportation: $1.50 – make sure to get yourself either the regular train card (can be used up to 6 times) or EZ Link Card to get around using public transportations
Tours: $20 (entrance fees on popular amusement parks) – you can find less pricey tours around $20
Thailand Travel Budget
The land where the islands are made to charm you. Thailand can easily win your heart through its beautiful scenery and mouthwatering local food. Despite the huge number of travellers coming to Thailand every year, a lot of backpackers and holiday still include this country on their list.
Visa: Free visa and VOA (check my Thailand visa guide)
Dorm: $5 (check affordable hostels in Thailand)
Private room: $10
Food: $1-$2 for street food or light meals $4
Sim Card: $10 for tourist sim card (can be bought at the airport of any 7eleven stores)
Transportation: $1.50 for subway and $12 for 9-hour bus ride
Motorbike: $15 per day (make sure you have a driver’s license that is valid in Thailand)
Tours: $10-$20 for day tours, but only for transportation-based tours – affordable organised tours for as cheap as $22
Timor-Leste Travel Budget
Timor-Leste is probably not on your list, but why not explore here for a bit to find a little getaway from the heavy touristic destinations in Southeast Asia? The other country in Asia where is Catholicism is the main religion (the other is the Philippines) and US dollars are widely used.
Visa: Free visa for Europeans (check if you need a visa)
Dorm: $12 (backpacker’s favourite hostel in Timor Leste)
Private room: $30
Food: $2-$5 (street food or decent affordable restaurants)
Transportation: $2 for one-hour bus ride
Tours: $20 small day tours –find a tour that fits your need here
Vietnam Travel Budget
Vietnam is supposed to be cheap, although it looks like that is not the case anymore. After receiving millions of travellers every year, Vietnam managed to up its economy game which resulted in making this country a little more expensive than it used to. When I was travelling here two years ago, I can easily find hostels for $3 per bunk bed, nowadays, it’s still affordable to travel in Vietnam but it’s slowly changing.
Visa: Free visa – ASEAN (check the visa guide for Vietnam) – Apply now and get your visa in a few hours only
Dorm: $5-$8 – best Vietnam hostels
Private room: $10-$20
Food: $1.5-$2 (side street food) $3-$5 casual restaurants
Sim Card: $8 – Viettel (for $8, you get 5 GB mobile data valid for 30 days)
Transportation: $8 (4.5-hour bus)
Motorbike: $200-$350 (second-hand – it’s cheaper to buy a motorbike in Hanoi compared to Ho Chi Minh City) – find more information about motorbiking in Vietnam
Tours: $5 for a day tour (mostly transportation only tours) – there are tours for as low as $9
If you need suggestions for hostels in Vietnam check out this article, Best Hostels in Vietnam
WHAT IS THE DAILY BUDGET FOR TRAVELLING IN SOUTHEAST ASIA
You can divide the places in Southeast Asia into three categories.
First group; Thailand, Cambodia, Philippines, and Myanmar, I would put it on $35 per day. In these countries, either the accommodation or food are on the pricey side, transportation and tours are falling on almost same price range.
While the second group; Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, and Indonesia, can easily be on $30 a day or even less. I personally find these places affordable on most aspects; accommodation, food, and transportation. Sometimes even the tours are really on the budget side. Accommodation can be as cheap as $5 except if you decide to stay around in the very touristy areas like Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia or Canggu – main tourist town in Bali, Indonesia.
The third group; Singapore, Timor Leste, and Brunei will be on the expensive side especially Singapore where dorm beds cost around $18/night, a beer is $5 a can, and food for $5 a meal. While Timor Leste and Brunei are expensive on tours and transportation (especially flying there). In this group, I would easily put it on $40-$50/day to really enjoy your time.
So in general, I’d calculate a $25-$40/day, you can save money from the second group and be ready to put more budget on the third group.
I hope this Southeast Asia budget guide gave you enough idea about travelling in this part of the world and point your planning in the right direction. Travelling is not always colourful but keep in mind that it’s something you will forever look back into, the stories you will get to share in the future are yours and forever yours.
So, are you ready to travel Southeast Asia on a budget?! If you have travelled in this part of the world, let us know what you think is the cheapest or mos expensive destination or if you have a great tip to share!