10 of the Cheapest Countries To Visit In Asia

Oct 7, 2021 | Adventure Travel, Backpacking, Travel Tips

Have you ever wondered how to make the most out of your dream trip when you have a strict budget? Trust us, we’ve all been there. We also know how difficult it can be to save money for travel, especially after the numerous lockdowns and business closures of 2020 and 2021. We’ve all spent so much time stuck at home, watching Netflix, listening to Spotify and scrolling through social media. Seeing travel photos and videos has got everyone itching to book a flight somewhere as soon as international borders reopen. People all over the world are aching to get out and travel and to see the world again.

As people are starting to get back on their feet financially, traveling the world is once again becoming an option for many. If you want to start travelling whilst not spending too much money, you must choose to visit the right places. There are lots of cheaper countries in the world that make amazing holidays, especially in Asia. Choosing the right destinations can feel overwhelming when you don’t know where to start, but don’t fret – we’ve put together the ultimate guide down below, to help you choose an excellent, budget friendly country for your next holiday.

 

 

Cheapest Countries To Visit In Asia 

 

10. MALAYSIA

Malaysia is a top holiday destination and one of the cheapest countries in Southeast Asia to visit. However, It’s strong economy and prosperous capital of Kuala Lumpur may make it seem as if it’s an expensive country to visit, but that is not always the case. Famous for its pristine beaches, glorious national parks, modern shopping malls, small fishing villages, and hiking routes, there is something for every type of traveler to enjoy. For travelers, west Malaysia is usually cheaper than east Malaysia, but like we said, if you avoid Kuala Lumpur, your holiday can be quite cheap.

For your accommodation, a multi-bed hostel dorm in Malaysia will cost you about $6 AUD per night, street food for $1.50 AUD, or an inexpensive restaurant will cost you around $3 to $5 AUD. Public transport is also cheap, ranging from $0.25 to $2.00 AUD. However, the price of alcohol is quite high in Malaysia, with a local beer going for $4 AUD in most bars and pubs.

So if you want to have a little bit of everything on your holiday from seeing the beautiful architecture and hiking to ancient temples, Malaysia is one of the cheapest countries in Asia that offers all that at under $35 a day.

Malaysia’s average daily budget: Between $25 to $35 AUD

high rise buildings in kl, malaysia

9. SRI LANKA

Sri Lanka is one of the cheapest countries to travel in Asia despite the vast beauty that lies within what is known as The Pearl of the Indian Ocean. Sri Lanka has become a popular destination amongst travelers due to its tropical climate, beautiful beaches and incredible food. And not to be left out is its low cost for an unforgettable adventure. This south Asian island has 8 Unesco World Heritage sites, incredible wildlife, amazing white sand beaches, and incredible landscapes that are some of the most instagrammable places in the world. From incredible landmarks like Sigiriya, Adam’s Peak, and the Nine Arch Bridge, the natural beauty of this country allows for the cost to remain low.

You can expect to enjoy Sri Lanka and have a memorable holiday with the main savings coming from your meals. Food in Sri Lanka is super delicious and also very cheap. You can expect to spend as little as $2 AUD on a meal. Other costs like $7 AUD on accommodation and $2 AUD on transportation makes this a country where you can make your budget last you quite a long time.

On our 12 day Sri Lanka tour there are 20 activities included in your trip! Book with us to save the hassle of trying to find the best deal for these impressive activities!

Sri Lanka’s daily budget: Between $25 to $35 AUD

aerial view of cliff sri lanka

8. NEPAL

Known for being home to the tallest mountains in the world, Nepal has become a hotspot for many hikers and other adventure seekers. And since it’s one of the cheapest countries in Asia, the number of travellers keeps increasing each and every year (before Covid-19 of course). From the legendary hikes in the Himalayas, to the stunning views of rice terraces, to the aerial tours around Mt. Everest, there are so many things to do in Nepal. Even though the aerials tours over Mt. Everest is quite expensive, the general cost of travelling in this beautiful country can be quite low.

One of the biggest areas to reduce spending in Nepal is to stay away from expensive, guided hiking treks. It would be best if you could do it with a travel group or with some friends. However, you should always be careful and do what is best for your safety. For your accommodation, you can budget around $5 AUD for a dorm room and $12 to $15 AUD for a guest house private room. Food is quite cheap and that will only cost about $3 AUD per meal. $4 on a bus will get you about 5 hours from your current location but transportation within one area will be around $2 AUD. Since the country is primarily for trekking, trekking is the most expensive activity with most trekking permits costing around $25 AUD. However, most travellers like to take rest days so this won’t be an everyday expense for you.

Nepal’s daily budget: Between $25 to $30 AUD

people gathering at patan durbar square

7. THAILAND

There aren’t many countries as well organized for tourists as Thailand. Thailand is an easy country to travel in for all kinds of travelers – no wonder it has been a popular destination for backpackers and other first time travellers for over a decade now. From the lively city of Bangkok, the charming beauty of Chiang Mai, to incredibly beautiful beaches in Phuket, Thailand is a must-visit place if you’re looking for a cheap country to travel in Asia.

As is the same with many other countries on our list, Thailand can be pricey if you aren’t careful. 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 $10 AUD but can go as low as $4 AUD if you choose a shared dorm room. You can expect to spend $4 AUD on street food and around $5 AUD on transportation within the city per day and $10 to $15 AUD between cities or Islands. Since Thailand does have a large amount of tourist visitors each year, the activities you can do there can get a bit pricey. $25 AUD would be a good average for a day but of course, these activities are optional. So,with an average budget of $30 per day, Thailand truly is one of the cheapest places to visit in Asia.

Thailand’s daily budget: around $30 AUD

boats in maya bay, koh phi phi, thailand

6. PHILIPPINES

Palms trees, beautiful sunsets, wonderful diving spots, and some of the best islands in the world make the Philippines the perfect country to indulge yourself and have an amazing time while still traveling on a low budget.

The key to keeping your budget intact in the Philippines is to avoid large cities. A night in a dorm room can cost between $5 and $15 AUD. As usual in Asia, street food is cheap (between $3 and $7 AUD). The Philippines is for sure qualified to be on this list of the cheapest countries in SouthEast Asia, if you are careful when making your decisions.

Our 10 day Philippines tour offers a truly unique experience where we stay overnight at a private beach camp. Relax under the stars and snorkel with turtles in Port Barton, float in the crystal clear emerald waters & find yourself in awe of the majestic limestone cliffs in El Nido. Did we mention it’s been voted the #1 tour in the Philippines & in Asia? Book now, thank us later!

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

sunset in el nido

5. VIETNAM

Halong Bay, a World Heritage site, and its dozens of islands nearby are covered with a tropical jungle and is known as one of the most beautiful places in the entire world. For the most part, Vietnam is still adapting to world travelers as it hasn’t become as populated with tourists as some other destinations like in Europe or even Thailand. 20 bucks a day will be more than enough to travel, eat, sleep, and discover this country which has managed to preserve its cultural heritage very well. A meal will cost you less than $4 AUD and you can easily find private rooms for under $10 AUD in some of the smaller to medium sized cities. Renting a motorbike, which is a very popular way to explore the country, costs around $10 per day, but most travellers will purchase once upon arrival. Biking through the country will definitely offer you some of the best, cheaper rate holidays in all of Asia.

Vietnam’s daily budget: between $20 and $25

busy street in vietnam

4. INDONESIA

From thick jungles, volcanoes, to stunning beaches, Indonesia has so much to offer if you are willing to explore. Each area of Indonesia can be very different when it comes to food, language, religion, and culture. With the country being so multifaceted and big, it can be difficult to create a budget for the food, accommodation, or transportation as the cost often varies from one region to another. Popular destinations like Bali or Jakarta can be very expensive but once you get away from the most touristic areas, prices will drop significantly.

Just like most of the other countries on our list, street food is the way to save money each and every day. Meals can range from between $3 to $5 AUD if you are eating local. For accommodation, you will also be able to find dorms for $5 AUD and private rooms starting at $20 AUD during low season. Transport between destinations can also be very cheap in Indonesia ranging from $2-10, depending on distance and starting point. Even though the daily budget greatly differs from region to region, Indonesia is still one of the cheapest countries to visit in Asia.

​​During our 12 Day Indonesia tour, we will visit 3 different provinces including the world famous island of Bali, aka the Island of Gods. This will give you a great way to have some different cultural experiences, even though you’re in the same country the entire time!

Indonesia’s daily budget: between $15 and $30

 jeeps driving to mount bromo

3. LAOS

This small, off the beaten path country has a lot to do in comparison with its size. Both untamed and embracing, life in Laos can be a little more expensive in touristy cities like Luang Prabang and Vientiane. But if you’re smart about your planning and get into the smaller cities you’ll be able to travel for a very cheap price.

The southeast Asian favourite, classic fried rice that you can find almost anywhere costs roughly $2. A meal in a restaurant is approximately $10 AUD. Bus rides cost around $1 AUD per hour and private rooms can be found at $20 AUD with dorms being around $6 AUD.

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 cheapest places to travel in Asia.

Laos’ daily budget: between $15 and $25

2. CAMBODIA

Siem Reap is sometimes called the “backpacker’s world capital”. It is not only one of the best places to visit in Asia but also one of the cheapest places to backpack in the entire world! The country is most known for its famous Angkor Temples but it actually has much more to offer!

From taking bike rides 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. Cheaper than its popular neighbor Thailand, almost everything here has a lower price. You can find budget hostels and guest houses for just $3 AUD a night. And rarity to the region, traditional restaurants are affordable going for less than $5 AUD so you can skip the street food here. Tuk-tuks are also very cheap and convenient. A visit to the world-famous Angkor Temples will cost you extra but you can do it for $15 to $20 AUD for the entire day.

All in all, Cambodia is one of the cheapest Asian countries to visit and is a must for those travelling on a budget.

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

tourists walking to angkor wat

1. INDIA

Ah India, the home of the famous Taj Mahal! From its superb beaches in the south to the Himalayas in the north and the historical sites in the centre, India is a world in its own right and is a fascinating country to discover. It is one of the most sought after destinations in Asia with over 10 million visitors annually. Luckily for you, it is also the cheapest destination in Asia.

Though the south is more touristic and can be a bit more expensive, it also remains very affordable. During our 14 day India tour, aside from visiting the Taj Mahal, we will also take some Tuk Tuks to the beautiful Mehtab Bagh. Also known as the ‘moonlight garden’ this magical spot gives you the opportunity to enjoy the Taj Mahal away from all the bustling crowds. Besides that, transportation (rickshaws, taxis, buses, and trains) is incredibly cheap in India. A train ride from ​​Delhi to Udaipur, which is about a 14 hour journey, will cost you around $8 AUD. As always, one of the best ways to save money on your trip is to eat street food from food carts, which India is incredibly famous for anyway. Veg-thali is less than $2.50 AUD, a glass of fresh fruit juice costs only a few cents and small scale restaurants are about $3 to $7 AUD. Accommodation in India is also cheap with a night in a multi bed dorm costing between about $5 AUD.

So if you were wondering whether it’s possible to live on less than $15 a day whilst traveling, then India is the best Asian country to try to experience just that!

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

 taj mahal with sun shining in background

There are so many amazing places in Asia for you to discover, if you do your research and avoid some of the common travel areas. Do note that the prices above do miss out on a lot of amazing activities that make these countries so great, and is a general guide for those wanting to extend their travels for as long as possible. If you’re not keen to go down the backpacking on a shoestring budget route, but you still want to keep costs down – why not consider an organised trip? They can generally work out cheaper, as you’ll be travelling in a group and most of your costs are laid out in advance. You’ll pay a lump sum at the beginning, which will cover most of your activities, a lot of your meals and all of your accommodation too! On our group trips we also send out a budget guide prior to arrival, so you can estimate all of your extra costs and plan ahead. This way, you know the exact costs and know that you will have an amazing time and not miss the best these countries have to offer!

Feeling inspired to save for your next adventure? Check out our trips here and use the code ONELIFE15 at checkout to get an extra 15% off all our trips, for a limited time only! 

 

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