Brainstorming for your next trip? Want to go somewhere on a budget? Look no further, Asia is full of beautiful destinations that are pure bargains. Honestly, this is one of the reasons why I am able to travel so much. Thanks to having Japan as my base for the last two years, I’ve been conquering one affordable Asian country at a time. In gathering inspirations for my summer vacation, I recently asked bloggers for their favorite cheap places to travel in Asia. After reading their recommendations, it’s so hard to resist the urge to visit all these suggestions in one go. Check out this list and let us know which of these countries you want to see the most.
“Perhaps one of the most underrated tourist destinations in all of Asia is the gorgeous country of Kazakhstan. From its majestic steppes, to the vibrant city of Almaty, to the stunning Charyn Canyon, there is so much to see and do in this multicultural country.
One of the best parts about visiting Kazakhstan is that it makes for an affordable budget destination. Accommodation options can often be had for under $15 USD per night, while quality cafes can be found that won’t set you back more than a few dollars. Kazakhstan also recently revised its visa policy, meaning that it’s now possible to visit visa-free for many nationalities. And with several European airlines opening up direct flights to the cities of Almaty and Astana, it’s never been easier to reach Kazakhstan on a budget. Shhh.. just hurry and go before the secret about this amazing summer destination gets out!”
-Nathan from TravelLemming// Follow Nathan on Instagram
“Sri Lanka can easily be described as a backpackers’ paradise. It has amazing views and tons of activities that will thrill even the grumpiest traveler, from animal safaris to trekking, from tea plantations to ancient temples, surfing, snorkeling and much more.
What makes this country cheap is the fact that you will be able to find delicious food without going bankrupt. You can even try to opt for homestays as you accommodation and thus you will benefit of the local cuisine cooked especially for you by the locals.
For example, when we did homestays we used to pay around 2.5$ per person for a full meal, consisting of various curries and rise, but also fruits and pancakes. And you can also find restaurants providing great meals at cheap prices. In Tangalle we found a small place called Dream Family Restaurant where we paid for our Christmas Dinner around 6$ per person. But we had tons of prawns with rice, a mouth-watering mango salad, ginger tea and pancakes.”
“We love holidaying in Thailand, it is a good sized country with so much to offer for any traveller. Beaches, Islands, mountains and so much history. The temples are utterly incredible, but it is the people who really make this country so appealing, they are always so friendly.
As a family travelling though, Thailand is such an affordable destination. We rarely pay more than $50 AU for accommodation and good meals are inexpensive. Transport is cheap too, whether it is an internal flight, long bus ride or a tuk tuk.
On our last trip, we stayed down on the Island of Phi Phi. This was not a spot I thought we’d actually ever go to as it is known as such a party place. But, it was fabulous. We stayed out of the main village, well away from the loud music that starts up as the sun falls. The small hidden beaches were great to spend time on and we also hired a boat for a day to see Maya Bay and the other local islands. It cost about $50 for the whole day with just us on board, so there was no hurry and no set schedule. Bangkok is also a fabulous place to visit with a family, we wrote about it here.”
– Jane Barnes from Wicked Walkabout// Follow Jane on Facebook
“Located in Southeast Asia, Laos is an affordable country and one of the best places for budget friendly travelers in Asia. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on accommodation in Laos as it is full of many affordable and nice hostels. You can also save money on food by eating street food and local food at the morning and night markets. If you like to drink you will love Laos, as the local beer (Beerlao) is super cheap.
If you can only visit one place in Laos, you should visit the beautiful and charming city of Luang Prabang. Some of the many great things to do in Luang Prabang include watching orange-robed monks collecting alms every morning, joining a sunset cruise on the Mekong River, temple hopping and visiting the nearby Kuang Si Falls to dip in turquoise pools. I also recommend visiting the town of Vang Vieng and the underrated capital city of Vientiane.”
– Matilda from The Travel Sisters// Follow Matilda on Facebook
“Vietnam is one of the most affordable place to travel to and has plenty of low-cost activities. Explore various museums, temples, beaches, parks, and more for a small fee or free. Transportation is affordable with taking public buses, rideshares (such as Grab), or metered taxis. Consider taking the low cost regional airlines, VietJet, to fly within Vietnam. A one way flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi costs $60-$75 USD.
The best part about Vietnam is the delicious food! Eat at local restaurants and/or street stalls with the plastic stools. A bowl of phở (noodle soup), cơm tấm (broken rice plate), or chè (dessert) is between 20,000 – 35000 VND ($.90 to $1.50 USD). If there is a large crowd, then consider trying the food. We can’t forget about cà phê đá (iced coffee) or beer which you can get for under 20,000 VND. You’ll have an awesome time in Vietnam!”
“If you’re looking for a country that has it all but doesn’t break the bank, then Indonesia is for you. It’s an archipelago that has just about everything a traveller is looking for, and is one of the cheapest countries we visited on our trip to South-East Asia.
We found the island of Bali in particular to be surprisingly affordable. You can get a really good private room with en-suite bathroom (including breakfast) for $15 USD, a scooter for $5 USD a day, and meals for $2-3 USD. Even a one hour massage can cost as little as $3 USD!
Unmissable activities include the stunning rice terraces, beautiful waterfalls, ornate temples, and epic volcanoes. All of these are cheap (often little more than $1 USD), so you spend very little on activities and entrance fees. A solo traveler could live on $20-30 USD a day and get good accommodation and food for the money.”
– Cat from Walk My World// Follow Cat on Facebook
“Your biggest expense in Taiwan will always be accommodation, especially in the capital, Taipei. Still, you can find hotels for under 50 USD a night, and there are hostels as well. The trick is to book early.
Taiwan has a fantastic transport network that makes getting around cities and across the island cheap and easy. Metro and bus rides in Taipei cost a few dollars, and an intercity high-speed rail ticket might set you back 30 to 40 USD. This opens up dozens of day-trips from Taipei, including Jiufen Old Street, Shifen, Keelung, and more. Public hot springs that are 100% free are scattered across the island. Many temples and cultural sights also have free entry, and there’s a wealth of outdoor activities and hiking trails, including the popular Taroko Gorge.
Food is one of Taiwan’s biggest draws. Night markets not only offer the most delicious eats, they’re also super cheap. Popular markets in and around Taipei include Raohe, Shilin and Ningxia. Expect to pay a few dollars for each morsel (bao, dumplings, scallion pancakes, etc.).”
– Emily from Wander-Lush//Follow Emily on Instagram
“When it comes to a cheap country to travel in summer, I have to mention Nepal. It’s one of the most underrated Asian countries among travelers, backpackers included. While traveling in Nepal, it’s totally possible to spend less than $15 while not compensating the quality of your travel experience.
Everything in this country makes it one of the cheapest countries to travel in Asia. But that depends on your planning as well. Tourists are flooding in year by year, causing some of the transportation and tours to be overpriced.
A decent meal in restaurants in Nepal costs well under $2 per person, local transportations is next to free. The most expensive things you can pay for are entrance fees. Pashupatinath and Durbar Squares tend to charge a lot more for entrance fees for foreigners. Other than that, Nepal should be on your bucket list if you’re looking to travel cheaply. Read my Ultimate Guide to Traveling Nepal to help plan your trip to Nepal.”
– Yen from Swing Abroad// Follow Yen on Instagram
“Myanmar was our cheapest country in South East Asia. It was even cheaper than India for our travels on a daily basis. We found travel to be extremely cost-effective. Slow but cheap. Our 18 hours of fun on the train from Mandalay to Hsipaw via the glorious Gokteik Viaduct cost just US$3. We trekked for 2 days with a local guide, including our food and accommodation for just US$19. We didn’t have the budget to take a hot air balloon over Bagan, so took electric bikes for US$4 a day.
The food was cheap too – and plentiful, be sure to load up on salads and the amazing tomatoes available from Inle Lake. You can even pick up a 500ml bottle of beer for around US$1.50 too. You shouldn’t miss Bagan and her temples, Mandalay for her sense of history and the glorious Ubein Bridge. Trekking in Shan State is glorious. And the people are as yet unjaded by tourism, they’re welcoming, friendly and helpful.”
-Sarah Carter from ASocialNomad//Follow Sarah on Instagram
“India is one of the best value destinations in Asia. If you are from a developed country, every dollar (~65 INR) can take you far here. You can get a delicious meal from 30 cents to 4 dollars (20 INR – 250 INR) depending on the type of cafe you choose.
Accommodation can vary from 2 USD hostels to 15 USD guesthouses in the hilly areas. India can be also freaking expensive with luxury hotels, posh private transport and guided tours. It is a very diverse country that can accommodate everyone whether you are a 15 USD/day backpacker or a business traveler willing to splurge.
There are places to visit in India in any season throughout the year. If you wouldn’t like to get barbequed and experience a humid touch of monsoons, head to the mountain areas during summers. Western Ghats, Himachal, parts of North-East have comfy temperatures and rainy ambiance. To avoid monsoons head to one of the picturesque villages in Ladakh.”
-Natalia from Mytriphack // Follow Natalia on Facebook
“Japan is often considered one of the more expensive countries in Asia to visit, but it doesn’t have to be. Actually, some of the best attractions in Japan such as Shinjuku Garden in Tokyo and Fushimi Inari in Kyoto are completely free to visit. At many of the smaller restaurants such as Katsuya or Gusto (“Gasuto”), you can get meals for ¥500 (about $5 USD or €3.85 EUR). Getting between major cities, such as Tokyo and Kyoto, is probably one of the more expensive parts of traveling, but even here money can be saved by taking an overnight bus instead of taking a plane or riding the bullet train. With a little bit of effort, even Japan can be a cheap destination!”
-Kiyoko from Footsteps of a Dreamer//Follow Kiyoko on Pinterest
Korea probably doesn’t pop to mind when thinking about cheap places to travel to, but it is very affordable if you’re staying away from touristic restaurants and shopping malls and stick to local areas.
Food: if you would visit a local Korea restaurant that doesn’t lie in the main street you’ll can get a great meal for 6000 – 8000 korean won (7$). The one thing about these kind of restaurants is that they probably don’t speak English. Which would be ok in most places as there are pictures of the food.
Transport: a ride by bus or subway costs 1200 korean won (1$). Make sure to get a T Money card when arriving at the airport, this will allow you to transfer for free.
Activities: government run sights like the palaces, the national museums, shrines or temples are free to enter or for a small fee like 2000 won (2$).
Accommodations: this will probably be your biggest expense, but Seoul has some pretty cheap hostels or Airbnb guesthouses.
-Marie from Be Marie Korea // Follow Marie on Facebook
There are so many cheap places to travel in Asia the options are really endless! This list is just the tip of the iceberg. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to book a ticket! (Or a few tickets…) Let us know which of these countries you like the most in the comments below.