Southeast Asia backpacking | Southeast Asia budget |

Southeast Asia backpacking | Southeast Asia budget |

Backpacking Asia can be a big task as the majority of travellers take on a few countries in one trip. But it is worth all the planning because backpacking southeast Asia is one of the best backpacking trips you can do. What currency does each country use? How do I get around? What about across borders? But what you’ll be wondering most is how much travelling southeast Asia going to cost me?

No need to fret, I break it down into daily budgets for each country in southeast Asia. What you won’t find here is a shoestring budget. I don’t believe in going somewhere just to see the bare minimum, not indulge in nice dinners, a night out or a try really cool activity. This budget is realistic, it will let you have all the fun you want to have without going too crazy.

This certainly isn’t a luxury budget but you won’t miss out on the top activities or a little splurge when you need it.

Before we even get into budgeting for each country, there are a few things that need to be budgeted for first.

All prices are quoted in USD. Prices are to give you a general idea of what to budget but as prices change I can not guarentee that they are always accurate.

Flights

Booking flights can be very fun or not at all when it comes to budgeting. From North America a one-way flight on average costs around $600. But you can always find amazing round-trip deals on SecretFlying.

Your best bet is to look for flights to Bangkok or Singapore, both are very popular places to fly into southeast Asia and often times the prices are lower. If you have no idea when you’re coming back, book a one-way ticket and watch for deals once you have a general idea.

If flying within Asia use budget airlines such as AirAsia, Nok Air, TigerAir and VietJet Air.

I personally use and recommend using the search feature on Skyscanner that allows you to search for an entire month, that way you can choose to fly on the cheapest days. Download the app to check it out and use while on the go.

Vaccinations

Vaccinations are always an added expense that many people don’t plan for. And boy can they take a dent out of your budget.

Depending on the vaccination it can cost anywhere from $25 to hundreds as some shots are just a simple one-time shot, others you need multiple. Malaria pills can be quite costly as well, costing a couple dollars a pill. A travel clinic consultation will set you back around $25-50.

Don’t skip on this as vaccines are recommended for areas at different periods throughout the year. Some vaccinations also need to be done weeks in advance so get doing your research! This site can be used as a general guideline for what you may need.

I can’t quote the costs precisely as they vary around the world. But if you’re lucky some insurance does cover travel vaccinations. Your best bet is to set aside $400 (though it could cost way more) in case you decide to get all of the vaccinations and if you don’t then that’s extra spending money.

Please consult a doctor or nurse for costs and vaccine recommendations, I can not advise you on what to get as I am not a medical professional.

Visas

Visas vary from country to country with some being completely free and others costing upwards of $50. Visas differ in price and regulations such as length of stay for different countries so always check official sources to help you budget. Most countries will also ask for you to pay for a visa in USD. Some require you to purchase a visa online in advance or some you receive upon entering the country. Some you will need passport pictures for and some differ in length based on if you’re coming into the country by air or land.

Examples:

Thailand: Free, issued on arrival

Cambodia: $30, pay and issued on arrival

Vietnam: Fees differ depending on how you’re entering the country, visas must be applied for in advance

Laos: Varies from $30-42, pay and issued on arrival

Myanmar: $50, visit the official site to apply in advance

Note that you do not always have to apply for visas online, you can also obtain a visa from embassy’s but this usually takes a few days so plan in advance!

I can not guarantee that these prices are exact, please visit an official website for more info.

Travel Insurance

Yes, you need to read this.

Picking travel insurance is an essential part of planning a trip for everyone, including your trip to southeast Asia. If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel. Luckily there are affordable options. I personally recommend, have used and have made multiple claims with World Nomads. One of which was in southeast Asia! If you have no idea where to start then check out my travel insurance guide to help you pick the best option for you.

And to help you budget you can use the quote generator below.

Thing to Know When Backpacking Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia tours can also be done however those are much more costly than if you were to plan the trip yourself. 1-3 day tours are quite common depending on the destinations and are very affordable but definitely are the most expensive thing you’ll need to plan for.

The most expensive things to buy in southeast Asia that you’ll need regularly are sunscreen and bug spray. Stock up before you leave!


Backpacking Southeast Asia Breakdown by Country

This breakdown will give you a general idea of a backpacking Asia cost. It won’t help you with tips for how to travel Asia on a budget, but this will. However, you will have a pretty accurate backpacking Asia budget by the end.

Southeast Asia backpacking | Southeast Asia budget | Thailand travel | Backpacking Thailand | Chiang Mai

Backpacking Thailand

Currency Used: Thai Baht (THB) (฿)

DAILY BUDGET: $30-45

The lower end of the budget will get you around, going out once or twice a week for cheap drinks and doing activities that are not very pricey. The higher end is more of a flashpacker budget that will allow you to go out a few nights a week, catch a cab or tuk tuk occasionally and a western meal every so often.

It’s important to note that prices vary a lot in Thailand depending if you’re in a big city such as Bangkok or Chiang versus Pai or Sukhothai. Prices on the islands can be slightly more expensive as well, especially in tourist hotspots.

Some examples of the more expensive things you need to budget for are:

  • The Grand Palace in Bangkok: 500 THB ($15)
  • Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Chiang Mai: 2400 THB (full day visit) ($72)
  • Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan: costs vary so do research as hostel prices go way up and there are entry fees to the parties
  • Get Dive Certified on Koh Tao: 7500-10,000 THB ($225-300) (this also includes accommodation)

Hostels:
100-450 THB ($3-15) (depending on the place, Bangkok is the most expensive)

BOOK CHEAP HOSTELS: Bangkok | Chiang Mai | Pai | Phuket | Koh Phi Phi | Koh Phangan | Koh Tao

1.5 Litre Bottle of Water:
13-20 THB at ($0.40-0.60) (many hostels always have free water so fill up!)

Big Beer at 7/11:
50-60 THB ($1.51-1.81)

Street Food:
50-150 THB ($1.51-4.53)

Big Beer at Restaurant:
120 THB ($3.62)

Restaurant Meal:
100-500 THB ($3-15)


Motorbike Rental (24 hours):
100-300 THB ($3.02-9.06) (price will vary depending on where, ex. Chiang Mai is more expensive than Pai)

Massage:
100-500 THB ($3-15) (depends on length and type of massage, foot, whole body, etc.)

Transport: 
300-1500 THB ($9.06-55.40) (depending on bus, train or plane)

Read More on Thailand

Southeast Asia backpacking | Southeast Asia budget | Cambodia travel | Cambodia backpacking | Angkor

Backpacking Cambodia

Currency Used: Cambodian Riel (KHR)

DAILY BUDGET: $25-45

Cambodia travel is amazing as it is one of the cheapest destinations in southeast Asia. The best part is that prices don’t vary as much, making it easy to plan and budget for. I found the cost of food and hostels to be pretty consistent no matter where I was in the country. It once used to be the home of $2 hostels but unfortunately prices have gone up, still, you will be able to do pretty much everything you want on a low budget here.

It’s important to note that all prices listed here are in USD as that is the main currency used in the country. ATMs will dispense USD and Riel. All prices you will see are quoted in USD and you will receive large change in USD but smaller change in Riel and sometimes a mix of both!

Some examples of the more expensive things you need to budget for are:

  • Entrance to Angkor Wat for 1 day: $37 (price as of February 1, 2017)
  • Trasport around Angkor Wat: $15 for a tuk tuk (that you can split 4-ways)
  • Tour of the Killing Fields and S-21 Museum in Phnom Penh: $16 (can also be split 4-ways)
  • Tour of Koh Rong with Adventure Adam (seriously a must do): $25

Hostels:
$3-8 (depending on the place, Siem Reap is the most expensive)

BOOK CHEAP HOSTELS: Phnom Penh | Siem Reap | Sihanoukville | Koh Rong

1.5 Litre Bottle of Water:
$1

Beer:
$1-2

Restaurant Meal:
$2.50-5

Buses Between Cities:
$6-20

Flights Between Major Cities:
$30-60

Read More on Cambodia

Southeast Asia backpacking | Southeast Asia budget | Vietnam travel | Backpacking Vietnam | Halong Bay

Backpacking Vietnam

Currency Used: Vietnamese dong (VND)

DAILY BUDGET: $25-40

You can’t go wrong with Vietnam backpacking, it is a backpackers paradise! You will get the most bang for your buck here from the cheapest beer and dorms in southeast Asia to amazing budget sleeper buses, you won’t break the bank in Vietnam. This budget will get you through your day to day including transport but there are a few pricier activities in Vietnam.

Some examples of the more expensive things you need to budget for are:

  • Halong Bay Boat Tour: $50-200+ (varies from budget-luxury and 1-3 day tours)
  • Trekking in Sapa: $45 for 2 days with transport from Hanoi

Hostels:
$5-8 VND (most are around the $5 price point)

BOOK CHEAP HOSTELS: Hanoi | Hoi An | Nha Trang | Mui Ne | Ho Chi Minh

Water:
4000-10,000 VND ($0.18-0.50)

Beer:
3500-30,000 VND ($0.16-1.20)

Street Food:
20,000-35,000 VND ($.80-1.50)


Restaurant Meal:
68,000-150,000 VND ($3-7)

Transport: 
100,000-700,000 VND ($4-30) (depending on bus, train or plane and length of trip)

Read More on Vietnam

Southeast Asia backpacking | Southeast Asia budget | Laos travel | Laos backpacking | Luang Prabang Kuang Si Falls

Backpacking Laos

Currency Used: Lao Kip (LAK)

DAILY BUDGET: $30-40

I personally found Laos travel to be the most expensive to travel in. It’s a pretty big party destination in two of the major places to visit, Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang but other than drinking you won’t find many activities that are very expensive.

Some examples of the more expensive things you need to budget for are:

  • Tubing in Vang Vieng: 55,000 + 60,000 LAK deposit ($6.50 + $7)
  • The Gibbon Experience (ziplining for multiple days): $190+
  • Slow Boat into Laos from Thailand: 210,000 LAK ($25) Read exact details and prices here

Hostels:
33,000-58,000 LAK ($4-7)

BOOK CHEAP HOSTELS: Luang Prabang | Vang Vieng | Vientiane

Water:
3000-8000 LAK ($0.35-1)

Big Beer at 7/11:
10,000-15,000 LAK ($1.20-1.80)

Street Food:
15,000-20,000 LAK ($1.80-3)

Restaurant Meal:
20,000+ LAK ($3+)

Transport: 
90,000-200,000 LAK ($11-25) (depending on overnight or day buses)

Read More on Laos

Myanmar travel | Myanmar backpacking | Shwedagon Pagoda

Backpacking Myanmar

Currency Used: Burmese Kyat (K)

DAILY BUDGET: $30-45

A budget for Myanmar is slightly higher as it is a newer destination and prices will be on the rise as more visitors begin entering the country. Myanmar backpacking is more difficult, but it is becoming easier. Typically Myanmar is a cheap country but accommodation and tranport is more limited as it’s not yet used to the influx of tourists thus making it more expensive, however it is still very affordable compared to western standards.

Myanmar is not a country where you go to party so you will save on alcohol, however that money can be used to pay for necessary entrance fees, accommodation or transport.

It’s important to note that Kyat and USD are accepted in Myanmar. Though you will mostly use Kyat (which is dispensed from the ATMs) it is important to have USD on you as it is sometimes asked for.

Some examples of the more expensive things you need to budget for are:

  • Entrance fee to Bagan: 25,000 K ($20)
  • Entrance fee to Inle Lake: 12,000 K ($9)
  • Boat tour around Inle Lake: 20,400 K ($15)

Hostels:
10,900-20,400 K ($8-15)

BOOK CHEAP HOSTELS: Yangon | Bagan | Inle Lake | Mandalay

1.5 Litre Bottle of Water:
Honestly I never bought a bottle of water because every hostel had free water

Big Beer:
1600-3000 K ($1.20-2.20)

Restaurant Meal:
2700-9500 K ($2-7)

Electric Bike Rental in Bagan (3-8 hours):
5000-7000 K ($3.50-5) (you can also get free laundry service with a rental!)

Transport: 
10,900-20,400 K ($8-5) (opt for the VIP bus)

Read More on Myanmar

Remember these are just general prices to help you plan for your southeast Asia travel. If you like to splurge save more and if you don’t like to drink you won’t need as much. Southeast Asia costs range significantly for people but if you plan on backpacking this guide offers comfortable prices so that you should be able to enjoy everything southeast Asia has to offer!

Now it’s time to travel Asia and find out for yourself!

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