Consider one of these cheap places to travel in Asia if you want to live like royalty on your next adventure. Or, better yet, embrace the digital nomad life and move full-time to one of these budget-friendly destinations.
Asia is the largest continent in the world, home to 48 countries. And while some of those have a reputation for being expensive places to travel, such as Japan and Singapore, there are others that offer terrific opportunities for a budget-friendly break. To help you get more bang for your baht, rupee or taka, Culture Trip has found the cheapest Asian countries to live in or travel around.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
If you’re looking for an affordable but offbeat place to explore that’s full of energy and intrigue, this is the place for you. Bangladesh is home to the Sundarbans, the biggest mangrove forest in the world. It also boasts Cox’s Bazar, the longest stretch of unbroken sandy beach on Earth. Discover historic temples in Puthia, river life in Barisal, ancient ruins in Gaur and much more. You can dine in a cheap restaurant for around 150 Bangladeshi taka (approximately £1.27). A daily budget of 4,000 taka (approximately £34) will let you splurge and occasionally enjoy top-class hotel rooms and fancy restaurants, but it’s also possible to get by in Bangladesh on around 1,500 taka (approximately £12.70) per day. An average backpacker should expect to spend in the region of 2,000 taka (approximately £17) each day.
An often-overlooked country, Georgia sits alongside the Black Sea at the crossroads between Asia and Europe. The lush Caucasus Mountains are speckled with traditional villages and incredible views can be found around almost every twist in the road. The capital, Tbilisi, is a melting pot of cultural influences where a traditional way of life still prevails – though the nightlife is fun and cheap. Plus, in Georgia, you can spend the morning skiing and then hit the beach in the afternoon. Hostel beds start from 14 Georgian lari (approximately £3) and you can travel long distances by mashrutky (local minivans) for around 20 lari (approximately £4.30). A backpacker’s daily budget of 60 lari (approximately £13) should be ample.
Although sightseeing flights over Mount Everest and intense multi-day treks in the Himalayas can cause costs to skyrocket, the base costs of visiting Nepal are very affordable. As a benchmark, a meal in a budget restaurant will cost about 200 Nepalese rupees (approximately £1.20) and cheap double rooms in a Kathmandu guesthouse can be found for as little as 650 rupees (approximately £4) per night. Expect to pay around 3,300 rupees (approximately £20.50) per day for an experienced trekking guide, though keep in mind that this cost will be split between the group; explore with new pals to make budgets more manageable. With a daily allowance of around 3,000 rupees (approximately £19), you should be able to make the most of your time in this fascinating country.
Spread across thousands of islands, Indonesia offers lots of variety. Volcanic landscapes, idyllic beaches, gorgeous lakes and nature galore contrast with historic highlights, such as the temple of Borobudur and bustling cities. While prices on different islands can vary immensely, Indonesia is, overall, one of the most budget-friendly countries in Southeast Asia. Costs can be kept down by spending time on just a few nearby islands rather than trying to cram in as many as possible. More popular islands, such as Bali, Lombok and Sumatra, tend to yield better deals than more remote destinations. Limit alcohol consumption (prices tend to be higher here due to the Muslim-majority population) and use local transportation, and you’ll find that travelling around Indonesia can be cheap. The average cost of a meal in a regular local restaurant is around 25,000 Indonesian rupiah (approximately £1.20), and in some areas, you can find budget guesthouses that start from just 30,500 rupiah (approximately £1.50) per night. Realistically, you should plan to spend around 435,000 rupiah (approximately £21.65) per day on a budget trip in Indonesia.
A huge and diverse country, India offers something for everyone. From beaches and mountains to world-famous architecture, delicious food, bustling markets and spiritual experiences, India is a rich and attractive destination: chill on the splendid beaches of Goa and wander around the many churches and other religious buildings; bathe in the Ganges at Varanasi; explore the tea plantations and enjoy the cool climate of Darjeeling; and absorb the energy of New Delhi. With beautiful cities and spectacular scenery, there’s no end of travelling to be done in India. In a country where dorm beds can be scored for as low as 400 Indian rupees (approximately £4), cheap street eats are abundant and long-distance sleeper trains can cost as little as 600 rupees (approximately £6), you can live comfortably on a daily budget of around 2,500 rupees (approximately £25). Shoestring travellers can, however, cut costs even more.
The headline attractions and activities in Sri Lanka are somewhat known for high costs. For example, climbing the impressive rock of Sigiriya will set you back 6,000 Sri Lankan rupees (approximately £22) and a half-day safari in Yala National Park costs around 6,950 rupees (approximately £25.30) per person. Cheap accommodation, meals and transportation go some way towards offsetting the higher travel costs; cheap-yet-filling meals cost around 250 rupees (approximately £0.91). Enjoying the beaches and roaming around cultural cities can be done for free, meaning you can enjoy Sri Lanka with a daily budget of around 6,000 rupees (approximately £22).
Vietnam is a budget backpacker’s paradise, with some of the cheapest beer in the world (bia hoi), low-priced dorms and private rooms, inexpensive and efficient long-distance transportation, and dining bills that will barely make a dent in your bank account. Rather unusually, the capital, Hanoi, is one of the cheapest Vietnamese cities to explore, though other popular destinations, such as Ho Chi Minh City, Sapa, Hoi An and Hue, won’t cost a fortune either. A basic meal, such as a bowl of pho (noodles), costs around 40,000 Vietnamese dong (approximately £1.24), and freshly baked breads and pastries make for a pocket-friendly breakfast. If you can stretch to 1.4m dong (approximately £43) per day, you’ll be able to do a lot more on your trip and enjoy meals in nice restaurants every so often, but you can have a great time with around 930,000 dong (approximately £29) each day.
Malaysia is starting to flourish as one of the top holiday spots in Southeast Asia. Beautiful beaches, architectural gems, glorious national parks and modern shopping malls attract different types of travellers and the overall travel costs are still lower than in neighbouring Thailand. Keep in mind, however, that Peninsular Malaysia is generally cheaper and easier to get around than Malaysian Borneo. Top destinations on the peninsula include the capital of Kuala Lumpur, quaint Malacca, the lush Cameron Highlands, the pretty island of Langkawi and the chilled-out Perhentian Islands. A private room in a guesthouse costs from 43 Malaysian ringgit (approximately £7.50) for a night, while the average price of a meal in an inexpensive restaurant is 10 ringgits (approximately £1.70). Enjoy Peninsular Malaysia with a daily budget of 165 ringgits (approximately £29).
A huge country with stark differences between the modern cities and rural villages, China has headline attractions that will always impress. From the Great Wall of China to The Bund in Shanghai; and from the Terracotta Warriors to the pandas in Chengdu, China is one of the most diverse nations on the planet. Sail along the Yangtze River, have a spiritual sensation in semi-autonomous Tibet and wander through the gorgeous gardens of Suzhou. You can sleep cheaply in smaller cities, with dorm beds starting from around 30 Chinese renminbi (approximately £3.30). In larger cities, however, you’re looking at spending around 90 renminbi (approximately £9.90) per night. You can fill up on street food for around 10 renminbi (approximately £1.10), and a 10-hour long-distance bus journey will rarely set you back more than 200 renminbi (approximately £22). A reasonable daily budget to explore China is 300 renminbi (approximately £33).
Iran is a budget-friendly destination for people who can explore the colourful nation independently – citizens of some countries, including the USA and the UK, can only visit Iran as part of a group tour. Also remember that Iran is not part of the global banking system and you must take enough cash with you to last the entire trip – obtaining back-up funds is all but impossible. However, highlights include the dazzling Golestan Palace in Tehran, the spectacular “Pink Mosque” of Shiraz, the ancient sites in Persepolis and the Varzaneh Desert. Bus rides are an affordable means of transportation. A meal in a budget restaurant costs around 200,000 Iranian rial (approximately £3.40) and hostels are becoming more common, with dorm beds starting from around 335,000 rial (approximately £5.70) for a night. A daily budget of a little more than 2m rial (approximately £34) is sufficient for budget explorers.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.