Southeast Asia Backpacking Budget
This page aims to give you a rough idea of what a typical shoestring backpacking budget for Southeast Asia might be.
Daily Travel Costs in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia is one of the cheapest parts of the world to travel in and your money really can go a long way! Here’s an idea of shoestring travel costs in South East Asian countries. Click on the links for more detailed info on each country including a shoestring & more comfortable backpacker budget as well as sample prices for thing like buses, beds and beers:
$30/day : The Philippines
$45/day : Singapore
(The US Dollar is the reserve currency in most countries and often accepted)
These figures are all based on staying in cheap hostels and eating/drinking in budget or local restaurants and bars. It allows for a bit of partying but if you’re going out getting drunk almost every night you will end up spending more than this!
There are big regional variations in some countries particularly Malaysia and Indonesia. Away from Java and Bali, Indonesia is as cheap as anywhere in the region but the large amount of travelling needed to get around and the island nature of the country makes it a bit more expensive to travel around. Mainland Malaysia although much richer and more developed is cheaper than Malaysian Borneo for the traveller due to the poor infrastructure in Borneo which makes life more complicated and more expensive for getting around.
Monthly Backpacking Budget for Southeast Asia
A realistic shoestring monthly backpacking budget for Southeast Asia, allowing for a few connecting flights in the region but not your main flight to/from SE Asia is therefore around:
1 month – £660, €760, $800
2 months – £1320, €1520, $1600
3 months – £1980, €2280, $2400
4 months – £2640, €3040, $3200
5 months – £3300, €3800, $4000
6 months – £3960, €4560, $4800
(Exchange rates are correct only as of January 2017. Use Dollars as a guide & convert to your currency on current exchange rates if in doubt.)
This is still designed as a shoestring budget and if you don’t have experience of travelling on the cheap you might want to allow for a little more. If you wish to go to the Philippines or parts of Indonesia that will require extra flights, you might want to increase it a little bit too. Everywhere else is accessible by land or short ferries and getting around in the region is typically very cheap. Think $1-2/hour of travel if you take the cheapest available option. If you’re just visiting Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and/or Vietnam then you can get by on a bit less if you’re smart but these countries have a big backpacker party scene which can eat away into any travel budget.
Remember there are still going to be quite a few extra expenses on top of this in terms of sorting out flights to/from the region, vaccinations and travel insurance. The latter can be quite costly but is important. We recommend World Nomads for excellent travel insurance packages for backpackers.
More on Budget Travel in SE Asia
Get our Backpackers Guide to Southeast Asia 2017-2018 for an overview of budget travel in the region.
If you have a slightly larger budget than suggested above but are limited on time, you might want to check out Stray Travel’s Southeast Asia Flexi Tours. They will help you cram a lot into a short time and are also a nice idea for anyone who’s a bit nervous about travelling alone.
The Cost of Travel in Other Regions
How much did travel in Southeast Asia cost you?
If you have travelled recently in the region then please use the comments section below to share with us your experiences of backpacking costs in SE Asia. Budgets really do vary considerably amongst travellers here so there will never be a definitive right figure for each country but the more people who comment, the easier it is for us to keep this page as accurate as possible. Thanks!
This page was last updated in January 2017.