Backpacking Budget for Southeast Asia

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.

southeast asia

(Map of Southeast Asia from wikitravel, can be re-used under CC BY-SA 3.0)

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:

$20/day : Cambodia, LaosVietnam

$25/day : Thailand, Malaysia, IndonesiaMyanmar

$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

South America | Central America | Europe

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.

  • Harry Bamforth

    Hi, me and my girlfriend are planning on travelling to Southeast Asia for 3 months next June. We are starting in Thailand, heading South initially then making our way back North via Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia. We have already saved £4,500 between us so we are hoping this covers the cost for hotels/guestrooms, vaccinations, flights and insurance, what do you think? We are then hoping to save a further £5/6k for spending money and activities. From what I have gathered this should be more than enough, I was just hoping you think the same.

    Everyone’s opinion is welcome.


    Harry & Lillie

  • Emma Bennett

    Really useful article! Me and my boyfriend are looking to go 1st of Feb 2018 for 5 months. We are hoping to have saved £4,000 for spending and £2,500 for hostels, vaccination, insurance, flights etc. Do you think this is achievable? The places we wish to visit include; India for a month (optional if we can’t afford), Thailand for two months and the rest of the time made up by Cambodia, Vietnam, Loas, Malaysia, Singapore (2 days) and Bali (1 week).

    Thank you 🙂

    • Hi Emma,

      On the assumption you are looking to save that much each there’s no reason why you can’t do what you are planning. India is probably the cheapest of all those countries now, so it wouldn’t be a huge cost factor. You could fly into somewhere like Delhi or Mumbai and then work your way round to Calcutta perhaps which is well connected to SE Asia.

      In terms of spending, it’s sounds more than enough, although it really depends on what kind of trip you want. £4000 should cover lots of activities, partying, trips etc.

      In terms of £2500 for the rest, that’s probably about what you’re likely to spend on hostels, vaccinations, insurance and flights (note only the cost of hostels are included in the budgets on this page). You’d have to be disciplined at times and perhaps plan ahead for your trip to Bali so as to get a good deal on flights but if you did the rest of the route by land, you’d have no reason to spend much on flights beyond the main one to/from Asia.

      Anyway if you’re saying you’ll have £6500 each for the trip including everything, that should be a very comfortable backpacker budget and travelling as a couple generally helps anyway as you can split costs on rooms/taxis/trips etc.

  • Hattie

    I’ve written a blog post about how much my husband and I spent travelling in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore- you can find it here:

  • Oliver Mortimer

    Great article, Myself and my girlfriend are travelling on the 10th of February for 167 days. We will be going to Thailand Laos Malaysia Indonesia and Cambodia. We will be taking with us just over 9000 euro and have our flights booked travel insurance bought and vaccinations done.

    I’m wondering if you think this will be enough money? We would like to see and do as much as we can and will be mostly eating street food but will be staying in our own rooms and not in dorms.

    Thanks 🙂

    • Hi Oliver! Do you mean 9000 between the two of you or each? I presume it is 9000 between the two of you which should be fine but it would be considered a shoestring budget and you wouldn’t have much room for many major extras like diving courses or other more expensive activities (although you could fit in one or two for sure if you are careful with your money).

      The figures in this article are a little outdated so count on a bit more than what we’ve quoted, especially given the Euro has decreased in value since it was written and is now more in line with the US Dollar.

      Staying in your own room and not dorms shouldn’t make any difference and could even work out cheaper. Generally travelling as a couple is less expensive than travelling solo as you can split the costs on things like taxis/tuk-tuks, rooms etc.

  • caroline

    Great tips, thanks a lot. Going to South East Asia in January ( starting with Thailand ) and already having 3000 pounds saved. Cheers again

    • thanks Caroline! hope you enjoy or already enjoying your trip 🙂

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