How much will Southeast Asia cost? It’s a question that we get asked often and one that isn’t answered well anywhere else on the web.
What will the daily budget be? What are the cost of rooms? How much are buses? How much are local meals?
Of course these questions are different for every country, so that’s why we made this quick & easy guide to financing Southeast Asia.
Note: Before commenting with questions about your budget for your trip, please read this article in its entirety. To make a relatively accurate budget calculation for your trip in this region, plan for $50/day/couple, which equals $1,500/month. Plan on $35/day for one person travelling, which equals $1,050/month.
Prices have been checked and updated for 2017.
All figures are in US Dollars.
While travelling around Southeast Asia, you should be able to live on an average daily budget of about $50/day for two people (around $35/day for solo travellers).
This is including everything while on the road, apart from travel insurance and flights to and from your home country (we’ve broken the costs down based on each individual country below).
If you hardly take any flights and balance your lifestyle with reasonable drinking and mostly sticking to tasty local food, this is an easy and reasonable budget.
Some people (including Lonely Planet) may tell you that it’s possible to survive off of less than this, but that truly is just surviving. Nobody travels the world to just “survive” so don’t try to travel on such a ridiculously low-budget that you miss out on all the things that make this region so incredible.
There’s not just one budget that will cover every country although they are pretty similar. For the purpose of easy reading, most countries here will be compared to Thailand. It’s usually the jumping off point and often the most visited country in Southeast Asia. Some countries, however cost a bit more and some cost a bit less.
Here’s a breakdown of the budget for every country in Southeast Asia (except for East Timor – which costs around $75 – $80 / day on the budget end):
The following include visas, a few flights, meals, accommodation, beers, sights, tours, motorbike rental and whatever else a budget traveller may need.
(Everything here is in USD during the high season and is based on 2 people sharing rooms, costs and travelling together.)
Thailand: ($50/day) This is a great budget for Thailand. Sleep in nice, fan-cooled beach huts, have a few beers at sunset, enjoy a western breakfast once in a while, but mostly stick to delicious Thai food. Every week or so you can go out and have a “bucket” party night. This will also get you into some temples, cover transportation in nice buses, boats and planes.
The following budget is specific to Thailand but can be loosely followed for all of Southeast Asia:
Big Beer at 7-11:
55 THB ($1.65)
Big Beer in a Restaurant:
75-100 THB ($2.25-3)
250-400 THB ($8.33-13.33)
100 THB ($3)
Pad Thai On The Street:
30-50 THB ($0.90-1.50)
Pad Thai in a Restaurant:
50-120 THB ($1.50-3.60)
Budget Private Hostel/Hotel Room:
300-600 THB ($9-18)
Hut On The Beach:
350+ THB ($10 +)
Massage On The Beach:
300-400 THB/hr ($9-12)
Cheap Internal Flight:
1200+ THB ($40)
Flight/Boat/Bus Combo to Koh Samui From Bangkok:
1,666 THB ($50)
24hr Motorbike Rental:
100-200 THB ($3-6) (Depends On Place & Duration)
- Budget Backpacking Guide to Thailand
- Digital Nomad Guide to Living in Koh Samui
- 25 Awesome Things To Do in Thailand
- Top 10 Must Try Foods in Thailand
- A Digital Nomad Guide to Living in Bangkok
- Silom Road Bangkok: Everything You Need to Know
- A Digital Nomad Guide to Living in Chiang Mai
- Koh Phangan: Experiencing The Full Moon Party
Cambodia: ($45/day) Here you may get by on a little bit less than Thailand but much of the above budget will be exactly the same. Keep in mind that you will likely be using American Dollars here as well as the local currency, Reil. The reason you may save $5 off of your daily budget is that the rooms in Cambodia can be a bit cheaper. During your stay around Phnom Penh, the Killing Fields and Angkor Wat you may spend a bit more money, but trust us, the sites are worth it and it all evens out in the end.
- A Mini-Guide to Travelling Cambodia
- A Guide to Cambodia’s Coastal Region
- A Guide to Planning a Trip to Angkor Wat
Laos: ($55/day) Surprisingly, Laos is slightly more expensive than Thailand. Rooms will cost you a bit more and for some reason so does everything else. The Southern regions of Laos have a tendency to try to “out-do” their tourist crazy neighbour and their prices reflect this. But Laos is worth every penny. Still giving you great value for money.
- A Mini Guide to Travelling Luang Prabang, Laos
- The Cost of Travel in Laos: Everything You Need to Know
- Highlights of Travelling in Laos: SE Asia’s Landlocked Gem
Vietnam: ($45/day) This budget will get you into some pretty nice rooms in Vietnam. The value for money here is great. Nice a/c hotels with wi-fi can run you about $10/night depending on where you are, and when you travel. Delicious phu (local soup) on the street will be around $1 and the transportation is affordable. The cost of renting motorbikes is also very cheap and we would recommend it. Also, if you’re into tours, you can get some great deals out of Ho Chi Min City going down into the Mekong Delta.
- A Mini Guide to Phu Quoc Island
- 7 Amazing Places to Travel in Vietnam
- A Mini Guide to Hoi An Vietnam
- 5 Off the Beaten Track Destinations in Vietnam
Malaysia: ($40/day) In Kuala Lumpur this budget would be difficult (probably add $15-20), but the rest of Malaysia is great value for money. Comfortable rooms for under $10, cheap flights to anywhere in Southeast Asia (AirAsia hub is in KL), amazing food for $1 or less and great buses at great prices!
Just keep your hands off of the alcohol if you want to keep to this daily amount, beer in this Muslim country will rack up your budget quickly. Compare alcohol prices to North America ($4-5/beer) unless you’re on duty-free Langkawi Island where you can get that down to less than a dollar per can of beer.
Singapore: ($75/day) Wow! Get your wallet ready for Singapore and don’t come here during F-1 races or festivals if you want to keep this budget down. It is possible to live off of $60/day in Singapore but this is a big, exciting city. There’s no point in coming here if you’re not going to sample the night life, see some sights and indulge in some amazing cuisine.
Keep in mind that private rooms will can be around $50/night and taxis and transportation are comparable to western prices. You can hit up China Town or Little India for some cheap(er) beers and food.
Indonesia: ($30 – $40/day) This is a bare minimum but still includes money for Bintang beers, local transport, basic huts and the odd snorkel or jungle trek. Indonesia is incredibly cheap and really sets the bar for the rest of Southeast Asia. Not only is it great value for money, but you still get to see and do all you would expect while keeping to a very low budget. If you plan to fly quite a bit, expect to spend more like $55 / day.
Visit the Komodo Dragons, trek volcanoes, surf in Bali, hike into the jungle, enjoy world-class diving, and see orangutans. It’s all at your fingertips…with money leftover in your wallet! Indonesia is amazing.
- 10 Awesome Things to Experience on The Gili Islands
- Scuba Diving in Alor: The Ultimate Diver’s Guide
- How to Travel Indonesia On a Budget
Myanmar: ($50/day) This budget will be rising with each passing day. Myanmar is quickly becoming a tourist destination and while it still remains cheap today, be aware that swarms of package tourists are beginning to descend on this tranquil paradise and their presence is driving the prices up quickly.
However, it’s still a great budget destination. Hire a boat for the day and see Inle Lake for less than $15/person. Beautiful rooms for under $20/night and great food for around $3/dish. Of course it’s not the cheapest place in the world, but it is great value for money and worth every penny.
The Philippines: ($55/day) This includes a few domestic flights (pretty much mandatory), some San Miguel beers, cocktails at sunset and nice (but basic) double rooms on the beach. The Philippines is extremely cheap, but the transportation (mainly flights and ferries) will bring your budget up substantially, but alcohol is cheaper than anywhere else in Southeast Asia. If you just stay on one beach and bum around, a couple can probably get by on $25/day. Amazing!
- Top 10 Best Beaches in the Philippines
- Best Palawan Resorts in The Philippines
- Budget Backpacking Guide to The Philippines
- Top 10 Things To Do in The Philippines
- A Solo Traveler’s Guide to Palawan
Brunei: ($65/day) Another budget buster. Brunei was once the richest country in the world, so it’s no surprise that it can be costly to travel here. Luckily your likely only going to be stopping here for a night or two on your way through Malaysian Borneo. In fact, if you want to go from South to North Borneo without taking a flight, you’ll need to stay here. You may find a room for under $35 but you’re going to want to see a couple of things here and that will cost you. But it’s worth it so don’t just stay in your room all day!
Borneo: ($60/day) This is strictly referring to Malaysian Borneo which is considerably more expensive than mainland Malaysia. This budget will get you a double room, local meals, transportation by bus and entrance to some of the less popular national parks. If you want to climb Mount Kinabalu, see Mulu Caves, the Pinnacles, dive Sipadan or anything else, you’ll definitely need to increase this budget.
Many travellers leave Borneo disappointed when they realize that they could only afford to do one excursion. Climbing Mt.Kinabalu alone will cost a couple around $500! Other sights are comparable in price.
- Wildlife Through The Lens: The Kinatabatagan River in Borneo
- Borneo On A Budget: National Parks You Can Visit Independently
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