How To Travel Through Southeast Asia On A Budget

There are many reasons Southeast Asia is such an attractive destination for us Westerners. Its thousands of islands have some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world, perfect waves for surfing, and much more aesthetic beauty. Add to that the cultural experience, and you have the perfect trip. A trip that becomes even more attractive when you look at the price.

Yes, many destinations in Southeast Asia are highly affordable, which is why so many travelers flock there. However, most people don’t take full advantage of this fact. Cheap travel shouldn’t just mean you save money. On the contrary, it should give you the opportunity to do so much more.

Here are some tips for traveling through Southeast Asia on a budget.

Visit Regions, Not Cities

If you just want a vacation during which you party hard and relax even harder, staying in a town like Patong, Phuket is ideal for you. But if you want to do as much touring as possible, you should look at regions more than particular places. We talk about Southeast Asia as if it is one small region, when in reality it is huge. Indonesia alone is as big as the continental US. For this reason, it can become very expensive to travel the region if you start in the wrong place. An isolated town might seem like a great idea, but getting to the next one becomes difficult and costly.

By visiting a region which has various exciting destinations, you make the most of your trip while staying within your means. You can stick with one country, like Vietnam, traveling with ease from Hue to Ninh Binh and other destinations. Or you can skip from one country to the next, if you’re close enough to do so at a reasonable cost.

Avoid Singapore

Singapore is an incredible place. Despite the island’s tiny size, the city-state has a big impact on the world, and there are some really great attractions. They’ve done so much with so little, and the quality of life is high. However, it comes at a cost. Literally.

Because pretty much everything in Singapore must be imported from elsewhere, and because space is at a premium, the cost of living is one of the highest in the world. You’ll spend half your budget on a burger meal for lunch and an exorbitant amount for a tiny hotel room.

In addition, Singapore is not so distinctly Southeast Asian. It’s an incredible modern city, but you don’t need to fly across the world to see one of those. Its attractions, while impressive, are mostly man-made. In terms of Southeast Asia, there is very little reward for the money you’ll spend.

Eat Local

Not an adventurous eater? Well, it’s time to become one. Part of the fun of traveling in Southeast Asia is the immense variety of unfamiliar foods. From Thai curries to Indonesian fried rice and seafood to Filipino pork delicacies, you will have a culinary adventure of note. But, more to the point, you’ll spend a lot less. Every popular tourist destination in Southeast Asia will have restaurants that cater to your familiar tastes. However, these restaurants are far more expensive, especially if you’re ordering from the “Western” or “European” sections of their menus.

I’m not saying you should only eat street food (although that’s an excellent option if you’re careful), but go to restaurants that cater for locals and try the dishes you think you can handle!

Traveling through Southeast Asia can be incredibly rewarding without costing all that much. Make the most of what you can on a budget, and have a vacation unlike any you’ve had before.

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