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Top 11 Safest and Cheapest Countries to Visit in Asia on a Budget – 2024 Travel Guide

  • Zoe Wallace
  • |
  • July 9, 2024
  • |
  • 8 minute read
  • |
Top 11 Safest and Cheapest Countries to Visit in Asia on a Budget – 2024 Travel Guide

Traveling in Asia doesn’t have to be expensive. This vibrant and diverse continent is brimming with incredible experiences that won’t drain your wallet.

From Bangkok’s bustling streets to Nepal’s serene landscapes, Asia offers a rich tapestry of culture, adventure, and affordability. Get ready to discover how you can explore the continent’s safest and cheapest countries without spending a fortune.

Key Takeaways
  • Budget-friendly lodging options are abundant in countries like Nepal, India, and Cambodia, with prices as low as $3 per night.
  • Delicious and cheap meals can be found throughout Asia, from street food in India to local warungs in Indonesia.
  • Efficient public transport systems in these countries help keep travel costs low, making it easy to explore them without breaking the bank.

1. Nepal

Nepal is a paradise for trekkers and adventurers. Known for the Himalayas, including Mount Everest, this country offers stunning landscapes, rich culture, and warm hospitality.

  • Daily Budget: $25-$35
  • Accommodation: Hostel beds are from $3, and budget guesthouses are $5-$6 per night.
  • Food: Meals can cost as little as $1. Dal Bhat (lentils with rice) is a popular, inexpensive choice.
  • Transport: Buses are common, costing $5-$8 between major destinations.

Nepal is also renowned for its Buddhist temples and lush nature parks, making it a versatile destination for both adventure and relaxation. The vibrant culture and friendly locals add to the charm of this beautiful country.

2. India

India is a land of contrasts, offering bustling cities, tranquil villages, mountains, beaches, and a deep cultural heritage.

  • Daily Budget: $20-$35
  • Accommodation: Guesthouses range from $13-$25 per night.
  • Food: Street food can cost as little as $1.50. Thali, a platter of various dishes, is a must-try.
  • Transport: Train travel is very affordable, with second-class tickets for 200 km journeys costing around $9.

India’s diverse attractions include the Taj Mahal, Rajasthan’s deserts, Kerala’s backwaters, and the beaches of Goa.

Despite the low cost of living, the experience here is rich and varied. You can explore historical sites, indulge in diverse cuisines, and enjoy vibrant festivals throughout the year​​.

3. Sri Lanka

This island nation is known for its beaches, historical sites, and natural beauty.

  • Daily Budget: $30-$40
  • Accommodation: Budget hotels and guesthouses start at $10 per night.
  • Food: Local meals are cheap, often costing just a few dollars.
  • Transport: Buses and trains are inexpensive and cover most tourist areas.

Key attractions include the ancient city of Sigiriya, scenic train rides through tea plantations, and the beautiful beaches of Mirissa and Unawatuna.

Sri Lanka also offers opportunities for wildlife safaris, hiking, and exploring colonial architecture.

4. Bangladesh

Bangladesh offers a more off-the-beaten-path experience with its rich history and natural beauty.

  • Daily Budget: $20-$30
  • Accommodation: Budget accommodations can be found for as low as $5 per night.
  • Food: Street food and local eateries are very affordable, with meals costing around $2.
  • Transport: Public transport is cheap and extensive.

Popular destinations include the Sundarbans mangrove forest, home to the Bengal tiger, and the ancient city of Paharpur. The bustling markets, vibrant festivals, and friendly locals make Bangladesh a unique travel experience​.

5. Pakistan

Despite its often negative portrayals in the media, Pakistan is a beautiful and affordable destination for adventurous travelers.

  • Daily Budget: $20-$30
  • Accommodation: Budget hotels and guesthouses are very affordable.
  • Food: Street food is cheap, with meals often costing just a few dollars.
  • Transport: Buses and trains are the main modes of transport, both of which are inexpensive.

Key attractions include the Karakoram Highway, the historical city of Lahore, and the stunning Hunza Valley.

Pakistan also offers incredible landscapes, from towering mountains to serene valleys, and a rich cultural heritage that dates back thousands of years.​

6. Cambodia

Cambodia is a country rich in history and cultural heritage, making it a top choice for budget travelers. Despite its tragic past under the Khmer Rouge, it has emerged as a safe and welcoming destination.

  • Daily Budget: $20-$30
  • Accommodation: Basic rooms start at around $5 per night.
  • Food: Meals with plenty of street food options can cost less than $2.
  • Transport: Buses and tuk-tuks are cheap and widely available.

Highlights include the Angkor Wat temple complex, the bustling capital of Phnom Penh, and the beaches of Sihanoukville. The friendly locals and affordable prices make Cambodia a must-visit for budget-conscious travelers.

7. Philippines

The Philippines, with over 7,000 islands, offers a variety of experiences, from stunning beaches to mountainous landscapes.

  • Daily Budget: $30-$50
  • Accommodation: Budget accommodations start at $10 per night.
  • Food: Street food is affordable, with meals costing around $2.
  • Transport: Local flights, ferries, and buses are common, but costs can add up.

Popular destinations include Boracay, Cebu, and Palawan, each offering unique landscapes and activities. The Philippines is ideal for those who love island-hopping and exploring both urban and natural settings.

8. Indonesia

Indonesia, an archipelago of over 17,000 islands, offers many cultural and natural attractions.

  • Daily Budget: $30-$50
  • Accommodation: Budget options range from $10-$30 per night.
  • Food: Meals at local warungs (food stalls) cost about $1.50.
  • Transport: Public transport is cheap, with options including buses, trains, and ferries.

Bali is the most famous destination, but islands like Java, Sumatra, and Lombok offer great value and fewer crowds. Indonesia’s cultural diversity and natural beauty make it a top destination for budget travelers​​.

9. Thailand

Thailand is a popular destination known for its affordability, exquisite cuisine, and vibrant culture.

  • Daily Budget: $30-$50
  • Accommodation: Budget hotels and hostels are widely available.
  • Food: Street food is famously cheap and delicious.
  • Transport: Buses, trains, and tuk-tuks are all affordable.

Highlights include Bangkok, Chiang Mai, the islands of Phuket and Koh Samui, and the ancient city of Ayutthaya.

Thailand offers a mix of urban excitement, cultural experiences, and natural beauty​, all of which have made it a top travel destination.

10. Laos

Laos is ideal for travelers seeking a peaceful, affordable experience with a rich cultural backdrop.

  • Daily Budget: $20-$30
  • Accommodation: Budget accommodations are very affordable.
  • Food: Local meals can cost as little as $1.
  • Transport: Buses are the primary mode of transport and are very cheap.

Key attractions include the ancient city of Luang Prabang, the Plain of Jars, and the scenic Vang Vieng.

Laos’ serene environment and friendly locals make it an excellent choice for a peaceful getaway​.

11. Malaysia

Malaysia offers a mix of modern cities and beautiful nature at an affordable price.

  • Daily Budget: $25-$35
  • Accommodation: Budget hotels start at $10 per night.
  • Food: Street food is very affordable, with meals costing around $2.
  • Transport: Buses and trains are cheap and efficient.

Top destinations include Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and the Cameron Highlands. Malaysia’s diverse attractions and affordability make it an excellent destination for budget travelers.

Tips for Making the Most of Your Trip to Asia

Traveling can be a wonderful and enriching experience if planned well. Here are some simple tips to help you get the most out of your travel adventures:

1. Research Thoroughly

Before your trip, spend time learning about your destination. Understand its history, culture, traditions, and local customs.

This helps you connect with the place and its people better. Also, knowing the best spots to visit, local events, and hidden gems can make your trip more enjoyable.

2. Travel During Off-Peak Times

Traveling during off-peak seasons can save you money and make your experience more relaxed. Popular tourist spots are less crowded, and you can often find better deals on hotels and flights. Plus, locals have more time to interact with you.

3. Don’t Over Plan

While having a basic itinerary is good, don’t pack your schedule too tight. Leave room for spontaneity and unexpected discoveries. This way, you can enjoy each moment without feeling rushed or stressed.

4. Connect With Locals

Make an effort to meet and talk with locals. This can give you insights into the culture and uncover local secrets you won’t find online. Whether it’s talking with a shopkeeper, joining a local festival, or taking a cooking class, these interactions can be the highlight of your trip.

5. Learn Basic Local Phrases

Learning a few basic phrases in the local language, like “hello” and “thank you,” shows respect and appreciation for the culture. It can also make your interactions easier and more enjoyable.

6. Take Free Walking Tours

Free walking tours are a great way to explore a new city. They provide good orientation and background information, often including hidden gems and local tips. If you want more detail, consider joining a themed tour like a food or history tour.

7. Stay Active and Eat Local Food

Explore on foot or by bike to see more of the destination and discover hidden places. Eating local food is also a great way to experience the country’s culture. Try street food and visit local markets for authentic culinary experiences.

8. Disconnect and Slow Down

To fully enjoy your trip, take breaks from technology. Focus on the present moment and soak in the sights, sounds, and experiences. Slowing down helps you appreciate the small details that make each destination unique.

9. Document Your Journey

Keep a travel journal, take photos, or make videos. Documenting your experiences creates lasting memories and allows you to reflect on your journey and share your stories with others.

10. Plan For the Unexpected

Always have a backup plan for unforeseen situations. Carry extra cash, have copies of important documents, and know where your country’s embassy is located. Being prepared can save you from a lot of stress and ensure a smoother travel experience.

Start Planning Your Budget Adventure to Asia Now!

Ready to explore Asia on a budget? Choose one or more of these affordable countries and start planning your trip.

With so many incredible experiences waiting for you, there’s no need to spend a fortune to have an unforgettable adventure.

Pack your bags, book your tickets, and get ready to discover Asia’s beauty and diversity.

Zoe Wallace

Zoe Wallace

Zoe is a contributing Travel Author of Culture.org. Her passion for exploration and commitment to responsible and sustainable travel inspires many to embark on their own adventures and appreciate the world's wonders.

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