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4 Of The Cheapest Countries In Southeast Asia For Travelers On A Budget

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Now that travelers are ready to take to the skies, the costs associated with international travel have increased drastically. A majority of borders have reopened, but on the downside, an overpriced Europe or the Caribbean is no longer an option for many budget-conscious travelers.

Young Female Traveler Sat On A Rock Overlooking A Beautiful Natural Scenery In An Island In Indonesia, Southeast Asia

Fortunately, Southeast Asia (SEA) remains a highly affordable destination. Across numerous countries, most Americans are able to enjoy a higher purchasing power and better quality of life, thanks to the strong dollar and the subcontinent’s surprisingly economical luxury amenities.

But where exactly in Southeast Asia will you get the best bang for your buck? Here are 4 destinations that are sure to be easier on the wallet:


Cambodia is one of the best destinations in the world for budget travelers. With friendly people and breathtaking scenery, there is plenty to see and do in the southeast Asian country. Travelers can explore ancient temples and floating villages like Kampong Phluk Village.

Cambodia Costs

Examples of costs have been pulled from Siem Reap, Cambodia.

  • Dinner for One: Budget dinner can be found for $5 or less, while fine dining options can be found as low as $20.
  • Coffee: A coffee in Siem Reap won't cost you much, only about $1.30
  • Hotel: Budget hostels can be as cheap as $7 a night or less, while mid-range hotels can run as low as $25. If you want to live it up, 5-star hotels can be booked for as low as $50.
@sydneybullock7 This is Kampong Phluk Village, one of the four floating villages in Siem Reap. The houses and buildings are on stilts in order to accommodate the changing water level throughout the year. #cambodia #siemreap #siemreapcambodia🇰🇭 #floatingvillage #travel ♬ Together – Layup


If you want to feel like you've stepped into a fairy tale, visit the countryside of Vietnam. Home to some of the most impressive landscapes in Southeast Asia, you're sure to head home with some incredible pictures. Plus, when you aren't out exploring, your wallet will be happy to know that it won't be taking a beating when it comes time to go out for dinner.

Vietnam Costs

Examples of costs have been pulled from Ho Chi Minh City.

  • Dinner for One: A cheap meal can be as low as $5 or less, while fine dining can be as low as $20 or $30.
  • Coffee: You'll have to limit your coffee intake because your wallet won't mind a bit. Coffee will only run you about 75 cents in Ho Chi Minh.
  • Hotel: Budget hotels and hostels can be found for under $10 per night, mid-range hotels can go for as low as $20, and luxury hotels can be found for under $100.
@yamiyjoko One of the most impressive landscapes in Vietnam 🇻🇳 #travel #fyp #vietnam #earth ♬ Divenire – Ludovico Einaudi


Home to beautiful islands like Bali and Java, known for their sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and laid-back culture, as well as vibrant city breaks bustling with trade and interesting sights — with Jakarta and Yogyakarta to name a couple — Indonesia appeals to travelers of different ages and all walks of life, though it is particularly favored by long-term travelers.

Indonesia's new Digital Nomad Visa, which allows remote workers and entrepreneurs to reside in destinations like Bali effectively tax-free for five years, has also helped establish Indonesia as SEA's number one budget-friendly vacation: it is officially the most sought-after winter sun destination on AirBnB.

Indonesia Costs

Examples of costs have been pulled from Canggu, Bali, which is one of the “pricier” spots in Indonesia for travelers. These prices are likely to be lower throughout much of the rest of the country, which truly highlights how affordable of a destination it is.

  • Dinner for One: A cheap meal can be as low as $3 or less, while fine dining can be as low as $20.
  • Coffee: Craving some caffeine? A typical coffee in Canggu will run you about $1 or less.
  • Hotel: Budget hotels and hostels can be found for under $30 per night, mid-range hotels can go be found for under $70, and luxury hotels can be found as low as $100 to $200 per night.
@bellipopelli my favorite hotel in Bali for only 20€ a night☁️🌛#bali#uluwatu#balitok#traveltok#hotel#cheap#travel#indonesia#pool#night#vacation ♬ why are people using this omg – 🍂


Thailand is the perfect budget destination in Southeast Asia for those who want a bit of everything. Gorgeous beaches, ancient temples, and amazing nightlife are all options for those traveling in Thailand. If that isn't enough, travelers can rest easy knowing that all of this fun and exploring will come at a low cost!

Thailand Costs

Examples of costs have been pulled from Bangkok.

  • Dinner for One: A cheap meal can be as low as $7 or less, while fine dining can be as low as $20 to $40.
  • Coffee: Coffee will only cost travelers about $2 or less in Bangkok.
  • Hotel: Budget hotels and hostels can be found for under $10 per night, mid-range hotels can go for as low as $30, and luxury hotels can be found for under $100.
@lxfil Food in Thailand hits different #streetfood #foodie #foodtiktok #foodtok #asia #thailand #food #travel ♬ Love You So – The King Khan & BBQ Show

The Triumphant Return Of Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is one of the trendiest tourist destinations for 2023 now that most nations within the territory have loosened their once-strict COVID curbs. Traveling to a majority of them, Americans are no longer required to undergo grueling testing regimes or check into quarantine facilities. Most importantly, they no longer face vaccine discrimination, a hard no for restriction-wary Americans returning to Asia.

Happy Young Asian Woman Removing Face Mask At The Restaurant As She Smiles

There’s no denying that Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and Malaysia having changed their hard stance on health crisis management was a powerful driving force behind the regional tourism rebound, but it’s not the only factor behind it: all of America’s preferred holiday spots, from Mexico’s Caribbean Coast to the European Mediterranean, have seen vacation package prices soar in recent months.

Young Female Tourist Visiting The Ta Prohm Temple In Cambodia, Southeast Asia

In Europe, the 2023 summer season will be accompanied by further hikes, as noted by experts as early as last November, while parts of North and Central America have unashamedly begun catering exclusively to high-end customers. Amid the economic chaos, it's clear now the SEA collective has resurged as a safe haven not only for backpackers and budget travelers but also for digital nomads.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Sunday 12th of February 2023

This writer obviously needs to go back to the drawing board. With wrong facts about Myanmar, Timor Leste and Indonesia, besides others I may not be aware of, please do some vetting before allowing such an article to be published on


Monday 13th of February 2023

@MANJEET, where in the article is Myanmar mentioned? It talks about 4 countries including Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.


Friday 10th of February 2023

Myanmar is far from the cheapest. Accomodations are more expensive and the quality is lower for what you pay. Some places you are lucky to even find a hotel which will take foreigners and doesn't cost an arm and a leg.


Monday 13th of February 2023

@P, indeed. Anyway, Myanmar isn't mentioned in this article. It's probably not going to be promoted anytime soon, due to the insane violence and political situation. Many areas that were open to foreigners pre Covid are now closed. Entry by land is impossible, unless you're Thai and even then they limit you to border areas only.


Friday 10th of February 2023

Timor Leste is expensive. Multiply Indonesian prices by at least 2 to get Timor Leste prices.


Friday 10th of February 2023

I am wonderung how this ranking of Numeo has been made, because in many parts it is complete nonsense. Malaysia is second most expensive place in SE Asia. When you want to drink a beer there, you pay at least the double price of a beer in Europe. When it comes to hotels, the Philippines are also not cheap. The cheapest places in SE Asia are by far Indonesia and Vietnam, followed by Thailand and Myanmar. In comparison of all travel costs Thailand is still cheap, except in tourist ghettos like Phuket or Ko Samui.


Tuesday 14th of February 2023

@Dee, you can't compare ferries in Thailand to landlocked countries like Laos, where they don't exist. Laos has boats to get you from one riverbank to the other, hardly comparable to the car ferry from Laem Ngop to Koh Chang, which takes half an hour or the Sattahip to Samui or Songkhla car ferries, which feature luxurious cabins.


Monday 13th of February 2023

@whatever, Malaysia is incredibly cheap otherwise. Not everyone cares about drinking alcohol. I was recently in Malaysia on business and aside from sampling some free Korean sake at a supermarket in Kuala Lumpur, didn't have any alcohol. I was driving long distances most days except during the time I spent at an exhibition in Kuala Lumpur, so drinking alcohol wouldn't have been a good idea. Other expenses were cheap. Decent hotels cost the same as in Thailand, though I was disappointed by there not being any TV channels for viewing in the Penang hotels I stayed. They both had a TV but no channels. Ridiculous. Breakfast at the second place was a joke, but the room itself was pretty good. Meals were as cheap as Thailand, while supermarket grocery prices, especially of imported goods, were a little lower. Moreover, unlike Thailand, there were 10 varieties of Bundaberg soft drinks including cluster packs (in Thailand just 2 varieties are sold), more variety of Emmi yogurts and Mountain Dew is still available. Mountain Dew is no longer sold in Thailand. On the other hand, Thailand has more varieties of breakfast cereals than Malaysia and also more varieties of imported fruit juices.

Fuel prices are half those of Thailand, yet Thailand's fuel prices are still lower than Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and much lower than Singapore. Reportedly, since the coup, Myanmar now has higher fuel prices than Thailand. It was the other way round until early 2020.


Monday 13th of February 2023

@Dee, Laos is more expensive than Thailand for food and comparable lodging, except outside the cities, is usually more expensive too. Laos is cheaper for beer than Thailand though.

Vietnam is the cheapest country in SE Asia, followed by Malaysia, which has the lowest fuel costs in the region. Malaysia is incredibly cheap for what you get. It's cheaper than Thailand for sure.


Saturday 11th of February 2023

@Alois, Dude, while Malaysia is known to impose some of the heaviest if not the heaviest tax on alcohol which makes it also among the most costly if not the most, then it shouldn't be the one thing used to justify or determine the overall affordability of a destination like Malaysia!

While u sounded so well traveled or worldly,ur mentality & horizon is this pathetically narrowed & shallow.

I am appalled by such ridiculous comment of urs and I'm sure many would disagree with u just like me!


Friday 10th of February 2023


This is definitely not correct. I'm currently backpacking Asia for 5 months and have been to Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore and Cambodia. Laos is incredibly cheap, if not the cheapest. Thailand is no longer that cheap, especially transportation costs when it comes to ferries, etc. I've heard this repeated by numerous people when I was there. Lodging in Myanmar is also quite expensive but I'm not sure how it ranks with other countries.

Vietnam and Laos are the cheapest by far and it's not even close comparison.

Cambodia is also now pretty expensive and food costs are exorbitant since everything is imported, especially in PP. Transportation is more expensive in Cambodia than other countries, both for bus networks and airfare.

Malaysia has also become significantly cheaper than it was years ago. My hotel room was $15/night in Kuala Lumpur, my bus to Malacca was $10 USD, and street food was $2 USD. Domestic airfare is also significantly cheaper than Thailand's.

Laos I paid $5 USD for a 5 hour bus ride from Nong Khia to Luang Prabang. $12 USD a night for a hotel room with breakfast. And food is probably the cheapest in SEA for street foods.

Where exactly are these numbers coming from?