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8 Exceptional Budget-friendly Destinations in Asia

By Abby Yao

8 Exceptional Budget-friendly Destinations in Asia

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BEES-elephant-sanctuary-Chiang-Mai-Thailand_Karyn budget travel
Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary by Karyn via travel 3Sixty° Photoblog

1. Chiang Mai, Thailand

When it comes to value and budget travel, Thailand is always a shoo-in. This charming city’s cooler weather is just one of the reasons why it is popular, along with its historic temples, ethical elephant sanctuaries and bustling night markets. There’s no shortage of places to see and things to buy in this northern hub where affordable is the norm.

Flower Market in Ho Chi Minh City by Kieu Tien via travel 3Sixty° Photoblog budget travel
Flower Market in Ho Chi Minh City by Kieu Tien via travel 3Sixty° Photoblog

2. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Deeply entrenched in the Southeast Asia backpacker trail, this lively city formerly known (but still commonly referred to) as Saigon has cheap, delicious food such as banh mi and pho, plus plenty to see within the city itself and further afield.

Okazaki canal cruise in Kyoto by Edmund Hong via travel 3Sixty° Photoblog budget travel
Okazaki canal cruise in Kyoto by Edmund Hong via travel 3Sixty° Photoblog

3. Kansai, Japan

Though Japan as a whole is more expensive than practically all of Asia, the Kansai region—which includes Osaka, Kyoto and Nara—offers plenty of good deals at prices generally lower than Tokyo’s. Entry to numerous cultural and scenic spots is free, and there’s a wide variety of sights, from big city lights to wide open nature parks.

Nepal_Muhamad-Azeril-Zulkifli budget travel
Kathmandu street scene by Muhamad Azeril Zulkifli via travel 3Sixty° Photoblog

4. Kathmandu, Nepal

Whether you’re trekking the Annapurna Circuit or heading to Everest Base Camp, the capital is where you’ll likely start your journey. But even for those who are not interested in peak bagging, there are Durbar Squares to wander around and stunning stupas to visit. Stay a while—it’s inexpensive enough for an extended stay.

Mingun Pahtodawgyi by Anton Jankovoy via travel 3Sixty° Photoblog budget travel
Mingun Pahtodawgyi by Anton Jankovoy via travel 3Sixty° Photoblog

5. Mandalay, Myanmar

Budget accommodations and fantastic attractions make Mandalay a worthy addition to any budget traveller’s list. You won’t run out of temples, monasteries and ancient cities to explore. Now is the time to visit, before Myanmar loses its slow pace of life as it opens up to the rest of the world.

Penang-Malaysia_Ahmad-Maududi-Bin-Mahdi budget travel

6. Penang, Malaysia

Food lovers know Penang for its street stalls selling char kuey teow, laksa, cendol and many other yummy treats. It’s also much-loved by backpackers for its affordable stays. Surprises lie just around every corner in George Town, which brims with amusing street art and lovingly restored shop houses.

Taipei cityscape by Paul Ratje via travel 3Sixty° Photoblog budget travel
Taipei cityscape by Paul Ratje via travel 3Sixty° Photoblog

7. Taipei, Taiwan

Though its prices aren’t at par with the Chinese mainland, Taipei makes up for price difference with an efficient transportation system, cleanliness, and the availability of free tourist information. The phenomenal night markets will excite serious foodies and curious food trippers alike.

Jomblang Caves, Yogyakarta by Raymond CK Wu via travel 3Sixty° Photoblog budget travel
Jomblang Caves, Yogyakarta by Raymond CK Wu via travel 3Sixty° Photoblog

8. Yogyakarta, Indonesia

The entry fees to the centuries-old temples of Borobudur and Prambanan will likely be your biggest expenses in this city of culture. There’s much to see within Jogja itself and the local delicacies will satisfy your sweet tooth.

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Featured image by Tee Keh Ping via travel 3Sixty° Photoblog

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About the Author

Abby Yao

Abby is a Filipina full-time writer, part-time traveller, occasional lindy hopper and painter on sabbatical who subsists on a diet of museums, podcasts and musicals.

3 responses to 8 Exceptional Budget-friendly Destinations in Asia

  1. Hello there
    With all respect, but this article is written by someone who never traveled. The title is misleading and the 8 destinations are everything else than “Exceptional Budget-friendly” and certainly made not more than a 15 minute google research. really bad, sorry

    • Thank you for your feedback, Sarah. Having been to all these places, I think they offer good value for money as I got incredibly rich experiences considering the amount I spent, though they aren’t the cheapest cities in the region. I hope the list can give the readers some ideas for their future travels. 🙂

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