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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Looking for good value? Introducing the new Value Pack, an add-on bundle for food, baggage and seats. It’s savings and convenience in one go: a combo of 20kg checked baggage, meal and standard seat selection, available only at airasia.com.
Featured image by Tee Keh Ping via travel 3Sixty° Photoblog