Tag Archives: Budget Backpacking

Yeti Budgets: 9 months, 9 places, 9 budgets

We left Korea just over a year ago with a fair chunk of casholah in the bank and the intention to make it last as long as we could, without depriving ourselves of life essentials, like coke, beer, and the occasional air-conditioned room.

We spent the first few months (and our first few thousand dollars) in New Zealand, where we all but ignored boring things like budgets. Since then, we’ve spent nine months in Asia, and have kept a pretty close eye on our spending.

Our aim was a daily budget of $25 each (not including international flights or visas) and so far we’ve been pretty on point. Well, mostly (stupid Myanmar, ruining it for everybody). From most to least expensive, here’s what we ended up spending in the nine countries we’ve visited so far:

Myanmar: $52.95 altogether/$26.50 each

Hanging with our gracious host on the Kalaw - Inle Lake

Hanging with our gracious host on the Kalaw – Inle Lake

Our most expensive place, but to be honest we expected it to be much worse. Everything except accommodation was actually wicked cheap, but the $20 – $40 rooms kicked up the budget pretty solidly. Read more here.

Borneo (including Brunei): $49.43 altogether/$24.72 each

Our orangutan buddy at Semenggoh Nature Reserve, Kuching.

Our orangutan buddy at Semenggoh Nature Reserve, Kuching.

Borneo earned the dubious honour of second place on this list mostly thanks to a mad grocery shopping spree in Brunei (oatmeal! soy milk! peanut butter!) and a few flights. Apart from that, it was very much like Mainland Malaysia — cheap food, slightly expensive (in the context of South and South-East Asia, that is) accommodation. Read more here.

Mainland Malaysia: $45.40 altogether/$22.70 each

Kek Lok Si Temple, Penang.

Kek Lok Si Temple, Penang.

Cheap food, stupidly expensive beer, in-between accommodation and transport. Read more here.

Thailand: $44.45 together/$22.23 each

Haad Tien, Koh Phang An.

Haad Tien, Koh Phang An.


This portion of our trip only included Southern Thailand (Koh Samui, Koh Phang An, Ao Ton Sai, and Ao Nang) which we’ve heard (and hope) is a little pricier than the North. We splurged on buckets of booze and a resort with a pool, but saved on entrance fees and activities, by basically playing board games and lying on the beach all day long. It’s a hard life… Read more here.

Nepal: $40.91 altogether/$20.45 each

Phewa Tal, Pokhara

Phewa Tal, Pokhara

I think Nepal actually had the potential to be one of the cheapest countries we visited. You don’t have to look hard at all to find a $1.50 plate of dal baht or a $5 room. In this case, our pre-hike preparations and post-hike celebrations probably upped the spending a little (and I wouldn’t have it any other way). Read more here.

Cambodia: $20.12/day

Royal Palace, Phnom Penh.

Royal Palace, Phnom Penh.

I traveled solo in Cambodia, and spent a wee bit more on accommodation than  I would have if I had shared. That said, I also stayed in some $2- $3 dorms and ate a fair few street food meals. Read more here.

India:  $35.22 altogether/$17.61 each

I actually have no idea where we took this one! Some rad dudes, somewhere in India.

I actually have no idea where we took this one! Some rad dudes, somewhere in India.

Travel and food in India were so cheap. 12 hour train rides for $6, three samosas for 40c, 5c chapati… Accommodation was a little more than Nepal and Laos, though, and we paid a museum/palace/temple entrance fee almost daily. Read more here.

Laos: $35.06 altogether/$17.53 each

The view from our bungalow in Nong Khiaw.

The view from our bungalow in Nong Khiaw.

Good job, Laos! Second best! The accommodation in Laos was great value, the beer was cheap, and the baguettes were enormous. An easy place to be a budget traveller, for sure.  Read more here.

Goa: $15.30/day

Monsoon in Goa: green as green can be.

Monsoon in Goa: green as green can be.

I feel like including Goa in the list is a wee bit of a cheat. Living alone in an apartment, cooking every meal at home, and only catching the occasional local bus is bound to be a bit cheaper than backpacking your way around an entire country. That said, it’s always nice to know that you can live in a rad apartment, and eat all the oatmeal and chickpeas you want for around $500 a month.    Read more here.

Overall Daily Average: $41.58 altogether/$20.79 each
Monthly Average: $1270 altogether/$635 each

Bear in mind that our daily spending does not include international flights or visas. Adding these in probably adds $100 – 200 each/month. Still, $850/month for all of the above? Not too shabby.

Yeti Budgets: Thailand

When I first visited Thailand (coming from New Zealand, in 2010), it seemed like the cheapest place on the planet. $1 pad thai? A hotel room for $8 a night? 50c coke zero? This time, having spent the previous few months in Nepal, India, and Cambodia, Thailand actually felt a little expensive! Bus and ferry tickets are pricier there, as is accommodation. We were also lucky enough to meet up with Ahimsa’s sister, Janessa, and our buddy Emma, which meant a little more boozing, and a little less hermit-ing it up in hotel rooms. That said, we hardly paid any entrance fees and did very little shopping, so the overall budget balanced out.

Accommodation: $14.53/night
Our accommodation in Thailand ranged from a 240B ($8) double room with fan and shared bathroom in Bangkok to a 750B ($25)  room at a resort in Ao Ton Sai.

Food: $21.15/day
Meals in Thailand were cheap — $1 for pad thai in Bangkok, and $2-3 for a big ol’ meal in a sit down restaurant. Honestly, a chunk of our ‘food’ budget was actually spent on buckets of booze on Koh Phangan…

Travel: $8.15/day
Traveling in Thailand was a little more expensive than our previous few countries. Long ferry+bus combo tickets set us back about $20 per person, and ferries between islands were around $10 each.

Miscellaneous: 63c/day
In Thailand, our ‘miscellaneous’ spending was pretty minimal; we bought a couple of pairs of jandals, a pair of sunglasses, and not much else!

Total: $44.45 together/$22.23 each