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
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
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
Cheap food, stupidly expensive beer, in-between accommodation and transport. Read more here.
Thailand: $44.45 together/$22.23 each
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.