I went backpacking in Southeast Asia for 3 months and visited Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. It was a fantastic trip, but of course I had to save quite a lot for this trip. What are the costs, prices and what budget should you consider? Below I give you a comprehensive overview of all costs and my budget for backpacking in Southeast Asia.
- Costs in advance
- Costs flight tickets
- Prices accommodations
- Food prices
- Transport prices
- Total budget/costs Southeast Asia
Budget, prices, costs backpacking Southeast Asia
Costs in advance
Of course it’s necessary to purchase some things before you go backpacking in Southeast Asia. Think of a backpack with a flight bag or rain cover. It’s important that you buy a good backpack that is comfortable and that can last a long time.
Depending on your choice you will spend between € 100 – 300 for a good backpack. View all tips for buying a backpack here.
When traveling to Southeast Asia, it’s important to get the recommended vaccinations. Check well in advance which vaccinations you need. Are you unsure about taking the Rabies vaccination? Do it anyway! I’ll tell you here why I was glad I got the Rabies vaccine.
You can read an overview of useful travel gadgets here!
Costs flight tickets Southeast Asia
Not unimportant: a flight ticket. Otherwise you will not get there. Scoring a cheap flight ticket is sometimes quite a challenge. But with a bit of luck and patience you can often get a good ticket.
The best way to compare ticket prices is through Skyscanner. It’s not always advantageous to book the first flight immediately. Instead, watch at different times of the day and week. Prices rise when many people look at the same destination.
My return ticket Amsterdam – Bangkok costed me € 530 including luggage with a transfer in Moscow in October.
Of all costs, the nights will probably be the largest part of your budget if you travel for a long time. Fortunately, the accommodations are not expensive. An overnight stay costs around € 4 – 10 for a bed in a dormitory and about € 10 – 25 for a double room.
Of course this amount also differs per country, region and city. For example, in the border village of Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam, I paid only € 13 for a very luxurious double room. Tourists hardly ever come here, so prices are very low. But on the tourist island of Koh Lipe, I paid a whopping € 35 for the cheapest super small double room with cold water. Quite a difference!
I mainly used Booking to find accommodations. But sometimes I also arranged an overnight stay on the spot. In that case you can sometimes bargain or get a discount here and there.
You can make the cost of food as cheap or as expensive as you want when backpacking in Southeast Asia. Actually there is street food for sale everywhere in Southeast Asia where you get a large plate for just a few euros. But if you prefer western food, which is often in a restaurant, you pay significantly more.
I didn’t expect in advance that I would crave western food so much. Pretty soon I couldn’t see rice and the noodles anymore. The best thing for me was the variety. Western once or twice a week and Asian for the rest of the week.
Prijzen voor vervoer
The best way to get around in the city is really with the scooter / motorbike. Some driving experience is definitely recommended, but you can also get it while driving in Asia. Helpful tips are: drive slowly, don’t make unexpected movements, always wear a helmet and preferably cover your arms, legs and feet.
There are quite a few misconceptions about the international car license, but it’s not valid in Southeast Asia. What they call a scooter is called an motor in the Netherlands because of the high cc. That’s why you officially need a motorcycle license to legally scooter in Southeast Asia. Do many backpackers have that? No, but you risk a fine.
Prices for renting a scooter are between € 2.50 to € 7 for a day depending on the country and where you rent your scooter.
A very relaxt, but also the most expensive way of transport is of course the taxi. You can negotiate here and there about the price, because many taxi drivers charge extra for tourists.
One of the cheapest options is Grab, the Southeast Asian variant of Uber. You see exactly how long it takes you and how much you have to pay for it. Bargaining is therefore a thing of the past, ideal!
The easiest way to get from A to B in Southeast Asia is usually by bus. This can be a cheap local bus with which you can drive tens to hundreds of kilometers for a few euros, or a tourist bus that you often pay a bit more for. Prices for a bus vary widely in Southeast Asia. Think about € 1 to € 2 per hour. For a 5-hour ride, you pay about € 5 – 10.
Yes, the tuk-tuk! Of course the means of transport of Southeast Asia. You must have used this at some point. Ride prices depend on your negotiation skills and where you are. Of course you pay more in the major tourist cities. If you are offered a price, often bid half.
For a 5-minute ride you pay roughly € 2 – 6 per tuk-tuk. If you are with more people, you can of course split the costs.
Total budget/costs backpacking Southeast Asia
I decided not to work during backpacking. That’s why I had to save a considerable amount in advance. How much do you need to save together to cover the costs when you go backpacking in Southeast Asia?
During my trip I spent a total of € 4045 in 3 months. This amount is for every penny I spent there (accommodation, food, tours, souvenirs, 3 domestic flights etc.). In other words, everything except the return flight between Amsterdam and Bangkok and my travel insurance. That amounts to € 1348 per month and is therefore € 43 per day.
Now I have to add that I have only slept in double rooms with my travel companion, I have done all the trips I wanted to do and I have eaten Western quite often. So if you plan not to take domestic flights, only sleep in dormitories and mainly eat street food, you need a smaller budget. Think about € 1000 per month, so about € 33 per day. But … Always save more than enough!
Of course you can also spend a lot more than I did. Are you prefer more luxury and do you like a lot of comfort and daily food in restaurants? Think of a budget of about € 50 per day or more.
Of course it’s up to you how much you want to spend on your trip. To be on the safe side I saved € 1500 per month for this trip, so € 4500 for 3 months. Of course, some crazy can happen and it is nice if you have enough money.