Southeast Asia is a paradise of tropic jungles and sandy white beaches. Many will fancy it an exotic territory of disproportionate mysteries, but it’s been explored enough for experienced travellers like ourselves to set up a backpacking guide on how much to expect when travelling the region on the cheap.
Staying in Southeast Asia is infinitely cheaper than say, the rest of the world. If you’re willing to rough it out, there are plenty of accommodations that offer dorm rooms for as low as RM30 to RM50, depending on the country. Can’t live without air conditioning? You’re just going to have to top up a smidge, RM80 more or less.
As a general rule of thumb, rural areas will always be cheaper than the city centre so if that’s where you’re going, just show up at a guesthouse and check in, nomad-style.
You likely won’t be watching your diet on your travels, so that means you’re game for pretty much anything. Food is so inexpensive in the region, you’ll never have to worry about skimping on meals unless you decide to try out the best restaurant in town.
The local foods are just amazing. You can buy them from pushcarts and hawker stalls anywhere in your vicinity. So long as you stay away from the upscale joints, most items will cost you no more than RM20.
The cheapest option would be the bus. If you intend to travel a significant distance but don’t want to fly, you can expect about RM30 for a 6-hour journey. Travelling within the city by train is great too. It costs a little more than the bus but not much by any stretch.
Needless to say, hailing a cab is the most expensive of all, but you can find some really cute modified alternatives for half the price. For instance, I paid RM6 to ride a tuk-tuk to a beach in Thailand, and that saved me 20 minutes of walking on foot.
Southeast Asia is very affordable and I reckon it should be on everyone’s bucket list!