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You might be wondering how much 6.5 months in Asia cost me... lucky for you, I'm an open book.

Updated: Jul 29, 2023

The food, the natural environment, the people - Asia has a lot going for it, so it's no surprise I found myself excitedly exploring the continent over 6.5 months. Spending my time in Nepal, Thailand and India, along with a very uncharacteristically short visit to Vietnam, I thought I would write this blog post to demonstrate just how affordable backpacking in Asia can be, if you're willing to dive into street food, cheap hostels and lots of authentic travel experiences. Here's what's ahead:


Overview of total spending in Asia

While I recommend reading this blog in its entirety to understand the cost breakdowns and get any little budget travel tips I may provide... I thought I would jump right in and tell you exactly how much I have spent, as I know you're probably curious. So, here it is, rounded to the nearest ten in AUD, and not including the cost of the flight to get to each country:

  • 71 days in Nepal: $5580

  • 56 days in Thailand: $3290

  • 14 days in Vietnam:$1040

  • 62 days in India: $2060

Total cost: $11,970


The cost of 71 days in Nepal

Nepal was my most expensive country to visit, was the country that occupied most of my time, was where I got up to the most (I spent most of my time trekking), and is probably my favourite country I have visited to date!


71 days in Nepal cost me $5580, which works out to be almost $80 a day, which is pretty expensive, especially for Asia. However, this figure includes a lot of things, and most of my spending actually occurred before even getting to Nepal. Here are some of the various costs I encountered:


Visa

I got the longest visa I could for Nepal which was a 90-day visa and cost me almost $200.


Food

I often ate street food and choose cheaper restaurants, so the delicious food in Nepal cost me max $8 a meal. The food on some of the treks was sometimes more like $10 a meal, depending on how remote you were.


Accommodation

I always stayed in hostels, which cost about $5-10 a night, and also volunteered for about 2 weeks, which didn't cost me anything. Accommodation on treks varied depending on whether or not I took a guide, but was anywhere from $2-10 a night.


Travel insurance and medical costs

Due to the high altitudes I was going to get to on my treks, I had to take out additional travel insurance to cover me above certain elevations, which cost me $260. I'm not sure about the original cost of the travel insurance I took out before leaving Australia, but that's of course another cost you need to consider when you head off on your own trip. I now use SafetyWing for my travel insurance, and have an affiliate link with them, so do use my link if you're interested and in need of some insurance <3.


I also needed to get a couple of vaccines before heading to Nepal (I just googled what was recommended and looked at what I was missing from my own vaccination records), and bought various medicines to build up a medical kit to take on my treks. This all amounted to about $150.


Trekking gear

I flew to Nepal from the UK, and, in preparation for my planned treks in Nepal, I bought a tonne of trekking gear, amounting to whopping $850! A scary figure, this included some speedy Oakley sunnies I for sure didn't need but really wanted, trekking pants / tops / fleeces etc., water filter bottles, a sleeping bag liner, woolen underwear, a rain jacket and also the backpack I used for all my treks! I actually managed to sell a bit of this gear once I had finished trekking in Nepal.


Treks

I completed three different treks over my time in Nepal, which aren't particularly cheap, especially if you take a guide. All together, I spent about $2660 on my three treks. I have other blog posts all about the treks, along with more specific cost breakdowns if you're interested. I will link them here: Everest Base Camp, Langtang Valley, Annapurna Base Camp.



The cost of 56 days in Thailand

Wonderful Southern Thailand was my next stop for a brilliant 56 days and for an interesting and memorable Christmas and New Years! I spent most of my time just chilling on beaches, but also did a number of great snorkel and island tours.


56 days in Thailand cost me $3290, which works out to be almost $60 a day. This daily figure is probably more than I would've expected my daily spending in Thailand to be, but this is the nature of travel - all the small costs add up! Here's a rough overview of the costs of Thailand:


Visa

$0! If you're Aussie, you can get a free 45 day visa to Thailand on arrival. However, as I stayed longer than 45 days I did have to pay $80 to extend my visa, but also could've extended by just ducking out of the country for a few days!


Food

Food generally cost about $3 a meal, the most I would probably have spent on one meal would be $8-10. I definitely spent more money on food in Thailand than I have in other countries. The food wasn't expensive, but I would eat soooo much each day, and was always traveling with others and a lot of our days would be based around what we did for meals. I usually always picked one of the cheapest things on the menu, which meant I ate a lot of pad thai and very rarely ate meat.


Accommodation

A bed in a hostel dorm cost me max $15 per night. A lot of the dorms in Thailand are actually closer to $20 a night but I would stay in the less nice ones and usually tried to cap it at $10 a night if I could.


Tours and transport

Tours I went on were about max $100, and transport costs for me were always pretty low as I didn't really move around a lot, and when I did it would be via bus and boat only (flying will almost always be more expensive), or I hired a scooter for a week or so. I did do a cost breakdown of what I spent in 11 days on two different islands in Thailand if you're interested.

The cost of 14 days in Vietnam

I spent an uncharacteristically speedy two weeks in Vietnam which cost me $1040, so about $74 a day. I think you could do Vietnam a lot cheaper than this, but I was pretty relaxed with my spending here as I travelled around with a friend from home.


I did quite a bit of shopping when in Hoi An, took an internal flight instead of getting busses / trains (which again is very uncharacteristic of me!), and went on quite a nice weekend tour to Halong Bay. Also, small things like the visa and getting a sim card ended out quite expensive when I was only then there for two weeks.


Visa

Getting my visa for Vietnam wasn't the simplest process as there are lots of different websites that seem to provide the e-visa! The website I went through charged me $74 for the one-month visa, but I afterwards met someone who got theirs for about $20 through a different website! So do your research if you're heading to Vietnam.


Food

Once again, I'd say the food I had was around $5 a meal.


Accommodation

I again tried to cap my hostel dorm costs to be $10 a night. However, as I was with a friend from Aus, we would often end out in private accommodation instead of hostel rooms, which were therefore usually a little more expensive.


Tours and transport

Part of the reason why my Vietnam costs were quite high was because I took an internal flight, which is usually something I heavily avoid! As I only had two weeks in Vietnam, I did this to save time, but the flight cost me $95. I did take a cheap overnight bus in Vietnam, and hear they have good overnight trains too, so this is the better and cheaper way to go I think!


I did a cycle tour in Hoi An which cost about $20, and went on a weekend cruise through Halong Bay which was $110.



The cost of 62 days in India

Ahhhh beautiful India! A spontaneous visit and my second to the country (the first happened 9 years ago when I was just shy of 14), India is potentially in the running for the 'favourite country' label I so eagerly gave Nepal! 62 days in India cost me $2060, which works out to be about $33 a day - how good!


It was a pretty quiet time in India for me. I didn't drink alcohol, didn't really do any tours, and stayed for long periods in different places.


Visa

I got a one-year visa to India which cost me $60. I had the choice of either one month or one year when it came to visas, and $60 is super cheap for a year, compared to the $200 I paid for 3 months in Nepal.


Food

The most I would ever pay for a meal in India was 250 rupees / $4.50, but I usually ate street food that was more like $1.80. I never ate meat (which was usually more expensive and often hard to find) and also didn't drink alcohol, which would have saved me lots of money!


Accommodation

I capped my hostel costs at 500 rupees / $9 a night, but again often found cheaper dorms for about $5.50 (booking.com discounts helped).


Tours and transport

I spent my final week in India down in Goa by the beach, which I guess we could label a 'tour' that I took myself on, and it was an expensive one too! My trip down there boosted my overall India costs as I flew there and back, stayed in a private room and food was more expensive there too . I think my time down there alone probably amounted to about $500!


My budget travel tips

I have a lot to say and recommend when it comes to travelling cheaply, however also like to emphasise that while I think it's good to do it cheap, the most important thing is your comfort, safety and sanity!


While I went through 6.5 months of eating plenty of Asian street food without any considerable stomach problems, there's no point in forcing yourself to eat cheap street food to save money if you just keep getting ill afterwards! And while I am more than comfortable and content sleeping in some questionable and potentially unhygienic hostels, if you're not going to sleep a wink thinking about the last time the sheets were washed, then it's probably not the best option for you! I think it's good to push yourself outside your comfort zone and keep your own comfort and enjoyment in mind.


With all that said, here are some of my quickfire budget travel tips;

  • Track your spending - I use the app trabee pocket to track mine

  • Try and pick the cheaper option - I personally think that cheaper restaurants or street food places make nicer, more authentic food than anything you'd find in a 'nicer' restaurant

  • Avoid internal flights where possible - look to local busses and trains for the cheapest option, but tourist busses and trains will also save you money compared to flights

  • If you can travel with just hand-luggage you are going to save yourself a tonne of money and time! I unfortunately have never successfully been this person, but enviously watch them all walk by as I impatiently wait for my luggage at the airport.


Anywho, I wrote this post months ago and am only getting around to posting it now, so am sure to be missing some things! As always, message me and ask questions galore if you're about to head off on your own trip - I'm always happy and honoured to help!!


-N xxo







232 views1 comment

1 bình luận


Julio
Julio
28 thg 7, 2023

Wow, very useful information. Thank you for sharing. I'm traveling the world through you.

Thích
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