Even though most people think of traveling as an expensive thing to do, there are plenty of places all over the world where you can head without having to break the bank.
Southeast Asia is a perfect example of this. Even though some countries like Singapore are a bit more expensive to visit, most of the places in this region of the world are actually so cheap you travel in that you can get by for just $500 a month.
From exploring the alluring culture of Thailand to eating your way around the Philippines, here are some of the cheapest places to travel in Asia.
*As a note, traveling under $500 in each of the countries listed below is only possible if you opt to stay longer in every destination/city in order to fully get to know it rather than hopping from one place to the other. This budget should also be made larger if you plan on partying and drinking regularly.
The Cheapest Places to Travel in Asia for $500 a month
With hostels as cheap as $5 and street food readily available for just $1, traveling in Thailand for $500 is definitely possible.
Home to paradise-like beaches, mountains where elephants roam wild, and a vibrant culture that mixes the old, the modern, and the spiritual, Thailand is a country as exciting as it gets.
While a budget of $500 may restrain you from affording certain activities, that amount of money will give you the chance to travel more locally. Entering most temples is absolutely free, and some of the most quintessential Thai activities such as strolling night markets will not set you back a single dime unless you decide to purchase something.
Getting from A to B cheaply is easy as pie, with affordable transportation options including trains, buses, minivans, and even flights on the many budget airlines available.
Indonesia is a country where contrasts reign supreme and even though you could spend entire years hopping around its islands and still not get to see them all, checking some of its most popular destinations can easily be done on a tight budget.
Bali has gotten more expensive in recent years, but islands such as Java, Lombok, and Sumatra are very good at catering to visitors while still remaining inexpensive.
Seeing orangutans in their natural habitat, climbing volcanoes, frolicking on secluded beaches, and going in search of waterfalls are just a few of the adventures you can have here without having to break the bank!
Even though its location is in Southeast Asia, the Philippines is a country that has an entirely different vibe compared to other nations in the region. This is due to the fact that the Philippines was once a Spanish colony that was later taken over by the United States, and the culture here feels a bit more Latino in many, many ways as a result.
The Philippines is an archipelago that consists of 7,641 islands, making one of the favorite things to do here simply to spend days on end exploring the gorgeous beaches the country boasts.
Aside from that, snorkeling, jungle hiking, and spending time in rugged nature are other much-loved activities, and for those who don’t mind big city vibes, destinations such as Manila are guaranteed to please.
While $500 a month may sound like a stretch, traveling to the Philippines on that budget is very much possible if you stay at family-owned guesthouses or hostel dorms. Getting around on public transportation is very easy, with plenty of options available within the islands and ferries efficiently getting you from one to the next.
Even though Vietnam is an extremely popular destination in Southeast Asia, it still manages to captivate even the most experienced travelers out there.
Thanks to its unique geography, Vietnam is a country that is not very wide, but its expansive length allows its landscapes to vastly change from region to region.
Beautiful beaches, incredible food options, a thriving coffee scene, and wondrous mountains are just a few of the aspects that make Vietnam an absolute treat to travel through.
As for costs, you can expect to pay $5 for a hostel dorm, and you can find full meals at street stalls for about $1. Transportation costs may be an issue as distances are long, but a $500 should be easy to do if you opt to stay longer in each destination in order to fully explore it rather than just pass through.
Filled with cities that brim with artsy vibes, a complicated history that’s as old as time, and mindblowing nature, Cambodia is quite likely the cheapest country to visit in Southeast Asia, with hostel dorms available for as low as $4 a night and full meals on offer for as low as $1.
Exploring the ruins of Angkor Wat, frolicking on expansive beaches void of crowds, shopping on floating villages, and relishing traditional dances and folklore are just a few of the things this incredibly gorgeous country has to offer visitors.
Also called the “Land of a Million Elephants”, Laos is a country with a very complicated history that only recently began showing up on travelers’ radars.
Ethnic villages that still stay true to their roots, incredibly lush scenery, and some of Southeast Asia’s most spectacular waterfalls can be found in this exciting country north of Thailand.
Street food costs less than a dollar, while hostel beds can be as cheap as $3. Most entry fees to major attractions will only set you back a couple of dollars and buses are as inexpensive as they get, making a $500 budget a pretty realistic one even if you want to visit plenty of places in a month.