“Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote,
and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life”
― Michael Palin
One of the perks in growing up in Asia is that every country is strategically positioned to complement a well-diverse landscape. Fly over and explore an entirely different world filled with shoestring budget-worthy destinations.
While Europe is extremely popular for holidays, seasoned travellers, retirees and backpackers also flocked the huge continent of Asia to experience the eclectic mix of culture, religion, history and local tradition.
Poten Hindu Temple at Bromo Tengger Semeru Park
We list down the Top 5 budget destinations in Asia in no particular order. No frills, cheap thrills where you can maximize every cent of your holiday getaway.
Backpacking in Asia isn’t complete without a visit to “the centre of the backpacking universe”, the famous Khao San Road. Who knows how many bottle of beers have been knocked off, strangers turned friends, numbers taken, hugs given and itineraries shared in this chaotic, lively and authentic Thai street.
Floating Market at Ancient City
Less than USD150.
Accommodations ranges from $12, 3- Day Skytrain ticket pass costs 230 baht,
Admission Fees to temples: Grand palace 350 baht, Wat pho 100 baht, Wat Arun 200 baht
Eat, Pray and Shop!
Chase the sunrise at a cruise along Chao Phraya River, avoiding the common rush-hour traffic (albeit an all-day occurence). Indulge in a wide-selection of inexpensive street food and ethnic cuisine.
Do a temple run at the old city, to appreciate the massive work of art, handmade buildings of worship. Start with Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Wat Arun among hundreds more temple.
If you ever get templed out amidst the smiling Buddhas, cool down at the endless list of shopping centres and street markets. This will keep you occupied for a week, warning: bring plenty of baht.
Pressed on time, hit the road beyond the bustling scene and discover Ancient City, the Gateway to Thailand’s Cultural Heritage located just outside Bangkok, in the province of Samut Prakan. Ancient City, also known as Muang Boran, is the largest outdoor museum in world.
Mui Ne, Vietnam
The sun, the sands and the sea rolled into one in this all-year round destination.
Mui Ne is a coastal town, five hours away from Ho Chi Minh City. Hidden somewhere is a sea of sands, weaved into stunning ridges by rustling wind. Known as the driest land in Southeast Asia, Mui Ne sand dunes changes colors from bright white to gold to red at sunset.
Mui Ne Sand Dunes
Less than USD 150.
Bus from HCMC costs USD10 for a night-rider. Accommodation ranges from USD25 depends on location and amenities. Travel around and rent a motorbike for as low as USD5 per day. No admission fees on top destination spots.
Ride, Play & Get baked.
When you’re done learning about the long history of Saigon and have scoured all there is to shop at Ho Chi Minh City, time to pack up your bags and immerse into the surfing scene of Mui Ne.
Get a tan everywhere. This sunny place is gifted with an automatic tanning machine once you stepped out of your hotel room. The 10-km long stretch of beach is dotted with colourful kites and windsurfers. To the far end is a fishing port, while further along the coast is an interesting sea of sands, white, red and golden, pick your choice.
Bali is a haven for artists aptly famed as Island of the Gods and one of the world’s most popular island destinations. North to South Region offer stunning visual treats from mountain ranges, cliffs and offshore islands. Kuta is bustling with nightlife, surf vibe and 90% tourists. Ubud is a shopping haven for arts and crafts, monkey spotting, museums and temples while Jimbaran is a sunset seafood paradise.
Dalem Agung Padangtegal Temple, Sacred Monkey Forest, Ubud
Less than USD 150.
Accommodation ranges from USD 20 per night. Private van service from Ubud to Kuta is roughly USD45 inclusive of day tour to Bedugul Lake, Tanah Lot and Seminyak. Seafood feast at Jimbaran is quite pricey which ranges from USD50.
Art, Beach and Outlet Stores!
The charming city of Ubud is surrounded by small villages and was made famous in the movie “Eat, Pray & Love”. Despite the huge influx of travellers over the years, the community remains accommodating, friendly and close-knit. Locals dress in native sarongs and practice traditional religious ceremonies. Get ready to meet a lot of Wayans and Ketuts.
One common feature of temples in Bali is that it becomes one with nature. It is as if the forces of earth and the architects behind it worked together to give the Balinese and visitors stunning display of natural wonder. Like the monkeys in Monkey Forest and the panoramic seaside view of Tanah Lot.
If Ubud is a place for artists, Kuta is home to surfers and outlet stores! The busy street leading to the beach never sleeps. Think of Roxy and Billabong.
Singapore may come in as one of the most expensive destination in Asia along with Japan and South Korea. But having the opportunity to live here for a significant amount of time, there are a lot of places to see through walking tours and best thing is that, it’s free!
Merlion, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore Art Museum
Less than USD 150.
Backpacker accommodation starts at SGD 20. Hawkers food ranges from SGD 3. EZ link card starts at SGD 11 and can be use for train and bus services. Walking Tour: Free!
Walk, Shoot & Be Merry.
Be amazed to find some hidden treasure in the small island city of Singapore. Despite the small land area, Singapore prides itself to be one of the world’s most prosperous country and continuously makes effort to be a City in a Garden.
Explore the 50 major parks, one each week for the entire year, start with Singapore Botanic Garden and Gardens by the Bay. Walk through the 9 km nature trail of the Southern Ridges which connects 3 parks namely Mount Faber Hill, Telok Blangah Hill Park and Kent Ridge Park. These parks are interconnected with canopy walks, bridges and greeneries along with eight trails: Henderson Waves, Faber trail, Marang trail, Hilltop Walk, Forest Walk, Alexandra Arch, Flora Walk and Hortpark and Canopy Walk.
A visit to Singapore wouldn’t be complete without meeting the national icon, Merlion, in it’s full glory. View the best of Singapore’s skyline from Marina Bay Sands, Fullerton Hotel, Esplanade Theatres to Singapore Art Museum.
Summer time promises fun away from stress and off to the beach, staycation, island hopping and road trips! With 7,107 islands, there’s always a destination to go to all-year round.
Ilocos Norte to Ilocos Sur is the epitome of road trip destination. Three days is all you need to a full-packed retreat to historical sites, gastronomic adventures, rock formation and beach getaway.
Bangui Wind Farm
Less than USD 100.
Bus to Laoag from Manila, roughly Php 750. Jeepney/Van Rental to get around Laoag, Burgos and Pagudpud. Accommodation starts from USD 15. Most museums and attractions charge minimal fees.
Load up on History.
Hop on to a late night 9-hours numbing bus ride to Laoag, Ilocos Norte. Immerse into it’s rich history of Philippine’s political dynasty as well as Unesco’s World Heritage site, Paoay Church which features baroque and javanese architecture. Marcos Mausoleum and Malacanang of the North is also a must-visit.
Spend early morning at the massive Bangui Windmills, photo ops at the scenic Patapat Viaduct and a laid back afternoon at Blue Lagoon. At sunset, watch the waves crashing through Kapurpurawan Rock formation at Burgos and cool down to the scenic view at Cape Bojeador Lighthouse.
Going further South, visit Vigan and get lost at Calle Crisologo’s bygone era of Spanish houses and cobbled stone street. For a sample of Ilocos Itinerary, click here.
Disclaimer: Budget reference are estimated from own experience. Get ready to scrimp and save!