10 Cheap Asian Destinations To Visit

Why do people flock from all over the world to visit Asia and the countries it inhabits? It is because Asia is a beautiful place with a lot to offer at much lower costs than its Western counterparts. Regarding travelling, we all have our daily budgets for different things.

Still, at the end of the day, travel, in general, can be expensive. This is why Asia, especially, is such a favoured choice. With various cheap Asian destinations to visit, you have a lot to choose from, and each one has its own flare with exciting traits that make it unique.

Home to some of the oldest civilisations in the world, Asia is full of historical turning points, diverse languages and cultures, beautiful beaches and exotic, natural scenery that stretches across its ancient lands and down its coastlines.

People travel to these countries worldwide and experience a different life from the Western world. 

Aerial view, River in the rainforest among the jungle Tropical Loboc river in the rain forest in Asia. Mountain river flows through green forest. Philippines, Bohol.

There are hundreds of different reasons why so many people visit this continent, and it depends on an individual’s preferences. Still, one of the biggest reasons people travel is the affordability. Some countries have a lower overall living cost than more developed nations.

This includes lower costs for accommodations, food, transportation, and activities. In some cultures, the cost of living is naturally more down due to different standards of living and consumption patterns, contributing to lower travel costs and more experience.

Favourable exchange rates can make a destination more affordable for travellers from countries with stronger currencies. When your home currency is more vital than the local one, you’ll get more value.

Certain countries with developing or emerging economies may have lower costs across the board, resulting in their tourism industry offering more affordable options for travellers.

Certain countries are highly developed, like Tokyo, Hongkong, Singapore, China, Japan and Malaysia. Others, such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Philippines, and Indonesia, are not just there yet and offer a much more affordable way of life.

These are some of the cheapest Asian countries and have other reasons for attracting visitors from across the planet. Another reason to highlight people’s decisions to travel is the cheap countries to visit in Asia without a visa.

CORON ISLAND, PHILIPPINES - Blue lagoon tropical landscape at the Coron island bay in Palawan province Philippines

Depending on your home country, different parts of Asia are visa-free. Another motive is that lesser-known destinations that are less popular or not as well known can often result in lower costs. These places might have a different level of demand than more famous spots, leading to more affordable prices.

Different places around Asia are more affordable due to government policies. Some governments provide incentives and support for the tourism industry, including subsidies for travel-related services that help keep costs down for travellers.

Countries that have invested in efficient transportation and tourism infrastructure provide better value for travellers due to streamlined services and increased competition. Another reason worth mentioning is the natural resources.

Countries with abundant natural resources might have lower costs for things like food and materials, which can impact the overall cost of travel. 

It is worth keeping in mind the perception of a destination being “cheap” can change over time due to various factors, including economic shifts, changes in tourism trends, and external events. 

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Vietnam

Vietnam is a captivating travel destination and for good reason. It is the cheapest Asian country to visit and if it isn’t just for its affordability, it would most likely be for its beautiful scenery, friendly culture and intensive history. 

From bustling cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to serene countryside, lush rice terraces, and stunning coastal areas like Halong Bay, this Southeast Asian country offers a range of landscapes to explore.

It has a rich culture and history, influenced by Chinese, French, and indigenous cultures, offering a blend of traditions, architecture, and cuisine that’s both unique and intriguing.

Vietnamese cuisine is celebrated globally for its fresh ingredients, vibrant flavors, and inexpensive street food culture. From pho and banh mi to spring rolls and fresh seafood, the food is a highlight of any visit.

The warmth and hospitality of the Vietnamese people create a welcoming environment for travelers, offering opportunities to connect with the local culture. You can explore ancient temples, pagodas, and historical sites that provide insights into Vietnam’s rich history and spiritual heritage. 

From trekking in the northern mountains to cycling through the countryside and cruising along rivers, you will find diverse outdoor activities.

Vietnam boasts eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Halong Bay, Hoi An Ancient Town, and My Son Sanctuary, showcasing the country’s cultural and natural heritage. Sites like the Cu Chi Tunnels and War Remnants Museum provide insights into the Vietnam War and its impact on the country.

Vietnam’s combination of cultural richness, affordability, natural beauty, and warm hospitality makes it a fantastic destination for those seeking a diverse and memorable travel experience.

You will find budget-friendly accommodation, inexpensive street food, low-cost local transportation, free cultural experiences and warm hospitality in all corners of the country. Stick with up to date research on particular countries since prices can vary depending on the region and time of the year.

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Tourist junks floating among limestone rocks at Ha Long Bay South China Sea Vietnam Southeast Asia

Cambodia

Cambodia is one of the cheapest Asian countries and a popular destination for budget-conscious travellers.

It is known for being underdeveloped, offering a pleasurable natural experience with its high mountains and sunny beaches. It has a rich history and reputation for delicious food, which you can find in the various markets in the area.  

This beautiful part of Asia has a relatively low cost of living compared to many Western countries and neighbouring countries.

This is reflected in the prices of accommodations, food, transportation, and daily expenses. From guesthouses to budget hotels and hostels, Cambodia offers a range of affordable lodging options that cater to different types of travellers.

The cuisine is delicious and affordable and influenced by flavours from neighbouring countries like Thailand and Vietnam. Street food and local eateries offer a variety of dishes at very reasonable prices.

Getting around Cambodia is relatively affordable, with options like tuk-tuks, moto-taxis, and local buses providing cost-effective ways to travel within cities and between towns.

While there are entrance fees for certain attractions like the Angkor Wat complex, the prices are generally lower compared to similar sites in other parts of the world. Exploring the ancient temples of Angkor is a must-do experience.

Cambodian markets are great places to shop for reasonably priced souvenirs, handicrafts, textiles, and clothing. Bargaining is expected, so you can often get good deals.

Cambodia’s diverse landscapes, from lush countryside to coastal areas, offer opportunities for outdoor activities like trekking, cycling, and enjoying the beaches without spending a fortune.

Engaging with local communities through homestays, village visits, and cultural activities is affordable. It provides an authentic insight into Cambodian life. The people are known for their warm hospitality and friendliness, which adds to the positive travel experience and encourages interactions with locals.

Cambodia’s natural beauty includes places like the Cardamom Mountains and the Mekong River, where you can enjoy reasonably priced eco-friendly experiences. Beyond Angkor Wat, Cambodia has historical sites and museums that provide insights into the country’s past, including the dark period of the Khmer Rouge.

While Cambodia offers a low-cost experience, it’s essential to respect local customs and traditions and support responsible and ethical tourism practices.

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Angkor Wat Temple before sunset Siem Reap Cambodia.

Nepal

Nepal, a charismatic place in the Himalayas, is a captivating travel destination known for its stunning landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and affordability.

It is a land of welcoming locals and friendly hill-side villages overlooking impressive glaciers and valleys. It is a marvel for nature enthusiasts, and many come from far and wide to visit and experience this beautiful part of Asia. 

Nepal’s cost of living is relatively low regarding possession, food, transportation, and other daily expenses. It offers many budget-friendly accommodations, including guesthouses, lodges, and hostels.

You can find comfortable options at reasonable prices, especially in famous trekking areas like the Annapurna and Everest regions.

Nepal is renowned for its trekking routes, and the costs associated with trekking are often much lower than in other trekking destinations. From the towering Himalayan peaks to lush valleys and serene lakes, Nepal’s natural beauty is awe-inspiring and accessible without extravagant expenses.

Experience a rich cultural heritage showcased in its temples, monasteries, and historic sites. Entrance fees are generally reasonable, and you can immerse yourself in the local culture without spending much.

Nepali cuisine is flavorful and budget-friendly. Dal Bhat (rice and lentil soup), momos (dumplings), and various curries are staples that won’t strain your wallet. 

Local buses, shared jeeps, and even domestic flights within Nepal are inexpensive. Besides trekking, Nepal offers affordable adventure activities like white-water rafting and paragliding in it’s national parks.

The people are known for their hospitality and friendliness, creating a welcoming atmosphere that enriches your travel experience. It is a popular destination for those seeking spiritual experiences, where many monasteries and meditation centres offer affordable stays and retreats.

Staying in a homestay with local families provides authentic cultural expertise and supports community-based tourism initiatives. Nepal’s affordability doesn’t diminish the richness of its experiences.

An aerial view of the city of Kathmandu, Nepal on a cloudy day with the Darahara Tower in the the foreground.

India

Seen as one of the most beautiful countries in the world, India is a diverse and culturally rich country that attracts travellers for various reasons, one of which is its affordability. Not only is it a cheap country to visit in Asia, but it’s ethnically diverse and has a colourful history that many need to be aware of. 

India’s cost of living is significantly lower than many Western countries and other Asian destinations due to its population. It is seen as a low-income nation due to minimal salaries. However, it still has much to offer and is perfect for any budget traveller looking for the complete package.

India offers a wide range of accommodations to suit different budgets. You can find comfortable lodging options, from cheap guesthouses and hostels to mid-range hotels, without breaking the bank. A favourite for many, the cuisine is renowned worldwide for its flavours and variety. Street food, local eateries, and markets offer affordable and delicious options.

Public transportation options like trains and buses are relatively cheap, making travel between cities and regions affordable. Ride-sharing services also provide cost-effective ways to get around. India has numerous historical and cultural sites, including ancient temples, forts, palaces, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 

Local markets and bazaars offer various traditional crafts, textiles, jewellery, and souvenirs at reasonable prices, often leaving room for bargaining. India’s spiritual heritage is a significant draw for travellers seeking yoga, meditation, and retreats. Many ashrams and spiritual centres offer affordable accommodation and programs.

From the Himalayas in the north to the beaches in the south, India has a variety of landscapes and natural attractions that can be explored without spending a fortune. Participating in local festivals and celebrations provides insight into India’s rich cultural tapestry, and they are often free or have minimal costs.

India is known for its affordable medical treatments and wellness retreats, attracting travellers seeking lower-cost healthcare services.

Many travellers volunteer in India, contributing to local communities and gaining meaningful experiences without significant expenses. National parks and wildlife reserves offer opportunities to see diverse flora and fauna without the high costs of safaris in other countries.

Jaipur, India - Akshardham Temple in New Delhi, India. Akshardham or Swaminarayan Akshardham complex is a Hindu mandir and a spiritual-cultural campus in India.

Indonesia

A corner of Southeast Asia and a hotspot of diverse cultures and communities, Indonesia is an archipelago nation and a popular travel destination known for its varied landscapes, rich culture, and affordability.

You will be welcomed with open arms, warm hospitality from the locals, and an unforgettable experience filled with a rich tradition of art, music, food and craft.

Indonesia offers a wide range of accommodations to suit different budgets. From budget hostels and guesthouses to mid-range hotels and homestays, travellers can find affordable lodging options in many parts of the country.

Street food stalls and local eateries offer a variety of dishes at affordable prices, so you can explore the local culinary scene without overspending. Local transportation options like buses, minibusses (known as “bemos” or “angkots”), and motorcycle taxis (“ojeks”) are luckily more on the cheap side.

Local markets provide opportunities to shop for traditional crafts, textiles, clothing, and souvenirs at reasonable prices, often with room for negotiation.

Indonesia’s islands are known for their stunning beaches, lush landscapes, and unique natural attractions. Many of these can be enjoyed at minimal cost, including exploring rice terraces, volcanoes, and coral reefs.

From the iconic Borobudur and Prambanan temples in Java to the historic sites of Bali, Indonesia’s cultural heritage can be explored without a significant financial burden. For adventure enthusiasts, Indonesia offers affordable trekking and hiking opportunities, such as climbing Mount Bromo or trekking in Bali’s rice terraces.

Its diverse culture is reflected in its traditional dances, ceremonies, and handicrafts. Snorkelling, diving, and water sports are popular in Indonesia, and you can find reasonably priced packages and rentals, especially in well-known spots like Bali and the Gili Islands.

Many national parks and attractions have low entrance fees for domestic and international visitors. Additionally, Indonesia offers visa-free or visa-on-arrival options for citizens of many countries.

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Top view of Padar Island in a morning from Komodo Island (Komodo National Park), Labuan Bajo, Flores, Indonesia

Philippines

The Philippines is a foodie destination and also an archipelago nation. It is one of the cheapest Southeast Asian countries to travel to. It is known for its long stretches of white beaches, diverse islands, and affordability, making it an attractive travel destination.

Its abundance of tropical forests, pristine water and delicious fruit draw people from around the world, and it is slowly growing in popularity as more people become aware of everything it offers. 

The Philippines offers a range of accommodations to suit various budgets, from budget hostels and guesthouses to mid-range hotels and beachfront resorts. Filipino cuisine is flavorful and inexpensive.

Street food, local eateries, and markets offer a variety of dishes at affordable prices, allowing you to experience the local food scene without overspending. Local transportation, such as tricycles, jeepneys, and buses, is inexpensive.

Domestic flights and ferry rides between islands can also be reasonably priced if booked in advance. Local markets and street vendors offer opportunities to purchase traditional crafts, textiles, clothing, and souvenirs, often with room for negotiation.

The Philippines is known for its beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters, and stunning landscapes. These natural attractions can be explored at minimal cost, including island hopping tours and snorkelling.

The pleasant tropical climate allows travellers to enjoy outdoor activities, beaches, and natural attractions throughout the year. For adventure enthusiasts, the Philippines offers hiking, trekking, and water activities opportunities.

The Filipino locals are known for their warm hospitality, creating a welcoming atmosphere for travellers and enhancing the overall experience.

Participating in local festivals, traditional dances, and cultural activities provides valuable insights into Filipino culture and history. Many tourist attractions, historical sites, and natural parks have affordable entrance fees for locals and tourists.

The Philippines offers visa-free or visa-on-arrival entry for citizens of many countries, simplifying the process and reducing additional expenses. A few budget airlines operate in the Philippines, offering cost-effective options for domestic travel between different islands.

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Palawan, Philippines - People tourists swimming at Kayangan Lake in Coron Island, Palawan, The Philippines.

Sri Lanka

An exotic part of Asia formerly known as Ceylon, the island country of Sri Lanka is an incredible place and a captivating travel destination known for its rich history, stunning landscapes, and low cost of living.

It is cheap and one of the best honeymoon destinations in Asia, providing a wonderful space filled with smiling faces, culture, nature and wildlife. 

Like its neighbouring countries, Sri Lanka offers a range of accommodations to suit different budgets. From budget guesthouses and hostels to mid-range hotels and boutique lodgings, travellers can find affordable lodging options in most areas.

You will find a variety of different and affordable food choices, whether you’re sitting in restaurants or walking through the markets and street vendors.

Like many under-developed countries in Asia, public transportation options like buses and trains are relatively cheap, providing cost-effective ways to travel between cities and regions.

Tuk-tuks and taxis are also affordable for short distances. Sri Lanka boasts a rich history and cultural heritage, with ancient temples, ruins, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, all offering generally affordable entrance fees. Many wildlife parks, like Yala National Park and Wilpattu National Park.

From pristine beaches to lush tea plantations and national parks, the diverse landscapes can be explored at minimal cost, including wildlife viewing and hiking opportunities.

Visiting the scenic tea plantations in the central highlands is an affordable and picturesque experience that provides insights into landmarks in Sri Lanka, history and economy.

Sri Lankans are known for their warm hospitality and friendliness, creating a welcoming atmosphere for travellers. Sri Lanka also offers a visa-on-arrival option for citizens of many countries, making the entry process straightforward and reducing additional costs.

Ambalangoda tropical Beach in a sunny day in Sri Lanka

Myanmar

Amongst some of the friendliest people on the continent, Myanmar is an excellent choice since it is one of the cheapest places to travel in Asia.

Also known as Burma, this country has a unique blend of cultures, historic sites, and natural beauty. It has gained popularity as a relatively affordable travel destination over the years, increasing its tourism and elevating its economy. 

Myanmar offers a range of accommodations suitable for different budgets. While there are luxury options, budget-friendly guesthouses and mid-range hotels are readily available.

The cuisine is diverse and flavorful, with street food stalls and local eateries providing affordable and tasty meal options.

Local transportation options like buses and trains are relatively cheap, and even domestic flights within the country can be cost-effective if booked in advance. Myanmar offers e-visa options for citizens of many nations, simplifying the visa process and reducing additional costs.

This special place boasts an array of historic temples, pagodas, and cultural sites. Entrance fees to these sites are generally reasonable, allowing travellers to explore the country’s rich heritage without overspending.

From serene lakes to lush countryside, Myanmar’s natural beauty can be enjoyed without ridiculous costs, whether you’re exploring its landscapes on foot or taking leisurely boat rides.

The warmth and hospitality of the Burmese people create a welcoming environment for travellers and offer opportunities for authentic cultural interactions.

Myanmar’s markets are excellent places to shop for traditional crafts, textiles, and souvenirs at reasonable prices, with the possibility of bargaining.

This place offers unique experiences like hot air balloon rides over the temples of Bagan, which, despite being a premium activity, can be more affordable compared to similar experiences in other countries.

Myanmar’s diverse ethnic groups and their traditional clothing, customs, and practices give travellers insights into the country’s multicultural identity and how it evolved. 

SAGAING MYANMAR - Sagaing hill Pagoda in Myanmar Sagaing hill Pagoda is a Buddhist temple and major pilgrimage site 20 km to the south-west of Mandalay

Laos

Sitting on the border of Myanmar, Laos is a landlocked country and one of the cheapest destinations in Asia. Known for its tranquil landscapes, rich culture, and affordability, it is an appealing destination for budget-conscious travellers. 

Like many places mentioned before, Laos has a low cost of living. It is more affordable in similar ways to its neighbours. It offers a range of accommodations suitable for different budgets. Laotian cuisine is flavorful and fair-priced, with street food stalls and local eateries providing a variety of dishes.

Local transportation options like buses, tuk-tuks, and shared minivans are inexpensive. Laos boasts historic temples, monasteries, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites with entrance fees that keep the bank intact.

Laos’s natural beauty can be enjoyed without extravagant costs, from the tranquil Mekong River to lush landscapes and waterfalls. You will find local markets to bargain with and street vendors to get to know; visiting local villages and engaging with communities provides insight and possible connections. 

Laos is known for its laid-back and peaceful ambience, making it an ideal destination for relaxation and reflection.

Experiencing local festivals and celebrations provides a glimpse into Laotian traditions and cultural practices. Many adventure activities in the area offer affordable opportunities for outdoor adventures, like tubing, caving, and kayaking.

Aerial view of Nong Khiaw village at sunrise, Laotian, Luang Prabang, Laos

Pakistan

It is a multi-ethnic country that offers incredible adventure activities, which people worldwide go through to visit.

Pakistan, located in South Asia, provides a diverse landscape, rich history, and affordability, making it an emerging travel destination for budget-conscious travellers. It was massively popular back in the day for its trekking challenges, horseback riding, mountain climbing and rafting. 

Pakistan made it onto the list of cheap Asian countries to visit due to its affordable living options. It provides a range of accommodations suitable for different budgets. From budget guesthouses to mid-range hotels, travellers can find affordable lodging options in major cities and tourist areas.

The inexpensive cuisine is diverse and flavorful, with street food stalls and local eateries offering a variety of dishes. Local transportation options like buses and shared taxis (known as “rickshaws” or “qingqis”) are relatively cheap, making it cost-effective to get around cities and towns.

Pakistan boasts historical landmarks, ancient ruins, and cultural sites. Entrance fees to these attractions are generally affordable. Expect diverse landscapes, including mountain ranges, deserts, and valleys, that can be explored without extravagant costs. Trekking and outdoor activities are famous and affordable, especially in Northern Areas. 

Pakistani people are known for their warmth and hospitality, creating a welcoming environment for travellers and offering opportunities for cultural interactions. Cities like Lahore and Karachi offer a blend of history, culture, and modern life.

Local markets and bazaars provide traditional crafts, textiles, and souvenirs at reasonable prices and negotiations. Participating in local festivals, visiting mosques, and experiencing traditional music and dance provide insights into Pakistani culture.

Pakistan has eased its visa policies in recent years, offering e-visa options for citizens of many countries, simplifying the entry process and reducing additional costs.

Shah Faisal Mosque is one of Asia's largest mosque located in Islamabad capital of Pakistan.

FAQs About cheapest asian countries to visit

where is the cheapest asian country to visit?

The cheapest Asian country to visit is Thailand. It offers excellent value for money, with a stunning array of exotic experiences and cultural sights. Many tourists flock to the country to explore its vibrant cities, stunning beaches, and national parks.

For those on a budget, Bangkok is the best city to stay in as it has a variety of accommodation options ranging from luxury hotels to hostels. Besides the capital, many affordable destinations can be found in Chiang Mai, Krabi, Phuket and Koh Samui.

how to travel asia on a budget?

Traveling Asia on a budget does not mean you have to miss out on an amazing experience. There are many ways to explore the continent without breaking the bank.

One of the best ways to save money while enjoying your time in Asia is to stay in hostels instead of more expensive hotels. Hostels come in all shapes and sizes, from modern accommodation with plenty of amenities to more basic places that provide just the basics. Prices can range from a few dollars per night up to $50 or more, depending on the location and type of hostel chosen.

Another great way to save money travelling in Asia is to look for street food instead of restaurants. Street food stalls often offer delicious and tasty meals at unbeatable prices. Eating local street food will not only save you money, but it’s also a great way to experience local culture and cuisine!

Finally, if possible try to avoid flying and instead opt for cheaper modes of transportation like buses or trains. Many countries in Asia have extensive rail systems which can provide an incredibly scenic journey while saving you a lot of money compared to flying.

what is the cheapest country to live in asia

Living in Asia is relatively affordable, as most countries have a low cost of living. One of the cheapest countries to live in is India, where you can get by with just a few hundred dollars per month.

Other inexpensive countries include Pakistan, Nepal, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. If you’re looking for an even more affordable destination, you could try Laos or Cambodia.

All of these countries offer amazing cultural experiences that make them worth considering when it comes to budget travelling.

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan or Pura Beratan Temple Bali island Indonesia. Pura Ulun Danu Bratan is a major Shivaite and water temple on Bali island Indonesia.

Final Thoughts: cheapest places to visit in asia

Above are the cheapest countries to travel to in Asia that provide an overall good experience at a fraction of the cost in the developed Western world.

Attracting people far and wide for their spectacular cultures, cuisine, languages, scenery and history. Asia is a hub for exciting new adventures and an opportunity to see lives lived differently without breaking the bank or losing all your savings. 

Ultimately, the cost of your trip can vary based on factors such as your travel style, accommodation preferences, dining choices, and activities you plan to undertake. It’s a good idea to research current prices, local recommendations, and travel tips before finalising your plans.

Additionally, geopolitical situations, economic changes, and the tourism industry can impact costs, so always stay updated with the latest information. Creating travel plans and itineraries are good practices in making sure you get the most out of your trip and allow you to see a clear budget. 

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