A cheap vacation destination anywhere in Asia may not seem realistic, but it is certainly doable provided you visit the areas where your money can go a very long way. Asia is a huge continent in land mass with the most extraordinary and diverse climates, cultures and geography. The best way to plan out your inexpensive vacation destination in Asia is to learn more about the three distinct areas that comprise of the Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia and Asia-Pacific. For starters, the Asia-Pacific countries that include Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong are notoriously expensive. These will not be included on our top ten list of the cheapest Asian vacation destinations.
However, the other two regions will be our focus. The Indian Subcontinent of course is India, Nepal, Tibet, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Southeast Asia is easier to travel from country to country rather than flying from one place to another since they are interconnected starting from Thailand to Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma/Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. This in-depth guide will provide you with the Asian country that is the most reasonable with detailed information on costs for food, lodging, and other activities to take advantage of. Airfare to the popular countries of Thailand and India are getting more reasonable. These would be the places you’d most likely fly into and then proceed visiting a smaller country in that region. Here now are the top ten cheapest vacation destinations in Asia for your consideration.
1.) Nepal – It is one of the most popular countries for budget travelers in Asia. Some even say it is the cheapest place on earth. I remember when I lived in Japan many people who were living and working there stated Nepal was the best place to go, because your money will go extremely far. If I had stayed in Japan longer I would have eventually visited Nepal. The Hotel Vajra in Kathmandu for $55 a night seems to be an incredible bargain.
Many of the reviews state it is an oasis from the hustle and bustle of the city, a beautiful hotel with an exquisite garden, a five minute walk to the Monkey Temple, and it has a fabulous on-site restaurant. Another restaurant that is considered the best in Kathmandu is OR2K. It is a vegetarian haven with prices from $5 to $10. Thakali Kitchen has the best Nepalese food around. Besides the temples to visit there are Himalayan mountain treks and The Royal Palace. For shopping in the many open-air markets it is advisable to hire a Nepalese shopper guide, since there are strict laws on what purchases you can take out of the country.
2.) Pakistan – If you are an adventurous traveler prices in Pakistan are very cheap. Very few will venture into this country. In Islamabad there is a hotel for $30 a night, the Islamabad Serena Hotel. It is ranked the number one hotel for business. There is an on-site restaurant, the Zamana Restaurant. The hotel staff is extremely friendly, security is tight with gates, barriers, and armed security patrols, a superb lunchtime buffet and an overall gorgeous hotel in a lush green city. If local cuisine is what you want then try the Kabul Restaurant for their kabobs and Afgani food. Prices range from $3 to $4 a person. It is also the number one restaurant in Islamabad. For sightseeing be sure to visit their natural history and heritage museums. The Faisal Mosque is considered one of the largest in the world. Check out the Jinnah Market for souvenirs, leather goods and various handcrafts.
3.) India – You will see a lot of extremes in this fascinating country from opulent wealth to extreme poverty with poor sanitation, animal filled streets and pollution. The tourist industry is booming, especially in New Delhi. It will not be uncommon to find fancy hotels ranging at a thousand dollars a night to very affordable ones such as the Hotel Madonna at $86 a night. This fabulous Indian hotel is located in the heart of New Delhi. They offer clean rooms and wonderful travel services such as hiring a private driver to take you anywhere you want to go. You’ll be close to the many restaurants, tourist attractions, and shops.
If you are a foodie then Karim’s Restaurant is for you serving Indian cuisine from $5 to $10. You can savor their non-vegetarian dishes. There are many places to visit in New Delhi such as Shajahanabad, which is called Old Delhi by the locals. Qutab Minar is North India’s first mosque and the largest freestanding red stone structure in the world. You can even visit the President’s House, the Parliament House, and Raj Ghat, which is the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. Shopping is an experience unto itself in New Delhi where you can find beautiful textiles, jewelry, shoes, bags, leather, carpets, handcrafts, and contemporary Indian art.
4.) Laos – The remaining countries will be in the area of Southeast Asia. Here is where you will see in this region the most diversity from white-sand beaches, jungles, tea plantations, rice paddies, deserts, continuous plains, and breath-taking views of the Himalayas. In the city of Luang Prabang in Laos there is an outstanding hotel, the Lotus Villa Laos, at $57 a night. The staff is friendly and personable. There is a verandah you can go out and sit that overlooks a village. You’ll see the villagers going about their daily routine. The hotel also features a lovely garden. Breakfast is also provided. If you want real Lao food be sure to stop at the Tamarind Restaurant for Asian cuisine such as Lemongrass chicken, fish in banana leaves, and grilled pork. For sightseeing take a day trip to the Pak-Ou caves where you will find over 4,000 Buddhist images inside.
5.) Cambodia – In Phnom Penhthe best hotelin the entire city at $57 a night isThe Pavilion. It has received rave reviews from people who have stayed there. One of the famous temples and many restaurants are close to The Pavilion. The hotel staff is friendly and always helpful. It’s centrally located in the city, yet it’s like an oasis from all the noise coming from the massive mopeds filling the streets. Friends Restaurant is the most popular in Phnom Penh. It is a non-profit establishment run by former street youths. The prices are from $5 to $10. Wat Phnom is the temple that is in the heart of the city. It is a fascinating site filled with a lot of spiritual power.
6.) Vietnam – A lot has certainly changed with this countrysince the ’60’s & ’70’s. This is now a very cheap vacation destination in Asia, especially in Ho Chi Minh City. There is an extraordinary hotel, the Bich Duyen Hotel that everyone’s raving about due to the excellent service they provide. Starting at $16 a night this hotel is close to many of the restaurants, bars and shops in the city. Take a tour along the Mekong Delta and for shopping go to Binh Tay, which is an indoor flea market with lots of bargains to be had.
7.) Malaysia – Here in this country the prices will be a little bit more expensive than in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Yet traveling within Malaysia will be easier as public transportation is a lot more efficient and more people speak English. The Citin Hotel Pudu in Kuala Lumpur’s rates is $38 a night where it’s conveniently located across the street from a bus station where you can take a bus to visit other popular cities in Malaysia. The rooms are clean, the staff friendly, the breakfast is delicious and best of all it is centrally located to everything else. The Lemon Garden Restaurant at the Shangri-La Hotel has the best buffet in the city, though it may be pricey, but worth splurging on. You will find a lot of westernized shops at their Pavilion Mall. There are nearby beach resorts for getting away on a day trip.
8.) Singapore – Just like Malaysia this is one of the most expensive countries in Southeast Asia, yet it is the cleanest country in Asia. Here is a real bargain in Singapore where most hotels average at least $300 to $400 a night. This four star rated Scarlet Hotel is one of the smaller boutique hotels. Their rates start at $165 a night. The Scarlet Hotel is located in Chinatown off the beaten path. They offer personalized service and luxurious amenities. The Line Restaurant has an unbelievable buffet, but is pricey. Since this hotel is in one of the popular sightseeing areas in Singapore all you have to do is step outside the hotel lobby and there’s Chinatown. Take advantage of cable car and river boat rides for a day.
9.) Indonesia – One of my favorite musicals is South Pacific. There is a featured song in both the Broadway production and film titled Bali Ha’i. It isn’t about Bali in Indonesia, but it certainly reminds me of it. The song in this musical represents an idyllic island that is strictly off limits to the American troops, except for the officers. Bali is definitely an ideal cheap vacation destination that features one at $87 a night in Ubad, Bali’s Alam Shanti Hotel. It is rated the #1 hotel and considered a real gem. You’ll have views of rice fields and maybe a visit from a monkey, because of its close proximity to the Monkey Forest. This doesn’t even feel like a hotel. The rooms are clean and very large. You get your own private terrace to sit out on. The Babi Guling Ibu Oka Restaurant serves Indonesian cuisine at prices from $5 to $10. A trip to the Monkey Forest is a must since its close by. There are many great places to shops along the Monkey Forest trails and anywhere else you travel to in Ubud.
10.) Thailand – Instead of a vacation in Bangkok which is crowded, polluted, dirty, and expensive why not head into northern Thailand to Chiang Mai. This is unlike Bangkok or Phuket. Here your money will truly go a long way. There is one hotel that is at $86 a night called the Fern Paradise. It is everything and more. As you enter the premises there is lush greenery and ferns everywhere. This hotel is a bit out of the city, but a world unto its own run by a Thai family. A taxi driver is available for transport at a prearranged price. If you want something different this is the hotel for you. Each of the rooms are now converted rice barns on stilts. Bon Kitchen Restaurant serves local cuisine for $4. Sights to see in Chiang Mai are the humane elephant camps and Mae Sa Orchid Farm. You will find street side vendors, including their Night Bazaar, and upscale stores for shopping.
There is a common thread in virtually all of these cheap vacation destinations in Asia. The hotels are all clean with a very friendly staff to help you out. Also, these hotels are either located in the heart of the city close to all the sites, shops, and restaurants or they’re in a quiet area outside of the city in a natural setting. Most of the restaurant prices are in range of $5 to $10 in price. Nepal and Pakistan are the cheapest countries in the Indian Subcontinent. Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Indonesia are the cheapest countries in Southeast Asia. This in-depth guide should give you an excellent idea now on where you specifically want to take a cheap vacation destination to in Asia.