As the world’s largest continent, Asia’s 48 countries are diverse with a rich mixture of cultures, cuisines, and natural scenery.

As a bonus, most countries in Asia are among the cheapest places to travel in the world, making it possible for you to spend more time and cross more places off your bucket list.

From sprawling tea plantations to desert canyons, UNESCO heritage sites, ancient architecture, flavorsome food, and some of the best beaches in the world, Asia has so much more to offer than can ever be put into words.

And the best part? Many places can be visited for less than $25 a day

We’ve put together a list of the cheapest countries in Asia to tickle your travel bug and get you inspired for a visit to this fascinating and beautiful continent.

1. Vietnam

With its lush green scenery, lively cities, iconic pagodas, and world-class beaches, Vietnam is a must-visit country for anyone visiting Southeast Asia. 

Pair that with delicious food (pho noodle soup, banh mi sandwiches, fresh seafood rolls, and fried fish) and an inexpensive stay, and Vietnam is the perfect destination for your trip. If you plan to get out of the city, don’t miss Ha Long Bay and any of the country’s famous caves.

A typical hostel bed is about $5-10 a night, while a meal can cost you as little as $2. There are plenty of both hostels and mid-range hotels, especially in the city, so you can easily find something to fit your budget.

Backpacker Budget: $25 a day
Mid-range Budget: $50 a day

2. Laos

Laos is sometimes overlooked as a travel destination, but anyone who’s been there can tell you it’s well worth a visit. Full of Buddhist temples, rice fields, and beautiful forests, it’s a feast for the eyes. It’s also got lots of French colonial architecture and former royal palaces, and is home to Southeast Asia’s biggest waterfall, so there’s plenty to do and see!

Prices here are similar to neighboring countries. Hostel beds average about $10 a night. Dorm rooms are even less expensive, sometimes as little as $2 for a larger dorm. Eating here won’t set you back very much at all, with a day’s meals averaging about $6. Learn more in this complete Laos travel guide.

Backpacker Budget: $17 a day
Mid-range Budget: $35 a day

3. Cambodia

If you’ve ever dreamed of watching the sun rise over the famous Angkor Wat temple complex, you’ve probably thought about traveling to Cambodia. But there’s more than just that in this beautiful country: stunning beaches, large and lively cities, historical monuments, and delicious food.

If you have time to explore outside the major cities, take a boat ride down the Mekong Delta, explore jungles in the Cardamom Mountains, or visit one of the many beautiful tropical islands.

Cambodia is great value for money, and the daily cost is comparable to other neighboring countries. Most meals are $3-5, especially from roadside stands (slightly more in larger restaurants) and hostels are around $5 per night, often less in dorm rooms. 

Backpacker Budget: $20 a day
Mid-range Budget: $40 a day

4. Thailand

Thailand is one of the most popular destinations in Southeast Asia, thanks to beautiful beaches, architecture, delicious cuisine bursting with flavor, and stunning natural scenery. Its growing popularity over the years has made costs rise, but it’s still an affordable destination for those traveling through Asia. 

If you’re looking for ways to cut your costs, stick to northern Thailand, where prices are lower. The south, where the famous beaches and islands are, is more developed with resorts and luxury hotels thus responsible for higher costs.

Most meals in Thailand are around $3-5, and hostel beds are around $5-10. A great example of a low-cost, high-quality experience would be somewhere like Chiang Mai, where there’s lots to do, see, and eat, but much easier on your wallet!

Backpacker Budget: $30 a day
Mid-range Budget: $60 a day

5. The Philippines

If you’re a beach lover who loves island-hopping, the Philippines is the perfect destination. With over 7000 islands in the country, you could spend months here and still not see it all. But for a first-time visitor, some of the best destinations include Manila, Boracay, Palawan, and the Chocolate Hills. These give the best mix of experiences, from waterfall swimming to nightlife and hiking up volcanoes!

Although accommodation is a bit pricier here (hostels can be around $15-20 per night), food is still extremely affordable, with most meals costing around $5. In Manila, you can expect prices to be slightly higher, but overall most destinations in the Philippines cost around $30 daily for backpackers.

Backpacker Budget: $30 a day
Mid-range Budget: $60 a day

6. Indonesia

Indonesia is a fascinating country to visit if you want to see a little bit of everything. The natural scenery ranges from forests to volcanoes to white sand beaches, and the ethnic diversity means that many places are a beautiful mix of Muslim and Buddhist cultures.

Indonesia is one of the cheapest countries to visit in Southeast Asia, but note that some places are more expensive than others. Islands like Bali and Lombok, for example, have become so popular with tourists that their prices are closer to what you’d pay in very developed countries.

Outside of that, hostels are around $5-10 per night. You can usually find a meal for $3-5, which is often nasi goreng or mie goreng (fried rice/noodles with meat and vegetables). 

Backpacker Budget: $25 a day (not including Bali)
Mid-range Budget: $50 a day

Pssst, want to travel further for less? Find out about how to find cheap flightshow to travel cheaply, and how to find affordable accommodation.

7. Malaysia

Malaysia is quickly becoming a favorite among seasoned travelers, thanks to a diverse mix of things to do: palm-lined beaches, tropical rainforests, modern architecture, and great possibilities for outdoor adventuring (Sipadan Island is one of the best dive sites in the world). 

Although Malaysia is one of the most developed Southeast Asian countries, it still ranks pretty high when it comes to cheap countries for travel. A cheap meal will only set you back around $2-3, and accommodation in a hostel or guesthouse averages about $10 a night.

Backpacker Budget: $25 a day
Mid-range Budget: $50 a day

8. Myanmar (Burma)

Myanmar is another place that many travelers skip but it’s a beautiful country with so much to offer. From lush jungles and awe-inspiring caves to the intricate pagodas and temples of capital city Bagan, there’s more than enough to keep you busy during a visit. Burmese people are also known as some of the friendliest in the world.

A hostel bed will cost about $10, or around double that for a private room. Food is very inexpensive (and spicy!), with the average meal costing around $2. 

Backpacker Budget: $25 a day
Mid-range Budget: $50 a day
Travel Restrictions: Due to turbulent military unrest, travel to Myanmar is not recommended for the time being, except for the Yangon region.

9. Nepal

Nepal is one of those places that embodies the phrase ‘more than meets the eye’. Although the Himalayas and Mount Everest are the top sights and the reason for many travelers’ visits, its vibrant cities, breathtaking national parks, and endless temples will make you glad you stayed to explore.

Costs in Nepal have risen over the years as Mount Everest tourism has boomed, but you can keep your daily costs under $25 in most areas. Most meals are around $2, and hostel rooms are pretty cheap at around $4 a night. If you want to go trekking, be prepared to pay $20-25 for an experienced guide (you can cut this cost by splitting with other trekkers). 

Backpacker Budget: $25 a day (more if you go trekking)
Mid-range Budget: $50 a day

10. Bangladesh

Sandwiched between India and Myanmar, Bangladesh is an off-the-beaten-path country that will surprise you with its stunning sights. It’s got tons of historical sites, ancient ruins, and unforgettable natural scenery. Don’t miss Sundarbans, the world’s biggest mangrove forest, and Cox’s Bazaar, the world’s longest unbroken sand beach.

It’s easy to get around Bangladesh on $20 a day. Cheap but delicious meals are often under $2, but if you really want to splurge on food and lodging you can do it for less than $50 a day. Prices will be much more varied if you are trekking through the Himalayas, but there are many teahouses throughout the routes that house travelers for a good price. 

Backpacker Budget: $20 a day
Mid-range Budget: $50 a day

11. India

Between the beaches of Goa, the pink city of Jaipur, and some of the most visually stunning architecture in the world, India is a must-visit for any traveler on the Southeast Asia circuit. India is the birthplace of multiple religions, and has some of the most diverse natural scenery in the world, so you really get to experience a little bit of everything in this beautiful country. Not to mention, the food is absolutely delicious.

Hostel beds in a dorm will set you back about $4, and street food costs as little as $2. But if you’re more comfortable eating in an established restaurant, expect to pay $4-8. 

Backpacker Budget: $20 a day
Mid-range Budget: $40 a day

12. Sri Lanka

The island country of Sri Lanka is small but mighty. Despite the small size, it’s home to gorgeous beaches, lush and sprawling tea plantations, national parks like Yala and Yumana, and the ancient stone ruins of Anuradhapura. It’s a beautiful country with so much to offer, and well worth a visit for any traveler.

Some of the more popular experiences like rock climbing or guided safaris in the national parks can be as high as $30, but if you are planning to do your own touring you can get by on $20 a day. Food is cheap and tasty (less than $5 for a meal) and hostel beds start at around $7. 

Backpacker Budget: $25 a day
Mid-range Budget: $50 a day

13. Kazakhstan

Central Asia has just as many gems as Southeast Asia, and Kazakhstan is one of them. Its natural scenery is reason alone to visit; sun-baked deserts, mountains, and canyons as far as the eye can see are a great way to explore. 

The many unique cities are all so different from one another that you’ll want to visit them all, from the sparkling, modern capital city of Nur-Sultan to the ancient desert cities that still stand.

Costs are quite low for travelers here. The average meal is around $3, and hostel beds start at around $5. Kazakhstan is great value for money, since you can budget for a maximum spend of $20 a day and still get to see and do so much.

Backpacker Budget: $20 a day
Mid-range Budget: $40 a day

14. Kyrgyzstan 

Kyrgyzstan is a must-visit for anyone interested in immersing themselves in traditional culture. The natural scenery has everything from tall mountains to deep canyons, and even glaciers and hot springs. Learn about the country’s Soviet history, try your hand at traditional felt-making, and even lose yourself in fascinating bird-watching. 

You can easily get by on $25 a day. Hostel beds start at a mere $6, and most meals are around $5. If you want to raise your budget a bit, you can stay in a traditional yurt for around $15-20 per night. These are a great way to understand ancient life in the Central Asian steppes and have a unique accommodation experience.

Backpacker Budget: $25 a day
Mid-range Budget: $50 a day

15. Uzbekistan

The word for Uzbekistan would have to be unexpected. Central Asia is considered a bit more remote and unmapped, but this country’s Islamic architecture, ancient medieval cities, and dazzling bazaars make for an incredible trip. There’s even a ship graveyard and a ghost town—not everyone can say they’ve seen sights like that.

It ranks a little more expensive than its neighboring countries, but it’s by no means expensive and definitely still worth a visit. Hostels start at around $7 a night, and most meals are only around $5. 

Backpacker Budget: $30 a day
Mid-range Budget: $60 a day

16. Azerbaijan

Natural gas reserves have resulted in this country being nicknamed “Land of Fire” from when natural gases would rise to the earth’s surface and set small fires. Though less of an issue today, it gives Azerbaijan a mystical quality that only makes you want to visit more.

Aside from spontaneous fires, this country is known for its numerous mud volcanoes, ancient temples, and even a city on stilts. A visit to Baku, the capital city, will yield plenty of photo opportunities thanks to a unique mix of modern skyscrapers and sun-baked stone buildings.

Meals cost an average of $4 (be sure to try khinkali dumplings and the savory stuffed pancake known as qutab), while dorm hostel beds start at around $10. 

Backpacker Budget: $25 a day
Mid-range Budget: $50 a day

17. Georgia

Georgia gets overlooked as a destination, but in recent years it’s become an incredible place to visit and much more traveler-friendly. Situated on the edge of Europe and Asia, we’ve included it in this list of cheapest countries to travel in Asia.

Explore the diverse capital city of Tbilisi with its eclectic mix of cafes, restaurants, and ancient architecture, or visit the Caucasus Mountains for a hiking adventure. It’s pretty cool to be able to start your day skiing and finish it at the beach, and Georgia has the kind of varied landscape that makes it possible. If you extend your journey beyond the capital, you can find monasteries and ancient cave cities, all just a day’s trip from Tbilisi.

You can get around Georgia for around $20. Hostel beds average around $8, while $10 is enough to cover all your meals for a full day. If you’re planning a day trip, take the local minivans known as marshrutka for around $7.

Backpacker Budget: $20 a day in the city
Mid-range Budget: $40 a day

18. Armenia

Armenia is a unique country with both European and Asian influences, and is very popular with history buffs and anyone with a penchant for temple-hopping. It’s home to a whopping 4000 churches and monasteries, eclectic cities, and beautiful natural scenery.

The food scene is equally varied, with Armenian kebab-style BBQ being the most sought-after cuisine. Lavash (bread), dolma (meat and spiced rice cooked in cabbage leaves), and topik (chickpea dumplings) are equally delicious and popular.

You can travel through Armenia on as little as $20 a day. Hostel dorm beds start at around $4, and most meals will cost no more than $5 in an inexpensive restaurant.

Backpacker Budget: $20 a day
Mid-range Budget: $40 a day

19. Iran

Iran’s beautiful mosaic-laden palaces and mosques are reason enough to visit, but there’s so much more to see in this beautiful country. Immerse yourself in Persian culture, explore the diverse natural scenery (mountains, caves, waterfalls, and deserts can all be found here), or explore the world’s largest covered bazaar on the ancient Silk Road.

Iran is great for the budget traveler, and $25 is enough to cover your daily expenses. Hostel beds can be as cheap as $5 (with some nicer places and private rooms costing closer to $12), and most meals won’t cost more than $4-5. 

Backpacker Budget: $25 a day
Mid-range Budget: $50 a day
Travel Restrictions: A current travel advisory recommends avoiding Iran for the time being

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