Money Matters: What are the costs of 3 months backpacking in Southeast...

Money Matters: What are the costs of 3 months backpacking in Southeast Asia?

Lisanne took some time off to go on the ultimate Southeast Asia trip. She strapped on her backpack and went all the way from Khao San Road in Bangkok to Halong Bay in Vietnam. For Bunch of Backpackers she kept track on all her travel expenses. Find out her costs of 3 months backpacking in Southeast Asia below! 

This article is part of the Money Matters series in which we ask travelers to keep their expenses for Bunch of Backpackers. Real travelers, real expenses. Some of the links are affiliate links for Hostelworld. This won’t cost you anything extra, but buys me a beer on the road.


*These daily travel expenses are per one person per day.  Including all tours, flights, souvenirs, lodging, food, drinks, entrance fees, tips etc. Excluding international flights to/from the Netherlands.

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These prices are per person unless stated otherwise.

Standard Southeast Asia expenses

One night in a hostel dormitory: 3,47-9,56 euro (4-11 USD)
One night in a double room in a guesthouse: 6,95-13,04 euro (8-15 USD)
A short 10-minute taxi ride:  1,74-4,35 euro (2-5 USD)
A bottle of water (0,5L) at the store:  0,17-0,43 euro (0,20-0,50 USD)
A local beer at a bar/restaurants:  0,60-2,35 euro (0,70-2,70 USD)
A glass of coca cola in a restaurant:  0,60-1,3 euro (0,70-1,50 USD)
Lunch at a local restaurant:  0,87-3,5 euro (1-4 USD)
Dinner at a local restaurant:  0,87-6,0 euro (1-7 USD)

Notable Southeast Asia expenses per country

Examples of travel expenses in THAILAND (10 THB = 0,27 euro / 0,31 USD)

Entrance Grand Palace and Phra Kaew in Bangkok: 500 THB
Entrance Wat Arun in Bangkok: 50 THB
Entrance Wat Pho in Bangkok: 100 THB
Ping Pong Show Bangkok: 500 THB
Sukothai Historical Park entrance: 100 THB + 10 THB for bike
Bicycle rental in Sukothai: 30 THB
Entrance Wat Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai: 30 THB
Elephant Training camp in Chiang Mai: 2200 THB
Full day tour to the lake, mud spa, longnecks and bamboo bridge in Pai: 700 THB (+ additional 250 THB to visit the longneck tribe)
Beer during a ladyboy show at Koh Phangan: 150 THB
Jungly party at Koh Phangan: 400 THB

Examples of travel expenses in LAOS (10.000 Kip = 1,08 euro / 1,23 USD)

Visum Laos (Dutch passport): 35,00 USD
Tat Kuang Si entrance in Luang Prabang: 20.000 kip
Bowling in Luang Prabang: 20.000 kip
Viewpoint in Luang Prabang: 20.000 kip
Tubing in Vang Vieng: 50.000 kip (and 65.000 kip deposit)
Rock climbing clinic in Vang Vieng: 12 USD
Tham Kong caves in Tha Khaek: 40.000 kip
Bicycle rental 4000 islands: 10.000 kip
Dolphin tour by boat at 4000 islands: 30.000 kip (and an additional 20.000 kip for crossing the Cambodian border)


Examples of travel expenses in CAMBODIA

Visum Cambodia (Dutch passport): 40,00 USD
Entrance Ankhor Wat for 2 days: 20 USD
Boat trip at Sihanoukville: 12 USD
Entrance fee Killing Fields in Phnom Pehn: 6 USD (and 3USD for the prison)

Examples of travel expenses in VIETNAM (10.000 VND = 0,41 euro / 0,47 USD)

Visum Vietnam: 65,00 USD
Hand-made leather jacket in Vietnam:  160,00 USD
Entrance fee War Museum in HCMC: 15.000 Vietnamese Dong
Trip Cu Chi tunnels from HCMC: 4 USD (and 90.000 Vietnamese Dong entrance fee)
Mekong Delta trip from HCMC: 22 USD
Snorkeling trip at Phu Quoc island: 12 USD
Motorbike trip from Hoi An to Hue: 15 USD
Paradise Cave at Phong Pha: 120.000 Vietnamese Dong
Motorbike rental at Phong Pha: 100.000 Vietnamese Dong (exc. gas 110.000 Vietnamese Dong)
Flight Phu Quoc island to Ho Chi Minh City: 26,00 euro (29,89 USD)
Canyoning in Dalat: 27,84 euro (32,00 USD)
Halong Bay tour from Hanoi with a drop off on the Catba islands: 28,71 euro (33,00 USD)
Canoeing at Catba Islands: 5 USD
Motorbike rental: 4 USD (exc. gas 70.000 Vietnamese Dong)
Flight Hanoi to Bangkok: 52,88 USD



About the backpackers: Lisanne (26), the Netherlands.
Destination and travel period: Southeast Asia in October 2014 for a bit less than 3 months (76 days). Lisanne spent 3 weeks in Thailand, 2 weeks in Laos, 2 weeks in Cambodia and 4 weeks in Vietnam. 
Visited places: Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Sukhothai, Pai, Krabi, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, Koh Phi Phi, Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, Tha Khaek, 4000 Islands, Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong delta, Phu Quoc islands, Mui ne, Dalat, Hoi An, Hue, Phong Pha, Hanoi, Catba islands.
Type of trip: Solo, independently
Accommodation*: Budget (mainly hostels and guesthouses)
Transportation*: Budget (mostly by the cheapest available mode of transportation) 
Food*: Budget (local places and cheap western places). 

*4 options: basic, budget, standard and luxury

  • Bargain! You can bargain on many things in Southeast Asia such as hotels, trips and food!
  • Look around and compare first, when you’re searching for a hotel, restaurant or tour operator.
  • Asia is quite safe. To save money, it’s better to withdraw larger amounts of money from the bank, to avoid paying the transaction sums.
  • Finding a travel buddy will help you to save money on accommodation and food. There are many solo backpackers in Southeast Asia and it’s easy to meet people. Find safety tips for solo backpacking here!
  • An elephant trip in Thailand (inform to a reliable and truly animal friendly organization), tubing in Vang Vieng in Lao, canyoning in Dalat in Vietnam, canoeing in Halong Bay and last but not least: a full moon party on Koh Phangan!
  • Some of the favorite accommodations of Lisanne during her Southeast Asia trip:
    Chang Mai – Diva II guesthouse (25 Soi 2 Ratchavithi Rd. | Si Phoom, Chiang Mai)
    Koh Tao – Loft hostel (8/7 Moo 2, Maehaad, Suratthani,, 84360 Ko Tao, Thailand)
    Luang Prabang – Kounsavan hostel (Ban Thong Chaluern, 06000 Luang Prabang, Laos)
    Sihanoukville – Led Zephyr (Serendipity Beach Road, Sangkat 4, Modul 4, Sihanoukville, Cambodia)

Enjoy your travels!

Cheers, Lisanne

This was our overview of the costs of 3 months backpacking in Southeast Asia. Have you been on a backpacking trip to Southeast Asia? How much did you spend? Can you relate to these travel costs? 


  1. Oh wow, I secretly expected or maybe hoped that it would be a bit cheaper. I travelled to Uganda & Argentina for 1,5 years with 2500 Euro’s. But I guess it depends on the way of travelling ;-) Couchsurfing and taking the bike instead of the taxi etc. =) But nice to get an overview!!

    • You can certainly do it cheaper if you go for couch surfing, hitchhiking and do less tours/activities during the day Milene. But as is the purpose of the Money Matters series, it’s not the purpose to show only the most budget way of traveling, but rather a collection of different ‘money experiences’ from different travelers. By providing extra info about the type of trip, readers can see if they will travel according to the same budget, or cheaper or more expensive :)

  2. I guess by staying in the hostels and not eating in shopping malls she saved some money, but I wouldn’t want to save to much on the food as there are very nice commercial restaurants in Thailand.

  3. A nice overview of 4 countries, shall be helpful for my next travel to these lands in May – June 15.
    Bob,its also a great contribution from your side towards travel passion.
    Keep it up!

  4. Nice post! My wife and I traveled this year around Asia, including SEA. We found the $30 limit hard to meet unless you stay longer and cook your own food (live more like local). And in your estimates, you said you excluded the trip from/to Netherlands. Did you also include travel insurance, vaccines or visas?

    If someone is interested in another cost opinion (from our trip), check here.

    • Hi Christian, as the article states Lisanne spent about 35 USD (not 30 USD) per day during her SE Asia trip. Travel insurance and vaccinations were not included, only costs in the country! Thanks for your comment!

  5. Great article, Myself and my girlfriend are travelling on the 10th of February for 167 days. We will be going to Thailand Laos Malaysia Indonesia and Cambodia. We will be taking with us just over 9000 euro and have our flights booked travel insurance bought and vaccinations done.

    I’m wondering if you think this will be enough money? We would like to see and do as much as we can and will be mostly eating street food but will be staying in our own rooms and not in dorms.

    Thanks :)

  6. Hi Oliver, I’ve never traveled SE Asia as a couple, but I reckon you should be fine :) In SE Asia, there not that many hostels/dorms anyway. Small guesthouses with private rooms are often just as cheap! Feb 10th is approaching soon! Have an amazing trip!!

  7. I have roughly £3200 my fights will cost me £400 I have also been recommended to go on a tour called Thaiintro which costs next to £500 this leaving me with £2300 or €2900, would this be enough to allow me to see Thailand, Vietnam, Loas, Cambodia? I am going on my own so I am also little nervous about being completely alone for the whole duration of the trip. Would you suggest planning everything out or just take a gamble and wait to see if I meet a traveling buddy through Thaiintro.

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