Southeast Asia Budget

We were in the midst of outlining our budget for our trip in three parts (see Part 1 – South America) when a week-long vacation to South Carolina so rudely interrupted us. So now that life is back on its busy schedule, its time for us to finish the last two legs. Our second continental stop takes us to Southeast Asia, where we are planning on staying approximately three months. We’re breaking our trip down into two categories, every day expenses for our daily food, lodging and necessary transport and activities for all the crazy, unique things we will want to fill our time doing.

Every Day Expenses

The region is a backpacker haven for a region: it is cheap. Most of what we’ve read pegs decent budget hotel rooms at under $10-15, cheaper in some of the less developed nations. So as we’ve been trying to do, we’ll play it safe and budget $15 a day for hotel. Eating will also not tax our wallets. Street food can be found for less than $1, with restaurants slightly more. I’m not sure I’ll ever be motivated to cook on my own when I can get some fantastic noodles for less than a buck, so we won’t budget too much home cooking in. $10 a day should cover the occasional splurge. Since the region is fairly small, we will traveling primarily by bus, which is quite inexpensive. We will likely take a flight out to either Indonesia or the Philippines (help us decide), though even those seem relatively inexpensive at the moment due to heavy competition. $5 a day should do us handsomely. That brings us to $30 a day between the two of us.


Here’s the thing. There are actually very few special activities we want to do in Southeast Asia, at least ones we will have to arrange in advance and hire guides and shell out expensive fees for. Obviously we will go to Angkor Wat, but guides can be hired just for the day if desired and access to the park costs $20. To me, that seems to fit into the range of the general activities costs. Most of the other sights we want to see fall into this category*. So we will simply budget $10 a day for our activities and consider this done. If Angkor Wat is only $20, this should be plenty to cover our adventures.

So again, adding all of these expenses together, we plan on spending $40 a day for 90 days, or $3600. Now that I get here, I’m shocked at how little that is. I’m not as confident we’ll hit this budget as I am about our South American budget. But, I guess you can’t argue with math. As I said earlier, it’s a backpacker haven for a reason.

*There is one big activity that would blow our budget, though we have not yet officially decided on it yet. Theresa will have more on it soon.

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