Photo: Street food Phetchaburi Soi 10, Bangkok.

Southeast Asia forum

Budget advice please!

Posted by AnneWiide on 12/5/2012 at 11:19

Hi, a friend and I are planning on travelling around SE Asia from September to February (roughly 5 months total). We were just wondering what kind of budget we should be aiming for. Here's what we're thinking of doing:

Indonesia: 4 weeks
Laos: 4 weeks
Thailand: 4 weeks
Cambodia: 2 weeks
Vietnam: 4 weeks

Maybe a bit less in Indonesia and Vietnam and a bit more in Thailand if it's cheaper.

We originally planned to budget £6,000 ($9,600) but were wondering if we could get away with less than that.

We're not keen on staying in dorms or hostels - we'd prefer hotels - but neither of us are drinkers and we weren't planning on doing expensive activities like diving, etc. Would £6,000 be enough/too much including flights, visas, jabs, etc?


#1 AnneWiide has been a member since 12/5/2012. Posts: 3

Posted by altmtl on 12/5/2012 at 12:18

My budget (solo) for 3 months was aprox $5000, including flight. I don't like hostels or dorms myself, My avg. was about $30 a day, some days less. Your visa for vietnam will be the most expensive. In Laos, some days it was $20. Although I did blow $150 my last weekend in BK -[img]smileys/smile.gif[/img] As you are 2, travelling at night may not save you that much - but at least you have a lot of time & that's good. The more you move the more it will cost you.
Since you are not drinkers that's really a big savings.

If you want to spend 4 weeks in Thailand, make sure you arrive by plane, you'll get 30 days free (15 if you arrive by land) You can get a Thai visa in one of the other countries or at home before leaving and that will give you 60 days.

The jabs you should get at home, you don't need JE or Rabies in my opinion, I don't even bother with the Malaria tabs.

Don't forget about Travel Insurance, 5 months won't be cheap, but if you get really sick or badly injured, you'll be happy you had it.

Something else that can hurt a budget is ATM fees - what your bank charges you & what the local bank charges you - In TH it's 150 baht except at AEON. So make sure you always withdraw the max. amount. Some banks have no fee cards in your country.

Having US$ is handy to have in case of emergencies.

#2 altmtl has been a member since 18/5/2009. Location: Canada. Posts: 1,003
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Posted by AnneWiide on 12/5/2012 at 12:37

Thanks! :)

Just to clarify, did your $5,000 cover visas, jabs, insurance, etc? Or was that just accommodation and food?

Also, any recommendations on which jabs to get? I'm thinking typhoid, polio, Hep A and B. Is that enough/too much? I've heard the vaccines for JE and rabies are horrific, expensive and not worth it so I'll probably give those a miss. I don't intend to pet any stray dogs or hang out in swamps so I'm guessing that'll be enough?

#3 AnneWiide has been a member since 12/5/2012. Posts: 3

Posted by altmtl on 12/5/2012 at 14:18

I didn't need any jabs, had them already. You can add Tetanus. Polio, not sure about that? I have typhoid & Hep A & B.

Yes my $5,000 covered everything including the plane which was $1284, Insurance was $293. I never paid more then $7 - $11 for a room with private bathroom.

Better to budget too high than too low. You may want to splurge at one point or you might get stuck in a place where you have no choice but to pay more to "get out" - lol

I didn't count the new backpack I bought before leaving however.

You might want to join Couchsurfing too, even if you don't surf someone's couch, you can still go to city meetups & ask locals some questions on the groups.
You can ask people on my FB group too, everyone has a different take on the "budget issues" see link below....

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Posted by AnneWiide on 12/5/2012 at 15:38

Thanks for the advice! Isn't $7-11 guesthouse prices though? Or was that low-mid range hotels? We're aiming for a mid-range trip as opposed to a budget one. What kind of quality are guesthouses around the region? I've heard some of them are as good as hotel rooms but I imagine it varies a lot.

#5 AnneWiide has been a member since 12/5/2012. Posts: 3

Posted by altmtl on 12/5/2012 at 16:12

simple rooms, very basic, just fan, no air con, some were bungalows on the beach... there's quite a good listing of places right here on travelfish, that's what I used as a reference. Mid range will be a lot higher, but if you are two well, up to you.

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Posted by antoniamitchell on 13/5/2012 at 04:59

Hi Anne,

Last year I spent a month in Thailand and a month in Vietnam as part of a longer trip, travelling solo and staying in inexpensive but decent guest-houses (see note below).

Here's a breakdown of what I spent:

Average spend: Thailand
Room in the north (no a/c) - 250B (£5)
Room in the south (with a/c) - 400-500B (£8-10)
Food and drink -185B per day (£3.75)
Travel and sightseeing - 300B per day (£6)
In a month, I spent about £500 on the ground.

Average spend: Vietnam
Room - varies widely. In many places (Saigon, Hanoi, Dalat, Hoi An) hotels were all about $18-20US. In a few areas (Mekong Delta, Hue, Cat Ba) competition has driven down prices to about $10US.
Food and drink - £3 per day
Travel and sightseeing - £6 per day, including a couple of internal flights
In a month, I spent about £700.

Other costs:
I spent about £200 on gear for the trip (backpack, etc.), £62 on the Vietnam visa, and £100 on insurance. Your flight will obviously be the largest expenditure (mine was £683). Bank fees added about £35 (this could be more, depending on your bank).

All my accommodation was private rooms, nearly always ensuite, sometimes with A/C. Remember the price is for the room, not per person, so two people staying in a double room would pay the same as one person staying in that room (in the vast majority of places).

Guest-houses in much of Asia are often similar rooms to hotels but better value. We're not talking backpacker-holes or flophouses (although there are plenty of those available, too, and seem to be around £2-3 a night). A decent guest-house will be clean with private rooms, some or all of which will be ensuite. Rooms may include air-conditioning (expect to pay a bit more for A/c), free wifi, often a little fridge, sometimes a tv. Many will have restaurants onsite. The front desk will normally offer services like laundry, bicycle or motorbike rental, and booking tours. If you want a more Westernised hotel (room service, bellhops, hotel gym) that's available, too, but at considerably higher prices.

I ate most of my meals at street markets, hawker stalls, and inexpensive restaurants (like the street kitchens in Vietnam) and I don't drink alcohol.

I travelled around by foot, renting bicycles, or using public transport most of the time (so not a lot of taxis).

Since you mentioned £6000, I'm assuming you're in the UK. With respect to jabs, the standard ones you'd get from your doctor are Typhoid, Hep A, and a booster of Tetanus/polio/diptheria (if it's been 10 years or more since your last booster). None of these will cost you anything on the NHS. Check if anywhere you're planning to go is high risk for Malaria (most of Thailand and Vietnam aren't; I don't know about Laos, Cambodia or Indonesia as I haven't been there yet). Anti-malarials are very expensive here, so if you do need them budget maybe £50 per week of use. Unless you're planning on spending a lot of time in the deep jungle, you probably won't need anything more than that, but please double check. The WCO's website and the FCO websites are good places to start.

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Posted by appro on 13/5/2012 at 05:42

Hi there,

Is this £6000 each or combined? If it's an individual budget then you should be fine. You will be travelling during the peak time (in most places) in SE Asia, which will push accommodation prices up, but that budget is still generous.

We spent 5 months in SE Asia in 2010, and we averaged around £20 each a day. We mostly stayed in nice air-con rooms - there's plenty of great flashpacker guesthouses around. Many are better value than hotels in terms of comfort/price. Eating local food (which is the best anyway) and keeping off the booze will keep costs down.

I suppose it depends on the kind of experience you want. Our biggest regret was trying to stick to a tight budget, at the expense of (sometimes) making the most of the experience. There were a few tours/activities we deemed too expensive. With hindsight I wish we had spent the money and reduced our trip length a little. The quality of the experience is more important for me now.

We're off again in October for 5-6 months, to most of the places you're going to (see you around!!), and this time we're budgeting £25 each per day. We also have a separate activity fund so we can splurge a bit without worrying about the budget so much. In total we're also budgeting £6k each.


#8 appro has been a member since 9/5/2009. Posts: 32

Posted by altmtl on 13/5/2012 at 12:31

Interesting that Vietnam costs £200 more than Thailand...

I think when you are travelling as a pair, it's easier to take tours and such, as a solo traveller, sometimes some things just get really expensive, but when I really want to do something I just do it... but I have regretted taking some tours, because they were just not worth it - but it's hard to tell that in advance.

I shipped two boxes back home from Thailand, of course that added more costs, and of course there was the beer - lol - Shipping things back is really worth it however, less to carry, but Thailand & Indonesia (Bali) are the best places to do this from.

I too am going back next year.

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