Photo: Street food Phetchaburi Soi 10, Bangkok.

Southeast Asia forum

3.5 months...how much money will i need?

Posted by JessicaBenson3 on 23/2/2010 at 07:05

My boyfriend and i are traveling from bangkok around southeast asia from September 1st-December 21st. Im trying to figure out approximatly how much money we will each need. We dont mind lodging being fairly cheap, we may fly if necessary but will most likely travel by land or boat as much as possible. We both like to drink and party a bit...just have some fun. If anyone has any ideas that would be great! Thank you so much!

#1 JessicaBenson3 has been a member since 23/2/2010. Posts: 9

Posted by wombatfuz on 23/2/2010 at 09:00

There are quite a few post on this budget issue in Travelfish forum.
I had similar issues so I have check extensively on forum.

As a general guideline, I believe Laos is probably the least expensive. Thailand most expensive, Vietnam and Cambodia are mid-range.

For a start you sound like a flashpacker. I am somewhere between a backpacker and flashpacker. I too am planning on 3 months trip and have budgeted US$50 a day (to cover accommodation, food and short distance travel between towns).

You should budget some air travel expenses in case you want to fly between major cities. Get a rough idea how much the bus or boat ride will costs. And if you think you may rent bicycle or motorbikes to tour the towns or cities, set aside a budget for that. If you plan on joining adventure, trekking tours, or other organised trips, check out the estimated prices and set aside a budget for it.

You mentioned you don't mind living cheaply. Have you check out the type of lodgings at the destinations you plan to visit? You may want to check the lodgings conditions that you can lived with and what is the price you have to pay for something that meets you basic requirements.

I think the message I'm trying to get across is that you need to do a fair bit of research before settling on a budget.

Have fun!

#2 wombatfuz has been a member since 30/12/2009. Posts: 38


Posted by Dylan on 23/2/2010 at 09:37

Hey there,

I just got back from 3 months around SE Asia (Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, VN) and a budget-busting week in Japan.

While I definitely went the low-budget route--under $20 a day--hopefully a few observations will help you out:

-Food (especially meats and animal protein) is cheaper in Vietnam and Thailand, where large-scale agricultural production networks helps keep costs down. E.g. in Laos, if you eat a chicken in a smaller town/village, it's likely that it was raised and slaughtered nearby, at greater relative expense to the locals and thus to you the consumer.

So...while noodle soup in Thailand may run you 25-35 baht (~$1 US) and will feature a factory-made fishball or two, a similar bowl of foe in Laos will cost about double. Not a huge chunk of change in either case, but certainly illustrative of the contrasting foodways over there.

-In general, even basic guesthouses in Vietnam are cleaner and better-appointed (a/c and TV) than the rest of the region, but consequently are a bit more expensive (starting at ~$6 or so). Elsewhere, you have more room options on the low-end, especially if you prefer a fan as I tend to.

-You can save a bunch on local flights by monitoring websites for the budget carriers--Air Asia etc.--sometimes they offer flights for close to nothing. If you're the flexible and frugal type, plan your route around these cheap flights and save a bunch.

-Since you mentioned alcohol, a few words on that. A large (650 ml) Beer Lao bottle remains the thriftiest and tastiest drinking option in Indochina...I suspect that government control of the brewing company might help to keep it reasonable. Drink the local brew everywhere (esp. bia hoi in VN) to save some money.

Avoid imported liquor, except in Cambodia, where due to low or nonexistent import duties, European/US swill is 1/2 the price it is at home. DO drink local rice whiskeys of every ilk--a 330 ml of lao lao is only 5000 kip (

#3 Dylan has been a member since 21/3/2009. Posts: 25
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Posted by MADMAC on 24/2/2010 at 02:03

Women, booze, beachside hotels... those are the big money eaters out here. You avoid those, and you can keep costs really low. It sounds like you've cut down on two out of three - which ain't bad. Finding cheap accomodation out here is easy enough as long as you stay clear of the tourist locations. Even then cheap accomodation is available if you don't have a problem listening to the guy in the next room getting it on with some short time girl. Food is cheap. Add booze and it's still cheap, just not as cheap. Non-asian food is another matter however. That's not cheap. OK, McDonalds, that Scottish restaraunt is pretty cheap. Otherwise, stick to local.

#4 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
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