Countries you can visit in Asia without breaking the bank.
Even in a region of budget-friendly destinations, Laos stands out. It’s hard not to be captivated by the slow pace of the country; head just north of elegant Luang Prabang to riverside Nong Khiaw, where for small change you can bag a waterside bungalow and watch the boats travel up and down the karst-surrounded river over a cold bottle of Beer Lao.
Despite a remarkable rate of change over the decades since the end of the American War, Vietnam remains amazing value for Western visitors. The country’s greatest attraction is its sublime countryside, from the limestone karsts of the north to the waterways and paddy fields of the Mekong Delta, with blissful beaches and frenetic cities crammed in between. Then there’s the cuisine – pull up a stool at a pho stall and for only a couple of dollars you’ll eating some of the best food on offer, shoulder to shoulder with the locals.
Cambodia is now very much on the Southeast Asia travel scene, particularly among backpackers and, increasingly, holidaymakers looking for five-star luxury without the price tag. Cambodia is an absolutely wonderful country to visit. The people are friendly and welcoming, the food is amazing, and by Southeast Asian standards, parts of the country still feel very undiscovered. It’s very unfortunate that so many backpackers breeze in and out of Cambodia only visiting Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. There is so much more to this country and it absolutely deserves more of your time. If you’ve gotten a little jaded of the backpacker scene around Southeast Asia, head to Cambodia and find a rural small town to escape it all. You really want regret the experience you have there.
There’s a reason why Thailand remains so popular with backpackers – it’s got idyllic islands, a rich culture, beach-huts aplenty, tantalising cuisine and adventures galore, and all available at often staggeringly low prices. Despite the well-trodden routes through the country, it’s not hard to get away from the crowds – check out Nakhon Si Thammarat for some of the very best food the country has to offer, or hire a motorbike to make the 600km trip along the Mae Hong Son Loopthrough the forested northern mountains.