After 3,839 pictures, 1,078 blood sugar checks, and countless planes, ferries, trains, automobiles, accommodations, we spent a decent chunk of change throughout Asia. To be exact, we spend $15,357 over 125 days ($123 per day)!
What did we get for all that cash?
We visited five countries – China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Indonesia (Bali & Gili Islands) for over five months! My Mom visited us in Vietnam for an amazing 3 weeks and our friend Pilar visited us in Phuket, Thailand for 1.5 weeks. What a trip!
Our budget was healthier and definitely not a backpacker budget. It felt more like a mid-range traveler for this leg. A summary of our experience in regards to prices:
- Accommodations: They have become our biggest expense category because we now stay at 2-3 star places instead of the cheapest place in town (remember the snakes at our place in South Africa?). On average, our accommodations were $20 – $40 a night for a private room with a private bathroom.
- Food: In Asia, we ate way healthier and tastier foods with tons of fresh fruit, tasty greens, grilled fish, and other yummy delicacies instead of the cheapest budget eateries. At $25 per day total (with breakfast included at half the locations), we always dined out.
- Transportation: We’re still doing the most affordable transportation wherever we are, but everything is closer, so no more 13+ hour bus rides!
- Activities: This is our second-to-biggest expense category, and we’ve had awesome experiences enjoying everything that Asia has to offer, including boat cruises, bike tours, theater, diving, snorkeling, hiking, day trips (Angkor Wat, rice terraces), museums, cooking classes, soap making classes, energy healing and literally 30 massages! Prices ranged from $5 per person to $100 per person for the various activities.
- Massages: After all those 30 massages, I wanted to focus on this for a second because I think this can be a big draw to this part of the world. I was told you can get $4 massages in Southeast Asia, but the cheapest I found was $6. I did a few of these in Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, and I thought they weren’t very good. So if you want to come out to these parts for massages, be a big spender and expect to spent $9-$20 for an amazing massage and use trip advisor to find the good places. Expats know where the best massages are. Most of the places that are yelling “massage” when you walk down the street aren’t very good and if they are, then I think you got lucky. Just my two cents.
Our total expenses by category are as follows:
This second chart shows our expenses per location. While the type of experience you go after obviously impacts your overall cost, Vietnam definitely felt the cheapest followed by Cambodia. China was surprisingly more expensive, but I think a big part of that was because of the transportation as we traveled by train from Beijing to Hong Kong. But we saw dorm room beds in Thailand for $5 a night, so your money can go far!
Stay tuned for my next post about the price of New Zealand!