Skip to main content

6 Unexpectedly Cheap Asian Locations To Visit

While Asia is a popular destination for tourists, it’s fair to say that not all Asian countries are budget-friendly. In fact, visiting Japan is probably one of the most expensive experience for all travelers. With most travel books recommending an average of $225/day per person excluding flights to visit Tokyo, you can expect coming back with your credit card on fire – literally. However, it would be unfair to reject the opportunity to visit some of Asia’s most attractive and breathtaking locations because they are too expensive. After all, managing your expenses and keeping your costs low is what budget management is about. Ultimately, three elements determine your budget when you visit a foreign country, regardless of whether this is in Asia or elsewhere in the world: The cost of transportation, accommodation, and food are the significant factors that can push your budget over if you’re not careful. In other words, while you can’t eliminate these costs, how about considering suggestions to curb them in such a way that destinations that were once too expensive to visit become affordable? Discover 6 of the surprisingly cheap Asian destinations you can visit if you let your budget-savviness lead the way.

A budget trip to Japan? It’s possible
First of all, Japan is a fantastic country to visit, but there’s no denying that you’ll struggle to find affordable flights. However, if you choose to combine Japan as part of an Asian tour, you’ll find that local flights between Asian countries can be rather inexpensive. Don’t think Tokyo only, but try to think outside the box. Fukuoka, for instance, is very close to Seoul, South Korea, and you’ll have no difficulty to find direct flights for around $80 per person. Most travelers assume that Tokyo is the main attraction in Japan, and tend to skip over the rest of the magical landscapes and cultural events that the country has to offer. Fukuoka is the southernmost island of Japan’s main islands. With main cities Kyushu and Nagasaki, it’s a place filled with active volcanoes, beaches, and historical significance since World War Two. You can stop at the Peace Park and Atomic Bomb Museum in Nagasaki for a taste of modern history. But do make the time to see the ancient Japanese shrines in Fukuoka too, as these traditions are still very much alive. For affordable accommodation, take a look at Airbnb offers in the region: You might even find traditional Japanese style apartments for next to nothing!

Singapore is the most expensive Asian country… but you can keep it low-cost
Singapore is the smallest destination in Asia, and it is by far, the most expensive city to visit. In fact, going to Singapore without a budget-capping eye ends up being an even more painful experience for your credit card than Tokyo. However, it doesn’t mean you should avoid the Lion City. In reality, it’s all about smart arrangements in advance. Singapore is a buzzing commercial and political center, so you’re likely to find direct flights that don’t completely break the budget, assuming you set a price-checking alert to see the best period to travel. You’ll notice that accommodations can be quite expensive if you’re looking for standard quality, but you can find rental options for extended stays, such as a master bedroom for rent. As a rule of the thumb, if you’re staying over a week, you need to look for rental opportunities. As for food, you’ll find the cheapest Michelin star restaurant in Singapore!

Never say never: Hong Kong on a budget
Hong Kong ranks high on the list of the most expensive destinations in Asia. Although it’s officially part of China, Hong Kong has been under British rule until 1997, meaning that you won’t experience the authentic Chinese feel in this cultural, economic and politic territory. In fact, it’s so apart from China, that it even has its own Google domain, while the rest of China has banned the search engine giant to use Baidu instead. If you’re visiting Hong Kong, you should make sure the city is part of an Asian tour, as this will cut down on your travel costs significantly. You can fly from Singapore for around $60 per person. To keep your travel costs low, you want to use the MTR system in place, which is inexpensive and tourist-friendly – tip: Get an Octopus Card. You can find plenty of affordable guesthouses in town, especially in the Tsim Sha Tsui area.  

Tokyo can be affordable if you know how to plan it
Okay, we said Tokyo is a tourist nightmare, and it’s true: If you go unprepared, the city will ruin you. But with some organization, you can make your yens go significantly further. Starting with your accommodation, you need to shop around months in advance as rates are known to fluctuate a lot. Aim for the east side in Ueno and Asakusa where prices are lower. A traveler’s trip is to avoid the peak domestic travel time around New Year, late April to early May and mid-August. Also, business hotels tend to offer a better deal for couples than hostels. But the Capsule hotels and Manga Kissa offer the most competitive lodgings.

Bali, the paradise of wealthy beach lovers, and you if you’re a smart traveler
Bali has two sides. It is turning in a luxury resort destination, but if you know where to look, you can visit the famous island without breaking the bank. Avoid resort hotels and search for rentals, especially private villas, which can be surprisingly cheap – as low as $11 per night. As for transportation, you can hire a motorbike for the duration of your holiday, as taxis are expensive.

Going to Seoul without breaking the bank
Seoul is another example of an expensive city for unprepared travelers. But you’ll find that you can very easily visit most iconic places for free – several museums are free, and markets are open to all. Street food is your best option to keep your expenses under control, Korean bathhouses or jjimjjilbang, offer the cheapest accommodation in town.

In conclusion, it’s fair to say that there are plenty if expensive destinations in Asia. However, with a little planning, you can visit places like Tokyo, Seoul, or even Singapore without breaking the bank or missing out on touristic attractions.