Photo credit Chris Arthur-Collins and Hieu Tran

Asia’s cheapest cities for 2017 travel

Are you thinking of jetting off for an exotic holiday to Asia this year? We’ve got some fantastic news for you and your travel budget!

The Backpacker Index ranks 31 of Asia’s most popular cities from cheapest to most expensive and the 2017 results are in.

We’ve teamed up with Price of Travel again to bring you an infographic, highlighting the top 10 cheapest cities in Asia.

The Backpacker Index is based on thorough research and calculated on the following information:

  • One night accommodation in the cheapest hostel.
  • Two public transport rides per day.
  • One paid attraction per day.
  • Three budget meals per day.
  • Three local beers, or dessert and coffee per day.

The updates from last year show some significant changes, with Cairo, Kathmandu and Quito falling out of the top 10. Yangon, Manila and Hoi An moved up the ranks, as some of the most budget-friendly spots.

Let’s take a closer look at the top 10 cheapest Asian destinations to travel to, in 2017.

1. Pokhara, Nepal

When you’re looking for adventure on a stunning natural backdrop, Pokhara is the place for you. Surrounding the Annapurna mountain range, you’ll find endless opportunities for hiking, boating, paragliding and cycling. Best of all, given these prices, you can try everything without breaking the budget!

  • Overnight hostel accommodation with breakfast: £2.41
  • Transport: 75p
  • Meals: £5.46
  • Drinks/Entertainment: £4.48
  • Attractions: 75p

2. Chiang Mai, Thailand

 Chiang Mai is where travellers go to relax, after the hustle and bustle of busy Bangkok or the vibrant beaches of Patong. Within the emerald countryside, opportunities abound for rainforest walks, visits to elephant sanctuaries, souvenir shopping in traditional villages and wandering through the historic centre.

  • Overnight hostel accommodation: £2.25
  • Transport: 91p
  • Meals: £4.49
  • Drinks/entertainment: £4.77
  • Attractions: £2.27

3. Hanoi, Vietnam

Where can you experience the charm of France with the riotous markets of Asia? Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi. Here, watch locals exercising around West Lake, take in the Water Puppet Theatre, check out the Buddhist temples and traverse the winding streets of the Old Quarter. Don’t forget to try as many local dishes as your stomach will allow, at fantastic cafes and restaurants.

  • Overnight hostel accommodation: £3.24
  • Transport: £1.79
  • Meals: £7.21
  • Drinks/Entertainment: £1.82
  • Attractions: 72p

4. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

The former Saigon is an explosive mix of shops, restaurants, museums, nightlife and bustling markets. Visit the Cu Chi tunnels used by the Vietcong guerrillas, jump on board a river cruise at sunset via a dragon boat, take a scooter tour through the sprawling city and enjoy a cocktail at one of many rooftop bars.

  • Overnight hostel accommodation: £3.24
  • Transport: £1.43
  • Meals: £7.29
  • Drinks/Entertainment: £1.82
  • Attractions: £1.07

5. Goa, India

Goa may be known as a mecca for hippies and electronica, but it’s also a small slice of paradise, with gorgeous beaches and a lush interior. Baga and Calangute are prime spots for shopping, nightlife, resorts and restaurants right on the sand. Visit Old Goa to explore churches, museums and cathedrals and don’t miss Anjuna for hippy markets and beach shack bars, at these fantastic prices.

  • Overnight hostel accommodation: £2.51
  • Transport: 72p
  • Meals: £8.02
  • Drinks/Entertainment: £3.22
  • Attractions: £1.19

6. Vientiane, Laos

Vientiane’s villages, monuments, museums and temples sit peacefully along the Mekong River. This is the ultimate place to relax and recharge, with spas and an atmospheric café and shopping culture. The historic old quarter is the perfect place for an afternoon stroll, before heading to the river for a sunset beer.

  • Overnight hostel accommodation: £4.87
  • Transport: £1.99
  • Meals: £6.20
  • Drinks/Entertainment: £2.98
  • Attractions: 60p

7. Delhi (and New Delhi) India

Rich in history, chaotic, colourful and majestic, a trip to Delhi is one you’re never likely to forget. You can spend a month just exploring remains of the Mughal empire’s mosques, forts and monuments. The Red Fort is Delhi’s most famous, with walls stretching over two kilometres. Visit bazaars filled with sweet shops, spice stalls and exquisite fabrics and hit the clubs for a Bollywood night in New Delhi.

  • Overnight hostel accommodation: £4.54
  • Transport: 36p
  • Meals: £6.16
  • Drinks/Entertainment: £3.23
  • Attractions: £2.99

8. Manila, Philippines

If you want to shop till you drop, eat at all hours of the day and night and enjoy funky bars, Manila is a top pick. Explore the historic walled city of Intramuros, grab a bargain or dine in one of Asia’s oldest Chinatowns. Stroll the Baywalk at dusk, before hitting a popular karaoke bar.

  • Overnight hostel accommodation: £5.56
  • Transport: 59p
  • Meals: £6.09
  • Drinks/Entertainment: £2.94
  • Attractions: £2.45

9. Yangon, Burma (Myanmar)

Yangon is Burma’s cosmopolitan heart, with the golden Shwedagon Pagoda taking centre stage as a symbol of Buddhist spirituality. With colonial-era buildings, Hindu temples, bustling markets and an exploding restaurant scene, Yangon is on the up, as a cheap travel destination.

  • Overnight accommodation: £6.44
  • Transport: 60p
  • Meals: £5.38
  • Drinks/Entertainment: £1.43
  • Attractions: £3.88

10. Hoi An, Vietnam

From Chinese shop houses to elegant French colonial buildings, Hoi An is a fairy tale town in a riverside setting. It’s a walker’s paradise, with markets, restaurants and quaint alleys around every corner. This is one of the top places in Vietnam to have custom clothes made by a local tailor and, by night, lantern lit streets simply ooze romance.

  • Overnight accommodation: £5.06
  • Transport: £1.79
  • Meals: £6.65
  • Drinks/Entertainment: £1.72
  • Attractions: £2.86

Note: All local and USD currencies provided by priceoftravel.com were converted into GBP at or around the time this article was published and is subject to change based on currency conversion rates at any given time. 

Picture of John

Posted by John
on 12th January 2017 and
updated on 19th January 2021

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