We’re all dreaming about our next holiday. And while we wish that we could spare no expense in taking the trip of a lifetime, the reality is that Covid-19 has impacted many of us, our jobs and income. That’s not to say that we should abandon all hopes, because we can still plan for a vacation in one of these cheapest countries to visit! Some of these countries on this list may even surprise you!
1. Chengdu, China
While the days of China being a dirt-cheap destination have passed, the country still remains an affordable destination. Especially if you veer away from tour groups and the big cities! Chengdu has long been touted as the cheapest Chinese city to visit. You can find hotels for as cheap as 150 yuan a night (~S$30), and meals don’t have to cost more than 30 yuan (~S$6). There are also many great spots for cheap shopping, such as Chunxi Street, and free tourist attractions like Kuanzhai Alley!
2. Bali, Indonesia
The tropical paradise has been heavily hit by the pandemic, but with borders set to reopen in July, there’s a glimmer of hope that it will start to regain its former glory. While we expect flight prices to increase post-Covid, local businesses are desperate for customers. Many hotels are already pushing out promotions and big discounts in order to entice customers. You can get a meal in Bali for as low as 20,000 rupiah (~S$2) if you eat local! Even if you want to go cafe hopping, prices are at least half of Singapore’s cafes.
3. Siem Reap, Cambodia
Cambodia is not just one of the cheapest countries to visit, Siem Reap is also the backpacker’s world capital. You can stay at a great hostel for S$15 a night, or for more privacy, a four-star hotel at just S$35. If you don’t like street food, you can get a meal at a local restaurant for just S$5! The visit to the famous Angkor Wat will cost you more, but the area and ruins are breathtaking to see and well worth the money. You can get a ticket for one, three or seven days. We recommend the three-day ticket which will cost you $62 (~S$82), as it gives you time to fully explore.
4. Hanoi, Vietnam
As one of the cheapest countries to visit, Hanoi consistently gets high scores amongst visitors for its unique combination of French colonial and Asian post-communism. Hostel beds are cheap, but so are private rooms. The food is also great, especially if you’re sitting on one of those low plastic chairs surrounded by locals. Street food will cost you nothing more than S$2. Even if you eat at a tourist restaurant, you’re unlikely to pay more than S$5. Attractions are very cheap by Western standards, so a small sightseeing budget can go a long way. Just make sure to stay away from organized bus tours!
5. Vientiane, Laos
The landlocked land of Laos is often forgotten, but anyone who visits is often surprised by its fascinating culture and cheap prices. Most visitors to Laos would head to Luang Prabang, but if price is your concern, Vientiane is a bit cheaper. We love the low key vibes in Vientiane that makes it feel like a small-town river resort. Modern development is starting to creep in though, so we’ll expect prices to catch up in a few years. For now, you can stay at a hostel for less than S$20 a night, and a mid-range hotel for about S$30. Want to splurge? A five-star hotel costs less than S$100, which is a far cry from prices in Singapore.
6. Kathmandu, Nepal
Although sightseeing flights to Mount Everest and treks in the Himalayas will cost you more than just a bit, the basic costs in Nepal are actually very affordable. The backpacker zone of Thamel is brimming with cheap hotels, restaurants, and bars. As a benchmark, a meal in a budget restaurant will cost about 200Rs (~S$2.50) and rooms in a guesthouse go for as little as 650Rs (~S$8) per night. A trekking guide will cost about 3,300Rs (~S$38), but this is split within your group. So this is great if you’re travelling as a group of friends, otherwise, make new friends and travel together!
7. Taipei, Taiwan
Taipei may not be the cheapest city to visit. But it is affordable as long as you’re not eating at high-end restaurants or staying at five-star hotels! Accommodation cost a bit more than the other places on this list, averaging at S$25 a night for hostels and budget hotels. But Taipei is known for its foodie culture, and the night markets plus many local restaurants are as cheap as they are delicious. If you’re going sightseeing, taking the slower trains can also help save you some money. On average, you can get by in Taipei with about S$70 a day.