Asia 3-Star Traveler Index for 2015: 31 cities from cheapest to most expensive

SingaporeCity1Asia is home to more than half of the world’s population, and it’s also home to most of the world’s great travel bargains. Even its big cities tend to cost half or less compared to those in the West for hotels, attractions, food, and drinks. Most of the popular cities are also in the Tropics, so they are ideal for sunshine holidays any time of the year.

Below you’ll find 31 of the most popular destinations in Asia ranked from cheapest to most expensive for 3-star travelers. They are ranked by a daily total that includes a well-rated and well-located 3-star hotel room (double occupancy) as well as an allowance for transportation, attractions, food, and drinks/entertainment. You’ll see below, that once you are on the ground, many things can be shockingly cheap, even in Asia’s most popular tourist cities.

There weren’t many major shifts from the 2014 list to this 2015 list, but that’s mostly good news because almost every city below would be considered quite cheap by international standards. Singapore keeps getting more expensive and is now more or less tied with Tokyo for the bottom spot for affordability.

Are you more of a backpacker than a 3-star traveler?

If you don’t mind staying in hostel dorms and eating alongside locals at roadside eateries, you’ll probably prefer our Backpacker Index for Asia. The rankings are a bit different, as are the recommendations.

How the 3-Star Traveler Index works

We take a fixed set of typical expenses that every traveler will encounter, and apply them to each of the 31 Asian tourist cities.

Note: The 3-star Traveler Index is based on two people sharing hotel rooms and taxis.

Costs for each city

  • One night in the cheapest 3-star hotel available with a desirable central location and mostly positive reviews. Hotel prices are per person based on double occupancy, so the full nightly rate is double what is listed for each city here.
  • Two 3-kilometer taxi rides per day (one ride paid per person)
  • One cultural attraction, such as a popular museum, per day
  • Three meals per day using the top end of the range of our “budget meals” for each city
  • Three beers (or wine) each day as an “entertainment fund.” Non-drinkers might have dessert and coffee or attend a local music performance instead, so this is a general benchmark that should be proportional for each city.

Cheapest Asia cities to fly into

>>>Cheapest Asian cities to fly into from the US and Canada
>>>Cheapest Asian cities to fly into from the UK and Europe

Price of Travel’s Asia Backpacker Index for 2015

Note: All prices converted to US dollars in February, 2015

1 – Hanoi, Vietnam (cheapest)

Hanoi has a charming, if at times chaotic, old town center, and there are great hotel deals to be had without much effort. Nearby Ha Long Bay is one of the big draws, but the city itself justifies a visit for anyone in the country. Eating at the ubiquitous sidewalk food stands with their tiny plastic chairs will keep costs down even further, though fortunately there are plenty of tourist-oriented restaurants with (extensive) English menus and very reasonable prices as well.

  • Currency: Vietnamese dong
  • Cheap/good 3-star hotel: Parkson Hotel – 202,180/night
  • Transportation: 70,000
  • Meals: 280,000
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 75,000
  • Attractions: 30,000
  • Daily 3-star Traveler Index: VND657,180 = US$30.80/day

>>>Hanoi prices and weather

2 – Pokhara, Nepal

Pokhara BoatsPokhara is Nepal’s trekking capital and the place most visitors go after arriving in Kathmandu. There are only four consistently good months of weather here per year, but even in those periods you can get surprisingly good hotels for very little. Food and drinks are quite cheap all over town as well, though the treks through the nearby Annapurnas can add a lot to your total if you go with some of the better outfitters.

  • Currency: Nepalese rupee
  • Cheap/good 3-star hotel: Pokhara Village Resort – 988/night
  • Transportation: 300
  • Meals: 900
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 750
  • Attractions: 100
  • Daily 3-star Traveler Index: NPR3,188 = US$32.09/day

>>>Pokhara prices and weather

3 – Hoi An, Vietnam

If you are like most visitors to Vietnam, you knew little or nothing about Hoi An until you arrived, and then it was your favorite stop in the whole country. This former Chinese fishing village midway along the coast is like one big postcard overflowing with tailor shops. The center is easily the most touristy part of Vietnam, but that also means that you have plentiful great hotel and restaurant choices at very reasonable prices. There’s a pleasant beach just a short bike ride away as well.

  • Currency: Vietnamese dong
  • Cheap/good 3-star hotel: Botanic Garden Homestay – 255,380/night
  • Transportation: 60,000
  • Meals: 260,000
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 90,000
  • Attractions: 80,000
  • Daily 3-star Traveler Index: VND745,380 = $34.94/day

>>>Hoi An prices and weather

4 – Chiang Mai, Thailand

If you come to Thailand to see something other than Bangkok or the beaches and islands to its south, you come to Chiang Mai up north. This is where you start trekking adventures or come to just enjoy the milder weather and fantastic hotel and restaurant bargains. Except for the many temples, Chiang Mai is actually a bit ugly, but it’s pleasant, welcoming, and far less frenetic than the capital.

  • Currency: Thai baht
  • Cheap/good 3-star hotel: Sunshine House – 360/night
  • Transportation: 100
  • Meals: 355
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 270
  • Attractions: 100
  • Daily 3-star Traveler Index: THB1,185 = US$36.29/day

>>>Chiang Mai prices and weather

5 – Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Saigon, as it’s still usually known, feels very different than Hanoi, which isn’t surprising when you consider their histories. Ho Chi Minh City is more sprawling and modern (in places), and hotels here cost more than anywhere else in the country. Still, by most standards things here are very affordable, and lovers of the Vietnamese cuisine trend will be in heaven.

  • Currency: Vietnamese dong
  • Cheap/good 3-star hotel: Duc Vuong Hotel – 340,500/night
  • Transportation: 70,000
  • Meals: 260,000
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 90,000
  • Attractions: 25,000
  • Daily 3-star Traveler Index: VND785,500 = US$36.82/day

>>>Ho Chi Minh City prices and weather

6 – Vientiane, Laos

As interesting as landlocked Laos is as an undertouristed country, perhaps the best thing you can say about its capital is that it’s extremely mellow compared to other capitals in the region. Hotels and restaurants in Vientiane are very good value though, and it’s worth a day or two here on your way to Luang Prabang or Vang Vieng.

  • Currency: Laos kip
  • Cheap/good 3-star hotel: Aroon Residence – Lalco AR Hotel – 126,000/night
  • Transportation: 30,000
  • Meals: 110,000
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 36,000
  • Attractions: 6,000
  • Daily 3-star Traveler Index: LAK308,000 = US$37.88/day

>>>Vientiane prices and weather

7 – Siem Reap, Cambodia

People come to Siem Reap, and you should too, to see the stunning Angkor Wat temple complex just north of town. The (justifiable) US$20 admission price to Angkor Wat is the only thing that isn’t cheap here, as good quality hotels and restaurants compete for business aggressively. You can see the temple complex in a day or two, but you might want to hang around longer to just chill out and relax on your trip through the region.

  • Currency: US dollar
  • Cheap/good 3-star hotel: Golden Butterfly Villa – 10.00/night
  • Transportation: 2.00
  • Meals: 13.00
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 3.00
  • Attractions: 12.00
  • Daily 3-star Traveler Index: US$40.00/day

>>>Siem Reap prices and weather

8 – Jakarta, Indonesia

JakartaJakarta is a lot like Manila (see below) in that it’s a somewhat generic huge city in an island country where all the best things are elsewhere. Jakarta is even larger and more modern in its center, so it’s probably only a worthwhile stop for shoppers and other fans of big Asian cities. Hotels and restaurants offer very good value, at least.

  • Currency: Indonesian rupiah
  • Cheap/good 3-star hotel: d’primahotel Mangga Dua – 218,500/night
  • Transportation: 18,000
  • Meals: 160,000
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 105,000
  • Attractions: 10,000
  • Daily 3-star Traveler Index: IDR511,500 = US$40.19/day

>>>Jakarta prices and weather

9 – Kathmandu, Nepal

The exotic-sounding name and some cleverly angled photos might draw you in, but Kathmandu is not where you want to spend the bulk of your visit to Nepal. There are impressive temples and a friendly tourist zone called Thamel with many good value hotels and restaurants. Otherwise the city is quite untidy and overcrowded, so most people don’t linger here for long.

  • Currency: Nepalese rupee
  • Cheap/good 3-star hotel: Hotel Happy Home – 1,469/night
  • Transportation: 350
  • Meals: 950
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 900
  • Attractions: 400
  • Daily 3-star Traveler Index: NPR4,069 = US$40.96/day

>>>Kathmandu prices and weather

10 – Manila, Philippines

The Philippines has limitless beach areas and some amazing Tropical scenery, and it also has Manila, which is where many tourists stop for a day or two on their way in or out of the country. You won’t find Manila on many “top destinations” lists, except perhaps those that focus on adult entertainment. Even so, it’s pretty affordable and it’s an interesting place for a short visit. The trendy and modern Makati district feels like a different place, and it’s probably the best choice for mid to high-end travelers.

  • Currency: Philippine peso
  • Cheap/good 3-star hotel: Tune Hotel – Ermita, Manila – 812/night
  • Transportation: 80
  • Meals: 680
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 240
  • Attractions: 150
  • Daily 3-star Traveler Index: PHP1,962 = US$44.20/day

>>>Manila prices and weather

11 – Kuta, Bali, Indonesia

Kuta is the popular budget traveler beach that has most of the island’s nightlife, and it’s used as a typical example of prices all over Bali. As long as you don’t need to be right on a beach, the 3-star hotels here continue to be fantastic bargains, even by Asia standards. The main knock these days is the terrible traffic that makes touring the island very challenging. Even so, Bali gets plenty of repeat visitors each year, and it offers very good value in all price ranges.

  • Currency: Indonesian rupiah
  • Cheap/good 3-star hotel: Quest Hotel Kuta – 204,400/night
  • Transportation: 30,000
  • Meals: 145,000
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 150,000
  • Attractions: 50,000
  • Daily 3-star Traveler Index: IDR579,400 = US$45.52/day

>>>Kuta, Bali prices and weather

12 – Phnom Penh, Cambodia

While Phnom Penh is tiny compared to Bangkok or Ho Chi Minh City, it’s still pretty big. Fortunately, the tourist zone along the river is somewhat compact and packed with hotels, restaurants, and bars in all price ranges. The main attractions don’t really justify a long stay, but it’s a decent place to stop for a day or two on your way to or from Siem Reap.

  • Currency: US dollar
  • Cheap/good 3-star hotel: Silver River Hotel – $19.16
  • Transportation: 3
  • Meals: 14.50
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 4.50
  • Attractions: 6.00
  • Daily 3-star Traveler Index: US$47.16/day

>>>Phnom Penh prices and weather

13 – Delhi (and New Delhi), India

Delhi (with New Delhi at its heart) can be a tricky place to visit for the first time. Not only is it insanely crowded like all big cities in India, but the cheaper hotel options are mostly a notch or two lower in quality than many visitors are prepared for. In other words, you can sleep and eat for very little in Delhi, but you might regret being so cheap. Still, the sights are very worthwhile at least once, and this is the best place to stay for a quick day-trip to Agra to see the Taj Mahal.

  • Currency: Indian rupee
  • Cheap/good 3-star hotel: Bloomrooms – New Delhi Railway Station – 1,390/night
  • Transportation: 80
  • Meals: 800
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 450
  • Attractions: 250
  • Daily 3-star Traveler Index: INR2,970 = US$47.66/day

>>>Delhi prices and weather

14 – Goa, India

Goa (which of course is a state in India consisting of a couple dozen touristy beach towns in many different styles) isn’t quite as cheap for 3-star travelers as it is for backpackers, but it’s still pretty cheap and much of it is gorgeous. Again, the trick in India is that the cheaper places are often disappointing, so spending more on a hotel with solid reviews is usually wise. It’s also a good idea to head for a town that will suit you because they range from package resorts to hippie enclaves to “lost in time” beach shacks with few amenities nearby.

  • Currency: Indian rupee
  • Cheap/good 3-star hotel: Cochichos Resort – 1,635/night
  • Transportation: 120
  • Meals: 830
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 450
  • Attractions: 100
  • Daily 3-star Traveler Index: INR3,135 = US$50.31/day

>>>Goa prices and weather

15 – Luang Prabang, Laos

Luang Prabang is by far the most tourist-friendly town in Laos, so pretty much everyone at least stops in for a couple days or more. Fortunately, it’s also pleasant and quite low key, and there is no shortage of boutique hotels that offer surprisingly good value for such a popular place. The night market is a good place for affordable clothes and souvenirs, so leave some room in your suitcase.

  • Currency: Laos kip
  • Cheap/good 3-star hotel: Villa Laodeum – 162,600/night
  • Transportation: 30,000
  • Meals: 145,000
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 60,000
  • Attractions: 25,000
  • Daily 3-star Traveler Index: LAK422,600 = US$51.98/day

>>>Luang Prabang prices and weather

16 – Xi’an, China

XianNearly any 3-city tour of China will include Xi’an along with Beijing and Shanghai, and fortunately this is the cheapest of the three for visitors. The main attraction is the nearby Terra Cotta Warriors, which is justifiably expensive. Otherwise, hotels and food and most other things are quite cheap in Xi’an.

  • Currency: Chinese yuan
  • Cheap/good 3-star hotel: Xian Ibis Hotel – 65.74/night
  • Transportation: 15.00
  • Meals: 114.00
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 60.00
  • Attractions: 75.00
  • Daily 3-star Traveler Index: CNY329.74 = US$52.84/day

>>>Xi’an prices and weather

17 – Colombo, Sri Lanka

ColomboSri Lanka is a gorgeous and interesting country, but unfortunately its capital is one of those overcrowded big Asian cities without much to offer the average tourist. If you skip it entirely you won’t miss much, so don’t plan to linger here unless you’ve got a good reason to do so. The prices here are similar all over the country, including the mountain and beach resort towns, so they are a good guideline for the whole country. The tourist infrastructure here is still in its infancy, so hiring a car and driver is the easiest way to get around, and even finding restaurants can be tricky for newcomers.

  • Currency: Sri Lankan rupee
  • Cheap/good 3-star hotel: CJ Villas – 3,656/night
  • Transportation: 200
  • Meals: 2,300
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 1,050
  • Attractions: 200
  • Daily 3-star Traveler Index: LKR7,406 = US$55.77/day

>>>Colombo prices and weather

18 – Bangkok, Thailand

The Thai capital is so popular with backpackers that it’s loaded with cheap hostels and it has great street food all over, but for the 3-star set it’s not quite the same bargain. Good quality hotels in convenient locations can be challenging to find at bargain prices, so paying a bit more for something with solid reviews is usually worthwhile. The tourist zones are also rather spread out, so just choosing the right neighborhood can be a bit tricky as well. Still, Bangkok is a great bargain by almost any standards, and the sights really stand out within Southeast Asia.

  • Currency: Thai baht
  • Cheap/good 3-star hotel: Korbua House – 608/night
  • Transportation: 100
  • Meals: 570
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 450
  • Attractions: 200
  • Daily 3-star Traveler Index: THB1,928 = US$59.05/day

>>>Bangkok prices and weather

19 – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, like most of Malaysia, is an interesting mix of Chinese, Indian, and indigenous influences. This is also a very modern and large city where English is spoken by most, so it’s easier on newcomers than many others on this list. There are many budget hotels spread all over town, and the value tends to be very good as long as you don’t accidentally book one of the many windowless rooms. Food is great value as well, especially the Chinese and Indian places.

  • Currency: Malaysian ringgit
  • Cheap/good 3-star hotel: Frenz Hotel Kuala Lumpur – 59.5/night
  • Transportation: 10.00
  • Meals: 60.00
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 45.00
  • Attractions: 40.00
  • Daily 3-star Traveler Index: MYR214.55 = US$59.63/day

>>>Kuala Lumpur prices and weather

20 – Phuket, Thailand

Asia’s most popular holiday island (at least for Westerners) is more upscale than most other sunshine destinations in Thailand. You can choose from about a dozen different beach towns here that range from frantic to serene, so location is everything. If you want to stay on or very near the beach, things here can be pretty expensive, but if you don’t mind walking a few blocks inland then Phuket is still very good value for anyone.

  • Currency: Thai baht
  • Cheap/good 3-star hotel: Bamboo House Phuket Hotel – 525/night
  • Transportation: 400
  • Meals: 650
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 300
  • Attractions: 100
  • Daily 3-star Traveler Index: THB1,975 = US$60.49/day

>>>Phuket prices and weather

21 – Yangon, Burma (Myanmar)

YangonIf you follow the news you probably know that Burma/Myanmar is a newcomer to anything approaching mass-market tourism, so hotel choices are limited and surprisingly expensive for an otherwise poor country. At least food and drinks are pretty cheap for tourists, especially at the roadside places. It seems likely that things will get easier and better every year, or we hope so at least.

  • Currency: Burmese Kyat
  • Cheap/good 3-star hotel: Hotel Grand United 21st Downtown – 39,000/night
  • Transportation: 3,000
  • Meals: 9,500
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 6,000
  • Attractions: 5,000
  • Daily 3-star Traveler Index: MMK62,500 = US$60.77/day

>>>Yangon prices and weather

22 – Beijing, China

Many Westerners visit Beijing (and Shanghai and Xi’An) on package tours that include airfare and almost everything else, so independent travel in this huge city can still be a bit tricky. Fortunately, the city has literally thousands of hotels, so rates are competitive and they are very good value in the 3-star range. Food and drinks can be quite cheap if you can get by without English-language menus.

  • Currency: Chinese yuan
  • Cheap/good 3-star hotel: 161 Hotel – 148.00/night
  • Transportation: 20.00
  • Meals: 115.00
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 75.00
  • Attractions: 45.00
  • Daily 3-star Traveler Index: CNY403.00 = US$64.58/day

>>>Beijing prices and weather

23 – Shanghai, China

Shanghai is far more famous for its skyscrapers and modern city center than any traditional tourist attractions. Partly for this reason, hotels in the tourist area are fewer in number and more expensive than in Beijing. By international standards this is still an affordable city, but for China it’s on the pricey side of things.

  • Currency: Chinese yuan
  • Cheap/good 3-star hotel: Jinjiang Inn Shanghai Huaihai Rd.(E) – 149.45/night
  • Transportation: 20
  • Meals: 135
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 90
  • Attractions: 54
  • Daily 3-star Traveler Index: CNY448.45 = US$71.87/day

>>>Shanghai prices and weather

24 – Boracay Island, Philippines

BoracayIslandBoracay Island is popular with Europeans as well as many Asians as a top beach destination that still feels a bit old school compared to Phuket and many others. While it’s near the bottom of this list of affordability, that’s a bit misleading because every hotel here is either on or very near the stunning beaches. So for a fairly modest price, you can spend the day barefoot, and there are scores of affordable restaurants and bars within a short walk up or down the sand.

  • Currency: Philippine peso
  • Cheap/good 3-star hotel: Surfside Boracay Resort & Spa – 1,643/night
  • Transportation: 150
  • Meals: 900
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 360
  • Attractions: 250
  • Daily 3-star Traveler Index: PHP3,303 = US$74.41/day

>>>Boracay Island prices and weather

25 – Mumbai, India

Mumbai is another enormous city that you’ve got to see to believe, but that doesn’t mean that you’ve got to spend more than a couple days here on your way to India’s cultural sights or beaches. Finding a good quality hotel at a reasonable price can be tough, partly because the tourist zone in the south of the city is quite small so well located hotels charge a lot. Food and drinks can also be pricey at the more modern places where tourists tend to go.

  • Currency: Indian rupee
  • Cheap/good 3-star hotel: Bawa Continental Hotel – 2,930/night
  • Transportation: 90
  • Meals: 800
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 660
  • Attractions: 250
  • Daily 3-star Traveler Index: INR4,730 = US$75.91/day

>>>Mumbai prices and weather

26 – Taipei, Taiwan

In many ways, Taiwan is more Chinese than China itself, but it still keeps a relatively low profile within the world tourism game. Taipei is yet another huge and fairly crowded city that visitors will want to spend a couple days in before seeing the rest of the country. Hotels can be a bit expensive for Asia, but food and drinks can be found at great prices if that’s a priority.

  • Currency: Taiwan dollar
  • Cheap/good 3-star hotel: Taipei Morning Hotel – 1,170/night
  • Transportation: 240
  • Meals: 550
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 450
  • Attractions: 200
  • Daily 3-star Traveler Index: TWD2,610 = US$82.65/day

>>>Taipei prices and weather

27 – Macau, China

Macau is certainly a tale of two cities. The old town area is quite affordable for backpackers and budget travelers, but those looking for a nicer 3-star hotel will pay much more due to the gambling boom that the island is so famous for. It takes extra effort to find food options that aren’t in the giant casinos as well.

  • Currency: Macau pataca
  • Cheap/good 3-star hotel: Ole Tai Sam Un Hotel – 349.00/night
  • Transportation: 40.00
  • Meals: 180.00
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 60.00
  • Attractions: 25.00
  • Daily 3-star Traveler Index: MOP654.00 = US$84.39/day

>>>Macau prices and weather

28 – Seoul, South Korea

Seoul is famously one of the more modern cities on the planet, so it should be no surprise that it’s among the pricier options in Asia. Hotels with good locations for tourists are fairly expensive by Asian standards. Its location so far north means that most tourists arrive in the warmer summer months, and the shorter travel season also keeps rates on the high side.

  • Currency: Korean won
  • Cheap/good 3-star hotel: D7 Suites Residence – 46,500/night
  • Transportation: 5,000
  • Meals: 29,000
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 12,000
  • Attractions: 10,000
  • Daily 3-star Traveler Index: KRW102,500 = US$93.18/day

>>>Seoul prices and weather

29 – Hong Kong, China

Hong Kong is another unusual city in that backpackers can keep expenses fairly low by staying in hostels and eating with local workers, but 3-star travelers have to pay quite a bit for good quality hotels and restaurant meals. Some neighborhoods, including most of Hong Kong Island itself, are geared toward wealthy expats and those on expense accounts, so in those places this city looks even more expensive.

  • Currency: Hong Kong dollar
  • Cheap/good 3-star hotel: Ibis Hong Kong Central & Sheung Wan Hotel – 440.00/night
  • Transportation: 40.00
  • Meals: 240.00
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 180.00
  • Attractions: 36
  • Daily 3-star Traveler Index: HKD936.00 = US$120.77/day

>>>Hong Kong prices and weather

30 – Singapore, Singapore

If you are looking for quality accommodation with convenient locations, hotels in Singapore are now quite a bit more expensive than those in Tokyo. If you don’t mind a tiny windowless room in a dodgy neighborhood, there are some cheaper hotel options. Food and transportation remain cheaper here than in Tokyo, and both are things this tiny country does really well. The airport is also a major highlight, especially with its cheap flights connecting most of Asia from here.

  • Currency: Singapore dollar
  • Cheap/good 3-star hotel: Ibis Singapore on Bencoolen Hotel – 110.68/night
  • Transportation: 7.00
  • Meals: 38.00
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 27.00
  • Attractions: 10.00
  • Daily 3-star Traveler Index: SGD192.68 = US$141.68/day

>>>Singapore prices and weather

31 – Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo long had a reputation as the most expensive city in the world, and it’s still in the top group, but prices haven’t budged on most things in 20+ years. Even its currency has come down to more traditional levels, so in some ways you can call this amazing city a bargain. Quality is high on almost everything, and the cuisine is more wide-ranging than your local sushi or tempura place might imply. If you’ve been putting off your first visit to Japan, stop dragging your feet and do it.

  • Currency: Japanese yen
  • Cheap/good 3-star hotel: Toshi Center Hotel – 8,436/night
  • Transportation: 1,200
  • Meals: 4,000
  • Drinks/Entertainment: 2,400
  • Attractions: 1,000
  • Daily 3-star Traveler Index: JPY17,036 = US$142.64/day

>>>Tokyo prices and weather

Also check out Backpacker Indexes from the rest of the world

3 Responses to “Asia 3-Star Traveler Index for 2015: 31 cities from cheapest to most expensive”

Maxine says:

Great article! I don’t think there’s enough space to list all the great (and cheap!) places in Asia but this certainly gives people excellent ideas. Just a point of clarification though, I think that some people might get confused with no. 10 – Manila, Philippines. There are two different meanings for Manila in the Philippines. One is Manila, the city while the other is Manila, the capital region which is also called Metro Manila. The hotel you mentioned is in Manila city while Makati (and the international airport in Pasay) is in the region of Metro Manila.

Joseph says:

This is very unrealistic. Many backpackers will not spend anymore than $30 dollars a night for a good hostel with bed and breakfast in Asia. I’ve never paid more than $30 a night for a room with a few people. I’ve stayed in Shanghai, Taipei, and Hong Kong too. This article is somewhat misleading.



    Thanks for taking the time to comment, but it appears that you’ve misunderstood what the Backpacker Index is made up of. The total you see is for a hostel bed, 3 budget meals, 3 beers, 2 public transportation rides, and one paid attraction per day. In other words, it’s meant to be a typical daily average budget for a backpacker, rather than a list of hostel prices. I hope this brings it closer into your range. -Roger


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