Backpacking Asia on a budget
How backpacking Asia for 6 months cost me $6000 for everything!
Sure it may not seem possible, but that’s just the thing. Who ever said travelling was expensive? And especially in Asia where you can find meals for $2, free places to crash and super cheap deals on flights.
Seriously Asia and even South East Asia in particular have some of the cheapest places to live in the world, so why would it not be cheap to travel too . . .
Guess what, it is!
So listen up, here is the deal. I want to show you where I went, what I did, for how long and break it down into how much backpacking Asia on a budget really cost me.
So I started my trip in Borneo, where I had an amazing Christmas with my family in a tropical paradise, check video here. Soon after Christmas I caught a flight over to the Philippines for New Years with the siblings, which turned out to be fun despite the city of Manila being a total dive.
After that, I had my sights set on the world’s best powder and jumped on a flight over to Niseko, Japan to snowboard my brains out for a solid 2.5 months. This was by far such an incredible experience to be able snowboard every day, fresh lines through the backcountry of Japan. If you are a snow bum like me, get your but over there and started shredding lines already.
Anyhow, since being in Japan I could not let the culture get away from me and went on to experience more of it by spending my last 2 weeks in Tokyo, then Kyoto and finishing off in Osaka. Which helped me to max my 90-day Japan visa out before I jumped on my next flight to go and solo hike the Great Wall of China in Beijing.
This was all good and dandy as I allowed myself 10 days in Beijing to solo hike the wall for about 5 days or so. However that turned out quite badly when the authorities tried to throw me in prison for sleeping on the Great Wall of China. This was by far one of the scariest moments of my life and a crazy story in itself. Click here for the full story on how I escaped a Chinese prison sentence.
So thankfully I got out of that one and flew on down to Hong Kong for some brief sightseeing before I strapped myself to the Macau tower and jumped 233m from the world’s highest bungee jump. This had been on my bucket list for far too long and I knew I had to tie it into my trip (full video here).
So afterwards I darted to the airport for my next flight back to the Philippines. This of course was to keep up with the trip theme of ticking swimming with the whale sharks off my bucket list. I finally I got to swim with the beasts (see the video here) and spent my last 3 weeks cruising the islands of the Philippines, scuba diving, free diving, swimming with turtles, whale sharks, hiking, caving and island hopping to name just a few of the adventures I was able to partake in.
So with that brief description and condensing it down into a time frame I spent 2 weeks in Borneo, 3 months in Japan, 2.5 weeks in China and 1.5 months in the Philippines. The total cost of which was $6,360 for absolutely everything. That’s flights, food, accommodation, all transports and all activities!
How did I even do this you may ask? Well as my Dad might suggest, I have been doing this for ‘100 years’, but that’s not the case. Yes I have been travelling for well over 5 years now, but this is stuff I have learnt along the way from how to find cheap deals, restaurants that don’t overcharge and accommodation that is either next to nothing or free!
However, this doesn’t mean you can’t do the same too, because you can. You don’t need to be bright as its all common sense really. A lot of the places I tried to Couch Surf where possible, which meant free accommodation. I would always choose the cheapest possible transport and eat at restaurants that would play nice with my bank account, or I would cook for myself where I could.
A lot of the time I would walk everywhere, in and around towns or cities to see as much as possible. Not only do I cover a lot of ground whilst seeing so many cool things, it keeps me quite fit and always allows for some unique photographic shots.
So backpacking Asia on a budget is very do able. Stick to the cheap transport (usually ground transport, like busses and etc.). Stay in hostels which can range from $8-$25 per night depending on the country you are in and cook when you can or find cheap enough places to eat out. Most of my meals would cost me no more than $2-$10, with obviously the more expensive meals being in and the cheaper ones from South East Asia. What you need to remember is it is very basic and achievable.
And once you have got your budget sorted and are comfortable sleeping, eating and going anywhere and everywhere. You will appreciate that extra cash, allowing you to keep backpacking Asia more, do more adventures and keep fueling those travel dreams of yours with your back up cash.