If you’re planning to travel abroad, budgeting is one of the most important tasks you should maintain. Even if your travel budget in Southeast Asia is significantly lower than in the Western world. Anyway, it doesn’t necessarily have to be six months journey like we recently completed in Southeast Asia. A few week trip might be enough for messing up the finances if not paying a proper attention to the spending habits. Anyway, keeping a budget should be an exciting part of the trip since it quickly determines it you’ll make it or break it.

In this article, we’re going to share our travel expenses from our half year traveling in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Laos. At this point, it’s good to mention that we’ve become a relatively frugal couple during our journeys. Having said that, our style is to live as local life as possible. It’s usually more rewarding and more cost-effective. Even though it isn’t always possible to do that when switching places rapidly, we’ll try to get back to frugality as soon as possible. Of course, there are its own time and place for indulgence and luxury such as two-hour massages in Thailand.

Since Southeast Asia is generally speaking one of the most affordable places in the world, it’s easier for us Westerners to keep our finances in order. If you’re earning a Western type of wage online like location independent entrepreneurs do, it’s even easier.

Without further ado, let’s dig into this article of Our Six Month’s Travel Budget in Southeast Asia.

Review of Our Travel Budget in Southeast Asia

First, we use a free budgeting app called Trabee Pocket on my iPhone for keeping track of all our travel expenses on the road. Moreover, there is a really popular Android version available as well as paid pro version, too.

Travel Budget in Southeast Asia

CountryThailand 1VietnamMalaysiaThailand 2LaosThailand 3Flights & VisasAll
Time frame9.11. - 8.12.168.12.16 - 5.1.175.1. - 23.1.1723.1. - 19.3.1719.3. - 15.4.1715.4. - 10.5.179.11.16 - 10.5.179.11.16 - 10.5.17
Money spent$1550$955$650$2275$800$1130$2075$9435

Furthermore, there are every single thing included in the Travel Budget – table above where we spent money during our trip. Unfortunately, I couldn’t export the budget straight from the free version of the app so the sheet isn’t more comprehensive. But there are a couple of expensive matters which increase the amount quite a lot such as long haul flights from Finland to Thailand and vice versa. The flights cost a bit over $1500 for two people and were booked separately.

Still, we saved plenty of money from accommodation in Chiang Mai, Thailand and Vientiane, Laos. Instead of staying in hotels or guest houses in Chiang Mai, we rented an affordable flat for a month. In addition, we stayed three weeks in our friend’s apartment in Vientiane paying only for the utilities.

All in all, we spent almost ten thousand dollars during our six months traveling in Southeast Asia.

That totals:

  • $1572,50 per month
  • $51,50 per day
  • $25,75 per person a day

The amount doesn’t look that high anymore when you cut it in smaller pieces, does it?

More details about our travel budget in Southeast Asia

In Thailand, I opened a local bank account and transferred money via TransferWise. In that way, we saved plenty of dollars from ATM and bank fees as well as currency conversions during our stays in Thailand. Before opening a local bank account and using TransferWise, we normally visited Bangkok Bank branches and withdrew money straight from a desk.

You’ll get better conversion rate, save ATM fees, and it takes only five minutes (depending on the queue). Be noticed though that we only succeeded doing this in Chiang Mai, not in Bangkok. Clerks wanted to see a work permit and/or proof of permanent residence in Bangkok which we obviously didn’t have.

We got help from our friend staying permanently in Vientiane while being in Laos. He withdrew money for us from his local bank account. That allowed us to skip the 2 million kip ATM limit ($245) as well as fees and lousy exchange rate.

In Vietnam and Malaysia, we had to use ATM with our Finnish credit cards and tried to locate the most cost-effective machines for withdrawing. The costs can rise surprisingly high especially in countries such as Vietnam. A withdrawal limit can be as low as 2 million dongs ($90) while an ATM fee might be even 140 000 dongs ($6)!

That will add up the expenses ridiculously fast since cash is the name of the game when traveling in Vietnam.

In conclusion of our travel budget in Southeast Asia – article

We shared with you in this article our six month’s travel budget in Southeast Asia. We hope you’ll get some kind of idea out of this posting about the amount of money you can travel there. Now, the next task for you is to begin preparing your own travel budget in Southeast Asia.

Remember this: How would you know where you are going without a proper plan? The exact same principle applies to money and budgeting.

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