Half-year traveling in SE Asia for 4,500 USD? Is that realistic?
Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, India
In the article, travel around the world for $ 10 a day, I also mentioned our average daily costs in some of the Asian countries that we went through in 2015. In that year, in total, we traveled for 7 months around Asia. Now, I would like to use the recorded data and prove that it is entirely possible to travel in Asia for dirt cheap.
Is it possible to independently travel for half a year around 6 Asian countries with a total cost not exceeding 4,500 USD? Ready to go on an adventure?
All the estimates are based on my own experience and long-term follow-up. Now I will try to apply the acquired data of mine to a sample itinerary almost identical to ours and estimate the total costs of the whole trip.
Flight Prague - Bangkok, Thailand
Flight Bangkok - Denpasar, Indonesia, Bali
2 months in Indonesia (maximum length of stay with a tourist visa extension), our costs reflect the following destinations: Kuta, Denpasar, Medewi Beach, Lovina Beach, Padangbai, Gili Meno, Gili Air, Karangasem, Solo, Pacitan, Yogyakarta, Dieng, and Jakarta. Read more on how to get from Bali to Java via the local route.
Flight Jakarta - Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
1 month in Vietnam. During one month, we managed to see: Ho Chi Minh, Mui Ne, Hoi An, Hue, Hanoi, Ninh Binh. Read more on how to travel from Hanoi to Mung Khua in northern Laos.
In 2 weeks we went through Muang Khua, Nong Khiaw, Luang Prabang, Vientiane. Travel via the land route from Laotian Vientiane through Thai Bangkok to Cambodian Siem Reap.
5 days were more than enough to visit the mystical Angkor Wat near Siem Reap
2 weeks. We visited Nong Khai and Bangkok
Flight Bangkok - Goa, Dabolim Airport, India
In 2 months, you can see a huge chunk of India (it's up to your motivation and energy). In 2015, we visited the following: Arambol, Calangute, Benaulim, Colva, Panaji, Margao, Palolem, Old Goa, Hampi, New Delhi, Jaipur, and Ahmedabad. In any case, there is so much more to explore. Options are limitless. In 2013, we spent there half a year and traveled all around India, incl. the Andaman Islands. The whole trip didn't cost us more than 1,900 USD per person. AirAsia offers the cheapest flights from Bali or Thailand via Singapore or Kuala Lumpur to India.
Flight Ahmedabad - Vienna, Austria
In Ahmedabad located in northwest India, we took a very cheap and comfortable Etihad Airways flight via Abu Dhabi back to Europe. I definitely recommend Etihad Airlines. However, I can't say the same about staying in Ahmedabad. If you happen to end up in this city, try to limit your stay to the absolute minimum. This city is absolutely crazy!
When calculating the total average cost in each country, I used my average daily costs. These costs are inclusive of all expenses on accommodation, food, transportation within the country, other expenses, entertainment, and beer expenses, trips, visa fees (however, these vary up to the preferences of each individual). To these total average costs, I add other expenses on all flight tickets and travel insurance. Flight ticket costs are inclusive of all taxes&fees and 1 checked baggage (max. 15kg).
As you can see in the summary, the total cost of a half-year trip to Asia does not exceed 4,100 USD per person.
Thus, from my personal experience and values based on calculated estimates, as you can tell, it is indeed possible to experience a unique half-year adventure in Asia for less than 4,100 USD (per person, room occupancy 2). Now, nothing is stopping you from going on a long-term adventure packed with brand new experiences.
The number of itinerary options, of course, is infinite - depending on the requirements and desires of each traveler. Many people also include the Philippines, Singapore, and Malaysia. Indonesia offers many other attractive destinations as well (less known Gili islands near Lombok (e.g., Gili Gede), Flores, Komodo, Borneo, immense rainforests in Sumatra, etc.). The choice is up to you.
This article should rather serve as inspirational and as a certain overview of local prices in Asia.