15 Affordable Places in South East Asia to Visit in 2023
Arriving in Bangkok in January might make things a little more comfortable, but February is just as beautiful, right in the middle of one of the most beautiful times of the year. Bangkok is a great first stop for your Southeast Asian trip. Not only is it home to a major airport, offering cheap airfare from all over the world, but it is also easily connected to all other major cities in the islands and region.
Modern cities like Bangkok have their share of 4- and 5-star hotels that are more expensive than anywhere else, but they also always have huge clusters of bargain hostels and cheap hotels. If you are a backpacker, stay in the Kosan Road area, and if you want to enjoy shopping, stay in the Siam He Square area.
As mentioned above, the weather in Phuket in February is warm and almost completely dry, making it the perfect beach spot for those looking to escape the dark weather elsewhere. If you’ve never been to Phuket, you might be surprised at how big it is and how many different beach areas there are to choose from. Do some research and choose wisely.
There are wonderful luxury beachfront hotels and resorts perched on hills overlooking the beach, but there are also more modest hotels just a few blocks from the beach. This may seem like an expensive area at first, but it doesn’t have to be. Flights to Phuket are also usually cheaper. Hotels are starting at prices below, but if you’re looking for an international beachfront hotel, you’ll be spending $150 or more at this time of year.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
If you’re planning a trip to Southeast Asia for a week or more, be aware that temperatures are cold everywhere. While most cities are sizzling during the day and still very hot at night, Chiang Mai’s nights are comfortable and cool, making it the perfect escape from the heat.
Chiang Mai is also probably the cheapest tourist destination in the world. Hotels and hostels tend to be half the price of Bangkok, which is already quite cheap. The food here is different from the south, which is great, at least for those who like spicy and adventurous food. Chiang Mai is also a popular stopover for people who can work from anywhere, with very affordable housing and decent internet. If you’re considering this, you should look to the area northwest of the ramparts. This is where most of the ex-pat community is concentrated.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur is closer to the equator than Bangkok and has different weather conditions. This is an amazing city, in fact, the author’s favorite city in all of Asia, but it rains here at any time of the year. Hiding under a roof for 20 minutes is usually enough.
From March it rains more in a place called KL and February is one of the best months. Compared to Bangkok, this city is only a little more expensive but much cheaper than Singapore, which has a lot in common with it. Also, with a new and modern airport and cheap flights available from anywhere, this is a good hub or base.
February is the cooler month in most of Southeast Asia, but Singapore’s location near the equator means it’s hot every day of the year, so only the wettest months should be avoided. February is one of the dry months, so it’s an ideal time to visit.
Singapore is very popular these days, and its hotels are currently the most expensive in Asia, overtaking those in Tokyo. increase. Beware of many hotel rooms without windows. The food here is also excellent and very cheap if you eat one or two a day at one of the city’s famous stalls. The sit-down restaurants can be a bit pricey, and the alcohol in the bars is very expensive, so consider duty-free options along the way.
Siem Reap, Cambodia
The main purpose of any trip to Siem Reap is to visit the massive Angkor Wat temple complex in the north. However, once you arrive in Siem Reap, you’ll probably decide you really like the city itself and even extend your stay. Unlike many tourist cities in Asia, Siem Reap is mellow, manageable, and unusually cheap. is.
Plan at least one day for the temple, and your one-day ticket will also allow you to see the sunset the previous day. This is well worth it. There are plenty of other activities in and around the city and everything is refreshingly cheap except the temple entrance.
Luang Prabang, Laos
Most people visiting southeast Asia fly into Bangkok and then focus more on the islands, but those who go north to Chiang Mai (above) or Luang Prabang will see a whole other side of the region. Again, note that the evenings in February here are pleasantly cool, and that will be nicer than you imagine once you are in the heat for weeks on end.
Luang Prabang is Laos’s main tourist town and it’s far more interesting than the capital, Vientiane. Many people come or go on the famous slow boat cruise that goes between here and the Thai border. The 2-day version is pleasant while the 1-day version is expensive and sometimes dangerous.
As you can see from the temperatures above, Hanoi is far enough north to have mild winters, and you will feel very comfortable on longer tours of the region. You can also take the train and vice versa. Cities are very different, and so are the cuisines.
Another great thing about Hanoi is that it is one of the cheapest tourist cities in Asia. Rooms in nice, clean, family-run hotels start at about $10 a night, and for $20 or $30 a night, you get something surprisingly nice in a great location. The food here is great and incredibly cheap when you sit with the locals on the sidewalk in small plastic chairs and eat.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
February can be a little chilly in Hanoi (pictured above), but Ho Chi Minh City is getting pretty warm. It is best to visit both if possible and stop at least in Hoi An in between. Saigon, as it is known by locals, is much larger and spread out than Hanoi, making it a little more difficult to navigate. It is
Hotels here are a little more expensive than in Hanoi, but still a bargain by most standards. It’s worth paying a little more for a centrally located hotel to avoid having to deal with public transport and dodgy taxi drivers. The food here is also some of the best-known in all of Asia, so do some research and I’m sure you’ll love it too.
Hong Kong is one of the world’s premier cities with a fascinating history and culture, but it only has about four months of good weather each year. Luckily, February is one of the better months, although it is often a little chilly. It’s an indoor city with good public transport, so it’s always easy to get around.
Hotels in Hong Kong are very expensive, but unlike Singapore, there are some bargains. New hotels in Hong Kong Island’s best business districts and Kowloon are expensive. However, if you’re not on business, you can find very nice ones nearby for half that price. Eating out here is also cheap. Follow the locals to the corner noodle shop instead of foreign restaurants with English signs outside.
As 2023 approaches, it’s worth checking Hong Kong news to see if it’s worth a visit. Since 2019, the mainland Chinese government has cracked down on dissent and much more, and so far many have canceled the famous city for near-future tourism. In other words, the enforcement of some rules was arbitrary and sometimes brutal, so you should think of it like visiting China.
Boracay Island, Philippines
If you feel that Thailand has become too commercial or overcrowded, you will probably like Boracay. This small, unassuming island isn’t easy to get to, but it also helps keep the crowds away and maintains a low-key atmosphere with almost all hotels on the seafront and little car traffic.
Boracay isn’t the cheapest beach resort in Asia, but it still has great prices. As mentioned, each hotel is either on the beach or within walking distance and each has a great location. Drinks are famously cheap here, and you can get a surprisingly good buffet dinner on the beach for a reasonable price. Boracay was closed for half a year in 2018 for infrastructure development, so it’s more beautiful than it was a while ago.
We mention the capital, Male, because the Maldivian airport is there, but we want to spend as little time as possible in this crowded (and boring) city. The real reason to come to the Maldives is to sunbathe in one of his private island resorts. About two-thirds of the world’s overwater villas, here called overwater bungalows, are in the Maldives.
Water villas in the Maldives start at about $300 per night, but the cheapest are all-inclusive resorts, starting at about $500 per night. Meeru Island Resort is the largest of these and almost always offers the best deals. It’s not cheap by any means, but the reviews make it worth it.
Most people who come to Nepal come for the scenery and trekking, and Pokhara is the hub of it all. Kathmandu is likely where you land first and will be interesting for a few days, but If you want to spend time in the countryside and see the best views outside Everest, Pokhara is the best place to base yourself.
The weather in February is cool, but at least usually quite dry. The city only has 4-5 months of good weather each year, but February is one of them. Trekking with a professional guide isn’t cheap, but everything else feels very cheap. Based on the annual Global Backpacker Index, this is the cheapest tourist city in the world for most years.
India’s most famous beach region for non-Indians has great weather in February, usually with no rain at all. Goa has about 15 different beach towns, each with its vibe, so it’s important to choose carefully.
Many people fly direct to Goa’s main airport, but the more adventurous fly to Mumbai for a few days (see below) before taking the train to Goa. It’s also a good stopover for those making long journeys across India as it’s one of the few places where you don’t have to contend with overwhelming crowds every time.
Mumbai often has cheap long-haul flights to India, but it’s not a big tourist city. There are also some sights and experiences worth visiting.
Mumbai hotels tend to be the most expensive in the country. This is due to the lack of available real estate in tourist areas in the southern part of the peninsula. If it’s your first time traveling to India, he recommends staying no more than 3 days in Mumbai. Like all other major Indian cities, it can be overwhelming even for seasoned travelers.