The 10 Best Destinations for Backpackers in Asia
The whole of Asia is a backpacker’s dream. Not only does Asia encompass some of the most cultural and stunning countries in the world, but it’s also quite cheap to travel around, when compared to other parts of the world, such as Europe and the Americas. Of course, Thailand has always been at the top of the backpacking list, but there is far more to Asia than Bangkok alone!
Let’s check out 10 of the best backpacker destinations in Asia in terms of cost, to give you some inspiration for your next trip.
Vietnam - Hanoi
Over the last few years, Vietnam has become a traveller’s dream, and with so much culture and beauty to check out, it’s no wonder! Hanoi is one of the cheapest places in the world to visit and travel from, so it’s no wonder it’s at the top of our list! With a combined feel of Asia and French colonial history, Hanoi is fantastic for getting a feel of the country, whilst also being able to taste some delicious foods, for a fraction of the price you’ll find elsewhere. You’ll easily find a cheap hostel here, and with eating and drinking so low cost, this is the first place you should be looking at.
Thailand - Chiang Mai
Located in the north of Thailand, Chiang Mai is a favorite spot for backpackers and digital nomads alike, because of the low cost of living, and the natural beauty at every turn. You’ll find history and culture everywhere you look, wit huge temples and mountains to enjoy. Although Chiang Mai is a city, it doesn’t feel bustling and crowded, unlike some of the big cities Thailand lays claims to, such as Bangkok. As a result, you can stay for a low cost, and you can experience the real Thai way of life, away from mass tourism on the southern islands.
Laos - Vientiane
To the north of Thailand, you will find Laos, a country sometimes overlooked, but one which is packed with beauty and culture to explore. Vientiane is the capital of the country and it is a bustling, authentic experience for and eager backpacker to have. Costs are super-low, and there are plentiful quality hostels around. From Vientiane, you can also easily visit some other notable parts of Laos, such as Luang Prabang, or venture around the rest of SE Asia from there.
Nepal - Pokhara
With some of the most beautiful natural sights around, who wouldn’t want to enjoy Nepal in all its glory? To avoid the crowds, head to Kathmandu at a later date, and first make your stop at Pokhara, a charming waterside town which is packed with things to see and do. If you’re big on trekking you’ll love this area, as Pokhara is the set off point for many long and short treks into the natural habitat around it. Prices are cheap too, which is always a good thing for a backpacker!
Vietnam - Ho Chi Minh City
Another Vietnamese entry on our list, Ho Chi Minh City is also more famously known as Saigon. We mentioned Hanoi as our first choice, and whilst Hanoi is more authentic and lower in cost, Ho Chi Minh City is the modern vibe, and as a result, slightly more experience in comparison. That shouldn’t put you off however, as Ho Chi Minh City is packed with fellow backpackers, and there are countless hostels for you to lay your head. Street food is divine here, and culture is at every turn.
Indonesia - Jakarta
Busy, bustling, loud, Jakarta is everything you would expect an Asian city to be, and that makes it a top spot for backpackers! Jakarta is one of the most populated cities on the planet, so don’t expect to be able to walk very freely in the center of the city! Most people visit Jakarta for a day or two and then head off to explore the rest of Indonesia, and it’s certainly a credible stop off point, with some cheap hostels and some great food to be found.
Philippines - Manila
The Philippines are sometimes overlooked in favor of other Asian countries, such as Indonesia or Thailand, but you’re missing out big-style if you don’t visit this stunning part of the world. Manila is a very busy city, and one which will certainly show you the authentic way of life, with delicious food at every turn. This is also a beach city, so you can top up your tan, whilst staying at a cheap hostel!
India - Delhi
Dirty, busy, loud, Delhi has a bad rep, but it’s somewhere you simply have to visit if you want to know what authentic life in India’s metropolis is really like! Delhi might be very loud, and it might be very dusty in places, but it is a backpacker’s ideal destination, and on which is also very cheap. Pahar Ganj is where you will find the majority of the hostels in the city, and you can dine on street food quite easily, but do be careful it’s cooked first. Most people decide to spend a few days here, before venturing to Goa (more on that shortly).
Cambodia - Phnom Penh
Everyone knows Cambodia for Siem Reap, but Phnom Penh is a great spot to head to as an alternative, or an addition. You’ll find less crowds here, but you will find a more authentic way of life, away from the crazy party-mad scene on Siem Reap’s Pub Street. Phnom Penh is more traditional, but you’ll find great nightlife, cheap hostels, and a beautiful setting too.
India - Goa
If you want a beach break with a cultural difference it has to be Goa. India’s beaches are divine, and Goa is a backpacker’s ideal spot because it’s so much cheaper than the large cities, even Delhi. If you’ve considered visiting goa before you’ll know that it’s a state, and it’s quite hippy at heart. Ideal for chilling out and enjoying a little fun, Goa is cheap and cultural, with a little tourism thrown in for good measure.
All of that and we didn’t even mention Kuala Lumpur, Sri Lanka, or the Thai islands!