Indonesia, depending on where you go, can be a fantastic budget destination.
Korea is packed with sights and can be a fun budget holiday destination.
Thailand is a budget travellers’ paradise – wherever you go, you’ll find affordable accommodation that’s great value. The Khao San Road is a great place to start off in Bangkok, as it has numerous hostels and budget hotels. Northern Thailand is less busy than the coast – visit here to see wildlife reserves, temples and mountains, and a more laid-back way of life than you’ll find in the resorts. If you’d rather go to the beaches, then Ko Pha Ngan is the home of the Full Moon parties. Ko Samui isn’t the backpacker destination it used to be, but there are still many affordable places to sleep, particularly in the north of the island. Keep costs down by eating in places frequented by locals and avoiding overtly touristy pubs. You’ll have a great time even on a shoestring budget.
India is a great place to go for a budget holiday. Most tourist destinations have a wide variety of guesthouses, and cities will generally have a range of budget hotels. Dak bungalows are used by travelling officials, but they will also rent out rooms to tourists at a reasonable cost. The predominance of vegetarian food in many parts of the subcontinent mean that you’ll always find reasonable dishes when you’re eating out – even meat-based meals aren’t particularly expensive here. Try eating in dhabbas, or roadside diners. Top Indian destinations are Mumbai, Delhi, Goa, Kerala and Rajasthan.
Pakistan has some brilliant cities – Lahore has the best range of budget accommodation, including budget hotels and guesthouses. However, you may have to try a spot of negotiating to get the best possible price. Go to Gowal Mandi, the Street of Food, to find a wide variety of excellent local food. Wander the city walls to see the numerous gates to the inner city, and see the impressive fort. Pakistan is also a great destination for hill walking and trekking, although ask for local advice before you head into some of the more remote regions.
Sri Lanka’s tourist industry is currently recovering from the long years of civil war. While it’s not quite as developed as comparable destinations, this makes it great for budget travellers. The area around Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital, is the most developed – although you should definitely take a trip into town to see the temples, fountains, museums and galleries. Kandy, in the centre of Sri Lanka, has numerous guesthouses you can base yourself in while seeing the sights of this amazing city.
Asia is a great place to find budget accommodation. In most tourist areas, you’ll find a range of guesthouses and budget hotels.
Some countries have their own particular or unusual takes on budget accommodation – don’t discount the unusual. In Korea, you can sleep in jjimjilbangs, which are Korean spas. Love hotels in Korea and Japan are suitable for overnight stays, and can be something of an offbeat cultural experience too – in some, payment is taken via a tube and there’s little or no interaction with staff. Japan has a range of other budget accommodation.
The hostel and backpacking scene across Asia is extremely well-developed. If you don’t fancy sleeping in a dorm, then many places offer private rooms. Exceptions are in Thailand and Indonesia, where renting your own room is just as affordable as sleeping in a dorm – although you can always find a dormitory if you really want one!