Asia’s Best Budget Destinations of 2020

Asia’s Best Budget Destinations of 2020

Travel Goals for a New Decade

You’ve schmoozed your boss, scored some time off, and started packing. Before pre-trip excitement can really set in, however, you’ve got to choose where to go.

Where to Save Money in 2020?

We can’t all start the new decade flush with forget-you money. Some of us are consigned to budgets, and traveling is no exception. Thankfully, savvy travelers understand that budgets don’t have to be constraining if one chooses their destination wisely.

Just because the Maldives and Paris can’t be replicated doesn’t mean you can’t substitute them with unforgettable (and possibly more authentic) trips.

This guide will explore three destinations which take scope, accommodation, sightseeing, and general cost of living into account.

Without further ado, allow me to introduce 2020’s Top-3 destinations for budget-conscious travelers:

Vietnam, China, and Taiwan

This itinerary is well-suited for those who may want to hit two or even all three stops along the way – the region is compact enough to allow for inter-country travel on the cheap.

Vietnam: Natural Beauty and a Foodie’s Paradise

Vietnam, a country stretching 1650km North-South and a harrowing 50km at its narrowest, is well-known among traveler communities. It’s frantic streets and variegated countryside juxtapose marvelously and allow travelers a to choose from an endless series of itineraries.

One of the country’s principle draws is its price; being even cheaper than neighboring budget-friendly Thailand, Vietnam is well-suited to any pocketbook. To illustrate the point, take a look at these averages (all are in USD):

– Dormitory bed: 4 – 8$

– Private hotel Room: 10 – 30$

– Banh Mi sandwich: 1 – 2$

– Pho or fried noodles: 1.50 – 3$

Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City food

Transportation and attractions aren’t wont to make a dent in your bank account, either. What’s more, the farther North one travels from Saigon the cheaper it all gets.

Attractions: City Life, Rural Vacation

No Vietnam trip is complete without stopping in Hanoi or Saigon. Hold on to your luggage as your driver navigates the looniest traffic you’ve ever seen, and reward yourself with a delicious bowl of pho upon safe arrival at your hotel.

To escape the madness, head south to the Mekong Delta, or north to Danang to skirt the sweltering heat. Lazy, meandering rivers and emerald rice paddies serve as fixtures along the way to either – make sure to stop and get to know the locals. Even without a lick of English you’ll find they’re some of the nicest people anywhere.

China: A Universe of Sites and Culture

The ‘Middle Kingdom’ as it’s known in Chinese is East Asia’s cultural epicenter. Stretching from glitzy Shanghai on the River Pearl to the globe’s remotest corners in Tibet, China offers something for everyone. Thankfully for you, it manages to do that without breaking the bank.

City Touring

China’s cities are wholly unique. They’re impossibly massive, sprawling affairs that (with a little luck) are surprisingly navigable. Taxis and subways abound and are among the cheapest in the world.

China’s infrastructure makes traveling the giant country a breeze. The high-speed rail network is both affordable and extensive, and domestic flights are available for a pittance. With so many cities at your disposal, you’ll never run out of things to do.

The Forgotten Countryside

Just getting to rural China is an adventure in of itself. With thousands of cities off the million-strong population radar, it’s almost overwhelming to try and pick somewhere off the beaten path here; there are just too many beaten paths and trails away from them.

However, expect to get some serious bang for your buck anywhere that’s not a city. A bowl of noodles in the countryside is roughly USD 1.50, and public transport hardly more expensive.

Warning: As of this writing, on January 24th 2020, a new coronavirus is spreading throughout China. Please travel at your own risk and understand that a face mask should be worn at all times while outside should you decide to visit China. My advice? Plan a trip and put it on the radar for later in the year, or next year, once this thing fizzles out. For the totally intrepid, however, tickets to China are cheaper than dirt at the moment. Don’t travel into virus territory on my advice, but keep China in mind as a budget destination for this new decade regardless!

Taiwan: An Island Unlike any Other

Did you know that Taiwan is the most bike-friendly island on the planet? That’s right. One of Taiwan’s most interesting past-times bespeaks its compact size – one can cycle around the whole island in 10 days.

Though biking is one of the best ways to see the beautiful country, it’s by no means a budgetary necessity. Domestic train tickets are as cheap as the hotels you’ll stay in as you make the gorgeous traverse from Taipei to Tainan.

Dramatic Vistas to Island Culture

Taiwan’s mighty hillocks tumble abruptly into azure waters along its famed east coast. The landscape remains in beautiful contrast along the length of the country’s ‘route 1’, and the whole of it can be explored in just a few days via bicycle, motor scooter, or train.

Biking Taiwan: The beach

Taiwanese people embody both the relaxation borne of island life and the studious demeanor of the Chinese. They’re great hosts, and when you’ve replaced your drooping jaw its paramount to get to know a few of them.

The Beginning of a Decade’s Travel

It’ll be easy to start 2020 on the right foot (or plane) with a trip to any of these destinations. They’ve been chosen because none sacrifice experience for the sake of a budget.

Budget Destinations: More Pros than Cons

Traveling on a shoestring will force you out of your comfort zone and into a local culture. By leveraging public transportation, eating local foods, and forsaking isolationist resorts you’ll get to see a country on its own terms.

More often than not, those terms are likely to ring with the authenticity of a place – and that, dear budget traveler, is what lasting memories are made of.

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