If you’re dying to reach Asia, that’s understandable, but your wallet might argue with you. Argue back with these picks for more budget-friendly options to see in Southeast Asia.
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur is an option for someone who wants Mother Nature in their backyard. Yes, you can enjoy the nightlife and the restaurants but you could also spend your days strolling past white-sand beaches or snorkel around the coral reef with its many creatures to admire.
You could explore the Batu Caves full of monkeys or the Gomatong Cave’s birds’ nests. A day out could start with a hike through the rainforest national park in Taman Negara and its beautiful fauna that makes it feel so wonderous or climbing to the top of Mount Kinabalu. All of these sights sitting right outside your window, along with the leafy trees, turquoise seas, and friendly creatures of the islands.
It would be hard to be bored in a place like this, but also hard to be overwhelmed. The nature-infused environment allows for a slower pace of life, with naturally occurring ways for stress to dissipate.
The average hotel price per night is $77 and flights from New York would average around $458.
- Singapura, Singapore
Like Malaysia, Singapore is just a quick hop away from a variety of countries. This has created a very diverse population, which means, a large variety of delicious food. The islands have three major types of local cuisine: Malay, Chinese, and Indian, with the cross variations that would naturally come with it.
The city looks like a cross between New York City and a town made up of small temples, with skyscrapers within eyesight of older buildings full of culture expressing Singapore’s dual identity. Beyond those buildings are the turquoise clear sea coast and the rolling hills to make every day an adventure.
And if you fall in love with the city, you can look into a HDB loan and see if you can stay. It will take some planning, so it is best to look for a long-term lease before you move. You will need a job before you get on a flight since strict employment laws regulate the ability of their workers. You will need to get your hands on an employment pass from the Ministry of Manpower. But there is a multitude of serviced apartments scattered all over the island which offer flexibility and convenience and come with features like pools, gyms, and barbeque areas to really get the most out of a tropical experience.
Flights to Singapore will cost on average $872 and hotel stays are an average of $90 a night.
- Bangkok, Thailand
The best-known country on this list, Thailand offers everything you could think of. Temples and elephants can be found in the north, beach-side living, and party lifestyles in the south, and in the middle of it all is the gem that is the city capital: Bangkok. The city offers the modern world city experience with a culture that is constantly evolving in every corner.
Bangkok attracts foreigners from all over, with its neon lights and infamous nightlife guaranteeing a visit that will never be forgotten. It is also the most adaptable city on this list, with English as a common language and a focus on tourism meaning that there is no shortage of things to do or places to stay.
Visit the Wat Phra Chetuphon, which was once Thailand’s first university. Impressive? No? Well, did your school have a corridor-wide gold statue of Buddha? Maybe the Charuchak weekend market will be more your style, with color and taste at every stall.
A round-trip flight from JFK will cost an average of $688 and a hotel stay will cost an average of $35 a night.
- Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Vietnam revels in its variety. You have mountains of rice terraces in the north and tropical mangroves in the south, creating something for everyone.
Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, is the more lively and digitally advanced of your Vietnam city options, with history seeping from every element. It’s home to the War Remnants Museum, the Independence Palace, and the intricate system of Cu Chi Tunnels, as well as a beautiful skyscraper skyline and natural beauties like the Can Gio Mangrove Biosphere Reserve.
It also allows for a healthy dose of culture, with buzzing street life, delicious street food, and entertaining street acts. Its chaotic nature is aided by its energetic nightlife, with rooftop bars on the city’s most famous hotels: the Rex, Caravelle, Majestic, and Renaissance. The impressive views and eclectic drinks will have you out enjoying yourself all night.
A hotel stay will average at $62 per night and flights will average around $783 for a round trip.