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13 Money-Saving Tips You Need If You Plan To Explore South-East Asia

Sure it's cheap, but you can still get even more bang for your buck.

1. Don't be afraid to eat street food.

@nat . asia / Via

Street food often goes for a couple of dollars and is some of the best local food you can find. Aim to find hawkers who cook your food in front of you so you know you're getting the good, fresh stuff.

2. And avoid eating the western foods you're used to.

@LesTurvey / Via Twitter: @LesTurvey

Sure you might be craving a steak, but don't bother buying one in South-East Asia. It probably won't be what you're used to, and it'll be much more expensive than everything else.

3. Try your hand at haggling when it comes to market stalls.

@mrloess / Via

Although it may seem a bit strange at first, haggling is the norm and is pretty much expected in South-East Asia.

4. Bring your own drinks when you go out to eat.

@ulia_acorn69 / Via

Bottles of water and cans of soft drink are really, really cheap at convenience stores. And while in other places it can be considered rude to bring your own drinks, in SEA it's much less frowned upon.

5. Try travelling on overnight buses and trains instead of flying.

@zibuteee / Via

Flights may be a quick option but they can often get pretty pricey. If you travel on sleeper trains and buses you don't really waste much time because you would've been sleeping for that time anyway. Plus you save on a day of accommodation by travelling overnight.

6. But try to book soft seats on overnight trains rather than sleeper seats.

@meehaa . jpg / Via

Sleeper seats, which are pretty much flat beds, can potentially be infested with bed bugs. Soft seats actually still recline out fully while being cheaper than the sleepers.

7. Stay in backpacker hostels instead of fancy hotel rooms.

@lorranneribeiro / Via

This one is pretty self-explanatory, but is also one of the biggest ways to save money when in SEA. If you do your research you can find some pretty cool places for cheap too.

8. Or if you prefer a hotel room, opt for one without a pool, especially if you're near the beach anyway.


Hotels with pools are almost always more expensive than those without. Plus, if you're already by the beach, the likelihood of you using the pool isn't all that high.

9. Avoid taxis and tuk-tuks, and try public transport instead.

@blithnoi / Via

If you can, steer clear of private transport like taxis. In South-East Asia a lot of the taxi drivers don't run by meter, and instead just tell you their fixed price for the destination.

10. But if you do hop in an unmetered taxi, set a price before you jet off.

@dheaagustin91 / Via

Depending on who you are, many taxi drivers will bump up the price for your destination. But don't be afraid to haggle it down, or to even try and hunt down a metered one.

11. Buy your skincare when you actually get to your destination.


You'll find that things like lotion and face wash tend to be cheaper in South-East Asia. Plus, it means there's less chance of things spilling in your bag on the way over.

12. Get a local sim instead of putting your mobile roaming on.

@waimun003 / Via Twitter: @waimun003

Having internet on your phone, especially when you're travelling on public transport and by foot, is a helpful thing to have. But roaming fees can be quite expensive, so it works out much cheaper to use a local provider.

13. And always bring tissues when you go to the bathroom.


While you don't always need them, some places not only charge to use the bathroom, but also for toilet paper.

Michelle Rennex travelled on Contiki’s Bangkok to Singapore trip. Contiki provided all hotel, airfare, and associated tour costs free of charge. BuzzFeed writers did not guarantee coverage.

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