$20 a day for thailand/laos/cambodia/vietnam stupid?
Replies: 71 - Last Post: Feb 22, 2013 5:04 AM Last Post By: tree_green
Feb 7, 2013 5:53 PM
$20 a day for thailand/laos/cambodia/vietnam stupid?Is it?
Im not including visas or gear in the price. But is backpacking through these 4 countries on $20 USD a day doable? I previously planned for $30 USD a day but now Im realizing that this may not be doable for me. Yes I know..,.But keep in mind, I dont drink, I dont party and i dont shop. Im just a college kid seeking culture in the beautiful SE asia, I dont need much. A bed, some street food, third class transport, and museums
Feb 7, 2013 6:32 PM
1Sure it's doable. You can get a dorm room from $3. Food for about the same. If you join couchsurfing, you can sleep for free (although don't bother using that site if all you want is a free bed -- that's not the point). For how long are you traveling though? If you want to hit a lot of sites in a short amount of time, transport and entrance fees will make your plans difficult... Entrance fee to Angkor Wat for example I think is $20 alone. Riding elephants, zip lining, etc, it costs. So it might be that you feel like you're losing out... but if you're fine with that, I don't think it's stupid!
Feb 7, 2013 6:39 PM
Feb 8, 2013 12:53 AM
Feb 9, 2013 7:10 AM
4Your budget means eating out at local restaurants, not over priced tourist joints . Don't drink soda...drink water. the occasional coke isn't so bad, but the budget skyrockets when you start having 2-3 shakes every day. Don't think in $$, think in the local currency. Saying wow, that's only 10 dollars a night is silly if you're overpaying and everybody else is only paying 6.50!. (300 or 200 baht!) IT ALL ADDS UP.
When checking in to a place, ask if they have a room without toilet, or share toilet. There is often 1 or two and this will save you huge money. It's not a public bathroom per se, just one that 2-3 guests will use. In some ways, its kind of private , just not attached to your room. Prices of rooms are some times based on when they are built, even though exactly the same. A year 2000 bungalow might be 200 baht, a 2006, 300 baht, and a 2011, 500 baht. Same size room but little more used bed and a little older. Asking for a squat toilet instead of a western toilet is also usually cheaper......... It's booze that kills your budget.
Using Thai baht, 20$ is 600 a day. If two meals is 100 baht each, you're going to be cutting it really close!!!
Given it might be the only time you ever get to these places, you might want to try to find those extra bucks if possible . Going to Cambodia and not seeing Ankor would be a bit silly. Bamboo rafts in chang mai are an experience with friends, if not overdone. Halong Bay is beautiful for sure and would be a shame to miss...There are always ways to save, just use your noggin!
Feb 9, 2013 9:51 AM
5The question I have is do you want to enjoy your time or simply survive your time?
You can survive on that budget as noted above but what you may have to pass on doing is another matter. I would rather enjoy a month than survive for 3 months.
When you write, " I previously planned for $30 USD a day but now Im realizing that this may not be doable for me.", it sounds like you are viewing time as fixed.
People often look at time available and money available and divide the money by the time to come up with a daily budget. However, time available is a MAXIMUM, not a minimum. It is not fixed.
Here is how I suggest you travel. Go to A and spend as much as you need to spend without throwing money away, to enjoy each day. When you are ready to leave A and not before, go to B. Repeat this process until either the maximum time available or the funds available run out. Go home.
Feb 11, 2013 12:30 AM
6Each to his (or here) own, TiS. And 'time available' may well be fixed if the OP has already bought plane tickets.
In any case, buying tickets in advance is cheaper and allows more money for day-to-day spending.
But I see the OP hasn't said when s/he'll be travelling - so maybe this is a question in advance of booking?
If so - bear in mind that Thailand is the most expensive of these countries.
Then there are unavoidable expenses - like the Angkor Watt and taxis to get there and back (which can be shared to keep prices lower) but which you mustn't miss. Finding out the free sites, the paid ones, and the missable vs. unmissable is imperative. You should budget separately for these.
Also, if you haven't travelled before, you should know that the first day's spending in any country is likely to be double what you'll spend subsequently. (e.g. border taxis are often the only way to go and, even if not, that's what they'll tell you. You have to be very determined and pretty thick-skinned to avoid them.)
So $20 a day for some days, £30 a day for others - and maybe some days at $10 to balance out.
Look after your health, don't think insurance or vaccinations are optional extras, take Sat Isabgol as protection against digestion problems (since you'll be eating cheaply) and have a great time.
Feb 11, 2013 5:15 AM
Feb 11, 2013 9:25 AM
8I never buy the 'to each his own' excuse. It is just that, an excuse. It excuses the writer from having to state an opinion one way or another. The individual is free to choose what they do but that doesn't mean the writer should sit on the fence and be afraid to venture an opinion for fear of being called un-pc or fear of someone disagreeing with them. That's what I call a milksop.
The OP is basically asking, 'what do you think?' A response that says, 'to each his own' is not answering that question, it is avoiding answering it.
As for time being fixed, no it is NOT. If someone buys a return ticket that is the point at which THEY apparently fix it. Even then it is not fixed as you can throw away a return ticket. All that is ever fixed is the MAXIMUM time available for some practical reason. ie. not willing to not return and thereby lose your job or have your wife file for divorce.
It is about a way of thinking. Most people think conventionally. To a large degree, that means not actually thinking about it at all but simply acting as we are conditioned by society to act. ie. the same as everyone else does. All I am suggesting to the OP is that there is a CHOICE to be made and that thought be given to the choice. What the OP then decides to do is entirely up to the OP.
Feb 11, 2013 12:06 PM
9thanks guys all this advice is awesome. My choice? My choice is to go across the friken world to these impoverished countries , impoverished and beautiful countries on a whim decision I made four years ago that I will be doing this one day, Why thailand? well, I watched the beach. I knew I had to go one day so I bought the tickets in november, it left me with -300 in my bank account and now I barely have enough money saved for one month there.
But thats OK. and it shouldnt be okay, and I should be freaking out, and I should be normal and worrying about jobs and school and yadda yadda but Im not, Right now, Im trying to finish this semester and get to thailand. Thats my choice. and as far as returning Im going to return when my return date is 2 1/2 months later. Ill figure it out, FAMILIES there live on less that $4 a day$, Im sure I could make it on $10 all by my western selfish little self for a few weeks on an island in paradise.
So thanks all for reaffirming that its POSSIBLE.
Feb 11, 2013 12:26 PM
10I was introduced to Sat Isabgol in Pakistan when, after a very small bout of digestive trouble, entirely due to drinking the water in a coffee without boiling it first, I couldn't seem to get back my energy. Within two days of taking a spoonful in water I was up and active again. And it's served me in good stead ever since, even enabling me to drink water from roadside amphoras in Sudan without incident.
It's the milled husk of a grain grown in India and Pakistan - and not alcoholic (sorry about that!) I was told the middle classes in Pakistan take it twice a week "and then they can safely eat street food". This seems to be true.
They call it the 'magic grain' because it is good for preventing and/or curing both constipation and diarrhea. It works by putting a lining on the digestive system, all the way down. It also seems to be good at restoring energy which is lacking due to diet (at least it did that for me in China when, after several weeks of unusual food, I recognised that familiar lack of energy.) These days I wouldn't travel without it - even if only to dispense it to others. :>))
You can usually buy it from Pakistani supermarkets and it's pretty cheap. Also available from health food shops, but they cut it with other things and charge the earth for it. (They also describe it as a laxative - which is less than half the story.
One word of warning: never take it without mixing it with milk, water or yoghurt, othrwise it will swell up in your throat and choke you . And once mixed, take it straight away; it's a little like wallpaper paste and gets thicker the longer you leave it. It has absolutely no taste, but a very strange texture. :>))
Feb 11, 2013 1:08 PM
Feb 11, 2013 9:24 PM
Obtuse line of reasoning. If the minimum time available is not fixed, then obviously the maximum is not either. First time I traveled by myself abroad, I went for two weeks to Hawaii. I liked it so much I ended up tossing my return ticket and stayed for three months. I contacted my boss back home and told him I'm not coming back.
Feb 12, 2013 4:49 AM
Feb 12, 2013 10:00 AM
14Hardly impressive max. I went as you know to a Greek island for a week and stayed for 7 years. Three months is just a hiccup in time from my perspective.
I'm sure you understand the point of minimum/maximum not being fixed. People THINK it is fixed and do not consider that they are the one fixing it. It is a self-imposed limitation. All I'm saying is think about it instead.
But more importantly, think about what you want to get out of however much time you spend. I have met many backpckers who spent so much time trying to find the cheapest everything, every day, that they had no time to enjoy where they were. They survived, they did not get the most out of each day however.
Or in mathematical terms. A week (7 days) at 100 points (in terms of quality of time) per day is better than 4 weeks (28 days) at 20 points per day. That's 700 vs. 560 of enjoyment, fulfillment, experiences, or whatever.
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