Every year, cities around the world are ranked by Price of Travel according to how affordable they are for budget travelers. This raking is done by comparing the amount you have to pay in each of these cities for a dorm bed in a hostel, two rides on public transportation, one paid visit to a cultural attraction, three budget meals, and three cheap local beers for a day. In this year’s top ten cheapest city to travel, interestingly, five are in the Southeast Asia area. Looking for a wonderful trip without spending a fortune? Perhaps Southeast Asia is your destination.
The five Southeast Asian cites on the list are Luang Prabang and Vientiane (Laos), Chiang Mai (Thailand), Ho Chi Minh city and Ha Noi (Viet Nam). These are all fast growing cities and are among the best tourist cities in the area (and even around the world). Let’s take a look at them!
Luang Prabang – Laos
Luang Prabang has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995. Famous for its vintage and ancient feel, Luang Prabang is filled with traditional wooden houses, historic and cultural museums, French colonial villas and Buddhist temples. Located in the North-Central area of Laos, Luang Prabang offers some great natural looks. You may really enjoy seeing the beautiful Pak Ou caves, the Kuangsi waterfalls or other wildlife sanctuaries. Meeting the ethnic minorities is also very much enjoyed by many tourists. People from the 68 tribes of Laos, dressed in colorful costumes, come to Luang Prabang to sell their wares and goods at the Phosy market. Let Luang Prabang fascinate you only for $22.73/day.
Vientiane – Laos
Modernity has yet to significantly impact the sleepy capital of Laos. Vientiane is a great place for you to kick back, relax and enjoy the religious and cultural experience. Escape from your busy schedule to this ‘off the beaten track’ land to find the beautiful looks of the Pha That Luang temple, the Patuxai monument, the Xieng Khuan Buddha park or go shopping at the Night market and have a little chat with locals over some cold beer. You can also get a bit adventurous and go outside of the city center, rent a bike and ride by the Mekong to enjoy some great views of temples, natural life and the feeling of Thailand on the other side. Vientiane is waiting for you with the daily cost of only $19.94.
Chiang Mai – Thailand
Thailand's tourism is growing rapidly with the active Bangkok and the energetic touristy beach destinations. However, if you wish to see the peaceful and gentle side of Thailand, Chiang Mai can definitely satisfy you. Chiang Mai is famous for its cool mountain setting, the abundance green spaces and the many museums and temples. But there are much more to it besides those. You would very much enjoy the cultural diversity of the many tribes here, the elephant camps, or the handicrafts workshops. Chiang Mai also offers some great food such as ‘sai ua’ (spiced lemongrass sausages) and ‘mu ping’ (pork skewers). Enjoy yourself at this beautiful Northern Thai city for only $18.84/day.
Ho Chi Minh city (Sai Gon) – Viet Nam
Once the capital of South Viet Nam, Sai Gon is now a fast growing and modernized city. If you are looking for some fun and energetic time, Sai Gon is definitely your choice. In the city, you would find the streets full of traffics in between the sky-high buildings. People are busy and moving fast with their tasks but are always friendly. Night time in Sai Gon is fun and active with many bars, clubs around. However, when you just want to take it easy and visit some cultural and historical attractions, Sai Gon also has it planned out for you. Visit the Independence Palace, Ben Thanh market, the War Remnants Museum or the Sai Gon Notre Dame to understand more about Sai Gon. You can also find the best ‘banh my’ – Viet Nam’s famous sandwich in Sai Gon. Sai Gon always welcomes you for just $18.25 per day.
Ha Noi – Viet Nam
The Vietnamese capital Ha Noi, having its rich history that traces back more than a thousand year and the fascinating heritage that is displayed in the well-preserved centuries-old architecture, is always named as one of the most attractive city in the world. Many tourists love Ha Noi for the unique experience it provides – the city is like a book, telling its long and historical story to all of us. Go visit the Old Quarter and you will understand more about the everyday life of Hanoian people before. Go visit the museums and monuments to learn about the impact the war has on the city. Go visit the temples to know about the city’s religious and cultural life. Ha Noi always has many stories to tell you. The many lakes of Ha Noi are too lovely to miss as well. Also, this is where many of the greatest Vietnamese foods can be found. Try some wonderful ‘pho bo’ (beef noodle), ‘bun cha’ (grilled pork noodle), ‘banh cuon’ (pork rolled cake), etc. and have your stomach asking for more. Ha Noi cannot wait to welcome you and you can get by a day here comfortably for only $17.08.
What are your thoughts on these cities? Planning a trip to Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand, visit www.vietnamstay.com for many great offers and deals.