As a travel blogger hailing from Thailand, my opportunities for exploring the world differ from those in the western hemisphere. Firstly, my third-world passport poses a challenge for visiting countries like Europe and the US, as it requires a strenuous visa application process and imposes time constraints on my stay. Additionally, the value of the Thai currency is low in comparison to the US dollar, making it costly to travel to more expensive destinations. These factors contribute to the lack of representation from countries like Thailand in the global travel blogging industry.
However, I have found ways to travel the world despite these limitations, and have been doing so for the past 8 years. One of my strengths lies in discovering countries and places that are affordable for Thais to visit, and I am excited to share my findings with you. Here are the top 10 budget-friendly countries to visit, whether you are a backpacker, budget traveler, or simply seeking to save money while traveling the world.
Naturally, I must mention Thailand, my country of origin. Previously, I had strong negative feelings towards living in Thailand as it was the only place I was familiar with, and like many individuals from developing nations, I yearned to explore the “developed” world. However, after traveling extensively for the past 8 years and residing in other countries for extended periods, I have come to truly appreciate the worth of Thailand and comprehend why it is a favorite among travelers.
Indonesia, a nation comprising more than 17,000 islands and the world’s largest archipelago, boasts a remarkable diversity that makes it one of the most heterogeneous countries in Southeast Asia. Its vast expanse of remote forests and volcanoes spread across numerous islands, each with its distinct languages and cultures, renders Indonesia an ideal destination for travelers worldwide.
Vietnam, a marvelous and cost-effective travel spot in Southeast Asia, provides a distinctive encounter and a plethora of activities to engage in without straining your finances. Unlike its neighboring countries, Vietnam stands out on its own, and is a must-visit destination.
In 2016, during my first backpacking trip in South America, I traveled to Colombia as my initial destination. During my stay, which lasted over two weeks, I immersed myself in the local culture of both Bogota and Medellin, the primary tourist hotspots in Colombia. With the help of my local friends, I had the opportunity to experience the affordable yet fascinating lifestyle of these cities firsthand.
When it comes to choosing my favorite South American country, Peru is the clear winner for me. Peru offers an incredible array of activities, from exploring the iconic Machu Picchu to hiking the Andes Mountains in Huaraz and Cusco. It’s easy to understand why I have such a strong affinity for Peru.
Albania abounds in surprises, boasting breathtaking mountains such as the Albanian Alps, a rich historical heritage exemplified by the towns of Berat and Gjirokaster, and gorgeous beaches like those found in the Albanian Riviera. Despite its abundant attractions, one would assume that tourists would flock to this paradise; however, I am delighted to inform you that this is not the case. Albania remains one of Europe’s few hidden gems, offering both beauty and affordability for travel.
For travelers seeking exotic destinations on a budget, Sri Lanka is a fantastic country to consider visiting. During my two-week stay there, I was able to explore everything I had hoped to see while spending only around 30 USD per day. With its captivating history deeply intertwined with Buddhism, Sri Lanka boasts a plethora of intriguing tourist attractions and activities. From the ancient city of Polonnaruwa to the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, as well as the iconic Lion Rock of Sigiriya, there are countless breathtaking sights waiting to be discovered.
Turkey is often absent from “cheapest countries to visit” lists, and I’m uncertain as to why. Based on my personal experience traveling from west to east, Turkey is likely one of the least expensive countries to visit in the Middle East, while also offering numerous exciting activities and stunning sights. Many travelers who have only visited popular tourist destinations such as Istanbul and Cappadocia may not view Turkey as a budget-friendly travel destination. However, if you venture off the beaten path and explore places like Fisheye, Van, and Kars, you’ll discover just how affordable the country truly is.
One of my preferred countries in the Caucasus is Georgia, which is also among the most economical destinations in the area. Surprisingly, traveling in Georgia was even more budget-friendly than in Turkey, and there are numerous unique experiences that cannot be found anywhere else in the region. The country boasts a remarkable cuisine, with famous dishes such as Khachaturian and Kinkily now available in major European cities and beyond. Additionally, Georgia is home to Tbilisi, a trendy city that is gaining popularity among backpackers, with plenty of charming cafes and bars to discover. As a tourist, you will find no shortage of attractions to enjoy in Georgia.
Nepal, a small country situated amidst the formidable Himalayan mountain range in South Asia, is an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts and hikers seeking to explore the world’s highest mountain range at an affordable cost. However, it’s worth mentioning that I’m not referring to scaling the summit of Everest, as it’s an activity reserved for the wealthy, and obtaining a permit to climb the perilous mountain, located at the top of the world, requires a minimum of 11,000 USD.