10 Best South/South-East Asia Destinations for Chill Yet Adventurous Budget Travel

OK, you’ve been saving up your cash and now you’re ready to go to Asia to chill, eat some killer food, relax, and maybe do a little socializing (aka partying!).   Here are the 10 Best South/South-East Asia destinations for chill budget travel; you can’t go wrong!

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1.  Tonsai Beach, Krabi, Thailand

This is a classic backpacker destination.  And for a good reason, because it’s an awesome place to be lazy and chill.  It has an unhindered party atmosphere; some refer to it as a “playground for adults.”  If you want to get into it, you can find it there (we encourage you to use common sense, however).  The accommodations are as convenient as they are cheap! Bungalows start at $5 per night.

In addition you can find amazing, world-class rock climbing and deep water soloing right on the beach (some climbing can also be accessed by boat).  It’s particularly awesome to go for a swim after a long day on the limestone cliffs.  The climbing routes are generally for more advanced enthusiasts, but it is readily accessible to all abilities for those inclined.  Obviously there are guides and equipment available for hire.

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Ask around to get a good recommendation for a guide and take a look at his/her credentials to ensure legitimacy.  In general we recommend solid travel insurance, however make sure that your policy covers climbing if you plan to partake.   Insurance company lingo often uses “mountain climbing” or “mountaineering” to refer to rock climbing.   If your policy excludes it, or you are unsure, specialized adventure sports travel insurance is available.

From Tonsai you can walk to some of the best and most iconic beaches of the Indian Ocean. And there are lots of good cheap bars to be found right on the beach.  The phenomenal restaurants (who doesn’t like Thai food?) are very inexpensive; delicious meals start at $2.  Let me say that again, $2!!!  As opposed to some other uptight tourist destinations the locals enjoy socializing and partying with tourist which is a nice bonus.

To get to Tonsai, you’re likely to fly into the Krabi airport. From there, take a shuttle bus to Ao Nang (tickets can be purchased in the arrivals area).  In Ao Nang go to the south-east end of the main beach strip to find the ticket office for boats to Tonsai.

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Note: For the savvy traveller the following budget airlines serve Krabi: AirAsia, Tiger Airways, and Thai Smile at the time of writing.

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  1. Ahhh this post stirs my travel fever! I’ve only been to Bangkok on this list, but would love to get back and explore all of these places. I would add Koh Samet to the list while I’m on a Thailand theme, although it’s a bit touristy, it’s still gorgeous and cheap…

  2. Thanks for the tip Jen. I’ve added this to our list so we can look into it further. I plan to do another trip to Thailand very soon so maybe I’ll swing by Koh Samet, :).

    • Thanks so much for the tips! They both sound like awesome places (I’ve heard from others that liked these places too). Appreciate you sharing your experience.

  3. Another awesome place is lahore,pakistan contrary to popular belief its actually a really cool city with awesome food to offer.

  4. You should definitely look at adding a beach in the Philippines called El Nido. It was by far one of the best places we went and was not ‘too’ touristy as it takes a few hours by car to get to from any major airports.

    We also did a local fishing trip during our travels there and it made the experience much more local! We wrote an article about our stay if anyone is considering going there! http://www.whoneedsmaps.com/fishing-el-nido-palawan/

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