By Mary Charie / 15/08/2018

How Much Is It To Travel For Six Months in Southeast Asia

How I Travelled And Lived With 2000 USD For Six Months In Southeast Asia


Note: All prices are in US Dollars

Before we get all the judgy comments to crawl up in your head, I'm writing this for the people who asked me how I did it. This is not for travellers who want to continuously backpack for six months in Southeast Asia. First, I'm telling you, this might not be for you. Though, who knows? If you are still curious, just keep reading and shoot me a comment, message or an email if you have questions about backpacking in Southeast Asia.

During my six months in Southeast Asia, I covered Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar. I have to admit, I hope I had more budget so I could stay in some countries longer and explore it better. Nevertheless, I'm glad to have an overlook of Thailand and Laos. Now, I have more reasons to come back one day.

I left Denmark with $2000 in my pocket, I have no idea how long I will be out there, or how long that money will last me. Because of the lack of the budget, I made sure that I planned a little bit before I embark on my not so possible adventure. If you need a guide for packing list in Asia, check this out.


Six Months in Southeast Asia with $2000

Remember that every one travel differently, it's your own journey and you should not feel bad if you miss something or you spent too much. At the end of the day, we all going to reflect on how travel affected us. Just do your own thing, stay safe, and enjoy.

TIP: Check my intensive article about Southeast Asia travel route

Timeline: Three Weeks Travelling + Three Weeks Living in Vietnam

I started in Vietnam wand travelled there for three weeks spending about $300. I was already blogging for another travel blog before I left. I travelled to Vietnam for three weeks, most of it was covered through a press trip whilst I represent another travel blog. Where accommodations, tours, and transportation are all covered. I didn't spend a lot of money since my trip was well-covered. 

RELATED POST: Vietnam Visa Guide

After I finished Vietnam, I went back to Hanoi to catch up on pending works on the blog. I stayed there for almost three weeks, I was able to do a little volunteering as an English Teacher, in exchange for food and accommodation. I'm also a certified TEFL Teacher, which I highly suggest you to obtain, it comes really handy at times.

Related Post: Here's my article about Tracing Vietnam - Must Not Miss!

Living cost in Vietnam is cheap, food, and accommodation are all affordable which makes it a great base for travellers who work and travel at the same time. If you like teaching, I suggest you give Vietnam a try, teachers are getting paid quite high and the demand is very well.

You may want to check my recommend hostels in Vietnam and these affordable motorbiking tours.

How I Travelled And Lived With 2000 USD For Six Months In Southeast Asia

Worked in the hostel in Vietnam

Timeline: Six Weeks in Vietnam + Ten Days  in Thailand

When I left Vietnam, I then headed to Thailand, though I was only able to visit Bangkok, Koh Chang, and Chiang Mai. I did a representation trip under the same travel blog I spent a total of 10 days covering those three places, I stayed mostly in hostels and ate local food. I have a Thailand visa guide if you are confuse of how it works.

Extra tip: Check​​​​ flight tickets as early as you can for great deals

 Whilst I was in Vietnam, I made a plan with one of the travellers, Morgan, who was backpacking in Vietnam, now turned into a great friend to go travel in Myanmar. Myanmar is something that never came into my mind to go. But, after hearing positive comments about it, I decided to give it a go.

RELATED POST: Cost, tips, and itinerary for backpacking in Vietnam

Timeline: Six Weeks (Vietnam) + Ten Days (Thailand) + Three Weeks in Myanmar

I flew from Bangkok to Yangon where Morgan and I started our trip. Myanmar is not very touristic yet, but it wasn't cheap compared to Vietnam and Thailand. There aren't a lot of dorm rooms, luckily, I was travelling with a friend. We were able to share a room in the guest houses to make the accommodation cost cheaper. Check out these must not miss in Myanmar.

Extra tip: Travel to Myanmar with a friend or someone to share the accommodation costs

In my three weeks of travel in Myanmar, I spent between $600-700, excluded the flight and visa fee. I also hitchhiked for a few times and slept in a monastery for a few nights, which I highly suggest. >>Read my Myanmar Hitchhiker's Guide.

Note: Philippine passport holder doesn't need a visa to Myanmar if you are staying for only 14 days. Some Southeast Asian countries don't need a visa as well.  North American, South American, and European are required to obtain a visa. >>Read Myanmar Visa Guide.

Must See in Myanmar

Morgan and I was stuck in the market trafifc in Myanmar!

Timeline: Six Weeks (Vietnam) + Ten Days (Thailand) + Three Weeks (Myanmar) + Two Days (Thailand)

From Myanmar, I crossed the border to Thailand. I took a flight from Bangkok back to Vietnam to work in a hostel and to work as an English Teacher. In the hostel, I was in charge of digital marketing, reception desk, and as an assistant manager too, in exchange for free accommodation and food. I worked for five hours a day, four days a week. I also got paid a small amount as a pocket money which was fair enough.

Extra tip: There are few hostels looking for travellers to work for them for few months

Timeline: Six Weeks (Vietnam) + Ten Days (Thailand) + Three Weeks (Myanmar) + Two Days (Thailand) + Three Months (Vietnam)

Although my teaching job wasn't full time, I got free accommodation and food covered. I decided to work out of the city, so the local student has a foreign teacher. The rate wasn't as good as the one in the big cities like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh.  However, I was still able to save some money.

RELATED POST: Southeast Asia Itinerary

Timeline: Six Weeks + Ten Days (Thailand) + Three Weeks (Myanmar) + Two Days (Thailand) + Three Months (Vietnam) + One Week (Laos)

From Hanoi, I went to Laos and spent a full week there. I only got the chance to explore the beautiful Luang Prabang. I'm hoping to be able to visit the other parts of Laos in the future.

Related Post:  Visa Free Countries For Philippines Passport Holder

How I Travelled And Lived With 2000 USD For Six Months In Southeast Asia

Teaching in Vietnam

What Helped Me Survive For Six Months In Southeast Asia?

  • blogging
  • volunteering
  • hitchhiking and sleeping in a monastery
  • hostel work
  • paid teaching gig
  • online gig

When I settled in Vietnam to work in a hostel and teach English, I also did online jobs, like content writing and as a virtual assistant. For beginners in this field, you might have to charge lower. Once you get your profile in a good shape, you will get paid better. You can also check these best travel jobs to have an idea.

So there you go, it's not the ideal backpacking set up that I wish I could have. But I had a really good time and I met amazing travellers from everywhere in the world. Spending six months in Southeast Asia is definitely something I will never forget.

TIP: Check my resources page to see the main online platforms I use on my travels!


About the author

Mary Charie

She's the person behind this blog, she has been travelling since 2013. Torn between her itchy feet and writing, Mary found herself soaking up in the world of travel blogging. She travels on her own terms and tries to build her own world whilst pushing herself into every corner of life, breaking limit beyond her capabilities.

Mike - 29/01/2018

Wow! That’s amazing. Your six months in Asia is amazing. You did really enjoy traveling. Thanks for sharing this one.

Ami - 10/10/2016

Now that is inspiring. Glad to see that you were able to work the entire thing out on a small budget . Without missing out of any fun. Thanks for sharing your experience

Kevin Wagar - 03/10/2016

That’s amazing that you were able to see so much and experience so much on such a small budget. I’m sure many backpackers will get a lot of inspiration from this.

Mar Pages - 03/10/2016

This is incredible! Determination gets you places clearly, how you conducted your travel is extremely admirable 🙂 Come back soon!

Vyjay - 02/10/2016

This is an inspiring post that highlights the fact that you can indulge in your passion of travel even with less money. One can earn and then travel, you have shown some wonderful means for generating income to fund travel.

Tracie Howe - 29/09/2016

It’s very easy to spend a lot of money in Southeast Asia if you’re traveling in the lap of luxury, but it sounds like you know how to travel on a budget. The great thing about Southeast Asia is that you can splurge now and then while on that budget, but it won’t cost you that much!

Subhadrika Sen - 29/09/2016

It seems that you have had quite a nice adventure in the South East Asia. I love staying in hostels and working my way as well to get some budget for survival. I had been doing thus when I was in Wales. That apart too, I try to stay in hostels or with friends to cut down accomodation and transportation costs wherever possible.

Taylor - 29/09/2016

Good for you.What a pity not meet you at your home in Philippine last summer.Hope to see you again during the next trip.

Vivian - 27/09/2016

That sounds so fun! I haven’t heard about the 2 monkeys travel blog but I’ll check it out for sure! I love how you break it down for us, telling us exactly how you sustain your travel. Keep traveling! I enjoyed the read!

Indrani - 27/09/2016

That is a good elaborate post on your experience. I think need to pick up guts and venture out on such budget travels. Luxury stays often hamper the travel plans. I have never tried hostels, may be I should now.

    Mary Charie - 27/09/2016

    It took a lot of guts to actually get out there with such funds! But I guess we all just do our best to make things work 🙂

June - 26/09/2016

What a adventure you’ve had! your travelling style is so different to mine. What an excellent example of resourcefulness. I admire your get up and go attitude and your drive to seek out opportunities to make your experience a success. Hope you get to return. ?

    Mary Charie - 27/09/2016

    thank you!! I hope I could get enough budget for my next trip, I’d love to continuously just travel. Though I enjoy working different jobs! 🙂

Colby - 26/09/2016

I always love to read/hear how people sustain their travels. Southeast Asia is definitely the cheapest countries I’ve had the pleasure of visiting. I was so surprised how cheap everything was. But, even then things do still add up, so It’s amazing you were able travel that long with the funds you had. Very inspiring.

    Mary Charie - 27/09/2016

    I’m glad to hear that <3 It's crazy how far we would go for just to reach out goal <3

jarrod roney - 26/09/2016

Will be heading to SEA year next year so this budget story gives me hope! 2k in 6 months is impressively low. Good stuff!

    Mary Charie - 27/09/2016

    Aw, you’ll have a great time there! It will be hard to leave! 😀

Kristina Caetano - 26/09/2016

I totally believe this! South East Asia is incredibly affordable. As a matter of fact, the go-to catch phrase between me and my husband is to say, “Ready to just leave it all behind and head to Thailand?” when we’re having a bad day.

    Mary Charie - 27/09/2016

    That’s a good one! I always tell that to myself before I left Denmark to go to SE Asia. I was like “I could literally just pack my bag and get on the next plane because there’s no way I could survive a life like this without losing my mind!” hahha!

Jo - 26/09/2016

Yup I feel it is easier (cheaper) to live in SE Asia than your own country. I would be looking at spending anywhere from $500 – $750 minimum per month here (in India) with rent, lifestyle, food and overheads.. in SE Asia, it can be done at a bare minimum – sometimes just $500 a month. I can couchsurf, stay with friends or even in hostels and cook my own food so the basics are covered 🙂 Plus, take up some freelance work and you are golden! Great post and must share with those who keep saying they cannot travel coz they don’t have money!!!!

    Mary Charie - 27/09/2016

    SE Asia is crazy cheap. No wonder a lot of young travellers get stuck in there. It will take a lot of passion to bite the bullet and dive on the risky world, isn’t it?

Amy - 25/09/2016

Sounds like an amazing working travel experience! It is proof that a dream and a journey are possible, no matter your budget. Great post.

    Mary Charie - 27/09/2016

    Indeed Amy, as long as we’re focus on our goals, we make things happen 🙂

Rebecca - 25/09/2016

Wow, that’s quite an accomplishment to be able to travel with little funds. It sure adds to the experience being able to blog and teach. You can really get to know the people and culture. Kudos to you!

    Mary Charie - 27/09/2016

    Awww, thank you! That’s really sweet! I wouldn’t change those experiences for the world <3

Samantha - 25/09/2016

I always wonder how people can go so long with a budget and be able to travel all these places. I would certainly do some/all of the things yo suggested to be able to travel around SEA. I have my TEFL certificate and I feel like it could come in handy during times like this. Thanks for posting!

    Mary Charie - 27/09/2016

    You’re welcome 🙂 It will definitely useful in times like this. I’m also amazed how far I’ve come with that budget 🙂

Jordan Adkins - Inspired By Maps - 24/09/2016

Just insane..Im glad I havnt had to work yet but my options are becoming more and more limited….Might be following your amazing lead soon!

    Mary Charie - 27/09/2016

    If I had enough budget that time, I’m sure my experience would have been a lot different. So, I’m quite happy to get the chance to teach those sweet kids and work with amazing travellers <3

Nomadic Hippie 2.0 - 24/09/2016

Great post – I can’t wait to grow my blog traffic and start getting sponsored trips too! 🙂

    Mary Charie - 24/09/2016

    Hey, thanks for dropping by! You’ll get there for sure 🙂 Good luck!

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