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There are places on our planet that tourists around the world have been favoring for decades. Hawaii, India, Southern Europe—these are examples of popular destinations, gathering millions of foreign visitors annually. Of course, this is so for certain reasons. Unfortunately, the majority of popular tourist places possess a number of inconveniences that can greatly spoil the impression and experience of visiting them. Prices (incredibly high prices, to be exact) are probably the biggest inconvenience: naturally, the more tourists that arrive to a certain place, the higher local vendors will raise their prices. This is not to mention annoying crowds of foreign people with cameras everywhere, disappearing authenticity (Hawaiian parties, for example, have turned into an attraction for pensioners long ago), and the impossibility to enjoy a new country by yourself.

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At the same time, there are many options tourists usually either ignore or underestimate. Earth is a big place, and a lot of exciting things are waiting to be discovered—you only need to change your perspective a bit, and consider travelling scenarios you previously did not pay attention to. One of such options is Southeast Asia, the land of undiscovered wonders.

Of course, some countries of Southeast Asia are rather popular, especially Thailand and Philippines. Alas, they are mostly known as sex capitals of the world, so many people go there primarily for sex; this is even though the cultural, historical, cuisine, and other experiences these countries can offer to a tourist are much more rewarding and impressive than what Bangkok red lights districts can provide. Considering this, this essay will focus on conventional tourism, so to say.

So, what makes Southeast Asia a tourism option you should consider?

The first reason is the prices all across the region: they are ridiculously low. One of the first problems a backpacker needs to solve after arriving in a new country is accommodation. In Southeast Asia—almost everywhere—accommodation is so cheap that for the money a tourist would spend on a hostel in Europe for one week, in this region, he or she could live one month! See for yourself: if you go to Cambodia or Laos, a place in a dorm room would cost you somewhere between $2-5 per day. A night in a Vietnamese hostel will cost you $8-10. Thailand is probably the most expensive on the list, with prices between $6-13. If you are not fond of living with a bunch of unfamiliar people, get ready to pay only $15-20 for a private room. Of course, these prices depend on cities—larger cities and popular tourist destinations will naturally be more expensive, but generally, throughout the entire Southeast Asia, you can find extremely cheap accommodation easily, especially considering there is no need to book a hostel in advance: basically, you show up and rent a room/bed in the spot (NomadicMatt). So, if you are a tourist with a limited budget, worrying about a place to stay for a couple of weeks, Southeast Asia is your choice: staying there is more than affordable.

By the way, the same refers to food. Almost everywhere around Southeast Asia you will be able to find quality street food for low prices. The price for a pack of chewing gum in the United States equals a huge portion of filling, exotic food in Vietnam.

As well as “mainland” Asia, the region possesses ancient history and deep culture closely interconnected with Buddhism. The ruins of Angkor Wat, Javans, Champa, pagodas of Bagan, millenary temples, and shrines—all this and much more awaits a tourist discovering this part of Asia. Relics of the past are so numerous that even if you spend a year in the region, you will probably not be able to see all of them. Along with the ancient times, Southeast Asia has gone through intense political and military turmoils during the recent century. The war in Vietnam, the terror of the Khmer Rouge, the destruction of Laos, Pacific navy battles, Japanese invasions—this is just a tiny part of what was going on here not so long ago. Knowing about the hardships Southeast Asia had gone through, and witnessing its rapid development now, watching incredible contrasts intertwine and combine, it is difficult to not fall in love with this place. Besides, if you are seeking for cultural diversity, Southeast Asia has it all: with such a diversity of languages, customs, ethnicities, religious beliefs, lifestyles, and fashions concentrated on such a relatively small piece of land, your immersion in the atmosphere of this place will be instant, deep, and impressive (

Yet another good argument for a budget tourist visiting Southeast Asia is the convenience and affordability of transportation in the region. Naturally, when you arrive in a new country, you do not want to spend your whole time in one city—you want to see all of what this country can offer, and this often implies using public transport, such as trains or buses. Well, booking transportation in Southeast Asia is easier and cheaper than in many other regions of the world; every big city is flooded with travel agencies offering their services for almost no cost, and even getting to some distant islands is not a problem ( A bus is usually the cheapest way to travel around the region: a 5-6 hours ride by a bus will cost you only $5-8. Overnight buses are somewhat more costly—10-15 dollars, depending on distance. As for the transportation within big cities, there is only good news for a poor tourist. For example, a bus around Bangkok costs only 10 cents, and the subway, $1. The local train system of Singapore starts its pricing from $1 as well. Taxis and minibuses are usually more expensive, but it is possible to bargain with the drivers, so you can get a price up to two times lower than the one initially suggested by a cab owner. ( All of which means, in a nutshell, that you will be able to see everything you want, get everywhere, and spend a reasonable amount of money.

Southeast Asia is a unique region with ancient history, rich culture, incredible food, and unique experiences a traveler can get from visiting it. With incredibly low accommodation prices, affordable food, and convenient transportation, this part of Asia is the number one choice for a budget tourist. Therefore, when planning your next trip, you should definitely consider going there.

Works Cited

  1. “12 Reasons Why Southeast Asia is the Best Place in the World for Backpackers.” BootsnAll Travel Articles. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2016. .
  2. “10 Reasons to Travel to Southeast Asia: A Budget Backpackers Guide.” Goats On The Road. N.p., 12 Oct. 2016. Web. 09 Dec. 2016. .
  3. Https:// “Southeast Asia Travel Guide.” Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2016. .
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