South East Asia and China for $25 a day

Old Apr 11th, 2005, 05:12 PM
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South East Asia and China for $25 a day

My Fiancé and I are traveling to South East Asia and China for 10 weeks this summer and our itinerary includes: 20 days in Thailand, 3 days in Singapore, 19 days in Bali, and 28 days in China with about 5 of those days in Hong Kong. We were planning on spending about $50 U.S. a day between the two of us including accommodations. What are your opinions on this and do any of you have any tips or cheap lodging recommendations for us. We are leaving on May 23, the day after our wedding, and returning on August 3rd. Thanks! Jonathan
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Old Apr 11th, 2005, 06:50 PM
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I will talk about Hong Kong. At that price range, the main problem is accomodations. There aren't really any youth hostels in the city, so your choices are the various privately run guesthouses or one run by a non-profit organization.

I stayed at the YWCA Anne Black House, which is one of the cheapest standalone hotel in Hong Kong. From their website, the lowest rate is about HK$250+10%, with communal bath. That's US$35 among the two of you, so you have very little left.

To spend less, you're talking about privately run guesthouses in an old mixed-use buildings. The most notorious is of course Chungking Mansion in Tsimshatsui. There are dozens of such guesthouses - nobody seem to know the exact number - spread among 5 blocks. From what I'm reading, the rates may be as low as US$10 per person. Do a google search about this building if you haven't heard of it. There are other such guesthouses, but they will cost a little more. Chungking will be the cheapest.

Transportation can be fairly expensive, as there are no passes among the various transport. Take a "E" bus from the airport. Take the Star Ferry to cross the harbor and the tramway along northern Hong Kong Island. Forget the Peak Tram.

There are lots of cheap food around. Some places have HK$5 noodles. I had a HK$38 all-you-can-eat hot-pot dinner few months ago. Many eateries have specials between 2-5pm and late evening. Or go to McD's. BigMac valuemeal is HK$22.
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Old Apr 11th, 2005, 09:22 PM
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For Thailand US$50 a day fo2 is ok but, and this applies everywhere, be wary of your budget getting out of hand by not planning.
In Thailand you can find a/c accommodation with own bathroom, TV etc in 2 star hotels for around $15 to $25 a night, you can also find fan cooled accommodation from around $10 a night.
Tip: Do not pressume that walking the streets looking for budget hostel type accommodation will save you, it might, it might not. There are plenty of 2 star places in the $15-20 region. The further from the main tourist trails you go the cheaper the accommodation can get.
If you can decide a fixed schedule then you can take advantage of cheap budget airline fares, although the basic prices promoted start around $15 you need to allow perhaps $30 per sector but you need to book in advance. If you want flexibility then buses are cheap, about $15 from Bangkok to Chiang Mai for a comfortable service as an example.
For 20 days I would plan on somewhere in the North to experience the natural scenary, some treks etc. Then head to beaches or islands. Buses go everywhere, but if you 'can' plan ahead the budget airlines are good. There are trains north from bangkok to Chiang Mai and south along the Gulf of Thailand Coast, 2nd class a/c sleepers are excellent.
You can eat for whatever you want to pay, you can get snack food from street stalls from 50 cents, but if you want to 'fill up' then a McD meal is about $ 3, though for that you can get Thai food of course too, I would swop from one to another. Bottled water is about 12 cents a bottle.
Your main 3 costs will be travel, accommodation, food/drink. Because you won't travel every day, say once in 6/7 days then if you allowed $30 per journey divide that into the days.
If you can tell us more about how you want to spend your time we can give specific places/accommodations.
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Old Apr 12th, 2005, 12:59 AM
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You can easily stay under your budget figure while you are in Bali.

If you can be happy in a fan-cooled room you can find quite nice places in Ubud for example that cost no more than $10 a day. I had one there recently which was only $8 a day with a simple breakfast, hot water, a nice balcony, a comfortable double bed and ample hanging space, plus a pool for guests -the Canadian couple downstairs had been there for a month and paid even less than that because of the length of tenure.

This place is called the Sayong and is close to the centre of town at the end of a lane off Dewi Sita street, which everyone knows.

Meals in local restaurants run to $3 or $4 pp plus drinks.

If you hire a motor-bike ($20 a day incl insurance) you can see an awful lot of the rest of the island using Ubud as your base. Nowhere is much more than a three-hour ride away from Ubud.

Likewise, if you stay in Kuta rather than Sanur you will find nice places for around $15 a night for two with a light breakfast. One of these I would recommend is called Hotel Lusa and is spotlessly clean, newly built, has a nice pool area and is 5 minutes walk from the beach.

There are several very nice restaurants in the same street as the hotel (Benesari Lane) about a 300 meter walk away from the beach.

I know Thailand quite well too, and Singapore too, so if you want some specific information post back here and I will help you. Thailand is probably 15% more expensive than Bali, and Singapore another 30% more - but there is budget acommodation and cheap ways of doing things everywhere in Asia, without compromising your health or safety.


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Old Apr 12th, 2005, 01:06 AM
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I think in China, you can find lots of cheap hotels in the following website:
Just for example:
Beijing, you can find almost 30 hotels with the price below RMB200 (About $24)
And for other cities, there are also lots of options!
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Old Apr 12th, 2005, 03:03 PM
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Search on this forum for previous threads offering advice from people with more experience than me, but...

1. It sounds as though your visit to China won't coincide with any of the major holiday periods, so you should arm yourself in advance with a list of suitable 2*/3* hotels for each city and negotiate for the best rate when you walk through the door. If you're quoted the "going rate" (which may be displayed on a board at reception), just explain nicely that it's too pricey for you, and if you can't get at least 30% off that, start walking out - that should get you the best rate. You can do your research off so-called "discount hotel" websites, but don't book through them. Depending on the city you should be able to manage $20-30 a night except in the very busy periods. The staff's English skills may be limited, so take it slowly, and always politely.

In Chinese 2*/3* hotels you'll probably find that there few other non-Chinese guests, possibly none. In general, foreign travellers are vastly outnumbered by Chinese tourists.

2. As a rule, a youth hostel offering private (twin bed) rooms will be your best option. Join the international hostels association and again, do your research in advance for each city - go to, where there are comprehensive listings worldwide.

Another advantage of hostels is that you can hook up with other foreign travellers and exchange travel tips, and the hostel can book you on to budget tours and outings. They'll also be used to the strange ways of visiting foreigners.

3. In restaurants where ordinary Chinese eat you should be able to get dinner for two for say 50 yuan (US$6) or less. For lunch, snacks such as steamed buns and kebabs from food stalls (just point at what you want) are very cheap. For breakfast you can always buy a few items from a food shop or convenience store. Stalls selling good quality fruit are everywhere. If you end up in a McDonalds (which to make matters worse are by Chinese standards expensive), you've failed! Starbucks also is expensive, but finding a decent cup of coffee isn't all that easy, so an occasional lapse is OK.

4. In Beijing and Shanghai use the subway where possible, but they're good walking cities - although they'll be hot in summer, so you may not enjoy very long treks. If you have to take a cab, they're cheap - in central Beijing or Shanghai most trips should run out at Y15-Y30 (US$2-4).

5. Lastly, in China it is NOT normal practice to tip. That includes cabbies, waitstaff and tour guides (who do very well out of kickbacks from the shops they drag you into).
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