Budget Weekend Getaways from MalaysiaTravelling to different countries often requires some serious budgeting. When you take into account what you spend on transportation, hotel accommodation, meals, and more, you might end up with a pretty hefty amount if you’re not careful.

Luckily, Southeast Asia is home to some of the world’s most beautiful and most affordable countries to visit. In this article, we’ll check out the best cheap weekend getaway destinations for travellers on a budget!

Cheap Weekend Getaways from Malaysia

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1) Hanoi, Vietnam

Average travel time from Kuala Lumpur to Hanoi: 3 h 20 min

What’s shiok:

  • Affordable Vietnamese food
  • cultural heritage sites
  • morning and night markets
  • museums

 

 

Best budget-friendly activities:

  • Visit Hanoi’s marketsHanoi is full of both morning and night markets where you’re free to just look around at everything on offer – from fresh produce and street food to textiles and house supplies!
  • Go on a free walking tour – One of the best ways to get around the city is to go on a free walking tour led by locals. You can book a tour with Hanoikids, an organization that offers walking tours led by local kids looking to improve their English-speaking skills.
  • Enjoy street performances in the Hanoi Pedestrian Street – On the weekends, Hanoi Pedestrian Street is alive with music and dancing. There are live street performances, traditional games, and music shows to enjoy.

Xoi vendor / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 / francescahuynh

 

Must-Eats:

Hanoi is high on the list for foodies looking to taste some delicious Vietnamese food. So, while you’re in the area, some affordable must-eats include pho (Vietnamese noodle soup), bun cha (grilled Vietnamese meatballs), and xoi (sweet or savory sticky rice).

Bun cha/ Flickr / WordRidden

Best areas to stay:

  • Hoan Kiem (Old Quarter) – It is Hanoi’s most popular district that’s teeming with both locals and tourists. Here, you’ll find good food, affordable hotels, and be close to all the best tourist attractions.
  • Ba Dinh – Ba Dinh is close to Old Quarter, but significantly quieter and more laid-back. The only downside is that it’s moderately expensive to stay in this area.
  • Tay Ho (West Lake) – West Lake is full of pagodas and temples to visit and is a quiet alternative to busy Old Quarter. There are several restaurants to choose from as well.

 

Best Budget Hotel: Luxury Backpackers Hotel

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2) Pokhara, Nepal

Average travel time from Kuala Lumpur to Pokhara: 4 h 45 min flight to Kathmandu + 7 h by bus to Pokhara

What’s shiok:

  • Stunning natural landscapes
  • Mountain-trekking
  • Extreme sports (i.e. rafting and bungee jumping)

Sarangkot Viewpoint / CC BY 2.0 / sunmaya1

Best budget-friendly activities:

  • Hike up to Sarangkot Viewpoint – Take in breathtaking views of the Himalayas when you complete the 2 to 3 hour hike up Sarangkot Viewpoint. Make sure you go on a clear day, though, otherwise the clouds will obstruct the amazing views.
  • Marvel at the Buddhist Monastery – If you’re an early riser, you might want to pay a visit to the Buddhist Monastery in Pokhara and watch monks as they pray. Their prayer rituals often include chanting, playing trumpets, and banging drums.
  • Visit the batcave – Make like Batman and head into the batcave where you can get up close and personal with hundreds of bats residing on the walls.

Momos / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 / belight7

Must-Eats:

Pokhara offers a wide variety of restaurants offering both local and international cuisines. If you want to sample traditional Nepalese dishes, we highly recommend sel roti (Nepalese donut), dal bhat (lentil and rice dish), and momos (dumplings).

Sel Roti / Swapnil Acharya / CC BY-SA 3.0

 

Best areas to stay:

  • Baidam – Baidam is one of the three areas that comprise the tourist district of Pokhara. Here, you’ll be able to find a lot of affordable hostels and a number of restaurants all while being close to notable tourist attractions.
  • Lakeside – Lakeside is Pokhara’s most popular area and is where most tourists base themselves. It’s where all the action is and has the most hotel accommodations and restaurants available.
  • Damside – Damside is also a popular tourist area but it’s not as busy as Lakeside. You’ll be close to the lakes and have a number of hostels and restaurants to choose from.

 

Best Budget Hotel: Om Gaura Zostel

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3) Vientiane, Laos

Average travel time from Kuala Lumpur to Vientiane: 2 h 45 min

What’s shiok:

  • Laid-back atmosphere
  • Ancient Buddhist temples
  • Heritage sites
  • Night markets and bazaars

Best budget-friendly activities:

  • Go shopping in Vientiane Night Market – One of Vientiane’s most popular tourist attractions is its Night Market located along the Mekong Riverfront. You’ll find an array of cheap products such as handicrafts, clothes, and even electronics.
  • Visit the Buddha Park – The Buddha Park is a must-visit for any first-timer in Vientiane. This open air park features giant sculptures of Buddha and Hindu deities.
  • Join an open air aerobics class – Get in shape and join the early evening aerobics class that takes place along the Mekong Riverfront. Don’t worry if you have two left feet as everyone who participates is very welcoming.

Grilled frog / CC BY-NC 2.0 / grooble

Must-Eats:

Vientiane is home to a lot of food markets and street food stalls. The best Laotian eats in the area include Mekong catfish, khao piak (Laotian rice noodle soup), and, if you can stomach it, grilled frog!

Khao Piak / Flickr / Gary Stevens

Best areas to stay:

  • Haysoke and Mixay – Haysoke and Mixay are the riverside villages and is considered downton Vientiane. All the popular tourist attractions, hotels, and restaurants are concentrated in these two areas.
  • Phapho and Phivat – Another pair of popular villages are Phapho and Phivat where you’ll find popular temples such as Wat Si Muang. There are also a number of restaurants and cafes in these areas.
  • Sokpaluang – This area is considered the school district in Vientiane and is a good place to taste some affordable food the different restaurants there.

 

Best Budget Hotel: Mini S Hotel

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4) Chiang Mai, Thailand

Average travel time from Kuala Lumpur to Chiang Mai: 2 h 45 min

What’s shiok:

Beautiful ancient temples

  • Breathtaking landscapes
  • Markets and bazaars
  • Exquisite Thai food

Best budget-friendly activities:

  • Go bargaining in the many markets – There are several markets in Chiang Mai but the most popular one is the Night Bazaar. There are several products on offer such as Thai silk, handicrafts, accessories, electronics, and more!
  • Visit the temples – Chiang Mai Old City is home to a number of breathtaking temples that are free for you to ogle at including Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Phra Singh.
  • Visit Bua Thong Waterfalls – Also referred to as the Sticky Waterfalls, this small tiered waterfall is a beautiful natural beauty and can be climbed with the help of some ropes.

Khao kha moo / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Charles Haynes

Must-Eats:

Thailand is the birthplace of many of the world’s most sought-after dishes. In Chiang Mai, the best Thai street food includes Thai suki (wet or dry vegetable mix), Cowboy Hat Lady’s khao kha moo (braised pork leg served on rice with egg), and kai yang (roast chicken).

Kai Yang / CC BY-SA 3.0 / Takeaway

Best areas to stay:

  • Old City – Old City is Chiang Mai’s most popular tourist district where you’ll find Buddhist temples and shrines. It’s a great place to take some amazing photos as well.
  • Riverside – The Riverside area is a good place to find affordable hotels and resorts. You’ll find Warrot Day Market here where hawkers sell affordable textiles, fruits, and more.
  • Night Bazaar – This is considered Chiang Mai’s shopping paradise. Base yourself in this area if you want to be close to the hustle and bustle of the Night Bazaar.

 

Best Budget Hotel: Arch39 Minimal Art & Craft Hotel

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5) Yangon, Myanmar

Average travel time from Kuala Lumpur to Yangon: 2 h 45 min

What’s shiok:

  • Stunning pagodas and temples
  • Exquisite local dishes
  • Relaxed vibe

Best budget-friendly activities:

  • Visit all the stunning pagodasYangon is best known for its beautiful pagodas, with the most popular ones being Shwedagon Pagoda, Chaukhtatgyi Buddha, Sule Pagoda, and Botahtaung Pagoda.
  • Go bargain-shopping in Bogyoke Aung San Market – Bogyoke Aung San Market is one of Yangon’s popular tourist spots where you can purchase traditional textiles, jewellry, antiques, and Burmese handicrafts.
  • Ride the Yangon Circular Train – Hop on the Yangon Circular Train and tour the city. Considered the best and cheapest way to get around, you can hire a local guide to walk you through all the main attractions.

Yangon market / CC BY 2.0 / worak

Must-Eats:

Although Burmese cuisine isn’t as popular as those from its neighbouring countries, there are a number of dishes that you must try when in Yangon. These dishes include chicken feet salad, Nutrient (toast and eggs topped with Milo powder), and fried tohu (tofu and chickpea salad).

Food in Yangon / pixabay / sharonang

 

Best areas to stay:

  • Bahan (West Yangon) – Bahan in West Yangon is Yangon’s downtown area. Considered the busiest area in Yangon, it’s where you’ll find all the pagodas, museums, and markets. There are also several choices for hotel accommodation.
  • East Yangon – There are several areas that encompass East Yangon, but they’re more or less the same. Here, you’ll be able to find hotel accommodations to fit any type of budget as well as several tourist attractions.
  • South Yangon – South Yangon is a much quieter area, away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Yangon. There are fewer things to see and do in this area but you’ll still have a nice selection of hotels to fit your budget.

 

Best Budget Hotel: Backpacker Bed & Breakfast

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6) Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Average travel time from Kuala Lumpur to Phnom Penh: 1 h 55 min

What’s shiok:

  • Hectic nightlife
  • Affordable shopping
  • Cultural heritage sites
  • Beautiful architectural wonders

Best budget-friendly activities:

  • Flock to Phnom Penh’s best marketsPhnom Penh has a number of popular markets, with the most popular ones being the Russian Market, Central Market, and Street 240.
  • Join a free meditation session – Wat Langka, a local Buddhist temple, hosts free meditation sessions led by monks. This happens four times a week and each session lasts about 1 hour.
  • Visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum – The Khmer Rouge is an integral part of Cambodia’s rich but dark history and a visit to Phnom Penh isn’t complete with a trip to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. It is a moving experience and one that cannot be missed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Must-Eats:

As with most Southeast Asian countries, the best food in Phnom Penh is found on the streets. Some of the best and most affordable foods include amok fish (fish curry), lok lak (stir-fried beef), and — for those with exotic tastes — grilled frog!

Lok Lak / Flickr / Sodanie Chea

 

Best areas to stay:

  • City Centre – For those who want to be close to all the main areas and tourist attractions, the city centre is the best place to base yourself. There are several hotels, markets, and restaurants to choose from.
  • Sisowath Quay – The riverside area of Sisowath Quay is ideal for visitors who want to be close to Phnom Penh’s nightlife scene. Also, it has a wide range of hotel accommodations as well as restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars.
  • Tonle Bassac – A less popular area is Tonle Bassac located on the Tonle Sap River. This is a good place to base yourself if you want to get away from the city’s hustle and bustle.

 

Best Budget Hotel: Hotel Zing

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7) Colombo, Sri Lanka

Average travel time from Kuala Lumpur to Colombo: 3 h 30 min

What’s shiok:

  • Amazing religious temples
  • Historical sites
  • Affordable shopping and accommodations

Best budget-friendly activities:

  • Relax at Mount Lavinia Beach – Mount Lavinia is one of Sri Lanka’s most popular beaches located just outside of Colombo. The beach is lined with restaurants, pubs, and other areas you can relax in.
  • Spend a day touring the Colombo National Museum – The largest museum in Sri Lanka, the Colombo National Museum is a must-visit for any first-time visitor and is a great place to learn about the rich Sri Lankan culture and history.
  • Visit the breathtaking Gangaramaya Temple – The Gangaramaya Temple is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Colombo and is a wonderful mix of architectural prowess and cultural essence.

Gangaramaya Temple / CC BY-SA 4.0 / Dan arndt

Must-Eats:

Sri Lankan cuisine is heavily influenced by those from neighbouring countries like India. Some must-try dishes include fish ambul thiyal (sour fish curry), kottu (Sri Lankan burger), and kukul mas curry (chicken curry).

Kottu / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 / cvandega

Best areas to stay:

  • Colombo 7 – Cinnamon Gardens in Colombo 7 is one of Colombo’s most popular and trendy areas. It’s a bustling neighbourhood with a number of boutique hotels and cafes.
  • Colombo 2 – If you want to close to the partying and clubbing scene in Colombo, base yourself in Colombo 2. There are a number of nice cafes, restaurants, and nightclubs.
  • Colombo 5 – Colombo 5 is one of the largest neighbourhoods and is where you’ll find markets, cafes, and restaurants. Also, it has a number of nice boutique hotels to choose from.

 

Best Budget Hotel: Bunkyard Hostels

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There you have it! Cheap weekend getaway destinations that are both exciting and affordable. So, where’s your next weekend escapade?