I am getting spoiled here. And I mean seriously spoiled!
One of the many luxuries of travel in Asia is the incredibly low cost of living. Sam and I are travelling as a couple and we have a daily budget of $50 for the two us. We are staying in nice guesthouses, eating out 3 times a day, and spending a little bit on sightseeing, but guess what? We don’t always reach our daily spending limit! Yes, we are seeing the world for less than $25 a day each and we sure aren’t roughing it. (How is that even possible?!)
The low cost of living has meant that we can splurge on things that we normally wouldn’t back in Canada. Things like these:
$2 foot massage
I had never been to a spa in my life! Spas are supposed to be expensive and outside the means of a twenty-something year old’s budget – or so I thought. Well, it’s a whole different world out here! Manicures, pedicures, foot massages, neck massages… Heck! You can even go to a foot spa where little fish nibble the dead skin off your feet.
$9 dental cleaning
Okay, I went to the dentist in Korea, which I realize isn’t part of SE Asia, but since prices for a dental visit are relatively the same around here, I’m throwing this one in.
While I was still in Korea, I figured it might be a good idea to get my teeth cleaned. I hadn’t done it all year because I assumed it would probably be costly, so I just kept putting it off. I finally got an appointment booked for a cleaning and…it was a breeze! The dental hygienist didn’t speak a word of English and she kept chatting while I would just nod along. When she was finished she explained to me in Korean that because my wisdom teeth hadn’t surfaced yet, she was giving me a discount on the cleaning – I paid $9 instead of $10. Where else do you get a price like that?
$18 custom made dress
The little city of Hoi An in central Vietnam is a shopper’s paradise! You may not come here with the intention of going on a shopping spree, but once you see all the tailor shops offering custom made suits, dresses, handbags and shoes, you’ll be dropping dong in shops all over town. Hoi An tailors can copy any design you show them, and they do it with a quick turnaround. Best place to get yourself a new wardrobe!
$35 luxury suite
Long gone are the hostelling days (though I’ll probably revert to my old ways whenever I make it over to Europe)! When you’re travelling as a couple in SE Asia, a private room is often the same price as two people paying to stay in a dorm room. You eliminate the snorers, sleep-talkers and sleep-walkers, and you also don’t have to contend with the inebriated stumbling into the room and switching all the lights on at 2 in the morning. You can find a decent private room for $12-20 a night, and if you’re looking to splurge on something a little fancier every once in a while, a luxury suite at $35 a night won’t break the bank either. Bonus points if it includes breakfast and a swimming pool.
$45 reading glasses
I can see again! I lost my reading glasses while living in Korea (I probably left them behind at some cafe), and I finally decided to get them replaced months later while travelling through Vietnam. Like with most major purchases, I was putting this off because I figured it would cost upwards of $100 to get a new pair…not even! I walked into a local optometrist, had my eyes checked (it had been a couple of years), got a new prescription, picked out a new pair of frames (red nerdy ones), got a special anti-scratch and anti-glare lens, and the best part is that I only paid $45! Last time I went to the optometrist in Canada I paid around $90 and that was only for a quick eye exam.
Now it’s your turn, what’s the best deal you’ve come across in your travels?