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The Seven Costliest Asian Cities for a Backpacking Trip

Tokyo, Japan ranks as the costliest country for a backpacker.

The idea behind backpacking around a country is that it helps reduce the costs of vacationing, while still giving travelers a chance to learn about a culture first hand. In some locations, however, the cost of backpacking is still relatively high. This article takes a closer look at some of the most expensive cities in Asia, which is usually known for its low cost, and might make a backpacking trip more costly. The daily cost of these locations is determined by the Backpacker Index of 2017, which includes one entrance to a famous site, two trips on public transportation, three cheap local drinks, three daily meals, and one night at the least expensive hostel.

1. Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan is the most expensive city to visit in Asia. Here, backpackers should expect to spend roughly $66.74 a day for the most basic mode of travel. This 770-square mile city offers something for everyone, from technology lovers to history buffs. Tourists can check out an excellent view of the metropolitan area from the Tokyo Government building, stroll through the beautiful garden at the Imperial Palace, and people-watch in the Yoyogi Park. This city is also a great place to take classes in martial arts or participate in a traditional tea ceremony.

2. Macau, China

The second most expensive Asian city for backpackers is Macau, China. Due to the long colonial history of the city, which only recently ended in 1999, the culture and architecture here still reflect a heavy European influence. Macau is home to a number of temples, museums, fortresses, gardens, and markets. Its gambling venues, however, are perhaps the most popular attractions in this city. Additionally, the Macau Heritage Walking Tours offer visitors a chance to see the historic buildings that make up its UNESCO World Heritage Site. This city has an average daily backpacker cost of $62.12.

3. Singapore, Singapore

With an average daily expense of $51.59, Singapore is the third most expensive city in Asia. Backpackers can try to keep their costs low by staying in shared-room hostels and eating at local markets. This city offers a wide range of attractions, including the Chinese Gardens, Changi Memorial, Jurong Bird Park, and the MacRitchie Reservoir. Tourists can also spend a relaxing day on the beach or check out one of the city's many religious sites.

4. Hong Kong, China

Hong Kong, China is the fourth most expensive city for backpackers in Asia. It has an average daily cost of around $51.48. This city has been a Special Administrative Region of China since 1997, after having been a British colony for over 100 years. British influences are still evident throughout this city. Some of the most popular sites here include the stilt houses of Tai O, the Man Mo Temple, the Tian Tan Buddha statue, and the walled town of Tsang Tai Uk. Additionally, tourists may enjoy time at the many amusement parks, natural areas, and museums.

5. Seoul, South Korea

Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is significantly less expensive than the previously mentioned cities. Here, a backpacker can expect to spend approximately $38.92 daily for basic needs. Tourists to this city often visit the temples, shrines, parks, and palaces located here. Additionally, this city is surrounded by mountains, making it an excellent starting point for a day-long hike. Other popular attractions here include the markets, the Seodaemun Prison, and the Korean Folk Village.

Other expensive backpacking cities in Asia include Shanghai, China ($35.63) and Taipei, Taiwan ($31.96).

The Seven Costliest Asian Cities for a Backpacking Trip

RankCityCountryBackpacker Index for 2017 (in USD per day)
1TokyoJapan$66.74
2MacauChina$62.12
3SingaporeSingapore$51.59
4Hong KongChina$51.48
5SeoulSouth Korea$38.92
6ShanghaiChina$35.63
7TaipeiTaiwan$31.96

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