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Q: So what is the cheapest country to tour within??, Indonesia or Iran perhaps?? ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   10 Comments )
Subject: So what is the cheapest country to tour within??, Indonesia or Iran perhaps??
Category: Sports and Recreation > Travel
Asked by: johnfrommelbourne-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 12 May 2004 01:38 PDT
Expires: 11 Jun 2004 01:38 PDT
Question ID: 345044
Trevelled a little bit and figured I have already been to very close
to the most expensive country to travel around, ( in terms of
accommadation, food, meals, railfares,and other such things that an
average low/medium expenditure tourist would require) being
SWITZERLAND. Now I am wondering if the country I have now visited a
few times, INDONESIA, is perhaps close to the cheapest?? In fact I was
fairly confident that Indonesia would have gone close to the cheapest
but having just seen a documentary on Iran I am now not so sure. In
Indonesia one can certainly buy a hearty meal of Nasi Goreng(
Indonesian special fried rice) complete with egg, chicken, onion,
vegetables for under a dollar American or Australian; about 
US75cents. Other traditional meals although  not large can be had even
cheaper, the fishball dish called Siomay I bought only yesterday for
2000 Rupiah where the rupiah goes about 8400 to the USA dollar.
Admittedly  only a small meal however. A full-time maid here can cost
R350,000 for a whole month. Anyway it seems there could be places even
cheaper to travel in than Indonesia if prices quoted for Iran are any
guide. Discovery Travel channel yesterday was quoting about 5cents a
litre for petrol in Iran and a first class trainfare of $2.50 to get
across the country and not much more than that to go 100 miles in a
taxi.  Assumimg info was correct( and I heard correctly??) would Iran
be the least expensive country to travel within and if not what is,
Indonesia?, Vietnam,or....?  I thought perhaps there was a definitive
answer sitting on a website that shows costs against the US dollar. if
not then possibly some  antecdotal evidence of some repute would do as
an answer.

P.S I figured that perhaps "Bryan" would have some sound knowledge on
this subject being the font of knowledge and wisdom that he is.

 John From Melbourne
Subject: Re: So what is the cheapest country to tour within??, Indonesia or Iran perhaps??
Answered By: digsalot-ga on 12 May 2004 05:00 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hello there

To Iran I have been.  Just wish the political situation was a little
different but a fantastic place to visit both for scenery and friendly
people.  LOL, probably half my friends here in the US are Persian.  At
least I am kept well supplied with Iranian caviar and Persian saffron.

Many places in the world have never lived up to expectations, such as
Niagra Falls, but a couple have exceeded them.  Two come to mind
immediately, the Grand Canyon and the country of Iran.  If I ever get
to Australia, I imagine Ayers Rock will join the list.

Iranian weather can be harsh at any time of the year.  Winter nights
around Tehran can fall well below 0 fahrenheit and summers can blister
a steel worker.  There are excellent winter resorts in the Alborz
mountains right at the edge of the city.  One of the best is Tochal,
world class and so close in you can get to it by city public
transportation.  You can wake up in the morning, do your things and
then decide to go skiing, and you will be on top of the slope in 15
minutes. The restaurant there is excellent and warm and you can always
get back to Tehran by just taking the lift down.  That lift is also
one of the highest in the world and goes to 12,300 ft

It is a spectacular country from end to end, and if you enjoy
beautiful meetings of land and water, the Caspian coast is a must. 
The mountains are great and rival the Alps or the Rockys.  The deserts
are shimmering and crystal inspite of the horrid heat.  The Persian
Gulf cities are a delight though they get quite humid in summer (but
no rain).

The wild flowers in spring are incredible.  It is the land of wild
tulips from which many garden varieties have been developed.  I have
ridden through tulips so tall they touched the horse's belly.

I spent a little less than a year there and left soon after the US
embassy was taken hostage in 1980 so my memories are a little dated. 
But if you can get a chance to go  - do it.

Now, while it is only personal opinion, I have done a little traveling
and to me, Iran is perhaps one of the most beautiful countries in the

Current prices average:

Budget: US$1-2 
Mid-range: US$2-10 
High: US$10+ 


Budget: US$2-10 
Mid-range: US$10-40 
High: US$40-110

A budget for cheap hotels, Iranian food and overland transport is
US$10 per day.   Now that makes Iranian food sound second rate doesn't
it?  Don't kid yourself.  Iranian food is magnificent.  With average
budget meals being as low as US$1 at least in published figures, you
will be able to find good food at below that price as well.

You will also find a high end budget if you want.  Iran is prepared to
play host to large numbers of tourists and they have a lot to offer in
the luxury range as well.  I think if they just pushed it more, even
with the current political and social situation, Iran could become a
major player in international tourism.  I wish they would.

Whether it is the cheapest or not is rather subjective when getting to
the low end of the budget.  We are in an economic realm where the
difference between the "cheapest" and the "second cheapest" may be
only fractions of cents.  So I feel fairly safe posting an answer
which says, "yes" Iran is cheapest.  If not, it is so close as to make
little or no difference.

The only resource I have for you is about the current cost figures: -
Iran - Lonely Planet

All the rest of it is just my ramblings.

If conditions there ever improve, I could probably vanish and wander
through Persian dreams for years.  I really do love the place.


Clarification of Answer by digsalot-ga on 12 May 2004 05:11 PDT
Just in case you can't make it - here is a good collection of photos
so you can take a virtual tour.


Clarification of Answer by digsalot-ga on 12 May 2004 05:12 PDT
woops -

Clarification of Answer by digsalot-ga on 13 May 2004 22:43 PDT
"Would have liked to know why you actually spent so long there however?"

The Alborz archaeological survey was a five year project which was
interrupted in a little under a year by political events.  The plateau
and mountain regions have been occupied since early prehistory and had
never been fully investigated.

johnfrommelbourne-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
Thanks Diggsy,
              It was probably not the definitive answer but as you and
others have intimated there is probably no definitive answer and Iran
could well be the cheapest on many measures. Would have liked to know
why you actually spent so long there however?  Thanks also to Carl
from Hollywood who provided some additional and very relevant info on
the subject.

  John From Melbourne

Subject: Re: So what is the cheapest country to tour within??, Indonesia or Iran perhaps??
From: probonopublico-ga on 12 May 2004 03:44 PDT
Hi, John

I shall have to think about this ...

Like you, I have travelled extensively but usually at somebody else's
expense and my itinerary was always predicated on business
requirements rather than finding the lowest cost of living.

I do recall visits that I made to Poland and Bulgaria before the Iron
Curtain was lifted where costs were absurdly low and there was
virtually nothing that any Westerner wanted to buy in the shops. I
guess that things will have changed.

I've been told that, for a pittance, 'you can live like a King' in
Costa Rica which also has the advantage of being a great place. But
I've never been.

Again, I've never been to Thailand or the Philippines but I've heard
lots of great things.

I'll get back to you if I have any great ideas.

All the Best

Subject: Re: So what is the cheapest country to tour within??, Indonesia or Iran perhaps??
From: johnfrommelbourne-ga on 12 May 2004 03:56 PDT
Well that is start Bryan so thanks for that; hopefuly someone can add
to that or even provide some sort of authoritive answer. In regrads
Poland my understanding was that they did produce a few things of
superior quality
(during Communist times)unmatched before or since the curtain came
down in quality. One of these was what we in Australia called the
"desert boot". These were worn by everyone here and were absolutely
multi-functional and very comfortable. Perhaps you know them.
Apparently  Communist Poland had a virtual monoloply on the world
market and when the government factories were privatised the quality 
of this shoe went with it. In its place came versions from Asia aimimg
at cheap immitations that saturated the market. They were useless and
no-one bought them so that after the 2o year reign of the Polish
desert boot in Australia nothing similar followed and Ugh boots etc
came into fashion. The desert boot never rose again unfortunately.
Subject: Re: So what is the cheapest country to tour within??, Indonesia or Iran perhaps??
From: rai130-ga on 12 May 2004 09:29 PDT
Bolivia is pretty damn cheap... and most excellent.
Subject: Re: So what is the cheapest country to tour within??, Indonesia or Iran perhaps??
From: carlhollywood-ga on 12 May 2004 09:58 PDT
You might want to look through this book called "The World's Cheapest
Destinations: 21 Countries Where Your Dollars Are Worth a Fortune":

The countries include Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos, Vietnam,
India, Nepal, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Bulgaria, Hungary, the
Czech Republic, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador,
and Venezuela.  Here's a free excerpt:

The author might add Argentina to the list these days, according to his blog:
Subject: Re: So what is the cheapest country to tour within??, Indonesia or Iran perhaps??
From: probonopublico-ga on 12 May 2004 22:35 PDT
Hi, Again, John

From the Answer and the Comments, it appears that there are LOTS of
possibilities and it would be difficult to specify 'the cheapest'.

But, in any event, at the end of the day, it's what appeals to you,
climate-wise, convenience-wise, food-wise, culture-wise, etc.

I've got a pal who's a compulsive traveller and he likes ringing the
changes. In August, he's going to 'do' the Silk Road but one place
that he keeps returning to is Russia, mainly because he loves the

As for you?

Well, if you come to the UK as an illegal immigrant, we'll look after
you for free and give you lots of spends as well.

And, importantly, we can also show you how cricket should be played.

So, how about it?

All the Best

Subject: Re: So what is the cheapest country to tour within??, Indonesia or Iran perhaps??
From: johnfrommelbourne-ga on 13 May 2004 19:54 PDT
        As an Australian and a member of a country that has won the
last two cricket world cups I dont think I need much advice in that
area. If I ever get to Engalnd I will looking to you for hospitality
rather than the government. Of course if you ever come to Oz you can
rely on me for a cup off coffee at least also. I am super easy to
find. On landing at Melbourne airport you take the Skybus to central
part of Melbourne( the greatest city in the world). When it stops you
take ten steps north along footpath and you  are at my place of work.
Alternatively you take a few steps south on same footpath and you are
at my city apartment where I live, both in Spencer St Melbourne, the
most well known street in my state.  In regards question it appears
you could be right there is no definitive anwser and what has been
provided by Digsy and commenters is all very relevant and as correct
as one could expect.

 John from melbourne
Subject: Re: So what is the cheapest country to tour within??, Indonesia or Iran perhaps??
From: probonopublico-ga on 13 May 2004 23:06 PDT
Hi, Again, John

Many thanks for the invite ... I've never been to Melbourne .... Yet!

And, of course, if you ever come to the UK, please look me up.

All the Best

Subject: Re: So what is the cheapest country to tour within??, Indonesia or Iran perhaps??
From: pickingrinnin-ga on 14 May 2004 12:10 PDT
I spent several weeks in Thailand last Summer, and would highly
recommend it as a cheap, entertaining, thoroughly enjoyable vacation
destination.  I found it to be more affordable and safer than Mexico
or Romania, where I have spent similar amounts of time.

The people are VERY friendly and helpful, the food is great, the
sights are wonderful, and everything is dirt cheap.  Your greatest
expense will be the trip over - once in the country, everything is a
bare fraction of what it would cost in the U.S. (gemstones in
particular).  Most meals were $2 and under, daily housing outside
Bangkok is in the $10 range (unless you want to go with hostels and
such), guided personal tours easy to come by and VERY affordable, and
two-hour traditional Thai massages (real professional massages, not
prostitution fronts) are about $5 (great for those with bad backs).

Western food and toilet/health/beauty goods are easy to come by (and
affordable), but you can go with traditional options (my preference)
just as easily, and for even less money.  You don't have to fill a bag
with toilet tissue, Immodium, Alka-Seltzer, etc. - you can buy them
right there, if you wish, but advertising for them doesn't dominate
the landscape like it does in many countries.

One word of warning - clothes there are sized for a very small, thin
population, so a "large" shirt is equivalent to a U.S. "small."  If
you're tall and/or not thin, I would explore their hand-made tailor
clothing options (which are incredibly inexpensive).

- Jesse
Subject: Re: So what is the cheapest country to tour within??, Indonesia or Iran perhaps??
From: rgb-ga on 01 Mar 2005 01:39 PST
I found that Bulgaria was cheap using public transport. More details
of travel, accommodation and property in Bulgaria from
Subject: Re: So what is the cheapest country to tour within??, Indonesia or Iran perhaps?
From: jazeejeff-ga on 09 Mar 2005 19:51 PST
Hi John,

I am a Malaysian who have travelled to Thailand a few times, I would
say that in terms of scenery, there is little to differentiate
Malaysia and Thailand.
Both countries have beautiful white sandy beaches on the east and west
coast. Linking both countries together is a mountain range that tops
at above 5000ft above sea level.

I guess the main different would be the culture. Malaysia being made
up of 3 main race: Malay, Chinese and Indian. As a result, there is an
interesting fusion when it comes to things like food, language,
culture etc.

In terms of travel cost, Malaysia would be slightly higher because of
the exchange rate compared to Thailand. But nevertheless, still very
affordable. A bowl of noodle cost less than rm5.00 and a can of coke
is about rm1.50.

What I like about Thailand is their food, massage and shopping. Just
remember to negotiate the price especially when it comes to shopping.
I would normally negotiate to about 40-50% off the listed price.

Here's a link to my website where I have some pictures taken while I
was in Thailand.


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