For a permanently budget traveler like myself, entry tickets can leave a big hole in the thin wallet. I know some who use fake student IDs to get discount, sometimes up to 50% and that certainly sounds tempting but I just can’t bring myself to pretend to be a penniless student. And so I begrudgingly count the notes while breathing an audible sigh and bitching politely to the indifferent attendant who must have heard it at least fifteen thousand times before.

While writing an entry on Borobudur and Prambanan temples, I debated whether I should outright call their tickets overpriced, and came up with this simple chart:


Time is measured in hours, roughly 2-4 hours is considered half day.
Cost is a function of x = “price of a decent budget hotel in the area”


– Angkor Wat (2014): Entry price: 3-day pass at $40 -> $13.4/day
Price of the hotel we stayed at (Green Home hotel: 8.2 rating on Agoda and 8.9 on Booking): $15.
We spent the whole day in the complex every day, so Totally Worth It! Could totally go back and spend another week roaming around.

– Machu Picchu (2009): Back then, entry price was 60 soles or $20 (I was a student and got 50% off).
Price of hotel: Local hotels for Peruvians were 15-20 soles ($5-7), for those that you can find on Agoda or Booking, it’d be $25-30.
Since I was living there and so used to local living standards, it definitely felt overpriced, though I did have a blast and was so glad I went (when I still could use a student discount).

– Prambanan and Borobudur (2014): Combo ticket 360,000 rupiahs or $30, so $15 each.
Hotels: I was dirt cheap and spent $7 in Prambanan and only $2 in Borobudur (dorm room but I had it all for myself). I’d say the normal price is about $12.I spent less than 3 hours in each place, so it’s right around the gray area between overpriced and worth it. I’m going with overpriced.

Oh, and a helpful additional factor when you’re in the gray area is how much more you’re paying compared to locals: 10 times more? This shit is sure pricey.

I’m sure as hell spending lots of time thinking about this, just to show you how much I care about prices. I guess you can go with this simpler guideline:
– Amazing, among top things I’ve ever seen! Would gladly go back in a heartbeat! Worth it!
– Pretty cool, glad to check it off, would never pay to go again. (Somewhat) overpriced.
– What was I thinking! I’m stupid to fall into this tourist trap.