Sure, the cost of living in Asia is generally lower than in most western countries. So tourists expect the dollar, euro or pound to have a high buying power when they travel in the region. It’s still true, generally, but on my last visit to the Philippines last month, I was surprised to see that it’s no longer as cheap as I remember it to be. Yes, clothes and some other commodities were still way cheaper, but eating out, for example, seemed to be almost as expensive, especially when you dine out in the posher districts.
Want to know how much your dollar can buy? Have a look at the Economist’s 2006 “Big Mac” Index and see how much a Big Mac costs in other countries. It’s still generally cheaper in Asia (cheapest in China at $1.34 apiece), and can give you a rough idea of the forex rate.