It’s the time of the year again. We hear bonus bells a-ringing and office parties a-planning. If you’re thinking hard of what to reward yourself with for a year of hard work, why not plan a memorable trip rather than splurge on a designer (insert item)? And even if you don’t want pay ridiculous airfares for the holiday season, add these beautiful destinations to your bucket list for future reference.
Asia is not just about Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and all the big Asian cities. Take a look at the smaller countries, that has a complete different culture from the rest!
Laos offers incredibly scenic landscapes, cultural diversity, and a very laid-back pace that will sooth your frazzled city nerves. Visit Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage City that enchants everyone with French architecture, ancient temples, and a night market not to be missed. You can find rooms in guesthouses going for S$30 a night, or dorm bed for as low as S$10.
If you’re up for some stunning mountains and adventure, head to Vang Vieng. Drunk western backpackers may annoy you every now and then, but the scenery will more than compensate.
Mention Cambodia and the magnificent Angkor Wat comes to mind. Catch the sunrise at dawn and be sure to engage a professional guide if you want to get in-depth knowledge of the fascinating temple and its surroundings. Of course, Angkor Wat is but one of the many other interesting and significant sites.
A room in a guesthouse in Siem Reap, aka Angkor Wat city, costs about S$30 and upwards. A good meal can be had for as little as S$5.
Also visit the Tuol Sleng prison in Phnom Penh to learn about the country’s tragic past, and don’t miss the other gems like Sihanoukville and the Northwest.
Vietnam is perhaps one of the most pocket-friendly countries to visit in Southeast Asia, if not the world. Have a bowl of noodles for S$1, find private rooms for S$20, and travel across the length of the country with affordable and comfortable sleeper buses and trains.
Move from the South where you can visit the Cu Chi tunnels in the capital of Ho Chih Minh, to charming Hoi An in central Vietnam, and to the picturesque nature of Halong Bay and Sapa up north.
Philippines is highly under-rated, considering that there are over 7000 islands with a wealth of natural beauty and culture waiting to explored. While the whole world seems to be descending upon the white sand beaches of Boracay, those who want the white sand without the crowds have a ton of other options to choose from, like the Bacuit Archipelago.
The country also hosts some of the best diving spots in the world, where you can explore WWII shipwrecks, or swim with giant whale sharks. If you’re not a fan of the island life, head up North and hike amongst the rice terraces of Banue.
Cost of travelling is higher in the Philippines than in its Southeast Asian neighbours, but you can still manage to come in at S$50 a day as a budget traveller.
Europe may seem like an expensive travel destination for most of us. Well, we will break that myth!
It’s no secret that Eastern Europe is a great affordable travel destination. And Hungary offers a great variety of sights to explore, not to mention the famous Christmas markets.
Don’t miss a thermal bath experience in Budapest, and explore Lake Balaton. Travelling on a budget here would come in below S$100 a day, and much less if you sleep in hostel dorms, where a bed would cost just about S$12-15 a night.
Romania isn’t just about Dracula even though that’s quite cool. Explore its medieval castles and villages in Transylvania, rural and folk communities, and the stunning mountains in Carpathians, just over two hours from the bustling capital of Bucharest.
A room in a hotel comes under S$70, or if you’re going budget, score a bed in a nice hostel for S$15. Meals can be had for between S$10-20, more if you feel fancy.
Undeniable that South America is so far away, it almost feels like the other end of the world! However, we handpicked a destination that worth all the efforts to fly over.
The most expensive thing about a trip to Bolivia is the air ticket. This relatively small and landlocked country in South America boasts landscapes that are completely surreal, and the throngs of tourists have yet to arrive. The Uyuni Salt Flats and the surrounding lagoons are the country’s top draw, but equally as mesmerising is Lake Titicaca. Cycle down the Death Road from La Paz. You will most likely make it out alive, and still find yourself in the paradise that is Coroico.
A bed in a decent hostel goes for as low as S$10, private rooms can be found for S$25, and meals for less than S$5.
I’m sure you wouldn’t want any accident to come in and ruin your holiday plan. So don’t forget to get travel insurance so you can enjoy your epic trip with a peace of mind. We’ve talked about how important a travel insurance is and how to get the one. I’m sure you wouldn’t want any accident to come in and ruin your holiday plan.
Or if you think you’ve got a chronic case of wanderlust, then a travel credit card might just let you scratch that itch. The good news is, you don’t even have to spend a fortune to accumulate those air miles! ANZ Visa Signature Credit Card gives you bonus miles of 2,000 as welcome gift, with the highest earn rate of 1.4 miles for every S$1 spent! However it does have a higher hurdle of S$5,000 minimum monthly income. If this is not for you, you may want to discover how to get a good travel credit card that can shave off significant amount of your travel expenses.
Vacation plans are just in time as the school holiday starts. Why not take your family for a short getaway within South East Asia, or fly over to Europe to experience the vibrant Christmas atmosphere!
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