Budget travel Destinations. The year is flashing by. Why not take a step back and take that long due vacation abroad? Before you raise your hand in protest at the HUGE costs involved in travelling outside the country, let us tell you we are talking about places which are beautiful yet affordable. Their currency is weaker than ours and you’ll have ample scope to indulge in tourist-y activities. Don’t believe us? See for yourself:
Budget Travel Destinations
1. Bhutan[caption id="attachment_4941" align="aligncenter" width="960"] Punakha, the administrative centre of Punakha Dzongkhag, one of the 20 districts of Bhutan. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/Bhutan)[/caption] The only country to adopt Gross National Happiness (GNP) as a marker of prosperity and development, Bhutan is truly a dream come true. It is a quaint kingdom with lofty mountains, serene monasteries and friendly locals often strutting about in gho and kira. The capital city of Thimphu is home to the National Memorial Chorten, the National Folk Heritage Museum and the National Library, all of which give a glimpse into the unique culture and traditions of Bhutan. The city is replete with Dzongs (fortified buildings encompassing administrative and monastic institutions) which are home to monks and where people come to pray and meditate. The Punakha Dzong, in fact, is one of the most majestic structures in Bhutan.
Currency Exchange: 1.00 Indian Rupee = 1 Bhutanese Ngultrum
A visit to the Zorig Chusum School of traditional arts can be interesting as it shows how young Bhutanese students learn the 13 traditional arts of Bhutan. Don’t forget to indulge in some ema datsi while going around the country discovering hidden gems. The crafts bazaar is also a must visit and you could also pick up souvenirs on your way back.
Read more: Travel Hacks for Lazy People.
2. Cambodia[caption id="attachment_4942" align="aligncenter" width="960"] Angkor Wat, Cambodian Temple. (Photo: iStock)[/caption] A visit to Angkor Wat is in order if you want to get away from the madding crowd and intrusive city life. The temple ruins bear testimony to the rich heritage and culture of Cambodia. The best part about vacationing in Cambodia is that not only does it have calm, serene places but it also has bustling areas such as the Sihanoukville beach. Other interesting places you could visit include Tonie Sap City, Siem Reap and Bokor hill station. Currency Exchange: 1 Indian Rupee = 63.70 Cambodian Riel
Suggested read: Anandpur Sahib- Forging the Sikh Nation.
3. Vietnam[caption id="attachment_4943" align="aligncenter" width="960"] Floating village near rock islands in Halong Bay. (Photo: iStock)[/caption] All foodies and coffee junkies should make their way to Vietnam. The country, which is the second biggest producer of coffee in the world, sure knows how to do it right. As for food, the streets of Vietnam are dotted with local delicacies such as pho and bun ca, noodle soup and more. In fact, gorging on street food is one of the most exciting experiences in Vietnam. The country is home to some of the most gigantic caves, some of which have been discovered as late as 2009. Vietnam is also home to Halong Bay, the UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Gulf of Tonkin. It makes for an exceptional sightseeing experience. Currency Exchange: 1 Indian Rupee = 354.52 Vietnamese Dong
4. Sri Lanka[caption id="attachment_4944" align="aligncenter" width="960"] Sri Lankan elephants in a herd. (Photo: iStock)[/caption] Proximity to the country, weaker currency and an abundance of beauty is what makes Sri Lanka a hit among travellers from India. The adventure enthusiasts find themselves spoilt for choices. There are avenues for rafting, kayaking, mountain biking, rock climbing and much more. Besides, there is so much to see in Sri Lanka. (Did you know the island is home to 8 UNESCO world heritage sites?)
Sri Lanka houses some of the best tea estates in Nuwara Eliya, or “Little England”. A big shoutout to all the tea-lovers out there! Mark your calendars and plan your trip to Sri Lanka NOW! Currency Exchange: 1 Indian Rupee = 2.39 Sri Lankan Rupee
Sri Lanka shares an exotic relationship with wildlife. You can play with elephants, visit turtle hatcheries and spot giant blue whales in the azure waters close to Galle, Hikkaduwa and Mirissa. What’s more – if you want to go back in time, just ride one of the trains in Sri Lanka which will chart their way through beautiful hills and valleys of the country. The capital city of Colombo is a treat in itself – a combination of modernity and tradition, with a gamut of tourist-y things to do.
Featured read: Spiti-Born from an Ancient sea
5. Costa Rica[caption id="attachment_4945" align="aligncenter" width="960"] Costa Rica coast line. (Photo: iStock)[/caption] With a host of beaches, rain forests, wide expanse of coffee plantations, active volcanoes and much more, Costa Rica packs a powerful punch for travellers and tourists alike. The beautiful Manuel Antonio National Park which marks the union of white sand and lush rainforest has monkeys tip-toeing on tree branches among a host of other wild creatures. Likewise, the cloud forest reserve of Monteverde is home to 450 species of orchids.
Costa Rica can be visited at any time of the year but if you happen to travel there in October, don’t forget to revel in the party spirit of the very famous Limon Carnival – a beach extravaganza with colourful costumes, lots of dancing, partying and finger-licking creole dishes. Currency Exchange: 1 Indian Rupee = 8.93 Costa Rican Colón
Other notable places to visit include Arenal Volcano and the quaint beach town of Manzanillo. Any trip to Costa Rica remains incomplete without a visit to the sprawling coffee plantations. You have the option of seeing firsthand how coffee is cultivated, processed and roasted.