SEA Destinations that Won't Leave You Broke
If you want to see the world while you're still young, but don't exactly have the funds to do so, you're not alone. Between flights and accommodations, traveling can be costly. But a summer getaway doesn't have to leave you totally broke. Some of Southeast Asia's most beautiful destinations are also the cheapest and most budget-friendly locales.
Here are some value destinations for your 2014 Southeast Asian-trotting pleasure. See what's beyond Manila and return home with money in your wallet.
The Unspoiled, Lesser-Known Cousin of Bali: Lombok, Indonesia
Bali's less-popular cousin, Lombok is about 5 hours away by ferry and 30 minutes by plane. Although Lombok doesn't receive much fanfare as its hugely popular neighbor, many Indonesians prefer Lombok over Bali for many reasons: cheaper hotel rooms and souvenir shops, unspoiled scenic spots, and surf spots for all kinds of surfers.
The island also offers scuba diving, trekking, and mountain climbing. It's a place where you can have a vacation from your vacation and just do all sorts of outdoor activities or simply have a Bintang beer by the beach.
The Primary Gateway to Angkor (and More): Siem Reap, Cambodia
You can't visit Siem Reap without seeing Angkor Wat. But nor should you overlook other parts of the town, which add to the charm and allure of this historical place.
Take off those temple-tinted specs and experience its vibrant nightlife, extravagant markets, and exotic cuisine. Hire a tuk-tuk tour guide and explore the travel destinations that aren't on the guidebook. Ask the driver to take you to the bustling town, temples, and other places of interest.
The City in French Relics and an Ultramodern Skyline: Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Crossing the road in Ho Chi Minh City is enough to get your heart pumping. Work your way from the narrower streets to the huge intersection across the Ben Thanh Market, where all kinds of automobiles dominate the roads.
If you're not up to the challenge, sit back and try the late-night pedicure/spa, indulge in Pho and pork rolls, visit the War Remnants Museum, and check out the scenic pagodas and temples. From the traditional museums to the futuristic skyscrapers, you won't run out of things to do in the city.
A Sight to Rival Angkor Wat and Machu Picchu: Bagan, Burma
With over 2,000 temples around the Bagan Archaeological Zone, the sunrise is simply spectacular at dawn. Make it more exciting with a hot-air balloon ride over the temples. Superbly preserved and restored by Unesco, most temples still contain the carving and statues of Buddha.
Only a few have visited the temples. This makes Bagan a splendidly unsullied destination by the standards of beauty and stature.
With their diverse culture, great food, and low cost of living, these Southeast Asian cities are a must-visit if you happen to find yourself in this part of the globe. Beyond the traditional trips on the beaten route like Bangkok and Bali, it's still possible to find affordable getaways filled with sun, sand, culture, and exotic cuisine.