Affordable Tropical Getaways - 5 Alternatives to Bali and Thailand
When you live in Australia, travelling to Bali is almost a rite of passage.
However, we've noticed that Bali is not the cheap holiday haven it once was, and you run a good chance of bumping into that awkward friend from years ago. Not to mention the special brand of food poisoning affectionately dubbed ‘Bali belly’.
Up for a change? These are our top picks for tropical getaways off the beaten track.
Indonesia’s big sister, Malaysia is home to the same South East Asian hospitality and warm and sticky climate as Bali. For a laid back holiday or romantic getaway with recommend hitting the island of Langkawi or Ferringhi Beach in Penang. Penang is also one of the most amazing food spots in the world. Have a cup of Teh Tarik (literally pulled tea, a Malaysian favourite) while you chow down on laksa, char kue teow (fried rice noodles), roti canai (flat bread, usually served with curry) and Hainanese chicken rice.
Perfect warm weather year round with pristine beaches and some of the best spots to snorkel, we find Samoa is often overshadowed by other Pacific islands in the region. Learn about Samoan culture and watch traditional dancers perform at the Samoa Cultural Village, or swim with turtles and feed them papaya at the wetlands sanctuary in Satoalepai Village.
If you can’t get enough of the aquatic life, the Giant Clam Sanctuary is an amazing place to snorkel – at 10 Tala (or about $5) per person, it won’t hurt the wallet either.
It might be the 50th state of the USA, but you can get some surprisingly cheap flights (especially departing east coast cities). Hawaii has the best of American shopping, but is half the distance and enjoys beautiful weather all year.
Waikiki Beach (pictured above) is one of the most famous beaches in the world; similar to Bondi Beach, tourists flock to the beach in swarms. Waikiki boasts some beautiful sunset views, however, should you rather lay back with your cocktail in peace, try heading north for similar views without the crowds.
Like the idea of South East Asia but are concerned about safety and hygiene? Singapore is your answer. The densely populated cosmopolitan country is one of the cleanest and safest islands in the region which makes Singapore very popular with expats. Enjoy shopping from global brands on Orchard Road, or indulge in all you can eat dimsum at Clifford Pier.
Taking the kids? Check out Sentosa Island – packed with family friendly attractions including Universal Studios, Adventure Cove Waterpark and Madame Tussauds.
Or hoping to find great nightlife? Look no further than Clarke Quay.
Tip: alcohol is expensive in Singapore, especially when the Singapore dollar is about equal to ours. If you plan to drink, we recommend picking up a cheap bottle of your preferred poison at the Duty Free store Changi airport on your way in.
If you love your cuppa, you’ll know that some of the nicest teas are grown in Sri Lanka and there are an abundance of tea farms and estates to visit. A must-see for any tea fiend would be the Ceylon Tea Museum – with exhibits on Thomas Lipton and lots of tea history, culminating in a nice brew at the tearooms. Or go the whole hog and sign up for a tea tour.
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