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In the first part of this collaborative post my eyes were certainly opened to some new and exciting budget-friendly travel destinations ranging from Eastern Europe to South Africa and from South East Asia to India. I’m delighted to bring you best value for money travel destinations part 2 and some further feasts for the eyes.
This time around my fellow travel bloggers are taking you from South America to Eastern Europe and from Africa to South East Asia to the South Pacific. So without further ado here they are:
Close to the southern border of Ecuador, you’ll find Cuenca surrounded by a beautiful mountain range. With its European colonial flair, this Unesco town offers great value for a holiday. Stroll the cobblestone streets of the Centro historico, take a gentle walk along the Rio Tomebamba river or attend a free symphony concert held at the old cathedral. Tour the free Museo del Sombrero Homero Ortega to learn how the Panama hat got its name, which is actually a creation that originates from Cuenca, Ecuador.
For the best bang for the buck, visit the Piedro del Agua Spa Termales. The surrounding volcanos provide heat for this splendid site’s many pools, which include hot and warm outdoor pools and underground hot tubs as well. Enjoy dipping in and out of the 3 soothing mud baths which provide different treatments or opt for a steam in the sauna or any of their massage services.
Hungry? Ordering a “Menu del Dia” in town won’t set you back more than $10 US for 2 people, but our best food tip for sure is to head over to Mansion Alcazar for an exquisite lunch. This luxurious venue offers phenomenal value with its table-d’hôte lunch set amidst a glorious garden, an experience not to be missed for any budget-conscious traveller.
You’ll find many lodging options in Cuenca, including Airbnb’s in the centre of town, many in the $30-50 US a night range. The national currency is US dollars and even if the exchange rate isn’t in your favour, the local prices easily make up for it. No wonder this pretty place is so coveted by expats. We certainly enjoyed our two visits to this city which provides great things to do for mature couple like us.
Etosha National Park in Namibia is the absolute best value for safari in all of Africa. For just N$80 Per Day or 8 Australian one can have a full African safari experience. When you look at places like the Masai Mara in Kenya or the Serengeti in Tanzania this is an absolute steal.
You can go to Etosha and easily spot elephants, hyenas, giraffe, jackals, lions, and even rhino! The best part is is that there aren’t many people visiting Etosha, so you can easily see a great wildlife sighting and have only a few other cars around you. I would recommend getting to Etosha at opening time to take advantage of the great light. Early in the day is also when you will see the most animals as they like to frolick when the heat of the day isn’t setting in.
My favourite place to stay was Gondwana’s Etosha Safari Camp and Lodge, which usually includes breakfast and dinner. Travelling to Etosha is definitely a highlight of Namibia and should be on every traveller’s bucket list!
By Natasha & Cameron – The World Pursuit
Koh Lanta is an island in the southern parts of Thailand, in the Krabi region. It’s a popular destination for families, although not as crowded as Phuket. It’s a more laid back island where you can still experience some nice Thai culture and not just the classic tourism.
The best thing to do in Koh Lanta is to rent a scooter and just drive between the secluded beaches and local restaurants along the way. It’s a small adventure that’s perfect as a day trip. Scootering around the island was definitely one of my highlights of our trip. Other than that, Koh Lanta has great options for spa treatments and massage as well as long stretches of beaches where you can relax and get tanned.
Long Beach is my preferred place to stay, and there are several hotels or bungalows to choose from. This is a more lively area, and if you’re travelling with kids I suggest to stay near the Klong Dao beach. Price per night at hotels here range from $30-50 AUD. And food at the restaurants is quite cheap too with prices ranging from $2 to 20 AUD approximately.
Along the Albanian Riviera, you’ll find this lovely little paradise town. Ksamil has always been a popular vacation destination for the locals, but during the recent years it has become more and more popular among travellers as well.
Ksamil is known for its beautiful sandy beaches and crystal clear water, and also its four Ksamil islands that are located just outside the beach. These islands are uninhabited, and you can visit them via boat.
Even though the tourism is increasing each year, there are still plenty of secluded places where you can relax during your vacation. And unlike many other popular towns with lots of tourists, Ksamil has kept its charm and there’s also plenty of small restaurants serving traditional Albanian meals.
Moldova is a country few people have even heard about. It is Europe’s least visited country nestled between Romania and Ukraine. Moldova is a very stable country and the price level is even lower than in most other Eastern European countries.
Moldova isn’t just cheap, it provides a really good value for money. Several premium wineries are located just a short drive from the capital Chisinau. Our trip through the country took us to the winery Milesti Micii to visit the largest underground wine cellar in the world. Hiring a private taxi driver for the day cost us around $80AUD – and we drove over 300 kms with it.
Moldova is the ideal place to do things that seem unaffordable in most other countries in the world. We had some very high quality cocktails in the best bar in town – the rooftop bar of the Radisson Hotel in Chisinau – for around $8AUD. The day after, we spend one night in Chateau Vartely north of the capital. The winery offers several cabins on site and the restaurant offers some very affordable fine dining dishes. Our three course meal including (a lot of) wine cost around $20AUD per person. In Western European countries, just the wine would have amounted to that price.
The capital of Bulgaria is still one of the most underrated cities in Europe! Sofia is one of the oldest capitals of Europe, dating back to the 8th century BC.The remains of the city’s rich history can still be seen today: from the Serdika amphitheatre, to the Churches of St John and St. Sophia. Still, Sofia’s most famous attraction is the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.The city has a good amount of museums, and you’re likely to find something for you! Our favorite was the quirky Museum of Socialist Art.
Bulgaria is a paradise for nature lovers, and Sofia is a great base to explore it.You can start with the oldest nature park in the Balkans: Vitosha, located in the outskirts of the city. If you go a bit further you can find the highest mountain range in the region, Rila.The hike to the Seven Rila Lakes is perfect as day trip from Sofia – it was the highlight of our time in the country.
What about costs? Prices are still very affordable when compared to most European cities, especially for food and attractions. Accomodation prices depend on what you are looking for.We stayed at the very comfortable St. George’s for a good price, but if you are looking for something even more affordable, we’ve heard good things about Hostel Mostel. Your total price per day can go anywhere from 35$AUD to 100$AUD per day, depending on what you choose to do, as there are also some luxury options available, where you can get a lot of value for your money!
A year ago I took my first cruise and fell in love with it. It was one of the best value for money vacations I have ever taken.
If you are after a carefree vacation, cruising is definitely a great idea! Though internet, onshore tours and alcohol need to be paid as extras, the price includes accommodation and unlimited food.
Not only a great option for last minute travellers like me, but it also pampers you so much that it feels like a very relaxing holiday (who doesn’t like their beds being made multiple times every single day?) Perfect for those who don’t want to do vacation planning as everything is taken care of. It also has an array of onboard entertainment activities onboard the cruise including dance classes, cooking classes, stage shows (depending on the cruise you are on as well as the theme). For the fitness fanatics, there is a Gym, morning yoga classes, aerobics and more.
During last Christmas, I took a 10 days cruise to the South Pacific Islands which made me realise the easy accessibility of the untouched islands (10 days cruise in a twin sharing cabin costed me only $999 !)
Tip: Cruise lines often issue their last cabins at a very low price point. So if you are flexible with time, you can wait until the last moment to book the cruise.
Tam Coc is a town located in the Ninh Binh province of Vietnam. The tourism in the town started booming after the filming of Kong Skull Island. But it’s a lot more than just a touristy town. While Vietnam is well-known for the cheap price tags, expenses in Tam Coc is slightly higher than Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. But $25AUD per day can get you far.
What are the best things to do in Tam Coc? Ride a motorcycle to Bai Dinh Temple, which will definitely impress you with its detailed sculptures and architecture. Paying for the boat tour in Trang An, let the limestone cliffs amaze you for three long hours. At night, dine in the local restaurants and enjoy the roasted duck feast.
Tam Coc is relatively small compared to other cities so 3 to 4 days are more than sufficient. But where to stay in Tam Coc? If you prefer a Vietnamese taste of home, check out Tam Coc Homestay! It’s great value for money and located in perfect locations fused with nature. It could get booked out real fast so secure your bed once you get your plans plotted out.
The Turkish coastline, more commonly known as the Turquoise Coast has some of the most beautiful pristine beaches in Europe and exquisite coastal scenery from windy mountain roads. Our ten day road trip took us from Canakkale in north western Turkey south along the coast taking in the towns of Kusadasi, Bodrum, Fethiye and Kas.
In our case we hitched a ride in our son’s campervan that only cost us our own accommodation and fuel, but car hire in Turkey is extremely cheap and costs as little as $17AUD per day. During our ten day trip we stayed in cabins or B&Bs (pensions) for around $44AUD per night (including breakfast) and ate the fresh local produce or at homely little restaurants which were dirt cheap.
Our trip also involved a 4 day/3 night yacht cruise from Fethiye cruising around the Turkish Islands off the coast that cost around $345AUD each.
Along the Turquoise Coast there is plenty of eye candy with gorgeous little coves, sandy secluded beaches and the trademark impossibly turquoise colour of the sea. You can’t get enough of the panorama before your eyes at every turn of the road and some of the tiny villages along the way are as enchanting and authentic as you would see anywhere else in Eastern Europe.
For those who love to snorkel or scuba dive there are plenty of spots along the coast to do this. Where we stayed in Kas (pronounced cash) was a diver’s paradise. We found our time spent along the Turquoise Coast of Turkey to not only be cheap, but one of the best holiday experiences ever!
Country and City/Town: Indonesia, Java Island, Yogyakarta
– Approximate cost in AUD$15/day
– Things to do: ride a motorbike, hike a volcano, visit temples
– Where to stay: Sae Sae Hostel in Yogyakarta
Imagine the following: It’s 3am in the morning and the village of Probolinggo on the Indonesian island Java is still asleep. Only the sound of the old 4WD-cars that manoeuvre their way up the steep roads disturbs the silence. Our car is waiting already in front of our very simple homestay. The driver is still sleeping and so are we, but what can you expect in the middle of night. Soon later, we sit in the car. It’s an old, bright red, jeep that will take us up the mountains to watch the sunrise.
Probollinggo is located in the very East of Java and is famous for its volcanic landscape. This is only a small snippet of our trip to the Indonesian island Java. Most travellers come to Indo to check out Bali, Lombok and the Gilis, but how about Java? The island is completely different, cheaper than Bali and full of adventurous things to do, just like hiking up a volcano early in the morning.
A great place to stay is the city Yogyakarta, which is also know as “Indonesia’s own Berlin”. It’s full of street art and nice bars. A totally recommendable hostel is the Sae Sae Hostel.
I don’t know about you, but after reading about some of these wonderful travel destinations I have a serious case of wanderlust! If you had a choice which one would you choose? I’m thinking Eastern Europe is calling my name!
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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