I think it's criminal to let go of a long weekend! Why sit around at home, or go to your usual restaurants when you can travel to an unexplored exotic destination? And what if those destinations could be covered on a budget? Would you let go of such an opportunity? No! Therefore, this is a list of nine international destinations that you can visit on a budget and make use of a long weekend in the best way possible!
Krabi is an island in Thailand that is beautiful, tempting and so much better than many of the other overly-hyped cities in the country. Krabi is an eclectic mix of limestone karsts, mangrove forests and sandy beaches. An island that features stunning scenic beauty, both inland and at sea, Krabi is the idyllic vacation spot for those looking for a relaxed vacation. From waterfalls and hidden caves to exotic wildlife, Krabi has it all. For those looking for a little bit of adventure, Krabi again delivers in the form of a horde of activities like snorkelling, rock climbing, sea kayaking, jungle trekking and scuba diving.
Top things to see and do: Witness amazing natural beauty at the Railay Beaches & Caves; relax on the stunning beaches of Koh Poda; swim in natural emerald and blue-coloured pools in Thung Teao Forest Natural Park; seek spirituality in the temple hidden within a maze of caves and a lush jungle in Tiger Cave; soak your tired bodies in the Klong Thom Hot Springs; visit the mangrove forests of Ao Luk.
Flight cost: Round-trip airfare from Bhubaneshwar to Krabi on the Dusshera weekend starts from Rs. 22,288.
Daily budget: Average daily expenses can go up to Rs. 1,200 a day, inclusive of intracity transfers, entertainment and food. Accommodation starts as low as Rs. 800 a night and can go up to Rs. 10,000 a night.
Cebu is the most happening city of the Visayas in Philippines, and is also economically and politically the second-most important city here. The tourism here is on a boom as well! Over two million tourists vacation in Cebu every year. Pristine beaches, spectacular diving sites, and amazing seafood makes this island city one of the prime holiday spots in southeast Asia. Also called the Queen City of the south, Cebu is a place where high-rise buildings and sprawling beaches exist together like a happily married couple.
Top things to see and do: Pray to baby Jesus at Cebu's holiest church Basilica Minore del Santo Niño; watch the migratory birds at Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary; chill under flowing water and milky-blue swimming holes at Kawasan Falls; watch and swim with the whale sharks at Oslob and be fascinated by these amazing creatures; have yummy seafood at Logon and Bounty Beaches.
Flight cost: Round-trip airfare from Kochi to Cebu on the Dusshera weekend starts from Rs.22,619.
Daily budget: Expect to spend around Rs. 1,500 daily for intracity transfers, entertainment and food. Accommodations start at Rs. 2,000 per night and can go up to Rs. 15,000.
Where to stay: Sarrosa International Hotel and Residential Suites - Rs.2,487 per night for single occupancy.
Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, is often overlooked in favour of Bali. But once you visit, the city will offer you so much that you will forget all about Bali. A sprawling metropolis, Jakarta is where Indonesia's best is represented. It has the country's top museums, shopping malls rivalling Singapore and Bangkok, best of restaurants and galleries and beautiful public places. It is a city as diverse as they come.
Top things to do and see: Soak in the spirituality at the Grand Istiqlal Mosque and Vihara Dharma Bhakti; visit the Museum Nasional to understand the fascinating heritage and history of Indonesia; spend a relaxing evening at Merdeka Square; enjoy massive displays of regional handicrafts and clothing from all provinces of Indonesia at Taman Mini Indonesia Indah.
Flight cost: Round-trip airfare from Bhubaneswar to Jakarta on the Dusshera weekend starts from Rs. 22,648.
Daily budget: Jakarta is really cheap so expect to spend somewhere around Rs. 800 to 1000 per day, inclusive of intracity travel, entertainment and food. Accommodation start from Rs. 1,200 and can go up to Rs. 18,000 in luxurious international hotels.
Welcome to Langkawi, the island of beautiful beaches, untamed forests, cheap shopping and fascinating legends. This island is known as the Jewel Of Kedath and rightly so! Even though it is popular with tourists, it has retained its pristine environment and peaceful surroundings. Just outside the main areas lies the idyllic rural Malaysia with rice paddies, wooden houses framed by palm trees and rustic sights that you won't find anywhere else. Langkawi may be a hotspot tourist destination, but it still is one of the most beautiful islands in southeast Asia.
Top things to do and see: Experience thrill at Panaroma Langkawi, a centre for all things adventurous and crazy; get lost in the story and legend of Mahsuri, a Malay princess who was wrongly accused of adultery and had placed a curse on the island in revenge, at Kota Mahsuri; indulge in some watersports at Pantai Cenang Beach; see the bizarre gifts that were given to Langkawi over a period of time at Galeria Perdana; learn about the agriculture and traditional way of living at Laman Padi; visit Pantai Kok, a beautiful bay surrounded by limestone mountains and untamed jungles; shop for souvenirs and other collectibles at Teow Soon Huat Duty-Free Shopping.
Flight cost: Round-trip airfare from Bhubaneswar to Langkawi on the Dusshera weekend starts from Rs. 23,310.
Daily budget: Average daily cost can be around Rs. 2,200 that includes intracity transfers, entertainment and food. Accommodation starts from Rs. 2,000 and can go up to Rs. 50,000 per night at high-end resorts such as Four Seasons.
Abu Dhabi, the capital of United Arab Emirates, is the one city where there is endless desert on one side and vast ocean on the other. This is where you can indulge in some thrilling sand dune bashing, as well as go swimming in the wide seas. It has everything from UNESCO World Heritage sites that reflect the deep-rooted past to amusement parks that rival any in the world. Abu Dhabi is your one stop destination for history, culture, religion, shopping and adventure.
Top things to see and do: Take some time out to visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque; experience luxury at the Emirates Palace; spend a leisurely evening on the Abu Dhabi Corniche; understand the history and culture of UAE at the Abu Dhabi Heritage Village; spend an exhilarating day at the Yas Island visiting Ferrari World, Yas Waterworld and Yas Marina Circuit; see the future at Masdar City, world's first carbon-neutral, zero-waste city powered entirely by renewable energy.
Flight Cost: Round-trip airfare from Delhi for the Dusshera weekend, starts from Rs. 12,200.
Daily budget: Expect to spend approximately Rs. 5,200 per day, inclusive of intracity transfers, entertainment and food. Accommodation can cost anywhere between Rs. 4,400 to Rs. 25,000 a night!
Muscat's skyline sets it apart from its neighbouring Gulf cities. There are no elaborate buildings or high-rising skyscrapers, but even the most functional building is topped with a dome or an arabesque window. This has given the city an alluring and unique character. A port city, backed by arid Hajar mountains make for a terrain that is exciting and unusual. With souks to shop from, mountains to trek, deserts to explore and seas to swim in, Muscat is the ideal destination for those who want a bit of everything.
Top things to see and do: Experience endless stretches of the desert; get on a cruise to go say high to the dolphins; visit the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque that is renowned for its 50m-high gold dome and the elaborately adorned prayer hall; test your bargaining skills at the numerous souks in Muscat; dive into some of the freshest seafood that the Gulf has to offer at the Blue Marlin restaurant; visit Al Alam Palace, Royal Opera House and Al-Bustan Palace Hotel to witness the regal architecture of Oman.
Daily budget: Muscat is not as expensive as the other Gulf cities. Expect to spend approximately Rs. 2,500 per day inclusive of intracity transfers, entertainment and food. For accommodation, stays are available from Rs. 3,800 per night, up to Rs. 20,000 for a night.
Kathmandu is a world unlike any other you've ever been to. A riot of sounds, sights and smells engulfs you and you emerge utterly besotted. Imagine alleyways jammed with cows and rickshaw-pullers, temples dotting the entire city with chants of prayers reverberating in the air and mix it up with hawkers selling everything from flowers to food, on the streets – that's Kathmandu for you. It is a city that lives with the motto of 'Atithi Devo Bhav' or 'guest is equal to God' and that is how tourists are treated.
Top things to see and do: Catch a glimpse of Kumari, the living goddess who is believed to be the caretaker of Nepal, at Kumari Ghar, a palace in the centre of the city; visit one of the holiest Shiv shrines, the Pashupati Nath Temple; learn one of the many local crafts such as woodcarving, Thanka painting or stone masonry; discover a world of flavours by taking a culinary tour around the city; shop in the centre of the city at Indra Chowk.
Flight cost: Round-trip airfare from Delhi for the Dusshera weekend, starts from Rs. 16,500.
Daily budget: Expect to spend an approximate Rs. 1,500 per day which will include your intracity travel, entertainment and food. Accommodations start from as low as Rs. 1,000 and can go up to Rs. 15,000 per night.
Colombo is so much more than just a passage to the other destinations in Sri Lanka. The city's colonial past reflects in it's current architectural build of the city, giving it a vibe distinctly different from the rest of the country. It may feel over-populated, but it is rapidly developing into Sri Lanka's most swanky cosmopolitan. Multiple cafes, art galleries and high-rise modern buildings now adorn Colombo, making it a destination one needs to put on their itinerary.
Top things to see and do: Visit the national museum and be greeted by a 9th-century stone Buddha; have a leisurely time at the Viharamahadevi Park; sample great food at the Dutch Hospital, a colonial-era building in the middle of a fort; shop at the Federation of Self Employees Market; spend the evening at the Galle Face Green, a beach-side promenade.
Flight cost: Round-trip airfare from Kochi to Colombo on the Dusshera weekend, starts from Rs. 14,012.
Daily budget: Expect to spend an approximate of Rs. 3,000 per day, which will include your intracity travel, entertainment and food. Accommodations start as low as Rs. 1,000 and can go up to Rs. 15,000 per night.
Splendid mosques, glorious avenues, 19th-century palaces and the pyramids of Giza, awaits you in Cairo. A city inhabited by more than 22 million people may feel overwhelming, but the residents make up for it with their charm and humour. Cairo has centuries of character and it reflects in every corner of the city. Egyptians call it 'Umm ad-Dunya', the Mother of the World, and this city loves exactly like a mother – unconditionally. The dusty streets and polluted air may be underwhelming but the vibe of this city makes up for almost all its drawbacks. Where else can you see an ancient wonder of the world, still standing tall and proud, but in Cairo?
Top things to see and do: Be amazed by the Pyramids of Giza; see the half-human, half-lion Sphinx; visit Al-Azhar Mosque, home to the world's oldest university; learn about the history of not only Egypt but the entire ancient world at the Egyptian Museum, the place that has the most important collection of ancient artefacts; understand ancient Egypt with a trip to the Pharaonic Village; shop till you drop at the local souks in Khan al-Khalili.
Daily budget: Expect to spend an approximate of Rs. 2,000 per day, which will include your intracity travel, entertainment and food. Accommodations start at a low Rs. 1,000 and can go up to Rs. 22,000 per night.
So, what are you waiting for? Plan your long weekend right now!