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Always wanted to travel, but never had the time or budget to go far? Let’s face it, we can’t all have enough stamina and budget to jet-set halfway across the globe. Right here in Southeast Asia are regional alternatives that come packed with sights and fun as well.

Who says you have to sacrifice distance for fun?

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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There’s no doubt that travelling to Southeast Asia is perfect for a cheap and quick getaway. Forget Bangkok with all the tourist traps. Try hitting the land of pho insteadIt comes as no surprise that a bowl of hearty and authentic rice noodle soup comes at only a fraction of the price here, alongside with a whole throng of Vietnamese street cuisine just waiting to be discovered.

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And with their colourful history reflected in their architecture, from the Notre Dame Cathedral to the Saigon Central Post Office and floating temples, you’ll be choking up pictures for your Instagram feed for months to come.

Estimated flight duration: 2 hours
Estimated travel cost: $141 via Jetstar

Bandung, Indonesia

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This relatively unheard part of Indonesia is fast gaining popularity in recent years thanks to its gorgeous natural sights and affordable shopping streets. Touted as the ‘Paris of Java’, this city is situated some 700 metres above sea level, which means that the weather here is cooling and unlike anything we’re accustomed to in Singapore.

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Feast your eyes on the striking crater lake of Kawah Putih where the sulphuric content changes the colour of the pool, or skirt along Tangkuban Perahu, an actual active volcano with an amazing view to boot.

Estimated flight duration: 3 hour 40 mins
Estimated travel cost: $227 via AirAsia

Hua Hin, Thailand

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This seaside resort city in Thailand allows you to enjoy the sea breeze without the crowds and tourist traps from popular beach destinations like Bali.

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Drop by Hua Hin beach and enjoy the sunset while you ride a pony, or enjoy the stunning architecture of the Monkey Temple with numerous monkeys to accompany you around the temple grounds. They even have a Santorini Park with buildings that feature the minimalistic white walls and distinctive blue frames and doors. 

Estimated travel duration: 3 hours drive from Bangkok
Estimated travel cost: $211 via Tigerair (Bangkok)

Bagan, Myanmar

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Instead of metallic structures and high-rise infrastructures, try a change of scenery and visit Bagan instead. Exuding some major rustic charm vibes, this ancient city is filled with historical temples and pagodas with stunning details.

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Take a break from the hustle and bustle of our urban jungle and explore Bagan. Perhaps the best way to do so is to hop on a hot air balloon and take in all that this magnificent city has to offer from a bird’s eye view.

Estimated flight duration: 3 hour 30 mins
Estimated travel cost: $246 via Myanmar Airways

Vientiane, Laos

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Time seems to stand still in this capital city of Laos. Located along the Mekong River, the best way possible to explore this laid back place is to take things slow. Bask in the intricate architectural details of Vientiane’s French and Laotian buildings.

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The Buddha Park is filled with over 200 different sculptures that encapsulate this religion’s curious blend of Hindu and Buddhist influences. Not to be missed is also the Patuxai Victory Monument which draws close comparison with the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. 

Estimated flight duration: 2 hour 50 mins
Estimated travel cost: $440 via Vietnam Airlines


Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque, Bandar Seri Begawan, Sultanate of Brunei, on the island of Borneo
Image source: Travelpost

Explore a country that has a mix of city and urban dwelling all rolled into one. Brunei, a country that closely resembles Singapore in terms of their currency (you can actually use both currencies interchangeably), is one where beautiful floating mosques as well as interwebs of floating villages are commonplace.

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They even have a floating fire department and schools – take a peek into the locals’ lives and imagine a life where you never have to step foot on land.  

Estimated flight duration: 2 hours
Estimated travel cost: $560 via Royal Brunei

Bohol, Philippines

Philippines, Chocolate Hills at sunriseImage source: Travelandleisure

Taking a trip to Bohol is like stepping into a page of your geography textbook. Visit a Tarsier Sanctuary and interact with these adorable nocturnal creatures, or capture the beauty of Chocolate Hills – these hills are a unique formation in Bohol that consist of over 1260 hills that are covered with luscious greenery. There’s also a man-made mahogany forest perfect for nature lovers. 

Estimated flight duration: 7 hours with layover at Manila
Estimated travel cost: $283 via Tigerair (Manila)

It seems like gorgeous sights and attractions are also available around our region. Without having to travel so far, you’ll be able to save up a fair bit of time and spend them more on soothing that travel bug itch.

(Header image: ourglobaltrek, words by editor)

Also read: Under SGD500 – 5 Nearby Places For A Weekend Getaway

Categories: Travel