Top 5 Cities For a One Week Holiday Under $500
Are you the type of traveller who just feels that a weekend getaway is not enough to satisfy your deep hunger for travel? Do you crave to spend at least a week exploring a city so you can try all the various street foods, see all the attractions and get to live like a local for a while? Well, CheapTickets.sghas the perfect guide for you! Presenting the top 5 cities where you can go for a week-long holiday for under $500.
1. Kuching, Malaysia
Since it’s not a common destination for Singaporean tourists, CheapTickets.sg would like to feature Kuching at the start of our budget friendly guide to the best 5 cities to spend a week for under $500. With cheap direct flights from Singapore to Kuching and a variety of budget friendly accommodations ranging from backpacker hostels to small boutique guesthouses, we’re certain you’ll get a value for money vacation in Kuching.
Kuching is a paradise for nature lover and adventure seekers, with the Bako National Park being a great spot for hikers who want to admire the Proboscis monkeys and Bornean bearded pigs in their natural rainforest habitat. An interesting museum that offers free entry is the Cat Museum, which is an adorable side-trip if you want to escape the heat for a while. The Sarawak State Museum is another great free attraction, offering an insight into local culture and the ancient practices and traditions. Ending the day at The Waterfront area in Kuching is a great choice and you’ll be able to watch the sunset as you stroll the boardwalk with an amazing view of the lake, dine at one of the local eateries at a low cost, and listen to live music to relax into the night.
2. Langkawi, Malaysia
Langkawi is a great choice for those who want to get a budget friendly vacation and travel to a beach paradise for some fun in the sun. Another bonus here, is that Langkawi is a tax-free area which means beer and cigarettes are much cheaper here compared to other part of Malaysia. Also, Langkawi is not overcrowded and therefore has not been subject to the increase of prices that other beaches in Asia have been subjected to in recent years.
Cenang Beach is a great place to stay for budget travellers, as there are many backpacker hostels, guesthouses and boutique beach hotels offering simple accomodations at a great location for cheap prices. A meal here costs between $2-3 and renting a scooter will cost you around $10-15 per day and it’s a great way to get around and see the island on your own time. This way, you won’t get ripped off by any taxi drivers along the way. There are many free attractions on this island and visiting them will help you save lots of money along the way. These include a visit to the Al-Hana Mosque, a stunning place of worship with a beautiful Golden Dome. Or explore Kaur, which is an area filled with history, tradition and ancient architecture. If you love nature, you have to go to both the Lagenda Park and Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls. And, finally, end the day by taking a scenic photo at the iconic Eagle Square at Dataran Lang.
3. Semarang, Indonesia
Semarang is often overlooked as a tourist destination for more popular cities in Indonesia like Yogyakarta and Bali, but we suggest you to visit this city at least once in your lifetime for a budget holiday that you won’t forget. A trip here is a great way to embrace the local way of living, away from the hustle and bustle of other tourists hot spots and the city is filled with much cultural richness, ancient heritage, preserved traditions and many hidden gems.
A visit to the Central Java Grand Mosque is one of the must-dos when in Semarang, as you’ll be able to admire the stunning architecture, beautiful carvings and a tower with a viewpoint offering 360 degree views of the city. The Semarang Marketplace and Semawis Market are great venues near each other where you can shop for affordable fresh produce and try local delicacies for cheap prices. The Pagoda Avalokitesvara is a peaceful and serene place to visit if you’re looking for some reflection time and it’s absolutely free of charge to enter. If you’re looking for adventure, you can try the zipline (for only around $3) at Umbol Sidomukti. At 2000 metres above sea-level, this is a value for money experience that is sure to satisfy the thrill seeker in you!
4. Medan, Indonesia
Medan is home to the largest volcanic lake in the world, Lake Toba, and yet somewhat relatively untouched by mass tourism. It’s a destination that has much charm for the intrepid budget traveller because not much is written about this city and the surrounding areas in guidebooks. You’ll be sure to find surprises and hidden gems as you explore Medan in your week-long budget holiday here!
A visit to Lake Toba is an absolute must! Even though it’s a long drive to get there, you’ll be well rewarded with amazing views of the breathtaking landscape. In the centre of Lake Toba is Samosir Island, which is a worthwhile half-day adventure to explore, if you have the time to fit it into your schedule. There, you can visit the local village people and experience their daily rituals and traditions. While you’re in Medan, you have to make a trip to Sipiso-piso waterfall, the highest waterfall in Indonesia (800 meters above sea level). You can also relax in a hot spring near the volcano for a cheap entry fee of less than $0.50. If you’re a durian fan, you can have lots of this delicious creamy fruit for around $5 for 2 whole durians.
5. Hatyai, Thailand
Hatyai is one of the cities in Thailand that is quickly gaining popularity as a gateway city to the rest of Thailand. This is especially true of tourists who like to take a train or bus from Singapore. And, now with budget carriers flying directly here, it’s easy to secure a cheap flight deal as well.
A must visit for first timers is Kim Yong Market, is a popular local market, offering many popular local snacks and street food at affordable prices. There’s a lot of shopping on offer here as well where you can try your bargaining skills to get a new t-shirt or bag at a better rate. If you’re good at bargaining, you might be able to secure a big bundle of local snacks to bring home for your friends for just a few dollars. As for places of worship, a visit to Wat Hat Yai Nai’s Reclining Buddha is a monumental sight and a must-see. Massages here in Hat Yai also are cheaper than other bigger cities so you have to make time for a foot or back rub while you’re here.
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Note: Prices and information are correct at the time of publication. You are advised to check the flight prices before you book.