From a glitzy global city to bamboo shacks on a palm-fringed island, we list down exclusive budget travel options to unwind this winter without worrying about your pocket. How many times, buried under piles of work in office, have you sworn you needed a break, then checked your bank account and gone quietly back to work? Because, of course, who could perhaps go on a holiday in the pittance you have? But the times they are a-changin’ and there’s something called budget travel that can save the day. So, you promptly go to your friends and folks for advice on good ideas and invariably get the done-to-death Nepal or Sri Lanka. Really guys? Are there no other destinations one could travel to on a shoestring? So you decide to go to the one-stop solution: Google. And this is what you find.
Take a one-hour free ride in Hong Kong’s traditional boats, Junk, for a look of the city. Accommodation is expensive but if you stay in dorms in ghettoes such as Chungking Mansions, you can manage with Rupees 800 or more. Hostels charge about Rupees 850 to 1150, try the ones at Hong Kong Island’s Causeway Bay. Hong Kong is a gourmet’s pleasance and even the street food is exotic. Eat where the locals eat, and you can easily get extraordinary meals for Rupees 235 to Rupees 310. Public conveyance in Hong Kong is unbelievably efficient and reasonably cheap: around 300 bucks a day.
Local bus and train is reasonable, ranging from Rupees 180 to 550 for a bus trip. The food in Thailand is very cheap. One can easily eat at a night market, sampling several different flavours, for just as low as `150. But alcohol is costly, 180 rupees and higher per drink is quite typical. Cutting alcohol may help. Traveling to Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Pai and other northern cities are affordable. Costs alters as one heads south to the islands.
With the sole exception of budget accommodations, staying at hotels in Ladakh is one of the quickest ways to overshoot your budget. Hostels are cheapest accommodation options apart from home stay ones. There are many decent buses from Srinagar-Kargil- Lamayuru-Leh, this route is open May onwards. And they’re much cheaper than any option out there. The best way to reach Ladakh region is local taxi which is also the cheapest, one can share the local taxi onward Chandigarh, or Jammu, in around Leh you can hire the taxi from local union.
If you want to travel within cities your best bet is to hop on a motorbike taxi or a tuk tuk. Motos are cheaper; starting from Rupees 30. Boats are another reasonably cheap mode of transport of getting around. In Phnom Penh you can charter your own 20+ passenger boat for as little as Rupees 1,250 for sunset cruises down the Mekong River. Don’t expect to find buses, underground or over ground trains in the cities. Buses only operate across the country, but it is a very cheap way of getting from one city to another. A four-hour bus ride costs approximately 370 bucks. There is no rail network here. In terms of accommodation, you may find very cheap places to park yourself. Beach bungalows with fans but no electricity at night on Rabbit Island, off the coastal town of Kep cost around 180 rupees per day.
Best way to go about in Shillong is on foot. The city itself is small and can be easily covered walking and exploring hills and people. For places within city limits, city buses are good options. Many times you will find that walking will take you earlier to your destination. Bus tickets are at most 5 rupees for one journey. Taxis are faster and are always shared; rates may vary from 25 to 100 rupees. Meghalaya is a drinker’s nirvana so you can splurge on alcohol on your trip.
Bemos, converted mini-buses that function as mix of public bus and taxi, are Bali’s cheapest form of transportation. The problem is they may be time-consuming. Taxis (generally four-seater) are easily available and can be found on virtually every street in the villages. It’s best to hop into a metered taxi. Scooters are available for hire (without a licence required) as well and are relatively easy to drive. The cheapest food in Bali is available at warungs, or local cafes. These eateries may not look polished, but are clean and serve authentic and `reliable local fare.
Istanbul, İIzmir, Ankara and the touristy coastal cities and towns are mostly costly. In these places you can get by on 2,500 bucks per day per person if you chosse to use public conveyance, share bathrooms and eat out at a elementary eatery. Away from Istanbul, and the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, budget travelers can travel on 1,800 bucks per day. Take the public buses in Turkey, they are super affordable. The food in Turkey is usually served in heaping portions. Kebabs and Donair-Kebabs (shawarma) come as cheap as 120 bucks.
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