Is there anything better than rocking up to Changi Airport on a Friday afternoon with your straw fedora and mini-rolling suitcase in tow?
If, like us, you think a long weekend (or really any weekend) is a great excuse to explore more of Asia, check out these alternative holiday destinations that the team at KAYAK hunted down for Sassy Girls.
The following six trips all cost under $600 each including flights and accommodation proving that you can do luxe for less!
1. Perhentian Islands, Malaysia
For coral, colourful fish and giant turtles, check out Pulau Kecil and Pulau Besar. These two mostly undeveloped jewels are laid back, quieter alternatives to the usual nearby beach getaways, located off the northeast coast of Malaysia. Kecil, the smaller of the two, is a sandy oasis with a backpacker vibe. Besut is preferred by sun-seekers looking for a quieter getaway. During the day, dive and snorkel in the protected marine park and stroll through the jungles at the islands’ centres. When night falls, join the party on Kecil’s Long Beach.
Kota Bharu is an hour’s drive from the ferry terminal at Kuala Besut, from which you can catch a speedboat to the islands. The best time to visit is between early June and late October.
We found flights to Kota Bharu plus two nights’ accommodation on Pulau Perhentian Besar for an average of $550.
2. Phnom Penh, Cambodia
If you love Bangkok’s temples and vibe, spend a weekend in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s quiet capital. The Penh has its own golden-roofed wats (temples), Royal Palace and a vibrant riverfront park.
If you’re up for it, the dark history of the Khmer Rouge can be explored with a sobering visit to the Genocide Museum and The Killing Fields. Do yourself a favour and book a hotel with a pool; it will be a welcome escape from the oppressive afternoon heat.
3. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Many travellers make Hanoi their first stop in Vietnam but Ho Chi Minh City is an equally fascinating choice with a compact, walkable city centre, abundant sights, cosmopolitan hotels and a lively night scene. Saigon, as the locals still call it, boasts the country’s most diverse food scene and offers everything from street stall banh mi (pork, paté and fresh herbs on French bread) to fine dining.
4. Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Massive temple complexes are the main draw to the Javanese city of Yogyakarta (pronounced Jogh-jah-karta). Explore Prambanan, a 9th-century collection of Hindu temples during the day and return in the evening when the temples provide a dramatic backdrop for a traditional ballet performance (between May and October). Not to be outdone, Borobudur, a giant 8th-century Buddhist stupa, is a serene and beautiful sunrise spot for quiet contemplation and views of Mount Merapi.
In addition to temples, check out the Sultan’s palace, numerous art galleries and chilled out guesthouses and restaurants along Jalan Prawirotaman.
5. Mount Bromo, Indonesia
In the market for gorgeous mountain scenery and a place to stretch your legs after a long week in the office? Pick up the pace with an adventurous weekend of hiking in Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. Bring your DSLR and join the eager beavers in jeeps that race across the park in darkness to Mount Penanjakan, the perfect spot to catch the sunrise with stunning views of Mount Bromo and Mount Semeru. Then hike up to the lip of Bromo (there’s a steep but manageable staircase) and stare into the crater of an active volcano.
6. Ipoh, Malaysia
If you like Penang’s funky murals and great local food, try Ipoh. It has its own street art scene, charming shophouses and cool café culture. Make like a hipster and rent a vintage bike to explore the city’s charming lanes and street markets. In addition, Ipoh is a gateway to the terraced tea plantations and strawberry fields of the nearby Cameron Highlands.
Top tip: for more inspiration, if you’re travelling on a specific budget, KAYAK’s online Explore tool helps you to discover the best flight deals within your set limit. To search and compare prices for flights, hotels, car rentals and much more, visit KAYAK.sg or download the app at KAYAK.sg/mobile.
Lead image sourced via Pinterest, Image #1 sourced via Shutterstock, Image #2 sourced via Shutterstock, Image #3 sourced via Shutterstock, Image #4 sourced via Shutterstock, Image #5 sourced via Shutterstock, Image #6 sourced via Shutterstock