Big savings, warmer weather

August is a great time to escape the cooler Aussie weather. It’s also moving into shoulder season for many international destinations, so not only will you find cheaper flights, you’ll also encounter smaller crowds and see more of the city unhindered.

Here are some suggestions for wonderful winter getaways, with big flight savings and warmer weather.

From Sydney to Ho Chi Minh City (23 per cent saving)

I love Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon, as the locals call it, and not only will you have a ball exploring the former capital of Vietnam, it’s also a great base from which to launch a northbound journey through the country. From Saigon you can venture to Ben Tre for a ride along the Ben Tre River, one of the Mekong tributaries, visiting the coconut workshop and bike riding through a village once ravaged by war. Make sure you see the Cu Chi Tunnels, too and, in town, visit the city’s many markets, but don’t miss out on the Ben Thanh night market (tip: be around while they set it up in between 6pm and 7pm – truly a sight!). The Saigon Flea Market and Dan Sinh Market are also fun and full of bargains.

From Melbourne to Manila (34 per cent saving)

While there may be no love lost between our nations’ basketball teams, the Philippines is still one of our closest neighbours and a great place for a winter getaway. It may be moving into the country’s wet season, but daily temperatures are still around 28°C, and it’s still a top spot to visit at this time of year. Take in the hustle and bustle, local markets and culture, but don’t forget to venture a little further out for a true taste of this island nation. For a beachy vibe, head to Palawan, Panglao or Coron, or for more city stylings, visit Cebu or Davao.

From Perth to Kuala Lumpur (32 per cent saving)

If you’re prone to the odd purchase, then Kuala Lumpur is the place for you. With hot bargains in the middle of the Australian winter (and all year round), KL is known as a shopper’s paradise and has a great exchange rate to boot, making it even more of a bargain destination.

For true retail therapy, visit Berjaya Times Square, home to 700 shops and restaurants over 10 floors, or the Pavilion, Suria KLCC, Mid Valley Megamall or the street markets in Chinatown. When it’s time to put down the shopping bags, indulge in a spa, take a seat at a bar or sing your heart out at a karaoke lounge.

From Adelaide to Tokyo (20 per cent saving)

August is easily the cheapest time of year to fly to Japan, and with Tokyo being one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, why not nip off to Nippon now? Japan’s mix of modern and traditional culture, sumptuous food and fine dining, shopping and entertainment make the nation a truly awesome place to visit. When you need a break from the city, take a day trip to Mount Fuji, visit an ornate temple or exquisite garden, take in some country life and fresh air. Whatever your fancy (and I mean whatever), you’ll find it in Japan.

From Brisbane to Seoul (22 per cent saving)

South Korea’s charm lies in its historical architecture and quirky customs. Let’s not leave out the fabulous food and unique culture. Right next door to Japan, South Korea is beginning to rival its neighbour for tourism, and boasts a huge offering of restaurants, cafés and entertainment, as well as city-centre temples sites of cultural significance. Check out Hongdae for hotels and accommodation – it’s also a perfect base from which to explore the rest of the city.

For first-time visitors, Hongdae is a great suburb for accommodation. Home to many university students, it’s a vibrant area. Hongdae has a huge offering of restaurants, shops and nightlife. Being on the metro line makes it easy to explore the rest of the city.

Have you been to any of these countries? Which was your favourite? Would you recommend it to our members? Any tips?

Related articles:
Where to go to warm up this winter
How to pack for a winter weekend away
Why choose a winter destination

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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