5th Jan 2019
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Why Southeast Asia should be on your radar
SE Asia should be on your radar

While our weak dollar could mean many Aussies will stick to home shores for holidays this year, there are a few destinations that are a short hop across the ocean and provide great bang for your buck.

Southeast Asian countries, such as Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore have long been popular spots for tourists looking for cheap holidays. More recently, these countries have been putting loads of money into tourism, trying to improve their image in the eyes of western and Chinese travellers by providing more luxury accommodation and dining options.

It’s working. But there’s more to Southeast Asia than these four nations.

Mainland Southeast Asia is also known as Indochina, and includes parts of eastern India, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and west Malaysia.

Maritime Southeast Asia includes the Andaman and Nicobar Islands of India, Indonesia, east Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, East Timor, Brunei, Christmas Island, and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, and – some say – Taiwan.

Whether you’re looking for an authentic Asian experience or a higher-end holiday, where you can spoil yourself at a fraction of the cost of doing so back home, almost all travel in Southeast Asia is a bargain once you land.

Even so, finding affordable return flights to Southeast Asia is not difficult. Return flights to Indonesia go for as little as $269; return flights to Singapore can run as low as $395 and you can score return flights to Bangkok from as little as $450 – sometimes less.

And, according to SkyScanner, there are 24 airlines flying direct from Australia, so you’ll be able to choose from low-cost carriers all the way through to the 2018 airline of the year, Singapore Airlines.

Accommodation is cheap, too – and it’s not just crappy rooms with sheets like plastic shower curtains and dodgy ceiling fans – seven of the top 20 cheapest cities for five-star hotels in the world are in Southeast Asia. You can get a five-star room from as low as $24. Don’t believe me? Check out this list for Price of Travel, which includes lowest price to highest price for a five-star room (amount in brackets denotes number of hotels):

  • $24 – $1090 – Kuta, Bali, Indonesia (120)
  • $42 – $367 – Phuket, Thailand (30)
  • $50 – $391 – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (50)
  • $54 – $355 – Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (27)
  • $65 – $161 – Vientiane, Laos (7)
  • $68 – $560 – Bangkok, Thailand (84)
  • $68 – $749 – Siem Reap, Cambodia (38)
  • $72 – $491 – Chiang Mai, Thailand (24)
  • $79 – $268 – Hanoi, Vietnam (19)
  • $93 – $411 – Taipei, Taiwan (29)

Southeast Asian cities that travellers rave about are:

  • Hanoi, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam
  • Luang Prabang and Vientiane, Laos
  • Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Boracay Island and Cebu, Philippines
  • Phnom Penh, Cambodia
  • Yangon, Myanmar

Accommodation and cheap flights aren’t the only reasons to head to Southeast Asia this year. Sure, affordability and accessibility should rank high on your checklists, but the culture, ancient places, people, beaches, food and ease of travel are also super appealing reasons to visit.

So, if you’re looking for an enriching overseas holiday that won’t blow out your bottom line, Southeast Asia should definitely be on your radar.

Have you visited any Southeast Asian countries recently? How was your holiday? Can you recommend any destinations to our members?

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    COMMENTS

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    Franky
    5th Jan 2019
    8:23am
    I have been going to SE Asia for months each year for the past 10 years. It's been frightening how our dollar has crashed against all Asian currencies in that time. When our media tells us we follow Wall Street this hasn't been true for a long time. We follow China, and it's about time we start to recognize that. Our dollar is directly linked to how well China's economy is going. I still love SE Asia, but it isn't a bargain anymore. Try instead Eastern Europe, our currency held up a lot better against the Euro and the Pound.
    Sundays
    5th Jan 2019
    12:30pm
    We went to Slovenia and Croatia last year, and came back with money. We over budgeted which is not usually the case when we travel. Beautiful part of the world
    ronnieb
    5th Jan 2019
    5:09pm
    Why is it that whenever most travel "experts" do a survey they always leave out Japan. Maybe its because technically they are not in SE Asia? Though overall a little more expensive than say Vietnam or Singapore the difference is more than made up by the service you will get, along with the safe/secure travel experience by ANY measure , when compared with anywhere in Asia and possibly the rerst of the world. The tap water is safe to drink, ALL modes of transport run on schedule seamlessly, the food is incredible and can be bought very cheaply (with an assurance of quality beyond belief) provided you don't buy your meals in the hotel dining room (but isn't that the same anywhere?). The people are amazingly courteous and most can understand at least some english - especially if written down, don't try to have a conversation if you have an ozzie twang. The variety of destinations in Japan makes it a lifelong destination of different spots to stay that each provide a significantly different experience. If you check the flight costs you might also get a surprise. cheaper than ever these days.


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