Exotic destinations are sometimes associated with luxury, high-priced hotels/resorts, and other such arrangements, but this does not have to be the case.
When you’re weary of the same ol’, this list of affordable exotic destinations should give you a fair idea of where you can go.
If you want to get the most bang for your buck, avoid or spend as little time as possible in Bangkok. While the bustling city is fascinating in and of itself, other parts of Thailand offer significantly cheaper accommodations and food, as well as a wealth of other sights to see.
The featured image, for example, is from Khao Phing Kan, better known as James Bond’s island. In addition, several sites in Thailand allow you to get up and personal with Tigers, so if that’s something you’ve always wanted to do, Thailand is the spot to do it.
You might be astonished to learn that Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous country, with nearly 240 million people.
This, combined with the country’s many small islands, creates a radically different landscape than most of us are accustomed to.
It’s difficult to go wrong with possibilities like admiring big active volcanoes from afar, seeing what was once a completely isolated population in Baliem Valley, experiencing bustling trade districts, watching Legong’s traditional dance performance, or relaxing on the beach.
You’re probably not surprised that Malaysia made the list at this point. Kuala Lumpur is the most popular destination, and if you make certain sacrifices, such as not staying in a five-star hotel, you can stay for longer on a budget.
Batu Caves, a complex of caves and cave temples located just north of the capital, are depicted in this photograph. Again, there are other possibilities, and you can choose to have a really diverse trip if you so like.
One thing to remember is that Malaysia is predominantly Muslim, so making an effort not to insult them through your attire will keep you out of trouble and may even gain you that extra bit of goodwill you need to enjoy an unforgettable trip.
4. The Philippines
While the Philippines is arguably best known for its cheap labor, it is also a fantastic location for backpackers and budget tourists in general.
Not only is it a refuge for budget divers and beachgoers in general, but you can also visit the gorgeous Banaue Rice Terraces, the gigantic Mayon volcano, or even the Puerto Princesa underground river, one of nature’s new seven wonders.
It’s a no-brainer for the sun-deprived, broke student, with some advised daily budgets as low as 15-20$ per day and even lower.
Albania boasts some of the lowest living costs of any country in Europe, despite not being the first country that comes to mind when you hear “exotic.”
Its safety, culture, and numerous stunning beaches, such as Ksamil Beach in the photo above, make it a great place for someone looking to get the most bang for their buck.
Bulgaria is another East European country where you can get a lot of bang for your buck. While some beach towns have become notorious for being filled with lowlifes who prey on tourists who are inebriated, there are other more serene areas where you may enjoy the relaxed beach life on a budget.
If that’s more your style, you may go to Plovdiv and view some Roman ruins (image). Just make sure you do your homework ahead of time to ensure you get the vacation you desire.
While social turmoil still exists in Greece, the country’s economic collapse has made it far more friendly to broke students. Furthermore, by visiting and injecting money into the local economy, you are assisting them in gradually regaining their footing.
If you enjoy Greek cuisine or have always wanted to see the Parthenon but have never had the opportunity, now is the time to go.
Portugal is another fantastic European nation that you should absolutely visit. Also, as a result of the recent economic climate, the general cost of living has decreased significantly, making it a more reasonable destination for those who would otherwise avoid traveling to western Europe.
The towns of Lisbon and Porto, the latter being the birthplace of port wine, are by far the most popular. Isn’t it worth the journey only to see if the sunset in Lisbon is anything like the one in the picture?
Ecuador is a great place to visit if you want to relax on the beach, learn about a new culture, and maybe even learn a little Spanish on a budget.
If you’re concerned about safety, know that there are extremely few cases of tourist-targeted crime in Ecuador, and the country’s overall crime rates aren’t high enough to pose a real threat to your safety.
All of this is contingent on your own actions—if you go out of your way to get dead drunk without people to look after you, or if you try to buy illegal substances, you will be targeted far more frequently. The Galapagos Islands (photo) are by far the most popular tourist destination, and with views like this, it’s simple to see why.
Uruguay is one of the most contemporary South American countries, and it is frequently referred to as the safest destination to visit in the continent. Staying a few days in Montevideo, the capital, can be a terrific idea if you prefer a city holiday to relax on the beach, or if you want the best of both worlds.
Uruguay is a country that every traveler should visit at least once. One interesting suggestion is to go to an Estancia, which is a local ranch (picture).
Peru is hard to beat for exotic, with many historical relics of the Inca empire, one of history’s most fascinating civilizations. Peru is arguably one of the most intriguing places to visit if you enjoy learning about ancient cultures and picturing what life was like.
That isn’t all it has to offer, though. Peru is also an excellent place to visit if you’re a budget surfer or want to combine conventional touring with beach time in one trip. While visiting Machu Picchu may be a financial strain, it will undoubtedly be nourishing to the soul.
It’s difficult to make a list like this without including India. India is ideal for the bootstrapping backpacker, as it is home to many of the world’s most amazing historical monuments, some of the world’s most popular dishes (although, as my friend keeps telling me, you haven’t tasted real Indian food until you’ve been), and one of the world’s cheapest food and lodging destinations.
The only issue is that because India is such a large country, you’d have to write a separate post to point you in the proper way. Thankfully, Tripadvisor has compiled a list of the finest Indian attractions, ranked in order of user satisfaction.