International travel need not be something that only the uber rich can indulge in. There are affordable international destinations with a wide range of activities for everyone to enjoy. We cover four such international destinations in this article, their average airfares from major Indian cities, the major highlights and how you can save money while travelling to these destinations.
Jungle Treks, Temple Visits & Beautiful Beaches in Sri Lanka
From jungle treks to an elephant orphanage, Sri Lanka has something to offer to everybody. For example, the rock fortress of Sigiriya is a treat for all history enthusiasts out there. It is also a great trekking spot as it is located in the middle of a jungle. Once you reach the rock itself, you still need to climb up the rock face to reach the fortress. In addition to being an architectural marvel Sigiriya is also a UNESCO world heritage site.
|Avg. Cost||Avg. Duration|
|Bangalore - Colombo||Rs. 8372||1 hr 30 min|
|Chennai - Colombo||Rs. 5457||1 hr 25 min|
|New Delhi - Colombo||Rs. 12013||3 hr 40 min|
|Mumbai - Colombo||Rs. 9800||2 hr 15 min|
|Kolkata - Colombo||Rs. 13823||3 hr|
|Estimated Avg. Double-Bed Hotel Rate (3-star hotel): Rs. 2309 per night|
Next on our list is Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, which is about 13 kms from the town of Kigalle. Here, injured or orphaned baby elephants are treated and nurtured. The sight of baby elephants playing and having fun is a great sight and a highlight of Sri Lanka tour for many visitors. For the beach and watersports lovers out there, Arugam bay is the place to be. The golden sands at Arugam beach are a perfect place to get some sun. It also offers the opportunity for scuba diving and surfing. It is one of the best spots for some really good surfing in Sri Lanka. Finally, for the spiritual seekers, Jaffna, also called the city of temples, is the best destination. It is home to a number of temples which are historically and spiritually significant. Jaffna is also famous for the Jaffna fort which is an important historical monument.
Nepal: Great for Nature Lovers
Nepal is a treat for nature lovers, trekkers and spiritual seekers. For example, the famous Pashupatinath Temple near Kathmandu is one of the major pilgrimage centres for the devotees of Lord Shiva and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to the main temple complex, the site is also home to many smaller shrines and temples. Nepal also takes pride in many other major Hindu and Buddhist places of worship. Boudhanath Monastery is a prominent Buddhist monastery located at the outskirts of the capital city of Kathmandu and is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
|Avg. Cost||Avg. Duration|
|New Delhi - Kathmandu||Rs. 5621||1 hr 40 min|
|Mumbai to Kathmandu||Rs. 8714||2h 30 min|
|Estimated Avg. Double-Bed Hotel Rate (3-star hotel): Rs. 1642 per night|
If mountaineering interests you, Nepal provides for that as well. For the hardcore adventure and mountaineering junkies out there, Nepal is the base country for some of the most challenging climbs like Mount Everest, Annapurna-1 and Kanchenjunga. If these challenging expeditions do not interest you, you can also go for many hikes of lower difficulty like the Annapurna circuit trek, Ghorepani Poon Hill trek and Langtang Valley trek. Perhaps best of all, flights to Kathmandu are short and affordable, especially from New Delhi.
Adventure & Historic Sites in Thailand
Whether it is historical sites, urban attractions, watersports or nature adventures, Thailand has something for all travellers. If historical sites interest you, then Ayuthaya is a must see destination. Ayutthaya was the capital of the old Kingdom of Siam and is famous for its statues of Buddha and vast temple complexes. It is a designated UNESCO World heritage site. For all nature lovers out there, Khao Yai National Park offers a chance to go on a jungle adventure where you can spot wild elephants, deer, gibbons and wild boar. Khao Yai National Park also gives you the option to take in a night safari and a chance to spot nocturnal animals like gaur and mouse deer. Furthermore, the beaches at Krabi give you the chance to indulge in snorkelling, boating and scuba diving. Krabi also has some great rock climbing circuits for beginners as well as advanced climbers. The beaches themselves are beautiful and a great place to simply relax and enjoy the sun.
|Avg. Cost||Avg. Duration|
|Bangalore - Bangkok||Rs. 9648||3 hr 55 min|
|Chennai - Bangkok||Rs. 8273||3h 40 min|
|New Delhi - Bangkok||Rs. 9346||4h 20 min|
|Mumbai - Bangkok||Rs. 7221||4h 30 min|
|Kolkata - Bangkok||Rs. 7586||2h 30 min|
|Estimated Avg. Double-Bed Hotel Rate (3-star hotel): Rs. 2188 per night|
Coming to the capital city of Bangkok, Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World is a great outing for the entire family. It is an underwater experience like no other. Here you can see more than 400 different species of aquatic animals in their natural habitat. The transparent tunnel running through the main aquarium lets you view various marine animals from a totally different perspective. This single experience is the highlight of the trip for many families visiting Thailand. From Bangkok, you can also visit the Grand Palace and the Emerald Buddha Temple which are historically significant monuments. Flights to Bangkok are only slightly more expensive than others on our list, making them a great option for travellers on tighter budgets.
Pursue Happiness in Bhutan
While other countries measure Gross National Product (GNP), Bhutan actually has a measurement index called Gross National Happiness (GNH), which is used to measure how happy its citizens are. Bhutan, the Land of the Thunder Dragon, is a country which you must definitely visit at least once in your lifetime. Let’s start with one of the most iconic symbols of Bhutan - The Tiger’s Nest Monastery. Tiger’s Nest Monastery is a Buddhist Monastery perched on a cliffside at the height of about 3,000 ft from the floor of the Paro Valley. To reach the monastery you have to brave a rigorous uphill trek but the views and the spiritual ambience are well worth the effort. The Paro Valley itself offers some great views of the Himalayas and some great treks as well. It also houses some important fortresses and Buddhist temples which include the Paro Dzong, Ta Dzong and the Kyichu Lhakhang Buddhist temple.
|Avg. Cost||Avg. Duration|
|Kolkata - Paro||Rs. 9678||1 hr 10 min|
|Estimated Avg. Double-Bed Hotel Rate (3-star hotel): Rs. 1845 per night|
The capital city of Thimpu gives you a chance to sample some of the local cuisine. It also has some great places to visit like the Chorten memorial and the Textile Museum. Moving to the interior region of Bhutan, we come to the former Bhutanese capital of Punakha. Punakha houses the Simtokha Dzong which is the oldest existing Dzong in Bhutan. An hour drive from Punakha gets you to the Dochu La Pass, which offers some spectacular views of the Himalayas. You can also see Gangkar Puensum which is the highest mountain in Bhutan.
Helpful Tips for Travellers:
In the peak winter months, temperatures in Nepal and Bhutan can dip as low as -2 to +4 degrees centigrade during the winter so a good time to visit would be during the months of March to July. Thailand and Sri Lanka on the other hand, get really hot during the summer months with temperatures reaching 32 degrees centigrade. October to March is a good time to plan your trip. For Indian citizens, Bhutan and Nepal accept some denominations of the Indian Rupee. Please be sure to check for the latest rules before planning your trip. An Indian Voter’s Identification Card is accepted by the Nepalese authorities for Indian citizens and you do not need to carry your passport when visiting Nepal. Finally, by using top travel credit card, you can save up as much as 5-14% on international flights.