Desperate to Travel?

Surf's up in Weligama!
Photographer: Himanshu Pandya

Where can you go on a shoestring budget? We have nine different destinations from across the world, with rich experiences on offer

COMPILED BY AKHILA VIJAYKUMAR

There are many ways to describe being broke. Financially embarrassed. Penurious. Down-and-out. Beggared. Strapped. Hard up. “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a trip today.” “Please sir, can I have some more?” Thankfully, there are many places that you can go on a teeny-tiny budget. And we’ve got all of them here. Just save up for that flight ticket, and you’re good to go!

COASTAL SRI LANKA
The emerald isle has many places that will captivate you – and thrill your wallet. After landing in Colombo, make your way to Unawatuna – stopping at the Sea Turtle Sanctuary and Research Centre, Kosgoda. If you’ve missed it, never mind – Unawatuna has its own bijou turtle sanctuary in Habaraduwa about 20 minutes away. Splash about off Unawatuna Beach, or go snorkelling and diving off Hikkaduwa with Poseidon Diving Station.

Galle, a short drive away, has attractions like the Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage site that is beautifully preserved. The Dutch Reformed Church and National Maritime Museum are little oases of calm and knowledge. Mirissa, down the coast, is justly famous for Mirissa Beach, from where you can take boat rides to spy on whales and dolphins. Remember to sign up with responsible operators who don’t flout the rules; we recommend Mirissa Water Sports.

Surf’s up at Weligama, where you can take lessons at Surf n Lanka. Take a walk on Weligama Beach, known for its sandy bay, with lovely stretches around the island of Taprobane, and get a gander at the famous stilt fishermen there.

LUANG PRABANG, LAOS
Luang Prabang, with its meld of Franco-Indo-Chinese traditions, architecture and food, was once the capital of Laos and still has that air of importance. The sacred-to-Buddhists Mount Phou Si has gorgeous views of the city and the surrounding mountains and rivers. Wat Xieng Thong, the region’s most magnificent Buddhist temple and monastery, is lavishly gilded and utterly peaceful, housing a standing Buddha as well as a rare reclining one. Wat Wisunarat is one of the oldest temples, with a sizeable collection of Buddha statues calling for rain. The Royal Palace Museum houses the crown jewels of Laos, as well as a carefully preserved retelling of the country’s history, and the solid gold Prabang Buddha statue. If you’re an early riser, cover up and watch the Alms Giving ceremony, where Luang Prabang’s monks practise walking meditation around the town, receiving rice and food for the day. For something different, try the Bamboo Tree Cooking Class, which gives you the full experience, from shopping to prep and eating what you cook.

Take a day-trip to Kuangsi Waterfalls by shared minivan or tuk-tuk, and enjoy the beautiful falls. Sharing transport will lower costs as well as turn the day into a picnic of sorts. The Pak Ou Caves is another great day-trip destination. The upper and lower caves are famous for the thousands of Buddha statues and images left behind by travelling pilgrims to mark their journey. Take the opportunity to cruise down the Mekong River.

From Tokyo to Sydney and a whole lot more in between, we’ve got everything you need to max out your money while travelling, only in LPMI’s March 2017 issue. Pick up a copy from your newsstand or click to subscribe via Zinio or Magzter.