Plan to welcome 2020 overseas? Here is a list of eight countries, perfect for a New Year holiday, without hurting your pocket. Take your pick and make bookings soon!
Bhutan is no ordinary place. It is the last great Himalayan kingdom, shrouded in mystery and magic, where a traditional Buddhist culture carefully embraces global developments.
The Bhutanese pride themselves on a sustainable approach to tourism in line with the philosophy of Gross National Happiness. Foreign visitors famously pay a tariff of US$250 per day, however, this fee is all-inclusive – accommodation, food, transport and an official guide are all provided, so it’s not a bad deal. Until recently Indian tourists enjoyed a waiver on this fee, but soon a fee shall be imposed on them too.
Top Attractions: Paro, Thimphu, Punakha
1 INR= 1 Bhutanese Ngultrum
Endless beaches, timeless ruins, welcoming people, oodles of elephants, rolling surf, cheap prices, fun trains, famous tea and flavourful food make Sri Lanka irresistible.
Lying between the more trodden parts of India and Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka’s history, culture and natural beauty are undeniably alluring. It’s the place you haven’t been to yet, that you should.
Top Attractions: Gal Vihara, Abhayagiri Dagoba, Quadrangle, World’s End, Mulkirigala Rock Temples, Uda Walawe National Park
1 INR= 2.54 Sri Lankan Rupee
A land of staggering natural beauty and cultural complexities, of dynamic megacities and hill-tribe villages, Vietnam is both exotic and compelling.
Vietnamese culture is complex, diverse and represents something of a history lesson. The nation’s labyrinthine, teeming trading quarters are rich in indigenous crafts and reflect centuries-old mercantile influences. Ancient temples display distinctly Chinese influences in the north and Hindu origins in the south.
Top Attractions: War Remnants Museum, Son My Memorial, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Hang Son Doong, Imperial Enclosure, Giac Lam Pagoda
1 INR= 324.59 Vietnamese Dong
This beguiling nation of over 17,000 islands has massive potential for adventures. It’s hard to beat Indonesia for the sheer range of experiences on offer.
The world’s fourth most populous country is like 100 countries melded into one: a kaleidoscope of a nation that sprawls along the equator for 5000km. Indonesia is a land of so many cultures, peoples, animals, customs, plants, sights, art and foods that it defies homogenisation. The people are as radically different from each other as the variety of landscapes you’ll see, with every island a unique blend.
Top Attractions: Prambanan Temples, Borobudur Temple, Banyu Wana Amertha Waterfalls, Wayag, Bada Valley, Taman Nasional Kepulauan Togean
1 INR= 196.73 Indonesian Rupiah
Hitting headlines, topping bucket lists, wooing nature lovers and dazzling increasing numbers of visitors – there seems to be no end to the talents of this breathtaking northern destination.
It’s the power of Icelandic nature to turn the prosaic into the extraordinary. A dip in a pool becomes a soak in a geothermal lagoon; a casual stroll can transform into a trek across a glittering glacier; and a quiet night of camping may mean front-row seats to the aurora borealis’ curtains of light, or the soft, pinkish hue of the midnight sun.
Top Attractions: Vatnajökull National Park, Tectonic Plates, Snæfellsjökull National Park, Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, Geysir, Þingvellir National Park, Skógafoss
1 INR= 1.70 Icelandic Króna
Japan is truly timeless, a place where ancient traditions are fused with modern life as if it were the most natural thing in the world.
On the surface Japan appears exceedingly modern, but travelling around it offers numerous opportunities to connect with the country’s traditional culture. Japan is incredibly easy to get around: you can do a whole trip using nothing but its immaculate, efficient public transport. The shinkansen (bullet train) network now runs all the way from the southern tip of Kyūshū (the southernmost of Japan’s major islands) up to Hokkaidō (its northernmost), and reasonably priced rail passes make it affordable.
Top Attractions: Tōshō-gū, Oku-no-in, Sensō-ji, Mt Fuji, Himeji-jō, Rikugi-en
1 INR= 1.52 Japanese Yen
Chile is nature on a colossal scale, but travel here is surprisingly easy if you don’t rush it.
Preposterously thin and unreasonably long, Chile stretches from the belly of South America to its foot, reaching from the driest desert on earth to vast southern glacial fields. Diverse landscapes unfurl over a 4300km stretch: parched dunes, fertile valleys, volcanoes, ancient forests, massive glaciers and fjords. There’s wonder in every detail and nature on a symphonic scale. For the traveler, it’s mind-boggling to find this great wilderness so intact.
Top Attractions: Parque Nacional Patagonia, Orongo Ceremonial Village, Casa de Isla Negra, Rano Raraku
1 INR= 11.02 Chilean Peso
Split by a hair-trigger border, the Korean Peninsula offers the traveller a dazzling range of experiences, beautiful landscapes and 5000 years of culture and history.
South Korea’s compact size and superb transport infrastructure mean that tranquillity is always within easy reach of urban sprawl. Hike to the summits of craggy mountains – some of which transform into ski slopes come winter – enveloped within densely forested national parks. Get further off the beaten path than you thought possible by sailing to remote islands, where farming and fishing folk welcome you into their homes or simple seafood cafes. Gaze up at the distant stars from serene villages surrounded by rice fields, sleeping in rustic hanok (traditional wooden house) guesthouses.
Top Attractions: Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, Jeonju Hanok Maeul, Leeum Samsung Museum of Art, Seongsan Ilchul-bong
1 INR= 16.67 South Korean won
Note: The currency conversion rates are dynamic. It is advised to check the latest information before booking.