Some world cities are known for being good value, others are surprisingly paisa vasool. Here are five cities from across the globe that will be magnanimous in laying themselves out for you and will be kind to your wallet
Words AISHWARYA MENON
01. POKHARA, NEPAL
Nepal is many things to many travellers: a country with great trekking and backpacking opportunities, a wildlife magnet, and a cultural draw. We’ve picked Pokhara because it’s got tonnes to see and do… It’s also a major hub for the hordes of trekkers looking to take on the Annapurna Ranges.
The volume of travellers passing through Pokhara ensures great stay options on a budget.
Zostel Pokhara comes well equipped with a cool in-house restaurant, wi-fi and the option of air-conditioned dorms and private rooms; expect a fun-filled atmosphere and a chilled crowd.
The beautiful stone cottages at Mum’s Garden Resort, just off the lakeside in Baidam, are inviting and the perfect spot at which to unwind. For the best lake views, choose the rooms on the first floor.
Located just five minutes from Phewa Lake, Hotel Middle Path & Spa offers panoramic views of the Pokhara mountains from its rooms and rooftop.
GREAT-VALUE FOOD & DRINK
Pokhara offers a delightful mix of Indian, Chinese, and Tibetan flavours.
BREAKFAST: Choose from an extensive menu of vegan, vegetarian and non-vegetarian options at Little Windows.
A perfect place to start your day, The Juicery serves cold-pressed juices and smoothies. Try the Summer Breeze, a mix of watermelon, mint, lemon and pomegranate.
Old Mike’s Kitchen is known both its idyllic lakeside setting and great food; it’s perfect for that post-trek breakfast. Choose from a variety of pancakes, burritos and salads.
LUNCH: Known for its eclectic setting and extensive menu, Fresh Elements has a large selection of European wines to make an already good lunch better – try the fish curry or anything off the grill.
Visit Natssul for a taste of Korea in Nepal. The colourful bibimbap or kimchi jjigae and bulgogi come recommended.
Bajeko Macha Mahal is a unique hole-in-the-wall restaurant that offers food free of white flour, white sugar and ajinomoto.
DINNER: The only Spanish-Nepali restaurant in Pokhara, El Bocaíto Español woos you with its romantic ambience. Choose from tapas, bocadillos, and paella (order in advance).
Tired? Overfull? Keep it light at Caffé Concerto, which enjoys the rep of being the best Italian eatery in Pokhara. Try the cioccolata calda (hot chocolate) and homemade gelato.
Many consider the Krazy Gecko Bar & Resto a must-visit in Pokhara – for its good food and great music.
- Trek for two to three hours to the Peace Stupa and enjoy the beautiful views of the city and the lake en route.
- Go boating on Phewa Lake.
- Rent a two-wheeler and ride 15km from the city centre to Bejnas Lake. It’s smaller than Phewa, but more scenic and less touristy. For the best view of the lake, head to the viewpoint at the Bejnas Information Centre near Sundarindanda.
- Splurge a littleon the Upper Seti river rafting experience with Extreme River Rafting.
- Sign up for some stand-up paddle boarding on Phewa Lake.
Silver Oaks Handicrafts is the place for handmade silver jewellery – bracelets, rings and earrings in contemporary, traditional and classic.
2. MANILA, THE PHILIPPINES
At first glance, Manila might seem like just another congested city with both skyscrapers and shanty towns, but take the trouble to go past first appearances and you’ll find plenty of interesting sights and sounds.
Situated in Makati City, Hotel Sogo EDSA Guadalupe is a short drive from Ortigas Centre and SM Mall of Asia – a great base for visitors looking to explore the area’s attractions. Also in Makati City, Ritz Astor Hotel offers decent amenities, air-conditioned rooms and an excellent in-house restaurant.
Offering a shuttle to Ninoy Aquino International Airport, as well as free wi-fi, Oxford Suites Makati is a comfortable place at which to stay in Makati City, minutes away from cool eateries and nightlife options.
GREAT-VALUE FOOD & DRINK
Filipino cuisine can be exotic and sometimes daunting, but it’s also usually delicious and worth trying…
BREAKFAST: Apartment 1B is known to serve some of the best breakfasts in Makati; try the Eggs Benedict.
Wildflour Café + Bakery is on everyone’s must-eat-at list in Manila. Pick from the many oven-fresh breads and pastries.
Panaderya Toyo is the newest restaurant specialising in breakfasts; it’s already established a reputation for serving one of the best pan de sal (bread rolls) in town.
LUNCH: Nikkei claims to be the first Peruvian-Japanese sushi bar in Manila and is great for a relaxed lunch.
A Singaporean transplant, Char Dining PH specialises in Cantonese food with Western influences. The char siew is a must-try.
A hidden gem that’s home to Spanish comfort food, Relik has live music and quiz nights.
DINNER: Hops & Brews offers rich comfort food with international flavours, as well as pastries, cakes and beer. The lunch specials include a main dish, soup, salad and iced tea.
Red Baron Ribs and Steaks defines itself as a VFM casual dining restaurant that serves good wholesome meals! Don’t miss the lamb steaks and.
Dong Bei Dumplings makes a good dinner option.
- If you like to surround yourself with nature and get away from the city, Luneta Park is perfect! Just sit back and relax.
- Manila Ocean Park is your best bet to taste the island life without spending too much.
- If you’re fond of science, The Mind Museum, a project by the non-profit Bonifacio Art Foundation, will surely intrigue.
- You cannot come to Manila and not visit China Town! Hire a jeepney and set out exploring.
- Step into the world of seafood at Pasay Seafood Market. As the custom goes, you buy what you want from these stalls and take it to the restaurants outside the market for them to prepare it as per your taste.
Like yellow cabs in New York and red double-decker buses in the UK, jeepneys are intrinsic to Filipino culture. Mini jeepney souvenirs come in a variety of sizes, and can be found at any toy shop in Manila.