20 tips on how to travel to asia on a budget

Cheap Asia Travel: 20 Tips

#1 Bargain! In most Asian countries bargaining is customary. Start low because tourists are always quoted a higher price than locals.

#2 Use trains or buses for long trips between cities. Hiring taxis can end up costing you more and they are usually less reliable.

#3 Make friends with locals. Free meals, rides and a place to stay are benefits that can save you a lot of money and not to mention give you a more memorable travel experience.

#4 In Singapore and South Korea you can take advantage of Global Refund, a VAT tax claim system. A 9.9% tax (20% for some items) at over 600 retail outlets can be reclaimed with proof of purchase in South Korea. The GST tax in Singapore is 5% and can be reclaimed on all purchases of goods and services by tourists. Look for the Tax Free Shopping logo.

#5 Track the dollar. The dollar has held steady in China, India and Taiwan and it is fixed in Hong Kong so the deals are still the same. Southeast Asia is generally always a good value and Japan is usually the worst. By researching where your dollar goes the furthest, you can plan accordingly and save.

#6 Use the Cathay Pacific All Asia Airpass. It includes roundtrip airfare from New York or Los Angeles plus 21 days of travel to 18 Asian cities starting at $999. Open only to US residents, it is a great way to see all of Asia without spending a fortune on airline tickets.

#7 When shopping for souvenirs like handicrafts and clothing stay out of tourist shops in airports and shopping centers. Try local markets and small shops where there will likely be the same souvenirs (or better) at far lower prices.

#8 On Singapore Airlines, be sure to take some free postcards while on board. They’ll even pay the postage and mail them for you.

#9 Take advantage of free offers like Tai Chi lessons in Hong Kong. Under the Tsim Sha Tsui clocktower near the Star Ferry every Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at 8 a.m. Offers like this can often be found in English newspapers and at tourist centers.

#10 Find package deals that include airfare, accommodation and tours. Not only do they usually save you money, they offer peace of mind with knowing you can sit back and relax and everything is taken care of.

#11 Get outside of the big cities and tourist spots. Consider staying on the outskirts of a city or even in a nearby town or village. Rates are far cheaper and it allows you to immerse yourself more deeply into the culture.

#12 Students and senior citizens can receive discounts all over Asia with international ID cards. Many places won’t have this discount posted, so be sure to ask.

#13 If you are planning on traveling extensively in Japan, a rail pass can be purchased before you leave the states. It can save a ton of money compared to individual train tickets.

#14 If you are on a really tight budget, you might just want to skip Japan altogether.

#15 Theft prevention! An often overlooked, but very necessary budgeting tool is precaution. Money belts, locks and a watchful eye can prevent a theft that could put a major dent in your travel funds. Places like Japan and Singapore generally have very little petty theft, but in poorer countries like those in Southeast Asia more caution is necessary.

#16 Plan your day and how you’re going to get where you’re going. Unnecessary transportation costs because of poor planning and indecision can really add up, so plan a logical route for your day and how you’re going to get from place to place.

#17 Hotels in large tourist cities like Beijing and Tokyo offer convenient sightseeing tours, but shop around first. Often the same tours can be found nearby for half the price.

#18 Be a thorough reader and ask questions. Read hotel contracts, rental car agreements, and tour information carefully before you sign anything. Tiny clauses in the contract can turn into huge charges if you don’t pay attention.

#19 Instead of eating at nice restaurants every meal, try noodle stands on the street. They are very cheap and can be just as good as restaurant food. Most are clean, but be careful with any meat you eat.

#20 Prioritize sights and attractions. Decide which ones you absolutely can’t miss then see how much money you have left to use for others.

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Shangri-La to Open Two Hotels in Sri Lanka

Shangri-La has purchased six acres of government land facing the Galle Face green promenade, a prominent landmark in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The development will be a multi-use complex with high-end retail facilities, deluxe apartments and a 500-key luxury hotel to open in early 2014. The purchase marks the entry of the hotel group into Sri Lanka.

Shangri-La is also planning to develop a second property, a 300-key city resort on approximately 100 acres of land in Hambantota, on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, to open in 2013.

Greg Dogan, president and chief executive officer of Shangri-La International Hotel Management, said, “Sri Lanka is a country of unsurpassed natural beauty, rich in cultural heritage, and above all it is well recognised for its warm and hospitable population. The local government is fully committed to rebuilding the economy following the end of three decades of conflict and we believe that Shangri-La will be able to assist in positioning the country as a prime global tourist destination. Both Shangri-La hotels strategically fit into the group’s ongoing expansion plans to link the Indian subcontinent and our South East Asia developments.”

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Mongolia… an Uncommon Adventure

Mongolia… an Uncommon Adventure

The last great nomadic culture… rolling grassy steppes… Buddhist temples and shamans… the Naadam Festival…. The Reindeer People

From the Gobi desert to the snowy peaks of the Altai mountains and the crystal waters of Lake Khovsgol, Mongolia is truly an uncommon adventure that will challenge and fascinate the most experienced traveler.

In 1994 Boojum Expeditions became the first US outfitter to offer tourism in Mongolia. In 1998 Boojum/Khovsgol Lodge became the first Mongolian-American joint venture tourism company. From your first inquiry to our Bozeman office to your last day in Mongolia, you are in the hands of an integrated group of travel experts with over 35 years experience.

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Ntchisi Forest Lodge

Posted by Cornish
Country: Malawi
Region: Ntchisi
Website: http://www.ntchisilodge.com
Date: 09th January 2006 Add your photo
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Location: In the hills north of Lilongwe. 15 kms east of Ntchisi. See the website.

This is a guest house run by a friendly South African woman who fell in love with Malawi several years ago and now has a lease to run this charming old house built in colonial days, for guests. She employs locals to help stoke the fire for the hot water, cook the meals, attend to the laundry and garden. They live in harmony, just like a family. Visit the kitchen and chat to the cook. The air is cooler than the lowlands and very agreeable. The surrounding forest has some wild monkeys and many different birds. There are walks to take and villages all around with friendly locals.

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Wildebeest Migration In Masai Mara, Kenya

Location: The Masai Mara National Reserve lies about 270 kilometers from Nairobi, and
takes about 4 to 5 hours by road. There are scheduled flights, twice daily from
Wilson Airport Nairobi, which take about 40 – 45 minutes. The reserve is about
1510 square kilometers having been reduced from 1672 square kilometers in 1984.
However, the wildlife is far from being confined within the reserve boundaries,
and an even larger area, generally referred to as the “dispersal area” extends
north and east of the Masai Mara National Reserve. Maasai communities live
within the dispersal area with their stock but a century of close association
with the wildlife has resulted in an almost symbiotic relationship where
wildlife and people live in peace with one another. The first sight of this
natural wonderland is breathtaking. Here the great herds of shuffling elephants
browse among the rich tree-studded grasslands with an occasional sighting of a
solitary and ill-tempered rhino.

The endless plains of east Africa are the setting for the world’s greatest
wildlife spectacle – the 1.5 million animal ungulate (wildebeest) migration.
From the vast Serengeti plains to the champagne colored hills of Kenya’s Masai
Mara over 1.4 million wildebeest and 200,000 zebra and gazelle, relentlessly
tracked by Africa’s great predators, migrate in a clockwise fashion over 1,800
miles each year in search of rain ripened grass.

There is no real beginning or end to a wildebeest’s journey. Its life is an
endless pilgrimage, a constant search for food and water. The only beginning is
at the moment of birth. An estimated 400,000 wildebeest calves are born during a
six week period early each year – usually between late January and mid-March.

The migration is a natural event and the timing varies month by month; year by
year.

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