The ultimate guide for best November escapes within Asia

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Photo of The ultimate guide for best November escapes within Asia by Neha Bhise Sadalge

There is no better time to travel to Asia than November. Filled with festive revelry and the best of weather, Asia is a must do this season. Typically marking the end of monsoon season, November brings pleasant and drier weather to most of this continent. It is also a time which is considered as a shoulder season; because majority of travellers are busy making bookings for the Christmas and New year season, most destinations don’t start their holiday peak pricing for visitors till start of December.

Here is a list of the best destinations in Asia to visit in the coming season.

Important note: The approximate expenditure (expenses + flight rate) mentioned is the per day cost for a single person, on a budget itinerary. The flight rates mentioned are from New Delhi to the respective destinations. The rates are taken from Skyscanner, as seen on 5th October 2018.

International

Where: Borneo, Malaysia

What to do: Borneo is the third largest island in the world and the largest in Asia. It is however often overlooked for its neighbouring destinations in Bali and Thailand due to their touristy appeal. A dream destination for divers, it is known for its clear waters, snorkelling spots and exotic underwater riches. This is the best month for diving and sightings of green and hawksbill turtles, walking catfishes and bright clown fishes amongst the many varieties of species found here. While on a visit to the island, you can take a stroll through the enchanting rainforest or visit the private island at Tavajun Bay while you feast on a much-deserved tribal barbeque freshly made especially for you!

Photo of Gaya Island, Sabah, Malaysia by Neha Bhise Sadalge

Best way to get around: Small boats and motorized longboats are used for short trips across rivers and bays. Most of the coastal cities in Borneo are also connected by a network of cheap and comfortable buses. If you are keen on travelling by private taxis then look out for taxis being offered by Dart, Grab & Gojek.

Approx. expenditure: Rs. 12000 to 15000 + Rs. 39,235 via Singapore/Malaysia with Jet Airways & Air Asia.

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Where: Thailand

What to do: Located in northern Thailand, about 700 kms from Bangkok, Chiang Mai is the perfect place to expand your horizons by visiting the city’s beautiful temples and historical sites. However, November brings with it the much-awaited festival of Loi Krathong in this city. Thousands of candle powered lanterns fill the sky along with fireworks while Krathongs (small candlelit boats) are floated on rivers. Chiang Mai is the epicentre of this activity and is a favourite with locals and travellers. You can check for its yearly dates here.

Photo of Chiang Mai, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai, Thailand by Neha Bhise Sadalge

Best way to get around: This is one of the cheapest places to travel in Asia. You can share a ride in a Songthaew at 30 baht(Rs.68) or take a private air-conditioned taxi or a tuk-tuk at approx. 100-200 baht(Rs.225-500) per ride. Another cheap option for a taxi ride is to check for coupons on Grab which is Southeast Asia’s version of Uber with fares as low as 100 baht (Rs. 225) per ride. Buses can also be used to travel within the city starting 15 baht (Rs. 34) per ride.

Approx. expenditure: Rs. 3000-Rs.6000 + Rs. 27812 via Bangkok with Thai Airways.

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Where: Laos

What to do: The capital and largest city of Laos, Vientiane is known to be the least Southeast Asian of all the Asian capitals. Stretching along the Mekong river where it forms the border with Thailand, you can enjoy spending time in French bakeries while you indulge yourself in wine cellars and night markets. Coinciding with the full moon in November, the popular festival of That luang is celebrated in the city. Thousands of monks gather here before the crack of dawn and commence the celebrations with music, dancing and flower processions.

Photo of Vientiane, Laos by Neha Bhise Sadalge

Best way to get around: Tuk-tuks and shared jumbos are the best ways to get around the city. For a distance of 1 km, you can be charged around 5000k-20000k (Rs.42-Rs.172 approx.). It is important to check for the fares before starting the ride.

Approx. expenditure: Rs. 2500-Rs.5000 + Rs. 30,186 via Bangkok with Thai Airways.

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Where: Myanmar

What to do: Located in central Burma, it is one of the world’s best archaeological sites and is often compared with the likes of Macchu Picchu or Angkor Wat. Before the dreaded heat wave and upcoming tourist season starts, November is the best season to travel to Myanmar. Take a self-contained river cruise to Mandalay or visit one of the many UNESCO restored Buddhist temple sites. The best part about visiting the country this month is witnessing the Shwezigon Pagoda Festival, which is celebrated over 23 days throughout the month, with fireworks and candle processions

Photo of Bagan, Myanmar (Burma) by Neha Bhise Sadalge

Best way to get around: E-Taxis being offered by hotels are a convenient option to travel around the city with a rate of 8000K (Rs. 386) per day. You can alternatively hire a horse cart for short distances at 15000K (Rs. 725) for half a day, however they can be uncomfortable for long distances. Taxis are also an option being offered by all hotels, however they can cost anywhere between 7000-15000K (Rs. 350-700).

Approx. expenditure: Rs. 4000-7000 + Rs. 33906 via Bangkok with Thai Airways.

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Where: Thailand

What to do: Bangkok needs no introduction to its regular set of visitors. However apart from the full moon parties that happen here every month, November holds a special importance for visitors who look forward to witnessing the Loy Krathong Festival which takes place on the November’s full moon to celebrate the beginning of the dry season. Lit lanterns and lotus shaped boats float along the rivers and is a visual treat for all. A couple of hours north of Bangkok, the Monkey Buffet Festival is also celebrated in Lopburi where more than 4000 kgs of fruit and cakes are laid out for the monkeys to eat with music and dance to celebrate. If you are a sports buff, then head further to the island of Phuket to participate in the annual Laguna Phuket Triathlon which is Southeast Asia’s biggest sports event.

Photo of Bangkok, Thailand by Neha Bhise Sadalge

Best way to get around: BTS or MTR is one of the cheapest ways to travel around the city with one day passes at approx. 120 baht (Rs. 270) per day. Motorcycle taxis can be as cheap as 10 baht(Rs.23) for a single trip while a tuk-tuk ride can cost you around 100 baht (Rs. 225) for a single trip.

Approx. expenditure: Rs. 2000-4000 +Rs. 20964 with Srilankan Airlines.

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Where: Vietnam

What to do: As the dry season begins in Vietnam, visit the Con Dao national park to be just in time to see the sea turtle nesting season while diving in the surrounding waters. The winter months are also one of the best seasons to travel on a luxury junk boat through the limestone formations of this UNESCO heritage site.

Photo of Côn Đảo, Ba Ria - Vung Tau, Vietnam by Neha Bhise Sadalge

Best way to get around: The cyclo, bicycle rickshaw is the best way to get around the city with fates from 12000d (Rs. 38) onwards. Xe-om (motorbike Taxi) is also easily available and can cost fares 15000d (Rs. 48) onwards. Taxis here are relatively cheap with an average tariff of 12000d (Rs. 38) per km.

Approx. expenditure: Rs. 2000-4000 + Rs. 30,561 via Bangkok with Thai Airways.

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Within India

Where: Punjab

What to do: Amritsar along with the rest of Punjab celebrate Diwali with more enthusiasm than any other place in the country. Visit the Golden Temple during this period to witness the thousands of lamps that are lined along the edge of the lake and be mesmerized by the fireworks displayed at night. The Wagah border and Jallianwala Bagh are amongst the must visit places here. Food in Punjab has always been the highlight of visiting this region, however the festive season gives you an opportunity to experience a culinary feast like no other!

Photo of Amritsar, Punjab, India by Neha Bhise Sadalge

Best way to get around: Autos & taxis are the best option to travel within the city. Local buses can also be used and charge very nominally depending on the distance. A good option here would also be to hire a self-drive bike or car to get around the city.

Approx. expenditure: Rs. 2000-3000 per day + Rs. 6329 with Air India.

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Where: Uttar Pradesh

What to do: Varanasi is a haven for travellers and photographers during this festive season. They celebrate what is known as Dev Deepavali or Diwali of the Gods at Ravidas Ghat wherein it is believed that Gods descend to earth on this day to bathe in the holy waters of River Ganga. This tradition has gained so much popularity that a special festival called Ganga Mahotsav is celebrated along with Dev Deepavali to attract more crowds.

Photo of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India by Neha Bhise Sadalge

Best way to get around: Local autos and taxis are available from the station or airport which can cost you as low as Rs. 100 for a single ride. A Cycle rickshaw costs Rs. 50 for upto 2 kms.

Approx. expenditure: Rs. 1500-2500 + Rs. 7906 with Indigo Airlines.

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Where: Western India

What to do: If you are the sorts who wants to escape the festive madness this season, then Goa is the perfect getaway for you. Just before the tourist season when popular shacks start opening to gear up for the season, it is the perfect time to visit Goa. Travel to South Goa for unexplored and calm beaches, while you can party the night away on the beaches of North Goa and indulge in the best of culinary experiences. For movie buffs, the International Film festival is also held in Goa during this period.

Best way to get around: Taxis here can be expensive with a single trip costing as high as Rs. 1000 and public transport can also be quite a task. The best option here is hiring cars or bikes which are easily available at every corner for rent starting at Rs.500 a day.

Approx. expenditure: Rs. 2000-2500 + Rs. 7165 with Go Air.

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Where: Rajasthan

What to do: Located in the Ajmer district of Rajasthan, this place has an appeal like no other. From the religious scenes to touristy scenes meant to enchant the large number of travellers here, it is a mystic experience like no other. November though puts this popular town on the tourist map with the arrival of its popular Pushkar Fair. This colourful week-long event is one of the busiest times to travel in Rajasthan.

Photo of Pushkar, Rajasthan, India by Neha Bhise Sadalge

Best way to get around: The most convenient way of travelling here would be to hire a motorbike at Rs. 400 per day or by hiring a private cab starting at Rs. 1000 per day.

Approx. expenditure: Rs. 2000-3000 + Rs. 4266 with SpiceJet.

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