Plan Your New Year's International Trip Under 40k Right Now: An Alternate To Southeast Asia

Tripoto
10th Sep 2018

We all know New Year's is a great time for an international holiday. I mean, who doesn't want to end the year with a bang, right? And we also know everyone flocks to Southeast Asia around that time. The result? Swarms of annoying tourists, exorbitant prices and maddening chaos.

Photo of Plan Your New Year's International Trip Under 40k Right Now: An Alternate To Southeast Asia 1/1 by Pallavi Paul
Credits: PxHere

Personally, I wouldn't mind escaping that ghastly mayhem and retreating to a quieter destination that offers everything that would essentially make your holiday a raging success, minus the crowds. A place that hasn't been discovered by the vast majority of our junta and is super cheap. Yes, I am suggesting an alternative to your yearly Thailand escape in December.

If you're wondering why I'm thinking so far ahead, it is because planning an international vacation is a mammoth of a task, so it only makes sense to plan way in advance to ensure things work out smoothly. The idea of being stranded abroad, with no idea what to do next is hardly an ideal situation for anyone.

So without much further ado, let me present to you a cheap, less explored, gorgeous alternative to Southeast Asia. Next time you plan that international trip, choose wisely!

The hidden gems Central Asia: The Stans

Although there are 7 countries with the suffix 'stan' in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan), the 5 stans that were part of former Soviet Union are Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan. Out of these, I'm going to share with you the three that are breathtakingly beautiful and also super tourist-friendly. Let's begin our little Central Asian tour!

Replace Wat Arun of Bangkok with Barak-khan Madrasah of Tashkent

Uzbekistan is the most tourist-friendly of the three stans mentioned above and there isn't a place on earth that is more Instagram-worthy than this. With its layout of glimmering turquoise tiles, grandiose gateways and intricate architecture it truly is has some of the most remarkable architecture in the world. History buffs must visit the three main cities of Uzbekistan: Samarkand, Khiva and Bukhara. The beautiful capital city of Tashkent, which is also the largest in the country, has a lot to offer in terms of sight seeing: markets, museums, places of cultural and historical significance.

Top experiences: Visit the capital city Tashkent to see the great developments of Uzbekistan post USSR disintegration (Chorsu Bazaar located at the city’s main square Eski-Juva, Amir Timur Square, Independence Square, Zangiata Mausoleum and the metro stations that resembles a museum!); Explore the compact layout of Khiva and marvel at the distinct flavour it exudes (check out Pakhlavan Mahmoud Mausoleum, Palace of Nurullah-bai and Madrassah of Muhammad Rahim Khan); visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site Bukhara, which used to be one of the largest trading hubs in the world at the height of the Silk Road trade (Po-i-Kalyan Complex, The Ark of Bukhara, Chor Minor and the Lyab-i Hauz complex) and make sure you visit the magnificent Samarkand (Registan, Afrasiab Museum of Samarkand and The Ulugh Beg Madrasah).

Flight cost: The coolest thing about travelling to Uzbekistan is that there's a direct flight from New Delhi to Tashkent! The cheapest round trip fair between New Delhi to Tashkent in December starts from ₹21,569.

Daily budget: Uzbekistan is super cheap! Your daily average expense should be around ₹617 inclusive of intracity travel, entertainment and food. Accommodation starts from ₹340 per night.

Where to stay: Real Tashkent Hotel: ₹724 per night for double occupancy

Replace Singapore's Gardens by the Bay with Kazakhstan's Bayterek Tower

Known as the home of fictional character Borat, played by Sacha Baron Cohen, the sprawling country of Kazakhstan has the largest economy in Central Asia. It's capital city Astana, with its flashy buildings and contemporary architecture, rises out of nowhere and catches you off guard with its sheer grandiosity and also its multitude of contemporary buildings. With its breathtaking natural landscapes consisting of towering mountains, deep valleys and pristine lakes, rich culture and history and quaint little villages, this unexplored country is perfect if you choose to go off the beaten path.

Credits: Ken and Nyetta

Photo of Kazakhstan by Pallavi Paul

Credits: Ken and Nyetta

Photo of Kazakhstan by Pallavi Paul

Credits: Christian Kortum

Photo of Kazakhstan by Pallavi Paul

Credits: mariusz kluzniak

Photo of Kazakhstan by Pallavi Paul

Top experiences: The capital of Kazakhstan and also its second largest city, Astana rises out of nowhere and intrigues us with its modernisation, amazing building projects and financial boom (check out Duman Aquarium and Bayterek Tower here); Your next stop should be the largest city in the country – Almaty, located in South East Kazakhstan. If you love art and culture, this is the place to be. With lots of art galleries, exhibition halls, museums, theatres and a wide variety of entertainment complexes that house restaurants, cafes movie theaters and night clubs, this is the place to head to if you want to party.

Flight cost: What's more? There is a direct flight from New Delhi to, both, Astana and Almaty. The cheapest round trip fair between New Delhi and Astana in December starts from ₹24,347.

Daily budget: Your daily average expense should be around ₹1,539 inclusive of intracity travel, entertainment and food. Accommodation starts from ₹547 per night.

Where to stay: Astina Hotel: ₹1,312 per night for double occupancy

Replace Kuala Lumpur's Petronas Tower with Dungan Mosque of Karakol

Dominated by rugged mountains and fertile valleys, Kyrgystan will offer you an experience like no other. If you are a lover of nature you will be in absolute awe of the dramatic landscapes this beautiful country has to offer. Sitting comfortably west of China and south of Kazakhstan, this Central Asian country is definitely an unconventional choice for a traveller. If you like nature walks and trekking, Kyrgystan offers a lot gorgeous trails. Stay in traditional yurts, interact with mountain people and ride on mountain ponies for a completely authentic experience.

Top experiences: The capital city of Bishkek is a must-visit. At first it strikes you as unassuming but it is the kind of city that grows on you, something that you ought to experience (head to the central plaza, Ala-Too Square, State Historical Museum, the bustling Osh Bazaar, Zhirgal Banya Bath House and Kyrgyz National Opera and Ballet Theatre of Abdylas Maldybayev). Bishkek also offers many cafes and restaurants for all the foodies out there. A must-visit is Q Cafe, known for their Dvorak cake and gourmet coffee; Trekking enthusiasts should go on the Ala-Archa trail, which is the closest trek to Bishkek; Camp below the peaks of the Issyk-Ata Valley

Flight cost: Again, there is a direct flight from New Delhi to the capital city of Bishkek. The cheapest round trip fair between New Delhi and Bishkek in December starts from ₹21,742.

Daily budget: Your daily average expense should be around ₹1,319 inclusive of intracity travel, entertainment and food. Accommodation starts from ₹629 per night.

Where to stay: Ocean Hotel: ₹2,671 per night for double occupancy

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