It’s summertime and the rise in temperatures means that you’d rather be anywhere but here. Besides, it’s vacation time and you’re dreaming of that perfect holiday – although you’ve just realised that you’re a bit too late in booking your dream trip. Luckily for you, we’ve handpicked a selection of places that you can book at the last minute and with minimal hassle.
How to get there: Rupees 17,000 for flight tickets from Mumbai to Bangkok.
Whether you want to escape to the hills of Chiang Mai, want a shopping break in Bangkok, or a beach vacation on one of the country’s many idyllic islands, Thailand is the coolest, most accessible destination you can visit this summer. Swim, snorkel, dine at some of the best restaurants around the world, shop to your heart’s content, visit a floating market, escape to a mountain village, and have an all-round good time in this country.
Tip: Thailand is offering a visa fee waiver to Indian citizens this summer, so make use of this and save some more.
How to get there: Rupees 6,500 for a flight from the closest metro city, Kolkata, to Bagdogra in Sikkim.
The northeast of India remains largely unexplored, which is why the mountain kingdom of Sikkim is the perfect summer escape for city dwellers. The state is home to India’s highest peak, Kanchenjunga. You’ll find Buddhist monasteries, dramatic landscapes and friendly people in this state, which was its own distinctive kingdom until 1975. Places of interest include the capital Gangtok, Namchi, Lachung, Pelling, and the Buddhist circuit.
Tip: The drive from Bagdogra to Gangtok takes around five hours, but there’s also a helicopter service that can get you there in 30 minutes.
Hong Kong & Macau
How to get there: Rupees 27,500 for a roundtrip from Mumbai to Hong Kong.
If a city escape to one of Asia’s most vibrant cities appeals to you, then Hong Kong is a wonderful idea for your summer holiday. With its tall skyscrapers, brilliant shopping options, mouth-watering food and a thriving nightlife, Hong Kong is any city slicker’s paradise. If you have more time and love to gamble, make sure you add the nearby Macau to your itinerary for a couple of days.
Tip: Indian passport-holders are now required to fill in a pre-arrival registration form.
Bali & Lombok
How to get there: Rupees 35,000 to fly to Denpasar International Airport from Mumbai.
If a chilled beach vibe is your scene, Bali and Lombok offer the perfect summer escape for you. With a truly international crowd, most of whom are young honeymooners or partygoers, Bali is the party animal’s paradise. Combine this with affordable hotels, food and drink, and you have a holiday that’s well worth every buck. Lombok, an island very close to Bali, is rapidly emerging as the party hub of Indonesia. Together, both these islands offer an unbeatable experience.
Tip: Indonesia offers visas on arrival to Indian passport-holders.
How to get there: Rupees 11,000 to fly to Colombo from Chennai.
It may be a small country, but there’s plenty to see in Sri Lanka, also known as the Emerald Isle. For culture vultures, the cultural triangle – comprising of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Anuradhapura, Sigiriya and Dambulla – are a delight. Kandy, a hill station which has gained prominence because of being home to the Buddha’s tooth, is also worth a visit. Pick up handicrafts and home décor from this tiny town. For wildlife enthusiasts, a visit to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is a must. And for beach bums, the towns of Bentota, Mirissa, and Galle are must-sees.
Tip: Sri Lanka offers a visa on arrival to Indian passport-holders.
How to get there: Rupees 30,000 to fly to Penang from Mumbai.
While Kuala Lumpur and Genting have long fascinated the Indian traveller, go one step further this summer by paying a visit to Malaysia’s Penang island. You’ll find temples, ruins, museums, preserved forests, beautiful beaches and some of the best food in all of Asia here. Indian passport-holders need to avail visas beforehand.
McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala
How to get there: Rupees 13,000 to fly from New Delhi to Dharamsala.
One of Himachal Pradesh’s most beautiful towns, Dharamsala and its suburb McLeod Ganj (which is also known as Little Lhasa) are a tourist hotspot. Amble along McLeod Ganj to see Tibetans walking along its tiny streets, which are replete with buzzing cafes, restaurants, monasteries and shops. Make sure you visit the Dalai Lama Temple Complex, which tells the story of the Chinese occupation of Tibet, houses a gorgeous monastery, and is the home of the Dalai Lama himself. Don’t leave town before sampling the delicious momos, yak cheese soup, and thukpa.
Tip: If flying is too pricey, you can make the 250-kilometre six-hour-long drive to Dharamsala from Chandigarh.
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