12 amazing travel experiences in Asia under $50
Go off the beaten path. Get an adrenaline rush. Grab every opportunity you can to build amazing memories on your next holiday with these budget-friendly ideas.
- October 2019
From the cool to the quirky, the fun to the fascinating, here is a list of experiences that are under AUD $50 to inspire your next holiday.
1. Get a serious adrenaline rush at Asia’s most extreme waterpark
Ranked on TripAdvisor as the top thing to do in Bali, Waterbom Bali has 17 rides including Smashdown 2.0 where you can “enjoy” an almost vertical 26-metre drop, and Boomerang that launches you from an enclosed tube to an almost free-fall speed run.
Address: Jalan Kartika Plaza Tuban, Kuta, Bali 80361
Cost: AUD$34 for a day pass
2. Organise a rum tasting session at Phuket’s only craft distillery
While most commercial rums are made from molasses, Chalong Bay Rum opens in new window is distilled from a natural ingredient that’s easily available in Thailand — sugarcane. At the distillery located on the southeast coast of Thailand far from the hustle and bustle in Patong, you can join the hourly tours from 2pm daily where you will learn how the rum is produced. At the end of the tour, there will also be a guided tasting session.
3. Take a magical night walk on the grounds of a 436-year-old castle in Osaka
In the day, Osaka castle is an impressive testament to Japanese architecture, and offers visitors breathtaking views of the surrounding areas from the top floor. Come night, Sayuka Lumina opens in new window transforms the historic castle grounds into an immersive multimedia experience. For 45 to 60 minutes, you will take part in an adventure as you follow Akiyo, a girl from the future who needs your help finding her way back to the future. Be mesmerised as the story takes you through interactive digital art, and beautiful sound- and lightscapes.
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4. Experience Singapore’s underbelly
If you like going off the beaten track, this three-hour guided walk opens in new window by Geylang Adventures around Singapore’s only legalised red light district is right up your alley. Founder and life-long resident of Geylang, Cai Yinzhou designed this walk to give meaningful insights into a community he cares deeply for. Hear untold stories of low-wage migrant workers, find out more about the ecosystem of vices, and gain an understanding of the social issues that underlie the city’s glamorous surface.
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5. Take on the world’s highest rope obstacle course in Penang
Okay, this one sneaks in at just over $50, but at 65 floors above ground at the top of the highest building in Penang, this is an adrenaline junkie’s ultimate fix.
It starts out slow with confidence-building challenges like High Bench where you take a seat with your feet dangling over the edge for you to grapple with the fact that you volunteered to hang out 236metres above ground with nothing but a lanyard that’s attached to your body harness and the overhead safety line.
If you haven’t chosen to leave by then, you’re up for bigger challenges like crossing a narrow bridge (with gaps in between for extra thrills), and ziplining across the building to the next façade.
6. Visit a pineapple themed park in Okinawa
The website says you can learn the history of Okinawa’s pineapples but the thrill of going to Nago Pineapple Park opens in new window has less to do with education and more to do with all the kitschy fun it offers. Think sitting in a pineapple shaped jeep through pineapple farms dotted with pineapple mascots and sculptures, before tucking into a 37cm-tall parfait with you guessed it … pineapple-everything.
7. Visit the oldest and largest cemetery in Manila
A cemetery tour might seem morbid but in the Philippines, public cemeteries are also home to living communities of some of the poorest people in society, who thrive on selling flowers, making headstones and building coffins. On the Cemetary Tour By Smokey Tours opens in new window, you get to visit Manila North Cemetery to understand how and why up to 6,000 people live there.
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8. Visit a vineyard with elephants in Hua Hin
Most travellers don’t associate Thailand with vineyards but a booming middle class in recent years has resulted in a burgeoning winemaking industry. Monsoon Valley Vineyards opens in new window that is a 2.5-hour drive from Bangkok is located on what was once an elephant corral, and now the domesticated elephants are part of the sprawling scenery that’s best enjoyed from the balcony of the onsite restaurant, The Sala Wine Bar and Bistro.
Address: 1 Moo 9 Baankhok Chang Patana NongPlup HuaHin District, Prachuap Khiri Khan 77110
Cost: AUD$30 for a three-course tapas and wine pairing
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9. Be a detective in Bangkok
While most travellers head to Rattanakosin to visit The Grand Palace, GoSnoop opens in new window organises an outdoor detective game that will allow you to experience this historically-rich neighbourhood in a novel way. Gathering clues to solve the mystery of a missing Thai family will take you through local markets, temples and off-the-beaten-track spots most tourists miss.
Cost: AUD$43 (minimum booking of two pax)
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10. Walk down Yangon’s beautiful streets
With the highest concentration of colonial buildings in the world, Doh Eain opens in new window offers a fresh perspective at appreciating Yangon’s rich past — by exploring its future through its Urban Design and Social Dynamics Walk. Walk through hidden alleyways to discover citizen-led urban regeneration projects that have transformed former waste dumps into vibrant community spaces, and visit a renovated heritage building to learn about the challenges of building preservation. All proceeds of this tour go to the upkeep of the alleyways.
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11. Feel like you’re walking amongst clouds in Vietnam
Up in the hills of central Vietnam, a giant pair of concrete hands holds up a golden bridge 1,414 metres above sea level. It’s easy to see why images of this went viral on social media shortly after this attraction’s opening in June 2018 but nothing beats seeing it for yourself. Take a slow stroll along the 150-metre long bridge opens in new window, enjoy the unobstructed views of the surrounding forest and sneak in some great selfies.
12. Get lost in a digital art museum in Tokyo
No picture on Instagram can come close to capturing the full experience of visiting this 10,000 square-metre museum. Powered by 520 computers and 470 Epson projectors to create moving artworks that interact with each other and the people around it, this immersive and multi-sensorial experience opens in new window at Mori Building Digital Art Museum: teamLab Borderless is a jaw-dropping showcase of what can happen when technology and imagination come together.