How Much Does It Cost to Visit Lonely Planet’s Top Travel Destinations of 2016?

How Much Does It Cost to Visit Lonely Planet’s Top Travel Destinations of 2016?

As much as I know they’re just clickbait, I’m a sucker for those lists of “Top Travel Destinations” or “X Places You Must Visit Before You Die”… especially those featuring places I can actually afford to visit.

Lonely Planet has announced the best travel destinations for 2016, and while their criteria for determining which were “best” is a little mystifying, it’s gratifying to see that 5 locations on their lists are less than 10 hours’ flight from Singapore—i.e. you don’t have to exhaust all your annual leave on a trip to those places.

Here are the lists:

Top 10 Countries

  1. Botswana
  2. Japan
  3. USA
  4. Palau
  5. Latvia
  6. Australia
  7. Poland
  8. Uruguay
  9. Greenland
  10. Fiji

Top 10 Regions

  1. Transylvania, Romania
  2. West Iceland
  3. Valle de Vinales, Cuba
  4. Friuli’s wine regions, Italy
  5. Waiheke Island, New Zealand
  6. The Auvergne, France
  7. Hawaii
  8. Bavaria, Germany
  9. Costa Verde, Brazil
  10. St. Helena, British Territories

Top 10 Cities

  1. Kotor, Montenegro
  2. Quito, Ecuador
  3. Dublin, Ireland
  4. George Town, Malaysia
  5. Rotterdam, Netherlands
  6. Mumbai, India
  7. Fremantle, Australia
  8. Manchester, UK
  9. Nashville, Tennessee
  10. Rome, Italy

Top 10 Best Value Destinations

  1. Estonia
  2. Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, Vietnam
  3. East Africa
  4. New Mexico
  5. Bosnia and Herzegovina
  6. Galicia, Spain
  7. Quebec City, Canada
  8. Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast
  9. Timor-Leste
  10. Western Australia

All in the name of escapism, we’ve calculated how much a 3 day 2 night trip to each of the following 5 destinations costs, factoring in the cost of accommodation on Airbnb.


1. Japan


Singaporeans already love Japan, based on the number of teenagers holed up in their rooms for days at a time watching anime and the Japanese-style fake eyelashes that many women seem to think it’s okay to wear to work.

While Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka are firm favourites, lesser-visited places like Fukuoka, Nagasaki and Okinawa are also worth trying for the slower pace of life they offer. Hotels in Japan are notoriously expensive, but there are some incredible deals to be had on Airbnb.

Flight: The cheapest flights to Tokyo can be had for $500-$600.

Accommodation on Airbnb

  • Girly apartment in Arakawa, Tokyo for $58 a night.
  • Cosy Kyoto apartment for $66 a night.
  • Zen-looking Japanese-style room in a house in Osaka for $48 a night.

Other costs: Food in Japan isn’t as expensive as it used to be thanks to the falling Yen, and you can get away with spending less than $50 a day if you eat simply.

Total: $770


2. Fremantle, Australia


The Australian dollar is at an all-time low, and hordes of Singaporeans are flocking Down Under for the holidays. Perth is one of the cheapest destinations to fly to from Singapore, and Fremantle is just a short train ride away.

Fremantle is an idyllic port town with sumptuous Victorian architecture and a lively market. It’s a place where you can bask in the sun by the harbour, listen to hippie-looking buskers and enjoy street art.

Flight: Flights to Perth can be had for $350 to $450 if you book early. Fremantle is just a 4 AUD and 30 minute train ride away.

Accommodation on Airbnb

Other costs: Expect to budget at least $10 to $15 for simple meals or $45 a day.

Total: $585


3. George Town, Malaysia


I’ve always thought Penang was a cooler version of Singapore. It’s got colourful shophouses, street art, friendly people and better food than ours.

A trip to George Town in Penang is also one of the most inexpensive trips you can take from Singapore. Flights generally cost less than $100, and the weak Ringgit means food costs even less than half of what it does here.

Flight: Book in advance and you should be able to fly to Penang for about $90 or even less if you catch the budget airlines during a sale.

Accommodation on Airbnb

  • Cute room in a historical pre-war house for $23 a night.
  • Santorini-themed room in a charming B&B for $33 a night.
  • Adorable Japanese-themed room in a B&B for $40 a night.

Other costs: You’ll be eating up a storm in Penang, but even so, you can get away with spending less than $20 a day on food if you stick to inexpensive eateries.

Total: $210


4. Mumbai, India


It’s the most frenetic city in one of the world’s most challenging countries to visit. Even the locals will tell you that Mumbai is mad.

If you’re a Bollywood fan or simply love urban chaos, you’ll have a whale of a time in Mumbai. Watch an Indian music performance, visit one of the many temples or take in a cricket match while you’re there.

Flight: You can almost always find flights to Mumbai for $400+.

Accommodation on Airbnb

Other costs: Food can be ridiculously cheap here and you can get by spending less than $15 a day. Beware of Delhi Belly, though.

Total: $500


5. Ho Chi Minh City / Hanoi, Vietnam


You’ll have to learn to cross streets buzzing with mopeds without the aid of traffic lights. Master that and you’ll enjoy Vietnam, a great budget destination from Singapore.

If you want to bar hop in a big city, pick Ho Chi Minh City. Hanoi is best if you prefer wandering through tiny backlanes and hanging out by an urban lake.

Flight: Fly to Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City for about $200.

Accommodation on Airbnb

  • Room in an apartment with a fantastic view of Hanoi for $27 a night.
  • Gorgeous 60s-style art deco loft apartment in Hanoi for $52 a night.
  • Room in a delightfully cosy home in Ho Chi Minh City for $14 a night.

Other costs: Street food in Vietnam is cheap and delicious, and incredibly inexpensive. If you eat at small local establishments, you can easily keep your spending to under $15 a day.

Total: $300

Are you planning to visit any of the above destinations? Tell us in the comments!