Travelling is considered a privilege, however in recent years it has become more and more difficult as the Rand plummeted to an all time low! Due to the Rand’s poor performance of late, the average South African will find it very difficult and I dare say almost impossible to travel to places such as Europe, the United States or Australasia without finding themselves strapped for cash and unable to enjoy everything these wonderful countries have to offer. But fret not there is still hope for the avid traveller; believe it or not there are awesome countries where their currency is weaker than the Rand! So pack your bags while we explore a brief overview of these fantastic destinations.
Thailand – Culture, Adventure & Popular Honeymoon Destination
Thailand is the destination of choice for scores of South African honeymooners, more so the island Koh Samui. It is no wonder seeing as it embodies the very essence of romance, surrounded by blue waters, perfect weather and of course white sandy beaches. What better way to celebrate the union of two people! Apart from its romantic allure Thailand also offers a great cultural experience and caters to the needs of great adventure seekers. Surrounded by several smaller islands, there is no limit to the destinations you can explore and experiencing true Thai culture as you go along.
Divers are spoilt for choice in this paradise destination; however locals recommend you visit Koh Tao for the ultimate diving experience. For culture and history enthusiasts the temple trail is a must as it embodies history with a modern flare.
- Exchange Rate: R1.00 = 2.2 Thai Baht
- Visa: No visa needed if you stay for no more than 30 days.
- Expenses: A daily budget of R440 would be sufficient for accommodation, food and public transport
Chaleo Yoovidhya created Red Bull in 1976. He died in 2012 a wealthy man.
Bali – An Unspoilt Treasure
Bali is a popular tourist destination and embodies the very essence of the word “paradise” in this wonderful country. The island locals are some of the friendliest and most hospitable people you will ever meet, all of whom will jump at the opportunity to help you experience local living at its finest. The island itself will have you spoilt for choice with local activities, tourist hotspots and cultural experiences. If you are looking for peace and quiet, Bali is the place to go, however it is recommended that tourist avoid the South side of the island as it is overrun with scammers that make a living by over charging tourists!
- Exchange Rate: R1.00 = 841 IDR
- Visa: Free visa-on-arrival for 30 days
- Expenses: R870 per day will pay for accommodation, food and transport. To rent an affordable Bali villa, visit Airbnb.
Nyepi, or Hindu New Year, also known as “The Day of Absolute Silence” is held in March or April. During this time tourists are asked to stay in their hotel rooms and stay as quiet as possible for the day, at night, all lights are to be kept to the bare minimum. Fortunately it only lasts for 24 hours!
Malaysia – Food And Rainforest Adventure
The Malaysian Ringgit is a bit stronger than the Rand, fortunately the living costs are cheaper than in South Africa. Malaysia is known for its culinary palate and magnificent spices! If spicy food is your passion, you will have a ball of a time in Penang where your senses and taste buds will be taken on a culinary adventure of a lifetime. Another place to visit for an out of this world culinary experience is the markets of George Town where they offer a variety of spices, chilli’s and fruits that are unparalleled.
Of course it is not all about the food; Malaysia also caters to the adventure spirit. The Island of Borneo is part of three countries, namely Malaysia, Brunei and The Philippines. The Sarawak Chamber in Gunung Mulu National Park is located on the island and is said to be the biggest cave chamber in the world, capable of easily housing a Boeing 747-200. The island also offers other attractions such as natural hot springs, big mountains and scuba diving spots.
- Exchange Rate: 1 Malaysian Ringgit = R3.78
- Visa: free visit for stays up to 90 days
- Expenses: R470 per day will pay a dorm bed, food and admission to National Parks in Malaysia
The island houses a host of wildlife; the best known is the Proboscis monkeys some of the cutest and most mischievous monkeys in the world.
Laos – Rivers, Mountains And Popular For Cyclists & Motorcyclists
If you are looking for fun, sun and relaxation Laos is the place to visit. Due to its laid-back lifestyle and magnificent sunsets it will have you relaxed in no time. After all it is all in the name and here you will learn the true meaning of “Lao – Please don’t rush”. Apart from the relaxing atmosphere Laos also houses an abundance of elephants and has become known for the Irrawaddy dolphins that have made Laos their home. Apart from sun and sea it also offers attractions for cyclist and motorcyclist alike, offering breathtaking scenery and perfect terrain. As a matter of fact many locals recommend that you explore Laos either by bicycle or motorcycle!
- Exchange Rate: R1.00 = 528 Laotian Kip
- Visa: Paid 30-day visa on arrival
- Expenses: An amount of R320 per day will pay for a dorm room, food and transport
Having condensed milk in your coffee is common in Laos.
Cambodia – Ancient Temples and Wonderful Beaches
Cambodia has had its fare share of bad luck in the past, but in recent decades have become a wonderful tourist destination with a range of activities, natural wonders and cultural experiences to suit any pallet. Sihanoukville’s reputation as an up-and-coming popular beach destination has increased rapidly in recent years drawing in tourists from far and wide. The Cambodian ancient temples are definitely a must see for those seeking a cultural experience, while watching the sunrise at Angkor Wat will leave you awe-struck. Siem Reap, the capital city of Cambodia boasts luxury hotels and wonderful nightlife, perfectly combining nature and luxury.
- Exchange Rate: R1.00 = 255 Cambodian Riel
- Visa: A 30-day visa-on-arrival will cost you about US$30. Watch out for border officials that is looking to make money of tourists by ripping them off. Contact the Cambodian Embassy in South Africa to get an update on the latest visa developments before you plan your trip.
- Expenses: R250 per day will pay for a dorm bunk, food and transport
Philippines – Diverse Culture And Beautiful Beaches
The Philippines is made up out of more than 7 000 island. It is said that it would take a person about 20 years to visit each island if you plan to spend only one day on each island. According to Nick Paul, Palawan is the best island to visit and sports one of the best beaches. With so many islands it is no surprise that the Philippines have some of the most diverse cultures in the world! Apart from their diversity the Philippine locals remain friendly and resourceful.
- Exchange Rate: R1.00 = 3 Philippine Peso’s
- Visa: No visa needed for stays up to 21 days. Make sure your passport has 3 blank pages and is valid for 6 months after you have returned to South Africa
- Expenses: A daily budget of R625 will enable you to pay for a single room, food, local beer and a tricycle ride
Unlike popular belief Karaoke was not invented in Japan, it was invented in the Philippines.
These are just a few of the countries you can visit. There are many more that have a weaker currency than South Africa and as can be seen all of them are fully capable of catering to the needs of any traveller be it cultural, culinary or purely adventure.
Have you been to any of the countries listed above? Please leave a comment below to share your experience with us.