Get flashpacking at these emerging destinations around the world
Want to backpack but don't want to slum it too much? Here are some options
Flashpacking - backpacking in style - is increasingly becoming travellers' idea of a balanced holiday that's also out of their comfort zone.
According to Hotels.com's Hotel Price Index, the past year saw emerging destinations such as Myanmar and Poland get on the list. They offer some of the most reasonably-priced five-star luxury accommodations, with prices as low as $94.
These places offer the best of both worlds - exploring destinations and cultures off the beaten track while getting a chance to experience a dose of luxury.
According to Hotels.com president Johan Svanstrom, such a combination is trending.
He said: "One of the top themes we see in social media #travelbrags is luxury. Travel really is the new social currency, as people love to share more and more of the great things and places they experience, whether it's through a selfie or an Instagram story."
Here is a list of where you should go to get the biggest bang for your buck.
Travellers seeking more historical adventures are in for a treat as this city is rich with cultural connections to the ancient Greek, Persian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires. A trip to Istanbul would not be complete without visiting some of its most remarkable sites, including the Hagia Sophia, a church-turned-mosque-turned-museum, Sultan Ahmed Mosque (also known as the Blue Mosque), Topkapi Palace and Basilica Cistern. Also stop by the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest bazaars in the world, and pay a visit to a traditional hamam, where you can have a unique Turkish bath experience closely related to ancient Greek and Roman bathing practices. The best time to visit Istanbul is during spring and autumn, from April to May and from September to mid-November respectively, when temperatures are pleasant and skies are clear.
Where to stay: Hilton Istanbul Kozyatagi from $117 per room per night.
Situated on the banks of the Mekong River near the border of Thailand, Vientiane offers a laidback atmosphere - perfect for those looking for a more idyllic vacation spot, sans the crowds. November through to March are the best months to visit, as the air is a bit cooler and vacationers will enjoy more of the city's scenery and tourist destinations, such as the Buddha Park, Pha That Luang, the most sacred monument in Laos, Patuxai Victory Monument and Wat Ho Phra Keo. You can also hone your culinary skills by taking up a class with Lao Experiences, a local cooking school that also offers market tours and street food tastings.
Where to stay: Crowne Plaza Vientiane from$94 per room per night.
Those looking for a more medieval-inspired getaway will definitely find it in Zagreb. Boasting majestic infrastructures and romantic cobblestone streets, it offers a quaint European experience, perfect for those wanting to avoid the crowds found in cities like Barcelona or Berlin. Tourist hotspots aside, culture vultures should definitely pay a visit to the Museum of Broken Relationships, where the lovelorn find a home for their sentimental keepsakes, or the Croatian Museum of Naïve Art, a fine art museum dedicated to the work of naïve artists of the 20th century. The Brestovac Sanatorium, a former state-of-the-art tuberculosis treatment spa that is now a paintball arena, is also another more uncommon attraction worth visiting, at least for Instagram.
Where to stay: Esplanade Zagreb Hotel from $177 per room per night.
Singaporeans can enter Myanmar- just three hours away by plane - visa-free for 30 days and indulge in the country's rich cultural heritage and lush greenery. When in Mandalay, visit the Yadana Labamuni Hsu Taung Pye Paya, also known as the snake pagoda, and marvel at the two large pythons wrapped around the Buddha statue within. Dubbed by locals as the semi-holy serpents, these snakes receive thousands of guests yearly who leave money offerings at the pagoda. Be sure to check out the area surrounding the snake pagoda, as it is full of beautiful ruins rarely visited by tourists.
Where to stay: The Hilton Mandalay from $142 per room per night.
Another quick getaway destination for thrill-loving Singaporeans, located between the majestic Himalayas and lush forests of the Indian jungles. Ever since the city opened up its borders to foreigners, it has emerged as one of the most enchanting destinations not just for hikers and trekkers, but also for travellers who desire tranquility and a space to meditate. The best way to enjoy what Kathmandu has to offer is to take a city tour and learn more about the history of Nepal and the culture of its people. Foodies can also sign up for local cooking tours and learn how to make local delicacies such as momos, dal bhat and aloo paratha.
Where to stay: Hotel Yak & Yeti from $209 per room per night.
Krakow is one of oldest cities in Poland and a leading centre of Polish economic, academic, cultural and artistic life. Offering rustic European appeal, it is also famous for its well-preserved medieval and Jewish history. Aside from historical tours, travellers with a fantasy bent will be pleased to discover that Krakow is also home to a local dragon, Smok Wawelski. According to local legends, a ferocious dragon once lived in the cave that is now part of the Wawel Castle complex. Medieval buffs should check out the "real" bones of the dragon in Wawel Cathedral, which are rumoured to have magical powers.
Where to stay: Niebieski Art Hotel & Spa from $191 per room per night.
In addition to being one of the earliest, most industrialised and most cost-friendly towns in Scandinavia, Malmo is also full of charm. The abundance of nature is ideal for travellers looking for diverse outdoor adventures and experiences, such as Folkets Park, the oldest public city park in the world. Complete the trip by mingling with the locals at a Slice of Swedish Hospitality, a family-run business that offers a unique glimpse into the life of a local over a meal.
Where to stay: Indulge in a stay at Grand Hotel - Lund from $161 per room per night.