7 Affordable Grad Trip Travel Destinations Below S$800

Deborah Gan

Deborah Gan

Last updated 16 May, 2023

Hurray, your trip is making it out of the group chat! Here are the best places to travel to for your grad trip that guarantees loads of things to do, see and eat — on a budget.

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Whether your grad trip happens the day your finals are over or 5 years after graduation, we all deserve our long-awaited trip with our best buds to celebrate a key milestone in our lives — graduating and adulting — no matter how long it takes.

But if you’re a group who have just graduated, you might not have the means for an extravagant getaway that could cost up to thousands.

Fret not, we have compiled a list of the best affordable travel destinations for your trip that promises a variety of activities, great sightseeing and sumptuous food.

Table of contents:

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Read these next:
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1. Phuket, Thailand

Walking on pristine beaches, swimming with fishes and indulging in fresh seafood. If that sounds like your perfect holiday, then Phuket might be the best place for your grad trip.

What to do: One of the main attractions you definitely don’t want to miss is a snorkelling trip to Phi Phi Islands. You can book a one-day tour on websites like Klook and Traveloka, which usually includes a few islands you can visit, like Maya Area, Khai and Bamboo Island. There are also snorkelling spots that the guide will bring you to so you can marvel at the colourful marine life up close!

Pro tip: Remember to bring along your nausea pills if you’re prone to seasickness, as you can be out at sea for the whole day! On top of that, waters might get choppy as well.

You can also book a separate tour to explore Phang Nga Bay and James Bond Island, where you can kayak through limestone sea caves and cliff-lined lagoons — definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Aside from these, be sure to climb up The Big Buddha, an iconic sight in Phuket, and visit their famous temple Wat Chaithararam. Monkey Hill viewpoint is also another tourist attraction, and as the name suggests, you can interact with hundreds of monkeys!

Accommodation: Similar to Bali, you can rent a whole villa with a private pool for cheap, at around S$50/pax per night for a group of 4. There are tons of aesthetic villas to choose from that you’ll definitely be spoilt for choice! For more atas-looking villas, they could cost upward of S$300/night.

Food: Melas in Phuket are extremely affordable, where you can find mains for less than S$5, even at certain restaurants! Street food is even cheaper, so be sure to try their range of snacks and local delicacies when you’re there!

 

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2. Krabi, Thailand

Want to visit Phuket but can’t stand the crowd? Go to Krabi instead.

What to do: Essentially, Krabi is the less crowded version of Phuket because the things you can do the quite similar. You can sign up for a snorkelling tour to Phi Phi Island too, just that you might drop by different islands like Monkey Beach, Tonsai Bay, Viking Cave and Bamboo Island.

If you’re in Krabi, be sure to try out white water rafting! Coming from experience, the white water rafting route in Krabi is way more exhilarating than the Ayung River in Bali. It has faster rapids and steeper drops, perfect for adrenaline junkies. 

When you’re there, don’t miss the Tiger Cave Temple! But note that you’ll need to conquer the 1,260-step staircase all the way to the mountain top that guarantees cool air and breathtaking views. But if you’re not keen, you can stay at the bottom and explore the compounds.

Krabi Town Night Market is a great place to go for dinner, offering a wide range of local delicacies and street food, as well as shops selling clothes and knick-knacks!

Accommodation: Finding an Airbnb in Krabi for cheap is also very easy, similar to Phuket’s prices, at about S$50/pax for a very decent private villa. Hotels also cost around the same price, but staying in a villa will definitely be an experience.

Food: Food in Krabi is also very cheap, at about S$5 per main. Fresh seafood is also very common, which can cost you about S$7 to S$10 per plate.

 

 

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3. Genting Highlands, Malaysia

A getaway to Genting Highlands is perfect if you’ve only got a few days to spare — think as short as 3D2N — and want to escape the sweltering heat.

What to do: Known for it’s newly renovated theme parks, Genting is home to both Genting SkyWorlds (outdoor themepark) and Genting SkyTropolis Indoor Themepark, boasting exhilarating and family-friendly rides and attractions for every age. If you enjoy going on roller coasters, you’re definitely going to love Independence Day: Defiance (Central Park) and  ESD Global Defender (Central Park).

Pro tip: Download the Genting SkyWorlds app to reserve timed entries for rides, attractions, and even shows for all attractions to save time physically queuing.

If you’ve never been to gamble before (and are of age of course) and don’t want to pay the hefty entrance fee at the MBS Casino, both the Sky Casino and Genting Casino require no charge to enter, so it’s a great place to get a feel of how casinos are like. But of course, gamble within your means and do it with caution so it doesn’t turn into an addiction.

For shopping, head down to Genting Highlands Premium Outlets via a short cable car ride. Some of the famous brands you can find there include Armani, Boss, Burberry, Guess and Kate Spade. But don’t worry if you’re not into luxury brands, there are also other brands like Cotton On, Nike, Converse and Sephora you can check out.

Accommodation: Hotels are rather affordable at Genting, but be sure to get a hotel at Genting Highlands, so you won’t have to commute up and down every day. It should cost about S$100-S$150 per night, depending on when your trip is. 

If you want cheaper alternatives, you can find other hotels and Airbnbs along the middle or at the foot of the mountain. Though finding a ride up and down the mountain each day might be a challenge.

Food: Food options are limited there, and most restaurants and food courts are found mainly at SkyAvenue and First World Plaza. The prices can get a little steep, costing around S$12 to S$25 for a main. The food at the food courts is slightly cheaper, at about S$6 to S$10, though still relatively pricey.

 

 

Read this also: What to do in Genting Highlands: Travel Guide

4. Bangkok, Thailand

The ultimate destination for shopping, Bangkok also has tons to offer, like amazing food, night markets and massages!

What to do: The first thing you should do when you land is to get the shopping started! Bangkok is known as the land of smiles for a reason, especially when it comes to shopping. Some of the mandatory shopping spots are the Pratunam Mall, Platinum Mall, Icon Siam Shopping Mall, Siam Paragon, and the list goes on.

The Chatuchak Weekend Market is also highly sought-after for its cheap clothes, street food and souvenirs, while you can head to the Asiatique: The Riverfront for more knick-knacks and chill vibes all around.

Pro tip: Haggle whenever you can to score lower prices. Clothes are a lot pricier now compared to Bangkok pre-Covid, so don’t expect to find the same S$2 tops as you did previously!

Looking for a massage? There are countless massage parlours all over the city that are very affordable compared to Singapore’s price — think about S$40 for a 90-min full body massage!

Accommodation: Villas are not abundant in Bangkok since it’s a bustling city after all, so you’re better off finding a decent hotel instead, that can cost around S$100 to S$150 per night. If you’re gunning for 4-star hotels and upward, be prepared to pay about twice as much.

Food: Food is cheap in Bangkok, and can cost you anywhere from S$2 to S$4 for a bowl or rice or noodles at roadside food stalls. Food courts are definitely more expensive, going at about S$5 to S$10 for something similar.

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5. Da Nang, Vietnam

A fan of Vietnamese food and sightseeing? Da Nang will be your heaven.

What to do: Don’t expect adventure-filled days in Da Nang, because it’s a place to chill and relax on a budget. For sightseeing, visit the Golden Bridge, aka Ba Na Hills, where you’ll the iconic hands holding onto a bridge that you can walk on. To access the place, you’ll have to take the Ba Na Hills cable car.

Other famous sights to see also include the Dragon Bridge, Marble Mountains and Lady Buddha.

Da Nang is also known for its beaches, so be sure to check out My Khe Beach, Non Nuoc Beach, Bac My An Beach and Thanh Binh Beach, where you can suntan, sip on a cold beer and watch the waves crash onto the shore.

Accommodation: You can easily find a beachfront hotel for about S$150 to S$250 per night, while a private villa will cost upwards of S$250 to S$300 per night. Airbnbs are usually much cheaper, and S$100 can get you a whole apartment to yourself!

Food: Food in Da Nang is inexpensive, and can cost you about S$2 to S$5 for your whole meal at a roadside stall. Restaurants are usually more expensive and can cost you about S$10.

 

 

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6. Bali, Indonesia

If you and your besties want a relaxing yet budget getaway sipping on cocktails and listening to the lapping waves, then Bali is the place for you. 

What to do: Though it is marketed as a place with chill vibes only, there are actually a ton of things to do to accommodate your adventure-seeker friends. Go on an adrenaline-pumping white water rafting ride along the Ayung River in Ubud, and do an early-morning hike up Mount Batur to catch the sunrise. You can also ride an ATV on muddy terrains and take a beginner surfing lesson on one of Bali’s best beaches.

Immerse in Bali’s culture by vising the famous Monkey Temple in Ubud or catch one of their dazzling traditional performances, including their must-see Kecak Fire Dance at sunset. Otherwise, do what locals do best by chilling at one of their lavish beach clubs and taking in the picturesque views.

Accommodation: Accommodations there are really affordable, and it’s one of the few places where you can rent a whole villa to yourself at a low price! You can easily get a villa with a private pool for about S$50/pax per night, or top up a little more for something more extravagant! Alternatively, hotel rooms are also available at around the same price.

Food: Food there can be a lot cheaper, but it really depends on where you eat at. For about S$2 - S$5 per meal, head to one of their warungs (roadside stalls) that offer authentic Balinese cuisine. Otherwise, beach clubs usually are priced at about S$20 - S$30 per main, while drinks cost about S$10 - S$20 depending on which one you go. For a daybed, they usually have a minimum spend of about S$100 - S$200 for a daybed that can accommodate 4 to 6 pax.

 

See also: Bali Travel Guide — What Kind Of Traveller Are You?

7. Taiwan

Known for its street food (and of course bubble tea!), lantern lighting and beautiful mountains, Taiwan is a must-visit destination for your clique! We recommend avoiding the summer period from June to August because it gets really hot and humid, just like Singapore!

What to do: The night markets are definitely a must-go in Taiwan. Though each night market varies from the others, you generally get the same variety of dishes, including sweet potato balls, XL chicken cutlets, beef cubes, oyster mee sua, spring onion pancakes, and the list goes on!

Here are some famous night markets you should definitely visit in each city:

  • Taipei — Shilin, Raohe, Ningxia and Shida Night Market 
  • Taichung — Feng Chia, Yizhong, Hanxi Night Market
  • Jiufen/Shifen — Ruifang Night Market
  • Kaohsiung — Liuhe, Ruifeng, Kaisyuan Night Market
  • Tainan — Garden Night, Dadong, Wusheng Night Market

If you’re into sightseeing, there is definitely a whole list of places you should check out, including Yangmingshan National Park, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Taipei 101, Ximending, Longshan Temple and Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall.

And you’ve never really been to Taiwan if you don’t light a floating lantern! Head down to Jiufen, where you can write all your well wishes on a sky lantern and release it into the sky — that way, all your wishes will come true. While you’re there, be sure to head to Jiufen Old Street to marvel at its historical architecture, and patronise the shops selling knick-knacks and Taiwanese snacks!

Accommodation: Hotels and Airbnbs in Taiwan are generally affordable, costing about S$50 - S$100/pax per night, depending on the type of accommodation you choose. Staying in city areas near the train stations will definitely be a little pricier! There are also some hotel rooms that come with private jacuzzis and hot tubs, that can start from S$150 per night!

Food: If you enjoy eating at roadside stalls, you can easily pay about S$3 to S$7 for a good bowl of beef noodles or braised pork rice. However, restaurants are definitely pricier, going up to around S$15 for a main meal. Night market snack prices are generally affordable but can get slightly inflated depending on the night markets, ranging from S$1 to S$6.

See this also: Things to do in Taiwan: Taiwan Travel Guide 2023

 

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A mahjong addict with an undying love for dogs, Deborah is always on the hunt for cheap deals because she is always broke. That is why she is attempting to be more financially savvy to be.. less broke

FINANCIAL TIP:

Use a personal loan to consolidate your outstanding debt at a lower interest rate!

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