29 Apr 19
You’ve decided this year is the year for your first ever overseas trip. You’re buzzing with excitement, but then the practicalities of planning come into play. Where is the best place to go? Can I afford it? How will I cope on such a long flight? Will I miss my home comforts?
If you’re itching for your first overseas trip but you’re not sure where to go, we’ve put together a list of destinations that Aussies love, and ranked them based on all the practical considerations. Factors such as costs (of both flights and when you’re there), flight duration, and the safety of the destination were all considered to come up with our top 10 picks for first timers. Here’s to making memories!
Our top 10 places for first-time travellers are:
Nadi, FijiAuckland, New ZealandKuala Lumpur, MalaysiaHo Chi Minh City, VietnamBali, Indonesia SingaporePhuket, ThailandHong Kong, ChinaTokyo, JapanKathmandu, Nepal
Why we love it: With year-round sunshineonly a short flight away, a trip to Fiji is a tropical getaway whenever you need it. Fiji is perfect for all types of holidays: for families, for couples and for those looking to unwind. For the adventure tourists, there is plenty to do on the water, all at your fingertips.
Top Tip: Don’t miss a single sunset – it’s postcard perfect! Also, look out for a drink known as Kava, which plays a huge role in Fiji’s culture. The drink itself has an earthy flavour, but it’s popular for the numbing and tingling sensation it brings to your mouth. It may not be to everyone’s taste, but you may enjoy the ceremony and community surrounding it.
Auckland, New Zealand
Why we love it: If you’ve never been overseas before, a trip to Auckland allows you to dip your toes into the experience without any major culture shock. You’ll get the excitement of an overseas flight and a new country to visit, but without the worry of going too far out of your comfort zone.
Top Tip: The Sky Tower in Auckland CBD is the tallest structure in the Southern Hemisphere. At the top, you can visit the cafe, the revolving restaurant or for adventure lovers, book yourself in for a bungee jump!
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Why we love it: Malaysia is overlooked by many Australians, but the country has much to love, after all, its where you can gaze at the street art of George Town, sample the tea plantation delights in the Cameron Highlands, and relax among the mixed cultures of Melaka. Kuala Lumpur is the country’s capital and biggest city, with a great mix of modernity, history, culture and nature. While it’s a longer flight than some on the list, we find the culture experience worth it.
Top Tip: The highlight of KL are the Petronas Towers – formerly the world’s tallest buildings. Make sure to see them during the day and at night for an amazing contrast.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Why we love it: Ho Chi Minh City, and Vietnam in general, is a great first-time experience for backpackers and those looking to check out a new culture. From the exquisite food to the bustling streets, HCMC will awaken your senses.
Top Tip: Get used to the fact that the local currency is called the ‘dong’, as giggling about this every time you make a purchase gives away that it’s your first time in the country.
Why we love it: Bali is like a second home to many Australians. There are many reasons for this – great weather, cheap costs and a sanitised version of the exotic. One of the keys to an enjoyable holiday is knowing where to stay, as different areas of the island give vastly different experiences. To learn more, read our ultimate guide to Bali.
Top Tip: Take a trip south to Uluwatu. Set on the cliffs, this ancient temple is a sight to behold (as attested to by its macaque inhabitants).
Why we love it: Singapore is the most developed country in Southeast Asia. This means that prices are generally higher (except maybe the noodles in the hawker centres) but it also means that you have the home comforts of reliable public transport and clean, air-conditioned shopping centres. Singapore is famous for many things, including the impressive Marina Bay skyline, the quality street food (Singapore really is a food obsessive’s paradise) and with a little creativity, you can experience a lot of the city’s highlights no matter the budget with this guide.
Top Tip: For something that seems a bit out of place that’s totally bizarre, head to the Haw Par Villa and its vivid exhibition of the Ten Courts of Hell, depicting the extreme punishments expected for your mortal sins.
Why we love it: There are two direct flight options to Thailand from Australia. One is Bangkok, a bustling city and the other is Phuket, an island with more beachside accommodation, bars and restaurants than you can imagine. While there, its rather cheap, so you don’t have to worry too much about busting the budget.
Top Tip: Phuket comes alive at night in more ways than one. Check out the night markets to get some bargains, try local delicacies and watch live entertainment. These happen on different nights in different parts of the island, so can fit in with most schedules.
Hong Kong, China
Why we love it: The former British colony is a popular stopping off point for Australians on their way to Europe. Hong Kong is a shopper’s paradise, home to massive casinos and a destination where money really talks.
Top Tip: Ever wondered where the world’s longest escalator is? It’s in Hong Kong! Ride uphill for 800m (all covered) to get between the Central district up to the mid-levels neighbourhood.
Why we love it: Japan is a popular destination for all sorts of reasons, and Tokyo is the first stop for most travellers. And a return for many food lovers. Whether you’ve got a hankering for sushi, cat cafes or authentic sake, this is the place to go.
Top Tip: Catch the metro to Harajuku to see all that’s cute and kawaii about Tokyo. Stroll the streets and be amazed by the fashions, trends and general quirkiness of all that you can take in.
Why we love it: Nepal is an outdoor adventurist’s dream destination — there’s a reason the popular chain of shops chose the capital for its name. As well as all the hiking opportunities, Nepal is home to Mount Everest — a bucket list sighting for many of us.
Top Tip: If you don’t feel like climbing up Everest (or even part of it), there are other options such as helicopter flights that allow you to see this natural beauty up close. It will be your talking point, well, forever.
Check out more tips for travelling, in our Ultimate Guide for Travelling Overseas for the First Time.