Ask an expert: Southeast Asia on a budget

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Each week, Flight Centre's team of experts answers your travel questions

Traditional rice terraces near Ubud, on the island of Bali.
Traditional rice terraces near Ubud, on the island of Bali.

My wife and I are looking to get away in Southeast Asia, but don't have huge savings stashed away. What are the best places to tour on a budget? - T Alexander

Stacey Euston, manager of Flight Centre Pakuranga, has just returned from Bali. She shares her tips for having a great holiday on a budget.

Bali is a fantastic destination for anyone travelling on a budget. It has cheap shopping, authentic food, a fantastic cultural experience and beautiful beaches all on your doorstep.

Air New Zealand offers a direct service. These flights are very popular so book well in advance. You could also combine a few nights in Singapore either on your way to, or from, Bali - talk to an expert for a full range of options.

Kuta is the central hub of Bali offering everything from shopping, cheap massages, great restaurants and the famous Kuta Beach. I have just returned from a few days there because I wanted to be somewhere central for shopping - it's incredibly well priced: fantastic restaurants offer mains for around $10 or less and cheap massages cost about $8 for an hour.

For something a bit quieter, I recommend staying in Seminyak where there are still plenty of restaurants and cafes, but it doesn't have all the street vendors of Kuta.

A great option is to hire a villa, particularly if you're travelling with a group of friends or as a family.

When it comes to getting around, you can either hire a driver, which is really affordable, or hire a scooter if you're comfortable in busy traffic. Depending on where you decide to stay, I recommend hiring a driver for a day to visit Ubud, Uluwatu and Nusa Dua. This will cost around $80 for the day, including petrol, and it's a great way to look around without the stress of having to navigate.

Nusa Lembongan is also well worth checking out - it's a little island not far from Sanur and the beaches are pristine. A range of accommodation is available, from cheap and cheerful to luxury resorts. I stayed at the Bali Hai Tide Huts. It's well worth upgrading to the huts right on the beach, making for a blissful stay.

Bali is a very diverse destination and there is something to suit everyone - enjoy your holiday.


I went to Paris years ago and am now returning for another visit. Amazing big city, but I don't want to do the usual tourist stuff. What are the best off-the-radar attractions? - Pat H

Becky Wray, of Flight Centre Mount Maunganui, says Paris is one of her favourite cities. She shares her tips for off-the-radar attractions.

Le Relais de Venise restaurant in Paris.
Le Relais de Venise restaurant in Paris.

Paris attracts more than 27 million tourists a year so it can be tricky to locate those attractions the locals like to keep for themselves.

Choosing where to stay is the start of your Parisian experience. The city is divided into districts, known as arrondissements. Choose one of the outer arrondissements, such as the 15th, because it's a local neighbourhood. Staying further away from the typical tourist hub will allow you to spend time wandering the streets, visiting cafes, restaurants and venturing to local shops.

Knowing a few words or phrases in French will also help to open up a whole new local experience. Many airlines with flights to Europe even offer language programmes as part of their personal entertainment system so you can brush up on your skills on the way.

Paris is also a city of food. My top foodie tip is to have a picnic by the Seine. Stop by Place Monge on your way to choose from a selection of cheeses, before strolling through the Latin Quarter, where you can pick up French bread and wine, then relax as the city carries on.

The restaurant Le Relais de Venise is also a must visit. You will queue with locals to eat at a restaurant that serves steak with salad, frites and a secret recipe sauce, and you write how you would like it cooked on the table cloth.

I have also received great feedback about the Urban Adventures Secret Paris tour, a three-hour tour of cheese, art and life. A range of tours is available, so talk to an expert for more options.


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Flight Centre has return airfares from Auckland to Bali and seven nights' accommodation from $1479* each, twin share. Valid for travel until September 24. Return airfares from Auckland to Paris including two nights' accommodation go from $2149* each twin share. Valid for travel from January 16 to March 31.

* Prices subject to availability.

- NZ Herald

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