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Unique Travel (for less than you think)

From unforgettable sunsets to a movie under the stars, the travel memories that stick longest in the mind aren’t necessarily the ones that break the bank. We pick our favourite low-budget bucket-list experiences from around the world

Glorious Asian sunsets

U Bein Bridge was built out of teak wood more than 150 years ago, and is used by locals crossing Taungthaman Lake in Myanmar

U Bein Bridge


Some landmarks are best seen as silhouettes, and U Bein Bridge is emphatically one of them, being at its most photogenic just as the sun dips over Taungthaman Lake, seven miles south of Mandalay in the riverlands of central Myanmar. Measuring three quarters of a mile long, the bridge was first constructed around 1850 from the timbers of a dismantled royal palace, and has counted as the world’s longest teak bridge ever since. For the best view, make for the eastern shore of the lake as sunset approaches – watching maroon-robed monks on bikes and locals carrying parasols traversing the creaking planks, while rowing boats glide and fishermen wade in the waters down below.

• Free



With its mirror lakes and mountain canopy, the Pokhara Valley was made for a stunning sundown spectacle. To see it at its best, head for the village of Sarangkot on the ridge high above Phewa Tal Lake where the finest vista in all the Himalayas unfurls before your eyes: a range of snowy summits that glow pink with sunset. Due north is the pyramidal peak of Machapuchare, a sacred mountain ascended only once in the 1950s by a team of climbers who stopped 150m short of the summit out of respect to locals. It has been offlimits ever since. Beyond lies the bulky mass of Annapurna II, and to the west, Dhaulagiri – among the most dangerous peaks in the Himalayas. Look out for paragliders, launching from Sarangkot and gliding the currents above.

Viewpoint entry fee 20p

Manila Bay


Pollution and geography conspire to create a scene of great beauty over horseshoe-shaped Manila Bay in the Philippine capital, an unlikely setting for some of Asia’s most spectacular sunsets. Stake out a viewing spot on Seaside Boulevard near the seafront funfair at the vast Mall of Asia complex, Manila’s answer to Santa Monica Pier, and a fine place to seek respite from the hectic, traffic-clogged streets of the capital. Here you can listen to the whirring of the Ferris wheel, the music of the merry-go-rounds and the slosh of the tide as you watch the sun disappearing beyond the Bataan Peninsula and into the South China Sea, just as cargo ships sail to the horizon and yachts cast off from nearby jetties.

• Free

Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade


Sunset comes with its own after-dinner show at Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, set on the southern tip of Kowloon. Start by taking a late afternoon stroll along the Avenue of the Stars – HK’s version of Hollywood Boulevard (hello there Jet Li, howdy Jackie Chan) – before grabbing a waterfront seat for sunset over Hong Kong Island, watching the last rays of sunshine vanish from the top floors of skyscrapers and the forested tip of Victoria Peak. Stay put for a while to see the whole of Hong Kong Island transformed into a giant stage for the nightly Symphony of Lights. The world’s largest light and sound show, it’s a thirteen-minute long display of lasers, searchlights and pyrotechnics set to music.

Free; nightly displays at 8pm

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Lonely Planet - September 2016
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