Best Graduation Trips: 12 Destinations Around the World

12 Best Graduation Trip Destinations Around the World

These places will give you the ultimate adventure to cap off your uni years.

After studying tirelessly for your degree, you might want to reward yourself with a well-deserved trip. Whether you’re going solo or with friends, the best graduation trips allow you to build precious memories before starting the tough climb up the career ladder. Don’t miss out on this golden opportunity — even if you’re on a student’s budget! After all, there are plenty of destinations that cater to each and every preference. 

Here are the top places to go for a graduation trip, where you can have the time of your life without going broke. 

Also read: 8 Budget Travel Ideas for Visiting the Most Expensive Cities in the World

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Graduation trip destinations in Southeast Asia

1. Phuket – Thailand

best graduation trips

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Phuket is one of the classic places to go for a graduation trip and it’s easy to see why. This idyllic island in Thailand offers a great mix of natural and cultural attractions that can be enjoyed on a budget. Here, you’ll find plenty of free attractions, the most famous being Wat Chalong and the Big Buddha statue

Wat Chalong is the largest temple in Phuket and houses a sacred bone fragment of Buddha. Inside, you’ll find intricate paintings depicting the life of Buddha and donated gold statues. 

big buddha

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After visiting Wat Chalong, continue your cultural tour at the Big Buddha, a 45-metre-tall white marble statue on top of the Nakkerd Hills. From the statue site, you can take in panoramic views of Phuket’s gorgeous coastline. 

kamala beach

Kamala Beach | Image credit: David Johnson

Of course, no visit to Phuket is complete without soaking up the sun and sand. With over 30 beaches on Phuket Island alone, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Make your way to quieter spots like Kamala Beach and Nai Harn Beach for some peace and solitude. Karon Beach is a bit more crowded, but it’s near the Big Buddha statue so you can kill two birds with one stone. 

To cut costs, fill up on affordable street food like roti, loba (braised pork offal), and oh eaw (shaved rice with banana starch and kidney beans). The cheapest accommodations in Phuket are hostels. Four-star hotels in Phuket aren’t out of reach either, being priced between S$50–180. Since you’re going on a graduation trip, why not split the cost with your schoolmates-turned-travel buddies? 

Estimated daily expenses: ฿3,245 (~S$126.15) 

Also read: 15 Unique Airbnbs in Thailand — From Beachside to Mountain Getaways!

2. Palawan – Philippines

best graduation trips

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Palawan, a tranquil province in the Philippines, is among the best graduation trips for outdoorsy types. Unwind on pristine beaches like Nagtabon Beach: a hidden gem in Puerto Princesa with few tourists and fine, powdery sand. 

corong corong

Corong-Corong Beach | Image credit: Joseph Christopher Oropel via Canva Pro

If you prefer a party atmosphere, head to popular beaches like Nacpan, Marimegmeg, and Corong-Corong in El Nido. For those who want to get active, there’s Miniloc Island’s Small Lagoon, where you can explore breathtaking rock formations and azure waters by kayak. Discover fascinating cliffs, caves, and little nooks and crannies by paddling in crystal-clear waters. 

In Palawan, you can find sustainable stays from S$100. Take your pick from a wide variety of value-for-money beach houses, glamping villas, and guest houses. Cosy hostels catering to backpackers are priced under S$100. 

Food-wise, Palawan is a great place to broaden your culinary horizons. Street stalls and restaurants serve up exotic dishes such as tamilok (mollusc harvested from wood), crocodile sisig (sizzling crocodile meat with chopped Philippine limes, chilli peppers, and onions), and lechon (roasted pig). 

Estimated daily expenses:  ₱1,615 (~S$39.15) 

Also read: 17 Secluded Hotels & Resorts in Palawan That are off the Tourist Radar

3. Hanoi – Vietnam

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Hanoi is one of the best graduation trips for history and coffee lovers. The old capital of Vietnam boasts a wealth of cultural sites dating to pre-colonial times. Free attractions in Hanoi include Hoan Kiem Lake, St. Joseph’s Cathedral, and Tran Quoc Pagoda

temple of literature

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For a small fee, you can enter the Temple of Literature, which is dedicated to Confucius. Vietnam’s first university, the Imperial Academy, was established here in 1076 to educate members of the elite. Graduating students will definitely be inspired by the fervour of early Vietnamese scholars who used to inhabit the temple grounds. 

egg coffee

Ca phe trung (Vietnamese egg coffee) | Image credit: Indrejeg via Canva Pro

The vibrant coffee culture in Vietnam needs no introduction. In Hanoi, you can start each day with aromatic coffee made from high-quality robusta beans. Two iconic drinks to try are ca phe trung (egg coffee) and ca phe dua (coffee with condensed coconut milk). 

Accommodation in Hanoi is generally friendly to your wallet. Four-star hotel prices in Hanoi range from S$60–180. Three-star hotels can cost as little as S$40 per night. 

Estimated daily expenses: 969,165₫ (~S$55.05) 

Also read: 15 Best Coffee Shops in Hanoi for Delicious Brews and Brunch

4. Penang – Malaysia

best graduation trips

Image credit: Mikel Santamaria

With amazing street food and the UNESCO-listed cultural centre of George Town, Penang is one of the best graduation trips in Southeast Asia. Art enthusiasts will be delighted by the street art murals in George Town depicting the lives of local people. Make your way to mural hotspots like Armenian Street, Cannon Street, and Art Lane, a community space for artists. 

char kway teow

Penang Char Kway Teow | Image credit: CM Lau via Canva Pro

While snapping Instagrammable photos of Penang’s street art, don’t forget to savour the city’s signature dishes. Gorge to your heart’s content on affordable Penang char kway teow, tau sar piah, curry mee, Assam laksa, and more. 

curry mee

Air Itam Sister Curry Mee | Image credit: Yun Huang Yong

Street food legends to pay homage to include Air Itam Bisu Assam Laksa, Siam Road Char Kway Teow, and Air Itam Sister Curry Mee. Muslim travellers can enjoy halal Hainanese food at Bee Hwa Cafe along Dickens Road, as well as indulgent nasi padang and roti canai on Transfer Road

Transport options in Penang include public buses, taxis, and Grab. Public buses are known as Rapid Penang and have fares of RM1–4. There is also a free shuttle bus called the Central Area Transit (CAT) Loop Line that will take you around George Town. Four-star hotels here charge S$75–180 per night, while Airbnbs in George Town can be as cheap as S$32. 

Estimated daily expenses: RM490 (~S$147.70)

Also read: A Foodie’s Guide to Malaysia: Where and What to Eat in Penang, Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur, and Melaka

5. Siem Reap, Cambodia

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Siem Reap is synonymous with the majestic Angkor Wat but there’s so much more to Cambodia’s second-largest city. Start your graduation trip by crossing Angkor Wat from your bucket list. This 12th-century complex is the largest religious structure in the world and touring it is sure to be a mesmerising experience. 

Angkor Wat’s design is inspired by Mount Meru, home of the gods in Hindu mythology, with the five central towers representing the five peaks of the mountain. The main tower aligns with the morning sun of the spring equinox, demonstrating the sophistication of the Angkor Empire. 

old market

Image credit: Ankur Panchbudhe

After visiting Angkor Wat, witness scenes of everyday Cambodian life by walking through the Psar Chaa (Old Market). This traditional market sells fresh produce, clothes, handicrafts, and more. 

Gain a deeper understanding of the country’s wartime past at the Cambodia Landmine Museum, located a 45-minute tuk-tuk ride from the city centre. At the museum, you can find out more about demining efforts in Cambodia and donate to the cause. 

Students on a budget will be pleased to know that transport and accommodation in Siem Reap are generally affordable. Tuk-tuks cost about S$4.50–7.50 per trip. Alternatively, you may rent bicycles for S$1.50–4.50 a day. Hotels cost S$50–170 per night. If you’re looking for hostels, check out those in the Wat Bo area which offer comfy rooms in a convenient location. 

Estimated daily expenses: ៛262,740 (~S$86.17) 

Also read: How My Cambodia Solo Trip Taught Me to Embrace Unexpected Travel Experiences

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Graduation trip destinations in East and South Asia

6. Seoul – South Korea

best graduation trips

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Seoul is one of the best places to go for a graduation trip due to its dizzying variety of attractions. History buffs and K-drama fans should make a beeline for Gyeongbokgung Palace. This palace is the largest in Seoul and the former seat of the Joseon monarchy. It has been featured in K-dramas such as Kingdom, The Last Empress, and Moon Embracing the Sun

seoul river

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If you’re visiting in autumn, stroll along Cheonggyecheon stream to admire the golden-red foliage. Lantern festivals are held here in November, making for some enchanting nighttime scenes. 


Image credit: Noppasin Wongchum via Canva Pro

Another free place to visit is Bukchon Hanok Village. This neighbourhood has hundreds of traditional Korean houses called hanok, which have been converted into guest houses, tea houses, and restaurants. Walking through its streets will feel like being transported into the Joseon era. 

To snag a cheap stay in Seoul, choose small guest houses and vacation rentals over chain hotels. Food costs can be reduced by eating like a local. Sample authentic Korean dishes at markets and tented eateries (pojangmacha). Pojangmacha are open till late at night and serve side dishes (anju) with soju. 

If you’re planning to go on a sightseeing binge, it may be worth it to get a Discover Seoul Pass. This tourist card gives you access to over 200 attractions and discounts on public transport. It comes in one-day (50,000), two-day (70,000), and three-day (90,000) versions. 

Estimated daily expenses: ₩118,495 (~S$119.22) 

Also read: How to Save Money in Seoul: 12 Ways to Travel in Seoul on a Tight Budget

7. Taipei – Taiwan

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Taipei is one of the best graduation trips for students who just want to feast and relax before entering the working world. The capital of Taiwan is known for its lively night markets where you can fill up on cheap and mouth-watering eats. 

Shilin Night Market is the biggest in Taipei and holds over 500 stalls. Come here to try Taiwanese oyster omelette, mee sua, and stinky tofu. Another night market worth visiting is Raohe Night Market, which has several Michelin-recognised stalls. 

After indulging in street food, burn off calories by seeing free attractions such as Longshan Temple and the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall


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Longshan Temple is a 300-year-old landmark that has survived natural disasters and air raids. It is a beautiful symbol of the city’s resilience, being restored entirely by donations from the community. Meanwhile, Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall is a monument that honours Taiwan’s first president. Surrounding the hall is a serene green space where you can catch a breather and take photos. 

You can get around in Taipei by purchasing an EasyCard: a top-up smartcard you can use on the MRT and buses. The minimum top-up is NT$100 (S$4.35). Accommodation at budget hotels can be found from S$50-80. If you’re travelling with a large group of friends, it is possible to rent an Airbnb and split the cost. 

Estimated daily expenses: NT$4,710 (~S$205.72) 

Also read: 8 Budget-Friendly Airbnb Apartments in Taipei for Your Next Trip

8. Kathmandu – Nepal

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Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, is a graduation trip for those who want to venture off the beaten path. Trek up Chandragiri Hill to enjoy sweeping views of the Himalayas. This hill is just 15 kilometres from the tourist centre of Thamel and can be reached by taxi or bus. Hiking to the Everest Base Camp will take two weeks, so if this is something you’d like to try, we recommend planning a longer trip.  


Image credit: Volker Meyer via Canva Pro

Don’t worry though, there’s still lots to do in Kathmandu itself if you’re taking a shorter trip. Climb 365 steps to Swayambhu (Monkey Temple) and get stunning views of the city. The temple complex is an important pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Buddhists, and the top of its stupa is painted with Buddha’s eyes on all four sides to symbolise omniscience. Another quintessential Kathmandu sight is Durbar Square, which holds several temples, palaces, and courtyards. The square is one of three that were used by Nepal’s kings in the past. 

Food in Kathmandu is inexpensive, especially if you’re eating at joints that cater to locals. Budget stays here can be found as low as S$30 and there are many cheap hostels catering to the backpacker crowd. 

Estimated daily expenses: रू5,775 (~S$58)

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Graduation trip destinations in other parts of the world

9. Istanbul – Turkey

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At the crossroads of Asia and Europe, Istanbul is a one-of-a-kind graduation trip. Turkey’s largest city is full of cultural jewels with no parallel anywhere else. 

topkapi palace

Topkapi Palace | Image credit: Ruslan Kaln via Canva Pro

To stretch your lira, purchase an Istanbul Museum Pass. For the price of ₺1,750 (~S$120), you get access to over ten attractions including Topkapi Palace, the Istanbul Archeology Museums, and the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum. The pass is valid for five days from activation of the card at the first attraction you visit. Meanwhile, admission is free at the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, but remember to dress modestly and come outside of worshipping hours. 

Budget-wise, Istanbul is doable for fresh graduates armed with money-saving hacks. If you travel here in the off-peak season (November to March), hotel prices will be lower. You may also stay at hostels which can cost as little as S$30 per night. 


Image credit: Steven dosRemedios

Eating at street food stalls instead of touristy restaurants will allow you to taste authentic local fare while being kind to your wallet. Turkish street food is more than just kebabs; the fish sandwiches, simit (Turkish bagel), and Turkish ice cream carts will make you want to stay in Istanbul forever! 

Estimated daily expenses: ₺2,160 (~S$149.06)

Also read: 8 Airbnb Listings in Istanbul Where East Meets West

10. Brasov – Romania


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Graduation trips in Europe don’t have to break the bank. Come to Brasov, a charming medieval city in Romania ringed by the Carpathian Mountains. Protected by mountains and ramparts, Brasov became a bustling merchant hub along the trade route between Austria and the Ottoman Empire. 

From the 13th to 17th century, the city was under the control of the Transylvanian Saxons who built extensive walls to consolidate their rule. Visitors today can see this rich history in Brasov’s old-world buildings, cobbled streets, fortified walls, and the rich collection of Ottoman rugs in its cathedral. 

black church

Image credit: Daniel Pandelea

The city’s cathedral is known as the Black Church, but it isn’t actually black. It was reportedly given that name after a fire in 1689 blackened its facade. This massive Gothic church has an exquisite collection of Ottoman carpets donated by merchants who wanted to give thanks for safe trading expeditions to the East. 

catherine gate

Image credit: David Engelvin

Brasov is also home to Catherine’s Gate, the last original city gate from medieval times. This whimsical-looking gate was the only way Romanians could enter the city walls during Saxon rule from the 13th to 17th century. 

To reach Brasov, you need to take a 2.5-hour train ride from Bucharest’s North Railway Station. Train ticket prices vary depending on how far in advance you book and passenger class. The average one-way ticket price is about 50 lei (~S$14.68). As for accommodation, you can rent entire apartments in Brasov for S$70–150. This is a great choice for students travelling with friends, as they can share the cost and enjoy the use of apartment facilities. 

Estimated daily expenses: 225 lei (~S$65.74)

Also read: 10 Best European Countries That Won’t Break the Bank

11. Budapest – Hungary


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Budapest is an awesome graduation trip for those who want to travel Europe on a budget. The capital of Hungary is called the Pearl of the Danube, and you’ll understand why once you land here. 

heroes square

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Kick off your Budapest trip at Heroe’s Square, which holds the towering Millenium Monument. This 36m column is topped with a statue of the archangel Gabriel who is said to have offered St. Stephen the crown of Hungary. The square lies on the northern end of Andrassy Avenue, a UNESCO-listed site. Along this historic street, you’ll get to see striking Baroque and Neo-Renaissance mansions dating back to the 19th century. 

best graduation trips

St. Stephen’s Basilica | Image credit (L-R): Faabi, alxpin via Canva Pro

From the end of Andrassy Avenue, it’s only a short walk to St. Stephen’s Basilica. The basilica houses the mummified right hand of St. Stephen, the first king of Hungary. Finish your walking tour by taking in views of the Danube River, a busy waterway that separates the city into two sides: Buda and Pest

If you’re on a budget, prioritise the free and low-cost attractions like the ones mentioned above. Another way to save money is to take public transport instead of tourist buses. Tram Line 2 will take you on a scenic ride along the Danube on the Pest side of the city. To get to Heroes’ Square, take Bus 105 which goes through Andrassy Avenue. 

Estimated daily expenses: 32,975 Ft (~S$127.64)

Also read: 10 Airbnbs in Budapest for Your Next Visit to the Hungarian Capital

12. Athens – Greece

best graduation trips

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Athens is a name that evokes images of ancient Greek temples, gods, and heroes. For Greek mythology geeks, there’s no better graduation trip than the capital of Greece

The Acropolis is unskippable even for those usually reluctant to shell out for museum tickets. For the price of  €15 (1 Apr to 31 Oct annually) or  €10 (1 Nov to 31 Mar annually), you get access to more than 20 attractions, including the Parthenon and the Temple of Zeus


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After museum-hopping in the morning, head to the buzzing Athens Central Market for lunch. The building holds the largest seafood market in Europe, with tons of fresh sea bream, mackerel, and anchovies flooding in every day. If you’re travelling with school friends, the sharing dishes of Greek meze will make a perfect meal. Overall, tavernas and farmer’s markets are your best bet for cheap local food!

Most of the major attractions in Athens are ticketed, but don’t despair if you’ve got limited euros. Avoid the summer season and opt to visit in early fall or late spring instead. Flight and hotel prices will be lower and you won’t have to jostle with tourist crowds. Also, couch-surfing exists in Greece, so that’s an option for those who don’t mind sharing a home. 

Estimated daily expenses: €102 (~S$148)

Also read: 10 Beautiful Airbnbs in Athens for the Perfect Grecian Holiday

With that, we round up the best graduation trips for travellers looking for an incredible ending to their student lives. Culture, nature, and delectable street food – these destinations have it all. Do you agree with our list? Share your favourite places to go for a graduation trip on our Facebook page!

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About Author

Joyce Lee
Joyce Lee

Joyce is an aspiring writer who lives on black coffee and Netflix. In her free time, she reads, goes for long walks at sunset, and dreams of faraway places.