Top 8 Picks for the Best Graduation Trip Destinations

Congratulations, graduates! You’ve done it! Years of hard work, late-night study sessions, and exams have paid off. Now it’s time to reward yourself with an epic graduation trip before stepping out into the real world. And we’ve got just the list for you- the best graduation trip destinations without breaking the bank. 

Whether you’re seeking a beach holiday, an outdoorsy adventure, immersing yourself in culture, or galavanting in city escapades, there are graduation trip ideas for everyone. So get your bags ready and let’s dive into a world of affordable graduation trips!

Here’s Our Top 8 Picks for the Best Graduation Trip Destinations

1. Bali, Indonesia

Tanah Lot is a popular and iconic Hindu temple situated on a rocky island. | Credit: Nick Fewings via Unsplash

Bali is hands down, one of the best places for a graduation trip. Free from being a student and about to embark into a world of responsibilities, Bali has all the fun and relaxation you’ll need. 

A go-to attraction is the Tegalalang Rice Terraces where there’s even a beginner-level hike through the terraced landscapes. If you’re a thrill seeker and need a dose of adrenaline, whitewater rafting is a must at the longest and widest river in Bali, the Ayung River in Ubud. 

Surf lessons are available at almost every beach. Canggu is a popular choice too. | Credit: Charlie Pauly via

Feeling ambitious? Take a sunrise trek up the active volcano of Mount Batur for breathtaking views of Bali and the clear waters of Lake Batur. It’s about a two-hour hike but you can pace yourself and soak in the views. Wear comfortable shoes, bring extra water, a jacket, and a headlamp to make your experience more safe and comfortable. 

As one of the top destinations for graduation trips, Bali is famously known for its surf spots and culture. Learn to surf at Legian Beach with friendly local surf instructors who will guide you and have you standing on the board within the hour. Canggu is another popular choice among surfers, from beginners to experienced, with its picturesque beaches. What better place to learn and hit the waves than in Bali?

Here are some other ideas for activities to do in Bali on a graduation trip:

  • Visit the Ubud Monkey Forest, a sacred forest where hundreds of monkeys live.
  • Take a cooking class and learn how to make traditional Balinese dishes.
  • Go shopping in Seminyak, a trendy area with a wide variety of shops and boutiques.
  • Visit the Besakih Temple, the largest and most important temple in Bali.
  • Relax on one of Bali’s many beautiful beaches.

No matter what you choose to do, you’re sure to have a memorable graduation trip in Bali.

2. Phuket, Thailand

You can’t go wrong with Phuket no matter the occasion and especially as one of the best graduation trip destinations. Ideal for foodies, snorkelers, culture and heritage enthusiasts, and of course the general enjoyment of having fun. 

On a budget? No worries. Visit the famous Big Buddha statue and Wat Chalong, the largest and most revered Buddhist temple in Phuket. The Big Buddha statue is a 45-meter-tall golden statue of Buddha that sits on a hill overlooking Chalong Bay. The views from the top are amazing, and it is a popular spot for sunrise and sunset photos.

Wat Chalong is the largest and most revered Buddhist temple in Phuket. It is a complex of temples, shrines, and monasteries that is well worth exploring. There are also many shops and restaurants in the area, making it a great place to wander around and soak up the atmosphere.

The Big Buddha stands 45 metres tall and sits on Nakkerd Hill near Chalong. | Credit: Miltiadis Fragkidis via Unsplash

You’re young, full of energy and just want to have fun with your friends. Spend the day together splashing down epic water slides at Andamanda Phuket Waterpark

Did you know that Andamanda Phuket Waterpark is the first Thai heritage-themed waterpark in Phuket? The park is designed to reflect the local Thai culture and mythology, with attractions such as the Coral World, which is themed after the creatures of the Andaman Sea, and the Koh Tapu, which is a replica of the famous rock formation from the James Bond movie “The Man with the Golden Gun”. It has a variety of water slides for all ages and levels of thrill-seekers. There are slides for kids, families, and adults, including several high-speed slides and a few that are suitable for only the bravest of souls.

Here’s one for the graduation trip ideas jar. If you’re an animal lover, a visit to Soi Dog Foundation is a must and it just might melt your heart. They’re the largest rescue organisation for vulnerable cats and dogs. You can even volunteer a bit of your time at the shelter. Bet the furriends there would appreciate your company. Kap Kun Kap!

Soi Dog Foundation’s mission is to improve animal welfare for both the animal and human communities. People can volunteer or sponsor or adopt a rescue dog or cat. | Credit: Soi Dog Foundation website

No trip to Phuket is complete without some solid beach time. Lucky for you, Phuket island has over 30 beaches for you to choose from. If you’re there to party then Patong Beach is where you want to be. Take it down a notch and you have Kata Beach which is less crowded than Patong and has all the restaurants, shopping, and accommodation for all budget types. 

Now if your vibe is a little more chill and a lot less crowded, Nai Harn exudes local charm surrounded by green hills and small islands. Perfect for a quiet and relaxing day on the beach. The beach is surrounded by green hills and small islands, creating a beautiful and secluded setting. The water is calm and clear, making it perfect for swimming, snorkelling, and sunbathing.

Phi Phi Island is famous for being the setting for the Leonardo DiCaprio movie The Beach. Surrounded by limestone hills and turquoise lagoons. | Credit: Michelle_Raponi via Pixabay

3. Hanoi, Vietnam

Vietnam definitely falls under the category of affordable graduation trips. Hanoi, in particular, is perfect for coffee lovers and history buffs. Known for its cultural sites dating back to pre-colonial times. 

Playing a huge part in Hanoi culture with its history and legends, you can take a stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake, also known as Sword Lake, which is a freshwater lake in the heart of Hanoi. The lake is said to contain a magical sword that was used by the Vietnamese Emperor Le Loi to defeat the Chinese invaders in the 15th century. According to the legend, the sword was returned to the lake by a giant turtle, who was the guardian of the sword. A great spot for people watching too! 

Hanoi Train Street in Hanoi’s Old Quarter is a unique attraction with its narrow alley surrounded by residences and cafes. Catch a train whizz through as you sip your coffee. | Credit: David Emrich via Unsplash

Explore the French Quarter where you can see the impressive St. Joseph’s Cathedral, a beautiful Gothic-style cathedral that was built in the late 19th century. The French Quarter is a historic district in Hanoi that was built during the French colonial period. It is a charming area with narrow streets, French-style architecture, and a number of cafes, restaurants, and shops. 

Be amongst locals and immerse yourself in the Hanoi Night Market at the Old Quarter every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Handcrafted knick-knacks, food, drinks, and other amusing goods line the streets. 

Here are some tips for visiting the French Quarter and the Hanoi Night Market:

  • Be sure to bargain when shopping at the night market. This is the norm in Vietnam and is a great way to get a good deal.
  • Keep an eye on your belongings, especially your bag. Pickpocketing is a problem in some areas of Hanoi, so it is important to be vigilant.
  • Wear comfortable shoes as you will be doing a lot of walking.
  • Bring cash as many vendors do not accept credit cards.
  • Enjoy the atmosphere and experience the local culture.
Explore the streets of Hanoi when markets open and where food choices are abundant. | Credit: Frida Aguilar Estrada via Unsplash

The coffee culture in Hanoi is a beast on its own. Coffee is a national drink in Vietnam and is enjoyed by people of all ages. The coffee is often brewed with Robusta beans, which are known for their high caffeine content.

Hanoians are known for drinking their dark and stronger blends with some sweet milk or sugar. If you’ve never tried before, the two signature Vietnamese coffees are Cà phê trứng (egg coffee) and Cà phê sữa đá (coffee with condensed milk). Guarantee you won’t forget it once you’ve had it. 

4. Langkawi, Malaysia

Food, drinks, beach, food and drinks on the beach, what more could you want? Langkawi Island is one of the best places for graduation trips. The main beach, Cenang, has all the water sports activities such as a banana boat ride and even a jet ski tour around the islands. The beach is great for sunset strolls and stunning views while you lounge with your friends. 

Don’t forget to pay a visit to the Langkawi Sky Bridge, a 1,000-foot-long bridge that offers stunning views of the island.

To reach the bridge, you can take a cable car from the nearby Telaga Harbour. The cable car ride offers stunning views of the surrounding area, including the bridge itself. Once you reach the bridge, you can walk across it or take the SkyGlide, a two-person gondola that runs along the length of the bridge. The bridge is open from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM daily. Admission is RM100 for adults and RM50 for children.

Here are some tips for visiting the Langkawi Sky Bridge:

  • Wear comfortable shoes as you will be doing a lot of walking.
  • Bring sunscreen and a hat as it can get very hot at the top of the bridge.
  • Be prepared for crowds, especially during peak season.
  • Allow at least 2 hours to visit the bridge.
  • Take your time and enjoy the views.
The impressive Langkawi Sky Bridge is a 125-metre curved pedestrian cable-stayed bridge that offers exhilarating and spectacular views of Gunung Mat Cincang, the Telaja Tujuh waterfalls, and other islets surrounding Langkawi. | Credit: giggs24121 via Pixabay

Going on a boat tour is a great way to see the islands such as the legendary Pulau Dayang Bunting, Pulau Singa, and Pulau Beras Basah. Booking agents line the streets of Cenang Beach so you can look for a budget-friendly island-hopping boat tour.

You can find booking agents for island-hopping boat tours on Cenang Beach. They usually offer budget-friendly rates, so you can easily find one that fits your budget.

Affordable graduation trips must include indulging in some local eats. One of many night markets, Ayer Hangat Night Market has all the Malaysian and Thai street food favourites such as banana fritters, pastries, rice dishes, seafood delights, and so much more. Usually operating on Friday evenings (5pm-10pm). 

Restaurants and bars line the beach in Langkawi. Perfect for daytime hangs, sunset drinks and dinner, and nightlife. | Credit: Kelvin Zyteng via Unsplash

One way to see Langkawi from above is by taking a ride on the Langkawi SkyCab, a cable car system that takes you to the top of Mount Machinchang, the second-highest mountain on Langkawi Island. 

The cable car ride offers stunning views of the surrounding area, including the Andaman Sea, the Langkawi archipelago, and the mainland of Malaysia.

The SkyCab has 3 stations:

  • The Base Station is located at the foot of Mount Machinchang.
  • The Middle Station is located at an altitude of 650 meters (2,130 feet).
  • The Top Station is located at an altitude of 708 meters (2,322 feet)

The journey from the Base Station to the Top Station takes about 15 minutes. At the Top Station, you can visit the Langkawi Sky Bridge, a 1,000-foot-long curved pedestrian cable-stayed bridge that offers stunning views of the surrounding area. You can also visit SkyDome, an indoor viewing platform that offers 360-degree views of the island.

The Langkawi SkyCab is open from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM daily. Admission is RM43 for adults and RM21 for children.

5. Seoul, South Korea


As one of the top destinations for graduation trips, all you K-drama, K-pop, and K-frenzy fans, Seoul will be the perfect place for you to celebrate your freedom and explore the modern and traditional wonders of this buzzing city. 

The Hyangwonjeong Pavilion can be found on the grounds of Gyeongbokgung Palace. The name means “the pavilion where the fragrance spreads afar.” It’s known to be a historical secret as it was never stated when and who built it. | Credit: huongnguyen123 via Pixabay

One of the most popular spots to visit in Seoul is the Gyeongbokgung Palace, one of the largest of the Five Grand Palaces and was built during the Joseon dynasty. K-drama fans will know and appreciate this place more for its iconic feature in shows such as Kingdom, Goong, The Last Empress, and The Moon Embracing the Sun. If you want to get into the K-drama spirit, you can rent a Hanbok (traditional Korean outfit) to wear while you visit the palace. This is a great way to take some fun photos and feel like a real K-drama star.

Fun fact: It’s a small fee to enter the palace but if you wear a Hanbok (traditional Korean outfit) the entrance fee is waived. 

After working up an appetite, head to the nearby Tongin Market which stalls of all your favourite Korean street food without breaking your budget. Unless you have a ferocious appetite. The market is located just a short walk from the Gyeongbokgung Palace and is full of stalls selling all sorts of delicious food, from tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes) to kimbap (seaweed rolls). 

Myeongdong, a popular shopping district area also has some of the best Korean Street Food in Seoul to cross off on your cravings list. A great alternative to dining at restaurants every day.

Don’t miss dropping by K-Star Road, a pedestrian street dedicated to K-pop. Here you can see statues of your favourite K-pop idols, take pictures at K-pop-themed photo spots, and buy K-pop merchandise.

The N-Seoul Tower sits on top of the highest point in the city. The top of the tower gives you 360-degree panoramic views across Seoul. You’ll find art exhibitions, restaurants, and an observatory inside the tower. | Credit: huongnguyen123 via Pixabay

Seoul is one of the best graduation trip destinations because there’s something for everyone. If you’re feeling artsy, check out the immersive Alive Museum with all the Instagrammable shots you’ll want. The museum is filled with rooms that are designed to look like different things, such as a forest, a beach, and a city. You can pose in front of the different scenes and take some amazing photos. 

Museums are a great way to get to know Korean culture and history. Here are the ones with free entry:

  • Seoul Museum of Art
  • National Palace Museum of Korea
  • National Museum of Korea
  • Seoul Museum of History
  • War Memorial of Korea

The Dynamic Maze is a fun and interactive experience that is perfect for groups of friends or families. The maze is filled with obstacles that you have to overcome, such as balls, ropes, and nets. It is a great way to test your skills and have some fun. 

Last but not least, located at the top of Namsan Park, the Seoul Tower offers incredible views of the city. The tower has three observation decks: the Main Observatory, the Special Observatory, and the Secret Garden Observatory. The Main Observatory is located on the 1st floor and offers panoramic views of Seoul. The Special Observatory is located on the 2nd floor and offers a closer view of the city. The Secret Garden Observatory is located on the 3rd floor and is only accessible by a special elevator.

The Seoul Tower is open from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM daily. Admission is KRW10,000 for adults and KRW7,000 for children.

6. Taipei, Taiwan

Underrated and one of the best places for graduation trips. The vibrant capital city of Taiwan with its known and hidden gems, is a haven for budget-conscious travelers seeking an unforgettable experience.

Raohe Street Night Market is a must-visit. 600 metres worth of food stalls, clothes, accessories, and even Michelin-recommended street food. You can get here by Taipei Metro, bus, or taxi. | Credit: Vernon Raineil Cenzon via Unsplash

A popular attraction is the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. Marvel at the monument that was built in honour of Taiwan’s first president. A historic and serene oasis amidst the city hustle. The memorial hall is located in the centre of Taipei and is surrounded by a large park. The hall is made of white marble and has a traditional Chinese design. The main hall is where Chiang Kai-shek’s tomb is located. There is also a museum in the memorial hall that exhibits artefacts from Chiang Kai-shek’s life.

Roam the lively night markets for a plethora of tasty street food while soaking up the colourful atmosphere. Shilin Night Market is one of the largest food paradise in Taipei so go early, bring your appetite, and pace yourself. At reasonable prices, be sure to look out and try these popular Taiwanese flavours: 

  • Giant fried chicken steak
  • Oyster Omelette
  • Stinky tofu
  • Fried buns

Also noteworthy: The Dadaocheng Pier Plaza or Dadaocheng Wharf Container Market where you’ll find hawker stalls set up in shipping containers along the Tamsui River. Perfect for a night to hang out with friends.

A refreshing change of scenery is the Houtong Cat Village in Ruifang District. Fantastic views in purradise. | Credit: Faye You via Unsplash

Visiting the Houtong Cat Village is the most perfect choice on the list of graduation trip ideas. What was once a rich coal mining town is now home to approximately 200 friendly felines roaming the town’s streets since 2008. The loveable stray cats are cared for by the cat-loving residents in the village and visitors alike. You’ll also want to check out the cat-themed cafes and shops. 

Here are some tips for visiting the Houtong Cat Village:

  • Visit during the day when the cats are most active.
  • Bring some cat food to feed the cats.
  • Be respectful of the cats and do not disturb them if they are sleeping.
  • Take your time and enjoy the atmosphere.

A trip to Taipei is a great way to do both. Taipei is a vibrant and exciting city with something to offer everyone. From the bustling night markets to the stunning temples, there is something for everyone in Taipei.

7. Sydney, Australia

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is not only iconic but also one of the greatest arch bridges in the world. It’s used for pedestrians to walk, cycle, and even climb for unbelievable views. | Credit: GoodGuyPaul via Pixabay

G’day! How are you goin’? If Australia has been on your list of top destinations for a graduation trip, Sydney, the capital of New South Wales, comes highly recommended. Sun, sea, city, food, sights and sounds, and tourist-friendly, some have dubbed it as a great place for first-time travellers too. With so many things to do and see here is a starter kit snapshot to kick things off.

You’ve seen it in pictures, movies, you name it but none of it does justice until you see it in person- the Sydney Opera House of course! The Opera Bar is right by the harbour with insanely beautiful views where you can enjoy food and drinks with live music at night and during the day on weekends. 

Have a stroll or a picnic at the Royal Botanic Garden and discover a diverse collection of flora, serene ponds, and stunning vistas of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

Talking about Sydney Harbour Beach – there are a few different ways to experience the Sydney Harbour Bridge. You can walk or cycle across it, take a bridge climb, or go on a harbour cruise.

If you walk or cycle across the bridge, you can take your time and enjoy the views. There are also several viewing platforms along the way where you can stop and take photos. If you opt for a bridge climb, you will get to experience the bridge from a whole new perspective. You will climb to the top of the arch and get 360-degree views of the city and the harbour.

However, if you decide to hop on a harbour cruise, you will get to see the bridge from a different angle. You will also get to see other landmarks in Sydney, such as the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Tower. No matter how you choose to experience it, visiting the Sydney Harbour Bridge is a truly unforgettable experience.

Trendy and laidback, Bondi Beach is the place to be. Look out for graffiti art as you walk around too. | Credit: Road Trip with Raj via Unsplash

See the world differently and wander through the Art Gallery of NSW, one of the most popular museums in Australia. Featuring contemporary Australian art, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and culture, and inspiring pieces celebrating Asia and the Pacific. The entrance is free.

Did someone say Bondi Beach? Of course. So close to the city, this in itself is one of the best graduation trip destinations alone. Hit the waves and learn to surf, feed your inner foodie with endless choices of cafes and restaurants, set off on a ​​Bondi to Coogee coastal walk, check out the Bondi Farmers Market and support Aussie farmers, and the list is endless! The charm and magic of Bondi Beach will stay with you forever. 

Here are some other things you can do in Sydney:

  • Visit the Taronga Zoo.
  • Take a ferry to Manly Beach.
  • Go shopping at Pitt Street Mall.

8. Barcelona, Spain

Make it a graduation trip of a lifetime on this side of the world. Barcelona has a lot to offer and is easily at the top of the top destinations for graduation trips. It has a lot to offer, from its rich history and culture to its vibrant nightlife and stunning beaches.

Casa Batlló is another one of Antoni Gaudí’s masterpieces. Iconic in Barcelona and a UNESCO World Heritage site. | Credit: pcsfish via Pixabay

First stop- the world-famous unfinished church, La Sagrada Familia. Designed by Antoni Gaudí and under construction since 1882, be in awe at this beast of a marvel with its intricacies at each corner and beautiful stained glass windows from the inside. 

Park Güell is another Antoni Gaudí original and a must-visit. A UNESCO-ranked park that’s known for its colourful mosaics and its whimsical architecture.

Being in Barcelona means it’s the perfect opportunity for football fans to visit the FC Barcelona Museum showcasing uniforms, trophies, and all types of memorabilia. The ultimate experience of course is to catch a game and watch them play during the Spanish football season. Imagine checking that off your list of graduation trip ideas

Mercado de La Boqueria is a food lover haven. Rows of stalls selling fresh fruits and produce. You’ll even find the famous bar called El Pinotxo and El Quim de La Boqueria. | Credit: Pixabay

The great thing about Barcelona being a coastal city is having beaches easily accessible. La Barceloneta Beach is a great choice, among many others, to lounge and swim, eat seafood, and kick back with a drink.

See what a food haven looks and feels like at Mercat La Boqueria, the heart of Barcelona. Feast on tapas, fresh fruits, seafood, cheeses, and so much more. There is no shortage of amazing food; local, Italian, and Mediterranean, not to mention desserts, you could be walking around the city and stop for the best gelato you’ve ever had. Cheap eats are widely available. Buen provecho! 

In the end, the journey of a thousand pages in textbooks finds its perfect epilogue in the exploration of new horizons. These top eight graduation trip destinations offer a kaleidoscope of experiences, from the sun-soaked beaches of Bali to the historical marvels of Rome.

Whether you’re seeking adrenaline-pumping adventures, serene landscapes, or vibrant cultural encounters, this list has something for every graduate ready to embark on the next chapter of life. So, let your post-graduation voyage be a testament to your achievements, a celebration of friendships, and a prelude to the endless possibilities awaiting you.

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