Same same but different: A guide to destination dupes for an affordable getaway

, Same same but different: A guide to destination dupes for an affordable getaway
Hawa Mahal in Jaipur, Rajasthan. Photo: Aditya Siva/Unsplash

There are dupes for everything these days – makeup, clothes, gadgets, etc. They look and feel like the real thing at a more affordable price, giving ordinary folks a chance to own the latest or trendiest products without breaking the bank. 

Now there’s a new category of dupes – destinations. A travel trend that has exploded on TikTok and other social media platforms, destination dupes have quickly gained popularity amongst Asia-Pacific travellers, thanks to their ability to stretch limited budgets and to offer something unexpected.  

According to Marriott Bonvoy’s recent travel report into Gen Zs and millennials in Asia-Pacific (excluding China), 55 percent of travellers are opting for lesser-known gems within the region. Iconic holidays in faraway destinations still maintain their appeal, but these affordable alternatives can stretch your dollar while offering similar experiences. 


Ski holiday: Hokkaido, Japan instead of Zermatt, Switzerland

, Same same but different: A guide to destination dupes for an affordable getaway

Skip the Swiss Alps for the snow-capped mountains of Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido. In addition to world-class resorts and pristine powdery snow, Hokkaido is also known for its stunning natural landscapes, vibrant local markets teeming with fresh produce and seafood, and year-round water activities such as canoeing and fishing.

Where to stay: Fairfield by Marriott Hokkaido Minamifurano or Courtyard by Marriott Sapporo
Located next to Michi-no-Eki Minamifurano (Japanese for roadside station), Fairfield by Marriott Minamifurano provides spacious comfort suited for families. Experience off-piste winter activities like snowshoeing, dog sledding and ice fishing just moments from the hotel. Venture further to hit the slopes at Furano Ski Resort, renowned for its varied terrains catering to all skill levels. Discover more hidden gems across Japan at Fairfield by Marriott Michi-no-Eki hotels.

Later this year, Courtyard by Marriott Sapporo will open its doors, where travellers can enjoy a convenient stroll to Sapporo Beer Museum for apres-ski, or indulge in fresh seafood, hearty ramen noodles and savoury grilled meats nearby.


Remote island escape: Koh Samui, Thailand, instead of Bora Bora

, Same same but different: A guide to destination dupes for an affordable getaway

Bora Bora may be famous for its overwater bungalows and turquoise lagoons, but Koh Samui has its slice of tropical paradise with untouched rainforests, pristine beaches and vibrant culture. Situated in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samui is an oasis of relaxation and exploration with crystal-clear waters, secluded coves and nearby islands of Ko Pha-Ngan and Ko Tao.

Where to stay: W Koh Samui
Luxuriate in the peaceful privacy and lush greenery of W Koh Samui. Nestled along nine miles of breathtaking coastline, this stylish all-villa resort boasts unrivalled amenities and 74 private pools to savor boundless tranquility by day. When the sun sets, guests are invited to awaken their senses with DJ sessions at Woobar, nightly fire shows and more. Plus, Scoot will launch direct flights from Singapore to Koh Samui from May 2024.


City and nightlife: Seoul, Korea, instead of New York, USA

, Same same but different: A guide to destination dupes for an affordable getaway

Dubbed the city that never sleeps, New York City is known for its bustling streets and vibrant nightlife. Those seeking a high-energy holiday need look no further than the cosmopolitan destination of Seoul, South Korea. An attractive alternative to the crowded Empire State Building is N Seoul Tower. Soaring at 237 metres, enjoy panoramic vistas from the summit of Mount Namsan and the heart of Seoul. For a peaceful retreat from the urban hustle, swap Central Park for the Seoul Forest. Spread over 595,000 square metres, the iconic park features winding trails through lush greenery, cherry blossoms and a Ginko Tree Forest. 

Where to stay: JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul
JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul is a stone’s throw away from the city’s most popular attractions, shopping districts and nightlife hotspots. Indulge in exceptional dining experiences including a steakhouse and chic rooftop bar offering unparalleled views of Seoul.

Heritage and architecture: Jaipur, India, instead of Casablanca, Morocco

, Same same but different: A guide to destination dupes for an affordable getaway

An ideal destination for heritage and architectural lovers, the Indian city of Jaipur represents an enchanting alternative to a faraway holiday in Morocco. While the North African country captivates travellers with its Moorish architecture and desert landscapes, Jaipur offers a vibrant tapestry of Rajasthani culture and majestic palaces. 

Where to stay: ITC Rajputana, a Luxury Collection Hotel
ITC Rajputana, a Luxury Collection Hotel, immerses guests in the romance and majesty of the royal era. Guests will experience the grandeur of Rajasthani hospitality, from traditional cuisines to rejuvenating spa treatments.


Food and drink: Melbourne, Australia, instead of Tuscany, Italy

, Same same but different: A guide to destination dupes for an affordable getaway

Wine lovers and gourmands can delight their senses with a culinary escapade to Melbourne, Australia. Rivalling the prolific wine regions of Tuscany, the coastal capital of Victoria state is home to Australia’s celebrated wineries in Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula and more. Visitors are also spoilt for choice from the diverse array of culinary experiences, from innovative fusion cuisine to farm-to-table dining.

Where to stay: Le Meridien Melbourne
The new hotel presents timeless mid-century designed spaces coupled with a playful programme that celebrates the best of the city. Soak in the Melbourne skyline at the rooftop pool and bar, Le Splash, before nodding to the city’s famed coffee and wine culture with a drink at Intermission.