Wallet friendly ... a rock church in Lalibela, Ethiopia Photo: AFP

Wallet friendly … a rock church in Lalibela, Ethiopia Photo: AFP

By Ben Groundwater

Adventurous travellers have never struggled to find budget-friendly destinations close to home to slake their thirst for adrenalin, but what about casting your eye further afield? Ethiopia is one of Africa’s most fascinating countries – a place with a long history, beautiful landscapes and a rich culture. Plus, it’s a bargain.

Entry to the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela – easily the equal of the far better known examples in Petra, Jordan – costs about $40 (Petra is $130). A traditional meal of injera bread and various stews in Addis Ababa is worth about $3. This is a country to explore, from the monasteries of Bahir Dar to the Rastafarian settlements of Shashamane.

The south-east Asian country of Laos is perfect for adventurous travellers trying to get away from the banana pancake trail in Thailand. Laos has plenty of pockets that are still virtually unexplored by Western tourists, and it costs next to nothing. Even in tourist-heavy towns, such as Luang Prabang, you can stay in a five-star hotel for the price of a hostel in western Europe.

Colombia is now a mecca for adventurers, particularly around the city of Pereira, deep in the country’s coffee-growing region, where zip-lining through the treetops or galloping about on a horse are within the budget of every traveller. Read more