Last updated on December 4th, 2023 at 11:26 am
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Hong Kong itself is a fun city with lots to do but there are also many nearby cities you can visit while you’re here.
In this blog post, I’m going to narrow down the best places for a weekend getaway from Hong Kong. This guide will help you decide what cities you want to visit while you’re in Asia.
Let’s get started!
Weekend Getaway from Hong Kong List
Shenzhen is the shortest destination trip of them all. You can get there by train or car in about one hour.
The most common way for locals to get to Shenzhen is to take the MTR and get off at Luo Wu Station. Walk a bit to pass through immigration and you’ve arrived in Mainland China.
It’s uncommon to hear that Hong Kongers go to Shenzhen in the morning and be back in Hong Kong at night.
Shenzhen is a dazzling sight and although the two cities are neighbours, you can immediately feel the difference when you’re there. The city is bigger and less expensive compared to HK. It’s no wonder HK locals love to come here for a day trip!
The shopping, dining, and attractions will keep you busy and tire you out before you’ve barely started to explore the city.
Guangzhou, like Shenzhen, is also in Guangdong province. This Chinese city is further than Shenzhen but it’s still on this list because it’s close to Hong Kong.
Guangzhou isn’t talked about enough compared to Shenzhen.
The main difference between the two is that Guang Zhou is more traditional while Shen Zhen is more modern. It’s fascinating to witness to see how fast Shenzhen developed in a few short years. On the other hand, Guangzhou feels older like Shangxiajiu Street.
They’re similar because they are both some of the biggest cities in China. They are also both in the Guangdong province.
You can take a flight there but it’s only an hour. People usually opt to take a train, or bus, or drive there themselves. It’s a perfect weekend getaway from Hong Kong.
Shanghai is one of the best cities in China, in my humble opinion. Along with Beijing, Shanghai is a must-visit when you’re in China.
As one of the financial hubs in China, The Bund, has active nightlife, and thousands of dining options, it’s not hard to see why this city attracts so many visitors.
There is even a Disneyland in Shanghai and it’s much bigger than the Hong Kong Disneyland. Disney fans should definitely drop by as it’s one of the largest Disney amusement parks. It will surely keep you occupied for the whole day!
Shanghai is also not too far from Hengdian, where many Chinese dramas are filmed. Take a tour of Hengdian World Studios and you might even get to meet your favourite Chinese celebrity filming!
Does Beijing even need much of an introduction?
It is China’s capital city with famous worldwide sights including The Forbidden Palace and The Great Wall of China.
Compared to Shanghai, Beijing has more of a traditional feel. History nerds will like this big city as there are many historic sights to keep you entertained. If you’re more into shopping and prefer modern cities, Shanghai and Shenzhen will better suit your taste.
It is possible to go to Shanghai from Beijing. By high-speed railway, it’s about a 4.5-hour ride and about a 2.5-hour flight between the two cities.
It might not seem like it until you step foot in the country, but China is HUGE and the activities to do here are endless.
Taipei is about a two-hour flight from Hong Kong. This city is probably best known for Taipei 101, pineapple cakes, and bubble tea. But did you know Taiwan also makes some delicious fried chicken?
Foodies will be sure to love Taipei as they have night markets all over the city. They open in the late afternoon and don’t close until around midnight. With dozens of night market options, you’ll never be hungry. It’s where you must visit when you’re craving midnight snacks but all the restaurants are closed already.
The day trips near Taipei are also pretty popular like Jiufen (my personal favourite) and Pingxi. You’ve probably seen pictures all over social media of the Pingxi Lantern Festival during Chinese New Year and the red lanterns in Jiufen. Also, allegedly, Jiufen inspired the famous Japanese movie, Spirited Away.
One of my travel tips is to go to Jiufen at night when all the red lanterns are lit up. It’s so beautiful it took my breath away.
Macau is Asia’s Las Vegas. This city is known for its dazzling casinos.
When people visit Hong Kong, a lot of them also try to squeeze in a day trip to come here because it doesn’t take long to see the city. People usually stay less than 24 hours when they’re in Macau.
It’s also travel friendly because you can go to Macau from Hong Kong in about an hour by ferry.
Even if you’re not a gambler, it’s worth coming to see the dozens of hotels that have indoor shops. The Venetian is probably the most famous one and you can ride a gondola while you’re there.
Macau also has its fair share of tourist attractions such as Senado Square and Ruins of St.Paul. Plus, they have yummy food like pork chop buns and Portuguese tarts.
Bangkok is Thailand’s capital. With gorgeous architecture, the details of them will leave you in awe.
The outdoor markets, affordable shopping, street food, and party scene are all extremely attractive to tourists, making Bangkok one of the most visited Asian cities.
Bangkok is pretty budget-friendly compared to expensive cities like Singapore and Hong Kong. The only thing is that it gets pretty hot in the summer so be prepared for the humidity.
Other than Bangkok, Thailand is also known for its beaches so you might want to make a pit stop at Ko Samui and Phuket.
Hanoi is another affordable city that is within a short distance from Hong Kong. It’s only a 2-hour flight from Hong Kong to Hanoi.
Not only is the capital of Vietnam a traditional city with plenty of historic sights, but you’ll also be impressed with the variety of food options. You’ll be satisfied with their street food and the authentic Vietnamese dishes like pho and banh mi.
While you’re there, you must also try Vietnamese coffee. Their coffee culture is unlike any other. It’s vastly different than European and North American coffee you might be used to.
9) Ho Chi Minh
While Hanoi is better suited for those who want to understand Vietnam’s history and culture better, there’s also Ho Chi Minh.
Ho Chi Minh is a more cosmopolitan city, which means it will feel more international. Both cities have their strengths so it all depends on what you want to see in Vietnam.
One more thing to know about Vietnam is that motorbikes are everywhere. Witness it yourself firsthand by travelling to Ho Chi Minh!
Singapore is a multicultural city and one of the most important cities in Asia.
In some ways, Singapore is similar to Hong Kong because it’s a densely populated city with hot weather and skyscrapers everywhere.
Except Singapore is near the equator so the temperature and humidity stay the same the entire year.
The mix of Chinese, Malaysian, and Indonesian cuisine makes Singapore a foodie’s paradise with all the hawker stalls.
Singapore does lean on the more expensive side but is still popular with tourists because of what the city has to offer like Merlion, Marina Bay Sands, and Gardens by the Bay.
It’s also won ‘world’s best airport’ multiple times.
Japan is always one of the top destinations visited by Hong Kongers. Whether it’s the food, shopping, or tourist sights, there’s always enough to keep you busy.
Those who haven’t visited Japan before might be interested in visiting the capital of Japan, Tokyo first. There’s the Shibuya crossing, which is the busiest crossing in the world, and other well-known districts like Shinjuku, Roppongi, and Harajuku (does anyone remember Gwen Stefani Harajuku perfumes back in the day?).
There’s also the famous seafood market called Tsukiji and Mount Fuji near Tokyo. Mt. Fuji is a sight people know to associate with Japan just like China with the Great Wall.
When it comes to Japanese food, Tokyo will satisfy all your wants and needs. There’s Japanese ramen, tempura, gyoza, sushi, katsu, and more!
Even if you don’t like sushi or sashimi, there are plenty of other things you can eat.
Osaka is often overlooked compared to Japan’s capital city but it’s also another popular tourist destination.
It’s more affordable and laid back compared to Tokyo. It also has more cities nearby for a day trip like Kyoto, Kobe, and Nara.
When it comes to street food, Osaka is your place. You should definitely try their Takoyaki, which is grilled Octopus balls. They’re famous for that.
If seafood isn’t your thing, there are still so many other options. You will want to eat everything in sight so be prepared to eat nonstop during your trip.
One important note is that Japan is one of the more expensive countries in Asia so that’s something to consider if you have a strict budget.
If you have never been to Japan, you might want to go to Tokyo first but Osaka is also a great city. It’s where the K-pop girl group, Twice, Sana is from.
Speaking of South Korea, next up on the list is Seoul.
When people think of South Korea, the first city that pops into their minds is Seoul, a city that houses almost 10 million people.
Korean culture has grown a lot in the past few years. Now more than ever, worldwide, people are into Korean fashion, K-dramas, KPOP, K-beauty, and even Korean food like Korean fried chicken, K-BBQ, etc.
Within the city, Seoul has several palaces you can visit. In general, castles and palaces tend to be far away from the city. You need to deliberately plan a trip but you can hop on the metro to get to Gyeongbokgung Palace, Deoksugung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace, Changgyeongung Palace, and Gyeonghuigung Palace. That’s five palaces in one city!
Another place to step back in time is to go to Bukchon Hanok Village. There, you’ll find traces of history and can vividly imagine how people used to live back in the old days.
If you can spare more time, it’s also worth going to Busan, the second largest city in South Korea, and Jeju Island.
With K-culture on the rise, people are flocking to Korea more now than ever. It’s definitely a location you shouldn’t miss.
In addition, South Korea is a technically advanced country and has one of the fastest networks in the world. It won’t leave you scrambling to find WIFI or data.
So far, most of the places on this list are mostly big cities but there are also destinations for those who prefer nature.
Like Bali, for example.
What’s the first thing you think of when you think of Bali?
It’s the beaches with blue water! But there are also temples, waterfalls, volcanoes, and jungles.
Those who prefer to spend time outdoors will have an amazing time on the island. It’s the place to visit for a much-needed break from city life.
The sunsets and sunrises are beyond beautiful and you won’t be able to stop taking photos to show your friends and family.
The weather is consistently warm. Depending on the year, it can get a tad chilly in Hong Kong during the winter months so Bali is somewhere you can consider if you need to escape the cold weather for a bit.
It is a little further than other destinations on this list (HK to Bali is about a 5 hr flight) but it’s still possible to go to Bali on a quick weekend trip.
Cebu is another beach-friendly city that’s in The Philippines. Take in all that beautiful nature while you spend the day lounging around.
Filipinos also generally speak English so the language barrier won’t be as tough as you can communicate with them. AND it’s a friendly and affordable city!
Don’t forget to visit Manila too. It’s only about a one-hour flight from Cebu.
Final Thoughts – Weekend Getaway from Hong Kong
When you’re planning your trip to Hong Kong, don’t forget to check out nearby cities you can visit. You can get to most of these cities I’ve talked about in my blog post with a direct flight. With cities like Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Macau, you don’t even have to fly. You can drive and/or take a ferry to get to your destination.
Especially for those who flew long distances to come to Asia, why not take out some time to do other short trips as well?
All the choices for weekend getaways while in Hong Kong are great! It just depends on what you’re interested in.
Now to You – Weekend Getaway from Hong Kong
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