This week is public holiday week in Hong Kong: On Wednesday Oct 1 it’s National Day, followed on Thursday Oct 2 by Chung Yeung Festival (which is the festival to remember and pay tribute to the forefathers). Chung Yeung bears similarity with the Ching Ming festival, which is celebrated during the spring season – on both days families visit their ancestors’ graves.
Because of the two holidays, a lot of people will take off either Friday or Monday & Tuesday to enjoy a few days away from work. With Hong Kong being so centrally located in Asia, this means you could go away for a few days. Places I have been to and that I can recommend are (in no particular order):
Perfect time of the year to explore the temples, drink tea and eat green tea cake. Do make sure to walk through Gion and take some time to visit the Fushimi Inari shrine with the amazing red gates!
A place you could visit all year long, and for a couple of days – but if you only have 2-3 days, then that’s a good starting point too! There’s so much to see, every quarter has different features, there are several view points, you can go on boat trips, visit markets (the famous fish market) or just spend your time watching people!
Seoul, South Korea
I’ve been in January (very cold), June, September and December – and while Seoul is beautiful in winter, it is best in summer! Winter temperatures just get too cold, especially if you got used to the mild HK climate! I love all the temples, little alley ways and of course the amazing Korean food. I can’t have it spicy enough!
A year-round destination and very easy to get to. There are so many flights every day including cheaper charter options – so what are you waiting for? It’s a great place if you travel with kids, want to explore museums or just eat Indian, Chinese and Malay food all during the same day.
One of the closest places to get to – just a bit more than an hour to travel to a city that is surrounded by mountains and is a foodies paradise. So much food to explore, you’d be crazy to not visit one of the markets and just eat your heart out!
Also very close and easy to get to is Vietnam – most travellers can get a visa upon arrival. If you go to the North, just remember that temperatures can drop in winter – so the first time I went, it was 10 degrees in February and much colder than I had expected. But of course, if you go between April-October, it should be perfect weather to explore the city by bike or on foot. Make sure to have a Vietnamese coffee break whenever you can and visit the Temple of Literature, one of my favourite places in Vietnam.
An ideal weekend get-away involves lots of street food and massages… you can’t go wrong with that in Thailand. Bangkok has a lot of temples and famous sights to offer, but sometimes we just take it easy and take a boat on the river, swim in the hotel pool and go for simple but good Thai food in the evening.
Khao Lak, Thailand
If you are more of a beach-person, then go to Khao Lak. That’s an hour north of Phuket (and there are direct flights between Hong Kong and Phuket) and much quieter than Phuket. There are still lots of resorts in Khao Lak – and also things to do, from hiking to a waterfall, washing an elephant, looking at baby sea turtles, going diving, exploring villages and old towns, so you won’t get bored that easily! But of course, the big draw is the beach!
Chiang Mai, Thailand
This place is also easy to get to – and it is great for the explorer! The city has lots of temples, cafes and restaurants – but if you want to get out in the jungle, hike or bike, learn how to cook Thai food or meet monkeys, tigers and elephants (not wild ones, in sanctuaries) that’s the place to go!
Any other places you can recommend that are just a non-stop flight (max 3.5 hours flight time) away that would be great for my next getaway? Let me know and share your tips, I’m keen to plan my next holiday!