6 May, 2024
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direct flight main image

8 Direct Flight Destinations From Hong Kong You Might Not Have Thought Of

6 May, 2024
direct flight main image

We really are spoiled for choice when it comes to direct flights from Hong Kong. And as much as we love our reliable holiday destinations like Phuket or Bali, sometimes it’s nice to take advantage of the Asian aviation hub and look for vacations that are less mainstream. Here are eight direct flight destinations to put on your radar!

We’re all set to make 2024 the year of travel! Let’s maximise our annual leave for extended vacation time or jet away for a quick weekend getaway. Whether you crave basking in the sun on a beach, launching yourself headfirst into the hustle and bustle of an Asian metropolis, or eating your weight in street food, there’s an exciting adventure on the horizon.

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Editor’s Note: Flight schedules from Hong Kong are constantly changing. Please check directly with carriers for the most up-to-date routes and schedules. 

direct flight Kaohsiung

Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Taipei might be the obvious choice for a weekend in Taiwan, so mix it up a little by visiting the harbourside city of Kaohsiung. Spend your day exploring the city by bicycle (there are over 950km of bike paths!) before eating your fill of street food with the locals at the bustling night markets. And if you’ve had a run of misfortune, be sure to include the twin Dragon and Tiger Pagodas on your sightseeing list — it’s said that entering through the mouth of the dragon and exiting the tiger can reverse your fortunes!

Airlines: There are multiple daily direct flights on Hong Kong Express and Cathay Pacific to Kaohsiung.
Flight Time: 1.5 hours

direct flight Okinawa

Okinawa, Japan

You might associate Japan with bustling megacities or winter ski trips, but don’t dismiss the beaches and unique characteristics of this archipelago nation! In Okinawa prefecture, the scenery is stunning, with brilliant blue waters, pristine beaches and lush forests full of endemic flora and fauna. History buffs will also enjoy learning about the distinct cultural differences in the southern isles — the 400-year-old Ryukyu Kingdom was independent until 1879 and you can spend your days touring World Heritage-listed ancient castles. With 160 islands to explore, this is one beachside destination you’ll want to visit again and again.

Sassy Tip: Keep your eyes out for the resumption of direct flights to Ishigaki, also located in Okinawa Prefecture and a gateway to world-class scuba diving.

Airlines: Hong Kong Airlines offers daily flights to Okinawa and HK Express flies three times a week.
Flight Time: 2 hours and 35 minutes

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direct flight Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai, Thailand

If you’re looking to escape the Bangkok bustle and experience the history-steeped charms of Thailand, this northern city is calling your name. Situated within a mountainous landscape, Chiang Mai offers an alternative to the typical tourist circuit. Wander the quaint streets and get lost in the mystical allure of the 13th-century — Chiang Mai is a hub with an arts and food scene that’ll leave your senses buzzing. Savour northern Thai specialties, get your bargain on at the bustling night markets, and prepare to have your heart stolen by the rescued elephants at one of the city’s ethical sanctuaries. Because let’s be real — watching these gentle giants roam freely will be the highlight of your trip!

Airlines: There are daily direct flights on Hong Kong Express, as well as frequent flights on AirAsia to Chiang Mai.
Flight Time: 2 hours and 55 minutes

direct flight Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Often overlooked as travellers make a beeline to the temples of Angkor Wat, Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh offers travellers a gritty view into Cambodian history and culture. The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda are hard to miss as you explore the riverfront, but it’s telling that two of the city’s other big tourist attractions make for quite sombre visits. The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum certainly give travellers a wake-up call to Cambodia’s very recent history. Once you’ve acknowledged the tragic past, you can marvel at the leaps and bounds this young nation has made in the past 4o years. There’s an emerging foodie scene and arts scene, as well as bustling markets and nightlife. Be sure to visit a rooftop bar at sunset to watch day turn to night over the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers.

Airlines: Cathay Pacific currently flies daily direct to Phnom Penh.
Flight Time: 2 hours and 40 minutes

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direct flight Penang

Penang, Malaysia

Penang is one of those destinations that just keeps us coming back for more! Thanks to its rich history as a trading hub, there’s a unique fusion of Malay, Chinese, Indian and European heritage that comes through everywhere you turn. Explore the streets of George Town to see the unrivalled collection of UNESCO-listed, pre-WWII shophouses, many of which have been lovingly restored into boutique guesthouses, restaurants, cafes and museums. You won’t have to look far to find iconic street art, with murals adorning many of the walls throughout the city. The beauty of Penang is that you can combine your culture and foodie adventure with some time lazing on the golden sand beaches of Batu Ferringhi.

Airlines: Cathay Pacific and AirAsia fly direct to Penang almost daily.
Flight Time: 3 hours and 45 minutes

direct flight Chengdu

Chengdu, China

Chengdu is the total package, offering a mix of natural landscapes, wildlife encounters, and some of the most delicious cuisine on the planet. Yep, we’re talking about Sichuan hotpots and the iconic mapo tofu. But Chengdu isn’t just a foodie’s paradise; it’s also the only place where you can get up close and personal with China’s pandas at the city’s panda preserves and breeding centres. Frankly, watching those fluffy bamboo-munchers is the stuff dreams are made of! And when you need a break from all the panda pandemonium, simply head out to Jiuzhaigou, one of China’s most stunning national parks, for some serious mountain-hiking magic.

Airlines: Sichuan Airlines has daily direct flights to Chengdu.
Flight Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes

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Kathmandu, Nepal

Access to the Himalayan Kingdom got a whole lot easier when direct flights from Hong Kong resumed. Visit ancient temples and stupas in the city, or better yet, get out into the countryside for some guided trekking through the mountains and villages. Keen adventure travellers will no doubt want to hit the mountain trails by hiking Annapurna or up to the Everest Base Camp.

Airlines: Cathay Pacific currently flies direct to Kathmandu fives times a week (Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Saturday).
Flight Time: 5 hours

direct flight Ulaanbaatar

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Dive into the capital of Mongolia, where the country’s storied past collides head-on with a modern energy, creating an experience unlike any other. Wander the streets and you’ll encounter a contrast — fashionistas strutting in the latest designer items brushing shoulders with nomadic herders, while the soaring, 40-meter statue of Genghis Khan towers overhead. However, beneath the surface lies a cultural richness, best explored at the newly opened Chinggis Khaan Museum, which delves into Mongolia’s 2,000-year history. Whether you’re marvelling at Tibetan thangka paintings or simply getting lost in the vibrancy of daily life, Ulaanbaatar will leave a lasting mark.

Airlines: Mongolian Airlines operates direct flights to Ulanbaatar daily.
Flight Time: 4 hours and 4o minutes

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Editor’s Note: “8 Direct Flight Destinations From Hong Kong You Might Not Have Thought Of” was most recently updated in May 2024 by Catherine Pun. With thanks to Jess Mizzi for her contribution.

Main image courtesy of jjlim80 via Getty, image 1 courtesy of Muhammad Fiaz via Getty, image 2 courtesy of Spacy Goody via Pexels, image 3 courtesy of FilippoBacci via Getty, image 4 courtesy of Dmitry Rukhlenko via Shutterstock, image 5 courtesy of mehdi33300 via Shutterstock, image 6 courtesy of dpe123 via Adobe Stock, image 7 courtesy of anyaberkut via iStock, image 8 courtesy of saiko3p via Getty.

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