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 five direct flight destinations to put on your radar!
We’re ready to make 2023 our year of travel! Maximise your annual leave for longer vacation time or jet away for a quick weekend away. Whether you want to soak up some sun by the beach, launch yourself headfirst into the hustle and bustle of an Asian metropolis, eat your weight in street food or kick-start your health regime, there’s an 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.
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 getting 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
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Naha, 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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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 this 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 direct to Phnom Penh three times a week (Sunday, Monday and Friday)
Flight Time: 2 hours and 50 minutes
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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 currently flies direct to Penang three times a week (Sunday, Wednesday and Friday)
Flight Time: 3 hours and 50 minutes
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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. Start planning now for a visit in April to soak up the atmosphere surrounding Bisket Jatra (Nepali New Year) and good hiking weather before the summer monsoon kicks in.
Airlines: Cathay Pacific currently flies direct to Kathmandu three times a week (Tuesday, Friday and Saturday).
Flight Time: 5 hours and 25 minutes
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Main image courtesy of Getty, image 1 courtesy of Unsplash, image 2 courtesy of Japan Tourism, image 3 courtesy of Paul Szewczyk on Unsplash, image 4 courtesy of Getty, image 5 courtesy of Getty.