While the idea of traveling to Asia is a dream for many people, for business travelers, it is not always a fun experience with back-to-back long haul flights, typically no time to even get a handle on jet lag and a grueling work schedule.
If you are stuck making one of these dreaded, hectic business trips to Asia, try to carve out at least an hour or so for yourself to see some of the city and make your business trip a little more fun.
Visiting one of Asia’s top business travel destinations? Here is a look at some of the best sights and things to do around these cities if you are short on time.
As compared to most other Asian cities, Singapore is relatively small, making it easy for a business traveler to get in a bit of sightseeing. Take a walk around the city and learn about some of the country’s history or head to Orchard Road for a bit of upscale shopping. Clarke Quay is a popular place for both tourists and locals to escape and if you want to try some local food, head to one of the city’s hawker centers, known as the prime spots to experience Singapore culture. Something else really cool to experience if you can spare an evening – go on a night safari at the zoo!
Taipei is becoming an increasingly popular spot for business travelers, especially those in the semiconductor industry. While most of the factories and offices are further south of Taipei proper, carve out a few hours in the evening and take a taxi ride into town. Wander around and see Taipei 101 lit up at night, experience the local Taiwanese night market culture or just walk around downtown. There are temples all over the city and many of the popular tourist sites are beautifully lit at night.
Many business travelers to Taiwan are there for weeks at a time, so if your schedule is free on a weekend, head to the East Coast and check out Taroko Gorge or spend the night at the popular resort area of Sun Moon Lake. Or take the high-speed train and spend a day in the south of the island at Kenting or the historic city of Tainan.
Tokyo can be overwhelming when first learning to navigate the subway system and you will quickly learn that travel within Tokyo itself can take more than an hour on a busy day. If you have a free night, head to the Roppongi District where many of the expats eat and drink in the evenings. Or, about 45 minutes away from Tokyo Main Station is the Tokyo Disney Resort. The park offers special evening only tickets and if you are a Disney fan, it’s definitely worth a visit.
If you have a couple hours during the day, check out Akihabara, known as the electronics district where you can go crazy with computers, anime, video games and more. If your trip includes a weekend stay over, venture via bullet train to one of the neighboring cities like Kyoto or Nara.
Shanghai is one of the most chaotic cities in Asia, but offers a wealth of things to see and do for business travelers. One of the most popular spots is The Bund, a waterfront area that has been the heart of Shanghai since the mid-1800’s. Its riverfront location not only offers extraordinary views, but a mix of colonial and modern day architecture. Nearby, take a stroll down Nanjing Road at night, one of the most popular shopping streets in Shanghai. Looking for something a bit slower pace? Check out Yu Yuan Garden, home to many temples and pavilions spread out over five acres.
Much like Tokyo and Shanghai, Hong Kong is bustling at all hours of the day and night. Every corner of Hong Kong is filled with interesting sights and insight into the local culture. Head over to Mongkok and one of the many dedicated street markets –everything from the jade market to a goldfish street. Excellent food is always within arm’s length in Hong Kong, with a huge concentration of the best eats and a large community of foodies who are thrilled to share their favorite spots with visitors.
Short on time but want to take in the best views of Hong Kong? Spring for a taxi and head to the top of Victoria Peak – it may be a bit more expensive, but will save you a lot of time, especially when the tram lines are daunting. For a drink with a view, head to the top of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, previously the world’s tallest hotel with the Ozone roof top bar located on the 118th floor.
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Erin is a travel and food writer who currently splits her time between the Netherlands and Belize. She's traveled to 60+ countries on 5 continents with a passion for culinary travel, luxury hotels, and all things Disney. Her writing has appeared in numerous online outlets including Gadling, BootsnAll, CNN, Art of Backpacking, TravBuddy, CBS, and more. She was the major author of Belize's official visitor magazine, Destination Belize 2013; wrote the official AFAR Guide to Belize; and is also AFAR Magazine's local Belize expert.. In addition to writing for other publications, Erin maintains several blogs, Our Tasty Travels, No Checked Bags, Pooh's Travels, and the brand new Caye To Belize. Follow Erin on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.
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