Imagine for a moment your last business trip. Where were you? What was it like? How much time did you spend working? And, perhaps most importantly, how much time did you spend doing anything but work?
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I’m willing to bet you carved out some extra “me” time to explore.
Unsurprisingly, plenty of business travellers manage to tack on a few extra leisure days with a business trip. Depending on how interesting (or exotic) the destination is, why not add a few extra days to make that flight worthwhile?
In my experience, there’s no better place to make the most of a business trip than Asia. While there’s plenty of business to be done in commercial hubs like Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok, I’m never surprised to meet travellers out and about that are fresh off of a business trip in the same place.
But what makes Asia the all-time coolest place to find yourself with a few extra days at the end of a business trip? These are just a few of my favourites.
In many of Asia’s biggest cities, there’s a big difference between street-level and business-level. Like coach versus first class, there’s a big shift when you walk out of a three-or four-star hotel in Asia and into the urban melee of the road. But unlike coach seating in an airplane, Asia’s street side is chock-full of great experiences.
One of the coolest things about taking a few extra days off of a business trip in Asia is getting to see that kaleidoscope of culture. You’re nearly guaranteed to miss it during your meetings and conferences in hotels and office buildings – so a few extra days means you’ll come away from a city like Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur feeling as if you really saw it.
Bang for your Buck
You don’t always get to choose where you go on your business trips, and sometimes its not financially feasible to add a few extra days (even though you wish it were). Asia is a great place to find yourself for a business trip simply because extending by a few more days is very economical. A typical street food meal in Hanoi, for example, is about 2 US dollars, and roughly the same in Kuala Lumpur. A dish even in a Singapore hawker center (one of the most expensive destinations in Asia) doesn’t set you back more than 5 or 6 dollars.
Add that to quick and easy public transportation (which make for a great cultural experience in and of itself), and spending a few days wandering around Asia’s biggest cities probably won’t cost more than a typical weekend in your hometown.
Proximity of Attractions
Unlike a lot of Western cities (that is, big and spread out), Asia’s biggest cities have managed to expand in such a way that they’re still supremely walkable. Cities like Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Hong Kong have grown up rather than out, so connecting the dots between attractions shouldn’t take too long. They also make for great walking tour destinations, since
For post-business trip travellers, this is a great aspect of Asia’s cities since they might only have a few days to spare. Those same travellers would be wise to maximise that time with guided excursions like walking and street food tours, since these are a great way to get a sense of a city and what it has to offer. Start a weekend in Hanoi with a street food tour, for example, and you’ve got a list of great dishes to try for the rest of your stay!
Let’s face it – Asia is a physical cacophony so different from places in the West that you’ll have a hard time feeling bored no matter how many times you visit. Since most business travellers tend to return to the same destinations again and again, Asia has a way of never getting boring. Those that head to Hong Kong, for example, might spend one business trip exploring Hong Kong Island – and the next in the New Territories or Kowloon area.
The point is, Asia’s biggest cities have staying power as a travel destination. You couldn’t dream to get a full sense of the city in just a short stay, and finding something new to experience on your second, third and fourth trip is easy.