The perfect Asian pair, Hong Kong and Thailand offer countless ways to combine fascinating cities, outdoor adventures and pristine beaches. Hong Kong’s allure as Asia’s World City continues as strongly as ever, with phenomenal food, shopping, markets, and cultural treasures. You can even explore the laid-back villages of Stanley and Aberdeen on the south side of Hong Kong Island, a lifetime away from the dazzle and excitement of the Central district. In Thailand, get off the beaten track and explore Bangkok by bicycle, or explore Chiang Mai’s ancient city filled with temples and charming local coffee shops. Zip line through the rainforest and commune with elephants in the countryside surrounding Chiang Mai, then fly south to the gorgeous beaches of Phuket, Krabi, and Koh Samui.
Hong Kong from Top to Bottom
Hong Kong has a wide range of attractions and districts to explore, but the best place to start is on Hong Kong Island, home to Victoria Peak, and many of the territory’s most famous beaches, markets, and communities. Stanley Market is a colourful introduction to Hong Kong, while Aberdeen floating village remains a thriving, traditional community on the water – centuries after its days as a notorious pirates’ den. Another highlight is the ironically-named Repulse Beach, one of the most beautiful in Hong Kong.
What’s left to be explored? Everything you can see from Victoria Peak. Accessed by the famous red Peak Tram, Hong Kong’s best view peers out over the skyscrapers towards Kowloon. Afterwards, descend to explore historic districts such as Wan Chai, home to the famous Happy Valley Racecourse, or Sheung Wan, where you can visit Man Mo Temple before browsing the weird and wonderful wares of Cat Street. A guided “foodie” tour is a great way to spend the afternoon. Enjoy a roving lunch with lots of local variety, and get the inside story on these iconic streets.
Suggested Half Day Tour:
Hong Kong Foodie on Foot
Cross Hong Kong Harbour to Kowloon. A ferry ride across is highly recommended! After exploring the markets of Kowloon, head to the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront to catch the nightly Symphony of Lights show. Named the “World’s Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show” by the Guinness Book of World Records, the spectacle involves coloured lights, laser beams, and searchlights from more than 40 buildings on both sides of Victoria Harbour. You can listen to the show’s music and narration live just outside the Hong Kong Cultural Centre at the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront.
Continue north into Mong Kok to take your shopping game to new heights. Alternatively, explore your spiritual side at the atmospheric Sik Sik Yuen Temple, or Chi Lin Nunnery. If you really want to get out of town, take a tour of nearby Lantau Island, home to Hong Kong’s airport, Disneyland, Tai O fishing village, and the famous Tian Tan Buddha, or Big Buddha.
One Night in Bangkok…
…is not enough, so plan on a few! Historic, sometimes beautiful, often chaotic, but always worthwhile, the Thai capital is many different things to different people. Take in its more splendid side at the Grand Palace, home to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, lavish reception halls, and fascinating museums. Right next door, Wat Po houses the largest reclining Buddha figure in Thailand, while just across the river, Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn, shines over the Chao Phraya with its glittering mosaic facade. At night, these structures turn the riverbank into an impressive light show, providing a memorable backdrop to dinner on the river.
Ticked off the big sites? Time to explore Bangkok like a local! Hit the streets to continue the culinary odyssey you no doubt started in Hong Kong. The flavours and aromas of Thailand are very different, but deserve just as much of your time and appetite. Dive into Bangkok’s malls, or if you’d prefer (and are lucky to be there on the weekend), roam Chatuchak Market for local souvenirs. After dark, Silom Road will fascinate anyone interested in Thailand’s wilder side (keep your wits about you), but there’s an impressive range of night markets to explore here too. This area is also the centre of Bangkok’s gay scene, widely hailed as the largest and liveliest in Asia – though Tokyo, Manila, and indeed Hong Kong may dispute that!
If you’d rather get out of the city, Bangkok may be one of the world’s best bases for day trips. Visit the Floating Market of Ratchaburi, or roam the ancient ruins of Ayutthaya, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Another great day trip is a visit to Kanchanaburi, home to the infamous bridge over the Kwai River. The area is really so interesting historically and offers visitors a greater understanding of WWII and how Thailand was involved.
Southern Thai Treats
Thailand really isn’t a country you can experience just by visiting Bangkok. Different regions offer vastly different experiences, but Southern Thailand is a good place to sample a bit of everything. The area is most famous for its beaches, and while the islands of Phuket and Koh Samui steal much of the attention, Krabi is one of the mainland’s most beloved beach getaways, offering superb scenery, and a wide range of activities including diving, snorkelling, rock climbing, golf… or just enjoying the local culture and flavours of Southern Thailand.
If you’re looking for a completely unique Thailand holiday, trade the beach for nature at nearby Elephant Hills. Staying at a tented camp, similar to those found in Africa, get to know these beautiful animals up close. You won’t be able to ride them (many elephant conservationist groups and facilities are attempting to abolish this practice), but you’ll be able to feed them and assist with their daily care. A visit to Elephant Hills also includes a jungle canoe trip down the Sok River, all surrounded by the unique sounds of Southern Thailand’s birds and wildlife. It’s a getaway that showcases Southeast Asia at its wildest and most beautiful.
Putting It All Together
Goway’s new range of Hong Kong and Thailand tours combine included flights, a Hong Kong city stay, with a choice of Thailand adventures. Pair Hong Kong with bustling Bangkok, relaxing Krabi, or the serenity and wonder of Elephant Hills. Or bring the city and beach together for a longer stay. If you feel the urge to splurge in a part of the world often hailed as a traveller’s bargain, upgrades to more luxurious accommodation are also available. No matter the interest or budget, Hong Kong is ready to excite your senses, and get you ready for your perfect Thai escape.