Tired of Thailand? 5 Surprisingly Accessible Short Holiday Destinations From Bangkok

Need a break from Thailand? We hear you. As fun, exciting and interesting as Thailand can be, we all need to escape from time to time — whether for a visa run or simply for a change of pace.

Below, we’ve listed five Asian, Middle Eastern and Australasian destinations that are all within a night’s reach of Bangkok, making them perfect for 4-5 day breaks.

Hong Kong


Flight Time: 2 hours, 40 minutes
Visit For: Food, Views and Shopping

Hong Kong is one of the world’s densest, most bustling cities, making it great for short breaks but far from ideal for living. If you’re looking for constant activity, great shopping (especially for electronics) and views of the world’s best skyline, two to three nights in Hong Kong makes for the perfect getaway from Bangkok.

Hotels in Hong Kong are a little on the pricey side compared to Thailand’s major cities, although sacrificing room size — which you’ll have to do anyway, thanks to the city’s incredible density — makes it easier to save on pricing. The best areas to stay in? If you’re visiting for shopping, Tsim Sha Tsui and Causeway Bay are hard to beat, while Central is ideal if you’re aiming for the ultimate Hong Kong Island experience. Can’t work out where to start? Tommy Oi’s guide to things to do in Hong Kong is a great resource for planning your trip.



Flight Time: 6-7 hours
Visit For: Shopping, City Views and Overall Experience

Dubai is the most cosmopolitan city in the Middle East, and it’s also the easiest to get to from Thailand. Believe it or not, although Dubai can feel like the opposite side of the world from Southeast Asia, it’s only a 6-7 hour flight from Bangkok. That’s a quick nap and a movie, making it tolerable for 3-4 day trips.

The key attractions here? The food is great, as are the shisha cafes. Jumeirah Beach, with its perfect sand and world class shopping, is also worth a visit. While Dubai’s nightlife isn’t quite as crazy as Bangkok’s, the city does have its wild side (although you’ll want to make sure your hotel approves first). Overall, a great place to “escape” from Bangkok’s hustle and bustle for a few days and enjoy the sun.



Flight time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Visit For: Food and Shopping

The closest destination to Bangkok on our list, Singapore is also the cheapest and easiest to visit, with numerous flights available on budget airlines and a short and simple flight time. If you’re looking for a place to visit for the weekend, it doesn’t get much better.

Like Hong Kong, Singapore is dense and bustling. However, it has more of a relaxed vibe than its other Southeast Asian neighbors, with a “perfectly managed” feeling that makes it a great break from the noise and activity level of Thailand. Thanks to its low taxes, it’s also a great place to shop for clothes, electronics and other items that are taxed a little too heavily elsewhere in Southeast Asia. If you’re visiting for the first time, check out The Pinay Solo Backpacker’s guide, which covers everything there is to know about Singapore as a destination.



Flight time: 5-6 hours
Visit For: Food, Atmosphere and Uniqueness

Tokyo is a city like no other. It’s dense and crowded, yet full of expansive parks that feel like they’re miles from civilization. It’s expensive and commercialized, yet full of friendly local restaurants offering incredible food at excellent prices. It’s modern and neon-lit, shot like a 1980s cyberpunk movie yet full of ancient history. In short, it’s an incredible city and the perfect 4-5 day destination.

Thanks to changes to Japanese visa requirements, it’s also an easy destination to visit with Thai friends (who now no longer require a visa to enter Japan for trips of 15 days or less). The best places to stay? Stick to the major stations on the JR Yamanote Line for the best experience and the easiest access to the city’s top attractions.



Flight time: 9 hours, 30 minutes
Visit For: Harbor Views, Nightlife and Sightseeing

The furthest destination on our list, Sydney is still within a night’s reach of Bangkok — just be sure to book an overnight flight and wear some comfortable clothes. One of the world’s most dynamic and interesting cities, it’s also as “different” as you can get from anything in Southeast Asia, offering a mix of Western architecture and a modern, multicultural vibe.

The food? Good, but not on Bangkok’s level (although the wine is excellent). The shopping? Also good, but beaten by Hong Kong and Singapore. However, for an all-round city experience, Sydney is tough to beach, provided you’re willing to tolerate the long, overnight flight there and back.

Like Hong Kong, Sydney is a little pricey when it comes to hotels. Wikitravel has a good guide to the affordable side of the city that includes a few choice affordable accommodation options. Be aware that Sydney is much more spread out than other cities on this list, making central accommodation worth the premium.

Nespresso in Thailand: Machine and Capsule Guide


Nespresso, one of the world’s most popular capsule coffee systems, recently made its way to Thailand after years of being unavailable.

In this post, I want to give a quick rundown of the availability of Nespresso in Thailand, as well as the best shopping options for Nespresso machines and capsules.

Nespresso machines in Thailand

There are two ways to buy Nespresso machines in Thailand. Nespresso Thailand’s official website lists a variety of machines available to order online, although prices are somewhat inflated compared to what you’d pay in the United States.

For example, the Nespresso Pixie, which barely costs $100 in the USA, is priced at the equivalent of almost $300 in Thailand. Other machines are similarly expensive when purchased from the official Nespresso website.

At the moment, the cheapest Nespresso machine available in Thailand is the Inissia, which costs 6,500 baht.

Another way to buy Nespresso machines in Thailand is by using Lazada, which is Southeast Asia’s local Amazon/eBay copycat. There are several Nespresso compatible machines available from 2,000 baht, which is a fraction of the price you’d pay for the authentic model from the official Nespresso website.

Finally, Nespresso has a boutique in Siam Paragon that sells both the machines and capsules, although the prices are similar to what you’d pay on the official website.

Nespresso capsules in Thailand

Nespresso capsules are available from the official Nespresso website for 22 baht each, which is relatively similar to international pricing. This guide to the best Nespresso capsules is handy if you’re searching for information on which flavor to try first.

You can also buy Nespresso capsules from the Nespresso boutique in Siam Paragon for the same price as the official website.

At the moment, we haven’t seen Nespresso capsules for sale in any supermarkets. The larger Nescafe Dulce Gusto capsules are widely available, as are Dulce Gusto machines (almost always at far lower prices than their Nespresso counterparts).

The Best Weekend Breaks From Bangkok

Tired of the noise, bustle and pollution of Bangkok? While Thailand’s capital truly defines big city living, it’s quite close to several great beach destinations and upcountry retreats that make great weekend getaways.

Need to get out of the city? Pick from any of these four destinations, book a taxi and enjoy a peaceful or wild (depending on your choice) weekend away from Bangkok.

Hua Hin

Located three hours from Bangkok by road, Hua Hin is a family-oriented beach resort city that’s popular with Thais and tourists. The beach here is lined with upmarket hotels, such as the Hilton Hua Hin and Intercontinental.

Since Hua Hin is on the quieter side, it’s best for couples and families. Solo travelers might find the nightlife here a little dull, since options are limited and closing times are fairly early compared to elsewhere in Thailand. Further south, Pranburi is a great choice for couples.


Thailand’s party capital, Pattaya is two hours from Bangkok by car and by far the most popular beach resort close to the capital. This isn’t the place for a quiet getaway, but if you opt for Jomtien or Wongamat instead of central Pattaya, it’s possible to avoid most of the noise.

If you plan on going out and partying, make sure you pick a guest friendly hotel in Pattaya, as many brands forbid non-registered guests. If you’re traveling with your partner, pick a hotel around Wongamat Beach for a quieter experience with a nicer, more refined atmosphere.


Famous for its ancient temples, Ayutthaya was once the historical capital of Thailand. The entire city was destroyed by the approaching Burmese armies many hundreds of years ago, creating the archaeological park that covers large parts of the city today.

One of the most popular tourist destinations near Bangkok, Ayutthaya is better for day trips than weekend getaways. We recommend this one if you’re only able to get out of the city for a single night and don’t have time to travel further afield. Take the train for a fun, more local experience.


Further north than Ayutthaya, Kanchanaburi is one of the most relaxing upcountry tourism destinations within easy reach of Bangkok. Minibuses depart from Bangkok’s Victory Monument to Kanchanaburi frequently throughout the week and make the journey in about three hours.

Great attractions include the famous bridge over the River Kwai, Hellfire Pass and many other WWII-related sights. Some of Kanchanaburi’s most famous resorts are located along the side of the river, offering beautiful views and a relaxing atmosphere.

Gear Recommendations for Travel in Thailand

Thailand is one of the world’s most popular backpacking destinations, and as a result it suffers from a familiar problem for travelers: people severely overpack.

If you’ve traveled in Thailand before, you’ve no doubt seen the type of people I’m talking about. They walk around Khao San Road with massive backpacks — often two, with one on their back and a second, smaller backpack on their front.

Even if you’re backpacking around Thailand as a budget traveler, you don’t need to pack as much as you think. Most of the items you’ll need for your journey are available here, often at a lower cost to back home. You can save a lot of money, discomfort and baggage fees by packing light and picking up the extras once you arrive.

Before we share our gear recommendations, here’s what you don’t need to pack for your trip to Thailand:

  • Non-prescription medicines (they’re all available here at a lower cost to any Western country)
  • More than 4-5 t-shirts, pairs of shorts and underwear. Laundry services are abundant in Thailand and you can buy extra clothes from the markets for very low prices.
  • Travel guides. Books are heavy and cumbersome. Pack a tablet or install the Kindle app on your phone, then read your guides digitally to save weight.
  • A money belt. Thailand isn’t 100% crime-free, but it’s a safe destination and you’ll be find keeping your wallet in your pocket or bag.
  • A backpack. Unless you’re going to explore the islands, you can travel around Thailand using a wheeled travel bag, at least in most major cities. Only use a backpack if you plan on visiting the islands.
  • Sunscreen, toothbrushes and other toiletries. They’re all available in 7/11, again at a much lower cost than back home.

As for what to bring, here are our recommendations for items that aren’t easily available in Thailand or are only available at a high price:

  • Luggage. If you need to buy another backpack or bag here, expect to pay a higher price than average.
  • Boots, shoes and other leather goods. Any imported fashion products in Thailand are more expensive than back home, so we recommend bringing a good pair of walking boots (especially if you plan to visit the North) and a good leather belt for wearing with jeans from home.
  • Technology. Smartphones, computers, cameras and other consumer electronics cost more in Thailand than they do in most Western countries, so buy your tech before you travel.
  • Winter clothing. Thailand is a tropical country, but the North can get quite cold during the cool season. Since good quality winter clothing isn’t readily available, it’s better to bring a thin, breathable jacket from home instead of buying one after you arrive.

On the whole, there’s no need to pack too heavily when you visit Thailand, since everything you could need is easy to find (if, in the case of imported products, a bit expensive). Bring a mid-sized suitcase or light backpack with enough clothing to last you for five days at a time and you’ll have a great trip without the weight, discomfort and back pain of the travelers you see with supersized backpacks.