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.
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.