When you travel to faraway destinations such as Bali, the Maldives, the Seychelles, and even Thailand, it’s advisable to stopover in another city for 1-3 nights. Since there is often no direct flight between the United States and these destinations, it can be very worth your while to explore another city for a few nights rather than enduring an exhausting layover.
Some of the most popular stop over destinations include Hong Kong, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, and Doha. While each of these cities offers something unique, all of them are uniformly rich in culture, fantastic resorts, and delicious food.
Known for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbor, Hong Kong is a perfect gateway to Asia and the far east. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Hong Kong offers numerous attractions that are sure to excite even the most discerning travelers.
We recommend exploring Victoria Peak. The highest point on Hong Kong Island, “The Peak” offers one of the world’s most stunning cityscapes. Complete with views of glittering skyscrapers and Victoria Harbor, the Peak is an absolute must see in Hong Kong. Love a good street market? Venture over to Mong Kok (Hong Kong’s Chinatown) to take in fantastic street markets, bars, night clubs, and restaurants. For an evening activity, be sure to take in the Symphony of Light laser and light show, which is shown nightly at 8pm. Projected in concert with music from both sides of the harbor, the lights show is a fantastic way to appreciate the gorgeous Hong Kong skyline. Whatever you do, don’t forget to feast on dim sum!
Located just off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, Singapore is one of the major foodie capitals of the world. Known for its delicious chili crab dish, Singapore is also rich in culture and commerce. Check out the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, which is famous for its enormous infinity pool and the best skyline views in the city. Don’t worry if you’re not staying at the hotel; you can see the pool from the hotel’s Ku De Ta bar. Be sure to also peruse any of the popular hawker centers, including Maxwell Road, Newton Circus, Smith Street, or Old Airport Road, which contains arguably the best street food on the planet.
To appreciate how multicultural Singapore is, we recommend you explore its many ethnic neighborhoods including Little India, Arab Street, and China Town. Each neighborhood has a religious building pertaining to the culture (a temple or a mosque). We also recommend you revel in Singapore’s natural beauty at the local Botanical Garden, which houses a particularly gorgeous Orchid Garden.
Love to shop? Check out Orchard Street, which has the finest shopping around. We also recommend you indulge in a drink at the Raffles Hotel, which invented the Singapore Sling.
Located on a T-shaped island which juts into the Persian Gulf, Abu Dhabi is the capital and second most populous city in the UAE. Rich in culture and luxury hotels, Abu Dhabi offers tourists plenty to do during a stop over. Visitors enjoy tours of the pristine sand dunes, visits to the local spice markets, indulging in fantastic shopping, and taking in a camel race. (If you’ve never heard of one, they’re very similar to horse races, except with camels.) If you’d like to explore the city of Dubai for a day, it’s just a short 90 minute drive from Abu Dhabi.
If you are interested in cars, you would particularly enjoy a visit to Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, the largest indoor and first ever Ferrari theme park, located on Yas Island. There you can take a Ferrari for a spin, go on Ferrari themed rides, and even go on Ferrari roller coasters! It truly is an auto lover’s paradise.
If you’re looking to see something that’s more culturally or religiously significant, we absolutely recommend a visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. This enormous and pristine white mosque is the largest mosque in the UAE and is the eighth largest mosque in the world. It is the key place of Friday gathering and Eid prayers, and in fact, can be visited by more than 40,000 people during Eid.
Located on the coast of the Persian Gulf, Doha is the capital city and most populous city of Qatar. While you can find many similar attractions in Doha as you can in Abu Dhabi, including sand dune tours, visits to local spice markets, and camel races (if you’re there in season), Doha offers other unique and important sites. The Museum of Islamic Art, whose stunning modern architecture makes it a sight to see in and of itself, enjoys one of the best collections of Islamic art anywhere. Its art spans works created over three continents and 1400 years.
If you’re looking for a more laid back way to enjoy Doha, we recommend taking a cruise or fishing on a dhow boat, enjoying some fabulous shopping, or visiting a hookah bar. There are a variety of souqs, or shopping areas, that are popular around Doha. One of our favorites is the Souq Waqif, which is an excellent area to find local spices, traditional garments, local made crafts and souvenirs, perfume, oud (incense) as well as, art. You will find a great variety of French, Malaysian, Indian, and other international restaurants offered nearby. Since Doha is alcohol free outside of hotels, if you’re looking for nighttime entertainment, hookah bars substitute for regular bars.
If you’re considering traveling to Asia or the Indian Ocean, and want to experience an amazing stop over experience, contact one of our destination specialists for itinerary suggestions and expert advice.