So you have decided to come to Australia. Why not take the opportunity to visit a city or discover another country on the way? Whether you have a few hours or several days, here are the best stopovers when going to Australia!
What to do on your stopover in Dubai?
- Dubai Mall, the largest shopping center in the world. You will find an aquarium, Olympic ice rink and no less than 1.200 shops and 160 restaurants inside. They cater to any budget.
- Burj Khalifa, the highest tower in the world (828 meters). It is possible to take an elevator that takes you to the most beautiful view of the city. You should not be afraid of heights though…
- The Dubai Fountain is located at the foot of the Burj Khalifa and offers breathtaking water jet shows every night.
- The Deira district. Not far from the airport, you will find the most authentic souks and many traditional restaurants. Definitely worth a visit!
Airlines: Emirates / Quantas
What to do on your stopover in Abu Dhabi?
- Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Mosque. It is surely one of the most beautiful mosques in the world! Built in stone and marble and adorned with gold crystal, ceramic and semi-precious stones. It also has the largest Persian carpet ever woven. It dresses the floor of the prayer room that can accommodate in excess of 40.000 worshipers;
- The Emirates Palace is probably the most expensive hotel in the world. You can explore this luxury hotel as if you were visiting a museum;
- The Bedouin Village will introduce you to life in the UAE before oil was struck. It has a traditional mosque and a traditional Bedouin encampment. To better understand the Bedouin culture, it is best to visit the Emirates Heritage Village Museum and its 1.600 m2 park on the seafront near the world’s largest flag (40m2);
- The island of Yas is a location home to many activities. It includes the Yas Marina Formula 1 circuit, the largest indoor amusement park in the world, Ferrari World with the fastest Big 8 (240 km/h), Yas Waterworld and Yas Links 5 start golf course;
- Opened in 2017, The Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum is a large department of the Louvre in Paris.
Airlines: Etihad / Virgin Australia
What to do during a stopover in Doha?
- The Corniche is the ideal place to walk along the sea and take in the view of the skyscrapers that characterise the city. It is very popular for its green lawns and flowers and attracts many people in the evening to watch the beautiful sunset. Here you will also find the Heritage Village, a traditional Qatari village showing the ancient crafts of the country;
- The Clock Tower is located at the top of a hill next to the Great Mosque. It offers a beautiful view of the Corniche and the city;
- There are many museums around the city but to discover the art and culture of the country visit the National Museum of Qatar located east of the Corniche in a former royal palace. Also, the Museum of Islamic art is worth a visit. It houses many objects of Muslim dynasties around the world;
- For traditional shopping visit Souq Waqif where you can shop offer local handmade crafts.
Airlines: Qatar Airlines
For short stops (5 hours minimum), these three cities offer “City Tour”. You can discover the city and its main centers of interest by bus. For all information and bookings, visit the website of the city or directly at the ticket office of the airport upon your arrival.
What to do during a stopover in Hong Kong?
- The Tian Tian Buddha located on the island of Lantau, not far from the airport, is the largest sitting bronze Buddha in the world. On clear days you can even see it from the plane!
- Take world’s most vertical tram to reach the summit of Victoria Peak and experience its breathtaking view of the city;
- In the center you will find one of the oldest temples in Hong Kong. The Temple of Man Mo was built in 1847 and is dedicated to the gods of literature (‘Man’) and war (‘Mo’);
- A ride on the Tsim Sha Tsui East Promenade will offer you the most beautiful view of Hong Kong with its glittering skyscrapers between the emerald hills and the deep blue water of the harbour. At nightfall you can enjoy the light show that lights up the city!
Airline: Cathay Pacific
What to do during a stopover in Bangkok?
- Undoubtedly the most famous attraction of the city is the Grand Palace. Built in 1782 as the King’s residence, it is a the spiritual center of the Thai kingdom today. Do not miss the ‘Wat Phra Kaew’ Temple which houses the majestic Emerald Buddha and is one of the most sacred places in the country;
- Bangkok is a paradise for shopping. You have the choice between ultra modern shopping centers and street market like the ‘Chatuchak’ market. The shopping in the city caters to all budgets! Do not forget to haggle with the shopkeepers. It is not uncommon to pay less then half they ask initially…
- If you decide to stop over in Bangkok, why not extend your stay in Thailand for some time. At least go out and see the bars and night clubs. The city is famous for its nightlife, apart from the shady bars of Pat Pong known for young backpackers getting fooled by girls/boys, you can go for a drink in the neighbourhoods of Kao San and Soi Rambuttri;
- If you have a bit more time to spend, do not miss the floating market of Damnoen Saduak which is situated a bit outside the city center.
Airlines: Thai Airlines, KLM
What to do during a stopover in Ho Chi Minh City
- In the center of town you can discover the French and American architectures that testify to their history in the country. For example the Cathedral Notre-Dame and the Central Post office where an metal structure built by Gustave Eiffel can be seen;
- If you want to know more about the history of the country take a tour of at least one of the following museums: The War Museum or the War Remnants Museum, which will relentlessly revive the Vietnam War, and the Museum of History which displays 4.000 years of history in a beautiful French colonial building surrounded by botanical gardens;
- At the Cholon district you will discover many places of worship amongst the various temples and pagodas, but you will also be able to do some shopping thanks to its street market and taste the local cuisine! To see the most impressive pagodas go to the north of the city center. Here you can admire that of the Emperor of Jade or that of Vinh Hghiem.
- If you have multiple days to spend, leave the city and enjoy an excursion in the Mekong Delta to discover the natural riches and landscapes of the region.
Airline: Vietnam Airlines
What to do during your stopover in Kuala Lumpur?
- Enjoy a great view of Kuala Lumpur by ascending one of the two Petronas towers. The Petronas Twin Towers are 452 meters high. You can admire the view from the sky bridge 170 meters above ground, or from the KL Tower which offers a 360 degree view and a restaurant;
- About ten kilometers north of the city, visit the Hindu sanctuary of Batu Caves and climb its 272 steps. You will find the impressive golden statue of the god Murugan and many mischievous monkeys who will not hesitate to jump on your bags in search of food! This place is a must see for its mountains and beautiful temple in a 100 meter high cave;
- Kuala Lumpur is a very divers city. You can enjoy the many temples and markets by just strolling though town. For tasty typical Chinees and Indian dishes, go to Chinatown or Little India.
Airline: Malaysia Airlines
What to do during your stopover in Singapore?
- The Marina Bay Sands area will allow you have an beautiful view of the city from the bay. Take a selfie with the Merlion (an iconic landmark), admire the luxurious resort famous for having the longest high altitude pool in the world. Take a walk to the Garden by the Bay with its giant trees and huge greenhouses;
- Singapore is a great example of a modern city. It is extremely clean and has beautiful high-rises. To find out more about the city’s development and discover the plans for the future take a free tour of the Singapore City Gallery on Maxwell Road;
- Visit the Singapore Zoo to explore animals from South and Southeast Asia. It is known to be one of the best zoos in the world with its large enclosures for the animals. It takes at least five hours to get around and the zoo offers very popular night safaris!
Airline: Singapore Airlines
What to do during a stopover in Shanghai?
- Visit the west side of the bank (in the Bund) to get a great view of Shanghai. Take a walk around town and admire the combination of historic buildings and huge skyscrapers;
- Renmin Square or People’s Square is the largest square in the city. You will find the museum district and many cultural places there. Amongst the most interesting to visit are the Shanghai Museum, the Opera House and the Municipal Government Building. If you are there on the weekend you might have the chance to see the place come alive with parents looking for husbands for their daughters!
- If you have to choose just one temple to visit you have to go to the Temple of the Jade Buddha. It is considered the most sacred place of Shanghai. It is knows for its famous Buddha and other religious ornaments.
- The French Concession. A very fashionable neighbourhood with old villas and tons of entertainment. You see the remnants of the French colonial era. It is also the starting point for a pleasant ride from Xintiandi to the former residence of Sun Yat-sen.
Airline: China Eastern
What to do during a stopover in Beijing?
- Built during the Mind Dynasty in the 15th century the Forbidden City was the seat of imperial power until 1911. It is truly a city within a city with its 800 palaces, shrines and pavilions. It takes (at least) a whole day to visit this site that used to be inaccessible to commoners for nearly 600 years!
- South of the Forbidden City you find Tiananmen Square, the largest square in the the world. Here you can visit the People’s Assembly Palace, the Chinese History Museum, the Museum of the Chinese Revolution and Mao’s Mausoleum.
- A few kilometers north-west of Beijing you will find the Summer Palace. The former refuge of the imperial family fleeing the heat of the city includes beautiful lakes, pavilions and gardens. Take a pleasant stroll through this 290 hectare park and enjoy the peace and tranquillity as the imperial family would have centuries ago. The park is so large that it requires 2000 employees to maintain the 420.000 trees and 3.000 buildings.
Airline: Air China
Updated on 11/10/2019 – Initially published on 04/02/18