10 Best Cities in Asia for Quick Stopover

Stopovers offer you the chance to check another city off your bucket list. If you only have time to spend the night – or maybe two – en route to your final destination, which Asian city should you choose? Let us help you to make that choice!

28 April 2023
Emma Plaskett

Asia, the world’s largest and most populous continent, is bursting with adventure waiting to be had. Home to the highest mountains on Earth, the most number of billionaires, and the birthplace of many of the major religions, it’s no surprise that so many visitors choose to explore its vast and varied countries for months on end.

In fact, many well-intentioned week-long vacations have resulted in year-long tours of Asia’s endless cultural charms.

But what if you only have time to spend the night – or maybe two – en route to your final destination?

Why should you add a stopover destination to your trip?

Have you ever been stuck in an airport, peering longingly out of the floor-to-ceiling windows at a landscape you had no intention of gracing?

Suddenly there’s an urge to make a spontaneous trip to somewhere completely unintended and utterly unknown. Even just for a few hours because anywhere is better than the confines of a stuffy, overpriced airport (with the exception of some – check out Singapore Changi, boasting the world’s tallest indoor waterfall).

We’ve done the hard work for you and researched ten of the best cities in Asia to make a stopover that won’t only break up your journey but will become a legitimate part of your vacation.

Who can resist a decent night’s sleep between flights in the world’s best airport hotel in Hong Kong? Fancy fine dining in Dubai or maybe breakfast at sunrise in Singapore? With a little planning and very little extra money, you can see a lot more of the world than you think.

Say adios to staring competitions with the luggage carousel, longing to be reunited with your bags, and bid adieu to running faster than Usain Bolt to catch your connecting flight. Say hello to cocktails in Kuala Lumpur and morning meditation in Manila.

Our succinct top 10 guide will give you essential need-to-know information such as country visa requirements, recommended airlines, airport facilities, practical stopover information, and most importantly, the most exciting attractions each city has to offer.

A few tips before you book a flight

In order to get the most out of your stopover, it’s important to plan ahead of time. Being too spontaneous can end up in sheer chaos and financial ruin which you want to avoid at all costs.

The important thing to note is the length of the layover. You don’t necessarily need to stay overnight at your stopover city, sometimes a few hours is still enough to see some fabulous sights, or maybe grab a spot of lunch outside of the airport before resuming your journey. Ideally, you want a layover time of at least eight or nine hours between flights. This is because you’ll need to account for the journey time to and from your chosen city, as well as advance check-in/security time (usually one to three hours depending on whether the flight is domestic or international) when you return to the airport.

Some stopover cities may require entry requirements such as visas, which you can look for with an online service like Byevisa, or certain recommended vaccinations.

When checking in at your original departure airport, remember to ask if your checked luggage will automatically be transferred to your next flight. If not, you will need to collect it in your layover city and ideally store it at the airport until your next flight.

Asia stopover in Bangkok
Stopover in Bangkok: one of the famous floating markets.

Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok is known as Thailand’s party city, full of bustling markets with just about every street food imaginable and nightlife that magnetizes travelers from all corners of the world. The popular Thai capital is at the forefront of promoting gender equality, going so far as to offer transgender toilets alongside males and females.

In contrast to its fast pace of life stands an array of ancient temples and shrines such as Wat Phra Kaew and the world’s largest golden Buddha.

Interwoven with canals, Bangkok is known as the Venice of the East, whilst holding the title of World’s Hottest City, simmering at an average daily temperature of 28 degrees celsius.

Main language: Thai (English is widely understood)
Main airport: Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK)
Currency: Thai Baht (100 THB = ~3 USD / ~4.2 AUD / ~4.1 SGD / ~2.6 EUR)
Best airline: Thai Airways. The flag carrier of Thailand, a member of Star Alliance, and a highly regarded airline (primarily through its sublime first class and numerous promotions).

Don’t miss

— Grand Palace (home to Wat Pho and Wat Arun Temples)
— TYME Spa
— Boat ride along Chao Phraya River
— Floating Market
— Ayutthaya (former capital of Thailand)

Stopover notes

If you are staying longer than 12 hours in Bangkok Airport or wish to leave the airport, you will need to apply for a COE (Certificate of Entry to Thailand) up to 14 days prior to travel.

The center of Bangkok is roughly 30 km from the airport and there are various transport options directly from the airport, including guided tours. These are an easy way of seeing the sights without having to navigate your own way. You’ll see the tour desks at the Arrivals Level.

If you’d rather venture out on your own, the following transport options are available:

  • Bus Bor Khor Sor – Passenger Terminal. Buy tickets from the Public Transport Centre in the airport.
  • Bus BMTA – Passenger Terminal. Buy tickets from the Public Transport Centre in the airport.
  • Public Van –  Arrival Terminal, Gates 1 and 8.
  • Airport Rail Link – Train route with six station stops, the final stop at Phaya Thai Station. Travel time approx 15-30 minutes.
  • Private Taxi – Passenger Terminal Gates 4 and 7.
  • Hotel shuttle– If you’ve booked a hotel, check if they offer a free shuttle service from the airport.

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport tips

If you’re looking to get comfy at the airport rather than venture outside, you won’t be disappointed as Bangkok Suvarnabhumi offers a wide range of facilities including:

  • Free WiFi and mobile phone charging
  • Duty-free shopping
  • 24-hour dining at a range of restaurants
  • Luggage storage and lockers (rates start at THB 150 per bag)
  • Sleep-friendly seating
  • Sleep pods
  • Miracle Transit Hotel – paid facilities include a beauty salon, sauna, and spa
  • Airport lounges – for a small fee, these are available for anyone to use and many include showers
  • Children’s play areas
  • Medical facilities
  • Prayer rooms
  • Smoking room
Asia stopover in Doha
Stopover in Doha: The National Museum is dedicated to Qatar and its people.

Doha, Qatar

Like modern architecture? Then feast your eyes on some of the most astounding skyscrapers you may ever discover. Architects such as Jean Nouvel (designer of the National Museum of Qatar) and Renzo Piano have made their stamp here in one of the wealthiest cities on earth.

Men seeking women may be down on their luck, however, as the city boasts a ratio of three men to every woman. Of course, that’s good news for the women who will never be short of choice!

Thrill-seekers can test their 4×4 skills on the dramatic dunes of the Qatari desert. Or perhaps you’d prefer to watch pearl divers take a risk on the iconic Pearl-Qatar Island.

History lovers and literary buffs will be in their element here, surrounded by world-class museums and libraries such as the Museum of Islamic Art, Qatari Book House, and the National Library.

This coastal Arabic capital is also home to some breathtaking mosques, and foodies will be spoilt for choice with the extensive range of restaurants scattered throughout the city, many an emanation of expatriates living in the area.

Main language: Arabic (English is widely understood)
Main airport: Hamad International Airport (DOH)
Currency: Qatari Riyal (100 QAR = ~27.5 USD / ~37.6 AUD / ~37.2 SGD / ~24 EUR)
Best airline: Qatar Airways. Qatar Airways offer a frequent-flyer program called Privilege Club where you can earn Qpoints every time you travel and gain a variety of rewards, promotions, and benefits.

Don’t miss

— Souk Waqif, a traditional market selling spices, clothes and souvenirs, huddled by restaurants
— National Museum of Qatar
— Pearl Island, one of the main pearl diving sites in Doha
— Museum of Islamic Art
— Doha Corniche, waterfront walkway home to attractions such as Rumaila Park

Stopover notes

Qatar offers a free transit visa which covers stays between five and 96 hours. This is great news if you want to spend a few days in Doha or beyond. Just ensure you apply at least seven days prior to travel.

Traveling from the airport to Doha city center only takes about 20 minutes by car or taxi, and the following transport options are available:

  • Bus Mowasalat – Bus Pavilion near Arrivals Hall.
  • Metro –  Visit www.qr.com.qa for more details.
  • Airport Mowasalat Taxi –  Taxi Pavilion near Arrivals Hall
  • Private KarwaTaxi –  Taxi Pavilion near Arrivals Hall, book in advance through Karwa app or call +974 800 8294.
  • Hotel shuttle –   If you’ve booked a hotel, check if they offer a free shuttle service from the airport.

Doha airport tips

As luck would have it, Doha Airport (Hamad International) is the Middle East’s finest and with head-turning artwork lining the airport’s interior, you might be forgiven for thinking you’re visiting another cultural phenomenon. Airport facilities include:

  • Free WiFi and internet kiosks
  • Duty-free shopping including museum and artwork merchandise
  • 24-hour dining at a range of restaurants
  • Vitality Wellbeing and Fitness Centre- indoor swimming pool, hydrotherapy tub, spa treatments, gym, and squash court
  • Be Relax – airport spa including massage, shower, facials, and nail treatments
  • Sleep pods
  • Airport lounges, including a child care lounge
  • Prayer rooms
  • Smoking room
Asia stopover in Dubai
Stopover in Dubai: walking along Palm Jumeirah, man-made island in the shape of a palm tree.

Dubai, UAE

The most populated of the seven United Arab Emirates, Dubai is a desert city that definitely knows how to party. If there’s a world record, Dubai exists to smash it. We’re talking the world’s tallest building, largest shopping mall on earth, world’s first seven-star hotel and, as if that wasn’t pompous enough, home to Palm Jumeirah, the largest artificial island ever created. In fact, pretty much everything here is the biggest and best it can be, from theme parks and aquariums to supercars and air-conditioned bus shelters.

What you might be surprised to hear is that the primary economic source is real estate and tourism, as opposed to oil.

With one of the lowest crime rates in the world and Lamborghini police cars patrolling the streets, there’s no valid reason not to visit this city.

Main language: Arabic (English is widely understood)
Main airport: Dubai International Airport (DXB)
Currency:  UAE Dirham (100 AED= ~27 USD / ~37 AUD / ~36.8 SGD / ~24 EUR)
Best airline: Emirates. Emirates offers various discounted spa and beauty treatments.

Don’t miss

— Burj Khalifa, world’s tallest building
— Dubai Mall
— Dubai Aquarium
— Palm Jumeirah, man-made island in the shape of a palm tree
— Dubai fountain

Stopover notes

Dubai offers visa-free entry for up to 30 days for citizens of certain countries. If your country isn’t on the list, you can apply for a free transit visa which lasts up to 48 hours or you can extend it to 90 hours for a cost of AED 50. Transit visas should be booked in advance via your airline or through the travel agency you booked with.

Dubai city center is only three miles from the airport so transport is pretty easy. Here are some transport options:

  • Metro/Subway – Runs every 10 minutes and it’s only a 24-minute ride. Buy a ticket at the airport station.
  • Bus – Departs from stands opposite Terminals 1, 2, and 3. Line 77 or 27. It’s a 58-minute ride. Tickets need to be purchased using a Nol card, as no cash is accepted.
  • Airport Dubai Taxi – Follow signs for the official taxi rank.
  • Hotel shuttle – If you’ve booked a hotel, check if they offer a free shuttle service from the airport.

Dubai airport tips

Of course, Dubai’s main airport had to break some records too. Boasting the largest airport terminal and airport WiFi speeds in the world, its facilities leave little left to be desired, including:

  • Free WiFi
  • Duty-free shopping
  • 24-hour dining at a range of restaurants
  • Dubai International five-star hotel
  • Luggage storage at terminals 1 and 3 for 12 hours or less
  • Family zone with a BOUNCE trampoline park, basketball court, playground, and giant sweet shop
  • Health Club – indoor swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, and billiards
  • Spa facilities – including massage, facials, and nail treatments
  • Sleep lounges
  • Airport lounges
  • Prayer rooms
  • Smoking lounges
Asia stopover in Ho Chi Minh City
Stopover in Ho Chi Minh City: exploring the street life of the largest city in Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh is the largest city in Vietnam. Historical remnants of the Vietnamese War such as the Cu Chi Tunnels contrast with modern architecture, for example, the Bitexco Financial Tower, projecting its own rooftop helipad.

Whilst there are many attractions worth visiting, some of the most memorable moments here can be experienced in the simple things. Perhaps head to the street food stalls and sample a bowl of pho, a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup. Meanwhile, coffee lovers can visit Tao Dan Park for the country’s unique iced brew known as ca phe sua da.

Head to Pham Ngu Lao Street to sample the nightlife or see the city from the rooftop bar of a glamorous hotel.

From ornate pagodas and magnificent temples to river cruises and floating markets, Ho Chi Minh is well worth the stopover.

Main language: Vietnamese (English is widely understood)
Main airport: Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN)
Currency: Dong (100,000 VND = ~4.3 USD / ~6 AUD / ~5,.9 SGD / ~3,8 EUR)
Best airline: Vietnam Airlines. If you prepay for excess luggage in advance of your flight, you’ll save up to 20% in comparison to airport rates.

Don’t miss

— Cu Chi Tunnels
— Giac Lam Pagoda
— War Remnants Museum
— Bonsai River Cruise
— Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon

Stopover notes

If you are only intending to stay in the airport for less than 24 hours, you don’t need a visa to transit through Ho Chi Minh. If you wish to leave the airport for sightseeing purposes, you will need to apply for a visa through the Vietnamese Embassy in your home country. Some countries are permitted to apply for an e-Visa which lasts for 30 days.

It’s roughly a 30-40 minute car ride from the airport to the city center and a taxi is most highly recommended. Here are the best transfer options:

  • Taxi (to avoid scams, use only the green Mai Linh taxi or white Vinasun taxi) – Turn left when exiting the terminal building.
  • Grab (the equivalent of Uber) – You can pay through the app or with cash directly to the driver.
  • Bus – Bus 109, 49, or 152. Turn right after exiting the terminal building. Buy a ticket on the bus with cash. Roughly 45-minute ride to the city center.

HCMC airport tips

Tan Son Nhat airport has the following facilities:

  • Free WiFi
  • Duty-free shopping
  • Dining options
  • Luggage storage
  • Sleep zones
  • Foot spa and massages
  • Children’s play area
  • Airport lounges (restrictions apply)
  • Smoking room
  • Lactation/breastfeeding room
Asia stopovers in Hong Kong
Stopover in Hong Kong: Tian Tan Buddha.

Hong Kong

In addition to its 355 skyscrapers bearing testament to its affiliation with commerce, Hong Kong is home to some spectacular beaches, an idyllic escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Wherever you go, be sure to sample some Dim-Sum at one of the local restaurants.

Hong Kong has its own Disneyland, but if you fancy an alternative attraction, check out Noah’s Ark, a unique theme park featuring a full-sized replica of Noah’s Ark.

If you’re after a quick overall glimpse of the city, one of the most popular options is the Ngong Ping Cable Car, which will also enable you to access the Tian Tan Buddha, if you don’t mind climbing 268 steps to its base. The ascent is worth the view at the top!

If you’re in the city at 8 pm, you can’t miss the Symphony of Lights, a beautiful light show that dazzles spectators daily. This is best viewed from the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront where you can also marvel at Hong Kong’s skyline.

Main language: Cantonese and English (and some Mandarin)
Main airport: Hong Kong International Airport (HKG)
Currency: Hong Kong Dollar, HKD (100 HKD= ~12.8 USD / ~17.5 AUD / ~17.3 SGD / ~11.1 EUR)
Best airline: Cathay Pacific. Currently offering unlimited free changes and easy refunds to new tickets, and you can lock in your ticket and fare for up to 72 hours. Offers tailored to each country are also available on their website.

Don’t miss

— Victoria Peak
— Tian Tan Buddha
— Star Ferry
— Ngong Ping 360 (cable car)
— Wong Tai Sin Temple

Stopover notes

Most countries don’t require a visa to transit or stay in Hong Kong for tourism purposes, but there are exceptions to the rule so it’s always best to check before you fly.

It’s an approximately 45-minute car ride from the airport to the city center or 24 minutes by train. Here are the best transfer options:

  • Airport Express – 24-minute journey
  • Taxi – 45-minute journey. Depart from the left-hand ramp outside the Arrivals Hall.
  • Bus – Tickets available from Bus Customer Services and Ticket Offices.
  • Hotel Shuttle – If you’ve booked a hotel, check if they offer a free shuttle service from the airport.

Hong Kong airport tips

Hong Kong International airport has the following facilities:

  • Free WiFi and internet access
  • Luxury duty-free shopping
  • Luggage storage
  • Resting lounges
  • Courtesy phones
  • Complimentary shower facilities
  • Children’s play/TV area
  • Airport lounges
  • Photo kiosk
  • Smoking room
  • Nursing room
Asia stopover in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Stopover in Kuala Lumpur: an aerial view on Perdana Botanical Gardens.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Malaysia’s capital, famously known for its twin Petronas Towers and the Menara KL Tower, is shopaholic heaven, with over 65 shopping malls. You can’t miss the entrance to The Sunway Pyramid Mall with its giant Egyptian Sphinx head. Speaking of grand entrances, Kuala Lumpur’s Batu Caves are guarded by a giant golden shrine of the Hindu god, Lord Murugan. One of the most visited tourist spots in KL, this is well worth a visit.

In contrast to Kuala Lumpur’s lively street food stalls, teeming markets, and glittering nightlife, an abundance of natural wildlife surrounds the city. From tranquil botanical gardens and bird parks to elephant sanctuaries and lush rainforests, there are plenty of options if you want to escape city life.

History lovers can admire the Moorish architecture of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, an interjection of Kuala Lumpur’s heritage in the midst of its modern skyline.

Main language: Malay (English is widely understood)
Main airport: Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL)
Currency: Ringgit, MYR (100 MYR = ~24 USD / ~33 AUD / ~32 SGD / ~21 EUR)
Best airline: Malaysia Airlines. The airline is known for its frequent promotions, flash deals, and generous frequent flyer program Enrich.

Don’t miss

— Petronas Twin Towers
— Menara KL Tower
— Batu Caves
— Sultan Abdul Samad Building
— Perdana Botanical Gardens

Stopover notes

You can stay in KLIA airport without a visa for up to 24 hours. If you wish to leave the airport or stay beyond this, most countries can apply for a transit visa if you can prove you are continuing on to another destination after your visit.

Nationals of some countries can apply for a Malaysia Transit pass which enables you to leave the airport for up to 120 hours.

It’s an approximate 50-60 minute taxi ride from the airport to the city center or 28 minutes by express train. Please note, bus and train options don’t take you directly to the city center, so you will need to find alternative transport from KL Sentra station. Taxi is your best option for arriving directly at your destination.

  • KLIA Ekspres Train – 28 minute journey. Follow signs for trains departing from the Arrivals area. Purchase tickets at the train platform.
  • KLIA Transit Metro train – 38 minute journey. Follow signs for trains departing from the Arrivals area. Purchase tickets at the train platform.
  • Taxi – 50 minute journey. The rooftop sign reads ‘Teski’. Purchase a taxi coupon from the Transport desk or alternatively pay the taxi driver directly.
  • Airport Bus Coach – Approx one hour journey. Head to the ground floor of the main terminal building, near the Arrivals hall exit. Follow signs for ‘Transportation Hub’.
    Hotel Shuttle- If you’ve booked a hotel, check if they offer a free shuttle service from the airport.

KLIA airport tips

Kuala Lumpur International Airport has the following facilities:

  • Free WiFi and internet access
  • Luxury duty-free shopping
  • The Butterfly Effect – autism-friendly facilities and services
  • Resting lounges
  • TV lounge (movies and sports)
  • Courtesy phones
  • Complimentary shower facilities
  • Airport lounges
  • Smoking lounge
  • Sensory wall
  • Muslim prayer room
  • Baby care room
Asia stopovers in Manila, Philippines
Stopover in Manila: street life.

Manila, Philippines

Manila is brimming with the unexpected such as its Baroque, Neoclassical, and Colonial Spanish architecture, remnants of its former Spanish rule before gaining Philippine independence. Catholicism is the main religion here and this is evident in many of the city’s buildings, such as The University of Santo Tomas, Manila Cathedral, and The San Agustin Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The surprises continue with its secret underground tunnels and a City Hall in the shape of a coffin!

From the world’s oldest Chinatown to a popular milk-based drink called Halo-Halo, there’s always something new to discover here.

Being a coastal city means it offers the best of both worlds – serene beaches versus its luxury shopping and a vibrant nightlife scene.

Main language: Filipino (English is widely understood)
Main airport: Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL)
Currency: Philippine Peso, PHP (1000 PHP= ~20 USD / ~27.3 AUD / ~27 SGD / ~17.4 EUR)
Best airline: Cebu Pacific. The airline offers regular flight deals and sales, so it’s always worth checking out their website before you book.

Don’t miss

— San Agustin Church and Museum
— Rizal Park
— Intramuros, The ‘Walled City’
— Fort Santiago
— Chinatown

Stopover notes

Most countries are able to visit the Philippines for up to 30 days without any form of visa, as long as your passport is valid for six months after arrival in the Philippines. Always check with your government travel regulations or your local Philippine embassy to be sure.

It’s an approximate 30-45 minute taxi ride from the airport to the city center or 45-60 minutes by bus. Traffic can get very heavy in Manila so journey times are always an estimation. It’s important to bear this in mind when returning to the airport for your continuing flight.

  • Taxi – Always best to pre-book an airport metered taxi at a taxi desk at the airport.
  • Airport Bus – Goes to Metro Manila.
  • Metro Bus – Goes into the city.
  • Jeepney – These are privately owned and will take you to the nearest Metro Rail station called Baclaran (about a 15-minute drive from the airport).
  • The Ultimate Bus Experience – Hotel shuttle serving major hotels in Manila. Departs every 30 minutes.

Manila airport tips

Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport has the following facilities:

  • Free WiFi and internet access
  • Duty-free shopping
  • Day rooms (includes showers and beds)
  • Airport lounges with business/conference facilities
  • Medical facilities/pharmacy
  • Salon, sauna, and massage facilities
  • Smoking lounge
  • Children’s play room
  • Chapel/Prayer room
  • Baby care room
Asia stopover in Shanghai, China
Stopover in Shanghai, one of the world's biggest megacities.

Shanghai, China

Officially the world’s largest city, Shanghai is commonly referred to as ’The Pearl of Asia’ or ‘The Paris of the East’.

If you’re not a fan of crowds then this city might present a challenge. But it’s not just a concrete jungle full of impressive towers, high-end retail therapy and an unrelenting nightlife. You can enjoy a relaxing waterfront stroll along The Bund or immerse your inner zen at Yuyuan Garden, where you can visit the nearby Huxinting Teahouse.

If your time permits, it’s worth a trip to one of the nearby ancient water towns such as Tongli or Fengjing, where you can take a step back in time with a glimpse into traditional Chinese working life.

However you choose to spend your time, you’ll be sure to appreciate the Art Deco architecture and an infinite choice of food. And don’t miss the opportunity to visit some local silk or Qipao shops, as Shanghai is best known for.

Main language: Mandarin (and some Shanghainese)
Main airport: Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG)
Currency: Yuan, also known as Renminbi, RMB (100 RMB = ~15.6 USD / ~21.4 AUD / ~21.1 SGD / ~13.6 EUR)
Best airline: Shanghai Airlines. Eastern Miles members who book hotel rooms through Booking.com can earn extra membership points.

Don’t miss

— The Bund
— Shanghai Tower
— Oriental Pearl TV Tower
— Yu Garden
— Surrounding water towns

Stopover notes

A recent change in legislation is good news to tourists, as the former 72-hour visa-free scheme has now been extended to 144 hours, meaning you can transit the city visa-free for up to six days. It’s always worth checking that your country is included in this, of course.

It’s an approximate 45-minute taxi ride from the airport to the city center or only eight minutes to Longyang Road via the high-speed Maglev Train.

  • Taxi – Located outside Arrivals Hall of both terminals.
  • Maglev Train – Fancy embarking on the fastest train journey in the world? Here’s your chance! You can buy your ticket at automatic vending machines at Shanghai Airport Station.
  • Metro – 60-minute journey. The station is located at Terminal 2. Opt for Metro Line 2.
  • Bus – Local bus routes and long-distance ones operate from the airport. The bus station is located at the end of the second floor of the Terminal 1 bus parking lot.
  • Hotel transfer – Check with your hotel if they offer courtesy transfer options.

Shanghai airport tips

Shanghai Pudong International airport has two terminals and has the following facilities:

  • Free WiFi (with a Chinese phone number). Machines outside can print access codes for those who don’t
  • Business center with internet access
  • Luggage storage (up to two months)
  • Airport lounges
  • Power chargers
  • Art gallery featuring local Chinese artists (Terminal 1)
  • Maritime Exhibition – sculptures, paintings, and folklore
  • Police department
  • SPD Bank
  • Photo kiosks
  • Smoking areas
  • Children’s play area
  • Baby care room
Asia stopovers in Singapore
Stopover in Singapore: world’s tallest indoor waterfall, Changi airport.


This tropical city-state is all about giving its visitors an experience to remember.

Botany enthusiasts will be in a floral utopia with a number of green attractions on offer. These range from the vibrant orchids of Singapore Botanic Gardens to a taste of the tropics in the Cloud Forest Dome at Gardens by the Bay.

Night owls can venture on a night safari at Singapore Zoo or dance til the early hours at Clarke Quay.

It’s hard not to spot the Merlion – a giant mythical lion-like creature with a waterfall projecting from its mouth. Merlion stands as an unchanging reminder of the humble fishing village origins of the city.

Shopping fanatics can’t forgo a trip to Orchard Road with a whopping 22 malls and an entertainment center.

If you don’t have long in the city, a ride on the Singapore Flyer (a giant Ferris wheel) is one of the top ways to absorb the vast expanse of this organic metropolis.

Main language: English (and some Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil)
Main airport: Singapore Changi International Airport (SIN)
Currency: Singapore Dollar, SGD (1 SGD= ~0.75 USD / ~1.05 AUD / ~0.65 EUR)
Best airline: Singapore Airlines. Earn up to 15% more KrisFlyer miles when you convert your bank reward points. Check the recent promotions.

Don’t miss

— Gardens by the Bay
— Universal Studios Singapore
— Singapore Zoo
— Marina Bay
— Singapore Flyer

Stopover notes

Many countries can visit Singapore visa-free for up to 90 days but it’s important to check with your nearest Singapore Embassy or government travel guidelines to ensure your country is visa-exempt.

It’s only a 15-minute taxi ride from the airport to the city center or 30 minutes by MRT train to City Hall station.

  • Taxi – Look out for the taxi stands at Terminal 1 and 3 Arrivals areas.
  • MRT Train – Trains to the city center tend to be indirect. You can purchase tickets from the airport train station.
  • Bus – Buses depart from the basement bus bays. Pay by cash with exact change on the bus.
  • City Shuttle – Affordable shuttle service to downtown hotels. Enquire with Ground Transport Concierges at the Arrivals area.
  • Coach – There’s a coach that goes to Johor Bahru for attractions such as Legoland and Medini Mall.

Singapore airport tips

Singapore Changi airport has four terminals and, to be honest, has so much entertainment on offer, no one could complain if their flight got delayed! It’s well known for an entertainment area called Jewel which not only encompasses premium shopping, dining, and hotel options, but some incredible indoor natural wonders. These include:

  • The world’s tallest indoor waterfall
  • Canopy bridge
  • Manulife Sky Nets
  • Hedge Maze
  • Mirror Maze
  • Discovery Slides
  • Topiary Walk
  • Foggy Bowls
  • Changi Experience Studio

The airport, as a whole, offers the following facilities:

  • Free WiFi
  • Internet stations
  • Duty-free shopping
  • YOTELAIR Hotel with flexi check-in/check-out times (from a few hours to overnight stays)
  • Shower and spa services
  • Swimming pool and jacuzzi
  • Supermarkets
  • Charging points
  • CONNECT Business networking lounge
  • Entertainment deck – Includes movie screenings, Xbox Kinect, arcade machines, and more
  • Xperience Zone – watch the latest sports events
  • Movie theatres
  • Photo kiosks
  • Smoking areas
  • Family zone with nursing rooms
Asia stopovers in Taipei, Taiwan
Stopover in Taipei: visiting Shilin Night Market.

Taipei, Taiwan

This friendly capital is dominated by a 508-meter bamboo-like skyscraper (Taipei 101 is a must-visit, especially for its panoramic views over the city). However, Taipei has made an exceptional effort to cling to its roots.

Although the birthplace of Acer computers and many other electronic giants, it’s also known for oolong tea, exquisite jade, and bubble tea.

Its attractions exude the pride of Taipei’s heritage, such as the National Palace Museum which houses some of the most sought-after Chinese art, or Longshan Temple – a celebration of Buddhism, Taiwan’s primary religion.

If you’re tight for time and can’t stray too far from the airport, a short train journey directly to Taipei Main Station will lead to an unusual discovery of an Underground Mall.

Taipei is famous for its tantalizing street food and there’s no better place to sample quirky dishes, such as Stinky Tofu and Moon Shrimp Cakes, than at the city’s popular Shilin night market.
If you happen to be visiting between April and July, you cannot miss the annual International Sand Sculpting Festival on Fulong Beach.

Main language: Mandarin Chinese
Main airport: Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE)
Currency: New Taiwan Dollar, TWD (1000 TWD = ~36 USD / ~49 AUD / ~49 SGD / ~31 EUR)
Best airline: China Airlines. There are many flight deals available on china-airlines.com. Dynasty Miles members can receive discounts on business class flights during their birthday month.

Don’t miss

— Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
— Taipei 101
— Huashan 1914 Creative Park
— Shilin Night Market
— Longshan Temple

Stopover notes

Many countries can visit Taiwan for up to 30 days with an eVisa which can be applied for online.

It’s roughly a 50-minute taxi ride from the airport to the city center or 35 minutes by express MRT train to Taipei Main station.

  • Taxi/Uber – Terminal 1, depart from Arrivals Hall meeting point 26. Terminal 2, depart from the Arrivals lobby.
  • MRT Train – You can purchase tickets from the airport MRT service booth (exit Arrivals hall and turn right). Luggage storage lockers are available at Taipei Main Station, which is helpful if you want to explore the city for a short period of time.
  • Bus – From Terminal 1, buses depart from B1 Arrivals. From Terminal 2, head to the northeast arcade on the 1st floor Arrivals lobby. Buy tickets at the bus counters.
  • Novotel Hotel Shuttle – courtesy service.

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport tips

Taipei airport has two terminals and offers the following facilities:

  • Free WiFi
  • Airport lounges
  • Shower facilities
  • Spa and beauty center
  • Medical facilities
  • Art gallery
  • E-sports experience center
  • Business travel center (includes spa, gym, and sauna)
  • Smoking areas
  • Prayer rooms
  • Children’s playroom
  • Baby care rooms
Emma plaskett

Emma Plaskett

Emma Plaskett has been writing across a variety of disciplines for over 15 years. She has a huge passion for travel writing, having worked freelance as a travel journalist for many years and written content for tourism websites as well as Saga travel brochures. Emma is based in the UK.

User Review
4.6 (4 votes)

Thank you for the feedback

We hope you found this article useful. We do our best to keep it up-to-date, with new information added frequently.
Your support is important to us. Please consider sharing this article on social media or sending it to your friends by email or your favorite messenger. Just click the blue widget on the right for easy and quick sharing. Thank you!