Travel Stopover Guide for Australians

Optimise Travel Stopover Test

 

Let’s face it, Australia is a long way from many countries in the world. If you want to go to far away destinations in Europe or the United States, spending anywhere from 14 to 27 hours on a direct flight can be a killer. That’s one of the reasons why countries in Southeast Asia are popular as stopover destinations for Australians travelling abroad.

Breaking up your flight for a few hours or a few days with a stopover can be a great way to recharge your batteries. It can also tack another mini holiday on to your main trip. Travel stopovers allow you to explore a city that you probably need to pass through on the way to your final destination, so why not take the opportunity?

We’ve looked at 3 popular short stopover destinations – Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore – and put them to our Optimise Travel Stopover Test, answering the following key questions:

  • will I get good value for my Aussie dollars?
  • what can I do in each destination, either for a few hours or a few days?
  • how do I quickly get to and from each country’s major international airport?
  • how can I get to each place from Australia?

All 3 countries offer similar appeal in terms of shopping, food, and tourist attraction options. We’ll look at each country in turn in this article.

First, let’s look at Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia as a stopover destination.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Petronas Kuala Lumpur stopover

Image of Petronas Twin Towers in KL Via http://malaysia.um.dk

  • Will I get good value for my Aussie dollars?

In terms of value for money, Malaysia is currently the best option of the 3 countries. Although the Australian dollar (AUD) has fallen against many world currencies in recent years, including against the Hong Kong and Singapore dollars, it hasn’t fallen against the Malaysian ringgit (MYR). It has held up well, and you can currently get approximately 3 ringgits to the dollar. The exchange rate between the two currencies has been fairly steady for several years now, as shown in the graph below.

Australian Dollar vs Malaysian Ringgit compare for a stopover

AUD vs Malaysian Ringgit via www.xe.com

  • What can I do in Kuala Lumpur, either for a few hours or a few days?

A ‘shopover’ in Kuala Lumpur is popular among tourists, with the city offering many shopping complexes and markets. Catch the monorail to the shopping district of Bukit Bintang, just 3 kilometres from the city centre. You’ll find a vast range of options there, including the Pavilion, which is the largest shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur.

To take in breathtaking views of Kuala Lumpur, visit the majestic Petronas Twin Towers in the city centre. These towers are 451.9 metres (88 storeys) high. Just outside of the city centre, you can also visit the Thean Hou Buddhist Temple and the Royal Museum, as well as the popular Batu Caves tourist attraction.

  • How do I quickly get to and from Kuala Lumpur International Airport?

Time is a crucial consideration for a short stopover, especially if you want to do a few activities. Kuala Lumpur International Airport is approximately 45 kilometres from the city centre. Allow up to an hour to get through customs and claim your baggage when you arrive, and up to an hour to get to the city centre via an express train, taxi or bus.

When departing Kuala Lumpur for your next destination, make sure you arrive at the airport at least 2 hours prior to your flight’s departure.

  • How can I get to Kuala Lumpur from Australia?

Kuala Lumpur is an 8 to 9 hour flight from the east coast of Australia, and 5 to 6 hours from Perth. Table 1 below shows the direct flights available from major Australian cities. Approximately 60 international airlines operate directly out of Kuala Lumpur International Airport to more than 100 cities around the world.

You can check all flights to Kuala Lumpur here.

 

Table 1 – Direct flights from major Australian cities to Kuala Lumpur*

Airline Sydney Melbourne Perth Adelaide Darwin
 

Malaysia Airlines

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Air Asia X

 

 

 

 

 

Emirates

 

 

 

Malindo Air

 

 

* No direct flights from Brisbane, however connecting flights are available via Singapore. A direct service is available from Gold Coast International Airport via Air Asia X. No direct flights from Hobart, connecting flights are available via Melbourne and Singapore.

 

Next, let’s look at Hong Kong as a stopover destination.

Hong Kong

Stopover in hong kong

Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong Via http://www.telegraph.co.uk

  • Will I get good value for my Aussie dollars?

Hong Kong isn’t as good in terms of value for money for Australian tourists as it was 2 or 3 years ago. As the graph below shows, the Australian dollar has been steadily falling against the Hong Kong dollar (HKD) during that time. You can currently get approximately 5.5 Hong Kong dollars for each Australian dollar, whereas 2 or 3 years ago you would have been able to get between 7.5 and 8.5 HKD as the exchange rate.

AUD vs Hong Kong Dollar comparing for a stopover

AUD vs Hong Kong Dollar via www.xe.com 

  • What can I do in Hong Kong, either for a few hours or a few days?

Hong Kong is an incredible blend of Eastern and Western cultures, and the old and the new. It is also a ‘shopover’ destination, with malls and markets seemingly available wherever you look. The Harbour City shopping mall on Canton Road in Tsim Sha Tsui is definitely an experience, and it’s just a short, scenic ferry ride from the city centre. It has a vast range of outlets to suit all tastes and budgets. The Horizon Plaza located 20 minutes from Central at Ap Lei Chau is a unique outlet building with plenty of bargains on high end brands, lifestyle products and plenty more. It has 30+ levels and can be confusing for a first timer. Follow the Horizon plaza guide here.

Views of the city can best be seen at “The Peak”, near the summit of Victoria Peak mountain, which is about 8 kilometres from the city centre and also by taking the iconic Star Ferry between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. And if you are staying for more than a day, Hong Kong Disneyland is a highlight for the family that you shouldn’t miss.

  • How do I quickly get to and from Hong Kong International Airport?

Hong Kong International Airport is approximately 34 kilometres from the city centre. Allow up to an hour to get through customs and claim your baggage when you arrive, and between 30-45 minutes to get to the city centre via the Airport Express train, shuttle bus, or taxi.

When departing Hong Kong for your next destination, make sure you arrive at the airport at least 2 hours prior to your flight’s departure.

  • How can I get to Hong Kong from Australia?

Hong Kong is a 9 to 10 hour flight from the east coast of Australia, and 7 to 8 hours from Perth. Table 2 below shows the direct flights available from major Australian cities. More than 100 airlines operate directly out of Hong Kong International Airport to more than 180 cities around the world, making it an ideal stopover destination.

You can check all flights to Hong Kong here.

Table 2 – Direct flights from major Australian cities to Hong Kong*

Airline Sydney Melbourne Brisbane Perth Adelaide Darwin
 

Qantas

 

 

 

√ 

 

 

Cathay Pacific

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Malaysia Airlines

 

 

* No direct flights from Hobart, however connecting flights are available via Melbourne and Singapore.

 

Finally, let’s look at Singapore as a stopover destination.

 

Singapore

stopover in singapore

Singapore by Night Via http://www.singapore-guide.com

  • Will I get good value for my Aussie dollars?

The Singapore and Australian dollars are currently on parity, not as good value for Australian tourists as 2 or 3 years ago when you could get approximately1.30 Singapore dollars (SGD) for an Australian dollar, as shown in the graph below.

 

Australian dollar vs singapore dollar comparing for a stopover

AUD vs Singapore Dollar via www.xe.com

 

  • What can I do in Singapore, either for a few hours or a few days?

If you’re only stopping over for a few hours, you may not even need to leave the airport. Changi Airport is known as the best in Southeast Asia, and offers plenty of retail shops, programs on cinema-sized viewing screens, and numerous Internet terminals.

If you have more time and can venture from Changi Airport, Singapore is a modern and very clean city. Orchard Road is the shopping heart of the city centre, where you’ll find a vast array of stores. And if fashion shopping is your thing, then Arab Street just 3 kilometres from the city centre should be on your list.

A stroll through the World Heritage listed Botanic Gardens site near Orchard Road is a must. And of course, you shouldn’t visit Singapore without sampling a famous ‘Singapore Sling’ cocktail at one of the numerous bars you’ll find. Views of the city are best from the Singapore Flyer Observation Wheel or the Singapore Cable Car, located 3 and 6 kilometres from the city centre respectively.

If you are in Singapore for more than a day, the Universal Studios theme park is well worth a visit. It is located about 6 kilometres from the city centre.

How do I quickly get to and from Changi Airport in Singapore?

Changi Airport is approximately 19 kilometres from the city centre. Allow up to an hour to get through customs and claim your baggage when you arrive, and up to an hour to get to the city centre via train, bus, or taxi.

When departing Singapore for your next destination, make sure you arrive at the airport at least 2 hours prior to your flight’s departure.

  • How can I get to Singapore from Australia?

Singapore is an 8 to 9 hour flight from the east coast of Australia, and 5 to 6 hours from Perth. Table 3 below shows the direct flights available from major Australian cities. Changi Airport is Singapore’s international airport, with more than 100 airlines offering services to more than 300 cities around the world, making it an ideal stopover destination.

You can check all flights to Singapore here.

Table 3 – Direct flights from major Australian cities to Singapore*

Airline Sydney Melbourne Brisbane Perth Adelaide Darwin
 

Qantas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jetstar

 

   

   

   
 

Jetstar Asia

 

     

 

 

   

 

 

Singapore Airlines

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

British Airways

 

 

 

 

       
 

Emirates

 

   

 

√**

 

 

   
 

Scoot

 

 

 

   

   
 

Silk Air

 

           

 

 

Malaysia Airlines

 

           

 

* No direct flights from Hobart, however connecting flights are available via Melbourne and Sydney.

** Emirate flights from Brisbane to Singapore will be unavailable between May 8 and October 1, 2016

 

If you have any suggestions about your travel stopover experiences please share in the comments scetion below

*We aim to provide up to date content and information but care should always be taken when purchasing products from retailers. If any information provided is no longer correct then please email us at optimisetravelaustralia@gmail.com or post in the comments section.

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2 thoughts on “Travel Stopover Guide for Australians

  1. If you have a few hours stop over in Singapore you can use the free tourist buses that travel various routes round the island. There is a counter in every terminal near the immigration area. You will have to catch a train to Orichard Rd to board the tourist buses but it is well worth it. You are provided with a running commentary as you transverse through the various ethnic and social enclaves, from Little India to the Arab quarter. Just present your flight details to the counter and you’ll receive a free ticket. Ask at the information counter if you can’t find them. Singapore airport the best stopover destination in Asia.

    1. Thank You for your comment and insight into stopping over in Singapore. Really great tip for anyone travelling through. Cheers

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