#travel /destinations


Last minute holiday flights for under HK$6,000

Nov 24, 2017


A last minute holiday escape could be yours for less than HK$6,000

Every December we are faced with a choice: do we pretend to be good, loving children and spend the Christmas with family? Or, do we take advantage of the precious public holidays and hop on the next flight to anywhere? We say, do the latter. You can always FaceTime on Christmas morning.

To save you time searching, we scoured the internet to find the most affordable holiday flights between 22-26 December, so you don’t even have to take a day off of work. Each one comes in at HK$6,000 or less (though we don’t guarantee those prices will last!). So if you’re still looking for where to go in December check out our list of last minute holiday flights that won’t break the bank.

Under four hours

China is a great, cheap option for last minute travel

The quickest trips will be within China, so get that visa ready and pack a jacket because it gets cold north of the border!

Fuzhou

Fuzhou is a great trip for a long weekend, and it’s one of the cheapest ones available. The city is compact enough to do in a few days, but interesting enough that you’ll never be bored. Wander around ancient alley ways, find the famed Fuzou fishballs, explore some cool cafes or head out of the city centre to check out the beautiful waterfall at Qing Yun. Flights from HK$234 return.

Wuhan

It’s not the sexiest of destinations, but it’s a dream for history and architecture buffs. The mega-city has museums, temples and towers galore. The Hubei Provincial Museum alone is worth a special trip, it’s widely regarded as one of China’s best museums. It features over 140,000 ancient treasures. If you don’t mind a walk, head to Mount Wudang, the birthplace of Chinese Taoism and a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. Head up in the early morning or around dusk for a breathtaking view over the misty mountain peaks. Flights from HK$1,100.

Chengdu

Check out the pandas in Chengdu

This buzzy city is known for two things: great food and pandas. It’s easy to navigate, with a comprehensive underground system and reasonable taxis. They even have their own Lan Kwai Fong, if you start to miss Hong Kong. Sign up for a nightly food tour to get a taste of the area, then walk it off exploring the Tibetan quarter. You can easily spend a whole day checking out the panda reserves, and you can use the money you saved on your flights to hold one of the babies! Spend the evening unwinding at a tea garden, getting your ears cleaned over a cup of Zhu Ye Qing (Bamboo Leaf Green tea). Flights from HK$1,700.

Wuyishan

This one is for the adventurers. An idillic, almost untouched area of Fujian it’s an outdoor lover’s paradise. Over 100 hectares have UNESCO status, to protect the stunning forests, abundant wildlife and interesting geography. You can spend your days hiking through the dense forests, and your evenings floating down one of the many rivers - but again, do bring some serious winter wear. If hiking isn’t your thing, you can get philosophical at one of the many temples, Wuyishan is a melting pot of Taoist, Buddhist and Confucian communities. Just don’t leave without a cup of tea, this area makes some of the world’s best, including Da Hong Pao which sells for thousands of dollars a gram. Flights from HK$2,300.

Under seven hours

Escape to an island paradise this Christmas, for less than HK$6,000

Spend a bit more time in transit, and you can check out some of Asia’s warmer destinations. (note: warmer, not necessarily warm).

Caticlan

You’ll have to transfer in Manila, but it’ll be worth it when you get to Caticlan, more commonly known as Boracay. It’s a popular destination for holiday sun seekers, so be warned that you might have to fight for some real-estate on the pristine beaches. That being said, if it gets too crowded you can always hire a boat for the day and go island hopping, they usually come with lunch and snorkels. If you want to go a bit deeper, sign up for a scuba diving trip and check out the beautiful corals. There’s tons more to do, from zip lining to parasailing, you can even go to mermaid school for a day. Book this one quickly, as ticket prices are rising by the day. From HK$5,100

Bali

This island-paradise is closer than you think: five hours. Basically, you watch two movies and you’re in Indonesia’s premiere island. Bali has a little bit of everything, volcanic mountains, serene rice paddies, beaches, restaurants, temples, nightlife, coral reefs - it’s impossible to be bored here. Rent a bike and check out Ubud, hike up one of the mountains or head to the beach for an early morning surf, and then spend the evening sipping on cocktails at the original Potato Head. You won’t regret any of it. Tickets from HK$3,7600.

Siem Reap

Explore the ancient ruins of Angkor Tom in Siem Reap

How about a cultured Christmas this year in Siem Reap, home to the famed Angkor Wat temples. Depending on how much time you have, you can purchase a one, two or three day pass. Rent a bicycle and explore the ruins on your own, or hire a guide. A professional guide knows the history of each and every temple, and the best photo-ops. When you’re templed out you can go for some guilt-free shopping, the city has no shortage of social-enterprise boutiques and restaurants. The night market is a must, if only for the impressive selection of cooked critters, like snakes, cockroaches and of course, tarantulas. There’s even a bug restaurant if you want to eat your insects in a fancy way. Share, The Cambodian Circus is also a must-see, it’s like a mini Cirque du Soliel and yes, it’s a social-enterprise. Flights from HK$2,900.

Osaka

Okay, this one may not be warm, but the tickets are so affordable it’s worth it. Osaka is one of the world’s favourite Japanese cities, because it’s beautiful, historical, easy to navigate and the food is delicious. Osaka’s locals love food so much, they’re often described as having a ‘kuidaore’ culture, which roughly means ‘eat until you drop’. Hunting down the best bites should definitely be your main concern here, they’re known for takoyaki (grilled octopus), okonomiyaki (shredded cabbage pancake), and udon. Try to spare some time for the shrines and castles, if you can. Tickets from HK$3,500.

Further afield

Spend a snow-covered Christmas in Europe

If you’re prepared to spend most of your holiday in the sky, you can be rewarded with:

Istanbul

Swap the turkey dinner for a Turkey visit this Christmas. Istanbul, once known as Constantinople and before that Byzantium, has a long history and is well worth visiting at least once in your life. During the height of the Roman empire, it was the dividing line between the Eastern and Western worlds, an influence still felt to this day. Wander and haggle your way through the dizzying Grand Bazaar, cleanse yourself at a hamam, go underground at the Basilica Cistern, and eat everything you can. There’s so much to do, see and eat here you might need to take an extra day or six. Tickets from HK$6,000.

Prague

Another chilly option, but some say Prague is at its best in the winter when the city sparkles with frost, and the svařák  (mulled wine) is flowing. With some of the best Christmas markets in Europe, a trip to Prague is guaranteed to put you in the holiday spirit. The Old Town Square hosts the largest market, where you can find hand-made, traditional Czech gifts and try some of the local cuisine. If you want to fully embrace the winter wonderland vibe, grab a pair of skates and head to the city’s centre where they have a beautiful ice rink, and then warm up at one of their many cafés. There’s also a rich theatre culture, and a trip to The National Theatre is a must. Tickets from HK$5,000.

Helsinki

Make the most of the winter in Helsinki

It’s Christmas time, why not embrace the cold? Helsinki is a beautiful place to be frozen, and there’s something magical about its short days and long ‘blue hour’ at dusk. When it’s covered in snow- and it will be- you’ll feel like you’re walking through a fairytale. Of course you have to do a Finnish sauna, it’s basically the national pastime. There are private ones and public ones, traditional ones and eco-friendly ones, it doesn’t really matter which you choose - just make sure you get in one, and then jump into the freezing Baltic Sea right after to ‘refresh’. While the Fins will probably be spending a lot of their time indoors, you should definitely be outside, exploring their beautiful national parks, chasing the northern lights, snowboarding, going dog sledding and just generally wandering around the beautiful city. When you need to warm up pop into one of the many cafes - Finland has a great coffee culture and you won’t be disappointed. Tickets from HK$5,000.

Rome

While other families are squabbling over the last piece of roast turkey, you could be eye-to-eye with the Pope, or gazing at the Sistine Chapel roof (without the crowds). You could even be walking right into the Colosseum without the hour and a half wait. Rome is definitely known for its sun-drenched summer days, and accompanying crowds, but you get a quieter, more intimate side of the city if you visit in the winter low-season. Less crowds mean more time to see all the wonders the city has to offer, and that doesn’t just mean the famous paintings, fountains and museums. Sometimes it means eating pizza in a tiny, picturesque shop, or wandering around alley ways for hours with a hot chocolate. Do the tourist things, of course, but take time to simply be and soak in the magical city. Grab a gelato while you’re at it, it won’t melt! Tickets from HK$5,500.

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Sarah Engstrand