Asia/APAC

The best ‘workation’ destinations in Asia

The best destinations to work remotely in Asia - and how to make the most of your time in each

How many times have you said, “I really need a holiday”, recently? Well, now is your chance. Countries all over the Asia-Pacific have begun to reopen their borders for tourism, and with the recent reduction in compulsory hotel quarantine, there’s never been a better time for Hong Kong residents to take a trip.  

But a fleeting long weekend hop won’t quite cut it anymore – we need to make those seven days in a designated quarantine hotel worth it. The solution? A ‘workation’: an extended remote working holiday which involves three weeks of work followed by one week off. Sure, you’ll still be at the grindstone – but when you clock off each day, you’ll be clocking off in paradise. 

Note: Due to Hong Kong travel restrictions, flight cancellations may occur. Stay up to date on news about flight suspensions via the government’s daily press releases. Also stay up to date with travel requirements for the countries you plan to visit. 

Bali, Indonesia 

Time difference with Hong Kong: none 

Girl holding coffee in front of balinese rice fields
Credit: iStock

Work

Bali is not just a paradise for holidaymakers, but for remote workers, too. Lured to the country by an amenable visa system, low cost of living, a year-round tropical climate (making it a great destination for those cooler winter months) and a burgeoning digital infrastructure, remote workers have long been making the most of this idyllic island. Its countless coworking spaces and open-air cafes make it easy to stay connected – and also provide ample networking opportunities, especially for creative types. And for those who prefer a quiet work environment, there are plenty of holiday rentals with magnificent views, too. 

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The daily temptations for working travellers in Bali are plentiful, be it surfing, diving, or visiting ancient temples by scooter (the transport of choice for those staying mid-long term). Start your work day a couple of hours early and you can fit one of these activities in after hours – or if you have less flexible working hours, a more relaxed option would be a day of work at one of Bali’s many beach clubs. 

The real fun starts when you turn on your out-of-office: choose from jungle trips surrounded by monkeys, bike rides through lush rice fields, boat trips to the Gili Islands, or days spent lazing under the sun on one of the island’s magnificent beaches. 

Stay

The two main hotspots for remote workers in Bali are Ubud and Canggu. Or for those in search of some truly magnificent beaches, you may prefer Uluwatu, on the southern tip of the island. 

Learn more about Bali’s travel requirements here.

Book flights to Bali with Cathay Pacific 

Phuket, Thailand  

Time difference with Hong Kong: 1 hour behind 

boat on the water at sunset in phuket
Credit: iStock

Work

Though Chiang Mai may be known as Thailand’s major remote working destination, Phuket has fast become one of South East Asia’s top hotspots for telecommuting over the past few months. Visitors flock to this charming island from all over the world, making this multicultural hub the perfect place to network and collaborate. Filled with bustling coffee shops, laidback coworking spaces, spacious homestays and vibrant beach bars, there’s no shortage of places to set up office.

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Known for its pristine beaches, crystal waters and friendly people, there are plenty of things to do in Phuket. By day, visitors can enjoy watersports and lazing on the beach (Freedom Beach is a must-visit), exploring Phuket Town, or visiting the 11 islands which make up Similan Islands National Park. Perhaps our favourite activity, though, is a boat tour of the stunning Phi Phi Islands. At night, Phuket comes alive: go bar hopping at beach clubs, hit up Phuket Town’s night markets for a little retail therapy or catch a Muay Thai match.

Stay

The two most popular neighbourhoods for those staying in Phuket longerterm are Phuket Town and Chalong Bay. Phuket Town is a great option for families, while Chalong Bay is perfect for those who want to be close to the watersports

Learn more about Phuket’s travel requirements here.  

Book flights to Phuket with Cathay Pacific 

Perth, Australia 

Time difference with Hong Kong: None 

white sand beach in perth, australia
Credit: iStock

Work

Perth sits in the same timezone as Hong Kong, meaning you get all the heat (dry, unlike our beloved home town) and fun of being in Oz while not having to wake up at the crack of dawn. And from caffeine-fuelled cafés to libraries and coworking spaces, there are plenty of places to work remotely in Perth.

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If you love the outdoors, then Perth is the place for you. Take a lunchtime stroll through Kings Park or down Elizabeth Quay, and after you clock off make the most of Australia’s superb F&B scene in Northbridge: home to a great mix of cafés, restaurants and bars. 

Spend your time off basking under the sun at one of Perth’s beautiful beaches (Cottesloe is our favourite), day-tripping to Swan Valley (known for its rolling hills and delicious wines), or venturing over to Rottnest Island home to some of the best beaches in Australia, as well as the adorable quokka. 

Stay

North Perth, Subiaco or East Perth are great if you want to be in the centre of it all – and for those looking for something a little quieter by the water, Fremantle is the place for you.

Learn more about Australia’s travel requirements here. 

Book flights to Perth with Cathay Pacific 

Seoul, South Korea

Time difference with Hong Kong: 1 hour ahead

pagoda and cherry blossom by lake at palace in south korea
Credit: iStock

Work

For those of you who love a city full of energy, you’ll be happy to hear that quarantine restrictions have been lifted for South Korea, which means Seoul is back open for business.  

It’s a bright, captivating city that provides ample opportunity for both work and play. In fact, the country boasts one of the fastest internet speeds in the world – something travellers can take advantage of all over the city wherever you choose to work, be it a coffee shop, your hotel or co-working space – these tend to be more business-oriented than South East Asian countries. 

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There’s no shortage of tourist attractions to visit in Seoul – from the stately Gyeongbokgung Palace to the serene Bongeunsa temple – but our favourite way to spend the evening after clocking off from a long day’s work, is to sampling the best of Seoul’s street food at one of the city’s markets: Gwanjang, Myeongdong and Tongin. There are also some beautiful hikes for travellers to enjoy (such as Bukhansan and Inwangsan) along with the ancient streets of Bukchon to explore, and for those interested in the country’s history, the DMZ is located just north of Seoul.  

With your week off, head to the port metropolis of Busan and you’ll find breathtaking coastal walks, fish markets, and the colourful Gamcheon Culture Village. 

Stay

Choosing which Seoul neighbourhood to stay in? Head to Myeong-dong for a central location, Itaewon for a more international crowd and good nightlife, or Gangnam for something a little more fashionable. 

Learn more about South Korea’s travel requirements here. 

Book flights to South Korea with Cathay Pacific 

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