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BEYOND TAIKOO PLACE

Low on budget, short on time: end-of-year getaways for your remaining annual leave

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You’ve had a long year of working in the office, and you deserve a break. But you might only have a few days of annual leave remaining. Here are some easy ideas to help refresh you at the end of the year if your time is short, no matter your budget.

Wallet-friendly staycations
A staycation in Hong Kong is a great way to have a break when you don’t have the time or the funds to splash out on a trip. Offices can be full of artificial lighting and lack scenic views, so why not use a day or two of annual leave to relax at the beach while enjoying great vistas and basking in the sun? Ideally, put away all your devices for a digital detox. Ham Tin beach offers luscious sands and clear waters, while Cheung Sha beach on Lantau Island boasts long stretches of sand, as well as great restaurants nearby.

Other budget-friendly getaways are just across the border in mainland China. Take a ferry to Zhuhai and play a round of golf, or enjoy the hot springs there. If you prefer to travel by rail, you could try out the new high-speed rail line from West Kowloon and be in Shenzhen in 14 minutes. Shenzhen offers plenty of spas, shopping and new art venues, which are a welcome change from the normal weekday routine.

Budget city breaks
Many would opt for urban destinations when it comes to short haul travel where there are normally full of art galleries, museums, restaurants and bars, perfect for immersing in the local culture and feeling inspired and re-energised. City breaks can become pricey quickly so try cheaper destinations across Asia such as Ho Chi Minh City. Its famous Ben Thanh market and vibrant Binh Tay market offer a mix of cheap wares and street food, while the downtown area boasts fascinating historical buildings and museums such as the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon. It’s a vibrant city for an affordable escape.

Indulgent getaway
With slightly more budget and time, opt for a spa-centric getaway. You’ve probably been in endless meetings this year, so find some serenity and inner peace on a meditation retreat. Two easily accessible places you could find meditation centres are Taiwan’s Taichung and Kaohsiung. If you’re a keen yoga practitioner or enjoy eating clean and green, there are plenty of yoga and detox retreats to try out across Asia. Seek them out on the relatively secluded Nusa Lembongan island in Indonesia or Koh Kood island in Thailand. Office air-conditioning and daily makeup can wreak havoc on your skin, so a weekend away is the perfect time to rejuvenate with hydrating and soothing facial treatments.

Check out our guide to outdoor activities on Hong Kong Island’s eastern area here.

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