A strategically located transport portal, a quick flight from Hong Kong can take you just about anywhere. Long weekends and spring break have allowed me to visit a number of countries in Asia and Southeast Asia – even on a budget.
Traveling is one of the top activities of exchange students at HKUST. If traveling is something you want to do, it’s easy to find other students willing to take a weekend off to explore what Asia has to offer.
I’ve found traveling in Southeast Asia to be not only eye opening, but inspiring as well. It’s one thing to learn more about Hong Kong, and another to really push the boundaries of what’s familiar and hop on a flight to a new destination in Southeast Asia. Not including airfare, eating, living, seeing and doing in Southeast Asia ranges from cheap to very cheap. Overland travel by bus or train is cheaper than flying and definitely more interesting.
Dinner can mean food from a street stall or an elaborate meal at a reservations-only restaurant. Living can mean a dorm bed in a hostel or a night in an air-conditioned hotel. For seeing and doing, there is no limit. Read travel books and do your research online, or simply get tips from hostel staff or other travelers you meet along the way. Know the local currency and understand the do’s and don’ts. See how far $15 dollars a day can get you; it might be further than you think!
Being an exchange student at HKUST strikes an interesting balance between coursework and leisure time (to do things like travel). The best way to see what works for you is to try it out. Most students are able to find a happy medium between studying for classes and taking time off to explore and sight-see.
Below are some of my favorite places and experiences from travel this semester:
The Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan
The legendary tarsier primate in Bohol, Philippines
Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia
The beaches of Phuket, Thailand
The temples of Bangkok, Thailand
Elephant trekking in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Chinese New Year celebrations in Singapore
The Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The Mekong River in Luang Prabang, Laos
The busy streets of Hanoi, Vietnam