Unmatched Asia: Top destinations for South Africans to visit in 2023.

Oct 4, 2023 - 11:48
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Unmatched Asia: Top destinations for South Africans to visit in 2023.

South Africans in need of a break or holiday should look no further than alluring Asia, offering striking scenery, a smorgasbord of unique culinary experiences, and some of the most wonderful travel experiences.



South Africans may be spoiled for choice when it comes to sought-after travel experiences, being one of the world’s top tourist destinations in its own right, but Asia also has a lot to offer. South African travellers looking to escape the daily grind explore new sights, scenes and sounds, and delight in extraordinary culinary experiences need look no further than these (and so many more) incredible Asian destinations – and with direct flights from Johannesburg to Hong Kong resuming onboard Cathay Pacific, there’s never been a better time to jet off to the world’s largest and most diverse continent.


  1. Venture off Thailand’s beaten tracks on a budget.

South Africans are no strangers to the warm and friendly faces across Thailand; from popular destinations like Bangkok’s cityscapes and Phuket’s popular beach scenes that continue to attract friend groups and honeymooners alike, Thailand is loved for its natural and cultural beauty, as well as the facilities that make tourists feel welcomed and right at home.


Swop pricey taxi and tuk-tuk rides for self-guided tours on foot for a closer view of local life. You can also shop by boat and bargain with local traders in one of Bangkok’s many floating markets, sample eclectic cuisine in the city’s Chinatown (one of the largest in the world) and sharpen your combat skills with an authentic Muay Thai lesson – Thailand’s national martial art – at a local gym or studio.


“Why not visit Thailand as the country rings in the new year?” asks Shanna Docherty, Cathay Pacific’s Regional Head of Trade Sales for Middle East and Africa. “Bangkok’s Koh Samui Island and Phuket’s Surin Beach are the ultimate NYE party destinations for travellers looking for a fun night out. If rowdy or crowded is not quite the scene you’re after, then a relaxing and romantic ride along the Chao Phraya River offers all the stunning sights, sounds and flavours of Thailand at a pace you’re comfortable with. Thailand has something for everyone.”


  1. Engage all the senses in Hong Kong.

With Hong Kong dropping travel restrictions imposed as a result of the pandemic, travellers from all over the world are free to visit at their leisure. The resumption of direct flights between South Africa and Hong Kong on the comfortable and reliable Cathay Pacific airline is another major plus for local travellers, who can head to the bustling city of Hong Kong or use this as a gateway to travel the rest of Asia if they choose.


Along with the simplicity of getting there, Hong Kong also does not disappoint when it comes to food, entertainment, art and other travel experiences. For instance, some of the city’s most authentic cuisine can be found at Kowloon’s Tsim Sha Tsui, Mong Kok and Yau Ma Tei districts, serving up scintillating street food dishes like curry fish balls, egg waffles, and meat skewers. You may even want to try the notorious Stinky Tofu, a Chinese delicacy that gets its pungent aroma from being fermented.


Stick around for A Symphony of Lights on the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, a dazzling display of light and sound that takes place at 8p.m. every night at the Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong, courtesy of the Hong Kong Tourism Board with participation of 42 buildings. Families looking for a fun day trip will also enjoy the Ocean Park theme park situated on the southern side of Hong Kong – just be sure to wear comfortable shoes as there’s about 915,000 square meters of park to cover! Once the little ones’ legs tire out, be sure to check out Ngon Ping 360, an incredible gondola cable car experience and the longest bi-cable ropeway in Asia at 5.7km long. Situated in Lantau Island, the cable way ride offers breathtaking views of the island at over 400 metres above sea level. 


  1. Take a trek through incredible Indonesia.

Indonesia has so much to offer every type of traveller, and the further travellers venture away from the most popular tourist attractions, the more unique travel experiences become. For instance, Java is often overlooked for its more popular neighbour, Bali, but the Tumpak Sewu Waterfall in Java is widely regarded as the most beautiful in all of Indonesia. Sumatra Island also promises unique experiences, like the chance to go orangutang trekking in the Gunung Leuser National Park.


If Bali is still a must in your book, then Denpasar’s Pasar Madung Market, an open-air shopping destination offering groceries, souvenirs, and the chance to mingle with locals, shouldn’t be overlooked.


Ubud is another great destination to consider if you enjoy hiking through lush green forests and mountain capes – the Campuhan Ridge Walk is a great example of this. A visit to the sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary while in Ubud is also recommended, allowing animal lovers to experience breath taking primates up close, as well as learn about the need to protect this beautiful species. 


“Fly Premium Economy on Cathay Pacific and add comfort and relaxation to your long-haul flight experience with more spacious seating, priority boarding and enhanced inflight entertainment options to choose from. All passengers can also stay connected while flying thanks to Cathay’s onboard connectivity services on offer.


“Flying to these and more destinations across the Asian continent is not only made more convenient thanks to the resumption of direct flights between South Africa and Hong Kong, but passengers can also fly with peace of mind with Cathay’s ‘Fly Greener’ initiative, working to reduce carbon emissions from the aviation industry as a whole,” adds Docherty. “There’s simply no other airline that specialises in Asian air travel the way Cathay Pacific does, opening South African travellers to over 29 countries across the Asian continent.”


Cathay Pacific customers from different parts of South Africa can now also connect to sought-after Asian holiday destinations from Johannesburg and onwards through Cathay Pacific’s interline partners, making Asia more accessible to more South Africans.


The most memorable Asian travel experiences await South African travellers looking to enjoy one-of-a-kind travel experiences in one of the world’s most exotic and eclectic lands. Visit www.cathaypacific.com/cx/en_ZA/destinations.html to explore and book more stunning destinations in Asia and around the world.


Source :

Vergas Mabunda

About Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific is the home airline of Hong Kong, offering scheduled passenger and cargo services to destinations in Asia, North America, Australia, Europe and Africa. Cathay Pacific is a member of the Swire Group and is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The airline has made substantial investments to develop Hong Kong as one of the world's leading global transportation hubs. Cathay Pacific is a founder member of the one world global alliance.

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Phillimon Sefake Phillimon Sefake is a creative writer and literary scholar