If you’re traveling from the U.S. or Europe to Asia, odds are good you’ll have a stopover on your way to your final destination.
You could let this get you down—after all, layovers prolong your time in transit and can detract from the time you have at your final destination. Or you could view it as an opportunity.
For starters, booking indirect flights allows you to earn more miles, which can enable you to travel again soon whenever you cash in your points. Booking a stopover can also save you money on the cost of airfare in the first place. And if your layover is long enough, you can do some sightseeing at your layover destination and squeeze in even more travel experiences.
In the spirit of celebrating stopovers, we’ve put together a list of the best cities for connecting flights in Asia. Of course, the term “best” is subjective. Some people want great tourist opportunities, while others simply want to save some dough. Whatever your objective, here are some of the best options for anyone with a connecting flight in Asia.
The Cheapest Airports for Connecting Flights in Asia
If your main priority is saving money, then your best bet is to fly into one of these airports. (You’ll notice that most of these airports are in big cities; the trend in Asia is for big hubs to be cheaper than smaller airports.)
- Bangkok, Thailand
- Beijing, China
- Hong Kong, China
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Manila, Philippines
- Seoul, South Korea
- Shanghai, China
- Singapore, Singapore
- Taipei, Taiwan
- Tokyo, Japan
Airports Near Tourist Destinations for Connecting Flights in Asia
If you have a long layover and you’re hoping to explore your connecting destination while waiting for your next flight, then you’ll find plenty of accessible tourist destinations near these airports. (Not surprisingly, there’s overlap with the cheapest airports.)
- Chengdu, China. Though it may not have the name recognition of Beijing or Hong Kong, China’s Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport is a popular hub for connecting flights from Europe and the western U.S.; it also services the most connecting flights to Tibet. Chengdu boasts plenty of tourist attractions in the form of picturesque mountains, giant pandas, and significant art and architecture.
- Hong Kong, China. Thanks to Hong Kong’s lenient visa policies, temperate climate, great food, wealth of English speakers, and vibrant tourist attractions, the city makes for an enjoyable stopover for those traveling from the U.S.
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A short taxi ride from the airport will take you to popular tourist destinations including Petronas Towers, the Kuala Lumpur Space Needle, and a variety of temples and historical sites.
- Narita, Japan. Located 45 minutes outside of Tokyo, the Narita airport is probably too far away from Tokyo to explore Japan’s capital during a layover. But what many people don’t realize is that Narita is an attractive destination in its own right thanks to historical temples and shrines, a massive garden complex, and an abundance of shops, restaurants, and karaoke bars.
- Singapore, Singapore. Singapore is easily one of the mot stopover-friendly cities in Asia. That’s thanks in large part to the airport’s free guided tours of the city, which are offered specifically to travelers with layovers of five hours or more. If you’re not up for leaving the airport, there’s plenty of entertainment to be found in the airport’s on-site swimming pool and movie theater.
Make a long trip more enjoyable with a stopover in any of these stellar cities for connecting flights in Asia.