Business travel to the Asia-Pacific region is dramatically increasing: during the first six months of 2012 the average executive took 67% more business trips to Asia-Pacific than the previous year.Here are some must-know business travel tips to our hand picked top four Asian cities: Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo and Hong Kong.
• International business is often conducted in English in Hong Kong and the city is just small enough to allow visitors to learn the ropes of the city quickly, with brilliant transport links such as the MTR (mass transit railway), which is surprisingly easy to navigate. Taxis are also reasonably cheap when on a metre.
• Hong Kong International Airport, otherwise known as Chek Lap Kok, was voted second best airport in the world by Business Traveller readers (beaten only by Singapore, below). It’s clearly signposted in English, well organised and staff are efficient. If there’s a clear sky, you’ll see spectacular views as you land.
• July to October is typhoon season which can sometimes affect air travel: check before you travel.
• We represent a wide range of serviced apartments in Hong Kong, across Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. Most are close to the transport network and very well equipped.
• Travel from one side of the city to the other in moments: a taxi from the centre of the city to anywhere else in the city should take between ten and twenty minutes.
• English isn’t widely spoken in Tokyo, so make sure you take a map with both English and Japanese on it so you can ask for directions, and write down the address of your serviced apartment in Japanese and English to give to the taxi driver. Underground stations, however, are usually marked in English.
• The city can be unbearably hot in June, July and August.
• Paddy Hegan, our Partner Relations & Rates Manager – International, says: “Most serviced apartments in Tokyo are spread around the Roppongi area, but there are also options in Shinagawa to the south of the city which is a key Bullet Train hub for travel across the country, and Akihabara, the centrally located consumer electronics mecca of Japan.”
• Clean, spacious and sometimes termed the ‘air-conditioned nation’, Singapore is easy to get around and easy to adjust to. Not only was its airport voted best in the world by readers of Business Travel Magazine; 2012’s HSBC Expat Explorer Survey listed it as the best country to be an expat.
• During the Formula 1 race in August/September the island can be very busy.
• Singapore has an efficient MRT (mass rapid transit) system. Most taxis take credit cards.
• Most restaurants add a 10% service charge so you won’t be expected to tip.
• Set yourself a challenge by trekking up Bukit Timah Hill and catching some exercise – best done in the morning when the temperature is less humid. The climb provides some stunning views.
•This cosmopolitan city is rapidly growing, in all industries from science and technology to international trade.
• To ensure you can get back to your accommodation quickly make sure you have your accommodation written in Chinese characters as again, English isn’t widely spoken.
• In your spare time why not visit Xian Tian Di, a collection of restored long houses which have been transformed into a row of restaurants and boutiques.
Image: OiMax (Creative Commons License)