One of the most commonly asked questions of travelers worldwide is a simple, straightforward one: “are you traveling for business, or for pleasure?”
When you think about it, that could be seen as a profoundly depressing question. If you’re traveling for business, it can leave you to look at your suit and suitcase, look back up at the questioner, and reply: “well, it’s not for pleasure…”
The truth is that it shouldn’t be a matter of one or the other. Of course, many cities worldwide have become thriving hubs because of their commercial importance. That said, traveling for business can be a pleasure too - it all depends on where you go.
Some cities may leave you in no doubt, with their drab appearance and businesslike amenities, that they exist just to make money. However, if your business trips take you to the following commercial cities, you’ll find plenty to enjoy in your downtime.
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Orson Welles once commented, scathingly, that all Switzerland had to show for all its years of stability and progress was the cuckoo clock. He was wrong, and Citizen Kane was overrated anyway.
In actuality, Switzerland is a fantastic place to visit and the banking center of Zurich is a particular highlight.
Views over Lake Zurich are uniformly stunning, while the 12st century Grossmunster Cathedral is one of finest examples of Romanesque architecture anywhere in the world. Meanwhile, if you’ve filled up on culture and want to let your hair down, the bars and clubs of the Langstrasse region are numerous and of excellent quality. Whatever you’re on the lookout for, you’ll find it here.
China has been open to the world for a few decades now and the opportunities to make a business connection are plentiful. Perhaps the most shining example is Hong Kong, home to the HSBC banking corporation. It’s also home to some more thrilling attractions for the free time you must book in if you’re visiting.
Are you a fan of theme parks? If so, book yourself into a hotel near Hong Kong Ocean Park and experience the thrills and spills of the Arctic Blast rollercoaster. In addition, there’s the adorable Arctic Fox exhibit that you won’t want to miss.
Finally, make sure you make time for the dedicated Hong Kong Food Tour - a four-hour walking tour with regular stops for delicious refreshment.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The importance of KL for business is perhaps most easily demonstrated by the giant Petronas Towers, home not only to the oil and gas giant that gives them their name, but also international businesses such as IBM, Microsoft, and Bloomberg.
Once you’ve got the business meetings out of the way, you can focus on having some fun. The Bukit Bintang shopping district is the kind of place you can easily lose an entire afternoon in, while the KL Bird Park is a charming and serene place to spend a bit of time. Then, find your way to the famed Golden Triangle and you’ll be well served for entertainment options in the many clubs and bars the district has to offer.