My favorite layovers

One the perks of this job is obviously the travel opportunities. I’m really lucky that my airline flies to many destinations all around the world. However the best layover is not always in the best place. I strongly believe that the crew makes the layover. With a good crew, you will have a good time anywhere. I have had amazing layovers in not so picturesque destinations and ‘bad layovers’ in dreamy places. It can be a funny job sometimes, as you end visiting places and having fun with people you met the very same morning but I love the opportunity to meet new people from everywhere around the world.

We usually have 24 hours layovers, however sometimes we have 1 or 2 days off. 24 hours sounds like a very short stay for most people but as flight crew we are used to it and we make the most of it. We also regularly go back to the same places so we can do different things.

If you like rooftops bars, check out my friend Amar’s blog, it’s a great inspiration before going to a city !

These are my favorites places to visit. Some of these photos are old, since I started this list when I started flying 6 years ago !

Ho Chi Minh

Definitely my favorite flight, I love the food, the night life and the many activities that you can do. When I’m there I basically eat chicken phô for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as fried spring rolls. With the crew we often go to the night market to eat and do some shopping. My favorite bar is The saloon bar where they have live music.

I visited the Cu Chi tunnels and the war museum (not for the faint-hearted but very interesting) and I did the Mekong river cruise, which I really loved.

Barcelona

I’ve loved this city since the first time I visited it and I really enjoy it as a layover. My plan there usually consists of eating tapas, shopping (Zara and other shops from the same company are 30% cheaper in Spain !) and in summer I go to the beach 🙂 For cultural activities, I love Park Guell, Sagrada Familia and a few years ago I visited the Monastery at Montserrat, which was amazing.
I really love the overall vibe of the city, but beware of pickpockets !!

Chengdu

Chengdu was the first city I visited in China and I visited the Leshan Buddha which is definitely a must-visit ! The Buddha has been carved in the mountain and there are stairs all around. Make sure you wear good shoes if you visit it though !

I also went to see the pandas (I usually go at every layover there, it’s very close to our hotel and you can’t really get enough of pandas right ? :D). There is an old city called Jinly street which I really enjoyed as well, it makes you feel like going back in time. I’m not much of a clubber but night clubs are really fun in China, they bring you fruit platters and they love foreigners !! Aha

Rome

One of my favorite cities in Europe, I think I could go a million times and not see everything. On a layover, I usually just plan to have good food, gelato and walk around the city, as there’s always something beautiful to see. Pierre and I had the opportunity to accompany each other on layovers there 🙂

Johannesburg

Not a typical tourist destination, most people usually leave Joburg immediately to go on safaris. On my first layover there, I went to the Lion Park. I wouldn’t recommend it however, I think it’s too touristic and I didn’t like the seemingly drugged baby lions. What I really loved though was Henri’s horseback safari. You go through a park on a horse (even if you have never been on one before, it’s no problem) and you can get really close to the animals because they don’t feel threatened (there are no predators in this park !!). They give you a cowboy hat as well 😀
The last time I was there, I went to the shooting range, really cool if you have never used a gun before and quite cheap. In South Africa they have the best beef in the world so I always go for a steak either at Trump’s or at the Butcher shop and I buy some meat to bring back home.

Osaka

Unfortunately we don’t fly there anymore but it was my favorite destination !! I love Japan, the food (have you figured out already that I’m a walking stomach ? aha), the culture difference (everyone is well behaved, everything is so clean !), the nature,…
I have visited the Osaka Castle (beautiful during the cherry blossom season), Kyoto and Shinsaibashi street (famous shopping street). If you’re a foodie, try the famous kobe beef (expensive but so delicious), Okonomiyake (Osaka’s specialty) and of course some sushis ! I also went to Nara where cute deers walk around the parks.

Male

Going to the Maldives for work is really awesome so I usually make the most of it, I take my snorkeling gear and spend as much time as possible under water ! Our hotel has a sunset dolphin tour which I like, dolphins playing around everywhere !!

Chonqching

Another Chinese city that I had never heard of 😀 They filmed a part of the transformer movie (I haven’t even seen the movie) but I visited the place where they filmed and it’s amazing. Bring good shoes if you go there as it’s quite a hike.

Kathmandu

Kathmandu is a famous airport for pilots, surrounded by mountains, we need a special training and only captains can land and takeoff.
I visited the Monkey temple and I really enjoyed it, Nepalese people are super friendly. For dinner most crew go to a famous pizza place and while I liked my pizza, I prefer to eat more local food 😉 A very famous place for tourists is Thamel street, where you can buy all sorts of things (I bought a meditation bowl that my mom wanted aha).

Delhi

Our flights to Delhi are usually turnarounds (so we come back to Doha immediately) but I was once lucky to get a freighter trip with 2 days off ! I decided to visit the famous Taj Mahal and it was amazing. Crossing a bucket list item on a work trip is pretty cool in my book 🙂

Moscow

I’ve only been once to Moscow and I was lucky that it was the end of winter so it wasn’t too cold ! I visited the famous Red Square and it was truly beautiful. Inside the Church, there was a gospel choir that was so talented. Everyone had goosebumps ! 

Hong Kong

Such a cool city, I really love the vibe and mix between Asian and European culture. I visited the flower market which I really loved as well as the Peak.

London

I used to fly there a lot when I started flying and I usually went shopping. I’ve always loved London and there are so many things to see !

Munich

I really discovered Germany when I started flying because it’s not a popular country to visit from Belgium but I immediately fell in love with Munich. It’s a very pretty city and I love walking around. They have amazing food (pork knuckle !!) and beer and I usually go to Hofbraeuhaus restaurant which is very popular and typical. I once was lucky to be called out from standby to go to Munich during Oktoberfest !! The atmosphere was amazing 🙂

Athens

I’ve also been there once only but I hope I’ll go again ! I visited the famous Acropolis and had the best greek food ever !