We had a whirlwind trip through Hong Kong. I felt like we practically ran through the city to do it all—but it was totally worth it. Hong Kong is a vibrant, multifaceted, incredibly diverse city. It doesn’t matter what kind of traveler you are, there’s literally something for everyone.
My dear friend Annie, who was born and raised in Hong Kong and attended international schools, is currently the editor and main writer for The Edge, Hong Kong’s Industry Insights and Lifestyle Website. She sat down with me before our trip and helped create this itinerary, and I have to say, we were truly impressed. Trust us, everything she recommends is spot on! And be sure to head over to theedge.hk for all the best information on what’s trending now in this fantastic city.
So here it is: the most comprehensive, jam-packed, marvelously exhausting Hong Kong itinerary out there. Because really, do we know how to travel any other way?
*Tip: Get an Octopus card in the airport as soon as you land — it will be indispensable! To date, we’ve found Hong Kong to be one of, if not the easiest city to get around via public transportation. We never needed to so much as look at a taxi. The Octopus card will be your ticket around the city; just load it with what you think you’ll need and off you go (the minimum 150 HKD option was perfect for three days).
Hong Kong is actually made up of 235 islands along with a part attached to mainland China called Kowloon. The largest island is Lantau where you’ll find the airport, Tian Tan Buddha, and Hong Kong Disneyland. Hong Kong Island is where all the trademark hustle and bustle of the city takes place.
We recommend finding a hotel on the Hong Kong side. Specifically, if you stay in Central, Admiralty, or Wan Chai districts on the northern part on the island, you’ll be within walking distance to the heart of the city. The best way to get to Hong Kong upon arrival at the airport on Lantau is the Airport Express. There are signs for it all over the place, and you can use your Octopus card. The quickest and most direct route to the city and running every ten minutes, the Airport Express stops at only three stations: Tsing Li, Kowloon, and Hong Kong (Central Station). From Central, you can hop on the MTR (subway) and get anywhere you need to go.
Day 1: Ready, set, go!
1. Times Square: If you get into Hong Kong in the afternoon, a great thing to do is visit Times Square. Take the MTR to Causeway Bay Station and head up to the street via exit A. You’ll be in the center of lots of trendy shopping, eateries, boutiques, and bars. You’ll find Causeway Bay a bit more modern and polished than Wan Chai and Central (both areas we love for that very reason by the way!).
2. Crystal Jade: When you feel ready for dinner, head over to Crystal Jade. It’s a “Shanghainese” restaurant with several locations throughout Hong Kong. There’s one in Wan Chai and several in Causeway Bay (right in Times Square even). The food is delicious, the portions are generous, the menu is gigantic, and the price is cheap. You really can’t ask for more!
- Wan Chai: Shop 310, Tai Yau Plaza, 181 Johnston Rd, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
- Causeway Bay (Times Square): 1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
- Website: hk.crystaljade.com/
3. Frites Belgium on Tap: If you’re anything like my husband, after dinner you’ll want to find a bar with a good on-tap selection. If you’re anything like me, you’ll humor him in the hope of doing some late-night shopping once he’s about four deep. Either way, Frites Belgium on Tap is a great choice. This Belgian-style bistro and bar is stocked with four Belgian beers on tap (and many bottled besides) and traditional Belgian food.
- Address: Shop 6, 1/F, Causeway Centre, 28 Harbour Road, Wanchai
- Website: conceptcreations.hk/frites/frites-wan-chai/
Day 2: Let’s Get Touristy
1. Victoria Peak: It’s insanity to travel to Hong Kong and not pop up to the Peak. From MTR Central station, the walk is quite scenic. Make your way to exit J2 and up to the street. Turn right, go through Chater Garden, cross Queen’s Road Central, and follow Garden Road to reach the ticketing area (there will be signs). Take the Peak Tram to reach the Sky Terrace 428 viewing platform with a 360 degree view above the city. The trick is to go first thing in the morning or late in the evening. The lines during the day can get monstrous. We went on a Friday about 9 a.m., bought tickets, and got right on the tram. When we came back down, the line was already across the street. Check their website to get the hours for the day you go!
- Address: 33 Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong
- Website: http://www.thepeak.com.hk/en/
2. Maxim’s Palace Chinese Restaurant: After the Peak, head over to City Hall on the harbor in Central. Take Central exit J and cross over Cannaught Road. This place is amazing! It’s a colossal ballroom, fancily decorated, that serves a huge selection of Dim Sum and related fare. The waiters make their way around the ballroom pushing carts full of all different eats. You simply point and enjoy! Everything is priced per dish; the waiter will mark your tab each time you grab something. Again, as is the trend in Hong Kong, get there when it opens (11 a.m. Monday to Saturday and 9 a.m. on Sunday). We arrived about 10:45 a.m., and there was already a queue down the stairwell. Luckily, the ballroom is massive, so we got to sit down right away, but there was still a beast of a line waiting to get in the entire time we ate.
- Address: 2/F, Low Block, City Hall, Central, Hong Kong
- Website: http://www.maximschinese.com.hk/eng/restaurant/index.aspx
3. High Tea at the Peninsula Hotel: Following lunch, if you’re feeling a little sophisticated, head over to the Kowloon side for some tea, soft music, and yummy delights. An iconic Hong Kong experience, you’ll want to be there promptly before 2 p.m. — it’s first come, first served. Take the Tsuen Wan (red) line from Central to Tsim Sha Tsui. Come up through exit E, walk towards the bay, and it will be on your right.
- Address: Salisbury Road, Tsimshatsui, Hong Kong
- Website: hongkong.peninsula.com/en/default
4. Ladies Market: While you’re on the Kowloon side, Ladies Market on Tung Choi Street is definitely worth a visit. On the Tsuen Wan line, get off at Mong Kok. Take exit B2 and head East one block. You’ll come upon a street with tents and booths as far as you can see. This is the place you’ll want to get those souvenirs and gifts to bring back for friends and family. Haggling is very effective here!
5. Tsim Chai Kee Noodle: Hungry yet? Get on the MTR and head back to Central. This restaurant is small and efficient. They are VERY good at what they do: noodles. Pick any toppings you’d like including seafood, beef, and wonton. It’s authentic, cheap, and you won’t be disappointed.
- Address: 153 Queen’s Road Central Basement, Hong Kong
6. LKF: You can’t visit Hong Kong and fail to check out all the beautiful craziness that is Lan Kwai Fong. LKF is Hong Kong’s historic nightlife district. Take exit G from Central Station and cross over Queen’s Road. You’ll find an array of bars, clubs, restaurants, and lounges. We recommend Solas, Rayne, Stormies, and Dragon-i. You may find yourself back here tomorrow (we definitely did!).
Day 3: No Rest for the Weary
1. Tian Tan Buddha: Up and at ’em! You don’t want to miss this scenic vista–it was actually my favorite part of the trip. The giant Buddha atop Ngong Ping sits 34 meters tall on a three-story platform. Surrounding the Buddha, you’ll find many other worthwhile sights including Po Lin Monastery and Wisdom Path–you can easily spend half a day here. Again, you’ll want to get here first thing in the morning. The cable car opens at 10 a.m. on weekdays, 9 a.m. on weekends. We arrived right before it opened and had no trouble; by the time we came down, the line was out of control.
To reach the Buddha, hop on the Tung Chung (orange) line from Central, which will take you over to Tung Chung Station on Lantau. Once there, look for the signs directing you to the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car. The 25 minute ride up to the Buddha truly has the most spectacular views. It’s incredible.
- Website: http://www.np360.com.hk/en/
2. Oolaa: Head back to Hong Kong for lunch. This western-style brunch restaurant is a must. Located in SoHo, it’s a trendy spot located in a super vibey area. The menu is well thought out and fresh. It’s a beautiful place to relax for a bit and take your time eating.
- Address: G/F, Bridges Street, CentreStage, Soho, Mid-Levels, Hong Kong
- Website: http://www.casteloconcepts.com/our-venues/oolaa
3. Man Mo Temple: Just around the corner, off Hollywood Road, is Man Mo Temple. It’s small, authentic, colorful, and sticks out like a sore thumb against the more modern architecture. If this is your first trip to Asia, you’ll likely find it much more interesting. Nonetheless, it’s a very cultural spot and worth the visit.
- Address: 126 Hollywood Rd, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
4. Repulse Bay: If you’ve still got some energy left, head down to the south side of the island. Repulse Bay is a beautiful area to relax by the ocean, walk around the beach temple, and take in the sights. To get there, locate the Exchange Plaza near exit A in Cantral. At the Exchange Square, there are buses running; you can take bus 6, 6A, 6X or 260.
5. Bombay Dreams: On your way back to the hotel, if you like Indian food, check out Bombay Dreams. They prefer you have a reservation. The food is divine, and the atmosphere is warm and romantic. Exit from Central like you’re going toward Hollywood Road again. You’ll run into Wyndham Street. The restaurant is on the fourth floor–take the elevator up.
- Address: 4/F, 75 Wyndham St, Central, Hong Kong
- Website: http://www.diningconcepts.com/BombayDreams
Day 4: On the Way Out
1. Under Bridge Spicy Crab: You can’t leave Hong Kong without having Spicy Crab. So on your way to the airport, stop over in Wan Chai for one last iconic Hong Kong meal. From Wan Chai Station, take exit A1 and head East down Lockhart Road; Spicy Crab will literally be under a bridge, five blocks down, on your left. The crab is unreal. Hands down, it’s the most perfectly seasoned, best-cooked crab we’ve ever eaten. There’s a wide variety of toppings and spiciness to choose from. However, the market price is often high, and the portions are small. But the crab was so delicious, those were easy to overlook!
- Address: G/F-3/F, Ascot Mansion, 421-425 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
- Website: http://www.underspicycrab.com/chi/index.php
Don’t be intimidated – you can do it! There’s so much to see in this vibrant city. Safe travels and good luck!
What’s on your must-see Hong Kong list? Comment below!
Travel on, Beaches 🙂