A 12 hour layover in Hong Kong for the Hungry Man… or Woman

A layover in Hong Kong International Airport with 12 hours or more between flights? Be sure to make the most of your layover by doing some sightseeing and food tripping. Some people are time-hungry travelers who try to squeeze in as many experiences as possible, while others simply want to get a glimpse of the destination. Whatever your preference is, this suggested itinerary will lead you to Hong Kong’s famous foodie destinations and will help you make the most of your layover. Depending on your traveling priorities, you can certainly fine tune this itinerary to suit your needs.

Things to consider before traveling to Hong Kong:

Language – Chinese is the official language of Hong Kong. Almost all people in Hong Kong speak English so you can absolutely get by without speaking their language. Although English and Mandarin are taught in most schools, Cantonese is almost universally used by the entire population. Also, since Hong Kong has turned into a multi-cultural society, which is now clearly visible almost everywhere, you’ll often hear people on the street, shops and restaurants speaking just about anything. Like any other countries, speaking at least some Mandarin or Cantonese phrases or attempting to learn is greatly appreciated by the locals.

Currency exchange – Hong Kong dollar is the official currency of Hong Kong. Exchanging money is easy and follows the same standard to elsewhere in Asia. You can exchange currency at the airport, hotels, malls, local banks, and money changers throughout Hong Kong. ATMs are plentiful, all accepting international credit cards and debit cards, so it’s easy to withdraw your money in HKD.

Getting around – Hong Kong is an autonomous territory of the People’s Republic of China. Getting around is very easy thanks to its comprehensive road system and MRT system. Taking the MRT is the most convenient and reliable way to get to your destinations. Considered as one of the world’s most efficient public transport system, the MRT uses a convenient payment method, which is called the Octopus Card. Before your trip, make sure to download a map of Hong Kong Metro on your smart phone or secure a paper copy.

Where to stay – There are many types of holiday accommodation in Hong Kong, from luxury hotels to cheaper accommodation like youth hostels and bed and breakfast. Hotels/hostels options nearby MRT stations are recommended for travelers. If you don’t plan to stay overnight and go straight to the airport after your layover tour, then you can store your luggage at the luggage counter of Hong Kong International Airport Terminal 2, Level 3. For more information, please check out this link.

Detailed itinerary: A 12 hour layover in Hong Kong for the Hungry Man… or Woman

9 AM

Taking a bus is the cheapest way to get to downtown from the airport. Airport Express, on the other hand, is the fastest approach to get to either Kowloon Station or HK Central Station. Depending on your time of arrival, the scheduled activity time may differ.

Our first matter of business is breakfast. Obviously, the first meal of every trip should be solid. So, we recommend some famous congee, which is a white rice porridge either served plain or with addition of different ingredients like pork, chicken or beef. There are plenty of restaurants in Hong Kong serving congee, but we recommend Fuk Kee Congee in  Mongkok, Cheuk Kee Congee Shop in Kennedy Town or Wong Ming Kee in Kownloon.

congee, Hong-Kong
Breakfast congee (Airophoto / Shutterstock.com)

If you want breakfast on the go, then look no further than the baked goods of the Urban Bakery Works. You will also find plenty of restaurants offering western breakfast.

11 AM

While touring Hong Kong, you will surely notice milk tea shops on every corner. Hong Kong style milk tea is made from a mixture of tea leaves brewed in hot water, and mixed with evaporated milk and sugar. Although the milk tea did not originate in Hong Kong, the people learned to create their own delicious version.

Did you know that Hong Kong milk tea is also known as “pantyhose tea” or “silk stocking tea” ?
The names come from the way the tea is brewed – in a large tea sock that looks like a pantyhose or silk stockings. The tea is usually part of lunch in Hong Kong tea culture (KorradolYamsatthm / Shutterstock.com)

12 PM

For lunch, try Hong Kong Sweet and Sour Pork, a popular Chinese dish that you can find practically anywhere in Hong Kong. You’ll also find this in any Chinese restaurant around the world. A perfect bowl of sweet and sour pork contains pork ribs or tenderloin slow cooked in a savory sauce with different herbs and spices. One of the best restaurants serving sweet and sour pork is Dynasty Restaurant. This restaurants consistently stays at the top best restaurants list in Hong Kong, which is clearly a strong indication of just how much people love it.

2 PM

Summer in Hong Kong can be really hot and one of the best ways to cool down is to enjoy some summer desserts. Try some Grass Jelly from Honeymoon Desserts located at TST’s Harbour City Mall. This dessert commonly served in China is known for its many health benefits. It also contains anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.

Grass jelly
Grass jelly, or leaf jelly, is made using the Platostoma palustre plant and has, slightly bitter taste and is very popular in Hong Kong, Macau and Mainland China (tarapong srichaiyos / Shutterstockcom)

There are also plenty of international dessert shops in Hong Kong like Brook’s Café, which is known for its Japanese-inspired drinks and desserts. If you want some homey and casual Korean restaurant, then go to Joon Ko Restaurant and try their Naengmyeon (cold noodles).

6 PM

For dinner, we suggest some Dim sum dishes. Some people might think Dim sum is not that special, but in Hong Kong, it is so much more than that. This popular Chinese cuisine served in small bite-sized portion are typically placed in a steamer basket. A traditional dim sum dinner includes various types of steamed buns, shrimp or pork dumpling, spring rolls and steamed vegetables. With hundreds of restaurants to choose from, it can be hard to know where to eat Dim sum. So, our suggestion is One Dim Sum Chinese Restaurant, one of the cheapest dim sum restaurant in the city.

9 PM

Still got some energy to party or grab some drinks? The nightlife in Hong Kong runs the gamut, from posh and lavish lounges and member only night clubs, rowdy bars and izakayas (a type of Japanese bar), to red light district. If you love craft beers, then the Craft Brew & Co is for you. If you love whisky, then go to Angel’s Share Whisky Bar & Restaurant.

Can’t get enough of Honk Kong? Why don’t you consider a 3 day layover so you can see what Hong Kong has to offer.

Have you been to Hong Kong? Do you have any tips or suggestions to share? If so, you can leave your comments below.

Featured image:  Airplane landing at Hong Kong International Airport (EarnestTse / Shutterstock.com)

China, Hong Kong

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