Hong Kong has changed from a fishing village to Asia’s economic center. Far from that, Hong Kong is the world’s top destination for many years, mirroring both Asian culture and heritage and as a financial hub in the region.
With islands categorically grouped as Kowloon, Hong Kong Island, and Outlying Islands or New Territories, it can create some frenzy for its tourists. Where to go and how to map the itineraries can be a task for visitors on DIY tours. With plenty of things to do for any type of tourist, it can be difficult to map out your trip in Hong Kong.
Got three days in Hong Kong? Follow this guide to explore the must-visits and enjoy must-dos in the “Pearl of the Orient”.
Where to stay in Hong Kong:
The Upper House (Pacific Place, 88 Queensway)
Four Seasons Hotel (8 Finance Street, Central)
The Ritz-Carlton (International Commerce Center, No.1 Austin Road West, Kowloon)
The Peninsula (Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | Kowloon)
Day 1: Kowloon
Kowloon is where you can have a full taste of Hong Kong. In fact, if you have hours or a day, this is the place to go. Markets, dining options, as well as designer boutiques line the streets of Kowloon. This is the place where you will see for yourself the reputation of Hong Kong as a shopper’s paradise.
To have a deeper connection with Hong Kong, pay a visit to Hong Kong Museum of History (100 Chatham Rd S, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Hong Kong; museum opens at 10:00 am and the earliest it closes is at 5:00pm). In between bites from various restaurants or to relax your soles from shopping marathon, check out Kowloon Park. Speaking of dining, Knutsford Terrace (a terrace street in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon in Hong Kong. It is famous for its bars, pubs and restaurants. On the south slope of Observatory Hill, it is hidden behind the buildings of Kimberley Road) is worth a visit. Tucked in the inner streets of Kowloon, this dining area offers al-fresco dining and a good break from dim sum feasts.
All roads must lead to Kowloon Promenade, more popularly known as The Avenue of Stars. Check out Bruce Lee’s statue and look for Jet Li’s hand-prints. The promenade is also a fantastic spot to see Victoria Harbor. End your first day with Symphony of Lights (a daily light and sound show in Hong Kong. It is the world’s largest permanent light and sound show according to the Guinness World Records) followed by some drinks at the nearby bars.
If you want to see a little different side of Hong Kong then head to Kowloon Walled City Park – a lovely park in the middle of Kowloon. The park was built on the site of Kowloon Walled City, which was demolished in 1987 after it got overcrowded and the crime rate got out of control. The easiest way to get to the park is by MTR (Hong Kong’s metro system) to Lok Fu station and then walking to the park (about 10 minutes).
Day 2: Hong Kong Island
Hong Kong Island is more still compared to Kowloon where the region’s Central District is situated. Filled with skyscrapers, it is a must to cross the harbor to Hong Kong’s most popular attraction – Victoria’s Peak. It can never grow old, a trip on on-board the Peak Tram will treat you to a panoramic view of Hong Kong. Never miss a photo opportunity at Sky Terrace 428.
Like the rest of Hong Kong, there are shops and restaurants to grab some brunch or little shopping. At The Peak is also another popular attraction among locals – Madame Tussauds Wax Museum (tickets cost between 141 HKD and 245 HKD – 18 USD to 31 USD).
Go down and head off the Stanley Market (well known for its bargains). No, it is not just a market or another shopping area but a place that reminisces Hong Kong as a global port for centuries. It has a beach, museums, temples, and historic buildings.
From Stanley Market, take a boat ride locally known as sampan to Aberdeen Fishing Village. One of the oldest in Hong Kong, Aberdeen Fishing Village is a feast to the senses. Floating restaurants in the village will satisfy your gastronomic needs.
Lastly, cap the night with some drinks from various rooftop bars in Central District. If you have trouble finding one of the many rooftop bars we can suggest Sevva Bar (Prince’s Building, 10 Chater Rd; tel:+852 2537 1388; open Monday-Thursday from 12:00 pm to 12:00 am, Friday, Saturday and Public Holidays from 12:00 pm to 2:00 am; easiest way to get there is by using the MTR to Central Station) or Red Restaurant (4/f, IFC mall, 8 Finance Street,, Central; tel:+852 2537 5037).
Day 3: Lantau Islands
Among the Outlying Islands, Lantau is the biggest, the most popular and tourist-friendly. Amazingly, this island used to be remote explaining the strong presence of monasteries. A trip to Lantau Island gives a pensive experience to learn about Hong Kong’s spiritual side.
Start your trip by taking the 25-minute Ngong Ping 360 (Tung Chung Cable Car Terminal is adjacent to MTR’s Tung Chung Station. It is a two-minute walk from Exit B of the station; round-trip tickets cost between 165 HKD and 230 HKD – 21 USD and 30 USD – depending on the cabin – standard or with clear bottom) cable ride, exchanging the skyscraper views in mainland Hong Kong with that of serene bays and lush mountains. It ends at Ngong Ping Village ( a part of a Hong Kong Tourism Project on Lantau Island, has the capacity to captivate. People enter the village via a tiny arch bridge that is lined with red and gold prayer wheels busy on a “twirl-with-the-wind” leading to a cobblestone street flanked by restaurants, cafés, souvenir shops and a majestic tea-houses), inviting you to Hong Kong strong historical past.
The most famous attraction in Lantau Island is the gigantic Buddha structure, known as Tian Tan Buddha or The Big Buddha. Climb more than 200 steps to the Buddha and get a good view of its surroundings. Facing The Big Buddha is Po Lin Monastery.
Continue walking to Wisdom Path characterized with its 38 wooden steles scripted with prayer verses and then finally, to Ngong Ping Piazza. See statues significant to Buddhism, temples and other structures.
From the religious attractions, head off to Hong Kong’s most popular local destinations – Hong Kong Disneyland. Lantau Island is also home to outlet malls of famous designer brands.
The fun doesn’t end there. If you have more time, you can continue your journey to Macau (where you can jump with a bungy from Macau Tower) or visit Shenzhen for shop-till-you-drop experience.
Modern to history, Hong Kong echoes what Asia is all about. An exotic filled with cultural venues as well as exciting modern marvels; Hong Kong is always a good idea when looking for places to visit in Asia.
Have you been there? Do you have any tips or suggestions to share? If so, you can leave your comments below.