Itinerary Overview

Hong Kong is our FAVORITE big city in the world. The East Asian cultural heritage mixed with British-designed infrastructure make it the gold standard for a modern ‘East-meets-West’ experience. It is a vibrant cosmopolitan and, due to its compact topography of hillsides and harbors, offers a magical skyscraper-filled skyline. Hong Kong is much more than a major port city. It is a global financial hub, culinary heaven, and world-class shopping destination. No place on earth makes better use of its diverse, yet small space than Hong Kong. Street crime is virtually unheard of and the city is constantly bustling; white-collar, blue-collar, and no collar can be found slurping noodles twenty-four seven at greasy food stalls situated between five-star luxury hotels. 

Thanks to the world’s most efficient transportation system, three days in Hong Kong is enough to experience most of the city’s notable sights. Day One includes Hong Kong Park, Victoria Peak, IFC Center and famous Lan Kwai Fong nightlife district. Day Two begins with a ferry ride to Kowloon, where visitors can explore its best parks, museums, and night markets, and then finish at the world’s highest bar. Day Three explores the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery, Heritage Museum, Chi Lin Nunnery, Kowloon Walled City Park, and finishes in Wan Chai commercial district.

Day 1

1. Hong Kong Park

2. Peak Tram

3. Victoria Peak

4. IFC Center

5. Central-Mid-Levels Escalator

6. Lan Kwai Fong

Time: 8+ hours

Budget: $65+ per person

(all $ figures in USD; includes entrance fees, food, and transport)

Day 2

1. Star Ferry

2. Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade

3. Hong Kong Museum of History

4. Kowloon Park

5. Temple Street Night Market

6. Ozone Rooftop Bar

Time: 6+ hours

Budget: $85+ per person

(all $ figures in USD; includes entrance fees, food, and transport)

Day 3

1. Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery

2. Hong Kong Heritage Museum

3. Chi Lin Nunnery

4. Kowloon Walled City Park

5. Wan Chai

Time: 5+ hours

Budget: $30+ per person

(all $ figures in USD; includes entrance fees, food, and transport)

Fast Facts

BEFORE YOU GO

UTC/GMT +4

Advanced English proficiency

G and D Sockets / 220V / 50Hz

Tap water is NOT considered safe for drinking, cooking, and brushing

Tourist visas are not required for passport holders from the US, Europe, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand for stays of 90 days or less, and 180 days or less for UK nationals

The CDC recommends Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccines for most travelers.

When You Arrive

$1.00 (USD) = 7.5 Hong Kong dollar (HKD)

Tipping is not customary at most restaurants or for taxis. Consider tipping 10% at upscale restaurants if a service charge has not already been added

Hong Kong has an excellent public transportation system. The trains, tram cars, and ferries are clean, highly efficient, and easy to use. Uber and taxis are widely available and use meters

Drive on left side

Airport to City Center: Airport Express train is the best way to get to Hong Kong Island or Kowloon (30 minutes; $13). Taxis and Uber can be found outside of the arrivals hall (30 minutes; $40)

Preferred accommodation type is luxury or boutique hotel

Best Time To Visit

October to December is the best time to visit Hong Kong

October to December (Fall) is when the weather is sunny, cool, and most pleasant. January to March (Winter) is cool and dry. April to June is warm and humid, and June to August (Summer) is hot and rainy. Chinese New Year (January to February), The Hong Kong International Film Festival (March to April), The Dragon Boat Festival (June) and National Day (October) are all major events in Hong Kong that are worth attending or planning around.

Neighborhood Guide

 CentralWan ChaiCauseway BayTsim Sha Tsui
DescriptionBusiness and nightlife center, colonial architecture, good for first time visitorsCommercial hub, best transportation options, government offices, convention centerBusiest area in Hong Kong, luxury shopping hub, family friendlyViews of Hong Kong skyline, diverse population, backpackers, museums
Affordability
Beach / Park
Dining
Landmarks
Nightlife

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Central Hong Kong

1) Hong Kong Park – This park is a peaceful green space located at the center of Hong Kong’s vertical urban sprawl. It features a visual arts center, greenhouse, fountains, lily ponds, and an aviary. The aviary is designed as a mini tropical rain forest and features more than 80 species of birds. The park also has breathtaking vantage points of Hong Kong’s surrounding skyscrapers and skyline.

1-2 hours $0

2) The Peak Tram – The Peak Tram, Lower Terminus is located on the west side of Hong Kong Park. The Tram is the most scenic and quickest approach to Victoria Peak. It has been running for over 120 years. It is best to arrive early because the line can be cruelly long, with wait times exceeding two hours. If the line is too long when you arrive, taking a taxi to the top and then the Tram down is a good alternative. The Tram runs from 7:00 am to 12:00 am (24:00). 

1-3 hours $15

3) Victoria Peak – Victoria Park is one of the must-see sights of Hong Kong. It is the highest point on Hong Kong Island and has been the city’s most exclusive neighborhood since colonial times. Hong Kong has some of the best views in the world and they don’t get any better than from here. In addition to retail shops and restaurants, there are several viewing areas, some requiring a ticket while others are free. For example, the price of entry for Sky Terrace 428 is included with the Peak Tram SkyPass while the Peak Galleria offers a free observation deck. A local favorite is the free Peak Circle Walk which is a two-mile trail around the Peak that includes unfolding vistas.

1-2 hours $25+

4) Man Mo Temple – A short twenty-minute walk west from the Peak Tram, Lower Terminus is a unique, urban temple from the 1800s that makes for great photos. Man Mo Temple has a lavish, traditional interior with dozens of incense spirals overhead

 Up to 1 hour  $0

5) International Finance Center (IFC) Mall – A twenty-minute walk to the northeast of Man Mo is one of Hong Kong’s coolest shopping destinations. It offers over 200 international brands and shops, all set against soothing views of Victoria Harbor. There is a public roof garden with views of Kowloon. The mall is part of a complex that includes some of the most exclusive office space in Hong Kong, as well as the Four Seasons Hotel. A network of covered and elevated walkways connect the IFC to several other luxury malls in Central and nearby neighborhoods.

1-2 hours  $0+

6) Central-Mid-Levels Escalator – A fifteen-minute walk southeast of IFC is Shelley Street and the base of the Central-Mid-Levels escalator system. It is the world’s longest outdoor covered escalator system, stretching for over 2,500 feet and elevating 440 feet. It is not a single continuous escalator, but a series of twenty escalators and three inclined moving walkways connected by footbridges, with fourteen entrances and exits. To ride the complete length of the escalator system one-way takes about twenty minutes.

Up to 1 hour $0

7) Lan Kwai Fong (LKF) – LKF is located between Wyndham and D’Aguilar Streets and is one of Hong Kong’s most prolific nightlife spots. The narrow L-shaped lane is home to over ninety restaurants and bars dominated by white collar workers, expats, university students, and foreigners. Most bars open at 5:00 pm (17:00) and stay open until the sun rises. Happy hour is from 5:00 pm (17:00) until 9:00 pm (21:00) and includes promotions such as buy one, get one free drinks and half price food. Check out Ce La Vi for a good rooftop view or Honi Honi for tiki lounge vibes.

2-4 hours  $25+

Day 2: Kowloon

1) Star Ferry – This Ferry has been carrying passengers back and forth between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon since 1888. Most locals still prefer it despite the two sides of Victoria Harbor now being connected by an underground rail system. It is cheap to use and has old-school charm. National Geographic recently ranked the Star Ferry experience as one of ’50 places of a lifetime’. Service between Kowloon and Central runs from 7:00 am to 11:30 pm (23:30), with ferries departing every ten minutes.

Up to 1 hour $1

2) Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade – The Hong Kong Cultural Center, Space Museum, and freshly renovated Avenue of the Stars are all a short walk east of the where the Star Ferry docks in Kowloon. The view of Hong Kong’s skyline towering over Victoria Harbor from the Promenade is magnificent. It is the best location to catch the ten=minute Symphony of Lights show that takes place every night at 8:00 pm (22:00), assuming good weather.

1-2 hours $0

3) Hong Kong Museum of History – A ten-minute walk to the north of the Promenade is the Hong Kong Museum of History.  The state-of-the-art museum has exhibits featuring the archaeology, history, ethnography, and natural histories of Hong Kong and South China. For a double dose, visitors can walk next door to the Science Museum, which features Cathay Pacific’s first DC3 airliner suspended from the ceiling.

1-3 hours $5

4) Kowloon Park – Kowloon Park is a fifteen-minute walk to the west of the museums. It contains a Chinese garden with a two-tier lotus pond, a fitness trail, a bird lake and aviary, and a heritage museum. The site of the park was formerly a British military base overlooking Victoria Harbor and you can still see the colonial-style barracks near the museum.

1-2 hours $0

5) Temple Street Night Market – Temple Street Night Market is a ten-minute walk to the north of Kowloon Park. The night market starts where Temple Street meets Jordan Road and ends north on Kansu Street. The atmosphere becomes electric at sunset. There are five long blocks of shopping stall vendors haggling with potential buyers over trinkets, electronics, watches, clothing, and souvenirs found in Chinatowns all over the world. The area is engulfed with restaurants that will cheerfully deliver endless variations of fresh seafood and cold Chinese beer to your sidewalk table as you take in the atmosphere. The area is filled with energy at night and gives a glimpse into what makes Hong Kong so unique and exciting.

1-2 hours $30+

6) Ozone Rooftop Bar – A trip to Hong Kong would not be complete without visiting Ozone, the world’s highest bar. It is located on the southwest edge of Kowloon on the 118th floor of the Ritz Carlton. Ozone’s bold and funky interiors and the superb range of creative cocktails are both standout features. The large space is split up into several areas, including an open-air terrace, a long marbled bar with stools, lounge areas and a mini sushi restaurant. Entrance to the terrace is free and you can see the entire city and harbor spread out like a map below you. The minimum spend for indoor seating ranges from $50 for a small two person table to several hundred dollars for a large sofa. Check out the Ultimate Brunch every Sunday from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm (15:00) which features a feast of delectable dishes and free-flowing Dom Pérignon for around $200 per person.

1-2 hours $50+

Day 3: Kowloon, Part II

1) Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery – The Monastery is a thirty-minute car ride north of Central or a twenty-minute ride on the MRT from Kowloon. It is one of the most impressive temples in Hong Kong. To reach the temple grounds requires a twenty-minute climb that can be strenuous, so it is best to arrive early when the sun is gentle. On your way up are dozens of life-sized golden painted Buddha statues to keep you entertained. The Monastery ground includes a complex of temples, pavilions, verandas, and a nine story pagoda.

1-3 hours $0

2) Hong Kong Heritage Museum – The Heritage Museum is dedicated to showcasing Hong Kong’s history, art, and culture. It houses a dozen different galleries with themes ranging from opera and martial arts to celebrated Chinese painters. The Cantonese opera gallery is one highlight, with life-size stage setups and over 30,000 artifacts from past performances. The Bruce Lee exhibition is also a must see.

1-2 hours $0

3) Chi Lin Nunnery – Chi Lin Nunnery is a ten-minute taxi ride south of the Heritage Museum. It is part of a larger monastery complex that was built in the 1930s and includes cedarwood Buddhist temples, gardens, and lotus ponds. When the Nunnery was renovated in 1998, it was designed so that no nails were used in the reconstruction. The soaring network of beams, rafters, and braces are locked together like a jigsaw puzzle with glove-like precision.

1-2 hours $0

4) Kowloon Walled City Park – The Walled City Park is a short drive or train ride south of Chi Lin Nunnery.  The Walled City used to be a very densely populated, largely ungoverned urban slum, home to approximately 50,000 residents within a 6.5-acre area. It is infamous for being controlled by Triads, a Chinese organized crime syndicate. The towers were demolished in 1990 and the area was transformed into a park in 1995 to showcase the remaining artifacts. The grounds feature bamboo groves, pavilions, flower gardens, and ponds. Ironically, it is now one of the more tranquil areas to visit in Hong Kong. 

1-2 hours $0

5) Wan Chai – Wan Chai is a busy commercial area with some of Hong Kong’s best restaurants, shops, and entertainment. Its noodle shops and casual eateries overflow with local workers during the day. After work, crowds descend on Lockhart Road’s bars and nightclubs. There is a daily flag-raising ceremony that takes place in Golden Bauhinia Square. Lunch and dinner favorites in the area include Samsen (Thai) and Chao Chao Gyoza (Chinese). For something sweet, check out Bakehouse, an artisan bakery and cafe that prepares homemade breads, danish and fine pastries

 1-3 hour $25+

BOTTOM LINE

Hong Kong has everything a visitor would want in a modern cosmopolitan. It offers arguably the best food and shopping scenes in the world, breathtaking scenery, and an abundance of culture. The above itinerary will help you navigate this one-of-a-kind city, however, if the fast pace becomes overwhelming, beaches and nature are also easily accessible. Lantau, Cheung Chau, Lamma and Peng Chau islands are great day trip destinations for hikes, beachgoing, and seafood dinners. Lantau Island is also home to Tian Tan Buddha, a 112 foot bronze Buddha statue. A proper visit to Hong Kong should leave you well fed, well dressed, and a tad overstimulated. 

Previous Guide:

3 Days in Bangkok

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3 Days in Singapore

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