A great mixture of modernity and history, combined with spectacular culinary experiences and world class shopping, Hong Kong is truly an ultimate urban escape. Whether just visiting for a stopover, or as a stand alone holiday destination, this vibrant and lively city is hard to hate.
The great thing about Hong Kong, is that it works well as a stopover location on the way other destinations. If you’re flying Cathay Pacific to Europe, elsewhere in Asia, or even USA, it is easy to stay an extra night or two and enjoy some of what Hong Kong has to offer.
This itinerary has been designed for travellers with 4 full days/5 nights, but you could adapt to less or more depending on your requirements.
Day 1- Hong Kong Island
Your first full day in Hong Kong. This morning, start your journey by making your way to the waterfront and take a stroll along the avenue of stars before catching the Star Ferry across the harbour to central pier. The ferry provides some great photo opportunities of both sides of the harbour and offers you a quintessential HK experience, all for a very low price.
From here you can make your way by foot to the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical gardens, about a 20 minute walk, albeit uphill. Take your time walking and soak in some of the central Hong Kong craziness along the way.
Spend an hour or so strolling around the gardens, one of the oldest gardens in Hong Kong and completely free to enter, before continuing on to the Victoria Peak tram terminus. Here you can ride the tram up to the peak (another essential HK experience). Once you reach the top, head to the Sky terrace 428 for breathtaking views over the city and harbour. Grab some lunch and best sure to walk across to the peak galleria, where you’ll find some alternative lookout points that are equally as impressive as Sky terrace. After lunch, either catch the tram or a taxi back down to the city and make your way to the shopping district in Central or Causeway bay to hit the shops! Head back to your hotel and rest before heading out to eat locally. If you still have the energy, don’t miss a visit to the Temple street night market in Kowloon.
Day 2- Lantau Island
Today, start you journey by catching the train to Tung Chung station, either from Hong Kong central direct on the Tung chung line or from Tsim Sha Sui/Jordan on the Tsuen Wan line with one change of train at Lai King (approx 40 min total journey). From here you’ll have direct access to the Nyong Ping 360 cable car. Be sure to head here relatively early to avoid queues and long wait times. The cable car journey is approximately 25 minutes, offering jaw dropping views over Lantau Island and the South China sea. When you reach the top, continuing walking through Nyong Ping village, to reach Po Lin Monastery and the Big Buddha. You will need to climb some 250 steps to reach the Big buddha statue, but by all accounts, it will be worth the effort! After exploring these two landmarks, wander back down into the village to grab some lunch, before heading to Tai O fishing village. You can either catch a bus (number 21), around 20 mins journey, but doesn’t run frequently, or alternatively catch a taxi (around a 10 minute journey) to reach Tai O. Take a stroll along the waterfront, admiring the ‘stilt houses’ and taking in the laid back atmosphere, in total contrast with the rest of the city. If you’re feeling peckish, don’t miss sampling some local flavours at one of the many food stalls along the waterfront. To return to Tung Chung, catch the number 11 bus, taking around an hour to get back to Tung Chung. Head back to your hotel for a rest before heading out for dinner, perhaps sampling some local dim sum.
This morning, take a stroll up bustling Nathan road and peruse the shops, before taking a walk through Kowloon park, taking in some fresh air and lush green surrounds amongst the hustle and bustle. From here continue walking north along Nathan rd to Jordan station, catching the train north to Mong Kok, before changing to the Kwun Tong Line and continuing in the direction of Tiu Keng Leng. Hop off the train at Wong Tai Sin (around a 15 min total journey) and follow the B2 exit signs to find Wong Tai Sin Temple, a major Taoist shrine and popular attraction for both locals and tourists alike. Spend some time admiring this colourful temple and exploring the rest of the grounds before returning to the station and catching the train in the same direction just one stop along to Diamond Hill. Taking exit C2, follow the signs to Chi Lin Nunnery, a large and peaceful buddhist complex, offering a peaceful and serene retreat from the craziness of the rest of the city. Take your time to explore the vast grounds, including the adjacent Nan Lian garden, all free of charge. From here return by train in the opposite direction to Mong Kok station and stop for lunch to recharge before hitting the markets in the afternoon. Along Tung Choi street you’ll find the popular Ladies market, a great place to find copy designer bags and watches, as well as clothes, leather goods and other accessories. Be prepared to haggle, never pay the asking price straight away.
Further north along this same street, you’ll find the Goldfish markets, with an array of fish and even reptiles on sale. Continue walking another 10 mins onto the Flower market (turning right at Prince Edward rd W) for a dazzling array of freshly cut blooms and exotic scents. Here you will also find the Yuen Po St Bird garden, selling exotic birds and related goods.
After you’ve explored the markets for the afternoon, head back to your hotel and relax before heading out to dinner in downton Kowloon. If you’re looking for a particularly spectacular experience, book a table at Tosca (Ritz Carlton Kowloon). Perched on the 103rd floor, it offers spectacular views of the harbour and offers you a great view of the nightly lightshow (8pm daily). Be prepared for an epic bill, however, as this michelin star restaurant doesn’t come cheap!
Day 4- Hong Kong Disneyland or Ocean Park
Depending on your preference, today you’re going to experience a whole lot of fun!
For Disneyland, make your way to Kowloon station (a taxi may be best), then catch the Tung chung line to Sunny bay station, before changing to the Disneyland resort line (around a 30 min total journey). To avoid queues, pre-book your tickets online, so that you are able to enter the park straight away and make the most of your day. With 7 themed lands and countless attractions and entertainment, you will need the whole day to see everything that Hong Kong Disneyland has to offer. Even if you have been to other Disneyland parks, each park offers a slightly different line up of attractions and Hong Kong is no different. Be sure to check out Mystic manor and Big grizzly mountain runaway mine cars.
If Disneyland is not your cup of tea (heaven forbid!) then spend your day at Ocean Park, another top rated theme park in Hong Kong. Catch the train to Admiralty station, then change to the South Island line to Ocean Park station for direct park access (Total journey time 14mins). Again, buy your tickets online to save the hassle of queuing, or alternatively buy from any 7-eleven store in Hong Kong. Ocean Park has a mixture of attractions that are sure to appeal to all ages, from animals to thrill rides.
If you have more time in Hong Kong, I would consider a trip to nearby Macau. Known for it’s lavish casinos and hotels, but brimming with historical landmarks, there is plenty to see and do here on a day trip. Best of all, it can be reached in only an hour by ferry from Hong Kong.
For more hints and tips on transport, shopping, food and more, be sure to check out my Hong Kong destination guide.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this itinerary and plan on adding Hong Kong to your bucket list!
Dream it, Plan it, Do it!