Hong Kong left so many good impressions on us, from the food to the sights, the people to the culture. Here’s our suggested itinerary if you wanna spend 4-5 days in this city.
Hong Kong’s geographical orientation actually makes it pretty easy to plan your travel. There are 4 main areas: Hong Kong Island, Kowloon Peninsula, Lantau Island and the New Territories. For first time travelers, the first three would do.
Day 1: Kowloon
Hong Kong International Airport is located in Lantau Island. Taking the airport express is convenient and cost effective if you don’t carry a lot of luggage. After arriving at the airport, get a 3 day pass at the information counter right next to the airport express train track. The pass costs HKD300 and gives you a round-trip airport express ticket and 3 day unlimited use of the subway system in Hong Kong. At the end of your trip, HKD50 deposit will be given back to you in exchange of the pass but if you want to keep the pass as a souvenir then that is totally fine. At the counter, you could also get the 7 day sim card which gives you 1.5GB of data and unlimited phone call.
We suggest booking your hotel or airbnb in Hong Kong Island or Kowloon. Hong Kong and Central are the most convenient stations with direct connection to the airport through the express train, but we opted for Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon because it was cheaper and no less convenient than Central.
While we were already in Kow Loon and had a couple hours of the day left to spend after checking our airbnb, exploring nearby neighborhoods was a good option. Instead of going straight to busy Hong Kong Island, we visited flower market and ladies market in Kowloon, which were only a couple of stops from Tsim Sha Tsui following Tsuen Wan (Red) subway line. Ladies market is also close by and filled with vendors, selling everything from clothes to tech accessories. Buy in bunks makes it super cheap to shop here, make sure you bargain with the sellers to get the best deal.
Day 2: Hong Kong Island
Our second day was spent in Hong Kong Island. Here are some highlights and tips:
- Breakfast at Lan Fong Yue, Central: Traditional English breakfast, get the egg toast and beef macaroni, milk tea is a must.
- Mid-levels escalators: an escalator system running through Central that totally saves your lazy ass in this hilly area. The area reminds me so much of San Francisco.
- Small shops and boutiques in Central: check out PMG, a creative hub on Aberdeen Street.
- Tram ride to the Peak: a Hong Kong must, the view is absolutely stunning, the tram goes straight 30-45 degree to Victoria Peak of Mount Austin.
- Causeway Bay: Sunset was beautiful. We had dinner at a place through a social network platform called Plate Culture suggested by a friend of My who is a Hong Kong resident. The experience was somewhat home-cooked mix fine dining, which was very interesting.
- Lan Kwai Fong, Central: For a different experience, instead of riding the subway, we took the old tram back from Causeway Bay to Central. It should take longer and is not covered by the 3 day pass but you can take a look at different neighborhoods alongside the island north shore (Wan Chai, Admiralty). When in Lan Kwai Fong, make sure yourself is dressed up if you want to go to high-end rooftop clubs. Local bars are fun too if you just want a casual night.
Day 3: Disney Land
We have a thing for themed park. Disney Land Hong Kong is not as big as the Disney World in Orlando we’ve been to couple years ago but the fireworks were still amazing, make sure you stay until 9PM but read Day 4 to get our advice on how to make the most of your day in Lantau Island. Our favorites in Disney were Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars (ride) and Lion King Festival (short musical).
Day 4: Ngong Ping 360 and Big Buddha
We made a huge mistake by going to Ngong Ping 360 on a Saturday. The line was terrible on the weekend even if you have booked your ticket online (still recommended though). We spent 2 hours queuing to get on to the cable car and same thing happened on our way back. Our recommendation is if you want to do both Disney Land and Ngong Ping, do them on the same weekday since they are both located in Lantau Island. You can depart Hong Kong or Kowloon early in the morning, visit Ngong Ping, have lunch at Taio village and spend the rest of the day in Disney Land. We don’t think you need to spend a whole day at Disney Land, we had to kill a couple of hours before the firework show since most of the rides and attractions were done by early afternoon.
Except for the long queue, we really enjoyed our day in Ngong Ping. The cable car ride took us over mountains and sea, the view was spectacular. The whole area really separates itself from the busy, fast-moving central Hong Kong.
We came back to Kow Loon to watch the Symphony of Light at 8PM, where buildings on Hong Kong Island skylight were all lit and could be seen from Tsim Sha Tsui. Make sure you come early if you want a good view but the light show was not impressive as we thought it would be.
Day 5: Tsim Sha Tsui
It was our last day in Hong Kong, our flight departed at 2 in the afternoon so we decided to spend the morning wandering around Tsim Sha Tsui area and visiting the nearby attractions including Avenue of Stars, Victoria Harbor, Clock Tower and Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade. After having lunch at Tsui Wah, a very popular restaurant chain in Hong Kong, we got a cab to get to Kowloon Station to catch the airport express. This station offers in-town check-in counter, where you can drop off your luggage between 24 hours to 90 mins before your flight departure time and go hand-free to the airport to enjoy some last minute shopping.
This surely will not be our last trip to Hong Kong since we were paying more attention to being touristy and visiting as many attractions as we could. We have heard a lot of praise for both local and world cuisines in Hong Kong so our next trip will be really focusing on exploring good food and new experience in this beautiful city.
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