Hong Kong has long been a gateway into China and other parts of Asia. British explorers marveled at the natural beauty and protection offered by Victoria Harbour. The city’s location at the mouth of the Pearl River has helped Hong Kong become a major center for commerce, trade, and manufacturing. When factories started to leave the city in search of cheaper labor on the mainland, Hong Kong responded by developing into Asia’s premier financial center. Through it all, Hong Kong has maintained a remarkable identity and culture. It is a fabulous destination that offers visitors a wealth of options. From luxury shopping and fine dining to pristine natural parks, Hong Kong remains Asia’s gateway city.
Planning a trip to Hong Kong means deciding where to focus your attention. Urban explorers will revel in the dense concrete jungles in Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. Nature enthusiasts will find the outlying islands or more remote parts of the New Territories irresistible. Foodies can wander the many neighborhoods in search of local cafes or spend their time in Wan Chai and Central dining at luxury restaurants. This guide aims to provide travelers with different ways to organize a visit to Hong Kong. Whatever your fancy, there is always more to see and do. Time-limited travelers should plan wisely to maximize their enjoyment.
Those traveling to Hong Kong for the first time will want to indulge in and around the bustling Victoria Harbour. Hong Kong is known for its high standard of living. The many shops and upscale restaurants near the harbor are a testament to this development. Commercial banks dot the skyline and the entire city dazzles at night. If you have a few more days, consider venturing to one of the outlying islands or maybe an amusement park like Hong Kong Disneyland or Ocean Park. The following general itineraries will help give you some idea of things to do.
Spend your time in Tsim Sha Tsui. Find a spot to enjoy a morning tea then explore the great shopping on offer at Harbour City. Afterwards stroll down by the water near the Hong Kong Cultural Centre where you can enjoy one of the best views of the city’s impressive skyline.
After lunch, hop aboard the Star Ferry and cross the harbor to Hong Kong Island. You will arrive in Central where you can navigate along the elevated walkways towards Hong Kong Park. Explore the park for a bit before taking a ride on the Peak Tram up to Victoria Peak, the highest point on Hong Kong Island. Here you can enjoy more shopping and the chance to visit the world-famous Madame Tussauds Max Museum. There is a circular trail around the peak, along which you can snap more amazing pictures of the city. Take the tram or a minibus back down to Central and enjoy a stroll around.
Depart early for the Ngong Ping 360 cable car on Lantau Island. If you’re feeling brave, you can take one of the glass bottom cars for a thrilling ride over the island below. From the cable car station, head to the famous Tian Tan Buddha and Po Lin Monastery. Work up an appetite by climbing the stairs to the massive sitting Buddha statute. On your way back down, head towards the Monastery where the monks will have excellent vegetarian food on offer.
From Po Lin, travel down to Tai O Fishing Village where you can see the famous houses on stilts and take a boat ride around this authentic Hong Kong village. From Tai O, you can take the ferry to Tung Chung and catch the MTR back to Hong Kong Island and Central. Spend time wandering around Central and Wan Chai where you can find some great shopping and things to eat before turning in for the night.
Spend the day recreating around the southern parts of Hong Kong Island. Here you can enjoy the amusement rides at Hong Kong Ocean Park. Alternatively you can relax on the beach at Repulse Bay or explore around Aberdeen and South Horizons. Depending on your fancy, there are ferries available to nearby Lamma Island, where you can enjoy the slower pace and more vacation-like atmosphere in the smaller villages and on the beaches. In the evening take a ferry back to the MTR in South Horizons or ride the ferry to Hong Kong Island.
Get an early start and venture out to one of Hong Kong’s most beautiful nature areas for some hiking. From the MTR Diamond Hill Station, take bus 92 to towards Sai Kung Peninsula. From Sai Kung catch bus 94 towards Wong Shek pier and get off at Pak Tam Chung Station. The Sai Kung Peninsula features some of Hong Kong’s most pristine natural scenery. As you hike around the High Island Reservoir, you can enjoy the rich waters and beautiful coastline. Return to Central in the early evening for dinner and some leisure.
Your final day in Hong Kong is best spent in Kowloon or on Hong Kong Island where there are a wealth of shopping, dining, and attractions to explore. Use this day to find any souvenirs you want to buy or to just relax and wander around urban Hong Kong. Finish your day early or stay out a little later for some of the city’s night life.
Hong Kong is a place like few others. The sheer diversity of experiences on offer nearly boggles the mind. No matter who you are, there is something for you in Hong Kong. The remarkable scenery is matched by the friendliness of the people. Hong Kong has long been an international city. Its tourist infrastructure is highly developed. You can easily navigate around and find what you need. Hong Kong is hands down one of the world’s great cities. There’s never been a better time to visit!