Here is my 5-day itinerary
to Hong Kong 🇭🇰:
Note: Most of the items on my list are FREE!
* Paid items/ require purchase of ticket
Day 1: Kowloon Peninsula
- Try Dim Sum with the locals: I was blessed to have my best friend’s family introduce me to local culture, and her dad also taught me to use Chop sticks properly! I have since promised to only eat with chopsticks (however bad) when in HK!
- Temple Street night market
- Ladies Street night market
- Happy Valley
- Mongkok (mall and/or fashion hub)
- See the Hong Kong sky line from the Victoria Harbour
- Take the ferry to Central*
- Central Business District: Golden Bauhinia Statute and the waterfront
Day 2: Kowloon Peninsula (Day 2)
- Kowloon walled city park (Chin Dynasty Design)
- Wong Tai Shin Temple
- Nan Lian Gardens
- 10,000 Buddha Monastery
- Tsim Sha Tsui market
- Have to try the bubble waffle!
- Have some bubble tea too while you’re there.
- Tsim Sha Tsui promenade along the Victoria Harbour
Day 3: Central
- Wan Chai Market and/or the Wan Chai Historical Walk
- Pottinger street and mid-level escalators in Central
- Tai Kwun (former Victoria prison and Art Gallery)
- Free in June 2018 but required a sign up for crowd control purposes)
- Lai Kwan Fong- popular dining/partying district
Day 4: Victoria Peak and Central
- The Victoria Peak Garden
- Bird Garden and/or Hong Kong Garden
- Take the Peak Tram to the 360 degree observation deck for the greatest views of the city*
- The observation deck also has a shopping mall, and many restaurants
- Note: the lines to the Peak Tram are very long and may take half a day, so plan accordingly.
Day 5: Lantau Island
Note: all locations are close together and accessible by bus (15min max) or walking
- Tai O: fisherman’s village
- Bus to Ngong Pin Village
- Ngong Ping Village*: the cable car
- Note: You may take the cable car, although I found taking the bus to be quite scenic as well and more economical.
- Tian Tan Buddha- the Big Buddha
- Po Lin Monastery
- Wisdom Path and the Tea Garden
- If you are travelling to Hong Kong in the summer, then make sure to carry an umbrella at all times as June-July is usually the cyclone/monsoon season.
- On that point, familiarize yourself with the tropical cyclone warning signals: these are government declared ‘zones’ that caution the citizens. Some zones mean take caution while some advise to not go outdoors. Go to link for more information: http://www.hko.gov.hk/wxinfo/currwx/tc_gis_e.htm
- In some parts of Hong Kong, English may not be spoken. Don’t panick just yet, from personal experience you can get by with hand motions (to point at menu card pictures for example) or finding someone younger perhaps who does speak English. Also, if you do board the wrong bus, like me, and the driver does not speak English, do not panic, sometimes it is good to get lost and explore the city. Itineraries are simply advisory, am I right?!
- As a good policy, when travelling to a country where you do not know the language, always have your hotel/hostel address written in the local language in case you are ever in a situation where people don’t speak your language around you. (Shout outs to my best friend’s mother in HK to do that for me, and tell me about this!)
- Alone female travelers: Hong Kong is usually a safe place, however taking precautions never hurt anyone. I myself did get a few stares and I definitely felt out of place by walking around and discovering places.
- Be appropriately dressed for temples and monasteries, as religious places in Asia are quite conservative.
- Lock all valuables in your locker at the hotel/hostel.
- Don’t carry all your local cash with you at all times. Something I found super useful was my Canadian Bank’s partnership with HK banks to be able to withdraw money at a nominal fee of CAD $5 and a competitive exchange rate. Find out whether your bank allows this too.
- Try to not walk/travel alone at night. I know that’s super conservative/depressive but like my mom says, your safety is in your own hands. And most importantly, follow your instincts!
Hostel I stayed at:
I stayed The Inn in Wan Chai District, Central. It was a live neighborhood with plenty of historic buildings around (do the Wan Chai Historic walk if you’re into that). The rooms were tiny, as expected in HK, with 6 beds (3-tier) in a small room, bathroom ensuite. The staff was kind, and I met a lot of other backpackers, with who I ended up travelling around HK with too.
Public transportation is big in HK, with MTR (the subway system) being one of the best in the world! The buses are also very connected, and the routes are easy to understand. The maps to each are available in English.
To cross over between Central and Kowloon Peninsula, the Star Ferry is great option: both as a touristic way to see the gorgeous skyline, but also a fast and cheap option to go to the other side.
The Star Ferry terminal is a 5min walk from my hostel, although I don’t think google showed the right directions. I just sought off walked and figured out a shorter way. If you wish to cross over to the Kowloon side, ferry and bus are a little cheaper than taking the Metro (June 2018) but sometimes the MTR is simply faster and was a obvious choice.
From and to the Airport:
The MTR is connected to the Airport, as well as many express bus routes from many different parts of HK. The express bus route that I took costed $HKD40. See link for prices: https://www.hongkongairport.com/en/transport/to-from-airport/airport-express.page
Ubers and taxis are also an option, but not the most economical one.
Do reach out to me if you have any further questions or would like to know more about my experiences in Hong Kong!
Until next time, Hong Kong!