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In this Hong Kong itinerary we will discover that there is so much more to this famous city than just skyscrapers, world-class cuisine and shopping.

For example, did you know that the territory of Hong Kong is made up of over 250 islands, many of which with pristine tropical beaches and lush jungle? Read on to discover the real Hong Kong!

 

HONG KONG ITINERARY – SUMMARY

1 Day Hong Kong Itinerary

If you only have one day in Hong Kong then these are the must-see sights: Kowloon markets, Victoria Harbour, Star Ferry, Victoria Peak, Soho & Mid Levels.

2 Day Hong Kong Itinerary

Follow the 1 day itinerary and add Hong Kong Park, the village of Stanley, Repulse Bay and finish with a cocktail overlooking the harbour 30 floors up!

3 Day Hong Kong Itinerary

Follow the above for days 1 and 2 and add charming Lantau Island with its quiet beaches, hiking trails, big Buddha and authentic fishing villages.

4 Day Hong Kong Itinerary

On the fourth day we head to the wild New Territories for some exceptional hiking, picturesque beaches and seafood restaurants with the freshest catch!

Know before you go:

**As of May 2020 Hong Kong is still closed for visitors due to the Covid outbreak. I will update once it is possible to travel there again!**

Getting to Hong Kong

 

Hong Kong International airport is one of the busiest in the world with flights to destinations across the globe. The airport is situated on Lantua Island and is connected to the metropolitan area by MTR, bus and taxi.

If you are coming from China, there is a new fast train service from Shenzhen North Railway Station to Kowloon which reduces the journey time from hours to around 30 minutes.

 

Octopus Card

 

Even if you are only in Hong Kong for 1 day, it is useful to pick up an Octopus Card. The Octopus is not only useful for the MTR and buses, but can also be used on ferries, in shops and at attractions. At the end of your stay you can return it for a refund. The card costs 50HKD which is refundable. You can get one at any MTR station and some newsagents.

Is Hong Kong safe?

 

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past 6 months you have probably heard about the protests and riots that have afflicted Hong Kong. But are they a reason not to visit? As with travel anywhere, it pays to keep a close eye on the news and decide for yourself whether you are comfortable, but I don’t believe it should put you off visiting.

The protests have largely been kept to weekends and confined to small areas so I don’t see it as a reason to stay away. In fact, I have just returned from my fifth visit to Hong Kong in December 2019 and aside from a bit of graffiti on the streets and the closure of University MTR Station, the city felt exactly the same as it has on previous visits. You can read more about the situation in this article: Hong Kong Protests Explained for more info.

Pay attention to the news and avoid areas where protesters are known to gather and you will more than likely avoid any trouble. Hong Kong covers a huge area with plenty to do away from the centre so if you are worried, then you could choose to stay on one of the beautiful islands far from downtown area. It’s certainly not put me off going and I am planning another trip in January 2020.

Now, enough of the bad news and let’s discover my itinerary for Hong Kong with lots of insider tips!

1 Day Hong Kong Itinerary

Summary: Discover bustling Kowloon with its markets and street food before taking a walk down to Victoria harbour. Take the iconic Start Ferry across to Central and ascend Victoria Peak for impressive views across the harbour and out to sea. Finish off with a lively evening of food and drink in Soho and the Mid-Levels.

Kowloon Markets & Street Food

Start in Kowloon and explore the busy streets and markets where you are sure to find some bargains. This area is also packed with stalls selling some of the best street food in the world!

If you are coming from the airport take the airport express line (blue) on the MTR 5 stops to Kowloon and walk, or change to Line 1 (red) at Lai King and go 9 stops to Tsim Sha Tsui.

Tip: For some of the best eats in Hong Kong, check out this great guide!

Things to do in Kowloon: Shopping, markets and street food

Recommended Time: 1 to 2 hours

Nearest MTR: Tsim Sha Tsui

Victoria Harbour

From Kowloon you can walk down to the most famous of all the sights in Hong Kong; the iconic Victoria Harbour. The harbour stretches from Kowloon to Central on Hong Kong Island and affords magnificent views of the city.

Things to do at Victoria Harbour: Take in the views

Recommended Time: 1 hour

Nearest MTR: Tsim Sha Tsui

Star Ferry

There are a few ways of crossing the harbour to Hong Kong Island but none are as fun as the Star Ferry, which has been plying the waters of Victoria Harbour for well over 100 years. The journey time only takes 10 minutes and costs as little as $3 HKD with an Octopus Card.

The ferries run every 6 to 8 minutes from 06:30 to 23:30.

Journey Time: 10 minutes

Nearest MTR: Tsim Sha Tsui (Kowloon) and Admiralty (HK Island)

Victoria Peak

Victoria Peak (also known as Austin Peak or just “the Peak”) is the highest point on Hong Kong Island at 552 metres (1,811 feet). The views from the Peak are incredible as you can see not only the city and harbour, but also fantasic sea views dotted with islands. The best time to come to the peak is just before sunset so you can watch the sun sink into the ocean and the lights of the city below start to dazzle.

There is tram (funicular railway) that goes from Admiralty where you can either hike the myriad paths that criss-cross the peak, or take a series of elevators to the very top (Tip: this is a waste of money and you can experience the same views from the footpaths at the top).

You can reach the peak by tram, bus 15, taxi or even walking (moderate level of fitness required).

Things to do on Victoria Peak: Take the peak tram, hike around the peak for magnificent views.

Recommended Time: 2 to 4 hours

Nearest MTR: Admiralty

Peak Tram Lower Terminus: Cotton Tree Drive

Tram Cost: $45

Viewing Platform: $45

Soho and the Mid Levels

Soho is Hong Kong’s hip nightlife area where expats and tourists come to relax after a hard day’s working or sightseeing. You can find bars on every street especially along the mid-levels escalators that run through the area.

Things to do in Soho: eating and drinking/nightlife

Recommended Time: 2 hours +

Nearest MTR: Admiralty & Hong Kong

2 Day Hong Kong Itinerary

Summary: What to do in 2 days in Hong Kong? Follow the 1 day itinerary as above and for your second day in Hong Kong we will add Hong Kong Park, the village of Stanley, Repulse Bay and discover the best place to sip cocktails 30 floors above the harbour.

Hong Kong Park

Head to Hong Kong Park behind Admiralty MTR station. The park is an oasis beneath the shining skyscrapers which are partially hidden by large palm trees. Walk around the lake and see the hundreds of turtles sunbathing on rocks. There is a café/restaurant within the park and a visual arts centre.

Things to do in Hong Kong Park: escape the hustle of the city and se the wildlife in this tranquil park.

Recommended Time: 1 hour

Cost: free

Nearest MTR: Admiralty

Stanley Village & Peninsula

Stanley is a small village on the south side of Hong Kong Island. It is located on the Stanley Peninsula that juts out into the South China Sea. There is a small market, shops, restaurants and three small beaches all within walking distance. The bus ride from Central is stunning as it follows a coast road above Deepwater and Repulse Bays.

Things to do in Stanley: walk, swim, eat, drink

Recommended Time: 2 to 4 hours +

Cost: free

Bus: Take bus 6, 6A, 6X, 66 or 260 from Exchange Square Bus Depot in Central. Journey timeis 30 to 40 minutes.

Repulse Bay

The Lamborghini Garage as you enter Repulse Bay tells you what sort of place this is. But even if you are not rich and famous you can still enjoy this beautiful sandy beach overlooking rocky outcrops and islands. A great place for a swim year-round, especially in the quieter off-season months.

Things to do at Repulse Bay: walk, swim, eat, drink

Recommended Time: 1 to 2 hours

Cost: free

Bus: Take bus 6, 6A, 6X, 66 or 260 from Exchange Square Bus Depot in Central. Journey time is 25 minutes.

Eye Bar, Tsim Sha Tsui

The Eye Bar is located on the top (30th) floor of the iSquare Shopping Complex on Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui. It’s not the cheapest place in Hong Kong to eat or drink, but the views across the harbour are worth every penny. You can dine inside on a selection of Eastern and Western dishes and then retire to the roof terrace to sip cocktails above the city.

Address: 30th Floor, iSquare, 63 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui.

Nearest MTR: Tsim Sha Tsui or walk from the Star Ferry pier.

Cost: $$$ ( A bottle of Corona costs $80 HKD and cocktails are $120 HKD+)

3 Day Hong Kong Itinerary

Summary: Have 3 days in Hong Kong? Follow the 1 and 2 day Hong Kong itinerary as above and for day 3 lets discover Lantau Island, the second largest in the territory!

Lantau Island

Lantau Island is located roughly 10 kilometres west of Hong Kong Island. It is easily reachable by MTR, bus and ferry (the ferry is definitely the way to go). Lantau boasts some excellent hiking trails including Lantau Peak and Sunset Peak with incredible panoramas of the ocean and islands. Both hikes are pretty tough and require some level of fitness, but are worth the effort for the stunning views.

The pace is much slower on Lantau compared to the city and you can amble around traditional fishing villages like Tai O or trek into the jungle behind Silver Mine Bay. There are quiet beaches perfect for a swim and also the more touristy sites such as the Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery.

It is definitely worth spending the whole day on Lantau but to get the most out of a trip to the island consider staying overnight at one of the hotels or guesthouses.

Insider Tip: There is a hostel called the Sea Ranch on the South side of the island that is only accessible by boat or long trek through the jungle. The hostel is located right on a large beach which was completely empty when I visited earlier in 2019. There is another beach a 15 minute walk away that is even more picturesque, and at night you can even witness bioluminescent plankton if you are lucky (I was)!

Things to do on Lantau Island: Big Buddha, Silver Mine Bay, Fishing Village, Deserted Beaches.

Recommended Time: 1 to 2 days

How to get to Lantau Island:

Ferry: There are 4 ferries per hour to Lantau (2 fast and 2 slow). The fast ferry takes just 30 minutes and the slow one closer to an hour. Tickets are $15 and $30 respectively and can be paid by Octopus.

MTR: Take the Tung Chung Line (orange) from Hong Kong or Kowloon stations to Tung Chung. Here you can take a cable car to the Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery (tickets from $160HKD one way/25 minutes) or a bus to Mei wo, Tai O or the start of the hiking trails.

4 Day Hong Kong Itinerary

Summary: Have 4 days in Hong Kong? Follow the 1, 2 and 3 day Hong Kong itineraries as above and for day 4 we will discover the New Territories and some of the best beaches you could hope to find anywhere! 

Sai Kung Country Park

The New Territories refers to the area north of Kowloon that goes up to the Chinese border. The area includes hundreds of islands, gorgeous deserted beaches, ancient fishing villages and the best hiking in Hong Kong.

The town of Sai Kung has many seafood restaurants where you can pick your fish/seafood before it is brought to your table. You won’t find fresher anywhere else!

How to get to Sai Kung

First, take the MTR to Diamond Hill on the Kwun Tong line (green) and then change to bus 92 to Sai Kung. From there you can take bus 94 to Pak Tam Chung and start hiking the Maclehose Trail or take one of the ferries or speedboats to the gorgeous beaches that line the park.

Money and Costs in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is not a cheap city, but if you are sensible it doesn’t have to break the bank. 

You can get a bed in a dorm at one of the many hostels for around $100 HKD per night and hotel rooms start at double that for a simple room. 

Money Saving Tips

1. Ensure you pick up an Octopus Card!

2. Feast on street food or grab a picnic if you are heading to the outlying islands.

3. Search out bargains. The protests mean that a lot of hotels are much cheaper than they would normally be!

When is the Best Time to Visit Hong Kong

Hong Kong is located in the tropics and enjoys year-round warm weather.  Autumn, Winter and Spring are the best times to visit as you will avoid the intense heat and monsoons of the summer months.

Health, Safety & Insurance for Hong Kong

Even with the current unrest, Hong Kong is a very safe place for tourists provided you stay away from any trouble. There are however a few things to be aware of given the tropical location!

Hong Kong is home to a variety of venomous snakes from cobras to kraits. Wear sturdy boots when hiking and make noise so snakes can escape. Never put your hands where you can’t see such as under rocks or branches.

Hong Kong is a great place for swimming but leave all marine life well alone. Many of the city’s beaches are patrolled so swim where there is a lifegaurd station and shark nets (there haven’t been any shark related fatalities since 1995 and given overfishing, sharks are unlikely to be a threat again any time soon).

Our partners at World Nomads specialise in insurance for adventurous destinations and you can get a free no-obligation quote on their website or by filling in the form across the page.

Traveller Resources for Hong Kong

 

Accommodation

Booking.com
Trip.com

Insurance

World Nomads

Tours

Get Your Guide

Transport

Cheap Flights & Trains: Trip.com
Ferries: Direct Ferries

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