Hong Kong was my first stop on my first trip around the world. I was 19 years old and super nervous about being in this strange city alone, I bought myself a Berlitz Pocket Guide, booked a hostel downtown and planned everything before I left home. I had nothing to be scared of! The people were friendly, I felt safe walking around alone, even at night. I met two very awesome Malaysian girls and we spent the weekend exploring together. I love this city! Even with three days you can still see a lot, but maybe add an extra day to visit the Hong Kong Disney!
Make sure your flight lands early enough that you have most of the day to explore. The airport itself is fantastic, transport into the city is hassle-free and the locals are more than happy to direct you in the right direction. I would recommend finding a hostel, guesthouse or hotel located in Tsim Sha Tsui, within walking distance of the main downtown attractions, Nathan Road has a few good picks.
Spend your first day getting to know the area. Take a stroll along the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade and see if you can find Jet Li and Jackie Chan along the Avenue of Stars. Find yourself a nice place for lunch before taking to the streets of the Ladies Market in Kowloon, where you can barter for anything. When the sun starts to set, head over to the Temple Street Night Market, buy a souvenir and have your fortune told. If you make it back to the waterfront in time, you’ll be able to catch the Symphony of Lights, an incredible nightly multimedia show. Listen to the music and narration of Hong Kong’s story while watching over 40 buildings on both sides of the harbour light up to the beat.
Get up early and grab yourself some breakfast on the way to the Star Ferry pier in Tsim Sha Tsui. The Star Ferries have been in operation since 1888 and what better way to enjoy the harbour views and reach Hong Kong Island than by boat. Walk though the winding city streets to the base of Victoria Peak, hop aboard The Peak funicular railway and enjoy the views as you slowly climb to the highest point on the island. There are plenty of vantage points but the best way to see the city below is the 3.5km Peak Circle Walk. If it’s foggy in the morning don’t worry, it normally burns off around 1pm.
You can walk or ride back down to the city streets, when you get there be sure to take a stroll along the historic antique shops of Cat Street, and don’t miss seeing the famous Bank of China from street level. On your way back to the waterfront stop by the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center to admire this major landmark, and the beautiful Golden Bauhinia, the emblem of Hong Kong. Take the Star Ferry back to the mainland at sunset for spectacular views of the city skyline.
It’s time to get out of the hustle and bustle of downtown. Hop on the MRT all the way back to Lantau Island. It’s tempting to get off at Disneyland… but if you can resist the urge an amazing adventure awaits. Climb aboard the Ngong Ping 360 cable car as it winds above the towering mountains, the first thing you see in the distance is a statue of Buddha, and as you arrive at your destination you’re immersed in the culturally themed village of Ngong Ping.
Fill yourself up on traditional food and follow the smell of incense towards the Po Lin Monastery and its beautiful garden. Climb the 268 stairs to gaze upon the giant bronze form of the Tain Tan Buddha and enjoy the panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. When you’ve had your fill of ancient tradition make sure you catch the cable car back at sunset to end the day.
If you have anything you would recommend during a short trip to Hong Kong then tell me in the comments below!
Click here to view the full album on Flickr.