First time in Hong Kong? Or need an easy guide to take around your friends and family? This is just the guide for you. Here’s how to fit the city’s best restaurants, attractions and activities in your five-day schedule when you’re in town.
If you’re one to follow your own schedule, why not take a look at our list of best things to do in Hong Kong?
Start your day with an authentic classic Hong Kong-style yum cha. Lin Heung is one of the oldest traditional Cantonese restaurants in the city, serving only dim sum during the day and main courses at night. Be prepared to fight for your seat, and have others hover while you sample the goods.
Jump on one of Hong Kong’s iconic double-decker trams, also know as ding ding, and enjoy a trip along Hong Kong Island’s northern shore for only $2.4 —who needs Big Bus tours? Trams are one of the cities’ oldest modes of transportation, and the tracks pass many city icons including the historic Western Market, the skyscrapers of Central, Wan Chai’s remaining pawn shops and Victoria Park.
Get to the Peak via the Peak Tram to enjoy the best panoramic views of the city and capture postcard-worthy shots of Hong Kong evening skyline. You can choose to hike round the 3.5km Peak Circle Walk to get an amazing bird’s eye view of our incredible metropolis or pop over to Peak Galleria for restaurants, coffee-shops and even a shopping mall – this is Hong Kong after all.
What better way to end your first day in this city of contrasts than a two-Michelin star Cantonese dining served up in a fine art gallery. Boasting a spacious terrace and elegant interiors, the menu consists of comforting Cantonese staples such as baked abalone, crispy suckling pig, fried lobster and kumquat puffs, many with innovative twists.
Get yourself to notorious Lan Kwai Fong (LKF for short) early for happy hour drinks deals. Hong Kong’s ground zero for partying, it’s where you want to be on a Friday and Saturday night. Get ready to party hard with tourists, expats and locals alike in the city’s epicenter of debauchery.
Take a ride on the longest covered escalator system in the world which provides a unique commute for thousands each morning into the business district before switching direction for the journey home. Happily that means it saves you walking up the hill to all the fantastic bars and restaurants in the Soho area.
In the South of Hong Kong Island is the fishing town of Aberdeen. You can take a walk through the fish market and marvel at the variety, all kept live in overflowing tanks and buckets. Wear suitable footwear as there’s water everywhere. Next to the market is the pier where you can catch a free shuttle boat over to Jumbo Kingdom floating restaurant; it’s like a giant floating temple but with more lights. Tuck into a feast of fresh fish from the market on this most famous of floating landmarks.
The city’s original and most beloved theme park (sorry, Disneyland), Ocean Park is located on the southside of Hong Kong Island and home to two giant pandas. Hop on a cable car over dramatic cliffs to reach the many adrenaline-inducing rollercoaster rides.
Head over the Central ferry pier and catch the historic Star Ferry over to Tsim Sha Tsui. Once on board, you can take in the expansive views of the harbour in all directions – a great way to gain perspective on the city. The ferries are colonial relics but are also one of the quickest ways to get across the harbour.
Head up the ICC tower to Ozone, the highest bar in the world. Drinks are pricey up here but it’s all worth it for the view, there are stunning vistas of across the whole city, giving you some perspective over everything you’ve just seen. Try a martini, which at $95, is actually a good deal, given the location.
Taking place every Wednesday evening, Enjoy a night at Hong Kong’s city-centre racecourse for their regular Happy Wednesday shindig. This is one of the only places to gamble in the city (legally), and it’s a great night out. Grab a beer, try and figure out the betting system, and watch your horse come in on the big screen.
Start early and climb the 431 steps up to the 10000 Buddhas monastery. Each of the lifesize, gold-painted buddhas that line route is entertainingly unique. You’ll have a good laugh picking your favourites, and the view from the top is a breathtaking panorama of Sha Tin and surrounding mountains.
Travel back down to Kowloon and pop into the iconic Chungking Mansions — Hong Kong’s hub for minorities — for a spot of food. It’s cleaned up its dodgy reputation and has evolved into a hub for decent food, particularly for South Asian and African. Grab a cheap lunch and then head to the mall inside the building complex to shop for some bargain electronics.
An afternoon in some of Hong Kong’s fine museums will help you cool off whilst you soak up some culture. The Science Museum, Space Museum, and Museums of Art and History are all within walking distance from Tsim Sha Tsui.
A couple of blocks South is Mong Kok, a vibrant shopping district. Check out the Ladies Market for bargains and knock-off clothing. The Jade market is also nearby, or head to the eye-opening Goldfish Street Market to find all manner of watery fauna for sale: turtles, lizards and, of course, all manner of exotic fish, many suspended in handy plastic bags to take home.
A Hong Kong institution, Tim Ho Wan is the world’s cheapest Michelin-star restaurant and everyone’s go-to place for some exceptional dim sum. So be prepared to queue. Order a load of dishes so you can try as much as possible, and definitely include the char siu bao (baked pork buns - $12) and the famous crystal dumplings with chive and shrimp ($16).
Visit The Avenue of Stars, where you can hang out with (statues of) your Hong Kong favourite film stars. This is a great spot to watch the daily Symphony of Lights, a visual spectacle that uses the city’s towers as it’s canvas, with lights and lasers dancing and flashing synchronised with music and narration. The show starts at 8pm and lasts about 15 minutes.
Head to the night market for quality knock-offs of your favourite paintings and to stock up on your supply of cheaply manufactured sex toys. Stop off at a Dai Pai Dong when you’ve built up an appetite. These officially licensed street kitchens, are typically untidy and chaotic. Diners on the street on plastic stools and choose from a huge menu all prepared on a ferociously hot wok burner. Food and beers are cheap. Enjoy!
Hong Kong’s singular most recognisable and iconic attraction, Tian Tan Buddha (more commonly referred to as just the Big Buddha) proudly sits 34 meters up and offers a great view of Lantau Island to visitors who brave the 268 steps. Make sure you make a visit to Po Lin Monastery as well, one of the world’s most important Buddhist sanctums, rich with religious iconography and wafts of incense and try a traditional Buddhist vegetarian breakfast at the neighbouring Ngong Ping Village.
On the western shores of Lantau Island, Tai O Fishing Village provides a glimpse into Hong Kong’s past. Stilt houses extend into the water for a perfect photo opportunity, especially with the mountainous backdrop. The local Tenka people make their living from the traditional seafood market, which is well worth a look around.
Spend the rest of your day at the happiest place on Earth! Thanks to its modest size, you can easily complete the entire Disneyland within a couple of hours. Make sure you hit all the popular rides like Hyperspace Mountain and the newly installed Iron Man Experience and stay for the dazzling parade and fireworks in the evening.
Anyone can cook eggs, but no one does it better than the Australian Dairy Company. The breakfast set consists of fluffy and moist scrambled eggs served with rich buttery thick toast, and comes with a plate of macaroni along with char siu in chicken broth. Dine here for an authentic cha chaan teng experience.
Laid-back Lamma Island sits South West of Hong Kong Island, a mix of traditional fishing villages, and bohemian cafés and shops. There’s plenty of walking and cycling trails across the island; why not trek out to one of the numerous beaches, and take in the breathtaking sea views. The hiking trail that connects Yung Shue Wan to Sok Kwu Wan is a good and takes just over an hour on foot. Ferries leave from Aberdeen or Central, and take 30-45 minutes.
Treat yourself for your final meal in Hong Kong and end your trip in style. The two-Michelin star restaurant’s culinary director Richard Ekkebus dishes up some incredible creations that are beautifully plated and that use only the finest ingredients. The food served is classic French fine dining with modern touches and Asian twists. It’s unforgettable, as is the service.