24 hours in Hong Kong
Tian Tan Buddha, more commonly referred to as just the Big Buddha) took 12 years to plan and construct, sits 34 metres up and offers a great view to visitors who brave the 268 steps. Next to the Buddha sits Po Lin Monastery, one of the world’s most important Buddhist sanctums, rich with religious iconography and wafts of incense. If climbing all those steps makes you peckish, refuel at neighbouring Ngong Ping Village for a traditional Buddhist vegetarian breakfast.
The Peak is the highest point on Hong Kong Island and offers the best panorama of the city, the view stretching from the skyscrapers of Central to the mountains of the New Territories. Waiting times can extend to two hours or more for the Peak Tram so check the queue and if it’s too long, take the bus to the top. This way you can take in the stunning view of the city without wasting your precious time!
Time for some culture. Head towards the skyscrapers you’ve just been looking down upon. Tucked away amongst all the chaos of the business district is the oasis of the Man Ho Temple. The historic temple is a mid-19th century Grade I historic building and a declared national monument. Slip inside and escape the madness for a few minutes of quiet contemplation.
Catch the historic Star Ferry over to the Kowloon side, taking in the stunning views of the harbour in all directions. The ferries are colonial relics but also happen to be one of the quickest ways to get across the harbour.
You’re in Hong Kong so you will be eating dim sum. You’re going to be queueing for this one, but Tim Ho Wan serves Michelin-star dim sum for the price of an M&S meal deal. You’re welcome.
Next head back down towards Mong Kok and check out the Ladies Market for bargains and knock-off clothing, the goldfish market for, well, looking at fishes hanging on a wall in a plastic bag, and the jade market for the biggest selection of jade and other precious stones you’ve ever seen.
While you’re here why not take in some more culture, head back to Tsim Sha Tsui where the Science Museum, Space Museum, and Museums of Art and History are all within walking distance. Take your pick!
If you can only visit one mall in Hong Kong, make it this one – with a skating rink on the top floor, a cinema, large glass windows offering views of Lion Rock. There’re more than 200 retail shops and restaurants to pick from, from high-end brands to local favourites, making Festival Walk a mecca for shopaholics.
That’s enough culture, time for a drink! 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.
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 stunning sound and light show played out across the city’s towers, including lasers, fireworks, and coloured LEDs, al dancing and flashing in time with the music.