72 hours in Hong Kong
Start your first day the Hong Kong way with congee and noodles; the combination of the wet porridge-like congee and the dry chow mein noodles is the perfect balance to start the day. You may have to queue for this one and expect to pay a little more than for the streetfood version ($260).
A short MTR ride North the vibrant shopping district of Mongkok. Take a walk through Ladies Market for bargains and knock-off clothing (it’s not just for ladies). 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.
Hong Kong institution, Tim Ho Wan, is the world’s cheapest Michelin-star restaurant so be prepared to queue. It’s worth the wait for their exceptional dim sum. 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).
For some posh nosh, visit the lobby of the prestigious Peninsula Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui and order the famous traditional afternoon tea. Sip and nibble while a string quartet plays in the background and take in the splendour and decor of the famous five-star hotel
When you’re tired of all that culture and need something to enliven your senses, head for 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.
The revamped Yau Ma Tei is the only surviving pre-War cinema in Hong Kong, and is now home to Cantonese opera shows exclusively. The intimate venue allows audiences to get up close and personal with the actors on stage, and many of its shows are accompanied by English subtitles so non-Cantonese speakers can enjoy the cultural experience. Pick up a ripe snack from the historic fruit market next door and enjoy the show!
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 for 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 proper wok burner. Food and beers are cheap. Enjoy!
Catch the historic Star Ferry over to Central, taking 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. This the iconic view of Hong Kong
72 hours in Hong Kong
Tian Tan Buddha (more commonly referred to just as the Big Buddha) took 12 years to plan and construct and 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 has made you peckish, refuel at neighbouring Ngong Ping Village for a traditional Buddhist vegetarian breakfast.
One of the few remaining fishing villages in Hong Kong, Tai O is home to the Tanka people who’ve built their homes on stilts in the waters off of Lantau Island. A majority of the community’s incomes derives from tourists visiting their markets, where you can shop for dried seafood and traditional Chinese snacks, and taking boat tours through the stilt houses.
Thanks to its modest size, you can easily complete the whole Disneyland within a couple of hours. 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. The happiest place on Earth awaits!
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.
The Notorious Lan Kwai Fong is the place to party in Hong Kong, or it’s the place to avoid, depending on how you look at it. It’s a must for a flying visit though. Bars are lively and pricey, so many people party “a la 7Eleven”. Grab a few cans and stand outside the bars, quietly smug about the fact that you got four beers for half the price that they got one.
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.
72 hours in Hong Kong
Start your day with a 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.
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.
In the South of Hong Kong Island is the fishing town of Aberdeen. Take a walk through the fish market and marvel at the variety of fish, kept alive 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.
Enjoy a night at Hong Kong’s city-centre racecourse. 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. Horses run every Wednesday during the season which runs from September to July. Check for updates on special themes for each race-day.