Hong Kong is one of the most exciting cities we have ever visited. Home to one of the best skylines in the world, this city of 7 million people can overwhelm even the most seasoned of travelers. While there’s so much to do, we’re here to help you make the most of your visit with a suggested itinerary for a long weekend in Hong Kong.
Climbing Victoria Peak
The best way to get your bearings for any city is to start with an overhead panoramic view. From the city center, catch the Peak Tram to the top of Victoria Peak. At 1,814 feet above sea level, this mountain gives you a bird’s-eye view of the city nestled between the South China Sea and the Pearl River Delta. An entire day can be spent at Victoria Peak, exploring its hiking trails, shopping in the multilevel mall at the Peak Tower, or enjoying the wax figures at Madame Tussauds wax museum.
Marveling at the light show
When night falls, make your way to the harbor and take a cruise to watch the world’s largest continuous light show. The show goes off every night at 8:00 p.m. During this spectacle, Hong Kong’s skyline is illuminated with neon lights and laser beams set to music. If you want to take photographs, there’s a great vantage point from the Hong Kong Cultural Center in the Kowloon District (if you are staying on Hong Kong Island, you can take the Star Ferry across to the Kowloon). Wherever you decide to go to watch the symphony of lights, make sure to arrive early to claim your spot; you’ll quickly be surrounded by fellow photographers carrying tripods and will have to fight to keep your position.
Soho area in Hong Kong
Once a run-down old apartment block, Soho is now the hot and trendy area of the city, filled with boutiques, bistros, and fine dining. Since the world’s longest escalator has been installed – it measures at 2,625 feet – getting around the steep streets of Soho has become a snap.
Nearby you can visit the Man Mo Temple, a tribute to the God of Literature. Famous for its giant hanging incense, visitors enter the temple and instantly smell the overwhelming perfume of the hundreds of coils dangling from the ceiling. Located on Hollywood Road, this area is also a great place to shop for antiques.
Putting on your shopping shoes
Hong Kong is filled with shopping malls to satisfy every type of shopper, but the walking streets are unique to China. These are pedestrian-only streets free from traffic and filled with vendors and storefronts. Mong Kok is Hong Kong’s most popular walking street; located on the Kowloon side of the city, it’s famous for the Ladies Market, which is a popular spot to haggle for bargain clothing and souvenirs. Here you will find everything from clothing and knock-off name brands to souvenirs and luxury jewelry. The best time to visit is at night.
For your final day in Hong Kong, get outside the downtown core and head to Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island to see the Big Buddha. Lantau Island can be reached by the MTR, where you’ll catch the cable car up to the monastery. Once there, you can walk up 262 steps to see the 111-foot-high sitting Buddha statue.
Viewfinder Tip: Hong Kong has one of the best skylines in the world; be sure to photograph it at night.
Dining in Hong Kong
End your day dining in Kowloon, where you can enjoy reasonably-priced authentic Chinese eats. While Hong Kong is filled with a host of international restaurants, you can’t leave the city without enjoying an authentic Cantonese meal. The best way to eat like a local is to go where the locals go. All we did when in Hong Kong was look for restaurants that were packed with people. If the locals are eating there, you can be sure that it’s delicious and affordable.
You’ll need a lot more than a long weekend to appreciate Hong Kong, but a couple of days in the city will give you the chance to see all the top attractions and get a taste of one of the most electric cities on earth.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you visit a city?