Hong Kong is known for its towering business district, vibrant night life and multitude of shopping options. It is very easy to navigate around the city by using its well-connected city transport networks which include MTR (Subway), Bus, Ferry and Taxis.
Hong Kong consists of three main areas – Kowloon, Hong Kong Island and Lantau Island. Kowloon is the oldest region with highest density of people living; HK Island is home to high rise business district overlooking the bay, and Lantau Island has the famous Disneyland and Big Buddha.
Pic: Hong Kong main areas, picture from Google
There are multiple tours available online for pre-booking, but for me travelling and planning on my own (sans tours) has been filled with the best experience always.
Day 1: The Peak, Causeway Bay & Lan Kwai Fong
Day 2: Hong Kong Island Tour, Star Ferry & Mong Kok Night Market
Day 3: Disneyland OR Lantau Island Tour
Day 4: Macau (by Ferry)
The Peak deserves morning visit. Take the Peak tram which travels almost vertically at the angle of 4 to 27 degrees and offers great views uphill journey. Spend the morning on the Sly tower and enjoy scenic views. Post lunch take the tram back to downtown Hong Kong.
Next head to the Causeway Bay, which is a spectacular shopping district amidst the busy business zone. Shop till you drop and enjoy great coffee. If your hotel is nearby, it is preferable to go back to your place, keep your shopping bags and change for a great glass of cocktail. Leave for Lan Kwai Fong in the evening for dining and drinks.
Pic: Mong Kok district, view from Hotel
Pic: City view from Sky Tower (on 100th Floor)
Pic: Peak Tram Station, Hong Kong Island
Spend the second day touring the south side of the Hong Kong Island. Start with the traditional fishing village “Aberdeen”, visit the scenic Repulse bay and finally some local crafts shopping in Stanley Market. One can have lunch in the famous Floating restaurant in Aberdeen Harbor or try local recipes in nearby food stalls.
By evening return to the Victoria Harbor and enjoy the beautiful Star Ferry ride. The symphony of lights is a special light show viewed from the deck or the ferry but I wouldn’t recommend it so highly; rather simply enjoying the night ocean winds while on board the ferry in itself is a great way to relax.
Next head to the busy Mong Kok district for dinner and night market visit.
Pic: Hong Kong District night view on board Star Ferry
A full day dedicated to Disneyland (my favorite any time). It is a must go place irrespective of whether you are with kids or not. You can skip Disneyland and spend the day touring Lantau Island (Big Buddha and Ngong Ping 360) instead if you have been to Disneyland before.
Day 4 & 5:
Macau is an hour ride by ferry from Hong Kong. It is the known to be the Vegas of East, cause of its fast developing gambling scene. Visitors must not expect full on Vegas nightlife here, but a somewhat modest version of it. There are many well-known casinos (Venetian, City of Dreams, Sands etc.) in the area and one can spend a good day (and night) playing. Macau city center could be good visit for culture vultures, but I wouldn’t recommend it because a fun filled casino session would drain you out for any activity next day. It is better to spend the next day in pool, have brunch and head back to Hong Kong Airport.
Pic: City of Dreams casino in Macau
Pic: The Venetian
As an alternative, if you have the 5th day completely at your disposal (evening flights out), you can head back to Hong Kong and spend the day touring Lantau Island if not done earlier; before heading to the Airport.
This itinerary is already quite relaxed and one need not worry about going to spa. If you want to make the trip more adventurous, you can go for hiking in HK Island.
Now, the first question in any tourist’s mind always is – where to stay? Hong Kong has gazillion of hotels and hostels and with the advent of Airbnb and likes, there are variety of options to choose permitting one’s budget and area of choice. Please look forward to my next post on places to stay in Hong Kong.
I would also be writing about city transport, ferry rides and ticket bookings which should complete my very own “Hong Kong Guide by Wine & Whims”. Cheers!
Inbox me if you need any suggestions.