Hong Kong Itinerary: FUN Beyond The Concrete (14 Days Guide!)

Man with bicycle in Hong Kong's New Territories
Cycling in The New Territories with my local friend; favourite part of my recent Hong Kong itinerary.

Looking for a suitable Hong Kong itinerary is no mean feat if it’s your first time in one of the most densely populated regions on earth

With a long-held image of a concrete jungle of high rises, an intense work ethic and a jostling population, HK is often written off as a mere stopover place, or a convenient connecting hub for the traveller’s final destination. 

While it’s undeniable that the modern city is awash with concrete and steel, there is much more to this part of the world and after visiting the place 5 times, I can honestly say I think it’s a little misunderstood.

With peaks to summit, local delicacies to sample, and the popular tourist hot spots (plus some lesser-known activities) to tick off the list, this guide will take you through a detailed 14-day Hong Kong itinerary so you can make the most out of your time on this underrated island nation

Where is Hong Kong?

Hong Kong is an administrative area that sits just off the southern coast of China, looking out to the South China Sea and slap-bang amongst the Pearl River Delta. Halfway between the Vietnamese border and the island of Taiwan, its location as an international port has been the making of the city/country, and Hong Kong itself, for centuries. 

Disconnected from the Chinese mainland by a narrow river, Hong Kong is now connected to its neighbouring country by a series of bridges and modern highways. 

Is Hong Kong a City or a Country?

On paper, Hong Kong is a city that is a “Special Administrative Region” under the control of China. It is not recognised by The United Nations as an official country. The UN list is something that I admittedly use in my lifetime goal to visit ‘every country,’ but seeing so they have become an absolute joke over the last few years, I don’t always take their word as 100%.

That being said, their list tends to make sense most of the time and defining what makes a country an official country is often more complex than it sounds.

The case for Hong Kong’s autonomy is a rather unique one as it falls under the ‘one country, two systems’ notion. Interestingly, you have to obtain a Chinese visa to visit mainland China whereas you can hop in and out of Hong Kong as you please with relevant ease (I flew from China to Hong Kong and the plane left interestingly from the ‘domestic’ side’ of the airport).

They have a separate flag, are in control of their own foreign affairs, have their own currency, their own passport and there seems to be an age disparity in who identifies as Chinese within Hong Kong.

For me, Hong Kong is both a city and a country. Chinese nationalists (amongst others) will disagree and that’s fine by me. I’m just a pleb with a travel blog, but the beauty of me not belonging to an institution is I can write what I want and have the right to be wrong. 

For context; I will refer to Hong Kong in this article as both a city and a country interchangeably.

Why Hong Kong is a Misunderstood “Concrete Jungle”

When you think of the metropolis of Hong Kong, giant skyscrapers and congested streets probably come to mind. While there’s no denying the hustle and bustle, and the numerous superstructures that make up the city and suburbs, Hong Kong’s reputation as only a concrete jungle is a little outdated.

Stretching across more than 400 square miles, Hong Kong has often been documented for its urban spaces and downtown city architecture. However, most of Hong Kong’s urban development is concentrated around the Kowloon Peninsula, Hong Kong Island and a variety of new towns peppered across the island.

Away from these concentrated built-up areas, Hong Kong enjoys vast open spaces of grassland, woodland, shrubland, and family-owned farmland. There’s very little flat land in the country, and much of the northern open spaces in Hong Kong are hilly and mountainous. 

Aside from these terrains, the other 40% of the whole island is made up of country parks and nature reserves, which are brimming with plant and animal life.

These open green spaces are at odds with what we may think of when we picture Hong Kong. And, with so much of our perception of Hong Kong created by its inner-city urban buildings, it is easy to forget the wild and nature-sensitive areas that exist here.

Possessing a full and verified Hong Kong itinerary such as this will help you dispel this myth of the concrete jungle and allow you to see much more of the country’s diversity. 

Is it Safe To Travel To Hong Kong?

Hong Kong has long been viewed as an overall safe place to both visit and live, with serious crime rates sitting at impressively low levels compared to most nations in the West. This still remains true, and other than the usual advice on being aware and using your common sense, you should feel safe while you’re making your Hong Kong itinerary a reality.

What has risen to the surface over the past couple of years which has changed Hong Kong’s ultra-safe reputation is the resurgence of political turmoil in the country. 

After Hong Kong was handed back to China from Britain in 1997, it immediately adopted the ‘One country, two systems’ policy. This meant that although officially part of China, Hong Kong would retain its own judicial regulations and independent laws.

In 2019, policies changed in Hong Kong’s Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, making it easier for fugitives to be extradited to mainland China. Many citizens of Hong Kong took issue with this policy, stating that the judiciary system and human rights protection in China is not to be trusted due to its history of suppressing political dissents.

Many Hongkongers considered this to be a blatant approach by China to take Hong Kong further into its control and influence. Protests broke out against the legislation and developed into further pro-democracy riots

With the images blasted around world media, Hong Kong’s period of unrest saw massive riots and high levels of clashing between protestors and police. Hong Kong’s government cracked down hard on the protests, with numerous examples of excessive force being used and even fatalities taking place.

Although the recent pandemic and political force have brought a general end to larger-scale uprisings, it is something that any visitor to Hong Kong should be aware of. All this being said, the protests are more against the Chinese government and the locals are a very civilised bunch of people who don’t take out their frustrations on visiting tourists.

Getting To Hong Kong

As an isolated island on the southern Chinese coast, there are limited options when it comes to getting into Hong Kong. One of the easiest, quickest, and undeniably most popular, ways to get into the country and start your Hong Kong itinerary straight away is to fly directly. 

Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) welcomes flights from across the globe, many of which are direct from Europe, Australia, and North America. 

This includes a 12-hour flight from London Heathrow (LHR) or Frankfurt (FRA), a 9-hour flight from Sydney (SYD) or direct flights from the USA from any of the following airports, most of which are run by Cathay Pacific:

  • Boston (BOS)
  • Chicago (ORD)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) 
  • New York City (JFK) 
  • San Francisco (SFO). 

If you’re already in China and don’t fancy catching a flight, there are several land-based options too:

  • MTR. One of the easiest ways to cross the border is to jump on the subway that connects the two islands. You’ll need to make your way to the Luohu or Futian borders for this and it’ll cost around 35 HKD.
  • Bus. Tonnes of companies cover the journey between China and Hong Kong, crossing one of the bridges that connect the two. First, you’ll need to make your way to Shenzhen Bay and Huanggang borders, where you’ll find coach-style buses to hop on. A one-way crossing will cost around 55 HKD for a seat on a plush coach.
  • Train. You can only get a train into Hong Kong from Guangzhou, which will drop you at Luohu station. These depart every thirty minutes and cost around 200 HKD each way. 
  • Ferry. The Shekou Ferry Terminal runs regular boats from Shekou to Central in Hong Kong that will set you back around 140 HKD each way and takes around 45-minutes. 
  • Taxi. Some local taxi companies will take you across the border for between 250 HKD to 450 HKD per car depending on where you’re starting from. 

Best Time of Year To Visit Hong Kong

It’s not hard to see the beauty in Hong Kong all year round, with each month and season offering its own unique attractions. This being said, some parts of the year tend to be more attractive for exploring and dodging the crowds that make this part of the world so famous.

There’s a general consensus that Autumn in Hong Kong is the best time to visit, which rolls out between late September and November. During this time, the region takes on a temperate climate and low humidity with very little chance of a thunderstorm appearing. Just keep in mind that you may have to deal with busy streets during the first week of October, as there tends to be an influx of Chinese tourists during this period.

Visiting Hong Kong during the shoulder season of March to May is also a great option if you’re someone who likes to avoid the crowds. Hong Kong’s springtime offers up a pleasant mixture of wonderfully sunny days as well as foggy, rainy, and stormy days, so it’s worth packing your suitcase for all weather eventualities. The trade-off to avoid the hordes of tourists makes visiting Hong Kong during this time all the more worth it.

Languages Spoken in Hong Kong

The most common language in Hong Kong is Cantonese, spoken as a first language by 88.9% of the population at home daily. As the standard language, Cantonese is spoken everywhere, on daily broadcasts, in schools and in day-to-day communication.

Due to the fact that Hong Kong spent one and a half centuries under British rule, English is also widely spoken and understood by a large part of the Hong Kong population. Often, you’ll notice that many of the signs in Hong Kong have both Cantonese characters and English wording underneath. 

There’s also a phenomenon known as code-switching, which incorporates both English and Cantonese into one sentence. Essentially, it’s a number of English words with a Cantonese-accent twist on them.

Apart from English and Cantonese, the influx of immigration from mainland China, especially close to the border, has seen an increase in Mandarin being spoken in Hong Kong. This is usually seen in the more touristic aspects of the region as Hong Kong is firmly on the Chinese tourist trail. 

Key Phrases

Though English is widely understood by many Hong Kong residents, learning a few key phrases of Cantonese will allow you to get through your Hong Kong itinerary a lot smoother. It will also endear you to the locals and show a level of respect for their country and culture. 

Here are a few Cantonese phrases that will help you get by in Hong Kong.

  • Hello – Nei how
  • Thank you – Mm goy / Doh jeh 
  • Good morning – Zou san 
  • Excuse me (to get past someone) – Mm goy
  • Do you speak English? – Nei sik gong ying man ma? 
  • Sorry – Dui mm jyu 
  • Where is the restroom? – Qi sor hai bin dou? 

How To Get a Tourist Visa For Hong Kong

Before you can get stuck into your Hong Kong itinerary, you’ll need to get your hands on a tourist visa. The complexities of this will all depend on where you’re coming from and how long you want to stay on this island nation. 

More than 170 nationals can visit Hong Kong visa-free for between seven and 180-days:

If you’re from the following countries you can enter Hong Kong visa-free for 180 days:

  • UK
  • Macau

If you’re from the following countries you can enter Hong Kong visa-free for 90 days:

  • All European Union citizens
  •  Andorra
  •  Antigua and Barbuda
  •  Argentina
  •  Australia
  •  Bahamas
  •  Barbados
  •  Belize
  •  Botswana
  •  Brazil
  •  Brunei
  •  Canada
  •  Chile
  •  Colombia
  •  Dominica
  •  Ecuador
  •  Egypt
  •  Eswatini
  •  Fiji
  •  Grenada
  •  Guyana
  •  Iceland
  •  Israel
  •  Jamaica
  •  Japan
  •  Kenya
  •  Kiribati
  •  Liechtenstein
  •  Malawi
  •  Malaysia
  •  Maldives
  •  Mauritius
  •  Mexico
  •  Monaco
  •  Namibia
  •  Nauru
  •  New Zealand
  •  Norway
  •  Papua New Guinea
  •  San Marino
  •  Seychelles
  •  Singapore
  •  South Korea
  •  Saint Kitts and Nevis
  •  Saint Lucia
  •  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  •  Switzerland
  •  Tanzania
  •  Tonga
  •  Trinidad and Tobago
  •  Turkey
  •  Tuvalu
  •  Uruguay
  •  United Kingdom (except British citizens and British nationals (overseas))
  •  United States
  •  Vanuatu
  •  Venezuela
  •  Zambia
  •  Zimbabwe

If you’re from the following countries you can enter Hong Kong visa-free for 30 days:

  • Armenia
  •  Bahrain
  •  Belarus
  •  Bolivia
  •  Cape Verde
  •  Costa Rica
  •  Dominican Republic
  •  El Salvador
  •  Guatemala
  •  Honduras
  •  Indonesia
  •  Jordan
  •  Kuwait
  •  Morocco
  •  Oman
  •  Paraguay
  •  Panama
  •  Peru
  •  Qatar
  •  Samoa
  •  Saudi Arabia
  •  South Africa
  •  Thailand
  •  Tunisia
  •  Uganda
  •  United Arab Emirates

If you’re from the following countries you can enter Hong Kong visa-free for 14 days:

  • Albania
  •  Algeria
  •  Benin
  •  Bhutan
  •  Bosnia and Herzegovina
  •  Burkina Faso
  •  Chad
  •  Comoros
  •  Djibouti
  •  Equatorial Guinea
  •  Gabon
  •  Guinea
  •  Haiti
  •  India
  •  Kazakhstan
  •  Lesotho
  •  Madagascar
  •  Mali
  •  Marshall Islands
  •  Mauritania
  •  Micronesia
  •  Mongolia
  •  Montenegro
  •  Mozambique
  •  Niger
  •  North Macedonia
  •  Palau
  •  Philippines
  •  Russia
  •  Sao Tome and Principe
  •  Serbia
  •  Suriname
  •  Ukraine
  •  Vatican City

If you’re from the following countries you can enter Hong Kong visa-free for 7 days:

  • East Timor

If you are planning to stay any longer than the duration specified above, or if you’re not on the list above, you’ll need to apply for a visa extension at your nearest Chinese consulate.

Getting Around Hong Kong

When it comes to making your way through this Hong Kong itinerary, you’re going to need to know how to get from A to B. A modern country, Hong Kong is home to a huge range of transport options, including taxis, trams, trains, ferries and more. 

Here’s a look at the many different ways of getting around Hong Kong; feel free to use all of them as you explore this slightly misunderstood place.

Airport Express

One of the first modes of transport you’ll undoubtedly need to use is the Airport Express, which will help you get from the airport in the west of the island into the centre of Hong Kong, which is 21-miles away. 

The Airport Express is one of the world’s leading airport railway systems and will get you from the airport to Hong Kong’s CBD in a mere 24 minutes, for around 115 HKD.

Taxis

Taxis are one of the easiest ways to get around in the city and wider region, but they are one of the more expensive options. Local taxis can be hailed almost anywhere in Hong Kong with the flick of your wrist, but do be aware that there are some restricted areas in the city too. 

Taxis are clean and air-conditioned in Hong Kong and are categorised by three colours, each indicating the geographical area that they operate in:

  • Red taxis operate throughout most of Hong Kong, except for Tung Chung Road on Lantau Island and on the entire south side of Lantau Island. 
  • Green taxis only operate in the New Territories and new towns. 
  • Blue taxis only operate on Lantau Island. All taxis have metres and will charge per km as they complete your journey.

The usual suspects for modern taxi apps can be found in Hong Kong (more on that in our upcoming app section).

Trams

In a world where the humble tram system seems to be dying out, Hong Kong champions this mode of travel better than anywhere else; in fact, it was awarded the Guinness World Record for the ‘largest double-decker tram fleet in service’ in 2021.  

The trams system operates in the northern corridor of Hong Kong Island through to the Western District, Wan Chai, Happy Valley, Causeway Bay and North Point. No matter how far you travel on Hong Kong trams, you will be charged one flat fare, around 3 HKD. They also accept the Octopus Card, which I’ll get to later on. 

Ferries 

Made up of numerous islands and water channels, it is no surprise that ferries are a common and helpful form of travel in Hong Kong. 

Regular ferry routes operate to and from Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the outlying Islands. One of the ferries that are worth going out of your way to experience is that which runs between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. It not only provides a quick way of travelling between the two, but it also offers pretty views of the surrounding harbours and coastlines.

Each of the ferries’ fees varies between upper and lower decks, and also between weekdays and weekends, but fares start from around 2.5 HKD. You can pay for your token ticket at the barriers before boarding, using cold, hard cash or the Octopus Card.

Buses and Minibuses

Buses are numerous throughout Hong Kong and are an efficient way of getting around the cities and built-up areas. The double-decker buses also provide great views of the sights, especially from the top deck. You’ll need to pay your fare as you board, handing over exact change or by using the Octopus Card.   

Minibuses are also a handy way to get around Hong Kong. Carrying around 19 passengers, minibuses are divided into two kinds, Green and Red. 

Green minibuses operate on a set route and can be paid for in exact change or with your Octopus Card. Red minibuses operate along routes that are not always fixed, and passengers can get on and off anywhere along the route. Most red buses will offer change for small notes.

Octopus Card

 Getting yourself an Octopus Card is essential for your Hong Kong itinerary and is a must-purchase even if you’re only visiting for a couple of days. These prepaid cards allow you to travel cash free on all of Hong Kong’s public transport and can also be used in some convenience stores and shops. 

There are two types of Octopus Card, the tourist card and the on-loan one. You can buy the tourist Octopus Card for around ​​HK$39 without any deposit and, you can even use it again if you ever return to the country. 

The on-loan Octopus Card can be obtained with a refundable deposit of HK$50, though a handling charge will be charged if you fail to return it within 90 days.

Currency in Hong Kong

Hong Kong uses the Hong Kong Dollar, which comes in 10, 50, 100, 500 and, the very rarely used, 1000 denominations. Coins are divided into 1, 2 and 5 dollar coins and 10, 20 and 50 cent coins. The Hong Kong dollar (HKD) is pegged to the US dollar at a rate of about 7.80 HKD to 1 USD (as of October 2021).

ATMs are available all over the place and Visa, Mastercard and American Express are widely accepted all over the place. 

Getting a Sim Card

Once you’ve landed in Hong Kong, one of the first things you’ll want to do before starting your Hong Kong itinerary is get yourself a sim card. It’s generally important to ensure your phone is unlocked and can accept any sim card before you leave your home country.

Deciding which sim package to get can be a little tricky and will all depend on what you want out of it and how long you are going to be in the country. 

For a short period of time in Hong Kong, it’s best to get yourself a SmarTone prepaid sim card. This will give you unlimited data per day for 24 HK$.

To cut out all the hassle of buying a sim card in the country, you can have your Hong Kong sim card shipped straight to you before you leave by ordering it online. If you want to wait until you arrive in Hong Kong, you can buy a sim card right away at the airport; there are multiple stores here that sell sim cards for tourists, though it may be harder to find a good deal. 

You can buy sim cards at a store called SongWifif and at the numerous 7-11s that sell them too. If for any reason, you can’t or don’t purchase a sim card at the airport, you can go to any of the official mobile internet provider stores in any of the malls; they will also help you register the sim in an impressively fast fashion.

Hong Kong really has their tech shit together, SIM and Wi-Fi really are no extra stress when considering your Hong Kong itinerary plans. 

Best Apps To Take On Your Trip to Hong Kong

With any trip, it’s good practice to prepare yourself for every eventuality and having a useful set of apps on your phone is one way of doing this in today’s tech-crazy world. 

From the more obvious ones to the Hong Kong specific, there are numerous apps that can help you get the best out of your Hong Kong itinerary.

Let’s break down a few of the best apps to download before you set out on your Hong Kong adventure.

Cantonese Language App

As most of us will probably struggle to get a grasp of the Cantonese language, downloading a language app onto your phone is a great tool to have at your fingertips. 

Numerous apps are out there that will not only translate words for you but provide voice recognition too. An app like this will help you directly translate conversations with non-English speaking Hong Kong residents, which could help you get by on taxi journeys or local shops when things are a little lost in translation.

Again, English speaking is prevalent across Hong Kong but having some Cantonese in your locker can only be a good thing. 

Uber

While taxis are plentiful in and around Hong Kong, downloading and using Uber can sometimes be an easier option. The taxi fares may be a little higher when using Uber, but you will have the advantage of typing in your pickup point and drop off destination, taking out the hassle of trying to explain this to your driver. 

Another advantage of using Uber is the fact that you can choose between different types of cars, from a regular car, a nice car, or a bigger six-seater and you can order one when you’re a little off the beaten track.

MTR App

The Mass Transit Railway and subway are a great way to get around Hong Kong. This app grants you access to a trip planner, and a map to find certain locations inside the station and it even marks where the exits are. 

If you’re changing lines, it will also tell which carriage to be in to make the smoothest transition. With the MTR app being free to download and use, it’s an ideal tool to have in your pocket, even if you don’t get around to using it. 

Google Maps

A firm favourite amongst travellers anywhere, Google Maps is the best comprehensive maps service throughout Hong Kong and China. Even without a Wi-FI connection or data on your phone, you can simply download maps of the city to use offline when you’re setting about on your Hong Kong itinerary.

Is Facebook Banned in Hong Kong?

No, unlike mainland China (which has banned Facebook and Google for their citizens) you are able to access your Facebook (and Insta and Google) account while travelling in Hong Kong.

Why Did I Choose a 14 Day Itinerary For Hong Kong?

I’ve been to Hong Kong quite a few times now, sometimes with little time and it was too rushed and on other occasions, I had 2-3 weeks there with more time and liberty to do my own thing.

After exploring what this country has to offer I packed all the cool things in and it came out as a 2 weeks Hong Kong itinerary (with a really cool bonus option at the end of it). If you have less time for your Hong Kong trip, simply pick and choose what sticks out to you and prioritise them for the time that you have….you can always come back.

Things To Do: The Ultimate Adventure Hong Kong Itinerary

Having two weeks to carry out your Hong Kong itinerary will ensure you see the best that the city and region have to offer. If you don’t have fourteen days to spend travelling to Hong Kong, you are more than able to pick and choose from this long list of activities and create your own shorter Hong Kong itinerary.

Let’s jump straight into it and see what adventure travel options are out there for your personalised Hong Kong itinerary…

Day 1: Exploring Both Sides of Hong Kong  

On your first day, you’ll be dipping into delicious dim sum, checking out a famous building and working off those calories with a nice little hike.

Monster Building

One of the most recognisable structures in all of Hong Kong, Montane Mansion or the Monster Building as it is now affectionately known, epitomises life within the crowded city centre. A tightly packed series of apartments, the Monster Building, is a personification of Hong Kong’s concrete jungle reputation…I didn’t say this label was untrue, I said it was unfair to be saddled with this and only this.

Many visit the crowded apartment block to indulge in the perfect Instagram snap, but if that’s not your style, the Monster Building offers up an interesting, and authentic insight into the daily lives of Hongkongers. 

It’s worth bearing in mind that these are the homes of real people, who put up with hundreds of tourists passing by and taking photos every single day, so be as respectful as you can when you’re exploring this famous spot. 

Know before you go:

  • Location – The Monster Building is located at 1028 King’s Rd Quarry Bay, on the northeast side of the island. 
  • Cost – Free
  • Opening hours – Open around the clock, though you’ll probably get the best photos during daylight hours. 
  • Time needed – You won’t need more than an hour to visit the Monster Building, but if you’re into people-watching, it’s not hard to while away two or three. 
  • Getting there – Catch the subway to Tai Koo Station and walk for about five minutes on the King’s Road until you reach the unmissable Montane Mansion.

Hike Dragon’s Back

Hiking the mountain ridge known as the Dragon’s Back will be more than enough to prove that Hong Kong is much more than its cramped-city reputation. Located on the southeast of the island, the trail is considered to be one of the best hikes in Hong Kong and some might even say, East Asia. 

A relatively easy hike, the trail will take you up onto the top of the ridge, providing views of the island below as well as the beached shoreline, with the South China Sea air blowing gently through. Taking around two hours to complete, the Dragon’s Back Trail is a small part of the much larger Hong Kong Trail, which stretches 50-kilometres across the island, passing through five country parks. 

If you’re brave enough, you can attempt the Hong Kong trail too, but you’ll probably want to set aside a couple of days to complete this impressive feat. 

Know before you go:

  • Location – Southeast side of the island, within Shek O Country Park
  • Cost – Free
  • Opening hours – 24 hours
  • Time needed –  Around 3-4 hours to hike, enjoy the views and take a few snaps. 
  • Getting there – You can either grab a taxi or take the number 9 bus from Shau Kei Wan MTR station, and stop at the bus stop at To Tei Wan Village. The entrance is right by the bus stop.

Sample World-Beating Dim Sum

The world-famous Dim Sum is now enjoyed around the world, but not many know it first originated in the south China city of Guangzhou. Sharing a border with Hong Kong, it is no surprise that these two Cantonese powerhouses produce some of the best dim sum you can find anywhere in the world. 

Taking the humble dim sum to a whole new level is the One Dim Sum restaurant in downtown Hong Kong. Elevating this Cantonese dish from street food to a taste-sensation that has earned One Dim Sum a Micheline star has been no mean feat. 

Serving up all of the favourites including Har Gao (shrimp dumplings), Siu Mai (pork dumplings), and also vegetarian options, rice sheet rolls, steamed buns and more, you’ll definitely remember your Dim Sum experience as one of the best on your Hong Kong itinerary. 

Know before you go:

  • Location – One Dim Sum is located on Tung Choi Street in the East of Hong Kong island. 
  • Cost – Average price sits between HKD20 to HKD40 for a plate of dim sum.
  • Opening hours – Though typically a breakfast or brunch dish, you can head to One Dim Sum anytime between 9 30 am and 12 am for your fix. 
  • Time needed – At least an hour or two to sample all they have.
  • Getting there – Take the MTR to Prince Edward Station and you’ll find One Dim Sum right around the corner. 

Day 2: Sunrise and Sunsets Over the Island 

A lovely cuppa with a view awaits you on day 2, after some low-intensity exercise to stretch out your body after yesterday’s hike.

Sunrise Stroll/Jog at Victoria Harbour

One of the main things that made Hong Kong the powerhouse it is today is its Victoria Harbour. This deepwater port took Hong Kong from a humble fishing village into the epicentre of East Asian and world trade, something that still defines the nation today. Aside from its commercial and historical importance, Victoria Harbour is also one of the most picturesque places in the whole Hong Kong region.

Waking up early to catch the sunrise over Victoria Harbour is a great way to start your day. Take a leisurely stroll and enjoy the views or join in with the locals and start your day with an uplifting jog – you’ll see tonnes of joggers enjoying a bit of morning exercise along the harbour as you stroll around. 

After you’ve eased into the day, why not stop off at the nearby Café de Coral for a spot of brunch; a popular chain, famous for its traditional and affordable dishes. 

Know before you go:

  • Location – Victoria Harbour stretches nine kilometres along the northwest side of the island.
  • Cost – Free
  • Opening hours – 24 hours
  • Time needed – Give yourself a couple of hours to walk around the harbour and watch the sun waking up for the day.
  • Getting there – Jump on the MTR to Kowloon Station, which is just a short walk to Victoria Harbour.

High Tea At The Mandarin Oriental

Famous for being one of the top premier hotels in Hong Kong, the Mandarin Oriental is a pretty fancy place to enjoy a spot of high tea while watching the sunset over Victoria Harbour. 

High tea is served in the Clipper Lounge; a beautiful room adorned with large chandeliers and laden with only the best silver cutlery.

As you admire the decor and the views of the famous Ferris wheel of Victoria Harbour, you can enjoy a range of teas, sandwiches, scones and everything you would expect from a delectable high tea. The balance of beautiful surroundings and sunsetting views makes this the perfect way to end a day in Hong Kong.

Know before you go:

  • Location – The Mandarin Oriental sits on 5 Connaught Road Central in the northern regions of the island. 
  • Cost – High tea starts from around 280 HKD per person, not including any bubbly you might want to treat yourself to.
  • Opening hours –  Mandarin Oriental opens for afternoon tea on the weekends only. Book a table on Saturday between 3 pm to 6 pm or Sunday between 3:30 pm and  6 pm. 
  • Time needed – A few hours to take it slow and enjoy high tea and the surroundings,
  • Getting there – Take a train to Central Station, which is only a five-minute walk from the hotel.

Day 3: Sightseeing and Stretching 

More tea, a cheeky bit of (free) yoga and Hong Kong’s version of the London Eye…

Hong Kong Observation Wheel

The Hong Kong Ferris Wheel, or Observation Wheel as it is officially named, has become one of the defining images of Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour. Akin to the London Eye and Singapore’s Flyer, the Hong Kong Ferris Wheel is not only a great way to view the city but is also a sight to behold all on its own. 

Standing at sixty metres high, the Hong Kong Ferris Wheel offers stunning views across Hong Kong. Although it’s best to get here during the day, allowing you to dodge the crowds, riding the Hong Kong Ferris Wheel at night provides even more breath-taking views of the lit-up skyline of the city and beyond.

Know before you go:

  • Location – Located right along Victoria Harbour on the north of the island.
  • Cost – Tickets cost HK20 per adult, HK10 for Seniors and Children 3-11, and children under 3 go free.
  • Opening hours – The Ferris Wheel operates from 11 am until 11 pm.
  • Time needed – Set aside at least an hour to enjoy the wheel at a steady pace.
  • Getting there – Take the MTR to Kowloon Station, only a short walk to Victoria Harbour and the Ferris wheel.

Enjoy a FREE Fitness/Yoga Class at AIA Vitality Park

Once you’ve enjoyed your ride on the Hong Kong Ferris Wheel, it’s now time for a little relaxation and self-care. The nearby AIA Vitality Park holds regular free classes of yoga and fitness well-being, perfect for those who want to come along and centre themselves after a nice little aerial spin and panoramic view of the city. 

While most of the classes are conducted in Cantonese, there are some classes held in English too. You’ll find the schedule of different classes in the timetable on their website. 

These classes are a perfect tonic for preparing you for the busy weeks ahead of completing your Hong Kong itinerary. Thanks to that good old eastern patience from its instructors, this is ideal to try if you are new to the world of yoga, take it from a clueless newb!

Know before you go:

  • Location – AIA Vitality Park lies along the northern section of the island, close to Victoria Harbour and the Ferris wheel.
  • Cost – Free
  • Opening hours – Classes usually start at 9 am or 10 am.
  • Time needed – Two hours should be enough to complete the classes.
  • Getting there – Jumping on the MTR to Kowloon Station will get you within walking distance of the park.

Visit Lok Cha Teahouse 

If there’s one drink that optimises East Asia, it has to be the humble tea. A defining part of Hong Kong’s culture, tea and the ceremonies that surround it are treated with respect, even verging on reverence.

In many places, you will see tea treated with as much care and diligence as wine is in Europe. To really experience this culture in all its glory, visiting a Hong Kong tea house has to be done, particularly for lovers of a good cuppa.

Lok Cha Teahouse has gained a reputation as being one of the best examples of this famous tea culture in Hong Kong. Started by a family selling loose tea leaves, Lok Cha Teahouse now serves up excellent pots of tea, all from the huge rainbow of different tea leaves. Relax in a space that is perfectly set up for a laidback sip of the best Chinese tea. 

Alongside the tea, Lok Cha Teahouse also offers guests a range of cakes, all with their own unique twist, perfect for the foodies amongst us that always want to try something new.

Know before you go:

  • Location – Located in Hong Kong Park, to the northwest of the island.
  • Cost – Two pots of tea and a dessert will set you back around 140 HKD.
  • Opening hours – Get your tea fix any time between 10 am and 8 pm.
  • Time needed –  Take at least an hour to sit back and try a few different teas. 
  • Getting there – Catch the train to Admiralty Station Shazhong Line Platform, which is a few minutes walk away from the teahouse.

Tuck Into The Sweet Treats At Honeymoon Dessert

If your sweet tooth is still pandering for a spot of sugar, you’ll be glad to know that the Honeymoon Dessert shop is next up on your Hong Kong itinerary. Somewhat of a Hong Kong institution, there are numerous branches peppered around the island, serving up a mixture of traditional and slightly kooky Hong Kong desserts. 

One of the most popular desserts to try while you’re there is Yeung Ji Gum Lo. Crafted in the 1980s, Yeung Ji Gum Lo is a dessert soup that is creamy, sweet and fragrant from mango and pomelo (a pink citrus fruit related to grapefruit). But, if that doesn’t take your fancy, there’s always the black sesame soup to try or a bowl of almond tea. 

Know before you go:

  • Location – This particular branch can be found in the Western Market of Sheung Wan district. 
  • Cost – Deserts start from 10 HKD 
  • Opening hours – 11:30 am to 11 pm
  • Getting there – Take the train to Sheung Wan Station and walk around five minutes to the market. 

Day 4: Leisurely Hikes and Evening Cocktails

Get out in nature and soak up the sun, and celebrate another active day with some fancy drinks.

Hike Victoria Peak 

To start your morning off in the best way possible, head to Victoria Peak to watch the sunrise. Sitting on the western side of the island, Victoria Peak offers up one of the most scenic hikes in all of Hong Kong. 

A paved circular trail takes you through Lung Fu Shan Country Park and to the peak above. When the weather is good and the skies are clear you can take in panoramic views of Kowloon, Victoria Harbour, the north side of Hong Kong Island and some of the neighbouring islands in the South China Sea.

The walk starts off on a small incline and gets steadily steeper as you approach Old Peak Road, but it should be manageable for most fitness levels. Halfway along the walk, you will catch sight of the mid-levels, a residential neighbourhood home to a maze of high rise buildings. For something that is so rewarding and costs nothing to do, hiking to the top of Victoria Peak is one of the best ways to start day four of your Hong Kong itinerary. 

Know before you go:

  • Location – Nestled within the Lung Fu Shan Country Park on the western side of the island.
  • Cost – Free
  • Opening hours – 24 hours
  • Time needed – It’s worth giving yourself the morning to hike to the top of Victoria Peak and enjoy the scenes. 
  • Getting there – Walk from Central MTR Station to Victoria Peak via Old Peak Road.

Stroll Around Lugard Road 

Aside from Victoria Peak, Lung Fu Shan Country Park also offers up another terrific example of Hong Kong’s green and pleasant land. Lugard Road is not actually a road in the truest sense, but a pedestrian pathway that winds its way through lush thick forests. 

The path runs for about one and a half miles and is a pretty peaceful way to wind down if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by the city. Strolling along Lugard Road, you’re likely pass by forests but also the occasional Hong Kong skyscraper as it breaks through the trees.

Once you get to the top of the road, the trees disperse and break into an amazing lookout. The Lugard Road lookout offers sweeping views of the city below, with picture-postcard views of the harbour and high rise cities.

Know before you go:

  • Location – Lugard Road winds through Lung Fu Shan Country Park which sits to the west of the island.
  • Cost – Free
  • Opening hours – 24 hours
  • Time needed –  You’ll need around two hours to walk the road and take in the views.
  • Getting there – Take the number 15 bus from Central Pier 8 to Victoria Park.

Hiking Up Lion’s Pavilion

In a city where viewpoints and lookouts are numerous, you’re really spoiled for choice in Hong Kong. While heading to Victoria Peak and walking the Lugard Road, don’t forget to take a little wander to the Lion’s Pavilion. 

This is another lookout over the city that’s worth a few minutes of your time, at least for the fantastic photo opportunities of the cityscape below. You’ll spot Lion’s Pavilion easily, thanks to its red moon gate that holds an inscription of the Taiping Mountain Lion Pavilion, giving the place its name.

Know before you go:

  • Location – Close to Victoria Peak at Findlay Road.
  • Cost – Free
  • Opening hours – 24 hours
  • Time needed – You’ll need around an hour to get to the pavilion.
  • Getting there – Walk from Central MTR Station to the start of the path leading to the Lion’s Pavilion.

Fancy Cocktails at Quinary 

After a busy day hiking and enjoying the open air of Hong Kong’s stunning lookout points, heading back into the hive of life in the city for cocktails seems like an even better idea. 

Quinary Cocktail Bar has set the bar high when it comes to Hong Kong’s mixologists, and certainly, there’s no better place to go for delicious and entertaining cocktails.

The bar’s name Quinary means “consisting of five”, and each cocktail has been carefully designed to engage all five human senses through multisensory mixology. Leading the way on new and exciting flavours and techniques for making cocktails, an evening at Quinary Cocktail Bar will turn everything you thought you knew about cocktails on its head.

Know before you go:

  • Location – 58 Hollywood Rd in the Central district of Hong Kong
  • Cost – Cocktails start from around 140 HKD
  • Opening hours – Start sipping on cocktails from 3 pm until 12 am
  • Time needed – Give yourself a good few hours to sample the many cocktails on offer.
  • Getting there – Take the number 12 bus to Lyndhurst Terrace; from here, it’s a short walk to the bar.

Day 5: Aberdeen and Floating Restaurants

A quaint little village followed by a guilty pleasure in terms of tourist traps, sometimes it just has to be done…

Explore Aberdeen 

The region of Aberdeen on the southwest of the island has long held a special place in the history and culture of Hong Kong. Once a humble fishing village, the Tanka people who are a minority in the area have lived on the boats and shores of Aberdeen for centuries.

The harbour and waterfront of Aberdeen are well worth exploring, full of seafood markets, stalls and restaurants. The floating village in Aberdeen is one of the oldest settlements in Hong Kong and was the original focal point to trade and fishing in the area; it is also the first place European traders and settlers arrived.

If you happen to visit Aberdeen and its harbour during the summer months, you may be in time to witness the Dragon Boat Racing Festival, also known as ‘Tuen Ng’. Much like the Long Boat Festival in Thailand, this is a day of boat racing and festivities takes place, and the whole of Aberdeen comes alive.

Know before you go:

  • Location – Aberdeen is located at the extreme southwest of Hong Kong Island.
  • Cost – Free
  • Opening hours – 24 hours
  • Time needed – It’s great to spend half a day exploring Aberdeen and all it has to offer.
  • Getting there – Take the kai-to ferry from Main Street straight to Aberdeen.

 
Jumbo Floating Restaurant

Aside from the floating village of Aberdeen, there’s also the Jumbo Floating Restaurant, a long-standing attraction for the many tourists that visit this part of Hong Kong Island. 

Built in the style of an ancient Chinese imperial palace, the Jumbo Floating Kingdom, of which the Jumbo Floating Restaurant is part, was constructed by Hong Kong and Macau billionaire Stanley Ho. The entire project took four years to build, at a cost of 30 million Hong Kong dollars.

Although it came across as a little gimmicky to me, visiting the Jumbo Floating restaurant is too remorselessly cheesy an icon, so I’m adding it to this Hong Kong itinerary and I’m not even sorry.

Being amongst the Aberdeen harbour, the Jumbo Floating Restaurant serves up a delicious array of Cantonese seafood and some of the freshest you’ll find in Hong Kong at that.

Know before you go:

  • Location – Jumbo Floating Restaurant lies along Aberdeen Harbour to the southwest of the island.
  • Cost – Dishes start at around 75 HKD
  • Opening hours – Enjoy a bite to eat from 11 am to 11 pm.
  • Time needed – It’s best to take three hours to see the floating restaurant and enjoy a meal here.
  • Getting there – Free ferry transfer to Wong Chuk Hang Shum Wan Pier that runs approximately every 20 minutes.

Day 6: Island Hopping 

More hiking in nature and water travel (but on your own terms) awaits you on the 6th day of your Hong Kong itinerary. 

Explore Lamma Island

A mere 25-minute boat ride from Hong Kong’s city centre will take you to one of the most picturesque islands in the Hong Kong chain. Lamma Island, also known as Pok Liu Chau, is the nation’s third-largest island and is a great escape from the concrete streets of central Hong Kong. 

Its numerous beaches, quaint restaurants and overall laid back vibe make Lamma Island an extremely popular place to visit. Aside from the sandy beaches, the island’s hinterlands are made up of rolling foothills and breathtaking views. 

Hiking through this paradise is a peaceful way to spend your time on the island, with the path leading from Yung Shue Wan to Sok Kwu Wan considered to be one of the most idyllic hikes. This trail takes you through the hills overlooking the shore and past caves that were once used by the Japanese military to store speedboats in the second world war.

After a day of hiking and relaxing along the island’s beaches, head into the nearby Sha Po Village on the north side of the island. Here you can eat some delicious local vegan food at the local Bali Tyche restaurant. A real mix of culinary influences from across East Asia, Bali Tyche shows you just how good vegan Asian food can be.

Know before you go:

  • Location – Lamma Island is located southwest of Hong Kong island 
  • Cost – 16 HKD for the ferry to the island. Everything else is free!
  • Opening hours – 24 hours
  • Time needed –  Give yourself the whole day to explore Lamma Island
  • Getting there – Lamma is served by ferries from Central Pier 4 on Hong Kong Island and from Aberdeen on the south side of Hong Kong Island.

Rent a Junk Boat for the Day

When it comes to exploring an island nation like Hong Kong, seeing it from the water as much as possible makes sense. The Junk Boats of Hong Kong are a retro transport option for your Hong itinerary; first used during the middle ages, these traditional bronze sailed boats were used as trading vessels, and they were a common sight in the harbour right through the mid 20th century. 

Although only a handful of traditionally designed boats remain, it’s still possible to hire some of their modern cousins for a day out on the water. Whether you have a large group of you who want to spend the whole day cruising around, with lunch and dinner served on board or you’re a couple looking for a few relaxing hours on the water, you’ll find a number of different boat hire options for every opportunity.

Know before you go:

  • Location – You can board the Junk Boats at Tsim Sha Tsui Pier 1 or Central Pier 9 not far from Central Hong Kong. 
  • Cost – Prices vary depending on the package that you choose. For a simple boat trip, you’ll be looking at around 300 HKD per person. This can go up to 1,000 HKD if you opt for a longer cruise with lunch or dinner included. 
  • Opening hours – N/A
  • Time needed – Taking a whole day out on the water is the best way to really experience a junk boat trip on your Hong Kong itinerary.
  • Getting there – Catch the rail to Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station which is just moments away from the pier. 

Day 7: Cycling and Glamping in the New Towns

That’s right, Hong Kong has an (ingenious built) cycle route and intimate glamping/camping options…

Cycle East to West of The New Territories

Made up of numerous country parks and wide open green spaces, Hong Kong’s New Territories are a true example of how misrepresented the idea of Hong Kong as a concrete jungle really is. 

Making up around 86% of Hong Kong’s territory and containing around half of the population of Hong Kong, the New Territories offer up a whole new image of green and rural Hong Kong. 

One of the most enjoyable ways to see this great expanse of greenery first-hand is to cycle from east to west across the New Territories. Starting from Pak Shek Kok in the east, you can cycle across the landscape with ease, thanks to the winding paths that criss-cross the island. 

Taking in the awesome sights of the New Territories landscape as you ride, there are numerous local cafes and street food stalls to stop off at along the way, perfect for keeping your energy up. This is undeniably the best way to see the New Territories in all its glory and at a pace that allows you to soak it all in.

Know before you go:

  • Location – Start from Pak Shek Kok in the eastern Tai Po District and cycle to Yuen Long on the west coast of Hong Kong.
  • Cost – Bicycle rental costs around 80 HKD for the day.
  • Opening hours – N/A
  • Time needed – Enjoy a full day cycling from east to west.
  • Getting there – Catch the rail to the University Station near Pak Shek Kok, and you’ll find tonnes of bike rental shops just outside. 

Glamping Night at Yuen Long

Yuen Long on the western side of the New Territories is the perfect blend of urbanisation surrounded by green and pastoral landscapes. Spending a night glamping here to really soak up the surroundings of the Yuen Long region is one of the most memorable things you can do on your Hong Kong itinerary. 

There are a number of different sights, from built-up spots to coastal and remote camping sites. All of these will give you a chance to recharge your batteries for the rest of your Hong Kong itinerary and also give you a better insight into Hong Kong away from its famous concrete jungle city.

Know before you go:

  • Location – Yuen Long is located to the west of the New Territories, close to the coast.
  • Cost – Rates start from around 400 HKD per night for a glamping pod that sleeps between two and four people. 
  • Opening hours – N/A
  • Time needed – Set aside an evening to enjoy the campsites and their surroundings.
  • Getting there – If you’re cycling across the New Territories, you shouldn’t have any problem finding your glamping spot with your two wheels. 

Day 8: Sham Shui Po and Culinary Exploration

Explore a relatively unknown district of Hong Kong, look out for some cute (but vulnerable) local wildlife and feast on smelly food, (if you can handle it) before heading to a Guinness Book of Records approved sky bar.

Explore The District of Sham Shui Po

Hidden away in the northwestern part of the Kowloon Peninsula, Sham Shui Po is one of Hong Kong’s most famous districts. Slap bang in the middle of urban Hong Kong, Sham Shui Po is a collection of neighbourhoods crammed together in one of the densest and most eclectic regions in the country. 

While it may be one of the poorest neighbourhoods in the city, Sham Shui Po has an undeniable vibrancy and energy to it.

Sham Shui Po is known for its fantastic food stalls and electrical goods shops, including the infamous Dragon Centre. This nine-story building is the second-largest shopping centre in West Kowloon and is home to a huge range of treasures. From traditional goods right through to state-of-the-art technology, it has it all.

It’s the bustling atmosphere and fascinating vibe that make the Sham Shui Po district what it really is. Simply wandering around its streets is an experience in itself, though do be prepared to battle with the crowds.

Know before you go:

  • Location – Sham Shui Po district is located in the northwestern part of the Kowloon Peninsula
  • Cost – Free to explore
  • Opening hours – 24 hours
  • Time needed – Take a good couple of hours to see everything in the district, more if you fancy a spot of shopping in the Dragon Centre. 
  • Getting there – Take the train to Sham Shui Po MTR station and you’ll come out in the thick of it all. 

Try ‘Stinky Tofu’ Street Food at Mong Kok Street Stall

One of the defining street food delicacies in Hong Kong, trying the stinky tofu street food dish is not to be missed off your Hong Kong itinerary. With a name like stinky tofu, it may not seem like the most appetizing thing for your pallet, this accidentally fermented soy product was a big hit in the Qing dynasty and is also popular in Taiwan.

The tofu gets its pungent odour from a strong fermentation process, whereby a brine is infused with fermented milk, vegetables and meat. It is then served up fried with a side of hoisin dipping sauce.

While you can find this delicacy across Hong Kong, there are few institutions that are agreed to serve up the best – the top of these is Kai Kei Snacks in Mong Kok. Aside from the stinky tofu, they all sell a wide range of bite-size street food, perfect for those who don’t have the will not to follow their nose.

Know before you go:

  • Location – Kai Kei Snacks is located on Dundas Street in Mong Kok.
  • Cost – Around 8 HKD per dish.
  • Opening hours – Kai Kei opens from 11 am – 10 pm, so you can enjoy this delicacy for lunch or dinner. 
  • Time needed – Minutes! 
  • Getting there – Take a bus to Sai Kung Minibus Stop which will drop you right outside the door of Kai Kei Snacks.

Listen Out For The Barking Deer Of Hong Kong

The only deer that are native to Hong Kong is the Northern Red Muntjac, more commonly known as the Barking Deer. Taking their colloquial name from the sound they make, they’re recognised by their crying shriek, which has been likened to the sound of humans being strangled.

They’re elusive animals, and if you’re lucky you might just hear one while you’re out and about exploring one of Hong Kong’s country parks. However, for a guaranteed sighting, you’ll need to head to the Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden. 

Here, they keep two females, named Sasa and Didi, in an open-air enclosure. Both of the deer were found abandoned as fawns and nurtured back to health on the farm, a common occurrence in the ever-growing urbanisation of Hong Kong.

If you do manage to spot a barking deer, remember to approach with caution. Unlike the cockily confident deer of Nara in Japan, this species is particularly sensitive and like other nervous creatures on earth, this animal can quite literally be scared to death!  

Know before you go:

  • Location –  Lam Kam Road in the Tai Po district. Or just listen out for their howls whenever you’re in nature during your Hong Kong itinerary.
  • Cost –  Free
  • Opening hours – 9:30 am – 4 pm
  • Time needed – Two hours to see the deer and enjoy a walk around the rest of the gardens.
  • Getting there –  Jump on the MTR East Rail to Tai Po Market or Tai Wo. From here, you can catch the connecting 64K bus towards Yuen Long. After around 15-minutes, you’ll arrive at the Kadoorie Farm bus stop.  

Enjoy a Drink at Ozone; the World’s Highest Bar

Positioned on the 118th floor of the International Commerce Centre, above the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Ozone is considered to be the highest bar in the world

Ozone was the brainchild of Japanese interior designer company Wonderwall. Their vision for the bar was to create a man-made environment of nature in an imaginary world. This decor, added with the fact that you are drinking at a bar at 490 metres above sea level, makes a night at Ozone an unforgettable one on your Hong Kong itinerary. 

Aside from enjoying the dazzling views of the city from its tallest building, you can also get stuck into a range of expertly made signature cocktails and a selection of Asian tapas and Japanese specialities.

Know before you go:

  • Location – Located at the top of the International Commerce Centre at Austin Road West, in the Tsim Sha Tsui district. 
  • Cost – Prices start from around 195 HKD for cocktails and 250 HKD for main meals. 
  • Opening hours – Monday to Thursday, 5 pm to 1 am; Friday, 5 pm to 2 am; Saturday, 3 pm to 2 am and Sunday, 12 pm until 12 am. 
  • Time needed –  Give yourself the whole evening to enjoy a drink and a bite to eat at the world’s highest bar.
  • Getting there – Take the metro to Kowloon Station on the Tung Chung Line. From here it’s a five-minute walk and an elevator ride away to the restaurant. 

Day 9: Hong Kong’s Highest Peak and Veggie Delights

It might not be up there with other adventurous mountains in East Asia, but it’s the highest hill and it’s worth the hike. Get carbed up beforehand in this delicious restaurant…

Carb up at Three Virtues Vegetarian Restaurant

Cantonese and Chinese cuisine as a whole have a (rightful) reputation for being meat-heavy, yet when you’re out and about exploring your Hong Kong itinerary, you’ll quickly learn that veggies don’t get left behind. 

The Three Virtues Vegetarian restaurant is the perfect example of how East Asian cuisine is developing with the times offering up a menu that cuts out the meat completely. 

The restaurant serves up classic dim sum and Cantonese dishes with mock meats and all the bells and whistles that usually come with this traditional meal. With two sites across Hong Kong, Three Virtues Vegetarian Restaurant has strongly made itself known as one of the places to go when dining in Hong Kong, whether you are vegetarian or not.

Know before you go:

  • Location – Located on Nathan Road in the centre of the Jordan area of the city. 
  • Cost – Mains start from around 70 HKD
  • Opening hours – 11 am – 11 pm
  • Time needed – Take a couple of hours to enjoy these veggie delights.
  • Getting there – Take a rail to Jordan Station, which is right outside of the restaurant.

Climb Tai Mo Shan: Hong Kong’s Highest Peak

With a belly full of outstanding plant-based grub, you’ll be all good and set to tackle the highest peak in Hong Kong, Tai Mo Shan. 

Tai Mo Shan stands at around 3,140 feet, and due to the humidity levels, it’s also one of the wettest places in the entirety of Hong Kong. Conquering its peak isn’t as difficult as some of the other famous touristy mountains, but depending on how you want to go about it, you can make it harder or easier for yourself. 

If you want a complete view of Tai Mo Shan mountain, then opting for the well maintained MacLehose Trail is your best option. This 9.7-kilometre trail stretches from the Lead Mine Pass campsite near Tai Po on the eastern side of the hill to Route Twisk in Tsuen Wan on the west. Taking around five hours, this way up to the peak offers some of the best views of the surrounding hills and built-up Hong Kong itself.

For those that are more inclined to take an easier route, you can jump in a taxi or minibus from Tsuen Wan to get dropped off at Chuen Lung, a local village at the foot of the mountain. From here, the climb will only take you an hour to make it to the Tai Mo Shan Lookout and another hour to make it to the peak, where the Tai Mo Shan Weather Radar Station stands, commonly known as the White Ball.

Know before you go:

  • Location – Located in the centre of the New Territories.
  • Cost – Free
  • Opening hours – 24 hours
  • Time needed – Around 5 hours to travel and complete your trek.
  • Getting there – First, you’ll need to get the MTR to Kam Sheung Railway Station, before catching the 64K bus to Ng Tung Chai Bus Stop, which is 100 meters away from the start of the main trail.

Settle Into the Evening with Cocktails in Hong Kong’s Kowloon District

After conquering Hong Kong’s highest peak, a little celebration may be in order. Home to numerous trendy cocktail bars, Kowloon is a fantastic spot for an evening of ice-cold beers and fancy cocktails

There are plenty of venues to choose from, but I’d suggest heading to Bar Butler in the city, where you won’t be disappointed. A classy hip venue, Bar Butler, has a relaxed atmosphere that only endears you to the locals and Hong Kong as a whole.

Serving up classic and bespoke cocktails, all with a little twist and finesse, it’s worth sticking around to try a few of the concoctions on the menu. If you’ve burnt too many of those calories off and worked up an appetite climbing Tai Mo Shan, not to worry,  Bar Butler also offers a range of small bites and snacks to enjoy while sipping on our favourite or newfound favourite cocktail.

Know before you go:

  • Location – Located on Mody Road, not far from the harbour in Kowloon.
  • Cost – Cocktails start from around 90 HKD.
  • Opening hours – 6:30 pm – 2:30 am
  • Time needed – Give yourself a couple of hours to relax and wind down after the climb.
  • Getting there – Take the train to Tsim Sha Tsui Station, a stone’s throw away from the bar. 

Day 10: Fortune Telling and Conquering Lion Rock

Get those legs moving again before hearing about your destiny (if you are of the superstitious kind, I am not but it’s still a lively addition to a jam-packed Hong Kong itinerary. 

Take On Lion Rock

Continuing to dispel the image of Hong Kong as a stale city of steel and modernity, hiking Lion Rock will help you quickly forget about all of that. 

Lion Rock gets its name from its side-on profile, which looks a little like the face of a lion. This rocky crag has long been a place that has tested climbers for decades, and it isn’t the easiest of climbs

While there is an option to climb the face of Lion Rock, using traditional rock climbing techniques, most people choose to tackle the easier 340 steps that wind up the back of the rock. 

Small logs are placed down in the pathway of the tracks, allowing you to count off the steps as you go. Leading you through woodlands and riverbanks, the climb itself is worth it for the surroundings. On reaching the Lion Rock’s peak, you will be drawn in by the impressive views of the surrounding landscape, making this rewarding hike all the more worth it in the end.

Know before you go:

  • Location – Lion Rock is located in the Sha Tin District, just north of the city.
  • Cost – Free
  • Opening hours – 24 hours
  • Time needed – At least three hours to get to the destination and climb Lion Rock.
  • Getting there –  Take the MTR to either Diamond Hill MTR Station or Wong Tai Sin MTR station. From there, you have two options to get to the start of the trail. Either walk an hour to the start of the trail or take a 10-minute taxi for around 30 HKD.

Chungking Mansions

Built as a residential complex, the building has quickly become a place of business. Home to hotels, three shopping arcades and guest houses, it has become a place of intense social interaction and a hub of life in the city. Wandering around this labyrinth of corridors and stalls is a great experience all on its own. 

You can also grab some food at one of the many stalls in Chungking Mansions or even stay over in one of the super affordable guesthouses, perfect for those counting their dollars. 

Know before you go:

  • Location – Chungking Mansions is located on Nathan Road in the Tsim Sha Tsui area of south Kowloon.
  • Cost – Free to enter
  • Opening hours – Different businesses in Chungking Mansions open at different times, but you’ll generally find something open at most hours of the day. 
  • Time needed – You can spend at least two hours exploring all that the mansions hold.
  • Getting there – Take the rail to Tsim Sha Tsui Station, which is a ten-minute walk from the Chungking Mansions.

Get Your Fortune Read at Yau Ma Tei Tin Hau Temple

The Tin Hau Temple complex in Hong Kong is one of the most stunning and layered sets of buildings in the city. Made up of five individual buildings separated by four lanes, the five temples range in age and have been built over the last few centuries.

During the evening, the temples are beautiful places to explore, especially if you’re interested in finding stunning examples of Cantonese architecture.

What really makes this area of the country most interesting, is its reputation for fortune-telling. The streets outside of the Tin Hau Temple complex are lined with market stall-like tents, each with a fortune teller inside. Fortune telling goes a long way in eastern cultures, I’ve found that out since living in Thailand for several years; superstition in this part of the world can be intense. 

For a small negotiated fee, you can get your fortune told in one of these tents. Whether you believe in the ‘power’ or not, it’s a fun and great way to get engaged with the culture here and may even reveal something to you after all…if you’re that way inclined. 

Know before you go:

  • Location – Tin Hau Temple complex is located on a public square street, in the Kowloon district.
  • Cost – You’ll probably need to negotiate your price, but you will likely pay around 100 HKD
  • Opening hours – Starts around sunset and continues well into the evening.
  • Time needed – Set aside two hours to explore the temples and have your fortune read.
  • Getting there – Catch the underground to Yau Ma Tei MTR Station, from which you can walk to the temple.

Day 11: Virtual Reality and Real City Parks

Play some video games in one of the most unique gamer places on earth, unwind later with a bit of greenery and head to the dark side when the sun goes down. 

AME Stadium Virtual Reality

The arrival of eSports with the ever-increasing developments in virtual reality technology has added newfound levels of excitement to gamers with a competitive streak. Hong Kong is one of the first places to combine this technology with the traditional video arcade at the AME Stadium; the first e-sport stadium in Hong Kong. 

Through the use of virtual reality and adapted gaming controls, you take part in a range of virtual sports. This can be anything from virtual horse racing and skiing to boxing, rowing and football. This combination of video gaming and genuine sporting effort creates a fantastic experience for gamers, or even casual gamers like myself (I had to stop buying consoles because I found it way too addictive!)

The facilities here are jointly developed by the sports science team Fitzio Fitness, which provides sports medical support and physical fitness solutions. With all this sports science data on hand, you are also given post-match training suggestions and scientific data analysis about your performance.

Know before you go:

  • Location – AME Stadium is located at 15 Middle Road in the Tsim Sha Tsui district.
  • Cost – Can’t remember, sorry!
  • Opening hours – Monday to Friday, 11:30 am-11:00 pm; Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays, 10:30 am-11:00 pm.
  • Time needed – Take a couple of hours to try your hand at all of the eSport games on offer. 
  • Getting there – Catch the underground to East Tsim Sha Tsui Station which is seconds away from AME.

Destimulate Your Senses in Kowloon Park

It doesn’t always take a day-long excursion outside of the city to find a little bit of greenery and peace. Kowloon Park is in the heart of Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui district and provides a charming parkland oasis amidst the concrete of the city.

Once a British Army barracks, the barracks were knocked down for the park to be created in 1970. The gardens make for a peaceful place to escape and are home to a wide range of flora, spread across its 33 acres of parkland. The rose garden and tree-lined walk are one of the most idyllic parts of the park and attract hundreds of visitors every day.

Aside from nature, Kowloon Park is also the site of the Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre, one of the preserved army barracks. This tells the story of Hong Kong’s heritage and development over the decades.

Know before you go:

  • Location – Kowloon Park can be found in the Tsim Sha Tsui district, between Kowloon Park Drive and Nathan Road
  • Cost – Free
  • Opening hours – 5 am – 12 am
  • Time needed – Take a morning to wander around the park and discover all of its many attractions.
  • Getting there – Both Tsim Sha Tsui station and Jordan station are within walking distance of the park.

Tsim Sha Tsui Light Show Harbourfront 

Since the early 2000s, the Symphony of Lights shows have been illuminating the building along the harbourfront of Hong Kong every single night. A mixture of lasers and projections set to a symphony curated specially by the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, it’s a worthwhile addition to your Hong Kong itinerary. 

The best vantage points to watch the show are from the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront outside the Hong Kong Cultural Centre and the Avenue of Stars, the promenade at Golden Bauhinia Square in Wanchai, or from the sightseeing ferries that sail through the Victoria Harbour at just the right time.

Know before you go:

  • Location – Located near the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront, close to the Hong Kong Cultural Centre 
  • Cost – Free. If you decide to join a cruise, prices start from 270 HKD per person.
  • Opening hours – The show starts at 8 pm every night
  • Time needed – The show lasts around 10 minutes, but it’s good to give yourself enough time to get a good vantage point.
  • Getting there – Take the train Tsim Sha Tsui Station Exit E; it’s only a 5-10 minute walk to the harbour from here. 

The Dark Side Bar

Ranked up there as one of the best bars in Asia, Dark Side on the Victoria Dockside is a fantastic place to spend the evening after a long day exploring the city. Specialising in fine and bespoke cocktails, DarkSide serves up drinks in laid back, atmospheric surroundings with a side of smooth jazz for that extra je ne sais quoi.

The mixologists have taken inspiration from the eight phases of the moon to design their hand-crafted cocktail menu. Take up the Magic Moon Ball and give it a shake; this will reveal a particular moon phase, guiding you to choose the cocktail that was meant for you. This unusual and new approach to cocktails and cocktail bars will blow even the most experienced cocktail connoisseur away. 

Know before you go:

  • Location – DarkSide can be found in the Rosewood Hotel on Salisbury Road.
  • Cost – Lunar cocktails start from around 180 HKD
  • Opening hours – 5 pm -12 am
  • Time needed – Take the whole evening to enjoy the live jazz music and sample a  range of cocktails.
  • Getting there – Take the underground to East Tsim Sha Tsui Station and you’ll find yourself just moments away from the Rosewood Hotel. 

Day 12: Cable Cars and Sunset Hikes 

It is what it says it is on the tin. Day 12 is all about taking in the views that Hong Kong has to offer.

Ride a Cable Car To Tian Tan Buddha

One of the largest western islands of Hong Kong, Lantau is a beautiful isle, boasting a mix of tradition and modernity. Arriving at the island’s main settlement, the New Town of Tung Chung, you’ll have the chance to wander around the former fishing village before heading inland to one of the island’s most popular sights; the Tian Tan Buddha on the Ngong Ping plateau.

The Ngong Ping plateau is the island’s highest point and home to a number of fantastic sights, including the Po Lin Monastery and its vegetarian restaurant. Above all else, it is the magnificent Tian Tan Buddha that makes this journey to the top all the more worth it. This huge bronze seated Buddha is one of the largest of its kind in the world and engulfs the entire skyline as you approach.

To get to the top of the island and to the big guy himself, you can either hike the two hours to the top or take the Ngong Ping 360 cable car to the summit which takes around 25 minutes. The cable car runs from Tung Chung and up to Ngong Ping plateau, giving you stunning views of the whole island below. If you book your Ngong Ping 360 ticket beforehand, you can skip the queues and get straight onto the cable car and to the top!

Know before you go:

  • Location –  Lantau Island is located to the far west of Hong Kong.
  • Cost – Standard cabins start from 235 HKD
  • Opening hours – 10 am – 6 pm
  • Time needed – Give yourself half of the day to get to the island and to the top of Ngong Ping.
  • Getting there – Take the rail to Tung Chung Station and then the cable car to Ngong Ping.

Sunset Peak Hike

Sitting further east on Lantau Island is the mountain known as Sunset Peak, one of the top five highest peaks in Hong Kong, and a favourite hike among locals and tourists alike. This five and a half-mile trail takes around four hours to complete and can be completed in a circular motion; ideal if you’re not a fan of having to walk back on yourself. 

Starting from the town of Tung Chung, the first section of the hike takes you towards Por Kai Shan, a wooded area made up of concrete steps, allowing you to make ground pretty quickly. After this, the route turns into more of a dirt path, closed in with a few boulders on each side.

After just under a mile, your path will join the Lin Fa Shan Trai, taking you on to Sunset Peak itself. The 360 views on Sunset Peak make the entire climb worth it, and as the name suggests, hiking up here for the sunrise or sunset only adds to the beauty – it also allows you to hike in cooler temperatures as there is very little shade along the way.

Coming back down the peak on its western side, along the Lantau Trail, will bring you back down to Pak Kung Au where you can catch the bus back to Tung Chung.

Know before you go:

  • Location – Sunset Peak is located in the centre of Lantau Island, just south of Tung Chung.
  • Cost – Free to climb
  • Opening hours – 24 hours
  • Time needed – At least 4-5 hours to complete the hike and get back.
  • Getting there – Take the rail to Tung Chung Station and the bus back to Tung Chung from Pak Kung Au.

Day 13: Coastal Wanderings 

Another beautiful day out in nature followed by a visit to a floating village…

 Hike Tung O Ancient Trail

The Tung O Ancient Trail is one of those experiences on your Hong Kong itinerary that will wholeheartedly convince you of my main argument in this post. 

Meandering along the northwest coast of Lantau Island, the trail connects Tung Chung with the village of Tai O. The ancient trail is now mostly a concrete footpath but is still used by the local fishing villagers to make their way between the coastal settlements on the island. 

The eight-mile hike will take you from the modern New Town of Tung Chung and across the island to the relatively unchanged fishing village of Tai O. Swap the sounds of modern aircraft for that of the coastal forests and as you do you will pass abandoned buildings, inhabited fishing villages and picturesque forest as you go. 

Taking around three hours to complete, the final destination of Tai O is a great reward for your efforts, though it is the journey and not the destination that really makes the Tung O Ancient Trail really worth it.

Know before you go:

  • Location – Located between Tung Chung and Tai O in the northwest Lantau Island
  • Cost – Free
  • Opening hours – 24 hours
  • Time needed – The hike takes around 3 hours, so I’d allow at least half a day.
  • Getting there – Start from Tung Chung – you can get here via the Tung Chung MTR Station.

Visit the Tai O Houses on Stilts

Once you’ve completed the Tung O Ancient Trail, you will arrive in the fishing town of Tai O. Home to the Tanka people, who have lived on and around the water for centuries, the town is made up of traditional stilt houses. 

These homes built on stilts allow the locals to live almost on the water, without a division between sea and land. Their oneness with the water and ocean life is a firm part of their society and cultural history. Not unlike Cienaga Grande del Magdalena in Colombia or Inle Lake villages in Myanmar, the ability for humanity to live this amphibian-like way of life seems to be a worldwide phenomenon. 

A truly awesome sight, wandering around these stilted homes shows you how the modern world and historic cultures can live in harmony and it is these fascinating villages and communities that must be continually protected and preserved

Know before you go:

  • Location – Tai O is located at the extreme far west of the Lantau Island
  • Cost – Free to visit
  • Opening hours – 24 hours
  • Time needed – Give yourself a few hours to explore the town and its surroundings.
  • Getting there – Either complete the Tung O Ancient Trail and arrive on foot or take the Number 11 bus from Tung Chung town.

Day 14: Island-Hopping

Hop over a few islands while spotting gorgeous pink dolphins and checking out a creepy ghost town. Finish your Hong Kong itinerary in style by decompressing with a nice sunset on the beach.

Hike in Cheung Chau island 

One of the most popular smaller islands in the country, it’s worth making space on your Hong Kong itinerary for a trip to Cheung Chau island. With beautiful beaches and narrow alleyway streets, the island is free from car traffic and harbours the ideal balance between activity and relaxation. Though you can wander through the many markets and food stalls, its northern edges are far less inhabited and make for great hiking country.

The North Lookout Pavilion on the northern edge of the island is the highest point in Cheung Chau and provides stunning views across the island and surrounding oceans. You can start the hike from nearby the Pak Tai Temple, which leads you along a paved path, up to this terrific vantage point.

Know before you go:

  • Location – Cheung Chau Island is located southeast of Lantau Island. 
  • Cost – Free! 
  • Opening hours – 24 hours
  • Time needed – Take a few hours to hike around the island.
  • Getting there – Take the ferry from Central Ferry Pier No. 5 on Hong Kong Central. 

Pink Dolphin Spotting on Lantau Island

Fastly becoming a rare sight around the waters of Hong Kong, the pink dolphins have long been a loveable attraction for those island hopping in the area. If you’re hoping to catch sight of these loveable animals yourself, your best chance is to join a tour that will take you to the dolphin’s playgrounds between the islands of Lantau and Peng Chau.  

Though numbers are quickly dwindling, the recent pandemic has halted a lot of the boat traffic, helping the pink dolphins to claw back their territory and they seem to be returning to the waters in greater numbers.

Know before you go:

  • Location – Pink dolphins can be spotted on the east coast of Lantau Island.
  • Cost – 560 HKD for a boat tour that lasts around two to three hours. 
  • Opening hours – Tours generally run in the mornings from 9:30 am until 12:30 p.m
  • Time needed – At least three hours for the tour.
  • Getting there – Tours start from Tung Chung harbour, which is just a short walk away from Tung Chung MTR station.

Ma Wan Ghost Town

The island of Ma Wan is one of Hong Kong’s smallest, sitting between Lantau Island and Tsing Yi and dominated by a huge bridge that connects all three. Before such modern infrastructure was built on the island, along with its private housing estate of Park Island, Ma Wan was home to a number of indigenous fishing communities.

All of this changed in the 2000s when modern building projects sought to ‘buy out’ or forcibly move the families of these ancient fishing villages. Though many protests ensued, the families were eventually left with no choice but to relocate, and all that remains now on the island is a ghost town of a village.

With hollowed outbuildings that were once homes, abandoned schools and closed businesses, visiting this village is a little like walking through the streets of Pripyat in Ukraine (before the war). In stark contrast to the ultra-modern buildings and developments, visiting the ghost town of Man Wan can’t help but leave you with a sense of loss and changing of the times.

Know before you go:

  • Location – Ma Wan is located between Lantau Island and Tsing Y.
  • Cost – 10 HKD for the ferry to the island, free to wander around. 
  • Opening hours – 24 hours
  • Time needed –  A couple of hours to walk around and explore the ghost town.
  • Getting there –  Jump on the fast ferry that runs between Central and Park Island Pier and departs from Central Ferry Pier No. 2

Sharp Island Beach

If you’re looking for a bit of sun, sand and relaxation during your Hong Kong itinerary, you’re in luck. And, although the names of Sai Wan, Ham Tin, and Tai Wan all jump out as popular places to sunbathe, if you head to any of these spots, you’re going to have to deal with crowds. So why not head to a beach a little less popular and get the true relaxation you need. 

Sharp Island is a small isle between Hong Kong Island and Kau Sai Chau. While it may be one of the smaller islands, the beaches of Sharp Island are some of the most stunning in the country. Hap Mun Bay Beach, at the southern end of the island, boasts white sandy shores and is surrounded by lush forests, making for a relaxing afternoon well spent. 

Know before you go:

  • Location – Between Hong Kong Island and Kau Sai Chau.
  • Cost – 40 HKD there and back on the ferry
  • Opening hours – 24 hours
  • Time needed – Depending on how much you love the beach, you could easily spend a whole day relaxing here. 
  • Getting there – Take the ferry that shuttles between Sai Kung Town and Sharp Island at Sai Kung Pier.

Camp out at Tung Ping Chau

The crescent-shaped island of Tung Ping Chau is the most easterly of the islands in Hong Kong’s archipelago. Part of the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark, Tung Ping Chau is an island of immense beauty, dominated by rock formations and beautiful waters. A popular place for divers, Tung Ping Chau’s crystal waters are not only breathtaking but are also full of life.

To get a real feel for the island, you can camp out here for a night, taking in the sights and sounds of the paradisiacal island. Camping here is a great way to see Hong Kong’s laidback island life.

Know before you go:

  • Location – To the far east of Hong Kong in Mirs Bay.
  • Cost – 90 HKD for the ferry across to the island.
  • Opening hours – 24 hours 
  • Time needed – Set aside an afternoon and night to camp on the island.
  • Getting there – Catch Tsui Wah ferry from Ma Liu Shui Pier and disembark at Wong Ye Kok Pier at Tung Ping Chau.

Day 15: Day Trip to Macau? (Bonus Option For Your Hong Kong Itinerary)

All it takes to tick another country off your list while conducting your Hong Kong itinerary is a ferry ride to the nearby autonomous region of Macau. Separated by a small stretch of the South China Sea, a day trip to Macau swaps the relatively conservative Hong Kong for a day of high-flying living in Macau.

Known as the Vegas of the East, Macau’s lax gambling laws have led to a huge casino-based economy. Stopping off at one of the 41 casinos in Macaus will give you a taste of how the other half lives. 

Aside from hitting the casinos, you can also get your adrenaline junky fix by doing a bungee jump. This isn’t any old jump; however, Macau Tower is the highest commercial bungee jump on earth!. 

Jumping from Macau Tower is certainly one of those things that you will remember for the rest of your life, and claiming to have done the highest bungee jump in the world will give you serious pride (or chilling nightmares for life). 

That’s how I decided to spend my 30th birthday.

Know before you go:

  • Location – Macau is only 37 miles west of Hong Kong, a quick jaunt across the South China Sea. 
  • Cost – The ferry crossing will cost around 170 HKD.
  • Opening hours – 24 hours
  • Time needed – Take the whole day or even spend the night seeing the city by moonlight. 
  • Getting there –  You can catch the ferry from the Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal, located near the Shun Tak Centre on Hong Kong Island. This ferry leaves every fifteen minutes and will take around one hour, costing around 170 HKD one way. You can also catch a bus from Tsim Sha Tsui district or Hong Kong Airport, paying around HK$65 for a single journey. But this will take considerably longer at around three hours.

Case closed; there is so much to see and do in this city/country/administrative region – whatever the hell you want to label it as, and now you have more options than a mere stopover for your very own own Hong Kong itinerary.

Posted in ,

Anthony Middleton

Former loser who took a risk. Visited over 100 countries. Trying my best to not get skinny-fat during Covid.

Leave a Comment





Ultra runner walking in desert

Hi, I'm Anthony!

In November of 2010, I took on a mammoth challenge against the clock in a quest to upgrade my miserable life. I went out of my comfort zone and turned it all around. Ten years later, I’m completely location independent…

Follow me!