Whether you’re visiting for a stopover or a long weekend, Sally Taylor shares some important tips and recommendations to help you make the most of your 72 hours in Hong Kong. 


Arriving in Hong Kong

As you drive into Hong Kong from the airport, it looks a lot like Jurassic Park. There's miles of hazy, mountainous countryside to whizz through, with forests on one side of you and wide watery expanses on the other. But then you get to the busy, bonkers city itself, and it's more like being in Futurama - with roof-level walkways, flashing neon lights and skyscrapers everywhere! 


Where to Stay

There are lots of plays to stay in Hong Kong and Kowloon is one of the best araes to choose.

Kowloon is on the opposite side of Victoria Harbour to Hong Kong Island itself and means you get great views of the world-famous skyline. It's also the most densely populated place on the planet - you may think London and other worldwide cities are busy, but they have got nothing on Kowloon!

There are lots of great value hotels and hostels here. The area is great with buzzing neon artery of Kowloon and close proximity to Tsim Sha Tsui station. Book accommodation in advance as prices in Hong Kong aren't cheap.


Getting From The Airport & Around

Hong Kong may be jam packed with people, but it feels very calm and organised, and it's so easy to get around. 

First things first, buy your self an Octopus Travel Card from the airport or railway station. Why? The card allows you to store money and get discounts on everything from public transport to restaurant meals. Can you really afford not to?

From Hong Kong aiport the cheapest way to get to the city is on the A21 bus directly to Tsim Sha Tsui from the airport for $33 (just under 3 pounds), and you can also do the same in reverse when when leaving Hong Kong.

For getting around Hong Kong you have the MTR (mass transit railway), Hong Kong's metro. It's nothing like metro's in Europe, a lot of Hong Kong's residents would freak out if they ever went on the tube in London! It's incredibly clean, as is everywhere in Hong Kong, and you will never wait more than a couple of minutes for a train.

Watch out though - they're quite strict about eating and drinking in public areas, including MTR stations. You can get landed with a hefty fine if you get caught.


Essential Places to See & Do

Hong Kong might look small on a map but there are lots of places you can visit, these are some places to add to your travel itinerary:

  • Avenue of Stars
  • Victoria Peak tram & zkyline view
  • Hong Kong park
  • Star Ferry over to Hong Kong Island
  • Hong Kong light show
  • Have a drink at Ozone, the world's highest bar
  • Barter for goods at the Ladies Market and Temple Street night market
  • Cable Car up to the Po Lin Buddhist monastery
  • Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade
  • Lan Kwai Fong/SoHo
  • Golden Bauhinia Square (and HKCEC)
  • Lantau Island — Ngong Ping
  • Stanley



Here is how to spend an amazing 72 hours in Hong Kong:


Day 1

Kowloon Peak, Kwun Tong, Kowloon East

Spend your first day exploring Hong Kong and getting to know the city.

You step onto the MTR ready to hit Hong Kong, wondering where to visit first. Why not head straight to Wong Tai Sin Temple. The beautiful Temple is home to three religions, Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism. If you want to find out what the future holds, just shake a box of prayer sticks until one falls out, and have it interpreted by a fortune-teller!

Next, tick off another big thing off the Hong Kong bucket list, and this one is a must do - the Peak Tram. The views over the city from Victoria Peak really are stunning, and if you are lucky you'll get to go up on one of Hong Kong's rare clear days! The Tram ride itself is pretty good fun - pretty steep, and almost vertical in places, so hold on to your bags or they go sliding down the carriage!

This is the best photo spot in Hong Kong. Spend time taking in the incredible views of the city and maybe snap a selfie or two.

After that, head to Hong Kong Park, a little green oasis right in the heart of the business district, a great place to stop for lunch and do some people watching.

In the early evening take the Star Ferry over to Hong Kong Island (much cheaper than some of the tourist boat tours) and check out the skyscrapers over there from street level. Come back across in time for the much-hyped light show, where the skyscrapers are lit up in time to music. Let's just say... you can't really go to Hong Kong and not see it, but it's not quite all it's built up to be!

After the light show you might want to flex your haggling skills and check out the Ladies Market and Temple Street Night Market. If you like your designer fakes, this is the place for you!

A lot of the stalls are aimed at tourists and a lot of the same stuff is repeated, so if there's something you like, barter for prices and shop around. This is a very local experience and one of the best free things to do in Hong Kong.

When you’re ready for a sit down or in need of somewhere to see the night in, head to a Jazz club in Lan Kwai Fong, or one of the many bars in the area. It’s a great place to check out live music, sample your last dish of Cantonese cuisine or do some people watching with a drink in hand. It’s been a busy day; you’ve earned it.


Day 2

Lantau, Hong Kong

It’s your second day in Hong Kong, here’s how to make it a good one. 

In the morning take a walk along the Avenue of Stars, and be on the look out for famous names like Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Bruce Lee.

Then go to watch street performers in Mong Kok, one of the best shopping districts in Hong Kong. Mime artists, dancers, human statues and much more all compete for your attention. Enjoy dipping in and out of performances as you walk through the bustling streets underneath the walls filled with neon lights. There’s so much to see!

In the afternoon escape the city, and take the MTR to Tung Chung, then get the Cable Car up to the Po Lin Buddhist monastery. This will likely be the absolute most favourite thing you will do and it is is one of the best alternative things to do in Hong Kong. This location is breathtakingly beautiful up there, and very calm and peaceful.

The monastery has a great little vegetarian cafe if you decide to get something to eat - though weirdly there is also a Subway up there! Po Lin is also home to The Big Buddah, the world's largest outdoor seated Buddah, and it really is as impressive as it sounds. 

This is such an amazing place to see and relax, you could spend all day here.

For dinner head to the tranquil Repulse Bay. In 1841, the bay was used as a base for Pirates, but now you’re much more likely to find locals sunning themselves and eating at one of the many beachfront restaurants. This is definately one of the non-touristy places to visit in Hong Kong.

As this might be your last evening in Hong Kong, decide to do something special. This is a tip that you won't find in many guidebooks, go for a  Tsing Tao (Chinese beer) at the world's highest bar, Ozone, right at the top of the ICC building. This is the best way to see Hong Kong, especially at night!

It's a bit tricky to get up there - you need to go into the ICC, go up to the Ritz Carlton hotel on the 8th floor, take the lift there to floor 103, then go right up to floor 118. Your ears will be popping in the lift, it's that high! Drinks are expensive, but the view is worth it - you could sit there watching the twinkling lights all night.


Day 3

Hong Kong sunset

Rise and shine! Start your day with a bang, or a ‘ding ding’ on Hong Kong’s famous Double Decker Trams! Enjoy the views as the tram takes you for a spot of street food breakfast from Chu Yeung Street Market. This is one of the top places to eat in Hong Kong.

After you’re fed, it’s time to seek out Yue Lao, also known as the Matchmaker!  The Matchmaker Statue is back at Repulse Bay. Make a certain shape with your fingers and tie a red ribbon to ensure a long and happy marriage. That was easy!

Jump aboard the Star Ferry to get spectacular views of Hong Kong from the water. The 8-minute ride is the most fun way to explore the harbour side attractions. 

You can’t come to Hong Kong without sampling Dim Sum, and you’ve definitely earned it after a long day of exploring. Check out Yum Cha Café to sample the classic Cantonese dish.


Plan a Trip to Hong Kong 

Hong Kong is a great place to visit for a short break or stopover, and will definitely make you want to see more of China. Hopefully now you have some great suggestions for places to see.

Has my itinerary inspired you to want to visit Hong Kong? One World 365 features lots of overland trips where you can experience this city for yourself.

By Sally Taylor