When Cathay Pacific Airlines contacted me for a blog-trip and asked me to create my own Hong Kong itinerary, I knew what was next: a few sleepless nights of obsessive research and excitement.
More research though, as I had to create my own itinerary and plan my holiday.
I have made many itineraries throughout my travel career and I know how long it can take.
For example, my one-week Germany road trip took me more than 2 full days to plan on paper. When I travel on my own, I try to cover as many places in as little time as possible — call it the Indian habit.
So with only five days in hand this time, I jam-packed my itinerary with as many places to visit in Hong Kong as possible.
I planned on trying strange and popular food, going on hikes, exploring street markets and doing whatever else was suggested by other travel blogs on the internet.
So out of my 5-day travel in the city, I’ve created an ideal travel itinerary with the top places to visit in Hong Kong. Making the itinerary even shorter, this blog is for people with an even shorter time: 3 Days.
Be known that this is a Hong Kong travel blog by an Indian (some Indian taste of travel is expected). Also, see this blog on Hong Kong pictures and photos to get an idea of what to expect when you are there.
Hong Kong Airport To Hong Kong City
After a 4-hour flight from Kolkata, I arrived in Hong Kong at 7:50 in the morning — a perfect time to dump my bags in the hotel and start exploring the city.
Thanks to comfortable seating in the blissful Cathay Pacific economy class I was well-rested. Though a couple of hours of a nap would have been amazing, the city felt too promising to be wasting any time.
From Hong Kong Airport to Hong Kong City, MTR Airport Express remains the most comfortable and time-efficient way to travel.
If you’re travelling on a budget, you may want to take a bus, which costs less than half of what the metro costs with an Octopus Card. (Airport Metro fare: 100 HKD | Airport Bus fare: 33 HKD with Octopus Card).
Speaking of the Octopus Card, is a smart card for making electronic payments in online or offline systems that connect places to visit in Hong Kong — across islands. It can be used for all public transportation in the city for paying for museums and other tourist attractions, as well as for paying bills at many restaurants and supermarkets.
So to travel from Hong Kong airport to the city, buy an Octopus Card or get one online. This will make sure you complete this Hong Kong itinerary more conveniently.
If you are flying from Delhi, you can also fly with other flight carriers like Scoot Airlines and Air Asia. Sharing my Flyscoot experience and this experience of flying with Singapore Airlines business class for your reference.
Places To Visit In Hong Kong – The Mainland (Day 1)
After making my way from Hong Kong Airport to Hong Kong City around 8 in the morning, and with the Airport Express, it took me less than an hour to get to my hotel.
After quickly dumping my bags in the hotel (you may want to check BP International, where I stayed for its central location and good in-house services) it was time to eat something.
Now as my first meal in a new country, and the first meal in these places to visit in Hong Kong blog has to be something local, so we start with Dim Sum. Finding a restaurant serving Dim Sum isn’t hard and a full meal (including a few different items) doesn’t cost more than 100 HKD per person.
With some Dim Sum tasting and a happy stomach, it was time to start exploring things as mentioned in this Hong Kong travel itinerary. (Other must-try foods include Egg waffles, pineapple buns, milk tea, egg tarts, dan dan noodles, wonton noodles, and pork bun).
Hong Kong Museum Of History
To understand a place, it’s important to understand its history and that’s exactly what museums are for. Though I am, not a big fan of museums, Hong Kong’s Museum of History is totally recommended.
It provides an excellent overview of the county’s past with exhibitions relating to social history, ethnography and much more. It can take up to 4 hours to explore it thoroughly, however, a quick scan is possible in less than an hour and a half.
The admission fee is HKD 10m, and free on Wednesdays.
Although shopping and eating in Hong Kong have adopted a more Western approach with big malls and brick-and-mortar shops stealing the show, if examined properly, you will still find some street food here and there too.
The most impressive and biggest (as far as I found out) of the street markets is the Mong Kok region. From 10 in the morning until midnight Mong Kok Street markets offer a frenetic atmosphere, with colorful sights and sounds of the city. So, visiting Mong Kok is certainly one of the top places to visit in Hong Kong.
Temple Street Night Market is a particular highlight in Mong Kok with a mix of curios, fortune tellers and food stands, creating more confusion than you can handle on your day 1 in Hong Kong. Foodies will particularly like exploring the area’s street food stalls, tea houses and casual eateries here. For women looking for shopping, the Ladies Market (With bargain clothing and accessories) can be a total jackpot.
Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade
Hong Kong is worth exploring at night. As soon as the sun sets down, the skyscrapers on Hong Kong Island come to life. Head to the waterfront of Tsim Sha Tsui and take in the breathtaking skyline view.
Speaking of the skyline, the best skyline I have ever seen was in Perth. Sharing this Perth photography spots blog if you would like to take a look. The skyline there has remained my all-time favourite. You may also be interested in seeing these Europe pictures blog for some impressive skyline photos from the Europe continent.
While you’re here, make sure to visit the Avenue of Stars, Hong Kong’s answer to the Hollywood “Walk of Fame,” where you can see the stars of Chinese and Western films alike. There are shops, restaurants, and, at night, a large outdoor market serving traditional Cantonese food alongside knockoffs and souvenirs. Come ready to haggle.
Places To Visit In Hong Kong – The Island (Day 2)
The best way to get across the harbour from Kowloon Island to Hong Kong Island is via the Star Ferry, which showcases a fantastic view of the city skyline for only 2.70 HKD (or even less with an Octopus Card).
Taking the Star Ferry was one of my favourite activities, hence it’s a must-add to your list of top places to visit in Hong Kong. The Star Ferry also gives good vantage points for clicking pictures of the city’s skyline.
For a city that is often regarded as one of the most densely populated places on earth, it’s hard to imagine that it may have an equal share of green spaces and nature walks. On the outskirts, almost every corner in Hong Kong has a day hiking point that offers periodic views of the skyline and beautiful coastal scenery. And among all the hikes, Dragon’s Back remains the most popular, with mentions in pretty much every guidebook.
A short hop from the bustle of Hong Kong East, the trail provides stunning views of Shek O, Tai Long Wan, Stanley, Tai Tam, and the South China Sea. Just remember to carry your swimsuit as the hike concludes on a beautiful beach.
To get to the starting point, however, catch the MTR and get off at Shau Kei Wan Station Exit A to Shau Kei Wan Bus Terminal. Take the minibus (with the sign “Shek O”) or bus 9 and alight at To Tei Wan at Shek O Road from where the hike starts. With an approximate 9 km walk, it can take up to 4.5 hours to complete the entire Dragon’s Back trail.
So if you’re short on time, you can skip the idea of hiking in Hong Kong.
Victoria And Peak Tram
At 1700 feet Victoria Peak offers spectacular 180-degree views of the skyscrapers of Victoria Harbor, Kowloon, and the surrounding hills — one of the must-visit points in Hong Kong and possibly the best spot to capture Hong Kong’s impressive skyline.
Though the peak is accessible on a bus (which is moreover a much cheaper deal, bus fare: around 10 HKD | Peak Tram: around 40 HKD) going on a ride up to Victoria Peak by the Peak Tram is a recommended experience.
Imagine sitting or standing on a tram at an almost 45° angle while the view is fast changing from a mountain trail to magnanimous apartment buildings of Hong Kong Island — that’s the 10-minute Peak Tram ride in a nutshell.
I highly recommend purchasing SkyPass online so that you save some time as we have a lot of places to visit in Hong Kong.
At the top, if you have bought the SkyPass, head to the Sky Terrace 428 observatory to get a Panoramic View of the cityscape. Otherwise, you can also get a great view of the city right outside the tower.
The best time to visit Victoria Peak is, of course, either during the early hours of dawn or after dusk.
Places To Visit In Hong Kong – Boat Ride & Stanley (Day 3)
Junk Boat Ride
A very unique and entertaining thing to do in Hong Kong is sailing through one of those classic boats with a large sail you might have seen in pirate movies. It’s possible to hire an entire junk boat (for big groups) or join a group sail on full-day and half-day trips. Aqua Luna, for example, is one of the popular Junk Boats in Hong Kong that I cruised with around Victoria Harbor all the way to Stanley Town.
A Junk Boat ride is certainly a must-have in any Hong Kong itinerary travel blog.
Aqua Luna also offers a few night tours and even a food tour, if you’re interested in something different.
Other Junk Boat operators in Hong Kong are Island Junks, Saffron Cruises, and Hong Kong Junks.
Since I only booked a single journey from Hong Kong Victoria Harbour to Stanley, I spared a good share of the day exploring the sleepy town of Stanley with beautiful beaches and viewpoints. If you’re not taking the cruise (or are taking a night cruise instead) the bus from the Central Station to Stanley is a great option too. Just remember to sit on the upper deck and you will be treated to a beautiful coastline along the way.
A popular area to live in, Stanley is known for its relaxed lifestyle and family-friendly destinations.
Take a stroll along its Promenade and eat at one of the many street cafes and restaurants or relax at Stanley beach.
The popular Blake Pier is a good point to click some pictures while in Stanley. Though it may feel a little discouraging to visit Stanley as it is located a little out of reach, it is certainly one of the top places to visit in Hong Kong.
Central & Western Promenade
Since the original charm of visiting Hong Kong for any tourist is exploring the impressive skyline, a walk along the central and western promenade on the island is a must-do during one of the evenings. Start your walk from Admiralty station towards the coast and further to the piers. A walk in this area can itself conclude your Hong Kong itinerary in the simplest form.
Some of the best pictures of the Hong Kong skyline that I managed to capture were at the Central & Western Promenade only.
The by-now iconic apartment buildings of Quarry Bay, in the Eastern District of Hong Kong Island, are a must-see too, during the wee hours of the night. I went there during the day and again at nighttime, and I preferred my night photos.
Make sure to bring a tripod and an L bracket, so you can easily turn your camera upwards for long-exposure shots.
As I said above, Hong Kong, with its eight million people, offers countless things to see and do. You can spend weeks exploring the many islands, markets, restaurants, sights, and nightlife in the town and still not get bored. Though impossible to condense a city so vast into three-days, this Hong Kong itinerary is the best I could think of after my visit.
What would you add to this Hong Kong itinerary? Let’s share your thoughts in the comments below!
Disclaimer: I wrote this travel itinerary blog for the top places to visit in Hong Kong during a media trip by Cathay Pacific Airlines. Though my trip was sponsored by them, all suggestions and recommendations are solely personal.