Travel Itinerary: Weekend in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a popular global city, perfect for a stopover on the way to another destination — especially in Asia. While there are so many things that can keep you busy for weeks in Hong Kong, if you are only able to stay for a couple days, then here are our top picks for your visit to Hong Kong. Check out our recommended sample itinerary for a weekend in Hong Kong!
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If you Arrive at Night…
Night Markets & Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade
Dive right into the excitement of Hong Kong’s night markets! In the Kownloon area, explore the Ladies Market in Mong Kok, the Temple Street Market or Jade Market near Jordan. Then continue south on Nathan Road to the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade to admire the lights of Hong Kong at night over Victoria Harbour.
Tai Chi in the Parks
If you have never seen it before (and you can manage the early morning), then get up and out of your hotel early and head to one of the many parks around town. At this early hour, you will see many elderly (but some younger) Chinese people doing their morning exercises in the Park, including Tai Chi.
I traveled solo to Hong Kong the first time I visited, and I loved getting up early to watch the Tai Chi exercises every morning. A beautiful walk in the park & a nice way to wake up.
Po Street Bird Garden, Flower Market Street, Gold Fish Market & Mong Kok Walk
Next, finish waking up with the sounds of the birds at the Po Street Bird Garden. Every morning local bird enthusiasts bring their birds here (in beautiful wooden cages) and hang them up so that the birds can “socialize” with each other. Of course, this also gives the owners to socialize too. After the Po Street Bird Garden, it is a short walk around the corner to check out the beautiful shops around the Flower Market streets. Then follow the signs south toward the Gold Fish Market. I’m always surprised just how many different varieties of fish there are! The rest of the morning can be spent exploring these local streets in Mong Kok, and be sure to stop off for some breakfast. Perhaps indulging in the local specialty of Dim Sum.
Hong Kong History Museum
If you are up for it, I highly recommend making a stop at the Hong Kong History Museum. This isn’t just a boring ol’ museum — it’s impressive! Walking fast, it would take an hour. But if you want to enjoy the museum and look at some of the signs, allot 2 hours. The price is modest, but if you go on Wednesdays it is FREE!
Avenue of the Stars & Star Ferry to Hong Kong Island
Walk south of the museum to the water – and the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade. If you didn’t see it on the first night, walking down the promenade takes you through the “Avenue of the Stars” (a sort of walk-of-fame for Hong Kong’s movie industry) and you can enjoy the beautiful skyline across Victoria Harbour on Hong Kong Island. A great free activity in Hong Kong! Continue making your way to the Tsim Sha Tsui piers and hop on the historic Star Ferry for a harbour crossing to the Pier in the Central District.
Bus to Stanley – South Side of Hong Kong Island
At the pier, head to the Hong Kong Central Bus terminus (near exit D) and hop on bus 6, 6A, 6X, 66 or 260 to Stanley. This beautiful bus ride will take you to the south side of Hong Kong Island, a whole different world. Here you will see beautiful bays and beaches, and eventually end up at this relaxed town on the water. Explore the Stanley market (great deals, and less pushy), then stroll the promenade along the water. Have lunch in a café and enjoy the laid back vibe of the area.
Central & Mid Levels
Return to Central, take a peek at some of the luxury shops while heading toward the mid-levels escalator. Save your legs and take this “escalator highway” up the mountain. At this time of day, many day-workers at the major companies around the Central district will be getting off work and heading out for the night. So this area is full of high quality (yet expensive) international restaurants and bars.
Man Mo Temple & Sheung Wan District
Exit the escalator at “Hollywood Road” and take a stroll down this popular street, full of antique shops. Eventually, you will come to the famous Man Mo Temple. One of the oldest in the area, it was once the heart of this traditional Chinese neighborhood (Sheung Wan). After a look inside, continue walking straight down the hill in front of the temple. You will pass more small markets and shops, before getting back to the main streets of Queen’s Central or Des Voeux.
Mid-Levels / Wan Chai / Causeway Bay
For a dinner and a night out, you can return to the Mid-Levels area – with it’s international bars & restaurants, or take the old Tram cars from Sheung Wan on Des Voeux Rd toward Wan Chai or Causeway Bay. Both of these areas are lively at night with shopping, entertainment, and restaurants.
Ferry Ride to Lantau Island – Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery
Head to the Central Ferry Pier and take the boat to Lantau Island (Mui Wo). Then hop on bus 2 and head up to the Ping Ngong. Here, you can take your time to visit the beautiful Po Lin Monastery, as well as hike up to see the famous Giant Buddha on the mountain! Then, you may feel up to strolling a bit through the park.
Bus to Tai O – Fishing & Stilt House Village
From Po Lin Monastery, take bus 21 straight to Tai O Village. Once at the village, head into town to the main bridge and hop on one of the boat tours. The tour should take you around town to see the famous stilt houses, then out to sea to try and spot the famous Chinese white (although it looks pink) dolphin. Afterwards, go for a hike around town to some of the nearby sights and temples, then stop off back in the village for a rest, some lunch and perhaps a coffee at a restaurant overlooking the water.
Bus back to Mui Wo & Silvermine Bay Beach
Head back to Mui Wo from Tai O on bus 1. If you have time, you may want to relax at the Silvermine Bay Beach and go for a swim when it isn’t quite so hot outside. This beautiful beach is quite, especially on the weekdays. Taking the ferry back to Central around sunset is a great time to go. Because you can watch the sunset from the boat over the islands and the water, as well as getting a great view of the lights of the city just as they start to come on for the night.
** Take the “ordinary – slow” ferry for this trip so that you can sit outside and enjoy the lights! Still, the trip only takes about 45 minutes.
Ngong Ping Cable Car, Monastery / Buddha, Tai O, Silvermine Bay Beach
Take the MTR train toward the airport, but get off at Tung Chung. Head toward the Ngong Ping cable car entrance (opens at 9 or 10 am). This scenic cable car journey takes you up and over the mountains, and drops you off at a themed village at the top of the mountain, right by the Po Lin Monastery and Big Buddha. After exploring the area, take bus 21 to Tai O for the afternoon. Then take the bus direct to Mui Wo and head over to Silvermine Bay Beach (if there is time). You can take the sunset ferry back to Central, or go even later at night (ferries run until late).
Accommodations in Hong Kong We Recommend:
YesInn (Fortress Hill and Causeway Bay) – more of a hostel
Amigo Inn – budget hotel
Homy Inn – boutique / budget hotel
Hotel MK – nicer business hotel
** Read our full reviews of all these hotels here
Top Recommended Activities / Day Tours in Hong Kong
Cruise of Victoria Harbor on a Chinese Junk Boat!
A visit to the “Big Buddha” on or a full day tour of Lantau Island.
We highly recommend the Hong Kong Big Bus Tour – especially if you have only a few days to see the sights.
Taking a day trip to Macau – this place is a blast!
** For all top activities & tours in Hong Kong, read our full post here.
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