Hong Kong is often visited as the start or end to a holiday or even a stopover break on a long haul flight. A typical stopover time would be two or three nights so if, like me, you only have a short time in the city, then good planning is essential.
Whilst you can certainly do a great deal in 48 hours, it could easily extend to a week with its numerous activities available. I was there in November and here are some of my favourite places and tips.
Pre-purchase a ‘Hong Kong Pass’ which will give you free entry to most of the main attractions, including the Hop-On Hop-Off City Tour, Peak Tram, Ocean Park, sky100, Aqua Luna Cruise and Star Ferries. With a bit of advance planning, you can take advantage of the full value of the Pass and, as it doesn’t have to be used on consecutive days, you can build in some R&R or maybe visit one of the surrounding islands.
Sky Terrace 428 – the highest viewing platform in Hong Kong with 360-degree panoramic views across the city. An exciting way to reach the top is on the steep funicular Peak Tram ride that takes 12 minutes each way. Pre-booking is recommended for these attractions but it is worth noting that you can fast-track the queue on the Tram if you have a Hong Kong Pass.
Aberdeen Fishing Village – home to several hundred traditional Junk Boats where you can take a sampan boat ride to see fishermen going about their daily business. This area is also famous for its seafood restaurants.
It is impossible to visit Hong Kong without it involving some shopping! There is a market for almost any commodity from the Ladies Market – famous for fake designer gear – or the famous Stanley Market where bargaining for local crafts and souvenirs is expected. Temple Street Night Market has a great atmosphere with its food stalls and fortune tellers – this is also the place for electronic items and gadgets.
These markets are part of the buzz and atmosphere where you can take the opportunity to pick up a real bargain. However, if Mall shopping is more your thing, then Causeway Bay is a good place to start with miles and miles of neon-lit fashion shopping.
I also spent a whole day on Lantau Island which I would recommend doing as an organised trip in order to fit everything in; although, if you enjoy going it alone, the public transport from Kowloon or Hong Kong Island is excellent.
I would not have missed the cable car up to Ngong Ping Village which is host to the Tian Tan Giant Buddha and Po Lin Monastery. As we ascended in the cable car, we had fantastic views of the airport built into the sea on top of landfill and, as we neared the top, the outline of the Giant Buddha came into view.
After visiting the Giant Buddha and the Po Lin Buddhist Monastery, I travelled to Tai O Fishing Village. This is a classic example of a traditional Hong Kong fishing community, with much of the accommodation consisting of stilt houses.
We took a boat ride around this tranquil and authentic setting – known as the “Venice of Hong Kong” – watching the locals go about their daily business.
We were also lucky enough to spot some of Hong Kong’s famous pink dolphins before strolling along the market stalls packed with a huge array of dried fish and shellfish.
Time Difference: +8 hours
Currency: Hong Kong Dollar (HK$10 = £1)
Flying Time: 12 hours
· Unlike the rest of China, no visa is required.
· Make your way over to Kowloon for the laser and music display every night at 8pm.
· Take a big bag to bring home all the shopping!