Our Hong Kong Itinerary
A hill station, a capital, a financial hub, a seaport, an island and a great tourist spot – Hong Kong is all of these rolled in one. It is a part of China but in so many ways, it is a mini Europe – even its legal currency, the Hong Kong dollar, is different from that of the rest of China. Making Hong Kong destination for your next tour will give you a chance to enjoy beaches; Western-style luxuries, traditional Chinese art, architecture and culture, the technical wonders to name a few. Here is how you can get the maximum out of this city within 5 days
Where to Stay?
Hong Kong is divided into four major divisions – Kowloon peninsula, Hong Kong island, new territories and 200 outlying islands. But if you are looking for a place to stay – there are the only Kowloon Peninsula and Hong Kong island – where the best of the hotels are located. It might also depend upon your budges (there are some inexpensive hotels in outlying islands) as well as your preferences (the hotels in the Hong Kong island might closer to some of the tourist attractions or whether you want a mountain view or beach view). Assuming you are willing to spend some money, but we believe Hyatt Regency in Sha Tin is the way to go.
We chose the Hyatt Regency Hong Kong, Sha Tin as our accommodation. The rooms here have their own bathtubs and are clean, comfortable and spacious (even bathrooms are big!). Besides luxurious rooms, the hotel offers facilities such as a spa, gym and swimming pools. It is also located within a 5-minute drive from Science Park and Sha Tin racecourse. Moreover, you can save on bus fares as hotels provide you with free shuttle bus service to Sha Tin, Hong Kong Science Park and Tsim Sha Tsui. They also provide bikes on rent.
The cuisine here is among the best and you have the option to eat outdoors too. The food at Café was simply delicious. And a bite of Pecking Duck will leave your mouth watering for more. The staff here is very helpful.
Though rather expensive, the hotel gives the greatest value for every penny spent.
It might be a bit far from Kowloon but the beautiful view of magnificent mountains more than compensate for that.
Now you are just off the airport, you always need rest on day one, right? The idea is to take the famous star ferry ride. The ferry ride is not just something you have to do to move between sites but is itself a rather joyous activity. The breeze from sea refreshes you as you ease yourself to a seat in front ( it is always easy to get one, as ferries leave every few minutes) and within minutes, you are energetic again to go exploring. The spacious and comfortable nature of ferry makes it an escape in itself with great views of Hong Kong’s urban architecture as well as the mountains in the background. We took the ride and were off to the Hong Kong island. Next was the Victoria Park (the largest park on Hong Kong island) and followed it by a trip to Peak. Peak is where you want to be when the day loses itself tonight as it offers a view of the whole city from a mountain point and thus, you get to see this view both during day and night.
Next in our list is Trick Eye Museum. As the name suggests, it is all about optical illusions. But these illusions you can interact with. We ended our day shopping in Wan Chai and Times Square – a perfect place to go shopping in as it avails local as well as international brand products of all kinds. It was soon time to take the ferry back to our hotel.
We spent the day two seeing the sites in Kowloon itself. We took advantage of our hotel’s free shuttle bus service to Sha Tin, Hong Kong Science Park and Tsim Sha Tsui.
Next, we went to see the Wong Tai Sin Temple. It is one is one of the newest temples in Hong Kong and was built to honour the Taoist god Wong Tai Sin, regarded by locals as the bringer of good luck in horse-racing and a healer of illnesses. The temple complex has several buildings, including the Good Wish Garden, Hall of Three Saints, and a hall dedicated to Confucius and his 72 disciples. The architectural beauty here is simply mesmerising.
Next, we went to Mangkok. Here the enormity of humanity hits you in all your senses – crowds, strong lights, the smell of delicious food, loud music, they all hit you at once. There is so much to do here – you might want to check out the ladies’ market, the goldfish market or sneakers street (yep, you heard it). We had our lunch at Fa Yuen street market which is famous for its exotic foods and fresh veggies.
As the sun sets, head to temple street. The Temple Street Night Market is the last night market in Hong Kong. Shops sell everything – food, electronics, clothes, traditional Chinese crafts etc. Have some fun with fortune tellers or hear traditional Cantonese opera sung which is sung outside the Tin Hua Temple. The street food here was just the perfect dinner. Spend some more time exploring the market before heading back to the hotel.
Day three took a lot of exercise for us as we visited Lantau island. We started off early and took the ferry to the Hong Kong Island. And so we decided to explore the Oceanside and enjoy the skyline, instead of going straight to Ocean terminal and visit the ‘Avenue of the Stars’ which is Chinese for Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. Among several other Chinese stars, a statue of an apparently angry Bruce Lee invites you to try martial arts with him (No thanks!).
Next, we took a metro to Tung Chung station, From this point, you can take Ngong Ping cable cars (as we did) or a bus to reach Lantau island. From here we took the bus to “Tian Tan” Big Buddha. Though our destination is still (are you kidding me?) 286 stairs above us. The big Budha at the top is an architectural wonder and it did justice to this pilgrimage we paid (which in all justice, also burned the calories we might have gained from eating too much of Chinese cuisine). Added to this perk is the panoramic view of Lantau island from this height.
Several other Buddhist statues wait for you in this area. Our bellies were asking for food so, we followed it up with a visit to Po Lin Monastery restaurant which offers traditional vegetarian temple food for lunch.
From here you take a 15 minutes trip to Tai O. Tai O is a traditional fishing village. Its speciality lies in the fact that all its wooden houses are elevated above the water on stilted platforms. It is time to head back.
Hong Kong is famous for two major theme parks – the Ocean Park and the Disneyland. And since we only wished to visit one, we chose Ocean Park. The reason being that Ocean Park, besides being the larger, is also more than just a theme park. Yes, it has Fun rides like the Mine Train, space wheel, Raging River etc but it is also a marine national park and a zoo (thus making it something of a treat for children who might have been getting bored while you were admiring the architecture of temple). You get a chance to walk through old Hong Kong, a Grand Aquarium, roller coasters, and a look at the rare and exotic wildlife. It boasts of the largest aquarium dome in the world, spanning 5.5 meters in diameter. We also got a chance to look at thousands of fish from 400 species, a Reef Tunnel. Moreover, you also get a chance to get hands-on with sea stars and sea cucumbers. But why stop at aquatic life? The Ocean Park also offers you a chance to see beautiful giant pandas, red pandas as well as the endangered Chinese Giant Salamander. The park is open from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m and it does need a whole day to have all the fun there.
On the way back, stop at the sky100 observation deck. Located on the 100th floor of the international commerce centre, it offers the beautiful view of Kowloon sunset and the night sky. Come back to have a good night’s sleep as you have a busy day ahead which would end with your return journey.
We started off early today and skip breakfast as you take the ferry to Hong Kong island and from there reach the Clipper Lounge in The Mandarin Oriental just to take a British royal style tea (now is that cool or what!). The Mandarin Oriental is just one of the many amazing spots in the Central district. The others include the “Captains Bar” at The Mandarin Oriental itself, Honi tiki cocktail lounge (cocktails made in a Hawaiian setting), Mott 32 and Lily & Bloom (a 1920s style bar).
Walk through the Victoria Central Business District – the place is full of skyscrapers including the Bank of China, which is one of the largest skyscrapers in the world. Besides being part of what makes Hong Kong one of the biggest financial hubs of the world, the district also contains zoological or botanical gardens. We ended our tour of Hong Kong by going to the Man Mo Temple here in Victoria Central Business District, one of the largest and the oldest Chinese temples on Hong Kong Island. This island is dedicated to man – the god of literature. The walk through this temple will freshen you up to start on your journey back home.
We understand if you want to avoid sky scrapers on your last day of your holiday. Your other options could be a visit to Disney Park or simply taking a day off at one of the sea beaches here. The beach at Repulse Bay is the most popular and offers the best Hong Kong Luxuries but it can also be too crowded. You can walk part of Dragon’s back hike to the beach before swimming on Big Wave Bay beach. Cheung Sha Beach is a relatively less crowded beach, especially its upper section.