Hong Kong is a beautiful city, rich in history yet also reaching steadily into the modern day – a center of finance, a blending of cultures, and an exciting destination for any traveler. Food is an integral part of the culture here, markets teem with activity daily, and the nightlife is some of the best in the world. Whether it’s your final destination, or a stop on a RTW itinerary, three days in Hong Kong is enough to give you a taste of this country, while still leaving you hungry for more.
Day One in Hong Kong
Get the lay of the land from a bird’s eye view by making your way to Victoria Peak. Make the slow and steady climb aboard the Peak Tram before getting out to enjoy the view from the tallest point on the island. If you’ve got the time, you can actually make your way all the way around the peak to get a view from all sides. Cafe Deco is a nice stop with Western and Asian cuisine (as well as a nice raw bar!) if you’re in need of a spot to rest and refuel. Otherwise, grab a quick bite outside and continue on.
Star Ferry to Kowloon
One of the nicest things about Hong Kong is the variety of public transport options available. An iconic, yet practical way to cross Victoria Harbor is to opt to ride the Star Ferry for the short trip across Victoria Harbor. Riding one way in the day and back at night is a great way to get in two different perspectives of the Hong Kong skyline. Then, pretend that you’ve just stepped off the Trans-Siberian Railway and stop for refreshment at the stately Penninsula Hotel. High Tea is the classic way to relax and indulge before stepping out into the frenzy of activity at the markets of Mongkok.
A visit to Hong Kong would not be complete without trying your hand at bargaining at one of the many markets. One of the most popular is the Temple Street night market in the area known as Mongkok. Head here in the evening and spend your night browsing the many stalls, sampling delicious street foods at the dai pai dong stands, or listening to performances of Chinese opera.
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Day Two in Hong Kong
On your second day in Hong Kong, start by taking advantage of the fresh air outdoors. There are numerous ways to get out and get active. Try a hike such as the so-called “Dragon’s Back” trail which ends at Shek O Beach. You will find hikes for all skill levels so you can plan your morning or make a whole day out on the trails.
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Visit the Tian Tan Buddha
The Ngong Ping 360 cable cars afford stunning views on the way to Lantau’s most famous attraction – the Tian Tan Buddha. Reputed to be the worlds largest outdoor seated buddha, there are over 260 steps to get you to up to his feet and the views at the top are worth the climb. You can also opt to have lunch at the Po Lin Monastery or simply walk around the peaceful grounds.
Eat Your Way Around Hong Kong
If you find that you’ve now worked up an appetite, it’s a great time to sample some of the cuisine of Hong Kong. Dim sum is probably the most famous “must-try” food when you visit, so get out your chopsticks and get ready to taste a variety of bite-sized dumplings, savory meats, or steamed buns that will arrive in bamboo steamer baskets for you to share with the table, family-style. With its location, it may not come as much of a surprise that seafood in Hong Kong is so fresh that it may still be swimming! Other tastes to try include Cantonese cuisine, hot pot, roast duck, noodles, and egg tarts.
Hong Kong Nightlife
Hong Kong really revs up once the sun goes down, so get ready for a town that knows how to party into the wee hours if that’s your cup of tea. Try the Lan Kwai Fong (known as LKF) area, which resembles a large block party at times. Many bars and pubs in close proximity to one another mean you can easily stumble from one to the next.
Day Three in Hong Kong
Day Trip – Macau
While there is much to see and do in Hong Kong to keep you busy for a three day trip, just a short hour-long ferry ride will take you to the nearby Macau, for a day of different experiences with all its Portuguese-influenced food, architecture, and history. Macau is also sometimes called the “Las Vegas” of Asia, and gambling here is quite a different experience for those used to a more western-style casino. Here, gambling is serious business whether or not you choose to play the odds. Wander around the pretty neighborhoods and visit the ruins of the St. Paul Cathedral. For a nice lunch or dinner stop, visit the classic restaurant A Lorcha.
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photos by Malia Yoshioka