HONG KONG

Hong Kong in 48 Hours

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After a whirlwind book tour in Europe and a week of stuffing myself with pastries in Paris, I made my way back towards Australia via Hong Kong, one of the most logical stopovers when journeying from Australia to Europe (along with Singapore).

With just 48 hours in the city and jet lag weighing my down, I was surprised to see how much I could fit in to such a short visit! If you also find yourself in Hong Kong for such a short space of time, here’s a complete itinerary to match (with some options, depending on how many times you have visited!)

Hong Kong Guide | World of Wanderlust

Check In: Hong Kong Island VS. Kowloon 

There are two main options when you arrive in Hong Kong: to stay “on the island” or to stay in Kowloon (the huge landmass on the other side of the water, connected to mainland China). To be completely honest with you, I love both and each for different reasons.

Hong Kong Island has the benefit of centrality, being within walking distance of many of the cities’ main attractions. Much of the island does have more of a financial vibe, with much of the business for Hong Kong operating out of Central. On the other hand you have Kowloon, offering a more authentic stay just minutes to the local markets and right “in the thick of it”.

On this trip I checked in to the Kerry Hotel, a new hotel located away from the hustle and bustle, with a view of the entire harbour. Other hotels I have really enjoyed are the Landmark Mandarin Oriental (a fashion bloggers’ dream), the Four Seasons Hotel (one of the best views of Kowloon from the Island), The Ritz Carlton (one of the highest hotels in the world – you literally wake up in the clouds) and a handful of 3-4 star hotels on Nathan Road from my days before blogging (all which were fantastic but none of which I remember the name).

Get your Bearings: Take the Peak Tram!

You can’t come to Hong Kong and not visit Victoria Peak, the iconic mountain overlooking Hong Kong Island below and with uninterrupted views of Kowloon Harbour. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for mountain mansions as you journey up the peak, where house prices fetch the multi-millions (some of the most expensive real estate in the entire world!)

Quirky Eats in Hong Kong | World of Wanderlust Hong Kong Guide | World of Wanderlust Quirky Eats in Hong Kong | World of Wanderlust

Grab Some Lunch at Cat Street

Bang in the expat-heavy part of town is Cat Street, which has nonetheless retained its authenticity offering local handicrafts, souvenirs, and plenty of great food to sink in to. The food is not quite as local as the neighbourhood has maintained itself, largely due to the expat population and a logical sense to offer more Western foods in the area (but thankfully most of these are Asian-Western fusions and usually really clever and original in their approach).

Catch the Star Ferry to Kowloon

No matter how many times I have visited Hong Kong and will continue to visit in to the future, I could never tire of the views and serenity when cruising from the island to Kowloon for a very reasonable price of less than $1 return.

Walk along the Kowloon Harbour

The Avenue of Stars is as tacky and kitsch as it sounds, but it does still offer one of the best views of the city skyline! I would recommend arriving in time for sunset and watching the city evolve from day to night. Bring along a picnic if you wish and watch the light show unfold at 8:00pm every evening.

Shopping in Hong Kong | World of Wanderlust

Night Markets in Mong Kok

After the peace and serenity of the harbour, switch things up a gear and make your way by MTR to Mong Kok, home to Hong Kong’s famous night markets. Over the years I have admittedly fallen out of love with the products (mostly cheap copies of brand items, phone cases and souvenir t-shirts, but the experience itself is still as fun as ever.

The most famous night markets are Temple Street Night Market and Ladies Market, but during the day check out Fa Yuen Street, the Fish Market and the Flower Market for something a little different.

Day 2: Visit an Outlying Island

Experiencing Hong Kong is as much about escaping it as it is visiting the city itself, if only for a day or an afternoon! Much of the beauty of Hong Kong lies outside of the city centre, with oodles of hikes, beaches and natural beauty to discover. If this is your first trip to Hong Kong you should make Lantau Island your first stop, as it is here where you will see the famous Bronze Buddha up close and experience more of Hong Kong’s ancient cultures and traditions.

If you have already visited Lantau, the options are endless! Lamma Island is another great half day trip for a more relaxed escape from the city and beautiful beaches that will make you forget the hustle and bustle in no time at all.

Dinner at Ho Lee Fook

On this most recent trip I found a new favourite dinner place in Central, thanks to my friend Morgan who has been living in Hong Kong the past year and has discovered the best that the city has to offer right now (it is always changing so so quickly).

This was hands down one of my favourite dining experiences in Hong Kong, and believe me when I say there are a lot to compare to! The food was exceptional – lots of Asian flavours, a quirky cocktail menu and low-key environment in a dimly lit basement.

The options to keep one entertained in Hong Kong are quite literally limitless and impossible to list in full detail. Here are some of my other favourite things to do that might take your fancy, depending on what you want from your time in Hong Kong!

Disneyland – Great for the young ones (or young at heart!) Very easy to reach by train.

Ocean Park – Hong Kong’s famous water theme park (with temperamental ride opening days – beware!)

Stanley Market – A really nice day trip out of town but the market itself is pretty kitsch, albeit slightly less so than the Mong Kok offerings.

Causeway Bay – A really nice neighbourhood to explore with great small cafes and cheaper accommodation offerings.

Macau – One of my favourite day trips just a 45 minute ferry away. Regarded as the “Las Vegas of the East” (but a much cleaner version).

Central – One of my favourite neighbourhoods to wander with so many cool up-and-coming cafes and quirky eateries.

I visited Hong Kong as a stopover on my way from Europe back to Australia with Finnair. The flight time from Helsinki to Hong Kong is around 10 hours, followed by the 8 hour journey back to Melbourne. If you’re looking to switch your body clock back before returning home, Hong Kong is just two hours behind Australia, making for the perfect stopover city between Oz and Europe.

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  • thiempossible2705@gmail.com'
    the impossible game
    July 21, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    This place is awesome! It will be the ideal hint for me on the upcoming vacation. Thank you!

  • hello@lavendervines.com'
    Tiffany Catron
    July 21, 2017 at 5:59 am

    I’ve been to Hong Kong, but briefly, I need to go back!

  • svenjournalblog@gmail.com'
    Martina Ventura
    July 20, 2017 at 10:32 pm

    The photography is stunning !

  • em_ii_ly@yahoo.com'
    Emily @ The Mommyhood Moments
    July 20, 2017 at 8:11 am

    Wow! There is so much to do, sounds like! I seriously hope I get to visit one day. The ferry ride looks like something I just {{need}} to do! <3

  • anni_r@luukku.com'
    Anni
    July 19, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    Great pictures and post. That’s useful for planning Hongkong visit 🙂 Thanks

  • robinvalentineb@gmail.com'
    Robin Valentine
    July 16, 2017 at 2:32 am

    Hong Kong doesn’t attract me that much but the pictures are really gorgeous ♥

  • kesavan.r@zebronics.com'
    zoran
    July 14, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    Night Markets in Mong Kok being a shopping freak i am just waiting to visit that place. Your travel pics are awesome Brooke saward i think you enjoyed your trip a lot. Thanks for sharing your travel experience.

  • remnantsofreflection@gmail.com'
    Lucy Bladen
    July 13, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    I love staying over in a stop over and Hong Kong looks like the perfect place to do it – I wish I had stayed there when I flew through it on my way to Europe last year 🙁

  • needways21@gmail.com'
    S.R
    July 13, 2017 at 2:26 am

    Such an incredible information that you have shared. Keep it up.

  • rhonda@albomadventures.com'
    Rhonda Albom
    July 12, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    Hong Kong is on my list but the flights I pick from NZ never route me through. I hope to make it there when I do a longer SE Asia trip.

  • molly1@mollysdailykiss.com'
    Molly
    July 12, 2017 at 1:28 am

    It has been 25 years since I went to Hong Kong. It was a wonderful and fascinating city

    Mollyx

  • phoebe@woodandluxe.com'
    Phoebe Greenacre
    July 11, 2017 at 5:57 pm

    You’ve given me a few reasons to make Hong Kong my layover on the way back to Australia. Thank you!

  • thatgoangirl@gmail.com'
    Jade D'sa
    July 10, 2017 at 4:23 am

    Would never have thought of visiting an outlaying island! What a great tip – thanks!

  • hello@eatdrinkstaydubai.com'
    Eat Drink Stay Dubai
    July 9, 2017 at 4:54 am

    HK always looks so enticing and magical; every time I read an article like this I always have more items added to my #hitlist.

    What started off as a few nights is now looking like it’s going to be at least a week, if not two!

    But hey, it’s all great! Thanks for the food tips especially, and some great tips on the comments too 🙂

    Keep up the great work 🙂

  • shannon@shannonoffduty.com'
    Shannon Off Duty
    July 8, 2017 at 4:55 am

    One of those bucket list cities I haven’t made it to. You make it look good:)

  • alibicka@outlook.com'
    Alexandra
    July 5, 2017 at 3:33 am

    Looks like one of the most beautiful cities, really hope I will have the chance to visit one day! x

  • nadinetimbol@gmail.com'
    Nadine
    July 4, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    May I please know where is the original Tim Ho wan? Thank you so much! 🙂

  • kiri@settoglow.com.au'
    Kiri
    July 4, 2017 at 8:24 am

    I would love to visit Hong Kong.
    My husband has been but I haven’t – I would also like to visit Singapore.
    Your photos are lovely – I just sent this link to my husband. Want to go now!
    Kiri
    Set to Glow

  • natalieannredman92@gmail.com'
    Natalie Ann Redman
    July 4, 2017 at 7:18 am

    Beautiful photos! Hong Kong is definitely one for the bucket list!

  • ronniecoleman777@gmail.com'
    LuxWinClub
    July 4, 2017 at 6:44 am

    Your photos as always amazing. Really nice views. I wish i could visit this city too

  • thiempossible2705@gmail.com'
    the impossible game
    June 30, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    My family also plans to travel here. Thanks to the information you provided here, we will not have much trouble. We will make a detailed plan and will go to the brochures that you referred to in the article. Thank you!

  • deasybergstrom@gmail.com'
    Deasy
    June 28, 2017 at 7:15 am

    Gosh, such pretty views. It’d be awesome to stay in a hotel that overlooks HK <3 It's definitely one city that I'd love to visit some day soon, especially for the food.

  • danniellen@hotmail.co.uk'
    Dannielle
    June 28, 2017 at 2:03 am

    I did 48 hours solo in Hong Kong last year and did some of this stuff too! I definitely prefer HK Island to Kowloon, especially accommodation-wise. Kowloon is just too hectic for me. I’d recommend Tim Ho Wan, the world’s cheapest dim sum Michelin star restaurant. But you have to go to the original!

  • janersutherland@gmail.com'
    Jane
    June 27, 2017 at 9:48 pm

    Hong Kong is one of my favourites 🙂 I could never tire of the Star Ferry too. Whatever that ice-cream dessert-y thing with the waffle is, it looks incredible!

  • tomtemtemtom@yahoo.com'
    Abcya
    June 26, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    It’s a vibrant and thriving city, I hope to have the opportunity to come here. Thanks you

  • catherine.lux@hotmail.co.uk'
    Catherine
    June 26, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    Hey Sally & Brooke, the chairlift is being renovated so is closed until the end of the year. I was in HK a few weeks ago and we had to get a taxi from the train station on Lantau Island up to the Buddha. Make sure you call the taxi company when you arrive at the MTR station and book in advance if you visit on a weekend when it’s busy – we would have been standing at the taxi rank for 2+ hours had it not been for us calling them and ‘booking’ a taxi (it arrived within 5 mins). This is because there are only 20 blue taxis on Lantau Island that are allowed to take you up to the Po Lin Monastery where the Buddha is, and the journey is 20mins each way! Definitely worth doing, but just a tip on how to get up there quicker while the chairlift is out of action!

    C x

  • rlelliott14@gmail.com'
    Rachel
    June 26, 2017 at 8:06 am

    To be honest, I had never really thought about travelling to Hong Kong (not too sure why) but reading this post has really inspired me to go, so I thank you for that 🙂

  • zhanna.seravokaya@gmail.com'
    Zhanna
    June 26, 2017 at 4:10 am

    Wow, so many options for a short stay! It made me think that only the person who has been to Hong Kong many times could put together these recommendations. Great post!

  • natakosol35@gmail.com'
    Nata
    June 26, 2017 at 3:27 am

    Your photos and tips look awesome to me! Appreciate the article and kind words!

  • sfrootsofhealth@gmail.com'
    Sally Fongaro
    June 25, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    Brooke, we are traveling to Hong Kong in two weeks. It will be our third 48 hour visit and thought that this time we’d go to see the Buddha. Do you recommend? Also, what is that amazing looking meal in a cup that you have pictured above?!

    • Brooke Saward
      June 26, 2017 at 7:20 am

      Personally I would recommend a visit to the Buddha – I visited on my first time in Hong Kong 12 years ago and its really cool to see 🙂 The chairlift is a really nice way to arrive and make sure you visit Tai O fishing village while you’re there – really authentic and a bit of a time warp! The bubble waffles is from Oddies in central 🙂