Hong Kong is an exciting city with a lot to offer that it is often the case you will be asking yourself what you shouldn’t do, what not you should do. But for many travellers Hong Kong is a stopover city as it is so well positioned as a gateway to Australasia or to Europe and the rest of the world for Australians. So if you only have limited time in Hong Kong (1-2 days), here’s a guide to exactly what you should do!
A Hong Kong Stopover
First things first, make sure you have booked a room in advance (even if you’re only here for one night) as despite having many hotels on offer, these can often be booked out when the city is busy or hosting an event.
Second, understand a few things about Hong Kong. Notably: it is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People’s Republic of China. This is due to being a part of Cantonese China but also falling under British colonisation. The official language is Cantonese, with English coming in at a close second. The weather in Hong Kong is sub-tropical, so it is hot and humid June-September, with typhoons occurring throughout this period. Typically visitors do not need a visa to visit as a tourist for stays of up to 180 days (British nationals) or up to 90 days for Australians, US citizens and all European member states.
Airport to City:
There are a number of ways to get from the airport to the city, each with their own pros and cons.
Airport Express – a fast train costing $100 HKD to Hong Kong Island and $90 HKD to Kowloon. From these stations it is cheap and easy to reach anywhere by underground MTR.
Public buses – are less than half the price but a much slower option.
Taxis – are a better option for groups of two or more (cheaper and get you straight to your hotel).
Upon arrival at the airport, be sure to pick up an Octopus Card to use for public transport throughout the city (similar to a London Oyster card).
Where to Stay?
Both Hong Kong Island and Kowloon offer great hotels, though I personally prefer to stay in Kowloon for a more localised experience. Either way, the other is only a short underground subway commute away. One of my favourite hotels is Hotel ICON, though I also loved sleeping above the clouds in one of the world’s highest hotels, the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong.
Where to Eat:
There’s no two ways about it: if you come to Hong Kong you absolutely must try the local dim sum. Fave WOW picks include:
Tim Ho Wan
Cheap, delicious, known to be some of the best in town.
Found at: 2-20 Kwong Wa Street, Mong Kok (MTR: Mong Kok)
Man Mo Cafe
A Western take on an Eastern classic. Expect the unexpected (my personal fave).
Found at: 40 Upper Lascar Row (Cat Street) (MTR: Central)
Where to Explore:
Mong Kok – Flower market, Goldfish market, Ladies market, Fa Yuen Street, and of course… the food!
Tsim Sha Tsui – here you will find ‘that’ iconic view of Hong Kong island along the promenade.
Causeway Bay – this is where to go shopping. Try Sogo and Times Square mall.
Central – you can’t go past at least a half-day of explorations around central. Don’t miss the view from Victoria Peak.
The Best Views over the city:
And of course, you can’t miss the chance to see that iconic skyline. Here’s where you will find the best views:
Victoria Peak – the most popular viewpoint in all of Hong Kong.
Tsim Sha Tsui East Promenade – View of Hong Kong Island from street level.
Star Ferry – A cheap and great view of the city from the sea.