Stopover Cities: Making the most of a Hong Kong Stopover

Hong Kong City Guide
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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!

Time Travel Hong Kong hong kong 3 days Hong_Kong_Skyline hong kong hong kong

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.

man mo cafe hong kong Flower market 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.

victoria peak hong kong four seasons hong kong

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.


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    April 18, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    Bucket list!!!!!

    April 8, 2016 at 3:00 am

    This is a great post! I am going to China on a year abroad and will definitely be going to Hong Kong, so will use this guide for my visit!

    January 17, 2016 at 7:23 am

    I have been thinking a lot about Hong Kong today and I think you’ve sold me on it even more. Great guide to help planmy travels! Thanks!

    Carina @timestowander
    January 9, 2016 at 10:02 am

    I was just checking flights from Europe to New Zealand and one option is to fly via Hong Kong, with a long enough layover to explore. Now I´m pretty sure I´ll try to book that option and take this post with me.
    Thank you!

    January 9, 2016 at 5:05 am

    Love this post as I love Hong Kong. I did pretty much everything you recommended, though I wouldn’t really recommend Ladies Market for shopping, only for seeing. It’s good for buying knockoffs and odds and bits, however.

    I would really recommend the Snoopy Cafe! Unlike other character cafes, this one has good quality food and you can taste the high quality matcha used in its green tea cake! Unfortunately, I forgot which MTR station it was close to.

    January 7, 2016 at 1:06 am

    You made me want to visit HK when you visited and I eventually made the decision to head to Hong Kong myself. Im so glad I did. Hong Kong is easily one of my favourite places.

    Will you be visiting again?

    January 6, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    This is a lovely post! I’ve never been to HK, but would love to go, given the chance!

    January 6, 2016 at 9:01 am

    Can you do one like this about London? 🙂 I´m staying there for 24 hours on my way back from LA in April, and would love some tips. Both my travel companion and I have done the “touristy” type of stuff (London eye, Madame Tussaud´s), and are having trouble to plan what to do when we have so little time.

    January 6, 2016 at 5:02 am

    I’d love to go there once in my life !

    Kenza from

    Miles of Happiness - Marie
    January 5, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    Love that city… But it’s actually much more than a stop-over destination! There are tons of great things to do and to discover. I’ve been here for two years and still feel like there’s sooo much to discover. Thrilling to live in such and exciting city! 🙂

    January 5, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    Great little guide to an HK stopover. It’s an expensive city so my best tips for saving money is by using Klook for the main tourist attractions – 50% off airport express tickets, cheap Peak Tram tickets/Ngong Ping Big Buddha tickets/harbour cruises etc. Use the code 9FL6Q when you sign up 🙂

    January 5, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    definitely try to take the ferry across the Victoria Harbor. It’s super cheap and the view is incredible. I personally don’t think the Peak is a good place to see the Hong Kong skyline because you will be looking at it from the back of the skyline. Along the Avenue of Stars at Tsim Sha Tsui has the best view and it’s completely free. If you want to see the old and local streets of Hong Kong, besides Mongkok, you should try going to Sham Shui Po by the MTR. It’s chaotic and confusing but you can find a lot of interesting gems at the Ap Lei Street.

    January 5, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    This is a nice, very kind summary of Hong Kong and I’d add if you are looking for a watch, Hong Kong is the place to go. There were more watch stores than I could ever conceive. We recently spent several days there and honestly it was not my favorite place. Hong Kong would be great if I was focused on shopping. We explored and most of what we came across was shopping. There are a few parks that were nice and we did the Bubba Gump top of Hong Kong, Victoria Peak trip as well as a boat tour . The most annoying part were the street peddlers aggressively trying to sell us knock off suits, bags and watches. They target the non Asian people with precision and it got down right offensive after a couple of days. Oh and just a hint for anyone planning a trip, nothing opens up early, even the coffee shops didn’t open till 7 :30 am so if you are an early riser, don’t expect to run down to Starbucks, etc. I am glad we went and experienced it but I don’t need to return. Just one girl’s opinion.

    January 5, 2016 at 10:44 am

    I would love to stopover in Hong Kong the next time I travel! Very helpful post.


    January 5, 2016 at 9:25 am

    Love this little guide! I lived in Hong Kong for 5 years and it is truly an incredible place. Great tips!
    Use the code “2016” at checkout for a 30% New Year discount:

    January 5, 2016 at 9:20 am

    Def on my list of places to see……

    Gabi @ Books & Trips
    January 5, 2016 at 9:05 am

    I’d love to get there one day! It’s like the gateway to Asia in my opinion! Great, informative post, thank you!