How To Spend A Layover In Hong Kong
When I booked my flight to Vietnam, I discovered it was quite easy to book a stopover in Hong Kong – or at least, it was really easy with the airline I was planning to fly with (Cathay Pacific). You don’t need to tell me twice that you can book a stopover in Hong Kong for only 20 Euros more, so naturally I booked a flight that allowed me to have a three day stopover in Hong Kong. Hurray!
You either love Hong Kong or hate it. I’ve heard many things about Hong Kong before stepping foot into the city myself. Some people wanted to leave after a day, others wanted to leave only after a week. For me three days was just enough. Or well, if I had a bit more money I would have probably needed a day extra to visit Disney as well. How cool would Disney in Hong Kong be? Today I wanted to write about how to make the most of a Hong Kong layover: whether your stopover is only a day, two days or even a couple of days.
If you only have one day to explore you must be quick and you probably want to limit yourself to seeing only the center of Hong Kong and the touristic highlights rather than exploring beyond, because that obviously takes more time.
Start your day by going to Victoria’s Peak: one of the most iconic views and definitely the most famous point of the city. You can visit Victoria’s Peak from 7 am till midnight but with just one day to spend I would suggest you to go early in the day to avoid long queues.
When you walk back from Victoria’s Peak to the ferry that will take you back to Tsim Sha Tsui you can wander a bit around the streets of Central Hong Kong, depending on how much time you have. In Central Hong Kong you can for example walk up to Time Square or to the Zoological and Botanical Gardens – which is a city park where you can also spot monkeys and birds.
Back in Tsim Sha Tsui you can just wander around for a bit to get an impression of the streets and culture. Close to the Star Ferry you’ll find a view over the harbor and the skyline of Central Hong Kong, as well as a lot of shops. You can take a walk to the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade and the Avenue of the Stars. You can also walk into the Museum of History if you want to learn something about Hong Kong or take the MTR to the neighborhood Mong Kok – one of the best and most fun neighborhoods.
If you have the time to experience Hong Kong at night you should definitely check out one of the markets (like the ladies market) and go to the sky deck Sky100 to see the city lights of Hong Kong when it gets dark! Absolutely stunning!
If you can spend two days in Hong Kong your second day definitely should be about visiting Big Buddha and the Po Lin Monastery – one of the most famous attractions of Hong Kong. Take the MTR to Tung Chung Station and get in line to buy a ticket for the cable car that will take you up to Big Buddha. If you please you can also visit Tai O fishing village to get a more authentic experience about locals of Lantau island.
Got time left? Shop at the Citygate Outlets, before taking the MTR back to the city, for some cheap designer clothing and a lot of sale!
If you got three days you can spend your third day doing the things that didn’t fit into the schedule of the first two days. For example: visiting the Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple up north in Kowloon. Which is one of the most famous and beautiful temples you can find in Hong Kong. And while you are there, you can also make a short trip to the Chi Lin Nunnery which is an old Buddhist nunnery with beautiful gardens and buildings!
When spending three days in Hong Kong you got just some extra time to explore the Hong Kong neighborhoods and to see the streets of Hong Kong. Make sure to make use of that! Walk through the streets, try some streetfood and visit some extra quirky only-in-Hong-Kong markets like the gold fish market, the birdgarden and the Temple Street night market. You can also take a tour through the city like a food tour, a walking tour or something like that!
Say goodbye to the skyline when it gets dark and if you got some energy left you can always take the Star Ferry to go out in Lan Kway Fong – or you can get a foot massage after those busy days of exploring and fall asleep.
Got four days in Hong Kong? Lucky bastard! If you got four days I think that you’ve got no excuse to not go to Disney anymore! You can take the MTR to Disney Park. Don’t feel like going to Disney? Don’t worry, Hong Kong also is the home of Ocean Park – a water/theme park including aquaria and dolphin shows, where you will definitely enjoy your day!