We went to Hong Kong during China’s Labor Day Weekend and saw as much as we could. Here’s my Hong Kong 3-day itinerary vlog concentrated into a 10+ minutes episode. If you want to know more details, continue within the article, you will find more details to the places we visited in Hong Kong.
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– The essential: Accommodation –
We all know Hong Kong doesn’t have the cheapest accommodation, especially after I’ve been spoiled by how affordable it is in Southeast Asia, it wasn’t easy for me to find a value hotel. I came across Camlux Hotel in Kowloon Bay after an extensive search and was very happy with the quality and service. Their breakfast buffet was British style and didn’t have a lot of variety, but it had a great salad bar, and it was possibly the healthiest breakfast I had in a while. Book Camlux Hotel now.
You can always do Airbnb or Couchsurfing. However, in my experience, Couchsurfing in Hong Kong isn’t the easiest since most of the Hongkongers have very small apartments. If you want to use Airbnb, you should book way in advance because we couldn’t find anything decent a week before travelling.
– Transportation –
From airport to city centre
We bought one-way MTR Airport Express tickets at the airport and got a discount because they gave us a group ticket for 2. A one-way ticket is $105 HKD per person, but if you are travelling with others, buy in a group would save you a lot of money! (Or you can find other solo travellers to buy together!) We only paid $75 HKD each (to Kowloon Station). For more details on tickets and fare, visit the Hong Kong MTR Airport Express site.
If you plan to be in HK for more than 2 days, Octopus card is your good friend. We used the metro a lot – from our hotel, it took us 20~30 minutes to the centre, which was totally acceptable to me. The card can also be used on buses and ding-ding (cable cars). We also used it when we took the tram up to the Peak on the last day.
For adults, a new card cost $150 HKD ($100 value + $50 refundable deposit.) It’s just enough for 3-day in Hong Kong! There’s also an Octopus card for tourist, but I don’t know much about it. For more information, visit their site.
Taxi isn’t cheap, but it’s not ridiculously expensive either. We used it when the MTR stops running – All MTR services stop after midnight. Plus, all the Hong Kong taxi drivers were super nice to us, and the seats are comfy. It was an upgrade in comparison to my cab experiences in Shanghai.
– Day 1 –
Dim sum is a must try in Hong Kong. In case you don’t know what is dim sum – It’s a type of Chinese cuisine that comes in small bite-sized portions and served in small steamer baskets or on small plates. They usually come with tea as a full brunch.
My high school friend Vanessa is a local Hongkonger, and she chose our meetup restaurant for us. We were a bit sceptical at the beginning because of its name, but hands down, it was the best dim sum I’ve ever had! The restaurant is in Michelin guide, yet the price is reasonable for HK standard. And no, we didn’t have any shark fin. There were 5 of us, and we spent around $220 HKD per person. (I think we ordered a lot.)
Fu Sing Shark Fin Seafood Restaurant 富聲魚翅海鮮酒家
3/F, Sunshine Plaza, 353 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai
Buy, Buy, and Buy.
Shopping is one of the perks of visiting HK. If you’re my loyal reader, it’s not news to you that I went to HK to buy a new computer because there’s no sales tax on electronic goods in Hong Kong. My 13-inch MacBook Pro is almost 2000 RMB cheaper than buying it in China! that was how much my flight was!
If you are travelling from China to Hong Kong, come stuck up your medicine shelf in Hong Kong! The pharmacies in Shanghai aren’t helpful and lack of supplies, so when we realized that we could easily buy regular medicines in HK, we made it one of our shopping agendas. Mannings (萬寧), Watson (屈臣氏), and Bonjour (卓悅) are the major drug chain stores. Find one that’s not near any tourist attractions for calmness and personal space.
Wan Chai – Causeway Bay
We were quite overwhelmed by the number of people there were in the area, and we were wondering why there were so many people walking around with suitcases. Later, we realized they were Chinese who came to HK to shop. (They were so well prepared!)
It was also an eye-opening experience for us to see that many Indonesian workers gather at the same place just to hang out on the weekends, (as shown in my vlog episode.) We first thought they were refugees seeking asylum since my high school friend who works at an NGO Organisation just told us about the refugee problem in HK – I apologise for my ignorance.
Ding Ding Car to Central
According to my friend, if Causeway Bay is the weekend gathering territory for Indonesian workers, Central is where Filipinos hangout. HK government even let them block the street to have a safe space to enjoy their time with friends from home.
I wanted to go to Central (中環) because that’s where the longest escalator in the world is. Although it’s divided into several sections and only goes up, it still takes you halfway up the mountain! I was fascinated by the construction despite the fact that I had to take the stairs going down.
We tried to have dinner at the highest point of the escalator to see if we could get a good view. However, all the restaurants were quite expensive! (And we live in Shanghai, which isn’t the cheapest city either – That should tell you something.) We managed to find a delicious burger place though – I love a good burger with Swiss cheese and mushroom. Frankly, it was possibly one of the best burgers I’ve had in the past 6 months!
Mid-levels Escalator 中環半山手扶梯
Jubilee St, Central
The Burger Shop by Shake’Em Buns
1/F – 76 Wellington St, Central (Lan Kwai Fang)
Although it’s a big tourist attraction and was crowded, it was not as noisy as the Bund in Shanghai. Everyone was very respectful of other people’s personal space. Here you can see the million-dollar night view of Hong Kong!
Night view of Victoria Harbour 維多利亞港夜景
MTR East Tsim Sha Tsui Station
– Day 2 –
Art & Culture
I didn’t have time to plan for cultural activity, but I found Cattle Depot Artist Village (牛棚藝術村) and decided visit. Unfortunately, we went on Monday, which is their day off. The village was the first slaughterhouse (1908) in Hong Kong, and it was renovated into an artist village in 1999. If you plan to go, avoid Mondays.
Cattle Depot Artist Village 牛棚藝術村
63 Ma Tau Kok Rd, Ma Tau Kok
Hong Kong is tourist friendly – I love that they have pictures and information of attractions at the platforms of their MTR stations. It was very helpful when we were trying to figure out where to go after my fail at the artist village.
Mong Kok – Prince Edward – Sham Shui Po
Getting off at MTR Mong Kok (旺角) Station and follow the MTR line going north, pass by Prince Edward (太子), and end the route at Sham Shui Po (深水埗) is one of the best walks I've had in Hong Kong.
We past by several fascinating places along the way, namely Ladies’ Market (女人街), Goldfish Street (金魚街), and Flower Market (太子花墟). In addition, around Sham Shui Po Station, there are streets that just sell electronic products, leathers, cloths, and buttons! Ladies’ Market gets the name from its aisles of bargain accessories and clothing for women of all ages, as well as watches, cosmetics, and random nicknacks. It wasn’t that amazing as we’ve seen a lot of those in Southeast Asia, but if this is up your alley, you should check it out.
On our way to Goldfish Market, my heart was melted by all the pet stores. I know we should adopt instead of shop, but I still wanted to go into every single shop to look at the cute animals. The Goldfish Market obviously got its name from the bags of goldfish. It’s where Hongkongers shop for their aquarium since goldfish plays an important role in bringing luck to the household.
When we approached Sham Shui Po, we found hundreds of independent electronic stores that offer products at competitive prices. We were purely amazed by the numbers of stalls and shops!
Ladies’ Market (女人街)
Tung Choi Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon (MTR Mong Kok Station, exit 2)
Goldfish Market (金魚街)
Tung Choi Street North, Mong Kok, Kowloon
Flower Market (太子花墟)
Flower Market Road, Prince Edward, Kowloon (MTR Prince Edward Station, exit B1)
Golden Computer Arcade (黃金電腦商場)
Fuk Wa Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
Finding Tamar Park (添馬公園) was an accident. We were looking for some food trucks near the waterfront on Google Map. We walked through the Central/Admiralty Elevated Walkway, which eventually led us to the park and the Promenade with the Ferris wheel (Hong Kong Observation Wheel.) However, we didn’t find any food trucks, but I love the park very much as it reminds me of High Line in NYC. We didn’t go on the Ferris wheel, but the ticket is only $20 HKD for adults and $10 for children and elders! (Free for children under 3.)
Tamar Park & Central and Western District Promenade (添馬公園&中環/中西區海濱長廊)
MTR Admiralty Station
We had some delicious fish & chips from the stall in the ferry terminal. An evening picnic at this side of the water is an absolute delight!
White Beard Fish n Chips
Central Ferry Pier Link Building, 7 Man Yiu St, Central
The attraction you shouldn’t miss
The Peak Tram to Victoria Peak
You can hike up to Victoria Peak (太平山) if you got the time and energy, but we chose to take the tram. The tramway itself is over a century old. You can use your Octopus Card to pay for the ride. There’s a Sky Terrace, which is on the top of the Peak Tower. We didn’t go up as it has a separate entrance fee, and frankly, I don’t think we missed much. If you go out of the tower, you can find other viewpoints that provide tremendous views. If you buy the Peak Tram Sky Pass, the entrance fee for the Sky Terrace is included ($99 HKD R/T). For pricing details, visit their site.
– Day 3 –
We took a slow morning on our last day. After we checked-out, we did a little more shopping (for drugs) and took Vietnamese food for lunch at the nearby shopping centre in Kowloon Bay. I haven’t had a quality Pho Bo since Vietnam, and Pho Le satisfied my craving! We also had Vietnamese spring rolls, and it tasted the same as when we had it in Vietnam. Originally from Ho Chi Minh City, Pho Le is a chain store in Hong Kong. It’s definitely not as cheap as Vietnam, but it’s cheaper than Shanghai, and I’m willing to pay for the authenticity.
Pho Le 港麗餐廳
Various locations in Hong Kong
The perfect last stop before leaving HK & the Big Buddha
The Big Buddha or Tian Tan Buddha (天壇大佛) is a popular spot for tourists and religious folks. The giant Buddha and the monastery nearby is located on Lantau Island (大嶼山), which is also a great hiking spot and a perfect escape to hide from the metropolitan hustle and bustle.
How to get there & luggage storage
We took the MTR to Tung Chung Station 東涌站. It’s quite close to the airport, and I found out that there’s a locker in the outlets right outside of the station. Therefore, it’s extremely convenient if you want to go to the airport right afterwards. We used one large locker and booked it for 4 hours. It was enough time for us.
Citygate Outlets (東薈城名店倉)
Locker location: B2 & B3 South Car Park (8 am – 11 pm)
Small: $20 HKD / Large: $40 HKD (per 2 hours)
Ngong Ping 360
I hate to tell people what you must see at a destination, but taking the gondola (昂坪纜車) to Lantau Island was pretty awesome, and the money was well-spent. The weather was decent and the view was gorgeous. We took the standard cabin. The ticket price was $210 HKD R/T. For more details and other packages, visit their site (You can also buy the tickets online.)
There’s also a luggage storage at Ngong Ping 360, but we don’t know how much it cost – I assume it’s more expensive than the locker at the outlets.
There are some gift shops and restaurants up on the mountain, but they are rather pricey. There are also cattle roaming around, but I believe they’re the properties of the monastery, and apparently, they are holy cattle, and you’re not supposed to touch them.
Getting to the airport from Tung Chung
You can take a bus from Tung Chung Bus Terminus to the Airport, and it only takes 10-15 minutes! Both S1 and S56 will take you to Terminal 1. Price? $3.50 HKD
When people ask me how much time they should spend at a destination, I always find it difficult to answer. In the end, it all comes down to how much time you’re willing to spend on exploring a place. Many people told me 3 days in Hong Kong is enough, but I wish I had more time to go hiking and go to the beach.
Have you been to Hong Kong? Where’s your favourite spot? Leave a comment! (And ask me questions if you plan to go!)
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Also published on Medium.