Experience The Best Of Hong Kong In 72 hours
Whether you have two days or two weeks to travel, our Hong Kong city guide cover the must see sites, local food recommendations, where to stay, how much the city will cost, an example itinerary, and how to get around the city - including how to get to and from the airport.
With 10 million more tourists visiting Hong Kong than London each year, Hong Kong has been, and continues to be, one of the fastest growing tourist destinations of the world. Hong Kong is to Asia what New York is to North America. It is notably referred to as the Big Lychee as NYC is referred to as the Big Apple. Hong Kong is the 4th most densely populated city in the world and boasts more skyscrapers than any other city in the world. Though Hong Kong is an 'autonomous' city it operates under a "One country, Two systems" policy. Hong Kong maintains a separate political and economic system apart from China except in military defense and foreign affairs. Hong Kong retains independent executive, legislative, and judiciary powers. This city boasts tons of activities to keep any tourist busy for a few days. From the breathtaking view of the cityscape from Victoria Peak, the mesmerizing light show at the harbor every night at 8pm, the vast amount of street markets, expensive designer stores, or delectable restaurants, to the handful of hikes you can take in and around the city, Hong Kong literally has something to offer any and every kind of visitor.
Getting To & From The Airport
There are 3 ways to get into the city from Hong Kong International Airport.
1. Take the train (This is the fastest option). This wall take you around 25-35 minutes, depending on where you need to go. You can buy the tickets from inside the terminal once you land. The train station is also connected to the terminal so you don't have to walk far to reach this option. The cost is $12 USD --> 100 HKD.
2. Take the bus (This is the cheapest option). This will take you around 40-60 minutes, depending on where you need to go. You can buy the tickets just outside Terminal 1 (this is where all the buses pick up from). The cost is $5 USD --> 40 HKD.
3. Take a taxi (This is potentially just as fast as the train but is substantially more expensive). Depending on where you need to go, depends on how fast you will get there and also determines the cost. However, there are tolls on the roads to and from the airport. So on top of your fare, you have to pay the toll fare's as well, plus additional money for each bag you put in the trunk. You are better off going with option 1 or 2.
First Things First - What/Where To Eat?
Hong Kong is famous for many reasons, but near the top of that list is the food. From the mouth watering dim-sum, the fresh seafood, exquisite meats (including pigeon), to the egg tarts and fresh bakeries around the city, Hong Kong has food to please any pallet. Whether you prefer to eat at a 5 star Michelin restaurant (of which HK has the cheapest in the world), prefer the small and ancient tea cafes that serve dim-sum over tea, or want some other kind of food from a different region of the world, Hong Kong has it covered. There are more than 7 million residents in this city and more than 36 million tourists that visit each year. Needless to say, there is no kind of food you cannot find in this city. We ate our way through this city and loved every minute of it. Here are 2 restaurants and 2 specific HK dishes you must try when visiting.
Must-See's Of Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a massive, multicultural city filled with some amazing tourist hot-spots, mouthwatering food, and hidden gems waiting to be stumbled upon. Here are the must see sights of Hong Kong that you can explore and conquer in 72 hours. There are 8 must see attractions in the city that have come to define the city's wide spread popularity. From the iconic skyscrapers, mesmerizing harbor light show, breathtaking views of the city from Victoria Peak, to the hidden side streets filled with amazing restaurants and markets - it's all broken down below.
Exploring Hong Kong On Public Transportation
Hong Kong is a well structured and connected city. Thus their public transportation is easy to use and affordable. When sightseeing in Hong Kong, we recommend hopping on any of the options below to reach your desired destination. All options are reasonably affordable (except maybe for taxi's) and will take you anywhere in the city.
Benefits of using Octopus:
- There is no need to spend time buying a single journey ticket at Ticket Issuing Machines, or counting the exact amount of coins.
- The MTR fares using Octopus are usually cheaper than single journey tickets.
- Apart from collecting fares on public transport, it can be used as a payment method in retail and fast food outlets.
- Passengers traveling to/from the airport can enjoy a 50% discount on the return journey on the same day.
How Does It Work: Swipe/touch the card over the Octopus reader. The amount taken as well as the remaining value will be shown after each transaction, so you know when it is time to top up the card.
- MTR (subway): Swipe the card at the entrance barrier and once at the exit barrier (destination station).
- Ferry: Swipe the card at the entrance barrier.
- Bus: Swipe the card when you get on.
- Trams: Swipe the card when you get off.
Where We Stay
There are tons of accommodation options in Hong Kong, from hostels, Airbnb, bed & breakfasts, or many five-star hotels.
We choose to stay at Yesinn Backpackers Hostel in Causeway Bay - off of Hennessy Road. "Yesinn @Causeway Bay is a new hostel located near Causeway Bay subway station in central Hong Kong, across the road from the bus from the airport. Opened in 2012, this hostel has some great extras such as a massage chair, free coffee and tea and personal reading lights. One Hostelworld traveller praised the hostel for its 'clean room, comfortable beds, modern and very clean bathroom, expedient and clean kitchen with a good choice of music, helpful and friendly staff [and its] good location'. We like their two roof terraces." ($25/night for a 9 bed mixed dorm).
Travel Tips & Helpful Hints
Do I need a visa? Nationals of about 170 countries and territories may visit Hong Kong without a visa/entry permit for a period ranging from 7 days to 180 days. For more information on visa/entry permit requirements refer to the Visit Visa / Entry Permit Requirements for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
What is the power voltage? Hong Kong uses the same power plug as in the United Kingdom. The voltage is 220v whereas the US is 110V - so your devices may get a little warm while charging.
What about smoking weed or drinking in the streets? Though people may smoke it, weed is illegal and carries a hefty fine. As far as drinking goes, it is permissible to drink in public but is illegal to be publicly intoxicated...so pace yourself.
Is it possible for me to explore the rest of China while i'm here? Unless you have a visa for China, it is not possible to cross the border. However, getting a Chinese visa in HK is substantially cheaper than it is anywhere else in the world. In Hong Kong a visa for China will cost you around $25 USD whereas in the USA it will cost you well over $130 USD. Find out more information about visiting China from HK here.
Can I gamble in Macau? Most definitely. Macau is to China as Las Vegas is to the USA or Monte Carlo is to Europe. It is legal for anyone to gamble here (as long as you are 21 or older) but your winnings will be taxed at 35%.
Is the pollution as bad in Hong Kong as it is in the rest of China? Air pollution in HK is considered a serious problem. Visibility is less than eight kilometers for 30 per cent of the year. Cases of asthma and bronchial infections have soared in recent years due to reduced air quality. Our tip: bring (or buy once there) a medical mask to wear when walking around the city. Tons of people wear them so you won't stand out.
What is the currency and its value? The currency used in Hong Kong is called the Hong Kong Dollar (HKD). The current value (at the time writing) is $7.80 HKD = $1 USD.
72 hours in Hong Kong Example Itinerary:
Start your first day by walking through the city until you find something delicious to eat.
Head to a 7/11 and buy an Octopus card. Make sure you put money on it after you buy it. Hop on a trolley (upper deck) and start to explore the city. Get off anywhere that looks interesting. Explore.
Once you have seen a bit of the city via trolley, take a subway line to the Tsim Sha Tsui stop and make your way to Chungking Mansions. Explore the inside market and grab a cheap lunch from inside. Head out of the market and explore the surrounding area. Head to the Star Ferry Pier only a few blocks down the road.
Once you are at the Star Ferry Pier, pay for a ferry ride across the harbor ($0.25). This will take you back to Hong Kong Island, where chances are is the area you are staying. This ride is quick but offers a great view of the city and awesome photo opportunities.
Around 6pm, head back to your hotel or hostel and grab your jacket. Make your way to a bus stop that services bus 15 to Victoria Peak. Get off at the stop for the Peak Trolley (or you can take the bus all the way to the top). If you get off for the trolley, you will have a beautiful ride to the top full of gorgeous views and picture opportunities of the city. Once you're at the top, buy a ticket for the Sky Terrace 428 to see the city light up over the harbor during sunset.
Take the same route back to your hotel or hostel. Grab dinner at any of the restaurants that catch your eye, as they are all probably good.
Grab something to eat and head to an MTR station.
Take the subway to Lantau island to spend the day exploring the 3 amazing sights located here.
Once on Lantau Island, head to the Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery. Spend a couple hours exploring the beauty that surrounds these iconic destinations.
Head to the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car to get a great aerial view of the sights you were just walking around. ($16 each way).
Grab some lunch.
Head to Tai O fishing village which is located about 30 minutes away by bus from the Buddha. We hear this is an amazing place that offers magical photos and chances to ride down the river with the locals for a tour of the town and maybe even see pink Chinese dolphins. We heard you can spend hours exploring this area.
Take the journey back to your hotel or hostel.
You're probably exhausted. Grab some dinner and maybe a few beers. Find a good spot to people watch before heading off to bed.
Don't forget breakfast.
Day 2 was quite busy and you may get a later start to the day than the previous two. Once you have had breakfast, head to Victoria Park for a nice, relaxing stroll. Here you will find fountains, tennis courts, a boat racing track, library, swimming pools, and more. This is the Central or Hyde Park of Hong Kong. There are some cool views of the city from here too.
Explore some of the cool areas of the city surrounding the park. Bring your camera.
Check out some of the local street markets for some cool souvenirs and for some local lunch. There are 10 famous markets located in the city, and you could spend hours exploring just a handful of them.
At around 6:30, head to the Star Ferry Pier. Located just on the opposite side of the street there is a clocktower. Behind the clock tower is permanent seating where visitors can watch the Symphony of Lights for free. The show is amazing and is an icon of the city. The show is at 8pm every night and lasts around 15 minutes. Make sure to get your seat an hour early as it fills up fast. Feel free to bring some beers.
If you have not had dim sum yet, then now is the time. Grab some dinner and enjoy your last few hours in the city. Take a walk, have some beers or ride the trolley's until they stop service at 12am.
Head back to your hotel or hostel and grab a good nights rest before your flight.
So What's It Going To Cost?
Here is how much we spent, and what we spent it on, in 72 hours.
Food: Breakfast: We spent an average of $3 USD each morning at local bakeries.
Lunch: We spent an average of $7 USD each day at local restaurants; usually ordering sandwiches, or sushi.
Dinner: We spent an average of $10 USD each evening going to the "nice" restaurants that caught our eye during the day. We had nice sushi, amazing dim sum and more sushi.
Total for Food = $20 USD each/per day.
Beer: We bought beer from 7/11 instead of the bars because it was way cheaper. Seriously, $15 USD for a beer at a bar or $2 for a beer from the convenient store?
Total for Beer = $6 USD each/per day.
Accommodation: Yesinn Backpackers Hostel is one of the cheapest in town.
For 2 people to stay 3 nights, we spent $150 total.
Transportation (Including getting to and from the airport): We purchased the Octopus cards (which cost $5 each) and we put $20 each onto our cards. This lasted us the entire 72 hours...and we took a lot of public transportation.
Total for Transportation = $25 USD each.
Activities: Admission ticket to go to the top of Sky Terrace 428 for $6.50 each. Ferry across the harbor for $.025 each. Besides that, we walked around a bunch and found the free activities to do: like exploring a local market and cultural festival, watching the Symphony of Lights from land vs. a boat, exploring Victoria Park, and taking the trolley's until something looked cool and we got off to explore. Unfortunately we were not able to visit the Big Buddha or take the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car. (If you are going to the Big Buddha or Cable Car you will need to add more money to your Octopus card than our budget shows,as we were not able to go. The trip costs around HK $50 each way to get there).
Total for Activities = $6.75 USD each (total).
So, What Did We Spend In 72 Hours?
$369.50 USD for 2 people. That's about $62 USD per person, per day.
Not too bad for one the world's most expensive cities.