Hong Kong is one of the world’s major cities and in itself is full of life, a city so dynamic and brimming with life that it is constantly pulsating, evolving, and moving. It is for this very reason that Hong Kong casts a spell over travellers, who find the force of attraction created by the sheer life of this place so alluring. It is also for this reason that when you visit Hong Kong, with so much to see and do, you should be armed with an itinerary that can allow you to get the most out of your time here, especially if you’re only here a short time when using Hong Kong as a twin centre.
At If Only, we see itineraries differently. It’s not just about compiling a list of things you can do in an order which is most convenient. For us, it’s about storytelling. We’ve set out an itinerary which tells Hong Kong’s story in a way that makes the most sense. You’ll get introduced to its best self and see its top attractions, then you’ll start to get to know Hong Kong a little more intimately, in its narrow streets and quaint markets. Now that you’re more than acquaintances, you’ll get to see yet another side of this dynamic metropolis, this time away from the crowds and lights in a seemingly different world; enjoy the hiking trails, explore the archipelagos and descend the sandy beaches into crystal clear water. The story ends with a day of some mild Hong Kong hedonism with great food, retail therapy and nighttime entertainment.
Your four-day adventure begins with a journey to explore the most iconic attractions and stunning views that this city has to offer.
Start off your trip to Hong Kong by taking a tram up to Victoria Peak. This iconic vantage point provides the best views of the city. You’ll be able to get some of your best pictures from up here and get a great perspective of the cityscape you’ll be exploring. Afterwards, descend from the peak and head to Hong Kong's famous Star Ferry. This short but picturesque ferry ride takes you across Victoria Harbour, providing another remarkable view of the city's skyline.
Enjoy dim sum at a local restaurant, a culinary tradition that's a must-try in Hong Kong. If we may make a suggestion, for a classic dim sum lunch in an elegant setting, Spring Moon at The Peninsula evokes 1920s-era Shanghai with stained glass windows, teak floors, antique rugs, and of course, large, ornate circular tables.
Explore the bustling streets of Mong Kok and Tsim Sha Tsui for some shopping and cultural experiences. Don't forget to visit Kowloon Park and the lively streets of Nathan Road.
Mark the end of your first day by watching the incredible Symphony of Lights, a mesmerising light and sound show which brings to life the spectacle and drama of the Hong Kong skyline.
On your second day, delve deeper into Hong Kong's rich culture and art scene.
Visit the historical Wong Tai Sin Temple, a Taoist temple established in 1921 famous for its beautiful architecture and spiritual significance. Many people visit Wong Sai Tin Temple because it is famous for bringing good fortune, so you’ll regularly see worshippers light fortune sticks and make wishes here, giving the place a fantastically smoky and spiritual atmosphere.
In our last blog, we spoke about why West Kowloon is a place rich in culture, art and history. Spending some time at M+ Museum and Hong Kong Palace Museum is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the city's cultural heritage and artistic expressions.
And in keeping with a day of culture and art, set yourself up for the rest of day by choosing classic Hong Kong dishes at Peony Garden, a restaurant which pays tribute to Chinese opera, or Xiqu, through its cultural themes and Hong Kong food art.
With your senses awoken, you’ll explore the Yau Ma Tei area where you can visit the Tin Hau Temple Complex. Appreciate architecture dating back to the Qing dynasty and take a moment of quite reflection as you let the aroma of huge incense spirals burning transport you to a land of peacefulness amidst your busy day in the big city. These tranquil spots being hidden among one of the busiest cities in the world is one of the reasons which makes Hong Kong so special. Besides, a brief mindfulness break will set you up to enjoy the vibrant Temple Street Night Market and experience the local street food. Why not indulge in a hearty bowl of wonton noodles at one of the many local noodle shops in the area?
Afterwards, quench your thirst in the city’s most Instagrammable bars such as Ozone, the highest bar in the world which allows you to nurse specialty drinks in an avant-garde setting with spectacular views of the skyline. Alternatively, enjoy a cocktail or two at the mysterious, evocative Salon de Ning, a 1930s-inspired underground bar at The Peninsula, Hong Kong.
Today you’ll escape the crowds for a day of natural beauty and outdoor exploration.
Head to Lantau Island and explore Ngong Ping Village, home to the Tian Tan Buddha and the Po Lin Monastery. But before you visit these sites, it’s time you earned some of those gluttonous meals and street-food stop-offs on one of Hong Kong’s best hiking trails. Setting off in the morning on the Ngong Ping Trail from Tung Chung is more pleasant before the midday and afternoon sun arrives. This moderately challenging trail usually takes around 4 hours to complete and affords hikers views of Tung Chung Bay, the Big Buddha and the ‘stairway to heaven’.
After working up an appetite, reward yourself with one of the best vegetarian meals of your life at Po Lin Monastery.
Visit the majestic ‘Big Buddha’ which stands 34 metres tall and imparts compassion and happiness onto visitors; the Buddha’s right hand is raised, representing the removal of affliction, while the left rests open on his lap, as a symbol of generosity. You may also wish to take the Ngong Ping 360 cable car ride where’ll you’ll get the perfect view of Lantau Island, thanks to the cable car’s glass floor.
Return to the city, but before you do, stop by Tai O Fishing Village for a glimpse of traditional stilt houses and local culture. For some refuelling, local favourite Fuk Hing Hong serves legendary seafood snacks such as fish balls and marinated cuttlefish.
You’ve seen all the top sights, you’ve immersed yourself in local culture and history at the city’s museums and you’ve even got one of Hong Kong’s most famous hikes under your belt. We think you’ve earned a day that is all about indulgence and savouring the city’s culinary delights.
Start your day with a stroll through the colourful streets of Sheung Wan, known for its street art and antique shops. Here you can pick up priceless souvenirs and take home a piece of the local artistic flare.
Walking around Sheung Wan’s endearingly frenetic streets and deciding to buy or not to buy is very enjoyable, but it does work up an appetite. The perfect solution has to be a local dai pai dong (open-air food stall) for a traditional Hong Kong lunch: sam siu fan (three roasts with rice).
Emboldened by the vibrant flavours of dai pai dong, explore the lively neighbourhoods of SoHo and Central. For a unique perspective on the city, take the Central Mid-Level Escalator: the largest outdoor covered escalator system which is lined with restaurants, bars and shops.
SoHo and Central are known for their trendy boutiques and chic cafés, so whether you’ve chosen a French Martini or dirty chai latte as your elixir, at this moment in time you’re convinced that living this cosmopolitan life 24/7 is your calling. Well, it’s just as well because your next stop is Causeway Bay, where the most in vogue and fashionable brands strut their stuff. So much so in fact, that nighttime shopping in Hong Kong’s Times Square makes for a rather intoxicating apéritif before an evening of entertainment, fine dining, and perhaps a visit to a rooftop bar for panoramic views of the city.
Arcane is a Michelin-starred restaurant where simple flavours are refined with artistic flare, Man Wah is considered one of the best Cantonese restaurants in the city, and 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana is a three-Michelin-star Italian fine-dining restaurant.
In just four days, you'll have uncovered the diverse layers of Hong Kong, from its iconic views and rich culture to its natural beauty and culinary pleasures. This itinerary takes you on a captivating journey through this dynamic metropolis, ensuring you leave with a story you’ll never forget.