How to: Experience Hong Kong in Three Days

by  Megan Eileen McDonough | Jul 20, 2015
Megan Eileen McDonough
Megan Eileen McDonough / Bohemian Trails

Hong Kong is a city of contrasts, with an endless mix of old and new. You'll find high-rise buildings that tower over quiet parks, local food stalls crammed in between big chain brands. And it's a major travel hub, so it's easy to get yourself to this international hotspot even if it's not your final destination. Whether Hong is a weekend getaway or one stop on your way someplace else, here's the ultimate three-day itinerary for Hong Kong.

Day 1
Depending on where you’ve just arrived from, your first day in Hong Kong might be the toughest. Between jetlag and cramped feet from a long flight, keeping your expectations realistic for your first day will help the rest of the trip be successful.

Morning: Explore the neighborhood.
If you’re only in town for a few days, you’ll want to pick a centrally located hotel. In general, accommodations in Kowloon are less expensive, yet still convenient -- while those located on Hong Kong Island are pricier, albeit more desirable. Wherever you stay, the best way to combat sleepiness is to stay out. Drop your bags in your hotel room and hit the streets.

Afternoon: Climb Victoria Peak.
There are multiple ways to reach the famed Victoria Peak. If you’re feeling lazy, take the tram from Central right to the top of the Peak. But for those who are up for it, we recommend the two main hiking trails that lead there. One is rather steep while the other is more winding. From the top, visitors have their pick of bars, restaurants, and shops to entertainment for the rest of the afternoon.

Evening: Watch the Symphony of Lights.
Every evening at 8 p.m., Hong Kong has what’s called the “Symphony of Lights,” a light show in which city buildings illuminate in the darkness. The show lasts for about 13 minutes and is best seen from the Peak. Either take in the view at no cost from the top of The Peak Galleria, dine at a restaurant with a view, or pay an additional fare to enter The Peak Tower.

Megan Eileen McDonough / Bohemian Trails

Day 2
Hong Kong Island isn’t the only area worth exploring. In fact, the bulk of the city’s museums and markets are located on the peninsula. From Central, visitors can either take the MTR or a ferry to Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon.

Morning: Museum hop in Kowloon.
The Museum of History is a good starting point for those unfamiliar with Hong Kong's heritage. Art connoisseurs will naturally gravitate toward the Hong Kong Museum of Art, while the interactive Space Museum is a hit with families and the young at heart. In between museum visits, walk along the iconic Avenue of the Stars by the waterfront.

Afternoon: Splurge on lunch.
Lunches in Hong Kong can be filling, with many restaurants offering a three-course set menu. If there's a fancy restaurant you want to try, going for a daytime pre-fixe is a smart way to splurge. For something lavish, we love the Peninsula Hotel’s High Tea lunch. Each order comes with pastries, freshly baked scones, and organic strawberry preserve. Add a glass of champagne if you’re feeling extra indulgent.

Evening: Bargain hunt at the night markets.
After feeling like a prince at the Peninsula, it's time to haggle like a pauper. At the Temple Street Night Market, you’ll get plenty of practice (ride the MTR to Yau Ma Tei and take exit C). Everything from teaware and antiques to electronics and watches are sold here -- and find a slew of fortunetellers, herbalists, and street performers at the ready.

Megan Eileen McDonough / Bohemian Trails

Day 3
It’s your last full day in Hong Kong, so if you’re feeling ambitious about checking off all the items on your bucket list, we can’t blame you. Beat the crowds by getting an early start and visiting the tourist sites first thing in the morning.

Morning: Visit The Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery.
Completed in 1993, the bronze Big Buddha statue is located on Lantau Island in Hong Kong. If you make it all the way here, you'll have to stop by the Po Lin Monastery as well. The statue faces toward Mainland China, with more than 200 steps to the top. Definitely not the day to forget your camera!

Afternoon: Indulge in a dim sum feast.
After such an action-packed morning, you deserve a dim sum feast. Think of it as the pizza of New York; you can't come all the way to Hong Kong and not try some. For a traditional dim sum experience, Fook Lam Moon is a good choice. Another local, budget-friendly favorite is One Dim Sum.

Evening: Party like a local.
Can get enough of the skyline? Celebrate a fun-filled weekend with a champagne toast from a rooftop bar like SEVVA, where you can watch the Symphony of Lights one last time. Then, head to the notorious entertainment district, Lan Kwai Fong (LKF) and party in the streets with hundreds of other locals and expats.

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