How To Spend A Weekend In Hong Kong
Hong Kong is an insane place to visit. Not just insanely busy, but it's so full culture and amazing people. My mom lived there for four years when she was single and met friends that she's still in constant contact with to this day - a lot of them even traveled to come to my wedding last year.
Even though it's a very small area, Hong Kong has a lot to do. I usually recommend that travelers add Hong Kong onto another trip they're doing, though, since all the best things won't take more than a couple of days at a normal pace. A few days or a weekend is plenty of time to check out the Buddha, giant floating restaurant, and see plenty of what this quirky island has to offer.
It's a city that is always moving, and moving fast. You've probably heard people say that "a New York minute is a Hong Kong second," and they're not wrong. There are over 7 million people on this little island, so you gets used to be jostled around, and you get used to it pretty quickly. Thankfully, that means you'll be able to get around to all of the best places a whole lot faster!
Here are my thoughts on what you need to check out if you're in Hong Kong for a couple of days.
The View from Victoria Peak
This is the place where all the classic, famous pictures of Hong Kong come from. It's definitely one of the most famous places in the city, and every tour worth their money will stop there. Yes, most of the time you'll find that it's pretty busy, but you'll be hard pressed to find another place that offers as spectacular of a view.
The most popular way to get to the top is by taking the Peak Tram, which is the world's steepest funicular railway. The view is always awesome, but I would suggest checking it out first thing in the morning and also going at night to see all the lights.
Also, make sure to keep an eye on the weather - Hong Kong's notorious foggy days will limit your view to about zero feet!
Ride in a Junk Boat
While the name may sound a little sketchy, a junk boat is really just a boat used for leisure and a way that locals would escape the city for the weekend by getting out onto the water.
There are a lot of different companies that offer excursions and experiences on a junk boat, some with food and drink and others just for a ride around the harbor. These trips can be expensive, but if you have the money and the opportunity, it's a great way to partake in a traditional way of enjoying the city.
Some companies to look at for this opportunity include Aqua Luna, Traway (this website is in Chinese), and Michelangelo. You can also find lots of places that will still give you a great tour of Victoria Harbor without the fancy cruise atmosphere.
Say Hello to the Big Buddha
Ah, the Big Buddha. This is another one of those classic attractions that, in my opinion, completes any trip to Hong Kong.
"Big Buddha" is the nickname for the Tian Tan Buddha found on Lantau Island that is in the middle of Hong Kong. There are a couple other little tourist attractions in that area as well, but the statue is the main thing, and probably the best thing in my opinion.
To get there you can take a bus or the popular Ngong Ping 360 gondola. If you take that route, you'll also get a beautiful view of some other areas of Hong Kong.
Again, watch out for the weather. When I tried to go here it rained and rained and got so foggy that even though the Buddha was literally right in front of me you couldn't see anything and they immediately made us get back on our bus and head back down because of the weather.
Shop the Street Markets
I don't think that you can visit any Asian country without checking out its local street markets. They are the heart of the city and give a lot of insight into the culture. In Hong Kong, the street markets are legendary and worth a night (or two) out.
There are several different and awesome street markets to choose from. Ladies' Market - so called because of its specialty in clothes and shoes - Temple Street's night market full of food and everything else you can imagine, and even places like Cat Street for antiques and Apliu Street Market that specializes in electronics.
Basically, there's something for everyone so you'll want to brush up on your bargaining tips before going in order to get the best bang for your buck. Rule No. 1: Never take the first price they offer.
Eat Dim Sum
Mmmmm, dim sum. The type of food I'm going to get can have a big influence on what places I choose to visit, and Hong Kong has some of the best.
If you don't know, dim sum is basically little dumplings and other small dishes cooked in steamers. While it used to just be popular for morning or lunch meals, it's completely acceptable to have dim sum at all times of day nowadays - which is good because it's delicious. You can ind dim sum along the sides of the street in push carts or go to a traditional restaurant.
Hong Kong is known for having the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world, which just happens to be a place just for dim sum. It's called Tim Ho Wan, and will make your mouth drool. Sure it's a little insane, but there are 12 of them around the island so you shouldn't pass up the opportunity to try the world's best dim sum if you have the chance.
Bonus: Hike the Dragon's Back
Even though a lot of people think of bustling streets and stores when picturing Hong Kong, there's access to some beautiful outdoor activities as well. One of the most popular is the Hong Kong Trail. It's about 30 miles and has a very popular part called The Dragon's Back. From the top of this peak trail you can get a 360-degree view of different landscapes and the South China Sea.
The Dragon's Back hike can last anywhere from 2-6 hours, so be prepared to spend a good portion of your day here, which is why I'm listing it as a bonus. It's not absolutely necessary to see if you want the Hong Kong experience, but if you're a nature lover and an outdoors-y person, it's worth making the time to explore.
In a city that can get a little suffocating and polluted, this part of it is a nice break, and a gorgeous one, too.
I would love to go back and do more in Hong Kong. It was such a crazy switch after coming straight from the Philippines, and at first I felt claustrophobic....and really, really tired. But it's a city that has such a distinct feeling and culture in the air, and you can't help but embrace it.
Everyone I know that has had a chance to visit has some fun, crazy memories, and that's part of what makes it a thrilling place to visit. If you've had the opportunity, tell me about your Hong Kong adventures - good or bad!
Start planning your trip to Hong Kong!
Save on Pinterest: