48 Hours In Hong Kong
My first visit to Hong Kong and Asia was always going to be exciting if a little brief. I had just 48 hours in Hong Kong to understand this diverse, sophisticated city that offers a perfect blend of modern-day sky rise to grubby back street markets.
While Hong Kong is perhaps best recognized as a stopover en route to other destinations it does have so much to offer the intrepid explorer.
With the demonstrations against China ongoing, it was perhaps not the best time to make the trip. Cathay Pacific had seamlessly dropped me into the airport and any pre-visit nerves regarding the political tensions had soon been replaced with excitement.
Hong Kong has several different areas to explore. While my next stop was Japan it was these 48 hours in Hong Kong that lay ahead of me, so I got straight to work.
One way to get a real perspective of Hong Kong is to embark on a trip to The Peak via the renowned and very steep Peak Funicular Tram which was established in 1888. Train enthusiasts would be in their element here. Up high you can enjoy panoramic views from the Sky Terrace 428.
At the top, there are numerous different photo opportunities as well as when I was there a photographer trying to get you to pose and subsequently buy his images…. was a little too tacky for me so I just did my own thing and focused more on the view than the selfie.
To add to the experience there are a variety of shops and entertainments for all the family as well as a few restaurants some with outside terrace dining with views across Victoria Bay.
If you are visiting Hong Kong for the very first time this trip is a must-do excursion.
The central business district is located on the north shore of Hong Kong Island, across Victoria Harbour from Tsim Sha Tsui, the southernmost point of the Kowloon Peninsula.
After you’ve taken in the magnificent views from Victoria Peak, why not head over to the Central District and take a ride on the longest escalator in the world? The Central Mid-Level Escalator is a system of 20 escalators and three moving walkways, which span over 800 meters. It’s, without doubt, the easiest way to get up the steep hillside, linking Queen’s Road Central and Conduit Road. It’s also a great way to get a closer look at locals going about their daily life.
Those craving a full night of fun should visit Lang Kwai Fong. A vibrant party street packed with bars, restaurants, and gregarious travelers looking to relax and socialize. Easily accessible via public transport, this area was once a petite quarter dedicated to hawkers before World War II. I enjoyed the relaxed feel of this area with bars opening out onto the street. I also loved the restaurants such as the amusing name Ho Lee Fook which attracted smartly dress diners looking to party long into the night.
Hong Kong Island
Hong Kong markets are an absolute must. They remain an everyday part of life in Hong Kong and locals still use them to buy everything and anything. This is life in Hong Kong at its most enjoyable. It’s also life at its loudest, liveliest, and most entertaining as shoppers try to bargain over the prices.
If you don’t want to barter but instead go for a top-end shopping experience then try the Landmark shopping mall. Comprising four connected buildings, the Landmark is home to some of Hong Kong’s elite stores. These include Louis Vuitton, Harvey Nichols, and Celine to Joel Robuchon. You can even dine at a choice of Michelin star-rated restaurants.
Kowloon encompasses the northern part of Hong Kong and is often considered more authentic than Hong Kong Island. It is located just across from Victoria Harbour. Whilst I only really got to see the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade I was made aware of several other attractions of Kowloon.
The area of Mong Kok is packed with narrow streets full of shops and stalls selling mainly street food at rock-bottom prices!
For those looking to take in some culture head over to Wong Tai Sin Temple which is home to three of China’s main religions. Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism.
The Tsim Sha Tsui promenade is a popular spot for ambling around and taking in the sea air. I did just that on a sweltering hot and muggy day when you find the views can be a little hazy but still worth it. This area is also very well known for its great choice of museums. These include the Hong Kong Science Museum, Space Museum, History Museum, and Arts Museums. This promenade is also a great place to witness the Symphony of Lights which is a popular audio-visual show across the bay.
The International Commercial Centre is Hong Kong’s tallest building and is located in west Kowloon. This 360-degree indoor observation deck offers wonderful views. These include the iconic Hong Kong skyline, Victoria Harbour, the Kowloon Peninsula, and Tai Mo Shan in the background.
Sham Shui Po is an area of old Hong Kong with stunning old architecture plus there is the Apliu Street Flea market where visitors can pick up bargain electronic goods and antique trinkets. There is also a thriving Wet Market at Sham Shui Po where traditional foods are on show.
A popular trip in Hong Kong is to visit Lantau Island. Here you will discover a breathtaking cable car ride with views of a giant Buddha statue or if you are feeling active then you could also hike to the peak of Pak Kung Au.
The cable car ride provides fantastic views of Tung Chong Bay, the airport, and Lantau Mountain.
At the top, take time to explore the Ngong Ping plateau where there are plenty of shops selling all kinds of souvenirs plus there is a selection of restaurants if you want to grab a bite to eat.
For further information on spending 48 hours in Hong Kong or longer either contact your local travel agent, a specialist tour operator, or the Hong Kong Tourist Office.