Hong Kong is a place like no other. The vibrancy and eclecticness of the city is positively addictive and when you only have one day, trying to fit all that there is to do and see is near impossible.
So, to help you experience as much as Hong Kong as you possibly can, here is my perfect itinerary. By the time you're done, you'll have seen more in 24 hours than most visitors see in a week!
7.00AM || VICTORIA PEAK
Start your day early by taking in the unparallelled sights of Hong Kong from the best vantage point in the city; the top of Victoria Peak. Catch the number 15 bus (a steal at $9.6 HKD / 90p / $1.40 USD) at Admiralty. Grab the front seats on the top deck and sit back as you enjoy your very own tour of Hong Kong and the sensational views as you ascend the Peak. When you reach the top, head to the Sky Terrace ($45 HKD / £4 / $6 USD). The spectacular panoramic views of the vibrant city simply took my breath away and at this time of day, there will be no-one else there so you'll have the whole observation deck to yourself. Perfect!
9.30AM || ZOOLOGICAL BOTANICAL GARDENS
After taking in the awe-inspiring Hong Kong skyline, ride the tram back down the Peak and head across the road to the gorgeous Zoological Botanical Gardens. A calm oasis in an otherwise bustling city, these 5.6 hectares are home to a range of free beautiful themed gardens and animal exhibits. It's a great way to spend an early morning with some great photo opportunities of the Hong Kong skyscrapers framed by the stunning Asian foliage.
11.30AM || SCENIC STANLEY
Take the number 6 bus from central to reach your next stop which is in my opinion, one of the most beautiful parts of Hong Kong island; Stanley. More like a tropical island than a metropolitan city, this gorgeous seaside area is often overlooked by most visitors yet has so much to offer.
|| LUNCH ||
By now you will be feeling rather peckish so first head over to any of the fantastic bars and restaurants for a bite to eat. I recommend Seafront Barbecue & Food which serves fantastic fresh seafood and offers sensational views of the harbour as you dine.
|| STANLEY MARKET ||
Now you are sufficiently fuelled, walk off your fantastic food with some retail therapy at the famed Stanley Market. Home to a dizzying array of interesting stalls and little shops, pick up some unique and authentic souvenirs as well as the typical tourist fare. One of the most favourite things that I bought while here was my £3 ($5 USD) I ❤ HK t-shirt. Corny but I love it!
|| WATERFRONT MART ||
While away the rest of the morning by taking a stroll along the serene Waterfront Mart Promenade. A relaxing and peaceful walk, the views are absolutely mind-blowing. Think calm crystal waters and golden sandy bays all set against the azure blue sky. For me, the best vantage point is from the end of the shaded Blake Pier that is suspended mid-water and provides a great rest-bite from the scorching Hong Kong sun.
|| MA HANG PARK & PAK TAI TEMPLE||
From golden sands to lush greenery, follow the Promenade all the way down and you will reach the Stanley Ma Hang Park. Set precariously on the cliff-edge, this 50,000 sq ft landscape offers woodland trails, butterfly gardens, boardwalks, sea-view terraces and patios along with a lovely little quaint temple. Even better, it is completely free to visit!
2.30PM || SET SAIL ON THE STAR FERRY
Having spent a tranquil morning relaxing in Hong Kong island, it is now time to immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle of the city's more famed island; Kowloon. From Stanley head to Central Pier no7 and take the iconic Star Ferry across Victoria harbour. On this lovely little ride, you will get phenomenal views of both Hong Kong Island and Kowloon peninsulas and with tickets only costing $2.5 HKD (20p / 35¢) you will get no better value for money. For the best experience, make sure you grab a seat on the lesser crowded upper deck.
3.30PM || SIK SIK YUEN WONG TAI SIN TEMPLE
After your scenic sojourn across Victoria Harbour, it is now time to visit Hong Kong's most legendary temple which promises to "make every wish come true upon request."
|| MTR ||
In order to reach it, you get to experience another Hong Kong institution; the MTR. The Mass Transit Railway system is the most efficient way to travel the city and is a favourite among tourists and locals alike. Head to Tshim Sha Tsui Station and hop on the Tsuen Wan Line for 3 stops until you reach Mong Kong Station and change to the Kwun Line, disembarking at Won Tai Sin station. Follow the signs for Wong Tai Sin, and after a short walk you will reach the temple.
|| SIK SIK YUEN WONG TAI SIN TEMPLE ||
Hailed as the city's largest and most popular temples, Wong Tai Sin is simply magnificent with stunning cultural and architectural examples to be found everywhere you look. One of my favourite afternoons in Hong Kong was spent making my way around the numerous pavilions, ponds and fountains that inhabit the site. A definite must is the Good Wish Garden. A stunning example of a Chinese garden, it includes octagonal and fan-shaped pavilions, artificial waterfall and a replica of the Beijing Summer Palace long corridor. You will be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful and peaceful setting.
5.00PM || KOWLOON CITY FOOD DISTRICT
Now you have immersed yourself in some of the best culture and scenery that the city has to offer, take the MTR to Kowloon City Food District for some fantastic culinary delights. Made up of around 10 streets from Prince Edward West to Carpenter Road, here you will find around 200 of the best and inexpensive eateries in all of Hong Kong. There's so many great places here serving every kind of food imaginable. You are guaranteed to find something you will love! I'd recommend either One Dim Sum (for amazing Michelin star Dim Sum) or Tiffany Restaurant (Roasted Beef Rib.)
6.45PM || AVENUE OF THE STARS
After dinner, take a short stroll over to the Avenue of the Stars. Affectionately known as "the Hollywood of the East" the 440 metre boardwalk pays tribute to Asia's film industry with a mixture of hand prints, signatures and bronze statues of famed film stars set against the captivating Hong Kong skyline and Victoria Peak. With great photo opportunities, be sure to get a snap with the giant film clapper board and director statue.
7.45PM || SYMPHONY OF LIGHTS
When you reach the end of the Avenue of the Stars, head back towards the pier and grab a spot on the front of the promenade. At 8pm you will be treated to the free 'Symphony of Lights' nightly multimedia show played out on 40 of Hong Kong island's most iconic skyscrapers. With lasers, skylights, searchlights, LED effects, fireworks and music, it is a a must-do experience for anyone visiting the city.
8.30PM || TEMPLE STREET
When the lights go down, Hong Kong becomes truly magical. After the show take a walk through the vibrant Kowloon. For a more authentic experience, make sure you swing by Temple street. With its elevated neon signs, bustling market, open-air Cantonese opera and fortune tellers; it is one of the most electric atmospheres I have ever experienced. If you're feeling peckish there is also some great sea-food available at the dai pai dong with little folding tables for you to eat street-side. Very kitsch.
10.15PM || CAUSEWAY BAY
Take the Star Ferry back to Hong Kong island and hop on the MTR Island Line to Causeway Bay. A lively and thriving area, it has numerous bars and restaurants intermingled with ageing office buildings and striking suspended signage. It is the perfect place to spend the rest of your night with extended shopping and dining hours that will keep you busy until the early morning. A great end to a great day!
What would you do if you had 24 hours in Hong Kong? Drop me a comment below.
Until next time Travarellas…