While looking over my Asia travel itinerary, I started to think about the Hong Kong portion of it. I was pretty happy with the trip overall, but there were a few things I’d change about the Hong Kong part if I were to go again. So, here’s my sort-of rework… in the form of a 3-day Hong Kong itinerary.
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How to Use This 3-Day Hong Kong Itinerary
I’m packing this itinerary of Hong Kong pretty full, but that’s mostly so you can pick and choose your favorites. Feel free to cut out anything that doesn’t interest you or switch out one attraction for another. This is meant to be more of a Hong Kong travel guide than anything.
Cruising Thru Hong Kong & Macau: Our Recommended Route
Since we’re only looking at a 3-day trip, the route is also pretty short. The only reason there’s more than one item is because I thought a day trip to Macau would be more interesting than Hong Kong only. You know, to shake things up a bit.
- Fly to Hong Kong. Tour for two days.
- Ferry to Macau for a day trip. Return to Hong Kong.
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Hong Kong—A World-Famous Metropolis
From the Airport to Downtown
I went over this in my 15-day Asia itinerary, but to sum up, there are a couple of different ways to get from Hong Kong International Airport to the downtown area where your hotel will be.
- Take a Shuttle: Book a shuttle at the Commercial Services counter (Arrivals Hall B, Terminal 1).
- Take Metro: Head to the metro station and hop onto the Airport Express Train.
Around the City
Within Hong Kong itself, metro is the go-to for most transportation, but it’s not the only way. Depending where you’re headed, you’ll want to make use of trams or ferries as well.
- If Taking Public Transportation: Get an Octopus Card to make paying for transportation as quick and painless as possible. You can use it on the metro, buses, and ferries, etc. – it’s invaluable for keeping travel simple and convenient.
- Take the Tram: The tram is another useful mode of transport. There’s one that goes up to Victoria Peak and starts running at 7:00 am from Hong Kong Park. It’s HK$52 for a roundtrip ticket.
- Take the Ferry: Ferries (like the Star Ferry Cruise) are great both for dinner cruises and getting to and from different islands around Hong Kong.
Where to Stay in Hong Kong
Any decent itinerary in Hong Kong has to recommend a nice hotel, and this is no different. For our trip, the Adventure Partner and I stayed at The Langham Hong Kong. I have zero problems giving it two thumbs up—amazing hotel, luxurious rooms, and a high level of service.
The Langham is located in Tsim Sha Tsui on the Kowloon side of the harbor, which is arguably the more authentic side of Hong Kong (in my humble opinion). But if you’re doing a Hong Kong power tour, you’ll be all over both Kowloon and Hong Kong Island anyway, so it almost doesn’t matter where you start. Key activities in this itinerary—like the Star Harbor Ferry and the ferry to Macau—depart from Kowloon.
PHOTO CREDITS: THE LANGHAM HONG KONG VIA HOTELS.COM
Day 1: Sights Up High & Down Low
Take the tram up to Victoria Peak, a popular sightseeing spot on a mountain. There, you can visit the Peak Tower, Madame Tussauds wax museum, and some gift shops. The main feature is a walkway where you can get a good view of the city and the beautiful Hong Kong skyline.
Not that I would know personally, but… a quick word of advice: check the weather before going. If it’s cloudy, skip the peak and go straight to Central Hong Kong instead. The Peak isn’t much without the view, so your time will be much better spent elsewhere.
Once you’re done with Victoria Peak, take the Central-Mid-Level Escalators to get to Central Hong Kong. Grab some lunch at Graham Street and start scouting some Hong Kong Walls.
I’ve mentioned them in previous posts, but basically, this project hires artists to paint new murals around the city every year. Not only that, but the people in charge also host art festivals and various cultural projects.
After a wander and snapping some photos, check out Man Mo Temple. It’s three different temples combined into one, with beehive-sized coils of incense hanging from the ceilings and loads of historical statues inside.
Next, take the metro to Temple Street Night Market for souvenir shopping or even just to soak up some Hong Kong night vibes.
Around 8pm, board the Star Ferry Harbor Cruise for front-row seats to the Symphony of Lights. You can see the light show from the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront, but the ferries have the best view.
Day 2: Big Buddhas and Fishing Villages
Next up, day two of this 3-day Hong Kong itinerary consists of a trip to Lantau Island and the Tian Tan Buddha. For those who don’t know, this buddha statue is gi-friggin’-normous. It’s 112 feet tall and took three years to build. To get there, though, you must first fight the Kraken. By which I mean, take a long metro ride and avoid the Falun Gong.
Once you off-board in Lantau, you can make your way across the central plaza to the cable cars. It’ll take you up to the Big Buddha Village, where you can walk the Wisdom Path, visit a museum (if you want), and of course, find the 268 stairs leading up to the big buddha.
Soak in the sight. No, really. You’ll need to take a breather and recover from that climb.
Go to Ngong Ping and hop onto bus 21 to Tai O Fishing Village. Or just take a taxi, either’s fine. I didn’t manage the trip myself last time due to the insane heat, but I hear it’s nice. You get to see houses on stilts and a view of what life is like in a small village off the beaten path.
Day 3: Macau, The Asian Las Vegas
To finish off 3 days in Hong Kong, we have a side trip to Macau. No trip to Hong Kong is complete without this side trip!
Some key points in getting around:
- Getting to Macau: Go to the Hong Kong China City shopping mall in Kowloon to board a 9am ferry (or, you know, whatever time you prefer).
- Take a Taxi: Macau Outer Harbor Ferry Terminal – along with a few other places, like the Border Gate, Portas do Cerco – are transportation hubs where you can easily find a taxi, along with bus stops aplenty.
- Take the Bus: Buses 25, 26, and 50 go to Coloane Village. Bus 15 goes from Coloane to Taipa Village
To start, be sure to avoid the Fisherman’s Wharf at all costs. It’s a cheap tourist trap owned by a nearby casino, held together by glue and painted-on rust. As for what you should see…
Day 3: Day Trip to Macau
Start off with Sonada Square and the Ruins of Saint Paul. Not only does the mix of Chinese and Portuguese architecture go surprisingly well together, its bright colors and creative design make it a worthy stop.
Walk over to the bus stop at Ponte 16 and take the bus to Coloane Village. It’s a long bus ride – over an hour – but this peaceful, historic village is a nice way to spend the rest of the morning. I’d recommend stopping by Lord Stow’s Bakery to try their egg tarts; the line can get pretty long, but it’s worth it.
After lunch, head to Taipa Village. This is a haven for Macau’s best street foods and historic architecture. It’s a bit more touristy than Coloane Village, but it’s still very nice.
When all that’s said and done, take a taxi back to the harbor so you can return to Hong Kong. You’ll probably be exhausted by this point, so take it easy the rest of the evening.
Thus, Our 3-Day Hong Kong Itinerary Comes To An End
So, there we have it – how to see Hong Kong in 3 days.. Like I said in the beginning, this itinerary is pretty packed. Feel free to pick and choose your favorites for your own vacation and toss the “meh.” Unless you have the stamina of a horse, you don’t want to exhaust yourself by doing too much! In the meantime, check out some of my other China-related travel stories and follow me for future updates.
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