The best of Hong Kong
Choose Hong Kong for your next Asian escapade. Its unique blend of east and west encompasses a fascinating history, amazing food and a culture that's constantly evolving.
See the highlights of Hong Kong in 72 hours.
Three days in Hong Kong
See the highlights of Hong Kong with this three-day suggested itinerary
Your non-stop flight from Auckland is scheduled to arrive at Kai Tak Airport late afternoon and the Airport Express rail service into the city takes less than half an hour. To make the trip cheaper, pick up an Octopus card (public transport pass) from a machine at the station. The card will be handy while you're exploring Hong Kong.
We recommend you stay close to a metro station, to make getting around easy. On Hong Kong Island, Central to Causeway Bay is all about luxurious, high-end hotels; Sheung Wan and Sai Ying Pun are more relaxed and affordable. On the Kowloon side, Mong Kok is good if you're on a tight budget; and Yau Ma Tei is an 'old China' place to stay.
Ideas for when you first arrive:
- Find a rooftop bar to toast one of the world's greatest cities. Recommendations include Ozone, on the 118th floor of the Ritz Carlton; Sevva, in Prince's Building, Chater Road; and Sugar, on the 32nd floor of the East Hong Kong Hotel.
- Catch a ferry across Victoria Harbour and be mesmerised by a spectrum of colour, with rippled reflections of Hong Kong's grandest structures stretching out across the water.
- Find a night market or local restaurant for cheap eats that will blow you away with their perfectly balanced flavours. Your hotel can point you to the nearest option.
Hong Kong Island is one of the two main areas that make up Hong Kong (Kowloon, on the mainland, is the other). A hub for commerce, culture and entertainment, it offers a fascinating array of experiences, from world-class shopping and dining to traditional temples and authentic local restaurants. Begin your Hong Kong holiday by exploring the best of this island.
Ideas for today:
- Old Town Central is a vibrant and historic district, so a great place to discover the city's cultural heritage. Wander through winding streets, visit traditional shops and temples and sample local cuisine.
- Highlights include the Man Mo Temple, Cat Street Market and Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts.
- Enjoy a bowl of wonton noodle soup, a popular local dish made with shrimp dumplings and thin egg noodles, at shops like Mak's Noodle or Ho Hung Kee.
- Try the famous egg tarts, a sweet and flaky pastry filled with egg custard, at Tai Cheong Bakery or Honolulu Coffee Shop.
- As night falls, find a good place to see and hear the Symphony of Lights, where an already impressive skyline of colour dances to the rhythm of the city. This enchanting show transitions through themes of awakening, energy, heritage, partnership and, finally, celebration. You can book a harbour boat cruise to catch the show or nip over to the Kowloon side and watch from the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront outside the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. The show is visible from other locations, but you might not be able to hear the music.
- Finish the day with dinner at Joy Hing Roasted Meat, where they've been serving up delicious Cantonese-style roasted meat dishes since the 1940s. The specialty is char siu (barbecued pork) and roasted duck, which are both incredibly tender and flavourful.
There are many ways to see Hong Kong from up high, but journeying up 'The Peak' is widely recognised as the most iconic. Dedicate today to making the most of Victoria Peak. Later on, head to Hong Kong's most famous night market for street eats.
Ideas for today:
- A feat of engineering, the Peak Tram has been defying physics for 125 years. It will clank you up to Hong Kong's highest summit, from where you'll see the city's natural beauty meet its concrete brilliance.
- Visit the Sky Terrace on the roof of Peak Tower for a stunning 360-degree view of Hong Kong.
- Eat lunch at the Peak Galleria, a shopping and dining complex located near Peak Tower. It offers a variety of restaurants, cafes and shops.
- Follow the Peak Circle walking trail, which winds around the peak to let you see the island from every angle.
- For something more adventurous, the 50km Hong Kong trail also starts nearby. Knocking off one or two of its eight stages will give you a real appreciation for Hong Kong's wilder side.
- Find dinner at Temple Street Night Market, located in the heart of Kowloon. Choose from a massive variety of local street food, including seafood, noodles, dim sum and more.
Lamma Island is a picturesque slice of nature just off the coast of Hong Kong. Known for its laid-back lifestyle, beautiful scenery and charming village atmosphere, it makes a great day trip. To get there head for Central Ferry Piers, then take the ferry to Yung Shue Wan or Sok Kwu Wan on Lamma Island.
Ideas for today:
- Lamma Island has beautiful hiking trails for stunning views of the island and the surrounding sea. The Family Trail is suitable for all ages and fitness levels, while the more challenging Sok Kwu Wan Trail delivers some of the best views on the island.
- Visit the fishing village of Sok Kwu Wan, where you'll find a pretty beach. Be sure to check out the Tin Hau Temple, dedicated to the goddess of the sea.
- Explore the village of Yung Shue Wan to find shops, cafes and restaurants, as well as a lively waterfront area.
- Lamma Island is known for its seafood. Dishes to try include Lamma Island fish balls, salt and pepper squid, Hong-Kong style steamed fish, Typhoon Shelter crab and clams in black bean sauce. Stay on the island for lunch and dinner, to make the most of the seafood opportunities.
Seven days in Hong Kong
Use the three-day itinerary above, then add four extra days.
Explore more of Hong Kong to delve deeper into the culture, natural places and captivating entertainment possibilities.
If you're travelling with kids, a theme park day is a must. If you don't have children in tow do it anyway, because having fun is always a good plan.
Ideas for a fun day:
- Disneyland arrived in Hong Kong in 2005 and offers all the candy-coated joy of its international siblings. Unsurprisingly, the park is incredibly child friendly, with something for even the smallest tots. From the gentle It's a Small World boat ride to rollercoaster thrills on Hyperspace Mountain, every level of excitement is available.
- For fun that comes with education, dip your toes into Ocean Park - Hong Kong's own theme park. Nestled between rich green mountains with a stunning ocean view, the park combines nature learning with water-fuelled action. Check out the world-class aquarium or scream your way around the thrilling ride attractions.
- If you're after something utterly unique, head for Noah's Ark. It's a resort full of attractions, built around an imagined replica of the biblical ark. Hong Kong never fails to surprise.
- For timeless entertainment, check out Madame Tussauds, the wax museum that pushes the art of sculpture eerily close to reality.
Located near the airport, on the island of Lantau, Ngong Ping is another peak experience involving a panoramic ride up, sightseeing and walks.
Ideas for a Ngong Ping day:
- Riding up in the bubble-shaped cable cars is unforgettable. You'll soar over teal waters and between mountains to Ngong Ping village the top of the peak.
- From the cable car exit point, you're a five-minute walk from the Tian Tan Buddha, the world's largest outdoor seated bronze Buddha. You can climb up the steps to the base of the statue and take in the panoramic views of the surrounding area.
- Po Lin Monastery is located next to the Tian Tan Buddha. With ornate architecture and beautiful gardens, it's a peaceful and serene place to explore.
- Ngong Ping village has a variety of shops, restaurants and attractions, including a tea house and a stage for cultural performances.
- Follow the Wisdom Path, a scenic walking trail with 38 wooden pillars inscribed with verses from the Heart Sutra, a Buddhist scripture.
- Back in the city, find a restaurant that specialises in Peking Duck, a classic Hong Kong dish of crispy-skin roasted duck served with pancakes, spring onions and plum sauce. Recommendations include Peking Garden, The Chairman or Celebrity Cuisine in Central, and Spring Deer or Fook Lam Moon on Kowloon side.
Hong Kong is a shopper's paradise, with its bustling street markets, upscale shopping malls and unique traditional stores. It's wise to arrive with some space in your suitcase, because you'll definitely want to bring home some bargains.
Shopping experiences to try:
- Check out the Ladies' Market and the Temple Street Night Market. These down-to-earth retail environments are all about bargains, from jeans and tee shirts to homewares and handbags.
- Electronics shopping at Mong Kok is legendary. Check out the latest phones, Bluetooth gadgets and plug-in must-haves at affordable prices.
- Discover shabby-chic shopping at Hollywood Road, which is lined with shops selling vintage clothing, furniture and other unique finds.
- Dip into Hong Kong's amazing department store shopping, including Sogo and Lane Crawford. These stores offer a full range of products, from high-end fashion to home goods and electronics.
- Hong Kong is also home to some of the world's most prestigious luxury malls, including The Landmark, Pacific Place and Elements.
- Dine out at the Dim Sum Library, where you take your pick from traditional dim sum dishes in a library-inspired interior.
For a unique and breathtaking nature experience, go beyond the city to the Hong Kong Global Geopark. This UNESCO-listed site covers over 50 square kilometres of geological formations, including volcanic rocks, sea caves and sedimentary rocks. Located in the northeastern part of Hong Kong, the park is easily accessible by public transportation.
Ideas for a day at the Geopark:
- There are several hiking trails in the park, ranging from easy walks to challenging treks. The Sai Kung Volcanic Rock Region trail is a popular option, offering stunning views of the park's unique rock formations and scenic coastline.
- A boat tour is a great way to discover sea caves and coastal rock formations. Some tours include stops at remote beaches and fishing villages.
- For a more active sea adventure, try kayaking around the park's coastal areas. You'll have a chance to explore sea caves, hidden coves and natural hot springs.
- Take a guided tour with a geology expert to learn more about the park's unique features, including the hexagonal rock columns at High Island and the sedimentary rocks at Yan Chau Tong Marine Park.
- Finish your Hong Kong holiday on a high note at Tin Lung Heen, the highest Cantonese restaurant in the world. Located on the 102nd floor of the International Commerce Centre, it serves exquisite dim sum and seafood dishes and has panoramic views of Victoria Harbour.