Hong Kong is one of the coolest cities we’ve visited so far. We truly discovered some of the best food we’ve ever tasted and enjoyed great adventure activities, culture and history. Many, many things surprised us, but that’s what we like most about our travels.
Check out this Hong Kong trip itinerary for your Hong Kong vacation. The restaurants alone are worth the trip!
Day 1- Victoria Harbor & Central
Get over your jet lag before heading to Victoria Harbor for your introduction to Hong Kong’s awesome skyline.
Take the Star Ferry through Victoria Harbor from Tsim Sha Tsui to Central. This is one of the best and most inexpensive ways to view the Victoria harbor.
Walk from where the boat lets you off in Central to the Mid Level Escalator and take a ride for a birds eyes view of the city.
If you ride the whole system and don’t stop, you’re looking at about twenty minutes. We recommend budgeting in a lot more time, so that if you see something, you can hop off and enjoy it. Better yet, choose a street and take the time to meander for a while.
One not-to-miss stop is Lan Fong Yuen for Hong Kong style milk tea. If there’s a seat on the bench outside, snag it and enjoy your milk tea while you people watch. Hong Kong style milk tea is a staple that you don’t want to miss.
We also recommend another tea location, Good Spring Company, which sells Traditional Chinese remedies, including herbal teas.
Fun Fact! Hollywood movies like Batman filmed The Dark Night in 2008 and also used the Mid-Levels Escalator as one of their locations.
Hong Kong Lunch Stop
Consider stopping for lunch today or another day at Mrs. Pound. This restaurant is modeled after a speakeasy with the outside designed to look like a traditional stamp shop. It’s easy to walk right by Mrs. Pound, but this is a restaurant you’ll want to find. The inside looks like a hip diner with a series of booths and retro bar. The Asian fushion menu, inspired by popular Asian street foods, is tasty. Try the Mee Goreng.
Afternoon Walking Tour: PoHo, Soho and beyond.
This afternoon, schedule a walking tour with Walk In Hong Kong and request guide Paul Chan if he’s available. Walk in Hong Kong tours have been thoughtfully designed and well researched. They will take you to destinations that are lesser trod by tourists.
Whether you take an organized tour or not, make sure to stop at Man Mo Temple. Built in 1847, the Man Mo Temple is a picturesque tribute to the God of Literature (Man) and the God of War (Mo). Our Walk in Hong Kong Tour Guide, Paul, explained that students frequent this temple to pray for good luck for their exams.
Incense coils, the size of which I’ve never seen before, hang from the ceilings, filling the air with the smell of serenity. Offerings are laid out on alters. The temple itself is ornate and uniquely placed amid towering skyscrapers along Hollywood Road.
PoHo is a cool neighborhood nearby that’s also good to explore on foot. It reminded me a bit of of SoHo in New York City. This is where you can get a good sense of old Hong Kong. Some places to visit include; Teakha for good food and tea, Po’s Atelier, Blake Garden and the Museum of Medical Sciences.
Located in nearby SoHo, PMQ is a good place to pick up unique gift items. Local artists have set up their own design houses in this multi-floor space, ranging from jewelry stores, to clothing boutiques to antique watches to handmade soap and bath products. You’ll definitely find something you didn’t think about buying, either as a gift or for yourself here.
Stop for a cocktail or dinner at Aberdeen Street Social, located right below PMQ. Mixing modern British dishes with cool cocktails, this restaurant is run by Michelin star Jason Atherton.
There are a lot of choices for places to stay in Hong Kong. We stationed ourselves at the Cordis at Lanham Place, which has a breakfast buffet that mixes Asian delights with everything from a chocolate fountain to an omelet bar. This hotel is modern with a variety of restaurants, including Michelin starred Ming Court, which we definitely recommend. It also connects to Lagham Place, a mall, and is within walking distance of Mong Kok’s popular markets.
Day 2- Victoria Peak, Michelin Starred Dining & Markets
Enjoy some of the best views of Hong Kong from Victoria Peak. Ride the historical Peak Team, a seven minute journey taking you past a mix of greenery and Hong Kong’s towering skyscrapers. Once up top, you’ll be able to snap panoramic views of urban and green Hong Kong.
An active way to get some great photos and see more Hong Kong nature is the Peak Circle Walk. Part of the Hong Kong Trail, this flat trail takes about 40 to 60 minutes and winds you past views of the Kowloon Peninsula, Victoria Harbor and the outlying islands.
Back at the Cordis at Langham Place, take the time to enjoy an amazing lunch of Cantonese cuisine at Ming Court. Many Americans have tried Cantonese cuisine, as it’s served in many US restaurants and as take-out or for delivery, but nothing compares to this experience. Ming Court has been recognized by the Hong Kong and Macau Michelin Guide for eight consecutive years. Even an appetizer of soup broth was simply the best broth I’ve ever tasted. We tried fried rice made with wagyu beef, which was amazing.
Enjoy an afternoon adventure walking around Mong Kok, stopping at the Flower Market, Ladies Market, visiting Sneaker Street, the Goldfish Market… There’s a market for everything in Hong Kong. If you don’t want to venture far, right beside the Cordis at Langham Place is the Mong Kok market, a traditional food market where locals, including local restaurants, source fresh seafood, meats, vegetables and fruits. It’s a feast for the senses.
If you can fit in dinner, travel back to Central to experience cool ChaChaWan, which has super spicy Isaan Thai food. I’d never tried this type of Thai before, but this place is on the ‘hip’ list and worth seeking out for something new.
Day 3- Foodies Tour & Lights Extravaganza
Visit one of Hong Kong’s oldest neighborhoods, Shamshuipo, for a mix of culinary and shopping adventures. We explored the neighborhood with Hong Kong Foodie, which truly leads you to destinations you may never be able to find or adventurous enough to try on your own. You’ll hit local diners, try street food and more with your guide helping you to order a variety of old school Hong Kong treats. We tried pineapple buns, milk tea, rice rolls and hot tofu dessert during our tour.
Lunch or dinner
Back on Mong Kok to dine at a Michelin Star Dim Sum Restaurant, Lei Garden, which serves up Chinese cuisine and a diverse array of seasonal dishes.
In the evening, head over to the Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront, where there are great views of Hong Kong’s skyline, and get ready for The Symphony of Lights Show. Named as the “World’s Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show” by Guinness World Records, colored lights, laser beams and searchlights light up buildings and the sky synchronized to music.
Day 4- Sai Kung Seafood & LKF Nightlife
Sai Kung is known as ‘Hong Kong’s back garden’ because of the beautiful hiking trails, award winning landscapes in the UNESCO Hong Kong GeoPark and beaches in this area. Head to the village of Sai Kung, known for its seafood restaurants, many of which are located on ‘Seafood Street’ and take a boat to the Hong Kong GeoPark.
This is a part of Hong Kong where the scenery will definitely surprise you. Over 140 million years ago, Hong Kong was an area of intense volcanic activity. A supervolcano collapsed, blasting ash and lava across the landscapes which cooled in the form the unique rock formations, similar to columnar jointing formations found at the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland or the Devil’s Tower in the USA. These formations are one reason why Hong Kong’s GeoPark is so special and studied.
Back on land, take a walk along Seafood Street and check out the colorful fishing boats in the harbor before lunch at Sing Kee Seafood Restaurant. For several years, this restaurant has received stars in the Michelin Guide. If you are someone who likes to visualize menu items, this restaurant may delight you. You can actually head around to the side, where fresh fish, lobster and beyond are live in tanks and pick your lunch.
Head to Central Hong Kong and take a walk along Hollywood Road to check out a variety of art galleries. If you can time it right, sign up on your trip to take a galllery walk with Raymond Huang, Director of Accidental Art, which provides SoHo art tours.
Hong Kong is known for its nightlife. Have a nightcap at Bao Bei which serves up retro Hong Kong themed cocktails in Lan Kwai Fong or LFK, the hub for nightlife. Clubs, jazz lounges and bars abound here and even just a walk around this area may give you a feel for Hong Kong nightlife.
Still have energy? Head to one of Hong Kong’s rooftop bars to enjoy the view.
From Seafood Room in Causeway Bay, you can sit outside to take in nighttime views over to the Kowloon Side from Hong Kong island. The drinks here are seafood themed and fun and you can choose to just have a cocktail or a meal inside.
Day 5- Cycle Hong Kong
Head out to the New Territories, which are sort of like Hong Kong’s suburbs, to take a guided cycling tour with Mountain Biking Asia. Depending on the adventure you choose, you can bike through diverse neighborhoods with cool history.
Cycle to the Kam Tin Walled City and learn about the history of one of the few walled cities left where people still actively live today. This is a tight knit community and best visited on a guided tour. Ride through the historic village of Shui Tau with its Old Schoolhouse Museum and Ancestral Halls. Make sure to snap photos at the huge old banyon tree before visiting Nam Sheng Wai – an area known for its many bird species and where Hong Kong locals like to cycle and take wedding photographs. It’s one of the few accessible large green spaces. These bike tours can include Dim Sum at a local restaurants.
Tonight’s dinner is super fun and a place that many Hong Kong locals don’t even know about. Dine at Tung Po. This restaurant is like one big dance party and the food is really good. This fresh seafood restaurant is housed in an unlikely location in North Point Hong Kong
Tung Po is a Dai Pai Dong (cooked food stall) in North Point, Hong Kong serving mainly Guangdong style food. It started out as one food stall which gradually spread taking over the entire second floor of the building. Beer is festively served in bowls and owner Robby will open each bottle using his hand and a chopstick.
Day 6- Hong Kong Nature
Today enjoy more Hong Kong adventure activities by hiking the Dragon’s Back Trail. With beautiful coastal scenery and easy accessibility from the city, the Dragon’s Back is a popular escape that deservedly gets regular mentions in travel guidebooks. A short hop from the bustle of Hong Kong East, the trail provides stunning views of Shek O, Tai Long Wan, Stanley, Tai Tam, and the South China Sea.
We walked with Walk Hong Kong and guide Jasmine Nnunns and filmed this hike on a very hot day. It was still worth it to enjoy the stunning views afforded once you reach the peak.
Day 7- The Best Dim Sum & Beaches
Today be prepared to wait a bit for your breakfast. It will all prove worth it once you bite into a BBQ pork bun made by Chef Mak at Michelin Starred Tim Ho Wan. Gaining fame as one of the world’s cheapest Michelin starred restaurants, this place is truly a locals haunt that travelers will want to seek out. It’s located in Shamshuipo, the neighborhood we recommended you explore on a tour with Hong Kong Foodie.
Make sure to order the Baked Bun with BBQ Pork, Steamed Egg Cake, fried spring rolls, shrimp dumplings and a rice dumpling wrapped in a lotus leaf.
Spend the rest of your day on a boating adventure. Board the Aqua Luna from Tsim Sha Tsui Pier and set sail upon Victoria Harbor. Sit inside, upstairs or at the bow to snap photos of the urban coastline of Hong Kong Island. We sailed to Stanley Beach, which offers windsurfing, shopping and a cool vibe with shops and eateries.
Stanley’s main beach is on the other side of the isthmus to Blake Pier, where there are shops housed in a historic building. Stroll along the promenade and perhaps grab a cool drink or snack at one of the outdoor cafes.
Relax here and ride the Aqua Luna back or venture just 20 mins away to the Repulse Bay. The mall-type atmosphere here did remind me of somewhere in California. There’s a beach where you can sunbathe or swim, which is backed by some of Hong Kong’s trendiest and most posh real estate.
If you get too hot or want to experience Repulse Bay from above, enjoy a drink at Cabana at The Rooftop or soak in a Japanese style bath on the roof.
Day 8- The Big Buddha & Tai O
Lantau Island is the largest island in Hong Kong, located at the mouth of the Pearl River. It’s also home to the Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery, destinations that are open to the public and well worth the trip.
You can hike up to The Big Buddha, but we recommend taking the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car, which leaves from Tung Chung Town Centre and takes you up to Ngong Ping on Lantau Island. The ride only lasts 25-minutes and allows for views of the Tian Tan Buddha Statue, as well as the flora and fauna of North Lantau Country Park.
When you get off the cable car, you’ll walk through Ngong Ping Village to reach the Tian Tan Buddha, the world’s tallest seated outdoor bronze Buddha.
Cast in bronze using 202 individual pieces, the Big Buddha statue is over 110 feet tall. Unlike most other great Buddha statues that face south, the Big Buddha faces North to watch over the Chinese people. Enthroned on a lotus on top of a three-platform altar, the Big Buddha’s raised right hand symbolizes the easing of suffering, with the left resting open as a gesture of generosity. To get up close, you’ll need to climb 268 stairs.
You’ll definitely see a lot of tourists making the climb up to the Big Buddha, but this is also an important site of worship for pilgrims from all over the world.
We didn’t have time to make it to the Wisdom Path, but this is another option up near the Big Buddha. An arrangement of 38 giant wood columns showcase calligraphic works by master of Chinese studies Professor Jao Tsung-I. The Wisdom Path symbolizes the profoundness and wisdom of Buddhist teaching.
You can choose to grab something quick for lunch back in the village or dine at the Po Lin Monastery, which we recommend. Everything is vegetarian and even as a meat eater, I didn’t miss the meat at all at this meal.
Afternoon in Tai O
Take the afternoon to visit Tai O, home to a community of traditional fisheren who’ve built their houses on stilts. These unusual structures are interconnected, forming a tightly knit community that literally lives on the water. Tai O’s architecture and traditions include making shrimp paste, a product for which Tai O is known throughout Asia. Tai O is a popular weekend destination for Hong Kong locals. It has been called the Venice of Hong Kong and is home one of the last remaining large communities of stilt homes in Hong Kong.
Take a boat ride to explore more of Tai O and check out the small stores selling locally made foods. Make a trip out to see or perhaps stay a night or two at the Tai O Heritage Hotel. Housed in the old Tai O Police Station, one of the earliest police stations built in the New Territories, the building has been revamped without losing its colonial charm. It’s like a little oasis from busy Hong Kong.
The hotel includes nine colonial-style rooms and suites with sea views and a roof-top restaurant serving Tai O specialties. The surrounding cannons, searchlight and guard towers have all been restored.
If you’re not dining and staying in Tai O, consider eating at the Under Bridge Spicy Crab. The restaurant uses Vietnamese crab as its main ingredients and is a big attraction for those who like crab. Our other dinner suggestion is to try Hot Pot.
Whether you choose to do one or all of these things during your stay in Hong Kong, you will eat well! Hong Kong is a foodies destination and so much more!
Look for our two Hong Kong episodes on your local PBS TV Station, including “Hong Kong Urban Adventures” on Create TV on Thursday, May. 18 at 11:00 PM ET/ 8pm PT. Get help planning your Hong Kong trip by visiting the Hong Kong Tourism Board’s DiscoverHongKong website.