You’ve got just a few hours – maybe a day – to discover Hong Kong? Here’s the page for you! “The perfect day in…Hong Kong” provides information about THE things to see and do in a day.
07:30 – 09:00
Breakfast in Hong Kong can be quite different from what we know in Central Europe – no breadrolls and jam, for example (except in the hotels, of course). But if you’re prepared to get into Hong Kong, you’ll try the local specialities. A small place, full of Chinese people. A menu with pictures that show undefined foods. Or no menu, but simply push carts where you can choose from. Just try – and with a little luck you’ll be amazed.
Like the Lin Heung Tea House in the Central District of Hong Kong Island, one of the few remaining true traditional dim sum restaurants. However, don’t expect a pleasant, calm teahouse atmosphere – the place is manic, loud, and crowded. So, go there for the experience, not the food. As it is just average…
There are several good dim sum places in particular on the Hong Kong island side, like the “Dim Sum Square” or the “Sai Yung Kee” (both modern, but authentic) in the Central District. However, the place I recommend on the Hong Kong side for Dim Sum is “Maxim’s Palace Chinese Restaurant”, medium price range, and also located in the Central district. You’ll have to travel before breakfast to Hong Kong Island, but it’s convenient for the later morning program.
If you’re staying in Tsim Sha Tsui on the Kowloon side and don’t want to travel before having had a decent breakfast, you’ll have to choose a place on the Kowloon side. Which might mean: just go with your hotel breakfast. If you’d prefer something more authentic or special, there are some good options close by, like the “Café On M” (next to the freeway, but a decent harbor view).
A place that’s mentioned a lot is the Restaurant “Tim Ho Wan” in Fuk Wing Street (on the Kowloon side) – it’s considered the “cheapest haute cuicine” restaurant in the world. In fact, in does not look particularly nice, but there’s always a crowd at the door waiting to be seated. However, the Dim Sum do get some weaker critics over the time.
The two Dim Sum places I really recommend on the Kowloon side are:
1. “DimDimSum Dim Sum Specialty Store” – that’s a small chain of excellent Dim Sum places. The “Jordan” location in 26-28 Man Wui St, Kowloon (Austin Station Exit A) is the most convenient location when staying in Tsim Sha Tsui.
2. And – if you’re willing to spent a bit more, but for great quality AND a great view, then go to “Symphony by Jade”. It’s very conveniently located (if you’re staying at the “Salisbury” YMCA at Kowloon Harbour or the famous Peninsula Hotel, see below) just across the street in the Hong Kong Cultural Center. And from there you can literally hop on the Star ferry for the next program point…
09:00 – 12:30
…which is a Visit of the Peak. The Peak is THE iconic lookout over Hong Kong/Kowloon and a must-see. You’ll get there by cable car. From Kowloon, take the Star ferry at the Star Ferry Pier next to the Hong Kong Cultural Center and move over to Hong Kong Island. You’ll drop off at the Central Ferry Pier No. 6. From there, just walk to the Garden Road Peak Tram Lower Terminus. It’s a nice walk and you’ll be able to take fantastic pictures of the skyscrapers – including short diversions e.g. to walk up to the Bank of China Tower:
Or the famous “Jardine House” (also knicknamed locally with reference to the round windows the “house of the thousand a..holes”) – the real equivalent of the “Noble House” by James Clavell.
Overall, it will take you about 30 minutes. And another quarter of an hour probably to get into the cable car – as there’s always a line…
From there, it’s the Peak Tram up to the peak station. Get off and take the “Peak Circle Walk”. The Walk on the Peak provides you with the most spectacular views of Hong Kong and Kowloon you can get.
For more details, just check out the “discoverhongkong” website – lots of nice suggestions about walks and day trips in and around Hong Kong (http://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/see-do/great-outdoors/hikes/peak-circle-walk.jsp ). Like a day tour to Lamma Island, to the big “Tian Tan Buddha” on Lantau Island, or to the famous Aberdeen harbour:
12:30 – 14:00
Walking makes you hungry, I guess. So, it’s time for a Lunch, and the easiest way is to have it in the Central district. So, get down to Central by cable car. Now, Central is an area that features hundreds or thousands of restaurants. My suggestions for breakfast are still valid also for lunch. Hong Kong is THE Dim Sum place in the world – thus, why not Dim Sum twice a day? So, head for “Dim Sum Square”, “Sai Yung Kee” or “Maxim’s Palace Chinese Restaurant” at the City Hall. If you don’t mind sitting inside and have enough of Dim Sum, there’s an excellent restaurant for Peking duck: the Peking Garden Restaurant located in the basement of the Alexandra House Shopping Mall. I’m not sure about lunch, but at dinner times they offer a nice show about preparation of Chinese noodles – quite impressive!
14:00 – 16:00
Time for some “authentic China experience” – and without a lot of walking! Because on Hong Kong island, there’s still the very traditional double-decker tramways. The trams run on a double-track line parallel to the northern coastline of Hong Kong Island, from Kennedy Town in the west to Shau Kei Wan in the east, and an “intermediate” circle around the Happy Valley Racecourse. To go the entire tramway would take you several hours. However, there is the antique-style tramcar no. 68, designated for sightseeing tours and featuring an open balcony and a historical exhibit on board. Sightseeing tram boarding and alighting take place at the termini “Western Market” and “Causeway Bay”. If you’d prefer the more authentic experience, then get on a regular tramcar (destined for Shau Kei Wan, i.e. the eastern parts) at the Western Market tram stop. From there you may hop-on and –off as you wish. Particularly nice are the Chinese quarters between Admirality and Causeway Bay.
If you’ve still got some time, then have a quick view at Upper Lascar Road in the SoHo district of Hong Kong. There’s a nice street market called “Cat Street”, including several intriguing antiques shops. The sold articles vary – from homeware, art and pottery to silk and jade items. The name “Cat Street” goes back to the 19th century. At that time, most of the goods sold here were stolen and called “rat goods”- and the people buying them were the “cats”. Finally, return to “Central”, walk over to Pier no. 6, ferry across to Tsim Sha Tsui and head for the famous Peninsula hotel, which is located just a few meters from the Kowloon Star Ferry Pier.
16:00 – 17:30
Time for a break – and the opportunity to get into the famous Peninsula Hotel. They offer the “Peninsula Classic Afternoon Tea” – an iconic experience! The Afternoon Tea is served daily in The Lobby, which is one of the most elegant meeting places in Hong Kong, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. – on a first come, first serve basis. However, we tried it several times, and never had to wait for more than a couple of minutes. It will cost you a bit – a minimum charge of $350 (roughly 40 Euro) applies to each guest nowadays. But it’s worth it, if you like to taste the exquisite atmosphere.
17:30 – 19:00
Ready for a “clash of cultures”? From the posh Peninsula we’re heading now to a street market. The best-known street market in Hong Kong is the “Temple Market”. However, it is full of tourists and thus does not provide an authentic atmosphere.
Pei Ho Street Market
So, my preference and suggestion is the “Pei Ho Street Market“ in the Sham Shui Po Quarter. From Tsim Sha Tsui, just take the Underground, the red “Tsuen Wan” line from Tsim Sha Tsui to the Sham Shui Po Station. From there, it’s only meters to the market. The Sham Shui Po Quarter is one of the poorer areas in Hong Kong, and this street market does not get onto the tourists list too often. Hawkers sell anything here, from food, clothing, trash and jewelry. The actual market stretches over two stories in a dedicated building, but there are also lots of street stalls outside as well. The food market is quite interesting, as they sell anything, even Fish that are still alive, but will be killed for customers on the spot. Nothing for sensitive minds: you’ll find heads and entrails – basically any part of any animal.
19:00 – 19:45
Have a short rest at your hotel and get ready for the evening! And make sure that you’re in time for the 20:00 event!
20:00 – 20:30
A daily ritual – and quite spectacular – is the light show at 8 p.m. – don’t miss it! It’s running for more than 15 years now, but has been improved in 2017, including a new music score by the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, and it includes 42 buildings. The ideal spot for the “Symphony of Lights” show is the boardwalk between the Kowloon Pier and Tsim Sha Tsui East Waterfront, called “Ave of the Stars”.
20:30 – 22:30
Dinner time! And earned after a hard days work. As mentioned several times before, there’s no lack of amazing restaurants in Hong Kong. But for dinner, I’ll restrict myself to a few recommendations:
My personal favorite is the Restaurant “Hutong”, located on the 28th floor of the One Peking Road building in Tsim Sha Tsui. It’s got the best harbor view and excellent food – though a bit expensive. A Hutong is an ancient (and nowadays fast disappearing) courtyard house set between narrow lanes in Peking. The “Hutong” in Hong Kong features dark wood, clear lines and space between the (few) tables, and provides a quite intimate atmosphere. Reserve early and try to get one of the window seats – the view is absolutely spectacular!
Of course, there are alternatives:
2. Peninsula Hotel:
If you don’t mind spending another fortune, you may choose the “Spring Moon” or the “Gaddi’s” at the Peninsula. The Spring Moon’s peking duck is legendary. Or the “Felix” – it’s a bar (see below) and restaurant in the upper floors of the Peninsula and thus offers great views of the Harbour and Hong Kong island.
Speaking about the Beijing signature dish: Consistently among the best “peking duck restaurants” is the “Spring Deer”, located on the first floor of a nondescript building in Mody Road, also in Tsim Sha Tsui. Another excellent address for peking duck are the “Peking Garden” restaurants – there are several in Hong Kong, and one is located next to the Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry Pier.
A bit more north, Harbour city is not the place that comes in mind when thinking about a romantic dinner – it’s a huge, semi-modern shopping mall on the west side of Tsim Sha Tsui. However, it features a restaurant that can be called “one of the city’s best kept secrets”. It became famous for great Dim Sum – if you’re up to this a third time today. And there are tables outside, if you like.
Or again up to Hong Kong Island? If you’re up to a modern experience, then you might like the “Twenty Six by Liberty”, located in the Central district. It features only 26 seats around a kitchen island – so the chef cooks in front of you. Quite expensive, and you’ll have to reserve way ahead.
22:00 – ?
Tired? Then just have a relaxing cocktail at the “Felix” Bar and Restaurant in the famous Peninsula. The bar is located on the upper floor of the Hotel and offers a great harbor view – even from the bathrooms!
And finally, some general hints for your visit to Hong Kong
Where to stay?
Hotels can be quite expensive in the area – we found that the “harbor view” rooms at the “Salisbury” YMCA at Kowloon Harbour (http://www.ymcahk.org.hk/thesalisbury/en/accommodation/harbour_view/index.html) offer the perfect view (prices 2019 are between 150 and 200 Euro per night – weekends are more expensive than weekdays) – basically the same as the famous Peninsula Hotel next door. Which will cost you minimum around 800 Euro per night for the Harbour view…of course, the Peninsula is a landmark – so, it’s up to you. Left side of the picture below: YMCA – right side: Peninsula
2. Best travel time:
End of winter to early spring is my suggestions. In February, the temperatures are usually around 20 degrees centigrade – very comfortable for walking around. In summer, it gets really hot and humid.
3. Transfer from the airport:
There’s an express line from the International Airport straight to the “Central” station on Hong Kong Island. From there you can take either the underground to Stim Sha Tsui or even walk and go by ferry. And getting around in Hong Kong is super-easy: just buy an “Octopus Card“, and you can travel wherever you like – by boat, by tram, by cable car or metro…
4. Further Reading: Lonely Planet Hong Kong City Guide
*According to a German Court decision, all texts containing links to commercial pages (e.g. links to Tripadvisor, Airline, hotel or restaurant websites) have to be identified as “commercial” (in German “Anzeige”). As my texts do contain links like that, I therefore identify each post and page containing a link as “Anzeige”. However (and referring to the “About Me” page) I would like to point out that I do NOT post any sponsored content in my texts; I pay for all my trips myself.