How to Plan a 2-Day Tour of Hong Kong's Highlights
What do you really want to do in Hong Kong? If you are planning to be in Hong Kong for just two days choose the following to really experience some of the highlights of the area. If Hong Kong were a diamond, which facets attract your attention the most?
- Shopping? Elements Mall, IFC Mall, Temple Street
- Local sights? Symphony of Lights, Avenue of Stars
- Best cuisine? IFC Towers, ICC Tower
- History? Museum of History
- Scenery? Victoria Peak, Victoria Harbor
- Amusement Park Thrill Rides? Ocean Park
This is good balance of attractions for two days. You'll see the city from the heights, learn something about the history of the city, and have chances for fine shopping and dining along the way. The following suggested itinerary can of course be altered according to your interests with China Highlights, but is offered to give you an idea of what is possible.
From a posh mall to a street market, and from tip top heights to the sea
Morning to Noon, the ICC Tower and Elements Mall
Hong Kong from above: the ICC Tower
Find out what it’s like to be in one of the world's tallest towers. Check out the skyline at the Sky100 observation deck. Directly below it you can also see what modern Asian luxury shopping and dining is like at the Elements Mall.
Breakfast, brunch or lunch: the food choices are amazing: everything from the 101st floor Inakaya Japanese restaurant to a Pizza Hut in the mall. The Inakaya's lunchtime views are amazing for a price that is lower than you might expect. If the prices you find are too high, take your cash to eat at the next destination: the Star Ferry.
Transportation: Transportation is unusually easy: take the MTR to Kowloon Station, and you are there! The mall and tower are above it.
Midday, at the Harbor
Hong Kong at sea level: Victoria Harbor and the Star Ferry
Next, take a taxi and go to the Star Ferry in Tsim Sha Tsui. It is only about 2 kilometers away. If you want, see the Avenue of Stars during the day, have lunch, or browse the Harbour City Mall.
Take the ferry trip: Then board the Star Ferry, and for 25 US cents take a ride that was once considered one of the top travel events in the world. It actually is a scenic ride for 10 minutes, and if your kids have never been on a ship on the sea, it will probably be exciting to them.
IFC Tower and Mall: If you want to see another mega luxury mall, the IFC Mall is even better known than the Elements Mall. If not, go directly to Victoria Peak.
Lunch: The Harbor City Mall has lots of restaurants too. You can try the Dan Ryan for mid-price "American Chicago" food, or simply go to the nice, clean, big and cheap McDonalds across from the Star Ferry entrance. The McDonalds prices are the same or slightly lower than in the US.
Transport: Unfortunately, there is not direct MTR route between the ICC Mall and the Star Ferry. You could do a circuitous transfer from Kowloon Station to Tsim Sha Tsui Station, but then you'd have to walk a few minutes to the ferry. It is easiest and quickest to take a taxi (about 6 minutes). On the ground floor level of the ICC Tower, there is a nice taxi waiting lounge with couches. If you want to, you could also simply walk and see street life in the city of Hong Kong.
Afternoon, Victoria Peak
Natural high: The heights at Victoria Peak
For sightseeing in Hong Kong, Victoria Peak's view of the sea and city is quintessential. The perspectives afforded by a leisurely stroll on the paths overlooking the north and west sides of the island put Hong Kong in your heart. You'll really feel like you've seen Hong Kong on the Peak.
Refreshments: Starbucks and the restaurants in the mall area on the peak are places to take a breather.
Transport: Bus 15 from the Central Pier bus lot, or Bus 15C from Exchange Square. Or take the Victoria Peak tram. The drawback of the tram, though it is a tourist attraction, is the waiting lines. Bus 15 or 15C is faster from the Central Star Ferry terminal area. Of course taxis are fastest.
Chinese street shopping: Temple Street Night Market
Here is a place to shop for souvenirs, cheap clothes, and Chinese-made products. It is also a place to have dinner before the Symphony of Lights on Victoria Harbor at 8.
Transport: Get back down to the Central MTR Station near the IFC Towers, and then just take the MTR to Jordan Station (12 minutes by train). You could check out Kowloon Park near the station, or just walk to Temple Street.
Night lights spectacle: the Symphony of Lights
This favorite tourist attraction is an entertaining way to learn about various buildings in Hong Kong. The narration is in English on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. They call out the names of many buildings.
Dinner: There are a lot of restaurants in the area ranging from the McDonalds and up. If you want a buffet meal, then the YMCA just across from the Space Museum is an option.
Transport: You could walk back to Victoria Harbor or take the Bus 6 (recommended) on Nathan Road or take the MTR to the Tsim Sha Tsui Station. The Bus 6 will take you directly to the Star Ferry bus lot next to the Avenue of Stars (5 minutes). Try to be at the stands next to the ferry terminal around 7:30 to get a nice seat there.
Day summary: though you may be tired, it is hoped that this packed first day will give you an enjoyable time seeing the major sights and the shopping and cuisine.
Learning about the history and geography: Hong Kong Museum of History
Currently, little Hong Kong is a world financial power, a trade center, and the Gateway to China. Learn about how Hong Kong developed.
Transport: Unfortunately, it is in an out of the way place in Tsim Sha Tsui, so the best way to go is by taxi. You could also take the MTR to Jordan Station on Nathan Road and walk west on Austin Road, or take Bus 5 or 5C.
Afternoon and Evening
Thrills: Ocean Park
Ocean Park is for thrill rides and a theme park a little like Sea World in California. There are sea animals in aquariums. Depending on the day you go, it might be highly crowded though. Transport to Ocean Park: Bus 629 from Admiralty MTR (about 20 minutes bus travel).
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Questions and Answers About How to Plan a 2-Day Tour of Hong Kong's Highlights
I updated this article on April 8, 2013
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