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48 hours in Hong Kong - see the lights and the sights of the pearl of the orient in a weekend

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The tiny twisting alleys and towering skyscrapers of Hong Kong make it a fascinating place to explore on foot, but can make it confusing too, so a good plan is essential. Follow this itinerary to see the highlights of Hong Kong and its surrounding areas in a weekend.

Friday

5 p.m. – Hong Kong International Airport is regularly voted the best in the world, and the transport links to get you into the city are excellent. The Airport Express is the fastest and most comfortable way to get into town whether you’re heading to Kowloon or the Hong Kong Island itself. If you want to save some money, catch the S1 bus from the airport to Tung Chung mass transit railway (MTR) station and get into town that way.

 

There are also plenty of taxis available at the airport. A ride to Hong Kong central will cost around HK $300 ($40 USD).

6 p.m. – Once you’ve checked in, head to Kowloon for a taste of colonial Hong Kong at the Peninsula Hotel. Enjoy afternoon tea in the lobby and explore the gorgeous building, imagining you’re Sean Connery in The Man With The Golden Gun, then cross Salisbury road and visit the Hong Kong Museum of Art. Here you’ll find all manner of Chinese art and sculpture, as well as temporary collections featuring foreign artists.

 

8 p.m. – Make sure you’ve reached West Kowloon Waterfront Promenade by 8 p.m. to see a light and laser show illuminate the buildings across Victoria Bay on Hong Kong Island. Afterwards take the MTR a couple of stops deeper into Kowloon to Tim Ho Wan, a Michelin starred restaurant hidden deep in the peninsula. They specialize in Dim Sum – the rich and salty BBQ pork buns are a memorable highlight.

 

Saturday

9 a.m. – Start Saturday bright and early and head to the Peak Tram stop. The funicular train runs 1.4km up the side of the peak that towers over Hong Kong. At the top you’ll find yourself deposited in a mall rather than the peak itself, but persevere up the escalators till you reach the top for fabulous views over the island and Kowloon.

 

1 p.m. – When you’ve seen enough, take the tram back to the city and check out Hong Kong Park, which is just across the road from the tram terminus. The park is a nice break from the hectic business of the rest of the city, so enjoy your time in the greenery. Wander to the east end of the park and check out Flagstaff House – the oldest colonial building left in Hong Kong.

 

5 p.m. – For a taste of the spiritual side of Hong Kong, make the short walk west to the Man Mo Temple. The calm in the temple is amazing after the noise and bustle of the busy streets outside.

 

6 p.m. – Wander down the block to Aberdeen Street to get a taste of cutting edge modern Chinese food at Ho Lee Fook. The braised pork belly served with a bright sash of chili sauce is delicious and they do fantastic cocktails.

 

9 p.m. – After dinner, make your way down the road to the Lan Kwai Fong area, which is packed full of little bars and clubs, including the large and lively Beijing Club. If you prefer live music to DJs, The Wanch bar is the ideal place to see all manner of bands and styles, from jazz and blues to heavy metal.

 

Sunday

9 a.m. – Fuel yourself up for the day with breakfast at Nosh Tai Pin Shan, which not only has the best coffee in Hong Kong, but also serves a variety of hearty cooked breakfasts. Try the light and airy scrambled eggs with served smoked salmon and dill.

 

11 a.m. – PMQ, a gallery in the old Police Married Quarters, now full of art by the youngest, hippest designers and artists in Hong Kong. If you like what you see, the chic Cat Street Galleries are also nearby, with pieces from all over the world.

 

1 p.m. – Drop in for a quick bowl of noodles at Tsim Chai Kee. The King Prawn Wonton Noodle is the way to go: the prawn filled dumplings, soaked in a savory broth, explode with ginger and soy flavors.

 

3 p.m. – Next head over to the Central Ferry Port and take the Star Ferry across to Kowloon. The trip across the harbour gives you great views of both parts of the city from sea level. When you’re on the far side, head up the east side of the peninsula to the Hong Kong Museum of History. Here you will get a fantastic insight into the history of Hong Kong from prehistory to the present day. There are plenty of interactive exhibits and a recreated colonial-era street.

 

5 p.m. – End your time in Hong Kong in style with a visit to the Sky100 building. The observation deck there has 360 degree views over the peninsula and Hong Kong Island.

 

If you have more time…

One of the finest sights in Hong Kong is the Po Lin Monastery - complete with gigantic Buddha statue - on nearby Lantau Island, near the airport. You can get the MTR to Tung Chung and then either get a cable car or bus up to the monastery.

 

If you’re looking for a high-budget dining option in Hong Kong, try the recently opened Aberdeen Street Social in the PMQ. It serves British and Chinese cuisine, and you certainly won’t find pig trotter served in a classier setting.

 

Kowloon is famous for its tailors, who can measure you up and have your suit ready later that day.The Temple Street Night Market is a great experience too, running from early evening till midnight each day. Even if you don’t want to buy anything, the assorted street entertainers and the general buzz of the place is worth the trip.

 

For anyone who wants to travel a little further, the famous Kowloon Walled City has been made into apark, which is a nice place to explore, and still has hints of its notorious past.

 

The visitor who wants to travel further still can check out Disneyland Hong Kong, or the former Portuguese colony of Macau, now famous for its casinos, which is just an hour away by TurboJet ferry. You can even take the MTR forty minutes to Shenzen in China proper – just make sure you’ve got your visa in order before you go.

 

Location/contact details:

Day one

The Peninsula Hong Kong

Salisbury Road, Hong Kong

www.peninsula.com

2920 2888

 

Hong Kong Museum of Art

10 Salisbury Road, Hong Kong

hk.art.museum

2721 0116

 

West Kowloon Waterfront Promenade

Austin Road West, Hong Kong

2302 1279

 

Tim Ho Wan

Shop 8, 2-20 Kwong Wa Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon

 

Day two

The Peak Tram

33 Garden Road, Hong Kong

www.thepeak.com.hk

2522 0922

 

Hong Kong Park

19 Cotton Tree Drive, Hong Kong

2521 5041

 

Flagstaff House Museum Of Tea Ware

10 Cotton Tree Drive, Hong Kong

hk.art.museum

2869 0690

 

Man Mo Temple

126 Hollywood Rd, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

2540 0350

 

Ho Lee Fook

1 Elgin Street, Central, Hong Kong

holeefookhk.tumblr.com

2810 0860

 

Beijing Club

2-8 Wellington Street, Hong Kong

www.beijingclub.com.hk

2810 9983

 

The Wanch

54 Jaffe Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong

www.thewanch.hk

2861 1621

 

Day three

Nosh Tai Pin Shan

11 Upper Station Street, Hong Kong

www.nosh.com.hk

2559 8508

 

PMQ

35 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong

www.pmq.org.hk

 

The Cat Street Gallery

222 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

www.thecatstreetgallery.com

2291 0006

 

Tsim Chai Kee

98 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong

2850 6471

 

Star Ferry Pier

Star Ferry Pier, Man Kwong St, Central, Hong Kong

 

Hong Kong Museum of History

100 Chatham Rd S, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon, Hong Kong

 

sky100 Hong Kong Observation Deck

International Commerce Centre (ICC), 1 Austin Road West, Hong Kong

www.sky100.com.hk

2613 3888

 

Other trips

Po Lin Monastery

Lantau Island, Hong Kong

2985 5248

 

Aberdeen Street Social

35 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong

www.aberdeenstreetsocial.hk

2866 0300

 

Kowloon Walled City Park

Kowloon City, Hong Kong

www.amo.gov.hk

2716 9962

 

Hong Kong Disneyland

Lantau Island, Hong Kong

www.hongkongdisneyland.com

3550 3388