Make the most of 72 hours in…Hong Kong!
“Hong Kong is alluring, exotic, glamorous, and chaotic, all at the same time… a real shock to the senses… in a good way!”(Hong Kong Traveller)
About Hong Kong
Hong Kong, in South East Asia, is a vibrant city, the third largest financial centre in the world (Macrovoices,) a major port, and has a densely populated urban centre.
If you are travelling to Asia from far away, Hong Kong is a great city to make a short stop on your way to another Asian destination…
Not long ago, I went to the Philippines and stopped in Hong Kong on the way there and back. It was a great Asian city to explore; before and after going island hopping in the Philippines.
In this post, I share fun activity ideas, travel tips, bars and restaurant recommendations to help you make the most of 72 hours in Hong Kong. I also list interesting facts that I observed during my stay and learned while speaking with my French and Dutch expat friends in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Travel Tips
Getting around Hong Kong
Although taxis are metred and inexpensive, most taxi drivers in Hong Kong do not speak English. This could result in a tense situation when giving the address of your destination, even in writing. I suggest using ride-hailing apps where there is no need to communicate with the driver.
Chopstick table etiquette
In some restaurants, they give you two sets of chopsticks in different colours. One is to serve yourself from sharing plates and the other is to eat the food on your plate. It’s a good thing to know before you go out to eat.
24 minute Airport train ride to central Hong Kong with Wi-Fi
Airport Express is the most convenient and the fastest way to travel to and from the airport when in Hong Kong. It has an in-town-check-in desk which makes the trip to the airport much easier and comfortable.
A napkin/serviette situation
Some local food restaurants do not give napkins. If you are used to wiping your mouth with a napkin, like me, have a pack of tissues with you to use in these circumstances and avoid disappointment.
Hong Kong airport
The airport in Hong Kong is modern, clean, beautiful and huge! This is one place where you don’t want to be in a hurry or get lost. Take your time and make sure you know how much time you’ll need to reach your gate before you get distracted by the multiple luxury shops, duty-free, cafes and restaurants. If you have access to a VIP lounge, use the Cathay lounge. It’s big, with a large variety of western and Asian food, and offers much more than many lounges I have been to.
Things to do in Hong Kong
The best views of the Hong Kong skyline
Victoria Peak has the best views of the Hong Kong skyline. Take a stroll in nature and enjoy the beautiful views.
Take the “ding ding” tram
Take the Hong Kong Tram, go to the top deck and enjoy the views and the fun experience.
Take a stroll on Victoria Harbour
Victoria Harbour is a nice place to go for a stroll and have close-up views of HK skyline, as well as wonderful views of Kowloon skyline across the bay.
Take a scenic walk on the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade in Kowloon
Take a ferry or an underground train to Kowloon and walk on the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade to enjoy spectacular views of the skyscrapers in Hong Kong Island.
Explore Wan Chai
Wan Chai is a busy commercial area. It’s nice to explore on foot; it’s temples, markets, restaurants and fun bars. Here are some ideas of where to go.
Relax in Pak Tai Temple
Pak Tai Temple is a beautiful temple. The smell of incense, people praying, flowers, the outside and the inside are all part of a serene and beautiful experience.
Walk by the Blue House Cluster
Walk by the Blue House Cluster and observe the mixture of Chinese and Western architecture.
Experience the fresh food markets
Explore the indoor and outdoor markets near the Blue House Cluster. You will see live fish, seafood, chickens, etc. It hardly gets any fresher than this!
Stroll on a pretty Disney-like pedestrian street
Lee Tung Avenue is a colourful short pedestrian street with great shopping options, beautiful pastry shops, as well as places to sit and see the world go by.
Indulge in the best Dim Sum in town
Fook Lam Moon has the best dim sum and local specialities in a semi-formal setting.
Enjoy food and drinks in a historic building
The Pawn is a good place to go out for dinner and drinks in a modern atmosphere and historic building.
Get some Spanish tapas for a change
22 Ships is a lively Spanish tapas bar in Wan Chai. If you’ve had local cuisine and are ready for a change, this place is a great option.
Go out for sexy drinks
Ophelia is a bar that connotes ‘boudoir,’ a sexy place with low lights, exotic décor and dangerously cool cocktails.
Central is a busy sector of Hong Kong Island with skyscrapers, luxury shopping centres and hotels. Nightlife in this sector is big however, the vibe differs depending on where you go. Lan Kwai Fond aka LKF has more pubs and nightclubs, whereas SoHo has wine bars and trendy restaurants. Here are some ideas of where to go out in Central.
Impressive views from a rooftop bar
Ce La Vi is a fun and stylish bar/restaurant with a rooftop bar that has amazing views and beautiful people.
Drinks and nibbles with a view
Sevva is a nice place to go and enjoy the views, especially on a clear day.
Great Japanese food
Tokio Joe is an authentic and unpretentious Japanese restaurant, great for sushi, sashimi and other Japanese cuisine favourites.
A clandestine style British salon
Hugger Mugger is a clandestine style British salon with great cocktails and Indian food.
Go Latin dancing
Picada is a restaurant that becomes a Latin club with live music at night (check out their website for events.)
As a Latin American travelling in Asia, I was impressed with some of the locals’ dancing skills. Some were hard to compete with!
Tai Kwun is a former Police Headquarters that has been restored and is located in Central. It has history, art, interesting architecture, shops, good restaurants and bars.
Saturday afternoon is a good time to have a drink and people-watch in one of the lively bars.
Here are some ideas of where to go grab a drink and/or good food in Tai Kwun.
Bar with a cosy and mysterious décor
Dragonfly is a cool place to have drinks and enjoy the cosy yet mysterious décor.
Casual drinks in a lively place
Aaharn is a great place to have drinks on a Saturday afternoon if you are looking for a lively place full of expats.
Amazing cuisine & fabulous atmosphere
Madame Fu has many rooms with a
Explore Sheung Wan
Sheung Wan is a lively area in Hong Kong located west of Central and known for its down-to-earth vibe. In this area, you will find cool shops, markets, bars and amazing street art.
Souvenir shopping and people-watch
Upper Lascar Row is a nice pedestrian street with cool local handicraft shops and a few cafes and restaurants where you can sit and people-watch.
Shopping on a busy road
Hollywood Road is a busy road with lots of shops, cafes, restaurants. Walk on the side streets and explore this cool part of Hong Kong.
My takeaway from Hong Kong
During my stay in Hong Kong, I spent some time with Dutch and French friends who are expats there. We had interesting conversations about life as an expat, cultural differences, and more. Here are some interesting facts that I learned.
Life as an expat (expatriate)
Hong Kong has a large expatriate community which makes it exciting and multicultural. It’s a great city for young professionals to move to and develop their careers, as well as their international social life. An expat friend described life in Hong Kong as, ‘University days fun but with money.’
Hong Kong also provides comfort, good international schools, members clubs options and a lifestyle that makes it easier to adapt than other neighbouring cities.
A mini Manhattan
The commercial and financial areas of Hong Kong Island remind me of Manhattan, with skyscrapers, busy shopping centres, street food and many people.
A network of footbridges
Hong Kong has a network of footbridges and shopping centres that connect the city and allows Hongkongers and tourists to walk without stepping foot outside. This is convenient in hot, humid, and rainy days.
Nature easily accessible
There are beaches, fishermen towns and hiking trails nearby.
People who live in Hong Kong, often travel to other Asian destinations for the weekend. Flying to nearby cities or islands is cheap and easy; as it is to travel within continental Europe by train.
Local cuisine vs international
Going out for local cuisine is cheaper than going out for international cuisine.
Affordable domestic help
Hiring domestic help (drivers, cooks, cleaners, nannies, etc.) is affordable, unlike in other developed countries.
Mandarin being taught in schools
Even though the official language in Hong Kong is Cantonese, a majority of primary schools teach Mandarin in order to give children an
Uber in Hong Kong
For some reason, many Uber cars in Hong Kong drive Tesla. This fact makes the experience silent and comfortable.
Aim to develop a cultural scene
Hong Kong is a destination for leisure and shopping more than for culture. The Government is investing in cultural attractions in order to change this reputation.
Enjoy your stay in Hong Kong!
You might be interested to read more travel tips from around the world.