Thirty-six hours is rarely enough time in a city, but sometimes one need a mini getaway, or a stopover to break-up in an insane flying schedule. A gateway city to many destinations in Asia, Hong Kong is a relatively easy destination: English is prevalent throughout the city, the transit system is vast and easy to use, and there is a large expat community — at times making it feel like you’re in a western country.
A mini getaway to Hong Kong is not complete unless you’ve indulged in dim sum, explored interesting street food, treated yourself to some shopping, and walked the sights, and danced the night away. Let 36 Hours in Hong Kong begin!
Getting into Hong Kong
Taking a taxi from the airport to your hotel can be costly, especially if there happens to be a lot of traffic; instead of wasting time and money in a taxi, opt for the Airport Express train, then switch to the MRT and ride it to the station closest to your hotel. A round-trip from Hong Kong Station to Airport Station is $200 HKD (Hong Kong Dollars).
Kick off your time in Hong Kong by taking a walking tour of the city; while there are several companies offering group tours, sometimes taking a private tour of a new city can offer unique insights, and a chance to go-with-the-flow. Little Adventures in Hong Kong is one of the more well-known private tour options; offering tours of Hong Kong neighbourhoods, as well as in-depth food tours. Experience Hong Kong through the eyes of travel journalists who call Hong Kong home.
Hong Kong comes to life at night, with bright lights and plenty to see and do — the first of which should be one of the city’s best night markets, Temple Street Night Market. Stretched from Man Ming Lane to Nanking Street, Temple Street Night Market is an essential Hong Kong experience. Spend the night among fortune-tellers, and Cantonese opera performers; shop for things like cheap threads (clothing), pirated CD’s, knick-knacks, and more! And when you’re hungry, venture over to Woo Sung Street for some yummy street eats.
It’s chaotic and a sensory overload — the best introduction to Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is crawling with hotels, but one of my favourites is J Plus Hotel by YOO in Causeway Bay. Located on a quiet street, this delightful boutique hotel is small and features quirky decor: the lobby features black walls with golden metal chainlink hanging from the windows and a mixture of modern and vintage furniture, rooms are white with bright accent colours like royal blue, hot pink, and clementine orange.
Hotel amenities are what sets it apart from most, featuring the following free features: wi-fi, continental breakfast, 24-hour coffee and juice, evening wine, afternoon cake, DVD library, self-laundry, fitness room, and local calls!
After indulging in the hotel’s continental breakfast, walk outside and hop onto bus #26 (the stop is in front of the hotel) to Man Mo Temple — riding inside a skinny double-decker bus in Hong Kong feels as though you’re in a Harry Potter movie. Mornings at Man Mo Temple are less crowded, giving you more opportunities to take photos of the giant coil cones hanging from the ceiling — an iconic Hong Kong photograph! Tip: never take photos of worshippers, it’s disrespectful and against the rules at the temple.
Once you’re finished at Man Mo Temple, it’s time to make your way to Victoria Peak, another iconic Hong Kong photography spot. Take the tram to the peak ($42 HKD round trip), and take in the views of the city. And if you have time, explore one of the nature hikes.
Start your afternoon off with lunch at the fabulous Aberdeen Street Social on Hollywood Rd (inside PMQ); a restaurant serving delicious modern English cuisine — a nice break from street food, dim sum, and noodles. After your tastebuds have been sated, take a short walk to SoHo — which is one block up, on Staunton and Aberdeen Streets.
Wander the skinny and historic streets of SoHo, one of the more chic neighbourhoods in Hong Kong. This afternoon take the time to wander into boutiques for a little shopping and enjoy coffee at one of the swanky-looking cafés.
A short walk from SoHo, Lan Kwai Fong is one of the hottest areas in Hong Kong in terms of nightlife. Spend the night in sophisticated wine bars, sample gourmet foods, drink creative cocktails and make a few friends along the way. A night in Lan Kwai Fong is not one you’ll easily forget, the perfect way to end your day of chic indulgence.
Foods to Try
Hong Kong’s food scene is extensive — especially their street food — so here are a few foods to try while you’re exploring the city:
- Dim sum
- Macanese pork chop buns
- Egg waffles (if they offer chocolate drizzle, do it!)
- Curry fish balls
- Egg tarts
- Stinky tofu