Popular as a shopping and theme park destination, Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China) is also one of the top destinations for first time Asian travelers abroad. That’s why I and one of my best friends chose Hong Kong (and Macao) for our vacation leave. Scroll below for our Hong Kong 3 Days itinerary (plus guide and tips!).
HONG KONG 3 DAYS ITINERARY, GUIDE, AND TIPS
Hong Kong Day 1
Ngong Ping 360
How to get there: We took the shuttle bus from the airport to Tung Chung MTR station. Next to the MTR station is the Cable Car Terminal headed to Ngong Ping Village.
The cable car ride is a must, with its panoramic views. If you have the budget for it, I suggest you take the Crystal Cabin for its glass bottom floor. One way ride lasts for 25 minutes.
While there, we were able to see the Tian Tan Buddha (Big Buddha), Po Lin Monastery, and Ngong Ping Village.
Other spots to see: Tai O Village, Wisdom Path, Cheung Sha Beach (25 min bus ride from Ngong Ping)
BOOK YOUR DISCOUNTED NGONG PING 360 TICKETS HERE:
Tsim Sha Tsui: Check-in at Chungking Mansion
How to get there: From Tung Chung MTR, we took the train to Lai King then crossed to the other line to get to Tsim Sha Tsui. From the Gate E of TST MTR Station, Chungking Mansion is walking distance.
Chungking Mansion is popular for those looking for budget accommodation in Hongkong. Although we did spend less here, I do not recommend it especially for female travelers as me and my best friend did not feel safe here. Aside from the overzealous touts, we were catcalled and stalked. And once on the way down, we got on a lift with a hooker and her client. To get to our hostel, we also managed to walk through Chungking’s underbelly since the designated door that will lead to our guesthouse is closed. It was an experience that I don’t recommend especially for those with claustrophobia.
Sleazy feels aside, if you’re not a fan of queuing for the elevator, then this is definitely not your place. As for convenience, Chungking is in a very good location and offers almost everything except peace of mind.
We checked in at Australian Guesthouse and got a room with two single beds. A very small toilet/bath was included. The small room is good enough for budget travelers. Free water is provided as well as a hairdryer and safety locker.
CHECK ACCOMMODATIONS IN HONG KONG (DISCOUNTED RATES/AVAILABILITY):
SCROLL BELOW FOR RECOMMENDED HOTELS DEPENDING ON BUDGET
Clock Tower and Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade
How to get there: Walking distance from TST MTR Station and Chungking Mansion. Next to Tsim Sha Tsui Ferry Pier.
The Clock Tower is a red brick and granite monument that is an important part of Hongkong’s history as a harbor city. Overlooking Victoria Harbour and the impressive city skyline of Hongkong, the TST Promenade is where you’ll find most of the tourists especially because of the Avenue of Stars. The most popular statue is of course of Bruce Lee.
UPDATE: Avenue of Stars is closed for renovation until the end of 2018. Garden of Stars and Starry Gallery is still accessible.
UPDATE 2019: Avenue of Stars is set to open January 31, 2019, just in time for the Chinese New Year. It now has more seating, more shade, and more greenery.
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#HongKong 2/3: Avenue of Stars The avenue is one of the most popular scenic spots in Hong Kong. The walkway is along Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront and features the handprints and statues of celebrities that made HK the Hollywood of the East. In photo are the Kong Film Awards statuette and Victoria Harbour in the background. Another famous statue found in the walkway is that of Bruce Lee. Note that the Avenue of Stars is currently undergoing renovation and will open again by 2017/2018. #DiscoverHongkong
A Symphony of Lights at Victoria Harbour
At 8 PM daily is the ‘World’s Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show‘ displayed along the buildings in Victoria Harbour. The show is free to the public, but the boat rides are not.
Hong Kong Day 2
How to get here: From TST, we took the MTR to Admiralty. From Exit B, we boarded the Citybus route no. 629 to Ocean Park Hongkong. UPDATE! This route has already been canceled. You can take the MTR South Island Line and stop at Ocean Park Station.
Our main agenda at the Ocean Park was to see Jia Jia the Giant Panda of course! And to ride again in a cable car. We also got to experience some of the very exciting rides like the Hair Raiser and Raging River. It was fun to see the penguins as well. Alas, even one whole day is not enough to see and experience all of Ocean Park. Check here to see the other attractions.
Hong Kong Day 3
After a breakfast meet-up with friends I met online, we opted to check out Kowloon Park. After the very tiring day yesterday at Ocean Park, we wanted our last day in Hong Kong to be easy and chill one.
Used to be a military barracks (Whitfield), this oasis in the middle of the concrete jungle offers visitors a lot of facilities to choose from. Some of them include the Maze garden, Sculpture garden, Chinese garden, bird lake, and aviary.
Shopping in Tsim Sha Tsui
What else girls love to do while traveling? Shopping, of course! With our new found friends, we walked around TST after a heavy lunch in Delicious Kitchen.
From boutiques to malls, our inner shopaholics were squealing in delight because of the multitude of red signs bearing the word SALE. Our feet took us to Canton Road and Nathan Road.
Despite knowing from the forecast and pictures online that it’s a foggy view at The Peak, we still went ahead to go see the Peak Tram. There was a massive queue which discouraged us even more so we went back to strolling around TST. We also got to experience the Star Ferry on the way to The Peak.
Our friend who lives there took us to buy cheap souvenirs (pasalubong) at Prizemart. The prices are really cheap and affordable but just be sure to check the expiry dates. Check here for more details on Prizemart.
On our way to Din Tai Fung, we, of course, tried a bit of street food from the hawker stalls. There was a variety of siu mai, fish balls, and other dim sums for those looking for cheap eats.
After dinner and dessert, we decided to check out a night market. We weren’t much impressed or more likely we’re already tired so the night market looked to us like something we can also see in PH.
HONG KONG SAMPLE 3 DAYS ITINERARY
- 0540 AM ETD MNL – HKG
- 0740 AM ETA HKIA
- 1000 AM NGONG PING 360
BIG BUDDHA, PO LIN MONASTERY, WISDOM PATH
NGONG PING VILLAGE
- 0100 PM LUNCH
- 0300 PM CHECK IN
- 0400 PM CLOCK TOWER
- 0500 PM AVENUE OF STARS
- 0600 PM DINNER
- 0800 PM SYMPHONY OF LIGHTS
- 0800 AM BREAKFAST
- 1000 AM OCEAN PARK
- 0700 PM SYMBIO SHOW
- 0800 AM BREAKFAST
- 0900 AM KOWLOON PARK
- SHOPPING/CITY WALKING TOUR
- NIGHT MARKET
FREE TOURS IN HONG KONG
I love checking out free things to do in a city! I didn’t have the time to check these free tours but hopefully, you can, and if it’s possible, leave a feedback in the comments section below!
Here are some of the free tours in Hong Kong I found online:
WHERE ELSE TO GO IN HONG KONG
- Dr Sun Yat-Sen Museum – free admission on Wednesdays
2. Hong Kong Space Museum – free admission on Wednesdays
3. Enjoy the view of Hong Kong skyline from The Peak Galleria
Update January 2018: The Peak Galleria is undergoing a two-phase renovation. Phase one is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2018. Over 20 shops and kiosks will remain in operation during this period. (source: Hong Kong Tourism Board website)
4. Explore other parks of Hong Kong: Victoria Park, Hong Kong Park, Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens
5. Hike along Dragon’s Back or Lion Rock trail
6. Party at Lan Kwai Fong – Ladies Night on Thursdays (ladies don’t need to pay a cover charge)
7. Sai Wan Swimming Shed
8. Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery
UPDATE JANUARY 2018: Sleeping Beauty Castle is currently undergoing renovation. That’s why Fireworks is also not available. Check the CALENDAR to see what parades and show available on the day of your visit.
11. Sik Sik Yuen Temple (Wong Tai Sin Temple), Man Mo temple and other temples
13. Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark
OTHER HONG KONG SPOTS FAMOUS IN INSTAGRAM
- Choi Hung Estate – Google Maps
Famous for its rainbow-colored facade, photographers head to the basketball court on the rooftop of the car park to get the best photos.
2. Lok Wah Estate – Google Maps
The car park at the South Estate of Lok Wah has become popular because of these blue concentric circles.
3. Lai Tak Tsuen – Google Maps
The circular shape of this residential building is what made this attractive to photographers. Take photos from the inside of the building or from different floor levels.
WHERE TO STAY IN HONG KONG DEPENDING ON YOUR BUDGET
Less than 50 USD per night:
Tai Wah Guest House – besides MTR Tsim Sha Tsui
Dragon Hostel – less than 5 minutes walk from MTR Mong Kok
50 to 100 USD per night:
Urban Pack Hostel – walking distance from MTR Tsim Sha Tsui; a favorite of backpackers
Casa Hotel – less than 5 minutes walk from MTR Yau Ma Tei
100 to 200 USD per night:
Metropark Hotel Causeway Bay – near Victoria Park and MTR Tin Hau; with outdoor rooftop swimming pool with harbour view
The Perkin – modern and contemporary hotel; less than 10 minutes walk from MTR Tsim Sha Tsui
HONG KONG GUIDE AND TIPS
Airport: Hong Kong International Airport (Chek Lap Kok Airport) IATA: HKG
- October to April – mostly sunny but still with humidity; less chance of rain
- April to September – hot, humid, rainy season
- coolest temperatures are from December to February (but also the high season)
Socket used in HK: British three-pin rectangular blade plug (type G)
Tipping: Usually tip is already part of the bill in restaurants
Visa requirements: Filipinos are visa-free for up to 14 days. For the rest of the nationalities, you can check your visa requirements here.
Districts: Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, Lantau Island, New territories, outlying islands
What to bring/pack: Sunscreen, foldable waterproof poncho/jacket, lightweight and breathable clothes, comfortable footwear, travel charger/adapter
How to get around: Local transportation is very accessible and easy in Hong Kong. But the most convenient and fastest is the MTR (Mass Transit Railway). There is also an Airport Express train connecting the airport to Hong Kong Island in just 24 minutes. Taxis are color-coded depending on the geographical area. Other options are the double-decker buses and trams.
Octopus Card: Anyone who has been to Hong Kong will advise you to get an Octopus Card at the airport. You can use it not just for the MTR but can also be used in convenience stores, selected restaurants, supermarkets, vending machines, etc. We opted for the On-Loan Octopus Card, which has a refundable deposit of 50 HKD.
Where to exchange money: If you’re planning to exchange your Philippine pesos to Hong Kong dollars before you leave the country, do so in Sanry’s or Czarina’s. You can track the currency exchange using the XE Currency app. In Hong Kong, we had the experience of exchanging money in Chungking Mansions. Close to the exchange rate published in XE that day. Popular money exchange shops in Chungking include: Pacific exchange, Kin Shing Money Exchange, 7 Star, Real Forex & Remittances, and City Foreign Exchange. We exchanged US dollars to HK dollars.
Water and ice: Fresh water is scarce in Hong Kong so they rely on mainland China. Although the HK government claims that the tap water is one of the safest to drink, they still advise boiling the water before drinking to dissipate the remaining chlorine from treatment. Must be also why establishments give hot or almost boiling water if you request for “service” water or tap water. Iced drinks are also usually more expensive than hot drinks.
Bottled water is a pricey commodity so buying in convenience outlets like 7/11 is not that advisable. Better buy water in supermarkets such as Parknshop and Wellcome.
Helpful apps and websites:
Why not add another day and go on a day trip to Macao?
Have you been to Hong Kong? How was your experience?
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