Creating a 5 Day Itinerary for Hong Kong was easy as we knew that staying longer would give us the opportunity to explore Hong Kong better. Majority of Hong Kong city guides suggests the most touristic parts of the city, leaving a lot of beautiful and interesting places out.
I (Telma) was lucky to have suggestions and advices of my two good friends, Jacky and Kit. Jacky is Hong Kong Chinese, having moved to London for over 18 years ago, Kit is a “BBC”, British Born Chinese, and visits Hong Kong regularly for work. So I knew I was in good hands! Their guidance helped us a lot because Hong Kong is a very big city, and not wanting to waste any time during our nine days’ stay, we wanted to make the most of it.
If you would like to know how to get started, read our Hong Kong Travel Guide on a Budget.
English is widely spoken, but we didn’t expect everyone to speak. There were times we had to rely solely on body language, sign language, miming and pointing. And Thomas is very good at it. It actually amazes me how well he can communicate when we are surrounded by people that do not speak our language! That’s just amazing, right? Oh the perks of knowing Sign Language!
So, we had an itinerary, a map, a local SIM card and we were ready to rock and roll!
Hong Kong Itinerary
The best way to explore Hong Kong is dividing the city in four areas. This way you can focus in each area on different days, and also spend quality time roaming around, take pictures, observe, and enjoy what this fantastic city has to offer. The four areas are:
Kowloon Peninsula – Hong Kong Island – Lantau Island – New Territories
Our 5 Day Itinerary is about the best of Hong Kong by areas, how to get around and some useful tips.
What to See and Do in Hong Kong
Day 1 – Lantau Island
- Ngong Ping Cable Car
- Ngong Ping Village & Piazza
- Po Lin Monastery
- Big Buddha
- Tai O Fishing Village
Visit the temple street market in Yau Ma Tei (Temple street market – only open at night – any night)
How to get there: In order to get to Lantau Island, you need to get the train to Tung Chung. Get the cable car to Ngong Ping. Make sure you arrive early to avoid the crowd and huge queues. Once you have visited all the places mentioned above, get the bus 21 down to Tai O Fishing Village. The ticket costs HKD$6/USD$0.70/GBP£0.50 and you can use the Octopus Card. At Tai O get on those little boats for HKD$25/USD$3/GBP£2, and enjoy the scenery, the houses above water and the sunset. From Tai O, get the bus back to Tung Chung station directly and take the train to Yau Ma Tei for the temple street market. The local food includes ‘hot pot rice’, and deep fried oyster cake. Worth trying!
Day 2 – New Territories
- 10,000 Buddha’s Monastery
- Che Kung Temple
- Hong Kong Heritage Museum
- Golden Temple of Chi Lin Nunnery
How to get there: Start early in the morning. Get off at Sha Tin station and walk to Sha Tin Wai. We did this walk by mistake and got to see the locals dancing and exercise. Plus, the walk is very nice. Go up the Monastery and be prepared for 430 steps in a concrete path uphill. Come back down the hill and make your way to Che Kung Temple, the museum is very close to the Temple. Make sure you get to Diamond Hill station in plenty of time, The Nunnery closes at 4.30pm.
Day 3 – Northeast New Territories
- Tai Mei Tuk
- Sam Mun Tsai
- Sam Kung Temple
How to get there: Make sure you have the morning and afternoon free for this. Get the train early morning to Tai Po Market. When you arrive get the 20C mini-bus and your last stop should be Tai Mei Tuk. Hire a bike from the village; this should cost around HKD$70/USD$9/GBP£7 for around 3-4 hours. Cycle and enjoy the scenery, the local villages, have lunch with the locals and visit the temples. Your cycling itinerary for the day should be Tai Mei Tuk – Sam Mun Tsai – Tai Mei Tuk.
Day 4 – Hong Kong Island
- Tsim Sha Tsui
- Peak Tram
- Victoria Peak
- Mid-Levels Escalator
- Lan Kwai Fong (Soho)
- Tsim Sha Tsui – Symphony of Lights (at night)
How to get there: In the morning stop at Tsim Sha Tsui for pictures of the iconic buildings at Hong Kong Island. Here you can find Chungking Mansions, but don’t be fooled by the name. It’s just cheap accommodation, from Hostels to Guesthouses, aiming at the budget travellers. Get to Central Station and queue for the Peak Tram. Have lunch at The Peak. The scenery is amazing! Get the bus down town and experience that crazy ride going downhill. Visit the Mid-Levels Escalators. Have a coffee or tea around Lan Kwai Fong. Finish your day going back to Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront (be there by 8pm for the Laser show. Experience the nightlife at Lan Kwai Fong (next to the mid-level escalator).
Hong Kong Day Trips
From the original plan, we missed out on Sai Kung Country Park and Ping Shan Heritage Trail. These places require two full days, which we didn’t have. The jet lag was an awful experience and the first two days was really hard for us. We kept postponing a few plans for the following days and ended up not having time for everything.
- Sai Kung Country Park
- Ping Shan Heritage Trail
How to get there: The trail is right at the edge of Hong Kong with the border of China, it will take an hour and a half to get there. People usually spend 4-5 hours hiking. A bottle of water and wearing comfortable walking/hiking footwear are a must. The area is very traditional Chinese and has the “old” Hong Kong look.
Suggestions on how to plan an itinerary for Hong Kong:
- Plan extra time for the arrival and departure days, traffic to/from the airport can be an issue
- Most probably you will suffer from jet lag, so don’t be hard on yourself, take a morning/afternoon off
- Book your accommodation around Kowloon area, it’s close to everything you need and it is much cheaper than other areas in town. We always book our rooms through Airbnb. Get $25/£30 discount on your booking using our code.
Book an extra day or two and fit the above itinerary in between
- Visit Macau
- Read our Hong Kong Travel Guide on a Budget
Further reading: Lonely Planet Hong Kong (Travel Guide) is a complete and all-inclusive guide for those wanting to experience and explore Hong Kong. We strongly recommend reading this guide as it helped us planning our own trip. Happy Travels!
Have we forgotten anything? Are you planning on visiting Hong Kong?
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We are Thomas and Telma – the writers, photographers, videographers and founders of Blank Canvas Voyage.
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