So you’re looking into visiting Asia and you want to add 2 days in Hong Kong to your longer journey? Or you’re just passing by and have a longer layover and decided to give Hong Kong a try? But let’s be honest, are 2 days in Hong Kong enough? And the answer to that question is barely.
Even though you will only scratch the surface of this bustling town, you’ll better start early and include as much as you can. And let Hong Kong seduce you with its mix of old and new, concrete skylines and lush nature, delicious food and bubbly drinks.
What to do in Hong Kong in 2 days
With the right Hong Kong trip planning, you’ll be able to see many of the city’s main attractions. Thus, here is a great overview of your perfect 2 days in Hong Kong itinerary:
- Day 1 – Explore Hong Kong Island and some of the most iconic landmarks
- Day 2 – Go for some local traditions in Kowloon and a nature escape on Lantau Island
- Tips for planning a 2-day Hong Kong itinerary
What to see in 2 days in Hong Kong
Day 1 – Hong Kong Island
Take the MTR or the iconic Hong Kong double-decker tram all the way to Quarry Bay and step into a traditional honkongeze area.
The Monster Mansion (Yik Cheong Building) is a popular destination mostly for instagrammers, but also for fans of some of Hollywood’s blockbusters like “Transformers”. While this place would be found on any list of the most Instagrammable places in Hong Kong, I strongly advise showing respect to the people living here.
Once you have your perfect pictures, stop for a coffee at the %Arabica shop – you’ll need all that caffeine! And on top of that, this is one of the best coffee shops in Hong Kong.
Get lost in the streets of Wan Chai
Head back towards the city center and stop in the Wan Chai district.
These streets are such a great combination of local and international – from the wet markets you’ll pass through bustling with people going on about their day, to the sky scrapers and westerner restaurants, and the many colorful street art you’ll encounter along the way.
Learn about some of the local products just by walking around the stalls in the market, stop by the Blue House Cluster and admire the mix of Chinese and Westerner architecture, take the glass elevator in Hopewell Center up to the 56th floor with its stunning views over the city.
Don’t leave without taking lots of pictures of the murals you’ll see everywhere around the area of Wan Chai.
Visit Tamar Park and Victoria Harbor
The Central and Western District Promenade bustles breathtaking views of the city, and you’ll want to take a walk in Tamar Park from Admiralty towards Central.
The Central district behind you with all the iconic skyscrapers and Kowloon in front of your eyes offer such a great place for a walk.
Climb the stairs at Café 8 by the Central pier for a better view, or go on a ride on the Hong Kong Observation Wheel. Stop by at the Hong Kong Maritime Museum, and learn about the China trade, the creation of Victoria Harbor, and so much more.
Wander around Central and Hollywood Road
The Central area never sleeps and it’s always packed with people going about their business.
Climb Pottinger Street and explore the Old Police Station where there are always various exhibitions and events.
Walk on Hollywood Road and take the Mid-level Escalators – the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world. Stop for some more Instagram worthy pictures on Peel Street, Staunton Street, and many more streets in the surrounding area.
Emerge into the creative heart of Hong Kong at PMQ and visit some of the studios where local artists, designers, and craftsman sell their products.
Your last stop in the area should be Man Mo Temple with its traditional interior and dozens of spiral incents. The temple is a tribute to the God of Literature and the God of War, and dates from the 1800s being the largest temple in Hong Kong.
Your first day in Hong Kong shouldn’t end without a visit to the most iconic viewpoint in town: the Peak.
Ride the Peak Tram and you’ll be there in less than 10 minutes, with a visual experience along the way. The highest point of Hong Kong island will reward you with spectacular views, especially for sunset.
Go for a walk on Lugard Road where you will encounter countless lookout points from where you’ll get to see the city metamorphose from day to nigh. Or if you don’t feel like walking, simply climb the Sky Terrace 428 which offers a 360 degree view of Hong Kong.
Have a drink at a rooftop bar
What’s a great day without drinks at one of the many stunning rooftop bars in Hong Kong? You definitely wouldn’t want to miss such an experience, because you’ll feel out of this world.
Try Wooloomooloo or Alto in Wan Chai, or Sugar in Quarry Bay for a whole different view of the town.
Day 2 – Lantau Island and Kowloon
Lantau Island is perfect when you only have 2 days in Hong Kong because it is reachable by MTR and you will step directly into the cable car.
Take the Ngong Ping 360 cable car all the way to the Ngong Ping Village. From there, walk to the Big Buddha, visit the Po Lin Monastery, and if you decide to allocate a little bit of more time to the area, walk the Wisdom Path.
Nan Lian Garden and Chi Lin Nunnery
Start your exploration of the Kowloon area with this tranquil oasis in the middle of sky-high apartment buildings. Experience a tea ceremony at the tea shop in Nan Lian Garden, and admire the wooden architecture and the bonsai garden at the Chi Lin Nunnery.
Snap a picture at Chi Hung Estate
Another popular Instagram spot in Hong Kong, you won’t want to miss taking a picture with the Choi Hung basketball court.
Literally translated as “rainbow” the Choi Hung MTR station is another colorful spot any photography lover will find appealing, and one of the reasons to visit Hong Kong.
Visit Temple Street Night Market
Make your way to the Temple Street Night Market and bargain for some local souvenirs: from teaware to jade or antiques, you’ll find everything you want here.
For the bravest looking for an authentic experience, here is where you’ll also have the chance to try local street food from one of the many food stalls at the Night Market. Noodles, seafood, clay pot rice, and so much more will be waiting for you to give it a try.
The Avenue of Stars
On the Kowloon side of Victoria Harbor you’ll find one of the top attractions of Hong Kong: The Avenue of Stars.
A walk on the promenade will offer one of the best outlooks of Hong Kong after sunset. Every day from 8 PM for around 10 minutes you can participate in the light and music show known as “A Symphony of Lights”.
If you are still wondering what to do in Hong Kong in two days, cross over to Hong Kong Island on the Star Ferry – the cheapest way to cross the harbour while admiring both sides of Hong Kong all lit up. You can also book a Star Ferry tour to relax and enjoy the view.
Planning a 2-day Hong Kong itinerary
Finding a great hotel
As you might expect from such a multifaceted town, Hong Kong will offer a vast array of great hotels to choose from.
However, here are some facts you’ll want to take into consideration when looking for a place to stay in Hong Kong for 2 days and you’ll have to choose between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon:
Hong Kong Island
- Impressive skyline
- Plenty of cool shopping malls and a mix of local and Westerner restaurants
- Hotels with great views
- Getting around by tram, MTR, buses
- More expensive
- A more traditional local vibe
- Great for those looking for markets and street food
- Less expensive options
- Older buildings, but still plenty of cool hotels
Getting to the city from the airport
With an impressive public transportation system in place, getting from the airport to your hotel couldn’t be easier despite the 40 km distance between the two.
Fastest: the Airport Express Train
Linked directly to the MTR system both in Kowloon and in Central, you’ll find the Airport Express Train directly inside Hong Kong Airport as soon as you exit on the Arrivals gate.
A train ride to Kowloon Station takes 22 minute, while if you want to get off in Central you’ll ride for another 2 minutes.
Cost: To Kowloon station HK$90 ($11.6); to Hong Kong station HK$100 ($13)
The most comfortable: by taxi
As you exit Hong Kong airport, on the left hand side you’ll find the taxi aisle. Somebody will guide you along one of the 3 lines each designed for their operating area: Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and New Territories, or Lantau Island.
You’ll notice the taxies have different colors depending on their destination: red for Hong Kong Island, Green for New Territories, and Blue for Lantau Island.
Cost: depends a lot on where you want to get to, but a ride to Central would cost around HK$300 (38 USD)
The cheapest: by bus
By far the cheapest option to get to town, but yet the slowest one, offering many destination options.
A bus ride to Central will last around 60 minutes and you can purchase the ticket at the airport bus terminus.
Cost: from HK$27 ($3.5) to HK$42 ($5.4) depending on the route
Getting around by public transportation
Because of the great transportation system, you won’t have to worry about getting around Hong Kong on your short exploration of the town.
The MTR system is very well connected, with trains passing by in short periods of time. You’ll travel from one place to the other not only fast but also in cool conditions – important particularly if you choose to visit from May to September.
On the other hand, if you want to see the town during your commute, you’ll have plenty of buses and light buses to choose from. And let’s not forget about the Hong Kong tram linking the North-Western part to the North-Eastern part of the Island.
Buy an Octopus Card from any 7 Eleven or K Circle supermarket, add money to it, and use it whenever you travel by public transportation.
Know where to eat
With such a vibrant and multicultural scene, the Hong Kong cuisine won’t disappoint at all.
Don’t leave without trying some local Cantonese cuisine at one of the traditional “cha chaang teng” = tea house restaurant. You’ll get free tea with every meal, and you’ll have to choose between many types of noodles, beef brisket so soft it melts in your mouth, various vegetables, fried rice, and much more.
Try also one of the best won ton places in town, Mak’s noodle, or one of the many delicious ramen places – Ramen Cubism in Central, Ichiran in Causeway Bay, Butao Ramen in Central only to name a few.
Don’t panic if you’re into something more westerner – there are plenty of options to choose from, especially in the Central area.
Author Bio: Ingrid is a travel blogger and book lover on the constant search of places and experiences that bring joy to life. She is originally from Romania, currently living the expat life in Hong Kong, with Italy in her heart. You can follow her stories on IngridZenMoments.
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