Whether you are travelling towards the chaos of Southeast Asia, or are bound to orderly Japan, The Pearl of The Orient is a must-see stop on your way, or definitely a central layover at least. Here are our tips for spending 48 unforgettable hours in Hong Kong.
Tian Tan Buddha. Hong Kong is spread out over several islands. One of them is Lantau, which is the home of the famous Tian Tan Buddha. Despite not being particularly old, this 34-m bronze giant also owes its fame to the scenic cable car ride over tropical forest that you need to take to get there. You will have to walk up 268 steps to get to the Buddha after that ride, but they will just feel like a pleasant walk. The airport and the first Chinese Disneyland theme park are also on Lantau.
Duddell’s. You can reach the center of Hong Kong island, Central district to be precise, very quickly by metro or taxi. Duddell’s is the perfect spot for a brunch, featuring sophisticated, starred Cantonese cuisine. Duddell’s is housed in a unique location that also hosts an art gallery, and a members-only club.
Landmark Mall. You can access one of the most famous shopping attractions of the island just on the other side of the road. The Landmark, which houses all of the West’s most prestigious fashion names, is spread around multiple different buildings, you can walk from one to the other by glass skywalks that offer views of the city, and of the congested road network. Don’t miss the great shoe selection at Harvey Nichols, on the first floor of this shopping wonderland.
Kowloon. Right in front of Hong Kong island is Kowloon peninsula, where you can find the contemporary art museum and the Peninsula, the oldest hotel in town. Don’t miss Fa Yuen Street, also known as sneaker street because of the high concentration of shops selling these shoes, and the crowded, thick maze of alleys around it.
Aqua restaurant. Stick to this side of town to enjoy the best views of the bay, and of the island’s skyline. This Japanese restaurant on the 29th floor of shopping Arcade is by no means cheap, but it is definitely superb. The tasty food and its beautiful presentation will make the investment worthwhile.
Lan Kwai Fong. Go on to join the hustle and bustle around this district’s alleyways. Lan Kwai Fong is famous for its art galleries in the daytime, as well as for its vivid nightlife, which makes it a favorite of Western expats in the city.
Victoria Peak. The city’s most distinctive characteristic is its perfect blend of urbanism and green space. This is very far from the symmetry of Central Park or Hyde Park. The greenery here is wild, and it blends with the concrete jungle of skyscrapers and neon signs. The best way to take in this view is Victoria Peak. You can get there with a funicular that sometimes rides up a slope whose inclination can go up to 27 degrees, in some spots.
Din Tai Fung. This Taiwanese dim sum restaurant chain has several outlets all over town, as well as elsewhere in all of East and Southeast Asia. We recommend the branch in Causeway Bay. Don’t miss chicken dumplings and fried rice with shrimp!
IT Hong Kong and TIme Square. Not too far from Causeway Bay is Time Square, with its neon lights and giant displays, which show all sorts of TV ads and commercials 24 hours a day, day and night. Lose your way in the maze of alleys packed with tourists and local people, boutiques, souvenir and local product stores. Don’t forget to stop by IT — a famous multibrand store where you can find both western and Asian streetwear — before you leave the area.
Mott 32. For dinner, make your way back to Central and do not absolutely miss this dim sum restaurant that celebrates Hong Kong’s culinary tradition, with a modern twist. Our favourite dishes are Peking Duck and noodles.
California Tower and Ce La Vie. If, on the other hand, you feel undecided on what cuisine you feel like, our recommendation is to go back to Lan Kwai Fong, and head to California Tower. You will find several different restaurants here, spread out on different floors, with cuisines that range from Italian to Japanese, all the way to Chinese. We recommend Ce La Vie for a drink — a fine Japanese restaurant on the 25th floor that also has a terrace bar with a view on the city.