by Alexandra Hobson
Photography by Michaela Johnston
Hong Kong: a bustling city known as Asia’s finance center, for its fast paced lifestyle and for the immense culture the city holds. As in most cities, 24 hours certainly isn’t enough, but it will be enough to leave you wanting more from this incredible Asian hub.
24 hours in Hong Kong will be like the city itself—fast paced and packed with no time to lose. Start your day by taking the Peak Tram up to Victoria Peak, which is Hong Kong’s iconic hilltop that overlooks the entire city. If you’re feeling active, you could even climb atop High West, the point just above the Peak and follow the trail for a hike. Hong Kong is known for great hiking trails due to its naturally mountainous landscape. Once you reach the Peak, head to the Peak lookout. It’s an oasis where you can look down on the entire city, and across Victoria Harbor onto Kowloon (the other side of Hong Kong Island). After a few great photo opportunities at this fantastic spot, head to the Peak Café for a delicious brunch. Try out their signature mimosas available in many different flavors including peach, berry and apple.
After brunch, head down into Central, which is Hong Kong’s main financial district. From here, at the iconic Star Ferry pier take the Star Ferry across the harbor to Kowloon side. The Ferry ride will blow you away; it has been in operation since 1888 and shows Hong Kong’s beautiful skyline against the mountain range as you sail from one end of the harbor to the other. Once you disembark from the Star Ferry, walk towards the avenue of stars—Hong Kong’s very own Hollywood Boulevard, featuring statues and autographs of actors such as Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee. Along here, you can get a different view than the one you may have experienced at the peak—a view of Victoria Peak itself and Hong Kong Island across the harbor.
After this, take the MTR (Hong Kong’s subway system, which is probably the most reliable in the world) to Tung Chung Station, and visit the Big Buddha. The Big Buddha, formally known as the Tian Tan Buddha, sits atop the Po Lin Monastery, and is one of Hong Kong’s most historic structures. You even can climb 268 steps to get to the top of this Buddha. Following the Big Buddha, head back on the MTR to Mong Kok Station, and head to the iconic Peninsula Hotel for a delicious spot of afternoon tea in the Tea Room. As one of the oldest tearooms in Hong Kong, it has been the location for scenes in many films.
Following tea, walk to the Ladies Market in Mong Kok. The Ladies Market is a row of many different market vendors selling things from various authentic Chinese souvenirs to fake bags and clothing. The atmosphere is one not to be missed—and if you have the opportunity, try to haggle and negotiate prices with the street vendors; definitely a fun experience to say the least!
For dinner, why not have an authentic meal? Head to Yung Kee, one of Hong Kong’s most famous restaurants for a “proper” Chinese meal, including roast goose. Be sure not to miss the Barbeque Pork rice, known as ‘Char Siu Fan’—a true favorite amongst the locals. Yung Kee is right in the centre of Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong’s main clubbing and bar district. Following dinner, take a visit to MO Bar in the Mandarin Oriental Landmark just down the road for some swanky drinks. There is usually a live Jazz Band every Thursday, Friday and Saturday that sets a mood for a great night ahead. Following drinks, Hong Kong’s nightlife is definitely something you need to check out before your 24 hours comes to a close.
Head back to Lan Kwai Fong and go barhopping—don't miss out on the Jell-O shots at Stormies, one of the original bars in the area. If you feel like dancing, fear not—Hong Kong nightlife keeps on going until the early hours of the morning. Then, go to Dragon-i in Lan Kwai Fong to dance the night away—this club is the most famous club in the area and usually hosts big DJ names, but any night out at Dragon-i is a good night. The club doesn’t close until 7 a.m., and at around 5:30 a.m., they start serving pancakes and waffles at a station in the back of the club—a perfect way to end the night.
When your 24 hours in Hong Kong are over, there will be a force that definitely will not want you to leave—but that means you’ll have to come back and explore another time, right?