For years, Filipinos and so with other travelers have flocked to Hong Kong due to its proximity, visa-free entry, and of course Hong Kong Disneyland which is indeed one of the happiest places in Asia (at least). A small State as it may seem, Hong Kong is packed with rich Asian culture with a bit of British influence. And it also offers remarkable and one of a kind experience aside from meeting Mickey Mouse in person.
We stayed in Hong Kong for 4 days and every day we spent there is so worth it. The trip was a healthy mix of both modern city-living and old cultural traditions.
Best months to visit Hong Kong
Best to visit Hong Kong from October to January. Said months are sunny but a lot cooler as compared to during Summer season which starts from late March and could last until July or August.
Spending summer in Hong Kong is still enjoyable, but be prepared to experience hot temperature all-day. Wear comfortable outfits and bring a sunblock, too!
From and to the Hong Kong International Airport
You can take the Airport Express to Hong Kong’s Central District in just 24 minutes. Ticket price varies depending on your destination which could range from HK$3 to HK$57.5 for children and HK$6 to HK$115 for adults not using Octopus Card.
For Octopus Card holders, the ticket price starts from HK$2.7 to HK$55 for children and HK$5.5 to HK$110 for adults.
Busses are also available and the ticket prices start from HK$3.5 to HK$52 depending on your destination. For complete price and timetable information, check out this link.
Roaming around Hong Kong is very convenient. The State has a Mass Rail Transit (MTR) that could easily bring you from one point to another, even to the most remote parts like Lantau Island where the airport is located. See their Rail Map below:
You could also get an Octopus Card which is a stored value railcard that comes with perks like fare discounts and promos from different establishments in Hong Kong. It is available at the airport or in convenience stores like 7-eleven and Circle K. If you think you don’t need an Octopus Card, you can simply buy a single-journey ticket for every ride.
If you’re traveling with kids, elderly, or with lots of bags, it may be more practical and convenient to take a taxi. There are three types of taxis depending on your destination. Below is the guide chart:
Top Activities in Hong Kong
Here are just some of the things you can do while in Hong Kong:
1. Hong Kong Disneyland
We’d be lying if we tell you that we didn’t enjoy Hong Kong Disneyland. Every square meter in Hongkong Disneyland is nothing but fun and wonder. There’s nothing more nostalgic than seeing your childhood icons in action. From The Lion King to the Disney Princesses, and of course Mickey Mouse himself! Youngsters and young-at-hearts will definitely enjoy a day in the happiest place in Hong Kong.
Access & Fees: Lantau Island, Hong Kong | Approximately HK$600
Update as of January 2018 : Hong Kong Disneyland is undergoing expansion and renovation. The Sleeping Beauty Castle is already being redesigned.
2. Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery
If you are searching for serenity and wouldn’t mind a bit of a hike, then you should visit this monastery located in Sha Tin District. Take the steep steps uphill with Golden Buddhas surrounding you as you find your way to the temple and its nine-story pagoda. If you are not Buddhist, still pay respect it fully deserves and try your best not to disturb the devotees of the monastery.
Access & Fees: East Rail, Sha Tin Stop | Free
3. Nan Lian Garden
One of the most underrated places in Hong Kong, Nan Lian Garden is a public garden, carefully landscaped in the style of the Tang Dynasty. Its lush greenery and lotus-filled ponds are sure to give you a peaceful vibe right at the center of the City. A stroll in this park is truly a walk with nature, too!
Access & Fees : MTR Diamond Hill Station Exit C2, Kowloon | Free
4. Chi Lin Nunnery
Connected to the Nan Lian Garden, Chi Lin Nunnery is a large temple complex of wooden architecture which is also renovated in Tang Dynasty style. This temple also has Buddhist relics and temple halls that contain gold, clay, and wooden statues of Sakyamuni Buddha and bodhisattvas.
Access & Fees: MTR Diamond Hill Station Exit C2, Kowloon | Free
5. Mong Kok (Ladies Market)
When you think of Hong Kong, you also can’t help but think about shopping. Hong Kong is definitely one of the most fashion-forward Asian destinations. If you want to shop without breaking the bank, go to Mong Kok. There’s nothing more orgasmic than the unique blend of shopping, city hustle and bustle, and of course sumptuous street food breaks in between.
Access & Fees: Tuen Wan Line, Mong Kok Station | Free
6. Victoria Peak
We would say this is one of the most iconic places to visit in Hong Kong and totally gives you a different perspective of the autonomous region. From the Victoria Peak, you’ll see the Hong Kong skyline and how it merges seamlessly with the region’s body of water.
Access & Fees: MTR Central | HK$ 77 – 90
7. Man Mo Temple
One of the temples located right at the Hong Kong’s Hollywood street, this temple has a unique vibe into it. As you enter the temple, you will be welcomed by the scent of burning incense lit by temple-goers, mostly students offering their prayers.
Access & Fees: Hollywood Road, Tai Ping Shan | Free
8. Ngong Ping
Located at the Lan Tau Island, Ngong Ping is the home to the Tian Tian Buddha. It’s one of the largest Buddhas in the world sitting atop a hill. You can also see a different view if you’d opt to ride a cable car going to Ngong Ping Village.
Access & Fees: Lan Tau Island, Tung Chung Stop | HK$ 130 – 255 per person (depending on the type of cable car you’ll ride)
9. Tsim Sha Tsui
If you really want to experience how busy and bright Hong Kong’s city life is, you can do so by immersing yourself to Tsim Sha Tsui. It is also home to a lot of destinations like the Avenue of Stars, Knutsford Terrace, Harbour City, and the Promenade. You would need at least a day to really maximize and to see all the tourist attractions in this business district. Plus, make sure to wear comfortable shoes since you’ll be doing a lot of walking. However tired your feet may get, your eyes will definitely be filled with much wonder.
Access & Fees: Depending on where exactly you would want to go in Tsim Sha Tsui. If you want to see one of the major attractions, The Promenade, head to MTR Tsim Sha Tsui station and take the exit E. | Fees will vary depending on the attraction that you will visit.
Here’s a map of all the destinations listed above, just zoom in and out to see the proximity of each location to each other:
Here are top harv experiences you shouldn’t miss and at least give them a try while in Hong Kong:
1. Evening Harbour Cruise – Hong Kong’s skyline and the busy cityscape are also best seen from the Victoria Harbour at night. You can take Star Ferry’s harbor cruise which costs approximately HK$160.
2. Peak Tram and Sky Park – Slowly ascend to one of Hong Kong’s highest peaks and see the city’s skyline. The view is specially stunning early in the morning and at dusk. The cost for both the peak tram trip and sky terrace is around HK$ 77 – 90.
3. Take a Crystal Cabin to Ngong Ping Village – Head to Ngong Ping Village via a glass-bottomed cable-car and experience a bit more thrill which allows you to see a bird’s eye perspective of the Lan Tau Island. One-way ticket for a crystal cabin costs HK$125 (children) to HK$180 (adult).
Important tips and reminders
Here are some tips you ought to know before going to Hong Kong:
1. Summer season can be way too hot. If you’re not ready to roam around Hong Kong under the scorching heat of the sun, then book a tour before or after the summer season.
2. If you’d be bringing your kids to Hong Kong Disneyland, all the more that you shouldn’t visit during summer.
3. Hong Kong’s transportation system is super easy and simple to understand. But if you get lost, Hong Kong nationals are always willing to help. We bumped into so many locals who were very friendly and helpful.
4. If you’re shopping in Mong Kok, it wouldn’t hurt bargaining for deals and much lower prices. Some stores might give you generous discounts especially if you know how to speak their language.
5. Given the need for connectivity, some hotels and even AirBnB include mobile devices with internet access as one of their amenities. Best to check the package inclusions of your hotel booking, or check your hotel if they have such provisions.
While Disneyland may be a must-see destination in Hong Kong, this small State has so much to offer, beyond and outside Mickey Mouse’s happy place, for every traveler to truly enjoy the ride.