Things can be overwhelming if you are coming to Hong Kong, especially if this is your first time. Despite its reputation of being the most developed and the busiest city in Asia (related to tourism, business, and trade), the city is divided into different areas, parts, and regions. Not many people know that Hong Kong consists of three different areas: the Kowloon Peninsula, Hong Kong island itself, and the New Territories. Before knowing which places to go or what to do during your stay, it is best to know the geography so it would be easier to get your way through.
Understanding Hong Kong Geography
As it was mentioned before, Hong Kong is divided into 3 different (and big) parts of the area. They are:
- Hong Kong Island, which is the main and central area. It is the centre of economy and politics, and it is also the home of many interesting tourist destinations. If you are familiar with Victoria Park, this is the location.
- Kowloon. If you are travelling in budgets and you want to find inexpensive hotels or guesthouses, you want to stay in Kowloon. It is also home to many markets and museums. You can also find Avenue of Stars there.
- The New Territories, which is located on the northern side of Kowloon. It is where temples and wetland parks are located. It consists of many islands and some of them have become popular destinations for travellers. You can find Hong Kong Disneyland and Ngong Ping on Lantau Island, one of the islands located there.
No need to worry about visiting those areas because the transportation system is quite good. All of them are connected by bus and train networks which makes travelling easier and more convenient. However, it would be helpful if you can understand the geography so you can plan a more efficient travel and trip.
Hong Kong Itinerary 3D2N
First Day – Kowloon Peninsula
If you want to have effective travel around Hong Kong, you need to divide your itinerary based on the locations. Focus on a specific spot on the first, second, and third day. For instance, you can visit Hong Kong on the first day and then Kowloon on the second day – or vice versa. In this manner, you can visit as many places as possible. You can also enjoy efficient travelling convenience.
1. Tai Cheong Bakery
Begin your day with something tasty so you will have enough energy to explore the area. The bakery opens at 7.30 AM and they are selling the delicious and popular egg tarts. The bakery is only a small stand inside Star Ferry Pier. It’s nice to start a day enjoying egg tarts and having the Victoria Harbor view. One egg tart is around HK$35.
2. Kowloon Park
After the tasty and energizing breakfast, you can head to Kowloon Park. The view is relaxing and nice. You can see turtles and also flamingos on the ponds. The park is huge and wide – it won’t be enough to visit it just once. If you are staying in Kowloon, you may want to go back to the park several times before returning home.
3. Ladies Market
Travelling will be nothing without shopping. Well, if you are looking for fashionable items and the ability of bargaining at the same time, you should come to Ladies Market. It has 100 stalls of souvenirs, accessories, and clothes. You can also find bags, CDs, cosmetics, watches, and so many more. Haggling is a common practice, so learn how to do it properly.
4. Other Markets
There are many different markets in the area, selling different kinds of items. The goldfish market, for instance, is selling fish balls and goldfish. Some of the fish have very high price while the others are sold at regular prices. Then there is Flower Market Road, which sells different kinds of flowers. After all, flowers are important in Chinese culture so they are very well taken care of. Yuen Po Bird garden is also another type of market selling items for birds care, such as feeders, cages, and the birds themselves. Basically, you can have a very enjoyable and satisfying moment exploring the markets and take pictures of them. They are pretty unique, in a sense.
5. Wong Tai Sin Temple
This busy shrine is popular because it is dedicated to Wong Tai Sin, the person. The place has its own appeal, with the colourful pillars, flowers, and incense.
6. Choi Hung Estate
The conglomerate buildings are popular because of the unique construction and the dramatic look. The meaning of Choi Hung is rainbow, which is translated literally into the design. You can take pictures here but make sure that you follow the regulations. Don’t move things, don’t be noisy, and be polite.
7. Nan Lian Garden
The garden isn’t far from Choi Hung so you can easily walk to reach the place. The garden is beautiful, with pagodas, ponds, lotus, pavilions, and lush garden. Even though the garden is located in the middle of the busy place, you will find it relaxing and peaceful.
Second Day – Hong Kong
If you have started the first day in Kowloon, then your second day should be done and focused in Hong Kong.
1. Victoria Peak
Also known as The Peak, this is the tallest summit in Hong Kong. People come to the place to get the phenomenal and impressive views of Kowloon, Victoria Harbor, and the Central (as well as the surrounding islands). They also like it for exercising and enjoy the cool temperature.
You can start your second day by coming to The Peak and go to Circle Peak Walk trail for the breathtaking view. You won’t have to pay anything to access this. You can access The Peak with the tram from the Central. Another alternative is to take the bus 15 – you can catch it at Central Piers. The roundtrip tram is around HK$45 while the one-way ticket is HK$32. One way bus ticket is HK$9.80.
2. International Finance Center
The construction has 88 floors, standing tall at 1,378 feet. It is the country’s landmark as well as the tallest building in Hong Kong. If you want to, you can come to the Monetary Authority Hong Kong Museum which is located on the 55th floor. It is free. Even if you aren’t interested in the museum, it doesn’t hurt to check the museum so you can see the marvellous view of Hong Kong.
3. Central Plaza
This is the third tallest buildings in Hong Kong, located in Wan Chai district. You can go to the Sky Lobby on the 46th floor that offers a 360-degree view and windows from the floor to the ceiling. It doesn’t cost you anything to go up there and enjoy the view.
4. City Hall
Since Hong Kong doesn’t have a city council or mayor, the City Hall has many functions. It serves as an art centre as well as a cultural point. There are a library, exhibition hall, theatre, and concert hall there.
Third Day – Lantau Island
Before catching your flight, you can always go to Lantau Island and see some of the attractions. Besides Hong Kong Disneyland and Hong Kong International Airport, there are other spots to enjoy. If you like coming to fishing villages, this would be the ideal place.
1. Big Buddha
The statue is 112 feet tall. No wonder if it is known as the biggest Buddha construction statue in the world. If you want to reach the statue, you need to climb the 268 steps.
2. Po Lin Monastery
It is not far from the Big Buddha so you can walk there from the statue. This complex has places for the incense and various structures. If you go to the back area of the complex, you will find the Ten Thousand Buddha Grand Hall.
3. Tai O Fishing Village
One of the appeals of this fishing village is the stilt houses which are hovering above the water. If you want to see the houses from close, you need to take the boats around the neighbourhood. Afterwards, the same boat will take you to go out to the sea so you can see the pink dolphins – if you are lucky. You can also find cafes and dried seafood stores along the street.
You can really have a budget-friendly trip to Lantau Island because the 3 major spots are free. If you want to save more money on transportation, here are the routes to follow:
- Take a ferry boat (from the Central to Mui Wo). It costs HK$31
- Take the bus from Mui Wo to Ngong Ping. It costs HK$17
- Take a bus from Ngong Ping to Tai O. It costs HK$6.3
- A short boat trip can be taken to explore Tai O. It costs around HK$20
- Take the bus from Tai O to Mui Wo (so you can catch the ferry to return to Central). The bus is HK$10 while the ferry is HK$15.90
Places to Stay
Whether you want to stay in Hong Kong main island or the Kowloon, it would be great if you know the right places to stay. After all, there are different grades of the types of accommodation. Depending on your budgets, you can decide on where to stay.
Mongkok, TST (Tsim Sha Tsui), and Kowloon are popular areas for tourists. Kowloon is the most popular one – and also the most expensive place because it is close to markets and it is the heart of the place. If you want to reach Victoria Harbor, you can always walk from Kowloon. Mongkok and TST are a bit cheaper. Be advised that the rooms are mostly small because space is premium in this country.
As it was mentioned before, there are some grades or levels of accommodation available in Kowloon. Whether you want to stay in a luxurious hotel or affordable motels, there are places for you.
- Luxurious hotels. The Peninsula is an example of an exclusive and expensive hotel. This is one of the best hotels with also the highest rate
- Mid-range hotels. Hotel Hart – located in TST – is one of it. It is usually designed for couples or solo travellers because most of the bathrooms are built with glass walls\Budget hotels. Hong Kong Guesthouse Premium is an example of such a basic, simple, and clean accommodation. It is located in the heart of Kowloon’s shopping area
- Backpacker hotels. Pear Guesthouse is an example of it. It is clean and cheap with a cheerful ambience and atmosphere. Budget-conscious backpackers love this place!
Central Hong Kong is more expensive than the area of Wan Chai and Causeway Bay. The reason is that the latter areas were used to be the red light districts. They have changed now but the past reputation has affected the price. No need to worry, though, because most of the places are clean, comfortable, and nice despite the limited space.
As in Kowloon, there are different hotels for everyone:
- Luxury hotels. Mira Moon is an example of a luxury hotel in Causeway Bay. It has a 5-star rating that will pamper your needs
- Mid-range hotels. Ease Access hotel is located in Lockhart Road. With the view of Victoria Harbor, this hotel has become a popular spot in Hong Kong.
- Budget hotels. Hotel 33 is located in Wan Chai centre, offering rooms not more than $100 a night.
- Backpacker hotels. Tian Jin hostel is the option for budget-friendly travellers. It has single, double, twin, and also family rooms
Tips to Enjoy Hong Kong
There are some things to remember (and plan) if you want to have an enjoyable time in Hong Kong.
- English and Cantonese are the main languages used in this country. Mandarin is also gaining in popularity – in case you can speak these languages
- Finding money changer is easy. You can easily find them in Central district and Tsim Sha Tsui areas. If you need ATMs, there are plenty of them too
- Most merchants and establishments like cash although some of them already accept credit cards. You definitely want to have some cash handy
- The best time to come to Hong Kong is between October and December. The weather is sunny with a cool temperature. However, if you like cold, the best time is from January to March. Be advised, though, that the weather can be pretty dry.
In the end, just make sure that you plan and reserve everything in details before going to Hong Kong. If you come to Airpaz, you can manage your reservation and plan with the available flights, such as Air Asia. Be sure to plan ahead and enjoy your trip!