3 Days in Hong Kong, an itinerary for first time visitors

Hong Kong, an autonomous territory on China’s southeastern coast, is a vibrant, bustling city with a unique heritage, rich history, and a glamourous East meets West vibe. From the densely packed Kowloon neighbourhoods to the tranquil fishing villages on Lamma Island, and with a population on 7.4 million, Hong Kong is one of the world’s most populated regions.

There’s plenty to do here, and three days in Hong Kong is perfect for an introduction to the former British colony. There are also many Hong Kong tours available that will help you explore more in depth this city. Visitors often stay in Kowloon or on Hong Kong Island in Central. With an impressive and efficient public transportation system, as well as the prevalence of English signs, it’s easy to get anywhere in Hong Kong.

How to spend 3 days in Hong Kong

How to get from and to Hong Kong Airport

There are three options for getting to/from Hong Kong Airport to the city centre and it depends on your time and budget which option you choose. 

Train

Taking the train is the quickest option for getting from Hong Kong Airport to the city centre.  The journey only takes 24 minutes and with six Airport Express trains per hour this is a safe, quick, hassle-free option.

Finding the train is easy as it is located within the terminal building, just 50m from the arrivals’ hall. Look out for Airport Express counters or ticket machines to buy your train pass before boarding. 

Even though the train only takes 24 minutes the service provides free WiFi, TV and power charging sockets!

Once you arrive into central Hong Kong, you will want to connect to the free MTR shuttle bus to reach your final destination.

Time: 24 minutes

Cost: 12.50 EUR (115 HK)

Bus

Taking the bus into Hong Kong is the cheapest way to get from the airport to downtown but it is also the longest option. The A11 bus is the most popular option, with services departing the airport every 20 minutes. This route takes you direct to downtown stopping at convenient stops like Hong Kong’s City Hall and Connaught Road Central.

Tickets can be purchased from a counter at the Airport Ground Transportation Centre or from the driver on the bus.

The A11 bus runs from 06:10 am to 00:30 am. If you arrive after this time you will need to take the night buses, N11, which runs from 00:50 am to 04:50 am.

The bus also offers free WiFi.

Time: 1.15 minutes

Cost: 4.40 EUR (40 HK)

Taxis

Taxis from Hong Kong Airport to the city centre are done on a meter basis and should cost around 40 EUR (370 HK), depending on the travel distance required. If you are travelling to the Urban area of Hong Kong (most likely) you will need to take the designated Urban Taxis which are red with yellow lights on top.

Please note: there may be additional costs for large luggage and toll roads.

As Hong Kong is such a busy airport there is likely to be a queue when you arrive so you will need to wait in line in order to take an airport taxi into Hong Kong.

Time: approx. 30 minutes

Private Airport Transfer with Welcome Pick-Ups

If you would rather have the convenience and security of knowing you have a pre-booked taxi from the airport, you can book a transfer through Welcome Pick-Ups. Welcome drivers are chosen for their customer service and level of English and also monitor your flight to ensure they are there for you in arrivals at whatever time you get in.

The Welcome taxi service is likely to cost a bit more than a regular taxi (around 56 EUR) but you will have the security of having a pick-up driver waiting for you on arrival who will take you straight to your hotel with no hidden fees or waiting around. 

Click here for more information and book your private transfer.

3 days in Hong Kong: Day 1

Your first day in Hong Kong ought to be spent exploring the history and culture of the territory. Hong Kong’s history stretches back to the Neolithic era, and until the mid 17th century was a territory of mostly fishing and farming villages. The British took control following the opium wars, in the mid-1800s, and only returned the land to the Chinese when their 99-year lease expired in 1997.

Walking Tour of Kowloon

Today, Hong Kong is a financial powerhouse and one of the world’s most significant banking centres. There are a variety of tours that highlight the heritage of Hong Kong as well as the growth of the city into one of the world’s foremost financial centres. One of the best Hong Kong tours that touches on both the history and the growth of the city is a half-day walking tour of Kowloon and Central.

The Peak

For a powerful introduction to Hong Kong, visit the Peak. Victoria Peak, the highest point on Hong Kong Island, is one of the most popular visitor attractions in the city. Most people arrive by the Peak Tram, which departs from St. John’s Cathedral in Central, but it is also accessible by private car or taxi along a winding road. Ambitious travellers might wish to walk up via the steep Old Peak Road, but factor in a few hours for this adventure. The nearest MTR station is Central.

You’ll find two shopping centres, a large viewing platform, plenty of restaurants, and several walking trails. In addition to being a popular tourist spot, the Peak is also the pinnacle of housing in Hong Kong and is home to numerous government officials and public figures.

Tsim Sha Tsui

Tsim Sha Tsui is a popular culture and nightlife district located in Kowloon. It boasts a variety of activities and attractions along Nathan and Canton Roads. The Avenue of Stars, along the Victoria Harbour waterfront, is where you can spot statues of your favourite film characters. The promenade pays tribute to the enviable list of Hong Kong stardom – Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, and more. While its currently (2018) under renovation, it’s a popular spot to hang out to watch the evening light show.

Museum Hop

The Science, Space, Art, and History museums are all within walking distance of each other in Tsim Sha Tsui, making them a perfect rainy day activity.

Symphony of Lights

Every evening at 8pm, the city lights up with a 15 minute light show. Considered one of the world’s best multimedia shows, the skyscrapers on either side of Victoria Harbour light up and dazzle viewers as orchestral music plays. You can listen to the music at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui or at the Golden Bauhinia in Wan Chai, or you can download an app and listen to the music while enjoying the show from anywhere. One of the best places to view the show is from the harbour, so several popular Hong Kong tours offer an evening on a local junk boat to watch the spectacle.

3 days in Hong Kong: Day 2

Disneyland

On day two in Hong Kong, take a day to visit the world’s most famous mouse. Hong Kong Disneyland, located on Lantau Island, is a popular day trip for visitors from all over the world. Hong Kong Disneyland is very easy to get to, either by the MTR public transit or by car, although the metro is much easier. Disneyland has its own line and station, and signs are clearly marked in English.

While Hong Kong Disneyland is much smaller than the Florida resort complex, it still has the charm and flair of the two original Disney parks. Don’t miss Adventureland, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland, three of the original regions in the Disney parks.

You can purchase Hong Kong Disneyland tickets in advance, through a tour operator. If you want to purchase Hong Kong Disneyland tickets when you get there, expect to stand in lines.

3 days in Hong Kong: Day 3

Take a day trip to one of the outer-lying areas of Hong Kong, or take the ferry to Macau, on the Chinese mainland. These are all popular Hong Kong tours but are also very easy to do on your own.

Lantau Island

As Hong Kong’s largest outlying island, Lantau is definitely worth a day trip from Hong Kong central. Attractions on Lantau Island include the Tian Tin Big Buddha at Ngong Ping monastery, the 360 cable car (which is also the best way to get to the monastery), Po Lin monastery, and Tai O fishing village.

Lamma Island

Lamma Island, just 20 minutes from downtown Hong Kong, feels like a world away. It’s multicultural, laid-back hippie vibe is at odds with the high-powered hustle of the city, yet it complements it in so many ways. Head to Lamma to explore off the grid hiking trails, great seafood restaurants, and rustic fishing villages. Highlights of Lamma include the World War II era kamikaze tunnels – located along one of the hiking trails – and the Tin Hau Temple. The island doesn’t allow cars, so enjoy the relaxed pace on Lamma before heading back to the frenzy of Hong Kong.

Macau

For a unique day trip from Hong Kong, jump on one of the high-speed ferries and cross to Macau, another one of China’s autonomous territories at the Pearl River Delta. Macau, known as the Las Vegas of Asia, is a glittering jewel filled with casinos and shopping malls. It also has a rich Portuguese heritage though, and so, like Hong Kong, it is a juxtaposition of old and new. It takes about one hour to get between the two countries, and you will need to take your passport.

There’s plenty to do in Hong Kong, from exploring the unique cultural heritage to embracing your inner child at Hong Kong Disneyland. This three-days in Hong Kong itinerary covers all the major highlights and allows you the freedom to explore some of the most popular Hong Kong tours.

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