After living in Shanghai for six months I was in desperate need for western civilization. Luckily for me the closest western society was right around the corner in Hong Kong! This city which was once a British colony until 1997 displays the perfect combination of European lifestyle, Western modernization, and Chinese culture. The two hour flight made visiting Hong Kong the perfect destination for a quick weekend getaway.
I arrived in Hong Kong at 11am and hopped on the airport express train for 75 HKD (Hong Kong Dollars) which is about $9 USD directly to Kowloon. From there I took a free airport shuttle to my awesome boutique hotel, “Harbour Bay Hotel” in Tsim Sha Tsui. For anyone who is indecisive about whether to stay on Hong Kong Island or in Tsim Sha Tsui, don’t let the glamor of the name “Hong Kong” fool you. Tsim Sha Tsui is a great area to stay for half the price compared to accommodations on Hong Kong Island. For a small price of 2.50 HKD (.32 cents) you can easily take a short ferry across the river to the main island.
After checking in to my hotel the first place I had to visit was the famous Victoria’s Peak which is located at the “Central” metro stop. Victoria’s Peak is the highest point on the Island and is accessible via tram. The steep ride high above the Hong Kong skyscrapers cost 88 HKD ($11 USD). Once at the top of the peak I enjoyed a spectacular panoramic view of the city. Riding back down the mountain was probably more exciting than the ride up. The feeling of flying backwards down the slope was incredible.
With the morning and afternoon behind me I started my evening by exploring the fashion and shopping district in Causeway Bay. Can you believe for a minute I actually forgot to eat, probably due to the excitement of being in Hong Kong. With so many restaurants to choose from one thing for certian was that I did not come all the way to Hong Kong to not try their famous “wonton noodles”. You can find this delicacy paired with a refreshing glass of sweet lemon tea on every corner in Hong Kong. Along the way, I made a pit stop at the Temple Street Night Market. This place is filled with everything you can imagine and more. Street food, bars, massages, shops, clothes, purses, souvenirs and much more filled the streets. I could have spent the entire night exploring the market but exhaustion got the best of me.
My final day started off with a train ride to Tung Chung to see the famous Big Buddha. The Big Buddha sits at the top of Lantau Island. The highlight of going to see the Big Buddha was the trilling glass floor cable car you take to reach the top. Unfortunately for me the cable car was closed due to rope construction until June, so I had to settle for a 30-minute bus ride that cost 35 HKD ($4.50 USD) instead. The scenic drive through the small towns and neighborhoods up the mountain was still worth it. The view of the Big Buddha from the bottom was amazing but it did not compare the view at the top. At the base of the mountain I had fun running away from the too-friendly cows, and exploring the Thousand Buddha Monastery and Ngong Ping Village.
After climbing over 100 steps I reached the famous Big Buddha, which didn’t appear as big up close as it did from far away.
That evening I spent relaxing on the Tsim Sha Tsui shore line watching the Symphony of Lights displayed on the Hong Kong skyline. It is advertised as the best musical light show in the world but personally it was a bit disappointing. Dinner that night consisted of a burger and beer combo for a whopping 80 HKD ($10 USD)!
With the weekend gone, my 2-day adventure in Hong Kong was up. I could explore so much of Hong Kong in such a short amount of time because everything on the island and mainland was so accessible and convenient, which makes it the perfect layover destination!
Wondering how much I spent on my 2 night and 3 day excursion? Check out my detailed expense sheet below!
Hotel: $242 for 2 nights
Flight: $163 roundtrip from Shanghai, China via Hong Kong Airlines
Victoria's Peak- $11
Hong Kong Park- free
Causeway Bay (fashion & shopping) - free
Bus ride to the Big Buddha - $4
Airport shuttle - $9
Star Ferry for Kowloon to Hong Kong Island- .32-.45
Exploring the city and venturing beyond my boarders- free