Located on the northern fringes of the South China Sea, the neon-lit city of Hong Kong is one of the best destinations in the world for spellbinding landmarks, dining, culture, and shopping. With so much to see and do, planning a Hong Kong itinerary is vital to making the most of your vacation.
The surprisingly mountainous city, officially called the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, is split into three regions: Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, and the New Territories, with each area home to distinct neighborhoods.
You’ll find the bustling districts of Tsim Sha Tsui, Mong Kok, Yau Ma Tei, and Kowloon City, among others, in Kowloon, and Wan Chai, Central, and Tai Ping Shan on Hong Kong Island.
You’ll most likely divide most of your time between the two on a three-day itinerary in Hong Kong, although getting around is easy thanks to the fast and efficient public transport system.
Follow this Hong Kong itinerary to make the most of your time in this thrilling, fast-paced city.
11 a.m.: Relax at Kowloon Walled City Park
Surrounded by high-rise condos and commercial buildings, Kowloon Walled City Park is a peaceful enclave in Hong Kong where you’ll find tranquil gardens, pretty pavilions, and exhibitions displaying ancient artifacts that reveal the history of this Walled City. A fort, and later, a high-rise, lawless shanty town were located on this site.
Add a guided tour of Kowloon Walled City Park to your Hong Kong itinerary, with pre-bookable 45-minute slots taking place every day.
There are several different garden routes you can take to explore Kowloon Walled City Park.
Sniff out the sweet smell of magnolia on the Lotus Flowered Magnolia Path or pick up other lush scents on the Fragrant Flowers Path. There are other paths, all named after plants that grow here: Bamboo, Pomegranate, Pine Tree, Common Crepe Myrtle, Red Leaf, and Banana Tree.
2 p.m.: Browse Mong Kok Flower Market
Just north of Mong Kok East subway station, you’ll find Kowloon’s open-air Flower Market, which is fun to browse and endlessly photogenic. Though Mong Kok’s markets can sometimes be frenetic, the Flower Market, packed with fresh blooms, offers a more serene experience.
Enjoy the scents that waft through the air as vendors sell all kinds of plants and flowers. While the Flower Market is a hive of activity year-round, the lead-up to the Lunar New Year marks a particularly interesting time to visit, when homes and businesses are adorned with impressive arrays of vibrant floral displays.
3 p.m.: Visit Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden
Situated in Diamond Hills, Kowloon, Chi Lin Nunnery is a calming Buddhist complex that was originally built in 1934. Transformed in the 1990s in the distinctive style of the Tang Dynasty, Chi Lin Nunnery underwent three phases of redevelopment, completed in 1998. The site contains several prayer halls, the Ten Thousand Buddha Pagoda, a Bell Tower, Drum Tower, and a reception hall.
Once you’ve explored Chi Lin Nunnery, cross the vermillion-red bridge in the charming Nan Lian Garden to reach the gold-hued Pavilion of Absolute Perfection. Discover the remarkable Bonsai Gallery, the Pagoda-tree Pavilion, and explore the gently cascading waterfalls and koi ponds. There is also a cafe located within the grounds serving refreshing tea.
5 p.m.: Taste Noodles at Temple Street Night Market
This central Kowloon hawker market in Yau Ma Tei has been a popular attraction in Hong Kong for decades, selling everything from jade to antiques, clothes, handicrafts, art, and tempting snacks in a bazaar-style setting.
Once you’ve browsed the stalls, haggled with vendors, and picked up souvenirs to take home, find a seat, often an overturned crate or rickety old stool, at a street food restaurant and order a bowl of steaming hot noodles, plump shrimps, and several rounds of dim sum washed down with a chilled glass of Tsingtao, the local beer.
You’ll also find dishes such as soups, scallops, deep-fried squid, chilli crab, prawn dumplings, and rice-based options.
8 p.m.: Stroll Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade
For some of the best views of Victoria Harbour and one of the world’s best skylines, visit Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade in the evening. The skyline is every bit as dramatic as you’ve seen it on postcards or in magazines, and witnessing it first hand is one of the best things to do in Hong Kong.
From traditional junks and fishing boats to modern yachts and the iconic, green and white Star Ferry, you’ll see scores of boats passing through the harbor. Don’t miss the daily Symphony of Lights performance, starting at 8 p.m. every evening.
The visual extravaganza includes lights beamed from 39 buildings and three attractions from Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, including the iconic Bank of China Tower, Tower 535, and HSBC Main Building, with music played out adding to the dramatic ambiance.
10 a.m.: Soak Up the Views From Victoria Peak
Start your day by visiting Victoria Peak, one of the most popular attractions in Hong Kong. The adventure starts in Central with a leisurely funicular railway ride on the Peak Tram, one of the oldest funicular railways in the world. The tram ride has operated since 1888, carrying passengers to Victoria Peak via the upper reaches of Hong Kong Island, 1,300 feet above sea level.
The dazzling views stretch across Hong Kong Island and the harbor to Kowloon and the misty hills of the New Territories beyond, above the city’s vast cluster of glassy skyscrapers.
Make a beeline for Sky Terrace 428, so-called because of its location, 428 meters, or 1,400 feet above sea level. It’s the highest viewing platform in Hong Kong and the number one spot for the most remarkable 360-degree views.
12 p.m.: Explore Aberdeen Fishing Village
Lying on the southern shore of Hong Kong Island, facing the outlying islet of Ap Lei Chau in Aberdeen Harbour, Aberdeen Fishing Village is a delightful spot where the traditional life of a waterfront village still goes on.
Join a one-hour boat tour to learn about the history of the harbor while taking in views of the traditional houses and junk boats. Stroll down the boat- and restaurant-lined Aberdeen Promenade, stopping by a local diner for a plate of freshly caught seafood.
The Wholesale Fish Market is not to be missed. Opened in 1950, it’s the oldest, busiest, and largest wholesale fish market in Hong Kong. Get a glimpse of the frenetic action inside and stop by the market’s gift shop to buy an unusual souvenir. Freshly ground plaice powder, commonly used as natural fish stock in soups will impress your food-loving friends back home.
3 p.m.: Relax in Repulse Bay
Just a 15-minute drive from Aberdeen Harbour is a swathe of golden sand at Repulse Bay, popular with locals on a sunny day. The picturesque spot is bordered by chic condos overlooking the ocean, with a colorful pier, and plenty of restaurants and shops dotted around the bay.
The water is perfect for swimming so pack a swimsuit and towel. Changing facilities and showers are available by the beach. Relax on the soft sand, cool off in the water, and take in the views of Middle and Lamma islands in the distance.
6 p.m.: Shop at Stanley Market
Sandwiched between Old Stanley Police Station and the waterfront, Stanley Market is a great place to scout for clothes, accessories, jewelry, homeware, and handicrafts. You’re not going to find designer goods or antiques here, but you will find essential Hong Kong souvenirs to take home with you.
Think Chinese tea sets, chopsticks, jade, scarves, and pretty tableware. Once you’ve had your fill of browsing, there are plenty of places for a snack and a drink around the waterfront promenade.
9 p.m.: Enjoy Moonlit Cocktails in the Sky
After a day of exploring, sip exotic cocktails with a sultry view at one of Hong Kong’s many sky-high cocktail lounges. Ozone, a hypnotic, 118th-story spot within The Ritz-Carlton hotel in Kowloon, is a sleek venue with a bold and whimsical design.
Sip on Ozone’s signature Hong Kong Skyline cocktail, a concoction of Zacapa rum with absinth, Oolong tea syrup, pink grapefruit, lime, Dom Pérignon foam, and “lavender smoke”. If this is a little too exotic for your taste, the view will be just as mesmerizing with a glass of wine.
If you don’t make it for cocktails, Ozone offers a legendary Sunday brunch between noon and 3 p.m., too.
10 a.m.: Discover Man Mo Temple
Flanked by towering skyscrapers on Central’s famed Hollywood Road, the inner-city Man Mo Temple is an essential call on any three-day Hong Kong itinerary. A tribute to the God of Literature (Man) and the God of War (Mo), the temple took 15 years to build, between 1847 and 1862.
The Grade I-listed, Qing dynasty monument remains the largest temple of its kind in Hong Kong, its interior heady with the scent of burning incense that hangs in large coils from the ceiling.
The temple is part of a three-block complex including Lit Shing Kung, a place of Buddhist and Taoist worship, and Kung Sor, a former court of justice.
11 a.m.: Indulge in Dim Sum
One of the best venues to indulge in authentic dim sum is Tim Ho Wan, a no-fuss joint with six outposts in Hong Kong. Stop by the North Point venue, near Causeway Bay on Hong Kong Island, to get your fill of steamed and fried dishes, including shrimp dumplings, BBQ pork buns, and stuffed vermicelli rolls.
Feeling brave? Order the steamed, protein-rich chicken feet with rice. Tim Ho Wan’s steamed egg cake, fluffy and slightly sweet, is divine to finish with.
1 p.m.: See the World’s Largest Seated Bronze Buddha
Marvel at the jaw-dropping views of Hong Kong’s high-rise neighborhoods and the greenery beyond as you’re ferried from Tung Chung to North Lantau via the Ngong Ping 360 cable car. This is the longest bi-cable ropeway in Asia, traversing three and a half miles.
Your destination is the breathtaking 111-foot-tall bronze statue of the Tian Tan Giant Buddha that sits atop Mount Muk Yue on Lantau Island.
Visit Po Lin Monastery, opposite the giant Buddha, and the wonderful Bauhinia Park and Orchid Garden. Stop by to see the main temple, home to Buddhist scriptures and three further bronze statues of the Buddha that represent his past, present, and future.
Try the monastery’s vegetarian restaurant, to the left of the Main Shrine Hall, for the freshly made spring rolls and delicious tea.
5:30 p.m.: Ride a Traditional Junk Boat in Victoria Harbour
Complete your three-day Hong Kong itinerary with a sunset cruise on Aqua Luna, a traditional red-sailed junk, around the city’s scenic Victoria Harbour. Join the boat from Tsim Sha Tsui or Central for a 45-minute voyage around the beating heart of Hong Kong.
Relax with a drink on board and sit back on Aqua Luna’s lounge beds as you take in the skyline of this world-class, cosmopolitan city.
Discover the best of Asia on a luxury Hong Kong cruise with Celebrity Cruises. Browse cruise itineraries on our website and book your unforgettable getaway today.