Below is my GoPro footage from 4 days in this beautiful part of the world and keep scrolling for my Hong Kong tips and four day itinerary –
100% you must buy an octopus card (similar to Oyster card for you Londoners), at any mtr station, 7eleven, hotel concierge etc it will cost $150hkd which includes $100hkd to spend on travel. This almost lasted us our whole trip because journeys are so cheap (around $10hkd per trip) which works out under £1 each journey!
I would recommend staying on the Mongkok side if you want a feel for proper local HK life! It is the trendy area and to me felt more like how I imagined Hong Kong. If you want a more Western feel head to the Hong Kong side.
Budget – Guest House (Mong Kok Hotel) – You couldn’t get a better location if you tried, in the heart of mongkok less than 4 minutes walk from the Ladies Market and Mongkok MTR station. Basic but clean and good value at £170 for 5 nights through Airbnb. It is cleaned daily with fresh towels.
Luxury – Cordis Hotel – this beautiful hotel sticks out among the older concrete buildings of Mongkok; modern inside and out, great service and incredible views across Mongkok and Hong Kong skyline. I recommend paying extra for the lounge which offers free food and drink all day, afternoon tea and canapés. The buffet restaurant in the hotel was brilliant, surprisingly far outshone the 2 Michelin Starred restaurant!
Four Day Itinerary
Day 1 – GETTING TO KNOW MONGKOK, KOWLOON
– ROOF TOP POOL – chill at the cordis hotel while waiting to check into our rooms.
– WALK AROUND – get to know Mongkok, take in the city and it’s culture.
– LADIES MARKET – wander around the ladies market for some serious bargains and cheap fake designer goodies, make sure you haggle to get the best price possible – it’s what they expect!
– CORDIS LOUNGE – Enjoy free drinks in the hotel lounge
Day 2 – HONG KONG SIDE
When you visit the Hong Kong side you will see a huge contrast to Kowloon! Hong Kong feels just like New York or London with its modern sky scrapers, it differs greatly to the old school concrete high rises of Kowloon.
– STANLEY BEACH AND MARKET – We got the MTR from Mongkok station to the Star ferry, the ferry to Hong Kong central and then hopped on the 620 bus to Stanley beach and market.
Stanley beach is another world altogether, on the other side of the mountains behind Hong Kong there are lots of beaches and seaside towns – Stanley is one of them. You would never guess this beautiful town is only 20 minutes on the bus outside of the city.
– VICTORIA PEAK – From Stanley take a taxi for about £10 to the peak, which gives you incredible panoramic views of Hong Kong and Kowloon (I wish we’d done this at night or sunset but the view was amazing nonetheless).
– PEAK TRAM – Take the famous historical tram back down the mountain into Hong Kong!
TIP: DO NOT attempt to get the tram on the way up to the peak; the queue was over 2.5 hours long. I recommend getting a taxi up it, is cheap if you split the cost between four then get the tram down which had less than 30 minutes wait!
– LONGEST ESCALATOR IN THE WORLD – make sure you get on the longest escalator in the world that can take you up the steep hills of the city!
– NIGHT MARKET – the night market in Kowloon has a mixture of traditional Chinese food stalls, shopping stalls and fortune tellers all within walking distance. It is great to watch the fortune tellers and such an experience to eat down one of the little side streets!
Day 3 – LANTAU ISLAND
– TAI TAM BUDDHA – Tai Tam big Buddha is the largest sitting Buddha in the world. It really is an impressive sight and worth the longer journey to Lantau island.
We got the MTR to Tung Chung station and then a local taxi up to where the Big Buddha sits (reasonably priced if between 4 people and takes around 40 minutes) or the other option is to take a bus which takes around 1.5hr.
The Buddha is beautiful, as are the views from the top (prepare to walk 260(ish) steps to get there though) and the Po Lin monastery is also beautiful with its ornate golden architecture and interiors.
– TAI O FISHING VILLAGE – we hired a taxi from the Big Buddha to drive to Tai O fishing village. Where we spent an hour admiring the village built on stilts in the water. You can take a 20 minute boat ride (around £5/50hkd) down through the middle of the village and out to sea to try and catch a glimpse of their famous pink dolphins! (We didn’t get to see them unfortunately). We then got a taxi back to Tung Chung station to head back to Kowloon.
(Tai O was possibly my favourite part of the whole Hong Kong trip so definitely try to get here of you can!)
– SKYLINE AND LIGHT SHOW – Hong Kong has one of the most incredible skylines in the world, especially lit up at night; each evening at 8pm there is a light show across the skyline. You can watch this from Kowloon waterfront, a river boat, Hong Kong water front and many other places. We watched from Eyebar’s rooftop bar, with some amazing cocktails and an unbelievable view!
Day 4 – FINAL DAY
– FLOWER MARKET – for a moment forget you’re in the city and walk down a whole road of shops filled to the brim with colourful flowers and plants.
– BIRD GARDEN – everyone in Hong Kong lives in high rise buildings which means the only pets they can really have are birds and goldfish. Those with birds will bring them to the bird garden to give them fresh air. It’s a strange but wonderful sight to see. This joins onto the bird market, not the nicest sight seeing so many birds in one cage though 🙁
– GOLDFISH MARKET – for the same reason as birds, the locals keep fish also. Many kinds of fish are hung out in plastic bags for the Hong Kong residents to choose.
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