Kowloon is one of the many urban areas of Hong Kong. This area includes New Kowloon and Kowloon Peninsula. In fact, this is one of the most populous areas of Hong Kong, with a population of over 2 million people. With a significantly lower skyline than the rest of Hong Kong, this is a beautiful and interesting area to visit.

Hong Kong International Airport
Hong Kong International Airport.

Arrive at the Airport

If you’re staying in Kowloon, you’re going to fly into Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok. This airport is on Chek Lap Kok island, and has been the main airport in the area since it opened in 1998. The airport itself has a total of 90 gates and covers nearly five square miles.

There are two terminals and two concourses in the Hong Kong International Airport. Terminal 1 is one of the largest terminal buildings in the world. Terminal 2 does not have any gates, and only is a check-in and processing area. The North Satellite Concourse has 10 jet bridges and a shuttle bus service between it and Terminal 1. Midfield Concourse is the newest building at the airport and offers 20 aircraft parking stands and can cater to over 10 million passengers a year.

Getting out of the airport is easy, and there are several ground transportation options. You can take any of the four buses running from the airport to different areas of Hong Kong, including Kowloon. There are direct ferry services available from the airport as well. If you want to take the fastest transportation, consider the rail service, Airport Express, which is part of the MTR rapid transit network. One of the main stops for the rail is in West Kowloon.

Kowloon Park
Kowloon Park in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon.

Early Morning: Grab a Breakfast Unlike Any Other

Waking up in Kowloon is an experience in and of itself. If you’re in the mood for something unique and authentic, head to Kung Wo Soy Bean Factory at 67 Fulk Lo Tsun Road in Kowloon City. The restaurant is open daily at 8:30 a.m. The food here is all made from soy, and it’s something you’ll want to write home about. Make sure to try the bean curd or the tofu fa. Kung Wo Soy Bean Factory also offers some of the best soy milk you’ll ever try.

If you’re interested in a different kind of breakfast, consider Café 8 Degrees. This restaurant is located in Harbour Plaza and offers a more American style breakfast for travelers. Head to the restaurant on Kowloon City Road. Breakfast starts at 6:30 a.m. Choose between a breakfast buffet or made to order breakfast options. No matter what you’re in the mood for, you’ll find it at Café 8 Degrees.

Mid-Morning: Shop and Explore

After you eat your fill, it’s time to explore and go shopping. When you’re in Kowloon, you simply can’t miss the opportunity to check out Tsim Sha Tsui’s mansions. The Chungking Mansions and the Mirador Mansions are some of the most famous buildings in the area. They aren’t mansions like you might think. Instead, they are huge buildings that are packed to the brim with restaurants, bars, and shops. There are even some apartments within the buildings.

Explore the mansions to find unique, fun, and interesting items to bring home with you. While you’re shopping, you can even grab a drink at the bars dotting the mansions or grab a quick snack at the restaurants or food shops. Another shopping area to check out is Champagne Court, just a short walk away from the mansions.

During your exploration, take a walk on Shanghai Street. This is one of the most historic streets in Hong Kong, if not in the world. You can start your walk at Kowloon Park, then follow Shanghai Street north. There are a variety of historic buildings to view, and you can even check out the family-run shops that dot the street.

Kowloon Flower Market
Kowloon Flower Market in Mong Kok.

Noon: Fill Up on Delicious Food

When you start getting hungry, there are so many options to choose from. For something new and delicious, head to 42 Mody Road and check out Spring Deer.

This is a small restaurant that is a local favorite. In fact, when you show up, you might find that there’s a long line of visitors and locals waiting to eat. Spring Deer features Pekinese and North Chinese menu items. The Peking Duck is a must-try, and some of the best duck you’ll ever try. However, anything on the menu is sure to delight your taste buds.

If you’re more in the mood for comfort food, consider stopping in at Nathan Congee and Noodle, located at 11 Saigon Street. Here you’ll feel like you’re in a local diner, as this restaurant is modeled after diners. You can find a variety of delicious food options, but the most popular meal choice is Congee. You’ll get a cheap meal that tastes great, and a local atmosphere that you’ll love.

Mid Afternoon: Take in a Show

Head to Osage Kwun Tong, to find something new and interesting every time. This is a contemporary art space, offering a variety of exhibits and live shows for visitors. Other places to visit to see local art include the Cattle Depot Artists’ Village, which is an historic slaughterhouse offering open space for local artists to create shows for the public. Take in even more local art and culture when you head to the Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre. Here you’ll find artists’ studios, three galleries, and even a theater space for live performances.

Late Afternoon: Visit a Temple

As you’re exploring the area, you may come across buildings that simply seem out of place. One of these is the Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple. The temple is one of the most popular religious sites around. Not only do locals visit the temple, it’s a huge draw for tourists as well. The Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple is a beautiful and impressive temple and is home to three different religions: Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. When you walk in the temple you’ll feel peace and calm.

Victoria Harbor Light Show
Victoria Harbor Light Show at night.

Evening: The City at Night

One of the best things you can do in the evening is check out the Symphony of Lights. Head to Victoria Harbor and you’ll see a show with beautiful lights and sounds. This show takes place every night at 8 p.m. and has been named the World’s Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show by Guinness World Records. Throughout the show, there are five themes: Awakening, Energy, Heritage, Partnership, and Celebration. You can even get English translations and live narration on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Consider Harbourside Restaurant for dinner. Here you’ll have all the food options you could want with the buffet or a la carte options. Harbourside Restaurant offers beautiful views of the harbor, delicious food, and a fun atmosphere. Depending on the night, you may get Chinese, American, or a variety of other culinary delights at the buffet.

If you’ve always wanted to try a Michelin star restaurant, but always felt like you couldn’t afford it, make sure to visit Tim Ho Wan. Here you can try amazing plates for prices that won’t break the bank. The specialty here shouldn’t be passed up, so make sure to get an order of cha siu baau. Keep in mind that wait times here are long, and can be up to three hours, so it’s a good idea to get here early.

Nathan Road
Nathan Road from Tsim Sha Tsui to Sham Shui Po.

Late Night: Party!

After the sun sets and you’ve gotten your fill of delicious food, it’s time to head out on the town. Kowloon is just as unique by night as it is by day. Whether you’re looking for something relaxed and fun, or you simply want an adventure, you’ll find exactly what you need in the nightlife of Kowloon.

A popular nighttime option is shopping Nathan Road. You’ll find just about anything you can think of at the market shops here. You can also head to Temple Street, which is a popular option for locals. If you want to see one of the most densely populated cities in the world, walk through Mong Kok. If you didn’t check it out earlier in the day, Shanghai Street is a fun shopping option during the nighttime hours.

Grab a drink at Fullcup Café, where you can try milk tea or a beer. You won’t find much dancing here since it is a more laid back option for those who want to chat with friends and acquaintances. However, on the third floor there is live music ranging from indie to jazz.

For those who want to get their dance on in the late night, make sure to check out Hidden Agenda. This club isn’t always easy to find since the entrance is through a car garage. Follow the posters for the night’s gigs, or consider looking for the security guard to help you find the entrance. Dance the night away to live music and entertainment.

Where to Stay

There is an amazing assortment of options for hotels, condo rentals, and more in Kowloon. Choosing the best option really depends on what you’re looking for. Not all places to lay your head are created equal, so consider what you want most from your stay.

Mong Kok
Mong Kok in the Yau Tsim Mong District in Kowloon.

Top Hotels in Kowloon

If you want the best of the best, there are some amazing hotels to visit in Kowloon. Harbour Grand Kowloon offers free wireless internet, six restaurants on site, and a free area shuttle. You’ll also have access to spa services and an outdoor pool. If you’re traveling with children, you’ll love the in-room childcare available to guests.

Cordis, Hong Kong features a modern look and feel. There are nearly 700 rooms for guests, and you’ll get free internet in your room. The health club is amazing and is a big draw for many guests. There are four restaurants on-site, allowing you to eat right at the hotel. Within a few minutes’ walk, you’ll find Mong Kok Computer Center, Langham Place Mall, and Ladies’ Market.

With close proximity to a variety of attractions including the Flower Market and Fa Hui Park, the Royal Plaza Hotel is a great option. Take advantage of the spa services to help yourself feel pampered during your visit to Kowloon. Get around easily with the free area shuttle. On top of this, there is a children’s pool and childcare services available, which makes this a great option for families.

Tsim Sha Tsui
Tsim Sha Tsui in southern Kowloon.

Best Affordable Stays in Kowloon

If you’re looking to stay in Kowloon for as inexpensive as possible, there are a variety of options. You won’t get the amenities you would at top end hotels, but these spots offer comforts you need and a great place to sleep.

Peace Guest House offers a total of 38 rooms, all with free wireless internet access. You’ll get daily housekeeping and laundry services here. There are a variety of services to help make your stay in Kowloon better, such as tour and ticket assistance, a porter, and air conditioning in the rooms. You’ll be close to the Avenue of Stars and Nathan Road Shopping District.

The California Hotel is a little larger, with 60 guest rooms. They also offer an area shuttle, to help you get around to where you want to go. Within a five minute walk from the hotel, you’ll find the Kowloon Mosque and Islamic Centre, Canton Road, and K11 Shopping Mall. In your room you’ll get free wireless internet, a refrigerator, and room service.

For a truly unique experience, check out Urban Pack. There are only eight guestrooms, but you’ll also find a rooftop terrace, concierge services, and barbecue grills here. There is a separate dining area that includes a microwave and refrigerator. You’ll be close to everything you want to see and do in Kowloon, such as Harbour City, the Avenue of Stars, and Nathan Road Shopping District.

When you visit Kowloon, there’s so much to see and do, you won’t quickly run out of options. From outstanding food to amazing shopping options, Kowloon has something for everyone. Plan your trip early, so you know exactly what you want to do, but make sure you’re flexible, so that when new and interesting options come up, you’re ready for an adventure.