With over 7 million people and an airport that takes you anywhere else on the continent, Hong Kong is the gateway to Asia. Moreover, it’s perhaps the best spot for travelers on their first time to Asia, as most people speak English, transportation is quick and easy to navigate, and there are enough entertainment options and landmarks to satisfy any type of interest. Find out how to plan your trip to Hong Kong to discover the best attractions and places to stay.

Early Morning: Grab a Bite to Start Your Day

To fuel up for your day of exploration, make sure grab a bite at one of the many breakfast restaurants in Hong Kong. To expedite your trip, you may want to grab that meal on Lantau Island on your way to visiting the iconic Tian Tan Buddha Statue.

Set on the sands of Lower Cheung Sha Beach, Bathers Beach Restaurant is an excellent and tasty choice. The menu here is perfect for Westerners that aren’t always apt to try Asian cuisine. Menu highlights include omelets, potato rosti, eggs, beignets, and french toast.

Midmorning: Head to the Tian Tan Buddha Statue

Once you’re done with breakfast, get ready to see the Tian Tan Buddha, known by expats as Big Buddha. It’s just a 20-minute drive by car or one-hour ride by bus from the restaurant, making it a logical choice. Built in 1993, the bronze statue stands at a massive 112-feet tall, weighs over 280 tons, and was constructed from 202 pieces of molded bronze. Don’t eat too much, as you’ll have to climb 268 steps to the base of the statue. However, the view is well worth the effort.

ngong ping 360
The Ngong Ping 360 in Hong Kong

Noon: Get Some Lunch and Take a Ride on a Cable Car

After traversing all those stairs to the top of the Big Buddha, you’re probably ready for some authentic Hong Kong cuisine, but before you do that, take a ride on the Ngong Ping 360. Located just footsteps from the Big Buddha, this gondola provides spectacular views overlooking Lantau Island and the surrounding area. If you book ahead of time, you can get substantial discounts on tickets, so it’s well worth a look.

Hopefully you aren’t too famished to take the ferry ride from Lantau Island to Hong Kong Island after the gondola. If you are, grab a few snacks on your way to Lin Heung Tea House, which is widely regarded as the best authentic Hong Kong restaurant in the city. Located in Hong Kong’s central district, this restaurant has been serving up the best dim sum and other local favorites for over 50 years.

There are over 30 types of dim sum including shumai, cha siu bao, har gow, which are all types of rolls and dumplings, duck, pork, and beef. The more adventurous can also enjoy steamed goose intestine in custard, stuffed mud carp, or whole winter melon soup.

Ten thousand buddhas
The Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery in Hong Kong.

Afternoon: Take a Self-Guided Tour of Central

Once you’ve had your fill of traditional Hong Kong cuisine, you’re already in the Central neighborhood, so you’re in the perfect place for a self-guided tour of the city’s most vibrant area. If you’re a fan of modern architecture, make sure to venture by a few of Hong Kong’s most famous skyscrapers. The Center is the fifth-tallest building in Hong Kong, known for its neon lights and amazing lobby, while 2 International Finance Center is the city’s tallest building. Standing at 1,378 feet covering 88 floors, it’s a sight to behold. You can’t go to the top, but you can take an elevator to the 55th floor for arguably the best view in the city.

Other sights to see include the breathtaking Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens, Statue Square, City Hall, or one of the massive cathedrals that dot the landscape from British occupation.

Clock tower
The Clock Tower in Hong Kong.

Evening: Splurge on a Nice Dinner

One thing is certain when you visit Hong Kong. You’re in for the culinary experience of a lifetime. Featuring 61 Michelin-starred restaurants, Hong Kong has many creative, conceptual restaurants that blend the best of the West with the best of the East. For a truly exclusive experience, make reservations for Twenty Six by Liberty. The number alludes to the fact that the restaurant can only seat 26 patrons at one time, which makes bookings essential. Crafted by executive chef Chris Keung, the eight-course meal takes you through many local and international flavors. At HK$800 (US$100), you’re in for an expensive, yet one-of-a-kind treat.

Late Night: Explore Hong Kong’s Midnight Vibrance

With over 7 million people coursing through the city at any given time, it’s no surprise that late nights are a great time to experience the city. For a local experience, hop on a red bus to the Mongkok neighborhood. When you arrive, you’ll have your pick of late-night shopping, food stalls with all kinds of fried delicacies and noodles, and pool halls. Yiu Tung Street is an excellent spot for late night hunger pangs, including congee, pork chop noodles, and fish balls.

If you’re looking to imbibe, forget the uppity bars, and head to one of Hong Kong’s spectacular dive bars. With live music, pool, and cheap drink, there’s no better way to mingle with locals and enjoy an unforgettable experience. In the Wan Chai neighborhood, the Wanch has been a favorite for 30 years. Every night, this establishment invites some of the top local bands in the area, as well as Hong Kong memorabilia on the walls, cheap beers, and people watching that rivals anywhere else in the city.

Repulse bay
The Repulse Bay in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Airport Guide

Opened in 1998, Hong Kong International Airport is a modern architectural marvel that still is every bit as beautiful today as when it opened. Known locally as Chek Lap Kok, the airport is the 11th busiest in the world, and the only airport for domestic and international passenger travel in the autonomous Chinese territory.

Upon landing at Hong Kong International Airport, you’re funneled into a line for customs, so have your passport and you completed arrival card ready to go. The arrival card is given to you by airline stewardesses a few hours before landing, so take a few minutes to fill it out while you have time. Both Arrival Hall A and Arrival Hall B welcome travelers from either Terminal 1 or Terminal 2, and signs in English help you find your way to the baggage claim, transportation, food, or shops.

When it’s time to head back home, Hong Kong International Airport makes it quick and easy, offering around-the-clock check-in services. After check-in, head down the corridor that accommodates both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 passengers for a security screening and immigration procedures. Several television screens display your flight or airline, and which terminal you’ll fly out of to your next destination.

Situated on Lantau Island, Hong Kong Airport is specifically designed for quick travel to and from the city. Passengers have their choice of the Airport Express or the ferry to get to their accommodation. The Airport Express is a nimble, fast train that takes travelers to Hong Kong Island or Kowloon in 20 minutes for HK$100, or about USD$13. The ferry is another option, accessing these same regions, as well as Macau, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and other nearby Chinese cities. If time is of the essence, opt for the train. If not, opt for the ferry, which provides sweeping, panoramic views of the city.

If you’re in Hong Kong for a layover or overnight, don’t fret. This airport has you in mind. The Regal Airport Hotel has 1,171 rooms to suit your needs, while also giving you prime access to the airport when it’s time to catch your flight. When you don’t need a full night at a hotel, several airlines have lounges. For about $50, you can enjoy five hours of computer access, a hot shower, a 15-minute massage, and unlimited food and beverages.

For short layovers or if you’re just waiting for a flight, Hong Kong Airport has plenty of things to do. Free Wi-Fi in the terminal allows you to stay connected or kill time, while you can also peruse high-end fashion boutiques, jewelry stores, souvenir shops, and more. If you’re feeling a bit famished, the airport has plenty of options for all tastes, ranging from pizza and American cuisine to Taiwanese beef noodles.

Happy valley racecourse
The Happy Valley Racecourse in Hong Kong.

Where to Stay in Hong Kong

As one of the most popular places to visit in Asia, Hong Kong has plenty of accommodation options. However, the number of travelers and limited space throughout the city means luxury hotel seekers may have to pay a premium or settle on a small place to meet their budgetary constraints. The best part about staying in Hong Kong is that you’re only footsteps away from world-class public transit, making it easy to go across town to find some of the top destinations, restaurants, and shopping.

Staying in Central

By day, Central is the bustling financial center of one of Asia’s biggest markets, but it’s still one of the most interesting places to stay in the city, as it transforms into an expatriate’s playground at night. It’s also located near Victoria Park and Lan Kwai Fong, which are two of the most popular spots in town.

When you have some cash to burn, the Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong is ideal. Offering amazing views of Victoria Harbor and Hong Kong city center, there’s not other hotel like it. It also mixes Eastern and Western styles with modern technology, marble bathrooms, and your choice of a guest room or a suite.

Another popular spot for tourists is Tsim Sha Tsui, situated on the southern tip of Kowloon. Here you can splurge on accommodation at places such as the Peninsula Hotel and the Gateway Hotel, both which provide five-star accommodation. Pamper yourself at the spa or late-night room service. When you’re here, you’re royalty.

Best Hostels

If you’re looking to pinch a few pennies, Hong Kong has plenty of hostels that offer dormitory-style accommodation, double, and single rooms at cut-rate prices. You might have to stay a few miles from the city center, but public transportation makes this a moot point.

Nestled in the Sham Shui Po district of Kowloon, the YHA Mei Ho House is just a few minutes from the MTR station and the famed Sham Shui Po night market. They also offer free Wi-Fi and free breakfast, which are two awesome features for budget accommodation.

When you want to stay in the prime shopping area of Hong Kong, a stay at the Wang Fat House is ideal. Located in the Causeway Bay area of Hong Kong Island, this hostel has dormitory style housing, single, double, and triple beds with microwaves, refrigerators, and more. Plus, it puts you near some of the finest boutique restaurants, arcades, and upscale shopping in the city.

Golden Bauhinia Sqaure
The Golden Bauhinia Sqaure in Hong Kong

Spectacular Private Rentals

Because space is often at a premium in Hong Kong, hostels and hotels may not have the room you need when you’re traveling with a larger group of friends or family. While this might cost a bit more than some accommodation, you’ll have the entire apartment to yourself or a shared room with other guests. However, you can offset part of this cost by cooking in the apartment.

You can stay away from the crowds and enjoy peace and quiet with a one-bedroom option on Lantau Island, or hop into a studio apartment in the central business district so you’re right near all the action. Mong Kok is a purely residential neighborhood that’s great for private rentals, while also within walking distance of the historic Temple Street Market and the ultra-modern Langham Place. When you want to stay for cheap in a private apartment, consider the Wan Chai neighborhood. Although there’s little of note in this part of town, the prices and seclusion are rarely seen in other parts of Hong Kong.

If you’re ready to take the trip of a lifetime to one of the world’s premier cities, while enjoying top-notch accommodation and the best tours and attractions, book your visit now on GoDoTrip.