My brother and I are in a race/competition to visit the most countries. At the beginning of 2014 he was at 21, I was at 19. So when my mom and I were planning our Australia/New Zealand trip and looking at flights and routes, I thought – maybe we should go through Hong Kong? Because with that little detour I would be one up on him – and he had no immediate plans to travel anywhere…
So I looked into it and it was cheaper to fly through Hong Kong than to fly directly to Australia. Though overall it was a longer route, with a three day layover it would actually break the flying time down into shorter flights (though not by much). And we got to fly Cathay Pacific which we would discover was not only the cheapest flights at the time but also the best flying experience I have yet experienced.
We had “three” days in Hong Kong. Meaning we arrived at 6:00 am on Friday morning and our flight to Sydney left at 6:00 pm on Sunday. To make the most of our short time I researched the “Top 10 Things to Do”. The lists I found varied but here is what I did with 54 hours in Hong Kong:
We flew in around 7am after a long overnight flight and delayed layover in Vancouver. We took the train (and Hong Kong’s MTR is awesome) to our hotel but of course we couldn’t check in yet. So we dropped off our bags and did a quick costume change and freshening up in a tiny hotel bathroom and we were off!
It was a pretty clear day which we’d heard was rare for Hong Kong and if it was clear we were told to go to Victoria Peak for the amazing views. So we found it on our tourist map (which we’d picked up at our hotel) and with a combination of the MTR and an extensive wander through downtown Hong Kong’s pedways we found what we were looking for – The Peak Tram. We bought our tickets and boarded the historical tram to climb (what felt like almost vertically) to the highest point on Hong Kong Island.
The views were amazing and we spent most of the rest of the day there before wandering back to our hotel and crashing after our 28 hours of travel.
Lantau Island, Ngong Ping 360, Tian Tan Buddha and the Po Lin Monastery
So after an early night, being woken at 2 a.m. by the fire alarm and having to evacuate our hotel room (grab your passport! Thank goodness it was a false alarm) and a wonderful breakfast at our hotel, we had planned a day trip to Lantau Island. So off we went – this was our only full day in Hong Kong and we had to make the most of it!
Visiting the famous Giant Buddha consists of taking the Ngong Ping 360 cable car to the village of Ngong Ping (definitely a tourist trap but in my humble opinion – worth it). The cable car ride is 25 minutes long and you have your choice of regular cable car or a “Crystal Cabin” – a glass bottom cable car! I wish I had taken the Crystal Cabin, however, my mom is terrified of heights and it was hard enough getting her on a regular cable car.
The ride affords you some spectacular views of the Hong Kong International Airport, the South China Sea, the Tung Chung Valley and the Ngong Ping Plateau.
Once at the top we explored the Ngong Ping village, climbed to the top of the Giant Buddha, and visited the Po Lin Monastery.
The Temple Street Night Market
That night we ventured from where we were staying on Hong Kong Island to Kowloon to try and find the Temple Street Night Market. And I do mean try…we got lost…as in got off the train and went in the complete opposite direction. But we eventually we found it and it was worth it. We got some great deals and it was a fantastic idea to shop out of the oppressive heat of the day.
Wander the Streets
On our last day in Hong Kong, before our 6 p.m. flight to Sydney, we left our luggage at the hotel and wandered down to the harbour and downtown Hong Kong. We meandered through the streets past little shops full of curiosities and bright colourful signage and strolled through the high end shops downtown before heading back to our hotel to grab our luggage and make the trek to the airport for the next phase of our trip.
So that’s what I did. I can’t tell you that these were the best things to do but with the short time we had I fell in love with Hong Kong and definitely plan to go back and explore this city in more depth.