3-Day Visit in Hong Kong
At age 7, my mother took me along to visit my oldest sister, who was at the time a flight attendant for a Hong Kong based airline, Cathay Pacific.
Considering the close proximity between Manila and Hong Kong (about a 2-hour flight), in addition to our flight benefits with Cathay Pacific, I’ve lost count on the number of times I’ve visited this vibrant and bustling city.
But regardless of other destinations that I have yet to cross off on my bucket list – I keep coming back to Hong Kong!
There’s something about the smell, taste, and touch that tickle my senses and trigger my childhood memories the moment I arrive in Hong Kong.
(Also, I’ve always wanted to visit cities in China – the culture just fascinates me!)
Right when you exit out of the airport and breathe the air, you know you are in Hong Kong. As soon as you taste any of the stunning arrays of delicacy – from street food to Michelin star rated restaurants – you know you are in Hong Kong. Even the moment you step out in the streets, you feel you are in Hong Kong.
It just has that very distinct and recognizable vibe.
Hong Kong is typically where I spend my layovers whenever I bounce between Manila and Chicago. Considering my familiarity with the city, I typically keep my stay in Hong Kong short and sweet I think three to five days in Hong Kong is plenty of time to check-off list everything on your checklist and more!
This past March, my 12-hour layover in Hong Kong turned to an unexpected three-day visit.
Because I missed my flight (ughhhhhhh).
My iPhone alarm decided the morning of my flight that I should wake up 40 minutes before my plane takes-off (you could argue it’s more user error…but whatever). You can just imagine the chaos and ‘WTF’ look on my face the moment I opened my eyes and looked at the time, with the immediated thought: “People are boarding right about, NOW!”
I don’t remember ever getting dressed as fast as I did at that moment, without any care whether or not my shirt is inside out or if I had matching socks or not. I hauled a** – not caring whether or not I brushed my teeth, combed my hair, or looked presentable. It wasn’t the time to try to look pretty!
Considering the 30-minute Uber ride to the airport, I already knew midway through – that regardless of how I try to be charming with my stank breath with the airline representatives – there was no way they would wait for me to get on that flight back home to Chicago (it would’ve really paid off to be Beyoncé at that moment.)
And since I couldn’t be Beyoncé, it was a missed flight. I had to wait three more days until the next available from Hong Kong to Chicago.
And I wasn’t even mad!
As many times as I’ve visited this city, touring Hong Kong has never felt repetitive. In fact, the more I go back, the more I discover places I didn’t know existed. If anything, I don’t think I’m all that familiar with Hong Kong as I thought.
Regardless, I still have my go-to spots whenever in Hong Kong. I’ve run down a few of them below:
PLACES TO VISIT IN HONG KONG
The panaromaic view of the Hong Kong skyline from Victoria Peak is stunning. Hong Kong has the most skyscrapers in the world – and you can see this striking and unique view in all of its glory atop of a mountain.
But that’s assuming the weather is clear and without fog! Otherwise, there won’t be much of a view!
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👋🏼Lei Ho Ma (Hello in Cantonese). It was only supposed to be an overnight layover – but turned to a 3 night 2 day unplanned extended stay in Hong Kong because of a missed flight (alarm didn't go off/woke up late) 😬😬😬 How many of you have missed flights ? And I want to know the reason !! 😆😆😆– 📍Hong Kong 🇭🇰
My absolute favorite thing to see here is the Symphony of Lights Show in Victoria Harbor. There are 40+ skyscrapers and landmarks on the other side of the harbor that gets lit up every night at 8 p.m. – dancing to the music for about 15 minutes.
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🚽Chi só hái bīn douh a? (Where is the toilet – Cantonese) 😆Back to one of my favorite spots to chill in HK, the Avenue of Stars at Victoria Harbor. I tend to stay here late afternoon til around 8pm when they have that awesome laser lights and music show… I've seen it multiple times over the years and never get tired of seeing it over and over again. 🔄For those who've been to HK, have u guys seen it?! –📍Hong Kong 🇭🇰
Hong Kong Harbor Night Cruise
Probably a romantic thing to do if you are a couple!
Big Buddha (Tian Tan Statue) in Lantau Island
I’ve lost count how many times I’ve seen the Big Buddha in Hong Kong.
It’s actually quite the hike to get there. Just taking the metro from Tsim Sha Tsui to the bus station, and then the bus ride to Lantau Island is a solid two-hour journey. It’s a solid chunk of your day.
But seeing the size of this Buddha is equally as impressive as the last time I’ve seen it. It never gets old!
It’s a Hong Kong must do activity. For mere.25 cents, you can cross the harbor within 8 minutes or so while enjoying the unique and striking views of the skyline.
Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade
If you don’t feel like taking a ferry but still want to enjoy the iconic skyline of Hong Kong, this is the best place to enjoy it. Sometimes, I would go here to squat around for a hot minute and people watch.
Also a place where you’ll see the elderly doing group exercises to typical Chinese music !!
Peak Tram to Victoria Peak
I’ve lost count how many times I’ve ridden the Peak Tram up to Victoria Peak – but going up a mountain on a 45 degree angle with picturesque views of Hong Kong never gets old!
FAVORITE NEIGHBORHOODS IN HONG KONG:
If I have another 3-day layover without having to do sightseeing activities, I would most likely spend that time roaming around Causeway Bay. There are plenty of things to do to keep myself occupied. Also, I love how this area in Hong Kong reminds me so much of Tokyo. Two of my favorite cities in one neighborhood!
Ladder Street/ Pottinger Street
This is one part of Hong Kong I’ve never actually visited up until this recent trip! This street is located in Sheung Wan and consists entirely of stone steps, with patches of colorful and vibrant shops peppered throughout.
Known as the entertainment district in Hong Kong, SoHo probably feels the most westernized area you’ll come across in Hong Kong. Plenty of trendy boutique shops, restaurants, café’s, and bars. Frequented by expats alike.
I love this area of Hong Kong because it has so much character and so much energy. There are plenty of great places to try street food (fish balls are my go-to street food) and a plethora of markets to get your souvenir shopping!
PLACES TO EAT
Two things I love to eat in Hong Kong:
Beef Brisket Noodle Soup
Mak Man Kee Noodle Shop
It looks like your typical hole in a wall restaurant – but with the best beef brisket soup I’ve ever had to date.
My friend took me here on my first night – and immediately went back two more times before I left. It was that good – just ask any of the people that line up just to get a table!
I do not go to Hong and not have dim sum – it’s a must for anyone visiting Hong Kong
Unfortunately, I don’t have a specific restaurant to recommend. I usually just go to any restaurant that serves dim sum, and 99% of the time I leave the restaurant with a happy smile on my face.
You can never go wrong with this dish!