How to spend 48 hours in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is the perfect Asia stopover. It’s small and compact, with the attractions of Lantau Island on the airport’s doorstep and the main downtown area only 25 minutes away. Hong Kong International Airport is also regarded as one of the most efficient airports in the world, so it’s unlikely you’ll be held up in customs for too long. The local transport system is also second to none (read our blog on navigating Honk Kong by subway). So even if you only have two days in the city it’s not impossible to see all of its biggest attractions – here’s what we recommend seeing.
Treat your taste buds
You’ll be hungry after your flight – and Hong Kong definitely knows how to satisfy peckish travellers.
Start at one of the city’s many dim sum restaurants. You can choose between the traditional dim sum that the locals eat, or you can visit a fusion place (including Kawaii-style dim sum where the dumplings have cute cartoon faces drawn on them!).
If you really want to dive into the local culture and try foods that you don’t see much of in the UK, sample the local delicacy: dried fish. You’ll find the best selection at the food market around Des Veoux Road West, Wing Lok and Ko Shing Streets. You can keep it simple with dried scallops or dried shrimps – but if you’re feeling adventurous keep your eye out for abalone, sea cucumber, fish maw and shark’s fin.
When you’re in need of a refreshment, seek out one of Hong Kong’s many tea houses. Tea can be traced back to China so you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting types of tea, ages, grades, preparation, mixes, and infusions. British-style Afternoon Tea is also more common in the city than you would think.
Look up at the Big Buddha statue
In only 25 minutes from the airport, you can find yourself looking up at one of the biggest bronze statues of Buddha in the world.
Officially called Tian Tan Buddha, it was unveiled in 1993 and modelled after Buddha Shakyamuni. You’ll find it at the most southern end of Lantau Island in Ngong Ping, and it is an extension of Po Lin Monastery. Po Lin Monastery and the Buddha are open to the public between 10:00 am and 5:30 pm. Access to the outside of the Buddha is free of charge, but there is an admission fee to go inside the Buddha.
Shop ‘til you drop
The shopping scene in Hong Kong is second to none – and is one of the main things visitors rave about when they leave.
Citygate Outlets is the largest outlet mall in Hong Kong and is home to over 90 international brands for fashion, beauty, accessories, and household items – and only 10 minutes from the airport.
If you want to pick up something local and unique we recommend checking out a street market (Temple Street Market is considered one of the best). We’d also suggest strolling along the popular Hollywood Road (which is also the second oldest road in Hong Kong) that is home to several antique shops that sell everything from Buddha sculptures to Tibetan rugs.
You’ll definitely need a full day set aside for this one – but it is well worth it if you’re a big Disney fan. Found on the north-east corner of Lantau Island, you can spend a good half day wondering around the seven lands within the park: Adventureland, Grizzly Gulch, Mystic Point, Toy Story Land, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland and Main Street.
Hong Kong Disneyland is also going through an expansion period. By 2020, Hong Kong Disneyland will boast its own Arendelle, Marvel area within Tomorrowland (with rumours of an Ant-Man experience), and Moana-style Village Festival. But that’s not all: Hong Kong is also getting a new castle (which will incorporate elements from several Disney stories).
Finish your stop-over with the sunset
Finally, you can’t visit Hong Kong without having admired it from the local mountain. Victoria Peak sits on the western half of the island and offers a stunning view of the urban landscape. If you don’t fancy hillwalking, don’t worry – there’s a tram. The best time to visit the peal – without a doubt – is when the day turns into night. Perfect end to your stopover in Hong Kong.