I just returned from an epic 6 week trip through China and Japan. It was hot, tiring, exhilarating, beautiful, stressful, and overwhelming all at once. To my surprise, one of my favorite cities on this trip was Hong Kong. What was supposed to be a simple stopover on our way from China to Japan turned out to be an amazing long weekend in a city I felt like I could live in.
I loved the western influence combined with traditional Chinese culture, not to mention the hustle and bustle of Kowloon and Hong Kong island. I loved the subway system and the museums. I loved the harbour and the peak. Everything seemed familiar yet foreign at the same time. A weekend was not enough, it was hard to leave Hong Kong. But if you only have a weekend, here’s how to spend 36 hours in Hong Kong.
10AM: Brunch at Wagyu
Good morning city. Start your day off with a hearty meal at Wagyu. Although food is priced on the higher end, they have generous portions and offer brunch similar to what you’d find on a busy weekend in New York.
11:30AM: Take the Ferry across Victoria Harbour
What used to be the attraction of the city, taking the Star Ferry across Victoria Harbour remains one of the must-do experiences for visitors. The 5-min trip offers some amazing views.
11:45AM Walk the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade
The ferry leaves you at the pier in Tsim Sha Tsui. Walk the Avenue of Stars along the promenade and find handprints and statues of celebrities famous in Asia. Strike a pose with Bruce Lee, it seems that every else has come here for just that.
1:00PM Visit the Hong Kong Museum of Art
Take a break from the heat and humidity outside and pop into the Hong Kong Museum of Art. Although small in size, the museum houses a fine collection of antiques, bronzes, paintings, and ceramics.
2:00PM Take afternoon tea at the Peninsula
Known as Hong Kong’s most famous spot for afternoon tea, the Peninsula welcomes you with its occupant interior and old-world charm. The hotel is ultra expensive and you get what you pay for - the staff are known for their exceptional service and loyalty. But for those who cannot afford to spend the night, we’ll just have to settle for tea.
4:00PM Museum of History
Time to brush up on the history of Hong Kong. Learn about the different ethnic minorities from Hong Kong, and it’s history as a British colony at the Museum of History. Entrance is free on Wednesdays.
6:00PM Nathan Road
Many tourists come to Hong Kong planning to leave with less money in their wallet. From traditional Chinese decor to upscale and high end apparel, there’s never a shortage of shopping here. Lined with shops and restaurants, Nathan Road is the mecca of shopping in Kowloon.
8:00PM Temple Street Night Market
Don’t miss this famous night market with outdoor stalls selling souvenirs, clothing, accessories, and electronics. Come for the festive vibe at night, that’s when the real action gets started.
10:00AM Dim Sum at Lin Heung Tea House
It’s no surprise that there’s a number of famous and great dim sum restaurants in Hong Kong but there is perhaps no experience like the Lin Heung madness. In traditional dim sum culture, the food is carted around the restaurant and you pick or signal for what you want from the cart. Space is tight and you will be sharing a table with strangers. But that’s no worry since you will be spending a fair amount of time away from your seat. Everybody dashes to the trollies as soon as they come out of the kitchen, and the popular dim sums go to the fastest hands and feet.
12:00PM Shop Pacific Place
A series of office tours home to major department stores and contemporary boutiques, you might be getting lost in here for hours.
3:30PM Shop Li Yuen Street
Peel yourself away from the windows of Pacific Place and switch it up for another kind of shopping experience at Li Yuen Street (East and West). Browse the tightly packed stalled here for both Chinese and Western trinkets, clothes, and accessories.
5:00PM Head up to Victoria Peak
This is it. Most people come to Hong Kong having heard of Victoria Peak. The peak is Hong Kong Island’s tallest hill and offers 360 panoramic views if the weather gods are cooperative. The view is especially beautiful at night so browse the center at the Peak and stay until the sun goes down.
9:PM Lan Kwai Fong
Home to many bars and clubs, Lan Kwai Fong is a popular entertainment district, especially with expats. Enjoy the evening festivities.