A long layover doesn’t have to be a bad thing. On our trip to South East Asia, my cousin Maya and I got two layovers at Hong Kong International Airport. We had never been to this corner of the world before, so we wanted to take full advantage of the opportunity to explore vibrant Hong Kong. And what a day we got!
– Practical Information –
Lets get the boring stuff out of the way first. Here is some practical info that might help you out on your layover in Hong Kong:
The process of leaving the airport was very simple. We had barely done any research on layovers in HK prior to our trip, so once we arrived at the airport we asked the lovely airport staff for help and boom – minutes later we had a 72 hour visa and train tickets to the city in our hands. So thankful! We also got some Hong Kong Dollars from the airport ATM before boarding the train.
The three main ways to get from the airport to central Hong Kong are by train, bus or taxi. We chose the Airport Express train at $115 HKD a ticket, which was probably far from the cheapest option out there. But it departed every 10 minutes and was able to get us into the city in less than 25 minutes, which was a huge plus for us since our time in Hong Kong was very limited.
HK was fairly easy to navigate through. Before leaving the airport I downloaded a map of the city on my Google Maps app (that offline feature is amazing!), but we barely had to use it. With the exception of one ferry ride we pretty much stayed in one major area of central Hong Kong, so walking became the natural choice for us on this trip. If your travel plans are more geographically widespread I suggest checking out the metro.
Where To Stay
We spent one night at Cosmo Hotel in the area Wan Chai. We really enjoyed the food & drinks, the polite and helpful staff and classy interior. As our stay was booked and paid for by Cathay Pacific Airways due to technical difficulties on our flight, I have no clue how it is compared to similar hotels regarding price.
– Six Things To Do In Hong Kong –
Finally, the fun part! In our 24 hours in Hong Kong we wasted a lot of time looking for viewpoints of the city, which could have been avoided had we spent 15 minutes doing proper research. So please don’t repeat our mistake – find at least one or two things you want to do prior to your layover. Here are six suggestions:
#1 Victoria Peak
The first thing we wanted to do was to check out the famous Victoria Peak. After a 15 minute walk from Hong Kong Station, a huge crowd suddenly blocked our way. A protest maybe? A celebrity sighting? Nope. All of those people had the exact same plans as us.
Let me tell you, I’m no stranger to the lines of big city attractions. I’ve been around. But this line was in it’s own league, so it didn’t take long until we decided we didn’t want to spend the majority of our 24 hours in Hong Kong stuck in a line. Suggestion: Be sure to show up early in the morning if you want to avoid the crowds!
#2 Hong Kong Observation Wheel
After our epic Victoria Peak failure we visited an additional three locations recommended on TripAdvisor, looking for that rooftop view. But they were all closed due to renovation or other things. Finally we settled on the ferris wheel at the harbor. And it was such a great experience! Although I was terrified the entire duration of it (ehhheh scared of heights), it had the most beautiful view of the city and Victoria Harbour. And I didn’t even pee my pants or anything!
#3 Hydrate In The Skies
A girl’s gotta hydrate right? So why not do it in the skies. Get your cocktails at Popinjays at The Murray for an amazing view of the city. Although I should warn you that prices are quiiiiite stiff.
#4 Visit A Green Lung
On our way from the tram station line we stumbled upon Hong Kong Park. We didn’t stay long, but it was a lovely park for a stroll. Recommended if you’re in the area. If you’re headed to Kowloon I suggest you check out Kowloon Park (psst! Both parks have flamingos!)
Recommended Read: If you enjoy green lungs like me you should check out my best suggestions for Central Park, NYC.
#5 Catch The Light Show
Every night at 8 pm there is a light show in Hong Kong. The best place to see it is probably from Kowloon. It was fairly simple to get from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon with metro or ferry – we chose the latter.
The light show was a bit disappointing due to all the hype, to be honest.. I hate it when that happens! But I still recommend you to watch it if you have the chance. Just try to lower your expectations and you’ll be fine haha.
Hong Kong is supposed to be one of the best cities to shop in. On Hong Kong Island, we enjoyed walking around the Wan Chai and Causeway Bay areas for shopping, as they had a lot of budget chains we don’t have in Norway. Times Square mall was also great and had a nice variety of stores of different price ranges.
When we went to Tsim She Tsui in Kowloon for the the light show, we also checked out Harbour City mall which was gigantic. I recommend you eat a HEXA while you’re there, as it has an amazing view of the skyline.
I hope you have an amazing time and enjoy your 24 hours in Hong Kong! Make sure to save this post for later.