View from Victoria Peak – a must do when in HK.
What to do on a layover in Hong Kong?
Big Buddha (Tian Tan Buddha)
This is a great option to start with if you’re flying into Hong Kong International Airport. Take the MTR (metro) from Airport Express Line to the Tung Chung Line – they are very close in proximity.
The easiest way to reach the big bronze Buddha is through the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car, which takes about 25 minutes. Ride the cable car to where Big Buddha sits and get a work out in by climbing the 268 steps to the top! Make a visit to Po Lin Monastery next door while you’re at it.
Tea at the Peninsula Hotel
Darjeeling black tea, Moroccan mint, classic English breakfast…sound inviting yet after a long plane ride? Don’t forget the raisin scones with clotted cream, cucumber and salmon finger sandwiches alongside macarons, miniature pies and puff pastries. The famous Peninsula Hotel lies on the Kowloon side of the city. Go indulge! Beware: peak times have long lines.
A junkboat across the Harbor at sunset can’t be beat as this city’s skyline is one of my favorites. It provides a perfect experience for couples or friends, enjoying a beer or two while sailing across the Harbor. Many different types of boats exist including the classy junk below. Visit Saffron Cruises if you’re looking for a certain kind of gilded authenticity.
Symphony of Lights on Victoria Harbor
Happening every night at 8pm, a light show is conducted on Victoria Harbor incorporating lights, lasers and around 45 waterfront buildings on both Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. It’s best seen from anywhere along the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront or a junkboat on the water. This was the view from my room at the Peninsula Hong Kong:
Cat Street Market
I knew I should’ve bought these three little gods for HK$250! How cute are they?? If you’re a lover of antiques, or worn gems in general, Upper Lascar Row is where you’ll find a good bargain on jade, silk and wooden handicrafts. Take a little piece of Hong Kong home with you. Location: Across the way from Tsim Sha Tsui on Hong Kong Island. Take the Star Ferry across the harbor for next to nothing!
Man Mo Temple
In 2010, I visited this temple with my best friend. We bought incense coils with pieces of red paper in order to write our wishes, then we hung the burning incense coils from the ceiling. Mine was about figuring out what the hell I wanted to do in life. Five years later, I’m learning wishes really do come true. Location: Near Cat Street Market. Knock them both out in minutes.
The Little Bao
If you’re hungry and you know it, head to Little Bao. Good news – it’s in close range to where you’ve been exploring (market and Man Mo Temple). With truffle fries that will blow your mind and an organic beef boa that is equally amazing, you’ll be fat and happy for the rest of your long layover. I’m getting hungry and nostalgic just thinking about it, so we’ll have to move right along…
Tim Ho Wan // Ho Lee Fook
Oh look. More food! Tim Ho Wan, known for their dim sum, is the most inexpensive Michelin-rated eatery on the planet. Ho Lee Fook (chuckle) is contemporary Chinese cuisine tucked away on Elgin St. in Soho (again, near many of the above mentions).
Bungee in Macau
What isn’t exactly near the above mentions is the world’s highest bungee jump in Macau, China. An hour ferry ride from Hong Kong, you’ll need a longer layover and a love for adrenaline if you decide to go this route. I highly recommend it – definitely worth the time and money for the bragging rights!