Planning a Hong Kong weekend gateway is not as easy as it may seem. The city is quite wide and you definitely want to add a visit to one of the local islands, not far away from the center, however miles away from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong.
As soon as you step out from the plane you will realize how surprising is actually the city. Hong Kong is based on a set of islands connected with a small mainland territory where rising concrete towers compete for space with the luxuriant nature.
Try to book a seat close to the window on your flight. It will be the best place to admire this chaotic large-scale world city. You will spend a few minutes trying to understand where is the beginning and the end of Hong Kong without an answer at the end.
Hong Kong weekend getaway – Start in Kowloon
The heart of Hong-Kong is the Kowloon district, an ultra-dynamic area which concentrates hotels, shops, restaurants and bars by the hundreds, either dedicated to the backpackers or to the luxury side of the tourism market. Start your first morning here
What is the most eye-catching thing of Kowloon?
It is most definitely the population density. The Hong Kong territory has 7 million inhabitants however the Kowloon district has a density of over 6000 people per square km, a real anthill. Like it or not, this is pretty unique in the world. Something to experience. If you look for a hostel in this area, you will be amazed at how the slightest square meter has been used, no space to spare here.
Keep going with a walk on the Avenue of Stars, the pedestrian area situated along the sea at Victoria Harbour. Make sure to come back here in the night to admire the magical atmosphere of the illuminated buildings, with some of them changing colour every few minutes
Hong Kong was a British colony until 1997. Since it moved back, it has benefited from a unique economic and political freedom, compared to mainland China. Film production has been one of the biggest industries, grown to a major level, just behind Hollywood and Bollywood.
Hong Kong movies have a very strong identity. Many new Chinese actors were born from this industry to become famous even in the United States. The Stars Avenue took the cue from the Hollywood Walk of Fame concept, honouring the celebrities of the HK cinematographic industry, of which the most iconic is probably the very famous Bruce Lee.
The city can be quite intimidating, especially for first-timers. Before booking any accommodation I suggest to check our guide on where to stay in Hong Kong
This is another source on where to stay in Hong Kong, however, we did not write it.
What is the best point of view in Hong Kong?
In your Hong Kong weekend gateway, you definitely have to include a visit to the Victoria Peak, at a height of 552 meters. You can either walk up to the summit, where there is an observatory centre or go for the easy way, by funicular.
The funicular is called Peak Tram and it was inaugurated in 1888 for the exclusive use of the British governor and the rich residents of the Peak. Today it is open to the general public and everybody can enjoy a ride on the steepest funicular in the world, or should I call it elevator LOL
The ascent, which lasts only seven minutes, is a real visual experience, we see scrolling under our eyes the skyscrapers which seem to rise towards the sky.
Once arrived on the top, we venture through the many trails around the Victoria Peak and we discover several viewpoints from where I cannot stop myself from taking a few landscape shots of the city.
From here we can see the city side of Honk Kong as well as the archipelago. It’s a great point where we can have a real understanding of the area, made not just of buildings but also of beautiful islands.
What is the best time of the day to visit the Peak?
Have a check to the Photography tips below 😉
We have spent our first day in the Kowloon area. We took the funicular to the Victoria Peak for an amazing view of the city and the archipelago. We went back in the night to The Stars Avenue for a walk and a lovely view of the skyscrapers, illuminated in a multitude of colours.
What to do the next day?
We decided to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and explore an almost inhabited island (by HK standards) in the archipelago. Yes, as surprising as it can be, we were able to find a hidden and peaceful corner far away from the urban and economic frenzy of the city.
We woke up in the morning with the plan to take a ferry (many available at the pier) to Lamma Island, situated in the southwest part of the Hong-Kong archipelago.
What is the beauty of this island?
Lamma is a peaceful and quiet place, formally a Chinese fisherman village and today a multicultural community. East and west live here in a haven of peace and harmony. It is an ideal place to come for one day to take advantage of the beaches and to rest from the urban excitement.
Here there are no roads and no cars; you can easily wander around the island. Walk up to the panoramic house for the sunset and enjoy the 360° view. Before leaving, come down the village and enjoy your meal at one of the local restaurant, where the fish of the day is an absolute must have
Finally, the night ferry return trip will finish off your beautiful day by the amazing city’s lights.
It has been a lovely weekend, made of urbanization and landscape, buildings and nature, beaches and mountains. A weekend that I will remember for a long long while
Where did I stay
When I travel it’s always hard to take a decision on the accommodation. Location is important to me, mostly for my photography.
I must be honest. With Honk Kong I spent quite a bit of time deciding where should I stay. I wanted to have a great location with a nice hostel at a good price. I know I am asking a lot here.
I decided to book at Pandora After 80’s. There are two kinds of rooms. The ones as in the photo and the really tiny ones, if you are on a budget. This hostel is just perfect for the location, so close to the transportation system and next to an unlimited option of restaurants
Travel & Photography Tips
- Go for a walk in Kowloon area to experience the frenzy streets (plenty of street photography opportunity here)
- Take the funicular to Victoria Peak for the view of the city and the archipelago around you. The sunset and sunrise directions vary from season to season. It can either be on your back, facing the city or right at your front. Have a look at Suncalc, add the dates you are there and you will have all the info
- Visit some islands in the archipelago (departure from pier n°4 in Hong Kong island); Lamma island is definitely suggested however many others around. Enjoy nature and the quiet places
- Hong Kong food specialties are renown in the whole world, I could not stop myself from thinking to the next meal 😀