If you just have one day to spend and this is your first trip to Hong Kong this article is tailor-made for you to experience the flair of urban Hong Kong. Time is short and Hong Kong has a lot to offer. So make sure to wear some comfortable walking shoes and to take your camera along.
The perfect start in the day – a Dim Sum breakfast
For a perfect start in the day, I would recommend you to try a traditional Cantonese breakfast: the famous “Dim Sum“. No matter where you stay in Hong Kong (Hong Kong Island, Kowloon side or in the New Territories) you easily can and will find a Dim Sum place or restaurant nearby (just ask your concierge or take our recommendations below). This traditional breakfast offers for everybody’s taste something – sweet, sour, salty, hot or cold, steamed or deep-fried dishes.
Popular Dim Sums include spring rolls, Cha Shao Bao (sweet BBQ pork buns), shaomai or steamed rice rolls (please take a look at our Dim Sum articles in the food section as well). No matter what kind of breakfast habit you prefer: This breakfast can be as rushed or leisurely as you might want it to be. It is not unusual to spend a whole morning there. You will see many locals reading newspaper, enjoying different foods and tea or meeting with family and friends.
After the breakfast it is time to do some sightseeing. Depending on which side of Hong Kong you reside you have the following great options:
Star Ferry or Ding Ding Tram
If you live on the Kowloon side (Tsim Sha Tsui (TST)), Hong Hum or even Mongkok, I recommend you take the Star Ferry in Victoria Harbor in TST. This way of transportation is one of Hong Kong’s most iconic attractions and the best part: the fare is just HK$ 2.5 on weekdays (on weekends HK$ 3.0). Make sure to take the Ferry to Central and take the upper deck. The entrance to the Star Ferry is just next to the Hong Kong Tourism Board. Traveling time to Central (Hong Kong Island) is roughly 8-10 minutes and you will have the opportunity to take a look at one of the most impressive skylines and most diverse samples of architecture in the world such as the from I.M. Pei designed Bank of China, the HSBC Building or the IFC Two Tower. After you arrived in Central take Bus 15C to Garden Road.
That’s the first stop for the Peak Tram which will take you up the Peak. (If you live on Hong Kong Island, I recommend you to take another iconic means of transportation: the tram or as locals refer to it – the DingDing (highly recommended). The tram is one of the cheapest forms to get around on Hong Kong Island and it’s just HK$ 2.3 – no matter how many stations you take.
The tram will take you through some of Hong Kong’s most popular districts such as Wan Chai, Admiralty and Central and you will be able to enjoy some the above mentioned interesting pieces of architecture out of a different perspective.
Insider Tips: Please make sure to take the tram that takes you in the direction of Kennedy Town (Here’s the link to a westbound route map of tram). The entrance of the tram is at the back. Please be aware the exact change of HK$ 2.3 at the driver when exiting at the front. There will be no change giving by the driver.
The Peak Tram will take you up to the heights of Victoria Peak. For more information about the Peak, fares, Madame Tussauds wax museum and what else you can refer to the link above.
The tram ride just takes about 7 minutes. Don’t forget to take the seat on the right side when you are going uphill. You can see the beautiful Hong Kong’s skyscraper and Victoria Harbor unfold. Once on top, make sure to go on the sky terrace to enjoy the magnificent views. Just behind the Peak Tower is a shopping mall Peak Galleria with restaurants and even a kindergarten located.
If you had enough of the views you might want to take a short break there to relax and refresh yourself. Be aware that prices not only for souvenirs but also for food and restaurant are higher than in the rest of Hong Kong.
When you have had enough of the pretty skyline take the peak tram down again and catch Bus 15C to the Star Ferry Terminal. If you are in the mood for shopping or didn’t have lunch yet, you might want to have a look at the IFC shopping mall just opposite the Bus and Star Ferry Terminal. Then catch the Star Ferry back to TST.
Avenue of Stars
From there you can stroll along Avenue of Stars and catch the sunset. Not only you will have a chance to see over 100 different plagues of actors and movie stars, but also you will have a chance to see how the already spectacular skyline will change at night.
Symphony of Lights
If you are already in TST and you are not too exhausted from the trip yet, you may consider to do shopping in the nearby shopping mall Harbour City (it’s just a 2 minute walk from the Star Ferry Terminal and hosts 100+ shops and restaurants). Or you might want to take a look at the Hong Kong Art Museum or Hong Kong Space Museum nearby. Or walk along the promenade and take a look at the Clock Tower. But don’t forget the time and miss the [Symphony of Lights] Show which starts every night at 8:00pm. Besides the spectacular night view of Hong Kong’s skyline, you can also enjoy 15-min the world’s largest light and music show.
One Night in Hong Kong
For all who enjoy the nightlife, bars and good food: there are plenty of choices to choose. If you want to stay on the Kowloon side, you might want to take a look at the famous Felix Bar in the Peninsula Hotel (Insider Tip: for the guys…check out the bathroom…the view is fantastic!).
Roasted Peking Duck (Beijing Duck)
Hungry already? Here are two recommended restaurants nearby. If you are interested in roasted Peking duck you might want to try the Peking Garden Restaurant located on the 3 floor of the StarHouse (opposite of the Star Ferry Terminal and just next to the China Arts and Craft store). But remind you because they have spectacular skyline from the window and they are famous for some Chinese dishes, you may need to wait if you didn’t book the table.
Maybe you are luckily and see the chef prepare fresh Chinese noodles or slice the roasted duck just in front of your eyes and table.
Second, if you like special themed restaurants and surroundings have a look at the Hutong on the 28 floor on One Peking Road (here is the location of the restaurant). Be aware that the prices for dinner is upscale, but the atmosphere and settings of this restaurant is one of a kind.
If your hotel is on Hong Kong Island…you might want to consider to go to Lan Kwai Fong, Wan Chai or Causeway Bay depending on your preferences. There are plenty of bars, pubs, restaurant and shopping opportunities.
If you have no interest in some of our arrangements and have more time to spend, we highly recommend you go up to the latest landmark of Hong Kong International Commerce Center (ICC). The highest indoor observation deck of Hong Kong Sky 100 Hong Kong Observation Deck is inside. No matter you go there in daytime or at night, views from there are both breathtaking. But we recommend you to make this choice only when the weather is pleasant and the visibility is high.
Next to Sky100 is the new shopping mall “Elements” where has the collections of many luxury brands and restaurants.
If you go there at night, you also can consider dining in one of the restaurants in Ritz Carlton Hotel, such as Ozone Bar. Just search our website that we have many articles related with this topic.
At last, we conclude the plan of this day for your convenience:
[Dim Sum Breakfast] ——— [Go to Central by MTR or Star Ferry] ——— [Take the Peak Tram up to the Peak] ——— [Go up to Peak Tower] ——— [Go back to Central by Peak Tram] ——— [Option 1: Having Lunch in IFC tower / Option 2: Take Ding Ding tour around Hong Kong Island] ——— [Take either MTR or Star Ferry back to TST] ——— [Walk along Avenue of Stars / TST Clock Tower] ——— [Shopping in Harbour City] ——— [Watch “Symphony of Light”] ——— [Having Dinner (HuTong or Peking Garden)] ——— [Visit Lan Kwai Fong in Central] ——— [You also can consider to take a look in Sky 100 Observation Deck and dine in Ritz Carlton Hotel or Elements Shopping Mall]
You can also refer to our article “Hong Kong for Free” to choose other great attractions in Hong Kong.
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