A 24-HOUR LAYOVER IN HONG KONG
Okay, so you got 24-hours layover to see the best of the best in Hong Kong. I’m here to give you a 24-hour itinerary that gives you both dualities of Hong Kong – the hustle and bustle and the sweet greener goodness of nature that, believe it or not, really does exist.
First, you’ll want to grab your luggage, hop on the airport express and head towards the Hong Kong station. This will cost you $100 HKD, $15 USD, for a one way there. I suggest buying a return ticket, that way you have both ways sorted. You’ll be at the IFC tower when you arrive to the last stop, the International Finance Centre. Now, my friend, with patience, exit the airport express and find your way to the luggage drop off the area. You’ll want to go up the escalators to re-check your luggage back. If you find yourself lost, just ask customer service and they will direct you to the airport express check-in counter to drop your luggage off back at the airport. That way, you don’t need to worry about your luggage for the rest of your day.
Step two is to exit IFC, and to walk left towards the Star Ferry towards Kowloon. Anyone you ask will gladly help to direct you to the Star Ferry. Now, if you want to see the best view of Hong Kong’s harbor, this is it. Hop on the ferry, as it takes you to the Kowloon side of the island, and enjoy the surrounding view of the city. The Star Ferry will drop you off in Tsim Sha Tsui. This is where you might need to meditate into a state of calmness before the, pardon my language, “fuck me it’s chaotic here” comes out of your mouth. Walking out of the Star Ferry, keep walking straight until you hit Nathan road. Patience young grasshopper, you can take your time here, I mean, you won’t be fast walking that’s for sure. You’re at the heart of Hong Kong’s craziness now.
Side note 1- don’t take any offense to people bumping into you without apologizing.
Side note 2 – don’t take any offense to people bumping into you because they’re on their phones, it’s just the norm of Hong Kong.
Once you think you have experienced enough of the hustle and bustle, look for the MTR sign while you’re walking and hop on the red line to Admiralty station. Let’s bring you back with nature. I’m going to take you up to the famous Peak hike. Hail a cab, or you can walk up cotton tree road towards the tram directly from Admiralty station, which will take you to the top of the Peak. The Peak is considered a morning hike for the local Hong Kong-er’s. It’s great. I’ll usually hike the Peak about two to three times a week, for weeks when i’m THAT motivated . It’s a nice little getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Fast forward to after the hike, i’m not sure what time it’ll be, but I can imagine that your stomach is probably growling. Hike down the peak all the way to Robinson Road (you’ll eventually hit Robinson Road, just wait for it). Your job now is to locate the escalator on Robinson road. Yeah, those big and long escalators that will bring you back into central. Find them, and use them to orient yourself back into central. As you’re coming down, there will be countless bars and restaurants on all the side streets. If you’re in the mood for a casual beverage or a snack, Elgin or Staunton St. is your best option.
Okay, so Hong Kong is hella pricey, I know. Let me suggest you some budget-friendly restaurants where you can grab a bite to eat along the escalators
- La Maison Lebonaise
- Nood Food (Inside of Pure Fitness) (organic & health-conscious)
- Fresca (organic & health-conscious)
- Tsui Wah (The Asian version of Denny’s)
After your bite to eat, find your way back down to Queens Road Central.
Now you have three options: waterfront patio hopping, the beach or Hong Kong’s version of “Time Square”.
Option A) Kennedy Town
The new hip place in Hong Kong where the minority hipsters like to hang out. Right on the waterfront, you can find craft breweries, Japanese fusion restaurants, organic cafés, and some pretty kick-ass sandwiches. Hail a cab, or take the MTR down to the last stop on the blue line, called Kennedy Town. Walk the boardwalk, grab a bite to eat, and then beer and bar hop until the sun goes down. You’ll be in perfect conditions for your flight back home!
My favorite joints:
- Catch on Catchick
- Little Creatures Brewery
- Sunday’s Grocers
Option B) Stanely Beach and boardwalk
Hail a cab or catch the #6 bus from the exchange center in Queens Road Central and head down to Stanely. Located in the lower peninsula in Hong Kong, here you can find a mixture of everything from outdoor shopping and food markets, a beach boardwalk loaded with food options, and the beach. 20 minutes away from Hong Kong’s center, if you head over to Stanely on a sunny day, you’ll probably still end up in the same craziness. Luckily for you, you got three options to avoid the crowds. I like Stanley, but I usually avoid because it’s a little too crazy for me on the weekends.
Feeling adventurous? Want to break a sweat?
Do a killer 1000 step hike called the twin peaks to end up at Stanely.
Option C) Causeway Bay, Times Square
OKAY, brace yourself. Crazy of all craziness. You’ve been to Mongkok already. So I know you can do it! Causeway Bay Time’s Square is your one stop shop for shopping. Here you can find international retail stores, such as Apple, H&M, Forever 21, and… that’s about it. Hong Kong shopping is pretty limited. Either a big spender or stuck with department stores. Not much of an in between.
Looking for some shopping boutiques?
Ok, I’ll fill you into a local shopping secrets. Click Here
Other than shopping, Causeway Bay has got authentic grimy-delicious street food on every damn corner.
Feelin’ like a bowl of ramen?
head down to Tung Lang Street where the options lay in your oyster.
Welcome to my world. You can always opt for vegetables from any Chinese diner (eggplant is the bomb), but we want to feel healthy and good after, right? The Herbivores is where you want to go!
Every other shop front. You are in good hands here, my friend.
So there you have it, a 24-hour experience in Hong Kong that’s combined with both, the concrete jungle and nature. If you have more time to kill before heading back to the airport, splurge your last HKD on a nicely overpriced drink at the Red Bar at the top of the IFC. Then when you’re ready to leave, all you have to do is just catch the airport express at the very bottom level of the IFC.
Hopefully your bank account survives Hong Kong for 24-hours.