Hong Kong is often portrayed in films as a fast-paced, multicultural city that never sleeps. But what’s it like in the post-pandemic era? As this international metropolis gradually moves forward, it’s an opportune time to visit its landmarks and experience its unique East-meets-West culture. From indulging in authentic dim sum to experiencing the wild nightlife, join us as we explore and share top tips for visiting Hong Kong, one of the world’s most dynamic cities, within 48 hours.

Where To Stay

To make the most of your short stay in Hong Kong, consider staying on Hong Kong Island, particularly in the central and western districts, which is from North Point to Kennedy Town. These areas not only are close to major attractions like The Peak, Man Mo Temple and Ocean Park, but also houses plenty of award-winning restaurants and bars. Apart from Hong Kong’s efficient MTR and public transportation, you can find various accommodation choices here, from luxurious 5-star hotels like the Four Seasons and Mandarin Oriental, to budget-friendly boutique hostels.

Day 1 — Lantau Island & Kowloon

If you have 48 hours in this metropolis, we recommend spending one full day exploring Lantau Island and Kowloon.

Morning — Cha Chaan Teng Breakfast & Big Buddha

big buddha ngong ping
Big Buddha at Ngong Ping is one of the top tourist attractions in Hong Kong (© sumatept via Canva)

Start your day early with a classic Hong Kong-style breakfast at a local Cha Chaan Teng, like the famed Lan Fong Yuen or Shui Kee Coffee. Enjoy a hearty bowl of soup macaroni, your choice of eggs and white toast, all paired with a cup of silky Hong Kong milk tea – be mindful of its strong caffeine kick!

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Next, head to Hong Kong Station at IFC and take the Tung Chung line to Tung Chung. From there, you can reach the Big Buddha in several ways. Most tourists take a ride on the Ngong Ping 360 cable cars, conveniently located next to the Tung Chung MTR station. Soak in the panoramic views of Hong Kong International Airport, lush mountains, and the South China Sea from the comfort of your cabin. Alternatively, you can take bus or even hike up to Ngong Ping.

Upon arrival at Ngong Ping, stroll past the village to find the Big Buddha. Ascend the 268 steps to meet the world’s largest outdoor seated bronze Buddha and enjoy serene views and tranquillity. Don’t miss the nearby Po Lin Monastery, where you can try Buddhist vegetarian snacks.

tai o fishing village lantau island
Tai O Fishing Village show the unique lifestyle of the Tanka community (© Leung Cho Pan via Canva)

Then, visit the nearby ‘Little Venice of Hong Kong’ — Tai O Fishing Village. Catch a 20-minute bus or taxi ride from Ngong Ping Village. Wander amidst the picturesque stilt houses of the boat-dwelling Tanka community, and if time allows, consider a boat tour through the village’s waterways.

For lunch, choose from the many Chinese restaurants and cafés available in Tai O, or head back to Tung Chung’s Citygate Outlet Mall for a variety of dining options (and some shopping…). Conveniently located atop the Tung Chung MTR station, it’s the perfect starting point for your afternoon adventures in Kowloon.

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Afternoon — West Kowloon Cultural District & Mong Kok

west kowloon cultural district
Visit the museums at West Kowloon Cultural District, or simply enjoy the harbour view in the large outdoor space (© West Kowloon Cultural District)

Kowloon, sometimes known as ‘the dark side,’ historically had a reputation for dense tenement buildings. Today, it’s transformed into a bustling hub of shopping and culture.

From Tung Chung, take the Tung Chung line directly to Kowloon Station and explore the West Kowloon Cultural District. If you’re a fan of museums, visit M+ Museum, Asia’s first contemporary visual culture museum featuring artists like Yayoi Kusama. Nearby, the Hong Kong Palace Museum showcases national treasures from Beijing’s Forbidden City. Relax at the large outdoor space at Art Park with Victoria Harbour as your backdrop.

street food mong kok
Indulge in class street food like fish balls and Three Stuffed Treasures in Mong Kok (© Leung Cho Pan via Canva)

Then, venture to Mong Kok by minibus or taxi for shopping and street food. This lively neighbourhood caters to all — Sneaker Street (Fa Yuen Street) for sneakerheads, Sino Centre for anime fans and figure collectors, and Mong Kok Computer Centre for the geeks. Check out the Ladies’ Market, too, which is renowned for its variety of clothing, accessories, and gadgets.

Evening — Temple Street Night Market, Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade & Star Ferry

temple street night market yau ma tei
Temple Street Night Market was revamped in December 2023 (© Hong Kong Tourism Board)

As night falls, make your way to the Temple Street Night Market in Yau Ma Tei. Here, roadside food stalls serve up classic street food like curry fish balls, egg waffles, and bubble tea, alongside souvenir stalls and fortune-telling booths. Here, you can also dine in local spots specializing in claypot rice and other Chinese delicacies.

If night markets aren’t your scene, Tsim Sha Tsui offers a number of dining options, from Michelin-starred restaurants at The Peninsula Hotel to the food court at K11 Musea. For a mesmerizing view of the Symphony of Light show, a 10-minute spectacle of lights and music featuring 43 buildings along Victoria Harbour, head to the Avenue of Stars. Alternatively, enjoy the show from a bar with a harbour view like rooftop bar Aqua, Hue Dining, or Vista.

avenue of stars tsim sha tsui
Avenue of Stars on Tsim Sha Tsui promenade is the best place to enjoy the Symphony of Lights show (© Leung Cho Pan via Canva)

Continue your evening at award-winning bars like Rosewood’s Darkside in the area, before catching the iconic Star Ferry from Tsim Sha Tsui Pier back to Hong Kong Island.

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Day 2 — Hong Kong Island

For your next day, consider exploring Hong Kong Island. Ocean Park in Aberdeen is a great destination for families with kids, featuring aquariums, pandas, and various family-friendly activities. However, given the brevity of a 2-day itinerary, we haven’t included Ocean Park in this guide, but it’s a worthwhile consideration if time allows.

Morning – Dai Pai Dong Breakfast & Man Mo Temple

man mo temple sheung wan
The city’s oldest temple, Man Mo Temple, is located in the eclectic neighbourhood of Sheung Wan (© dndavis via Canva)

After a restful night, start your morning at a Dai Pai Dong like Sing Heung Yuen for breakfast. These open-air eateries serve authentic local dishes with grassroots origins.

Once fuelled, explore the eclectic and artsy Sheung Wan neighbourhood, right next to the financial hub of Central. Stroll along Des Voeux Road West and Wing Lok Street, home to traditional dried seafood shops, and discover contemporary art galleries scattered throughout. Enjoy the best street art and graffiti the city has to offer before visiting Man Mo Temple, the city’s oldest temple dedicated to the god of literature and martial arts since 1847.

Then, head to Antique Street and Cat Street for treasure hunt and souvenir shopping. Here, stalls offer everything from vintage dining wares to Maoist memorabilia.

Afternoon — Dim Sum & The Peak

dim sum hong kong
Enjoy the authentic dim sum for lunch (© kitzcorner via Canva)

Lunchtime in Hong Kong calls for dim sum, and the city offers some of the best. Delight in succulent har gow (shrimp dumplings), siu mai (pork dumplings), and cheong fun (rice noodle rolls) at renowned places like Luk Yu Tea House and Lin Heung Kui, paired with exquisite Chinese teas.

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Post-lunch, head to The Peak, one of Hong Kong’s prime attractions. Reach this highest point on Hong Kong Island either via the iconic Peak Tram or by bus from Central. Soak in stunning panoramic views from the observation deck, or stroll along the scenic Peak Circle Walk from Lugard Road. Make sure your phone has enough battery and storage for capturing those Instagram-worthy snaps of the mesmerizing concrete jungle below!

Peak Tram is one of the world’s oldest funicular railways in the world (© The Peak Hong Kong)

From The Peak, you can easily access other areas of the island using public transportation. If you’re a shopaholic, Causeway Bay is an energetic retail haven brimming with luxury malls, department stores, and boutiques. For avid photographers, don’t miss the chance to visit the famed ‘Monster Building’ in Quarry Bay and the Blue House in Wan Chai, as they are some of the most popular picture spots in Hong Kong. Nature lovers can escape the city and enjoy a tranquil walk in Stanley or a hike up Braemar Hill for the best sunset view. And for foodies, nothing beats a British afternoon tea to round off your afternoon.

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Evening — Happy Hour, Dinner & Bar Crawls at Lan Kwai Fong

lan kwai fong central
Lan Kwai Fong and the neighbouring SoHo area represent vivid night life of Hong Kong (© Lan Kwai Fong HK)

Refresh yourself and gear up for an exciting night out! Take advantage of Happy Hour deals around the city to start your evening. Hop on the iconic tram, unique on Hong Kong Island, for a ride around town.

For dinner, choose from our top restaurant picks, whether you’re in the mood for a lavish meal or a casual dining experience. Hong Kong’s culinary scene extends beyond Chinese cuisine, offering top-notch international options including Japanese, Thai, French, Italian, and many more. This foodie’s paradise won’t disappoint!

Keep the fun going in Lan Kwai Fong and the neighbouring SoHo area, the heart of Hong Kong’s nightlife. Explore award-winning bars like COA, The Diplomat, and Penicillin, or check out our monthly guide for the latest hotspots. With most bars in close proximity, you’re set for a thrilling bar crawl through the night!

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Header image credit: Leung Cho Pan via Canva

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Created by Hong Kong lovers for Hong Kong lovers, The HK HUB offers you a daily dose of stories, deals, and tips about this unique and amazing city. If you're looking for the best places to visit, to know more about the Hong Kong Culture, to find a cool restaurant or bar to chill with your friends, or an exciting thing to do over the weekend with your family, we've got you covered. The HK HUB opens the doors to Hong Kong.

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