Consider turning your Hong Kong layover into a longer stay. A Hong Kong stopover can add even more enjoyment to your visit in Asia and help beat jet lag, too!
A Hong Kong layover is a frequent consideration when travel to Asia destinations requires a change of flights in this popular hub. Please welcome our guest author, Judith Treanor, whose helpful tips will inspire you to lengthen your Hong Kong layover into a rewarding longer stay!
In my experience, a Hong Kong stopover needs to be a lot more than an overnight stay in a hotel. There’s so much to experience in this unique destination of islands, cities and towns, it’d be a shame to miss it!
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Even if you’re only in Hong Kong for a night or two, it’s possible to fit a decent amount of sightseeing and experiences in because it’s so easy to get around.
Tip: Stay connected upon arrival in Hong Kong with a 4G Pocket Unlimited WiFi you pick up and return at the airport. Click here for information and pricing.
There’s an underground MRT system which is super quick, taxis are easy to hail, and the Star Ferry offers a lovely scenic experience from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island. If you have more time, the Star Ferry will also take you to the Outer Islands.
My recommendation is to purchase an Octopus Transport Card. For around $150HKD, you can use this card to hop on and off every mode of transport in Hong Kong.
When on a stopover in Hong Kong, a visit to Victoria Peak at sunset is a must. Be prepared though, this is the most popular tourist attraction at sunset in the world. My tip is to visit around 6-7pm – this is when you’ll see the most extraordinary vistas across the harbour, and when the lights come on in the city, it’s pure magic.
To get to Victoria Peak, it’s easiest and the best experience to travel there via the historic tram on the world’s oldest and most famous funicular railways which opened back in 1888. It’s a quick five minute tram ride, but once you arrive at Peak Tower, the views across Victoria Harbour are amazing.
There are plenty of viewing terraces up the top and plenty of places to eat.
Hot tips: Take plenty of water and a hand fan because it can get quite humid. The Lion’s Pavilion offers free entry and some say better views than the paid platforms.
Hong Kong History Museum
The Hong Kong Museum of History is intriguing, particularly when it comes to learning about Hong Kong’s absolutely fascinating history. History buffs like me love this place and how the colourful history of Hong Kong is plotted across eight galleries, from the prehistoric era right through to the present day.
It’s easy to get swept back in time here with dioramas, 750 graphic panels and scaled reproductions of peasant dwellings, junk boats, cultural celebrations and fashions. I recommend allowing at least two hours to visit the museum – you won’t be disappointed.
Michelin Star Restaurant – Lung King Heen
When you come to Hong Kong, you simply must experience the food. Although there are plenty of places to experience Hong Kong cuisine, one of my all-time favourites is Lung King Heen. This is the first Chinese restaurant to be awarded 3 Michelin stars. You’ll find it in the Four Seasons Hotel, overlooking Victoria Harbour.
If you love dumplings, Lung King Heen’s Chef, Chan Yan Tak, takes them to a whole new level. If you’re keen to experience these mouth-watering dumplings, visit for a dim sum lunch.
Think steamed lobster with scallop dumplings, Bird’s Nest Soup, wok-fried prawns with organic black garlic and chilli, and quail san choy bow that is both crunchy and texturally magnificent. These were dishes I will never forget. Are you feeling hungry yet?
Shopping During Your Hong Kong Layover
You can’t stopover in Hong Kong and not experience their shopping; there are at least a couple of hundred shopping malls! Jump on one of the Mid-Levels, the world’s longest outdoor covered escalator system complete with footbridges and exits, and jump off at Central. Central is where you’ll find wall-to-wall designer boutiques, chain stores, cafes, bars and restaurants.
There’s also the IFC Mall which is attached to the Four Seasons hotel, complete with all the high-end fashion boutiques you’d expect as well as the more mainstream brands.
But, for the wow factor of shopping, head to Times Square in Causeway Bay. At Times Square there is, wait for it, 14 floors of stores ranging from mid-range to luxury. When you visit Times Square, you should try one thing. Go to the ground floor and look up!
The Big Buddha on Lantau Island is yet another popular tourist spot for good reason. Not only do you get to experience the views of the ocean and mountains as you climb up in the chairlift, but the sheer size of the second largest outdoor sitting Buddha is equally sensational.
If you’re feeling fit and full of energy and the humidity isn’t too bad, the Big Buddha platform and Po Ling Monastery are 268 steps up.
Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery
Located in Sha Tin, you cannot miss the colour and uniqueness of the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery. Be prepared to climb a lot of steps at this Buddhist temple and through not just one but five temples, four pavilions and one pagoda that make up this Monastery.
There are literally hundreds of different Buddha statues here, each with their own eccentric positions and poses.
The best way to get to the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery is via the MRT. Take the East line to Sha Tin station and take exit B.
A few tips for visiting Hong Kong
1. If possible, avoid the shopping malls on the weekend. Everyone in Hong Kong goes shopping then.
2. Shop around for hotels because they can be expensive. Click here for a list of hotel deals in Hong Kong and use the slider on the left to filter your price range.
3. Enjoying the odd drink can be expensive in Hong Kong. Look out for happy hours during the early evening.
4. Many museums offer free entry on Wednesdays.
5. If possible, avoid using the MRT during peak times – 7am to 9.30am and 5pm to 7pm.
Packed full of culture, history, architecture and food, a Hong Kong stopover is not just an opportunity to recharge your batteries but to experience an often under-appreciated location.
Hong Kong is most definitely more than a stopover destination. It’s a holiday destination in its own right and the perfect place to break up a long haul flight.
Author Bio: Judith is an avid traveller who has spent many years in South East Asia with her growing family. Judith is passionate about empowering SE Asian locals to earn a living wage through her ethical gift store Temples and Markets. You can read about some of Judith’s South East Asian adventures here.