Blitzing a Hong Kong stopover

Many flight paths use Hong Kong as a stopover en route to and from Europe. However, Hong Kong is a hive of activity in itself. Next time, why not extend your time in this cultural capital and see what it has to offer? Only 24 hours? No problem.

8am: Tai Chi

Start your day off the right way with a walk along the waterfront to the Sculpture Court in front of the Museum of Art in Tsim Sha Tsui. It’s here William and Pandora run free, hour-long classes in the gentlest form of martial art. Funded by the Hong Kong Tourism Board, classes are at 8am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

11am: Star Ferry

When you’re ready to venture out for the day head down to the Tsim Sha Tsui terminal and catch the Star Ferry over to Hong Kong Island. One of Hong Kong’s best-loved institutions, the ferries have run since 1888 with many of the current crew members still sporting old-fashioned sailor style uniforms. For HK$2.50 (approx. 35c) to ride the upper deck, the Star Ferry is a sightseeing bargain. 

12pm: Mid-Level Escalators

Make your way to the Mid-Level Escalators, originally designed for commuters to easily navigate the steep Mid-Level district of Northwest Hong Kong Island. The world’s longest covered escalator system, it provides a fantastic, free opportunity to enjoy the sights while resting your legs. 

1pm: Lunch in Soho

Hop on and off the escalators as you please, however, SoHo, South of Hollywood Road, is a great stop for lunch. Featuring countless trendy bars and eateries, Elgin, Shelley and Staunton streets are all safe bets to grab a drink or bite to eat. 

2pm: Hollywood Road

After lunch, stagger back down the hill to Hollywood Road, home to antique shops, galleries, nightclubs and bars. Shops selling ancient ceramics and mammoth ivory carvings crowd the eastern end. While stalls and shops offering antiques, trinkets, old coins and other kitsch items can be found on Upper Lascar Row. 

3pm: Star Ferry/Train

Take your pick of returning to Kowloon, either on the Star Ferry again or jump on the MTR, Hong Kong’s underground railway, which handles three million people a day!

4pm: Central’s Statue Square

Considered the region’s financial, political, historical and social heart, Central District’s Statue Square features many of the area’s most important buildings. Look out for the Court of Final Appeal and HSBC Bank Headquarters, as well as The Cenotaph, a memorial to those who died in the two world wars, and the statue of Thomas Jackson. Head up to the viewing gallery on the 43rd floor of the famous Bank of China Tower for a better view. 

6pm: Din Tai Fung

Considered the world’s best dumplings, Din Tai Fung can be found in many cities, including Sydney. Grab an inexpensive bite to eat at its Canton Road restaurant. You may have to wait for a table, but once seated the service is speedy and the food is more than worth the wait.

8pm: Light show

Walk down to the waterfront to catch the evening light show which kicks off at 8pm. Watch as the buildings on Hong Kong Island appear to dance to the music. Lasting fifteen minutes, complete with laser beam lights, the spectacle makes for fantastic photos of Victoria Harbour.

8:30pm: Drink!

Treat yourself to a drink with a view at Aqua Spirit. You may wish to watch the light show from the comfort of a cubbyhole facing the window, however, it will compromise the view and photo opportunities. Regardless of when you choose to collapse here, your hard day’s sightseeing will be rewarded with a spectacular view of the Harbour. 

Stay: YMCA Salisbury Hotel

Located almost next door to the prestigious Peninsula Hotel on the top end of Kowloon, rumour has it some of the corner rooms at the YMCA give you a glimpse of the harbour for less than half the price! The accommodation may be basic, but as they say, location is everything!

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