There’s an endless array of things for visitors in Hong Kong to do — including burning out if you try to do too much. Here’s what we reckon is a fulfilling but totally manageable 60-hour Hong Kong marathon. Ready, set, GO!
A trip to Hong Kong isn’t complete without a gawp at Lantau’s Big Buddha, a 34-meter-high bronze sitting god that took 12 years to complete. Get the bus or the cable car (the latter of which is a pant-wetting experience in itself) from Tung Chung MTR station and then feel the burn on the 268 steps to the Buddha’s feet. When you’re done feeling small, head to the Po Lin Monastery for a chill garden and colourful iconography.
Once you’re back on Hong Kong Island, take the MTR to Prince Edward or Mong Kok and follow your nose (or the signs) to the flower market. From native houseplants to exotic bouquets, auspicious trees and wholesale blooms, it’s an absolute assault on the senses, especially during festivals such as Chinese New Year.
If you’re relishing the escape from the glitz and glamour of central Hong Kong, head a little further into Kowloon and sniff out some truly authentic gems in Sham Shui Po. From the Pei Ho Street wet market to the tangle of electronics on Apliu Street and the toys, stationery and knock-offs on Fuk Wing Street, anything you could possibly imagine is on sale at rock-bottom prices. By now, you’ve probably worked up a decent appetite, so sate it at Tin Ho Wan, one the world’s cheapest Michelin-starred restaurants (the pork buns are to DIE for).
Alternately, the adventurous among us should head to Mong Kok’s street food Mecca that is Dundas Street. Here you’ll find glistening curry fish balls fresh out of the fryer, charred squid tentacles on sticks and Asia’s Marmite: stinky tofu — you’ll either love it or you’ll hate it, but you’re going to upset someone.
Stroll through Temple Street Market, a delightful hodgepodge of stalls, cafes and mystic arts. Towards the temple you’ll find rows of fortune tellers predicting the future by various weird and wonderful means, including palm reading, ear reading and even bird-assisted tarot card reading.
Head back onto Hong Kong Island for a truly memorable meal at Chi Chi Cham, a boisterous izakaya restaurant with great food, strong cocktails and enough sake to sink a ship. From here, the eclectically cool and trashy bars of SoHo and Lan Kwai Fong (LKF) will keep you drinking and dancing until your tiny little liver can’t take any more.
If you don’t feel the need to wax-on, wax-off a little when you’re in Bruce Lee’s home city, we don’t understand you and, frankly, we don’t care to. Start your day with the Wing Chun Kung Fu Experience Tour in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. The Yip Man Martial Arts Association — led by Master Sam Lau, a student of Lee’s mentor Grandmaster Yip Man — will put you through your paces like you’re Uma Thurman with a death wish. You can then replenish all those calories with a dim sum lunch before a trip to the ‘Bruce Lee: Kung Fu Art-Life Exhibition’ and a chance to kowtow at Lee’s statue on the Avenue of Stars.
Get yourself back to Hong Kong Island via the iconic Star Ferry, which bumbles over Victoria Harbour like a drunkard in a barrel every 10 minutes or so. Founded in 1898, the Star Ferry Company still ships 70,000 passengers across the waters each day in the most nostalgic of styles. Buy a ticket, hop onboard and see Hong Kong’s skyline from the water for just a few dollars.
Continue your nostalgic transportation tour on one of Hong Kong’s classic trams, which ply the north corridor of the main island from morning until midnight. Hop on the back, climb to the top deck and prepare to take a time-lapse video to make all your Instagram followers weep. When you’re done, simply saunter downstairs and pay a flat fee of HKD2.60 at the front before disembarking back into reality.
As Aberdeen has recently been added to the Hong Kong MTR system, it would be rude not to head over and sample its delights. There are of course beaches and the Ocean Park theme park within the vicinity, but we recommend you spend some time fantasising that you own one of the swanky yachts in the harbour before accepting reality and catching the free shuttle ferry to one of the famous floating restaurants across the way. Featured in countless films and TV shows, these multi-storey, dragon-adorned mega-restaurants blast normal eating experiences out of the water. When you’re done, catch a cab to Stanley where you can counterbalance the SoHo/LKF debauchery of last night with some sophisticated wine swilling along the promenade.
Your time is almost up and you’ve STILL not done The Peak or any of Hong Kong’s epic hikes! Make the most of the early morning freshness and conquer two birds with one stone. From Sheung Wan, head straight up the hill, through the university and onto The Peak path. There’ll be a whole lot of present sweat and delayed calf ache, but the famous views from the top are well worth it. From here, take the iconic Peak Tram back down, but make sure to get the latest on the tram hiatus as the Peak Tram service is taking 2 – 3 months break to upgrade and renovate for a better tourist experience, starting 23 April. Congratulations, you’ve just saved yourself the hours of queuing that comes with boarding it from the bottom.
If all that simply isn’t enough and you really DO want to burn out, find further inspiration with ‘No Sleep No FOMO’. We’re better people when we sleep, but it’s not for everyone.