Hong Kong is one of the best cities in Asia for a short stopover. But what to do when you only have 8 hours for your stopover in Hong Kong? In this article, I’ll share my best tips and an itinerary.
How to get from the airport to the city?
When you arrive at the Hong Kong International Airport, it’s easy to find your way, since most of the signs are in English. For most countries (Europe, NZ, US, UK, AUS) you don’t need a visa for a stopover in Hong Kong (check this before you leave), so when you arrive at immigration, you can just present your passport.
It’s good to get some cash from an ATM before you leave the airport, there are plenty to choose from. Check the pin pad before entering your pin code, because it doesn’t start with 123 like in most countries, but it starts with 789.
If you have a lot of luggage, you can leave some at a luggage depot, it’ll cost you around €10 for a full day. At the airport, it’s also easy to buy a return ticket for the Airport express (about €20) for the train that will take you to the city centre in about 30 minutes.
Hong Kong island
When you get off the train at Hong Kong central station, you’re in the part of town that’s called Hong Kong Island. You will see a lot of cool skyscrapers, this is the modern part of Hong Kong. You will also feel the heat and the humidity, so buy some water and take it slow. Your first stop is the Hong Kong Peak, the best viewpoint in Hong Kong. You can easily walk (and climb some stairs) from Hong Kong central station to a tram stop.
After paying about €4, a small tram will take you to the Peak. It’s a steep drive, so it can be a bit scary. But when you reach the top, you will love it. There are many great viewpoints to explore, for example, the Lion’s Pavilion and the roof of The Peak Galleria (a shopping mall).
To get back into the city, you can take the tram back, but if you’re up for a walk it’s a lot of fun to hike down the Old Peak Road. This is an old path, and you will walk down through the jungle and have some amazing views.
And the end of the road, it’s only a short walk to the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens, which is a very nice park to relax a little.
After a short break, you can walk back to Hong Kong central station. Here you will find the ferries, that will take you to Kowloon, the other side of the Victoria Harbour.
The ferry you will need to take is called the Star Ferry, and you can buy a ticket from a machine before you get on the ferry. Tickets are really cheap (€0,50), now you’re heading to the cheaper part of Hong Kong.
Kowloon is completely different from Hong Kong Island. No skyscrapers and the buildings are much older, you’ll definitely feel like you’re in Asia. If I had a couple of days in Hong Kong, I would definitely explore this area a little better, there’s so much to see!
In Kowloon, you’ll find loads of big malls (check the food courts for some great cheap eats) and awesome street art.
It’s also fun to walk on the Avenue of Stars, the walk of fame of Hong Kong. You will find stars of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. From the Avenue of Stars, you have some great views of the skyline of Hong Kong Island.
From here, you can easily get a ferry back to Hong Kong Island and take the train back to the airport.
Would you like to read more about Hong Kong?
Check out one of these amazing guidebooks:
Insight Guides City Guide Hong Kong (Travel Guide with Free eBook)
Other great cities for a stopover
Are you interested in other cities for a stopover? Read all about my stopover in Taipei (Taiwan) in this article.