Thursday, November 30, 2023
HomeAsia Travel5-day itinerary for Hong Kong for a first-timer: amazing things to do

5-day itinerary for Hong Kong for a first-timer: amazing things to do

This post may contain affilliate links. It means that if you buy something through one of these links, we might get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Affiliate commission helps us keep this travel blog running.

In this article, I’d love to share with you our 5-day itinerary for Hong Kong, featuring a lot of budget-friendly things and must-do activities. 

Hong Kong is one of my favourite places on Earth. I was very fortunate to have spent over 5 months in this amazing city back in 2013, and when I returned earlier this year, I was overjoyed to be back again. In this 5-day itinerary for Hong Kong, I wanted to share some of my favourite places in Hong Kong and must-visit places that will make you fall in love with Hong Kong, too! 

Here’s a short overview of the 5-day itinerary for Hong Kong

Day 1: TST, the Avenue of Stars, Star Ferry, Mid-levels and Central Market & Victoria Peak at sunset

Day 2: Lantau Island – Bid Buddha and Tai O fishing village

Day 3: Dragon’s Back Hike, Beach, LKF

Day 4: Disneyland or Ocean Park OR Monastery & Lion’s Rock Hike, optional sunset cruise

Day 5: M+ Museum, Ozone Bar, Harbour City

Where to stay in Hong Kong?

If you’re wondering what the best area to stay in Hong Kong is (as it’s a huge city and no one likes commuting on a holiday), I recommend a couple. Hong Kong is not the cheapest place to stay – and the most sought-after areas are generally pricy. However, there are plenty of places in the city that fit any budget. 

Here are the areas I would recommend:

TST or Tsim Sha Tsui (best for views, shopping and overall one of the best-connected areas)

Central (best for sightseeing due to connectivity; lots of restaurants are around)

Admiralty (a very fancy area, well-connected, lots of shopping malls but slightly further away than Central and TST)

Mid-levels (best for unique shops, hipster cafes and going out)

Causeway Bay (great for shopping, less convenient for connectivity)

Sha Tin (lots of places nearby, good connectivity, budget-friendly)

Mong Kok (extremely busy, as it’s where the ladies market is, still very centric)

Avoid New Territories – while many areas are nice, the commute to the city centre is too long. I lived near Siu Hong station for 5 months and it would take me at least 1 hour to go to the city centre every time, which is not ideal if you’re in Hong Kong for only 5 days as you will spend too much time in the MTR. 

Hotels I would recommend:

Luxury with the best views: Ritz Carlton, Sheraton Hong Kong (the one in TST)

Mid-range: Courtyard Hong Kong (where we stayed for 4 nights), New World Millenium Hotel

Affordable: Hop Inn, Check Inn Hong Kong

Overview of the links for your Hong Kong trip:

Tours to book: Sunset cruise –  check availability here

Dragon’s Back hiking tour with a guide –  check here

Food tasting tour – book here

Disneyland tickets – book here

The Victoria Peak tram – check availability and book online

Ngong Ping Skip the Line (to Big Buddha) – book here

Sky 100 observation deck – book here

Without further ado, let’s get started!

5-day itinerary for Hong Kong: amazing things to do

Before we start with the detailed itinerary for Hong Kong, I wanted to mention that this itinerary is highly dependent on the weather – the weather in Hong Kong can be pretty unpredictable, and even during a dry season, you can get some stormy days. While I’m writing a separate article about the best things to see in Hong Kong on a rainy day (I will link to it here once it’s ready), I will mention that it’s best to postpone any panoramic activities until it’s sunny (or, at least, not very rainy). Otherwise, you may see nothing. Literally.

Day 1: The most touristy things to do in HK

(Victoria Peak & Central Hong Kong Island. Star Ferry, TST and the Avenue of Stars)

As I mentioned before, if it’s a rainy day or the visibility is not the best, try to postpone these things to the next good day and do a day 2 itinerary instead. 

The Avenue of Stars

If you’re lucky with the weather, it’s not raining, and the visibility is good, I recommend heading to the TST (Tsim Sha Tsui area) first thing in the morning and enjoying the Avenue of Stars when it’s not crowded. You will still have a chance to enjoy the Symphony of Stars show at 8pm another day and see the city at night.

Around the Avenue of Stars is a unique shopping mall called K11 Musea – it’s free to visit – if you’re curious to see a free exposition (it should take up to 30 minutes to visit), head there for a few minutes.

Star Ferry

Star Ferry connects the TST area with Hong Kong Island, and it’s actually public transport rather than a tourist attraction. It accepts Octopus cards, and one journey on the ferry is super affordable (something like £0.3 USD) – the ferry departs a few times per day, so the queues are usually not so large. 

Most people enjoy the views and the feeling of being on a ferry – I recommend taking it at least once, even though the MTR is faster and more convenient. 

The Mid-levels area & Central Market 

The next place I recommend visiting in Hong Kong is the Mid-levels area and the Central Market located next to it. Don’t let the name fool you, Central Market is not a traditional market – it’s a very new place with lots of stalls selling quirky candles, soaps, tea, cosmetics and cookies.

The mid-levels area in Hong Kong is home to the world’s longest escalator. In the morning, all escalators go all the way to Central, while in the afternoons, they go the other way, all the way up & back to the residential parts of HK island. It’s free to take, so you can skip the stairs and take the escalator instead. 

Mid-levels is also a lovely area to have lunch – there are plenty of restaurants within the Central Market and outside in the Mid-levels area. 

However, if I were to recommend one place, I would advise trying Tim Ho Wan restaurant in the IFC mall (in the lower levels – almost in the Central MTR station). – it used to be the world’s cheapest Michelin-star restaurant, but it lost its star a couple of years ago. Even so, when we visited this year, it was similar to how it used to be back in 2013 when it still had the star. Please don’t leave it without trying the BBQ buns, they are mouth-watering! 

Victoria Peak tram & the observation deck

Victoria Peak is the best place to see the postcard-perfect panorama of Hong Kong, and the best way to go there is before the sunset so that you can watch the sunset from there. The sunset is usually around 7pm in summer and 5:30pm in winter, so make sure to arrive at the observation deck at least 30-40 minutes before the sunset.

The most touristy way to go up is by taking the famous Victoria Peak tram. To avoid queues at the ticket-selling points, you can buy a combo ticket for a return tram ride and the observation deck online here.

Sometimes, the queues for the tram can be long, so make sure to arrive early. There are plenty of things to do in the Victoria Peak area, so don’t worry if you arrive too early. You can always walk around the shopping mall or nearby or even explore the Victoria Peak Gardens area.

Watching the sunset from the Victoria Peak observation deck is a magical experience, and the city changes a lot after dark – I personally can’t decide which panorama I prefer – the one during the day or the one at night, both are stunning. 


After visiting the Victoria Peak observation deck, head back to the city centre for dinner. Some of the trendiest restaurants in Hong Kong need to be booked in advance; however, lots of locals (and tourists alike) just head to restaurants at shopping malls – each shopping mall will have at least 20 restaurants and queue there – it usually takes just around 10-15 minutes to get a spot (depending on a restaurant). 

Day 2: Lantau Island – Bid Buddha and Tai O fishing village

Ngong Ping 360

On the second day of 5 days in Hong Kong, you can explore another iconic location – Lantau island, home to the Big Buddha, Lin Po temple and the Tai O fishing village. 

If the weather permits, head to the Tung Chung MTR station and buy the cable car tickets – Ngong Ping 360. On a sunny day during the high season, the queue might be pretty long, so you might want to buy some skip-the-line tickets for the cable car here.

The ride in the cable car takes around 30-40 minutes and goes through many beautiful locations. Lantau Island is very green – there are plenty of hiking trails all over the island. 

If the cable car is not operating or visibility is not the best, you can also take a bus to Big Buddha – it’s also much cheaper.

Big Buddha & Po Lin Monastery

The Big Buddha statue in Hong Kong is very impressive. The entrance to the area and the Po Lin Monastery is free, and even though the place gets pretty crowded, it still has a serene and peaceful atmosphere. 

Big Buddha, or Tian Tan Buddha, is the world’s tallest seated bronze Buddha. It’s a relatively new construction – completed in 1993 – to go all the way up and see the most stunning views of the mountains nearby, you need to climb quite a few stairs, but it’s worth it.

The Po Lin Monastery is also definitely worth visiting – it’s one of Hong Kong’s most beautiful monasteries!

Tai O fishing village

Once you feel like you explored the Po Lin monastery and the areas nearby, you can head to the Tai O fishing village. You can either take a taxi or a bus to get there. The ride only takes 10-15 minutes, but the buses only go once every hour, so make sure to check the schedule beforehand so you know when to return to the bus stop.

Tai O fishing village provides a glimpse into the history of Hong Kong – how Hong used to be 100 years ago, and it feels like the village is frozen in time. People still live in stilt houses and use boats and bicycles to get around. There are no cars and no modern shops around either. 

Many visitors come to Tai O to see the photogenic village and try local seafood and street food. The street food offerings are slightly different from other areas of Hong Kong – for example, I have yet to see shrimp paste wraps and hand-made mochis with nuts anywhere else.

Also, seafood restaurants are lovely in Tai O. Also, as you can imagine, fish is very fresh!

Besides walking around and eating, you can also take a boat tour to see the famous pink dolphins – we haven’t done it, but I’ve heard good things about it!

To get back to Tung Chung, you can either take a bus back to Big Buddha and then another bus to the Tung Chung station or wait for a ferry that also goes every hour and brings you to Tung Chung directly and much faster. Ensure you have enough money on your Octopus card, as there is nowhere to reload it in Tai O, and the ferry isn’t that cheap! 

Day 3: Dragon’s Back Hike, Beach, LKF

The Dragon’s Back Hike

Hong Kong is a wonderful hiking destination, and only a few people know it! If you’re lucky with the weather and you’re visiting Hong Kong when it’s not too hot or too cold, one of the best things you could do there is hike. One of my favourite hikes in Hong Kong is the Dragon’s Back Hike – I’ve done it twice, and in my opinion, it’s the best hike you can do if you’re in Hong Kong for a limited time. 

The best part about this hike are the stunning views and the fact it ends on a very nice beach. It’s also easily accessible by public transport and is not too challenging to complete.

I recommend waking up early (but not exaggeratedly early) – 8am would be great. Have some breakfast, go to a supermarket and buy some snacks, a lot of water and anything else you might need for a hike/beach.

Getting there / hiking

To get to the start of the Dragon’s Back Hike, take the MTR to the Shau Kei Wan station, exit the station and take the minibus 9. Tell the driver you’re doing the Dragon’s Back hike, and he will tell you where/when to exit. It takes around 15-20 minutes to get there by minibus. 

When you exit the minibus, there will be a map of the hike and also a toilet. There won’t be more toilets throughout the entire duration of the hike. The hike will start pretty steep, but then it will get easier and more enjoyable. 

Enjoying the Big Wave Bay beach

The walk to the Big Wave Bay beach is the last part of the hike. Even if you’re not planning to swim, I recommend finishing the hike there as it’s a gorgeous beach to visit, and you will definitely enjoy just seeing it. And if you want to swim, it’s a very lovely and clean beach with small waves, and it’s fun to jump them! 

There are also some restaurants and shops nearby – if you’re hungry, it is an excellent place to have a snack or a lunch/dinner. 

To get back to the city centre, take the same minibus, 9, to the Shau Kei Wan station and then take the MTR back to the city centre. 


If you’re not too tired, I recommend spending the evening discovering Hong Kong’s nightlife area – LKF or Lan Kwai Fong. It has changed a bit in the last 10 years – I would say it has become more refined. There used to be just nightclubs and pretty mediocre lounge bars – now there are also lots of lovely cocktail bars, from speakeasies to bars from the list of the top 100 bars of the world, e.g. Coa.

Day 4: Disneyland or Ocean Park OR Monastery & Lion’s Rock Hike, optional sunset cruise 

On your fourth day in Hong Kong, I had two different options for you! If you like amusement parks, I have good news for you – there are two fantastic amusement parks in Hong Kong – Disneyland and Ocean Park. Disneyland is pretty small but has everything you need. It’s easy to get there by MTR, and you can easily spend all day there, especially if you decide to stay for the fireworks. You can pre-book your Disneyland tickets and check the latest price here.

I love Ocean Park equally – it’s much bigger than Disneyland and has many things to do. It’s also more affordable. They also do seasonal specials – I had an opportunity to visit Ocean Park before Halloween, and it was one of the best Halloween experiences I’ve ever had. You can check the price and availability here.

If amusement parks are not your cup of tea, I’ve got an alternative option for you!

Visiting Hong Kong’s monasteries:

Hong Kong has stunning temples and monasteries, and there are many! Here are some of my favourite ones. You can either visit 1 or 2 of these monasteries or just go to one and do another short hike. Here are Hong Kong’s best monasteries:

Chi Lin Nunnery

Wong Tai Sin temple

Sha Tin temple  

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery

Lion Rock Hike

If you enjoyed hiking Dragon’s Back, you might like another hike. Lion Rock hike is a much shorter hike located relatively close to the centre of Hong Kong, and the views from there are entirely different from Dragon’s Back. Instead of beaches and hills, you will see very dramatic urban landscapes. Next to the start of the hike, there is another exciting temple – Sik Sik Yuen Wong that you can also visit. The hike takes around 1 hour to go up and 1 hour to go back, and it’s pretty steep, but the views are stunning!

To get there, you can take the MTR to the Wong Tai Sin MTR station and then walk to Shatin Road.

Sunset cruise

Finally, if you still have some energy left, take a sunset cruise in Hong Kong. The cruise is the best way to enjoy the Symphony of Light show, but the best part about the cruise is that you will experience the sunset and see amazing views. You can check the prices and availability of a sunset cruise here

Day 5: M+ Museum, Ozone Bar, Harbour City

Now, on your final day of this itinerary for 5 days in Hong Kong, you can do a bit of sightseeing and shopping. If you like museums, head to the M+ Museum. It’s a very new museum (opened a couple of years ago) located in an impressive, industrial-style building in an area that is currently being developed and expanded, the West Kowloon Cultural District.

M+ mainly focuses on modern art; however, there are expositions dedicated to the history of Hong Kong, and they were my favourite ones. 

While in the area, you can also visit Ozone Bar in the famous Ritz Carlton Hotel. Ozone Bar is the tallest bar in the world – and the views from there are unreal. Make sure to visit on a clear day, though; otherwise, you risk not being able to see much from there.

Finally, you can spend the rest of your time before flying in one of Hong Kong’s many shopping malls. 

Some of my favourite shopping malls in Hong Kong:

  • K11 Musea
  • Hysan Place, Causeway Bay 
  • Harbour City, TST
  • Elements West Kowloon
  • IFC Mall
  • Pacific Place
  • Times Square

The closest shopping mall to the M+ museum and Ozone bar is the Elements West Kowloon, however, Harbour City is also nearby. I really like Harbour City because it has plenty of quirky and not overly expensive stores, as well as plenty of great places to eat!

Once you are done with shopping and eating, it’s time to go to the airport. You can either take the MTR or grab a taxi (taxis to the airport are not too expensive, and last time we asked for one, we got a new Tesla). 

Summary of 5 days in Hong Kong

I hope you found this 5-day itinerary for Hong Kong useful and got some ideas about how you’d like to spend your time in this fantastic city. 5 days in Hong Kong would be enough to get to know the city and visit some of the main landmarks! 

As mentioned before, Hong Kong is a tropical place, and the weather can be unpredictable. Most of these places (except for museums, shopping malls and monasteries) are best enjoyed when it’s sunny and warm (or, at least, when it’s not pouring). If you are unlucky and the weather forecast doesn’t look too optimistic, check for some alternative attractions from my article here: what to do in Hong Kong on a rainy day.

Some articles you might like:

48 hours in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

7-day itinerary for Japan, from Tokyo to Kyoto

Most instagrammable spots in Tokyo, Japan

10-day itinerary for the Philippines

7 days in Vietnam: from Ho Chi Min City to Hanoi

Vietnam and Laos in one trip

Source link



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments