Planning a trip to or around Asia once it is safe to travel again? This Hong Kong itinerary would be perfect for a 5-day de-stressing trip for you and your friends!
Known as the Pearl of the Orient, Hong Kong is an all-encompassing destination filled with traditional Chinese culture, incredible nightlife, jaw-dropping natural scenery, and much more. Visiting without a thorough itinerary will overwhelm you, as there are just so many things to do there.
This 5 day Hong Kong guide will save you some of that trouble, so you can have the most enjoyable trip!
The Best Time to Visit Hong Kong
Hong Kong is an all-year-round destination, but there are certain seasons that are more preferable when visiting Hong Kong.
Surprisingly, the best time to visit Hong Kong is usually winter, which is when the weather is a lot more tolerable. Because of Hong Kong’s geographic location, the summers in Hong Kong are hell.
Scorching heat combined with high humidity makes enjoying some of the best attractions in Hong Kong impossible. You will sweat like you have never sweated before if you come to Hong Kong in the summer.
If you want to do any hiking in Hong Kong (which you should) in the summer, just be well-prepared and bring a lot of water. It is not uncommon for hikers to get heat strokes and heat exhaustion in the summer. The prices for accommodation in Hong Kong are also (a tad) cheaper in the winter months.
Autumn and spring are decent times to visit Hong Kong. The weather is relatively more pleasant than the summer and you can still go out in a T-shirt and shorts.
Day 1: Head to Instagrammable Spots
Hong Kong is filled with stunning Instagram-worthy locations. This Hong Kong itinerary will start by exploring some of those.
One of the most popular Instagram locations in Hong Kong is unquestionably Choi Hung Estate, a place known for its rainbow-like facades of its soaring residential buildings. Choi Hung in Cantonese means “rainbow” and it is no surprise that their buildings are painted so colorfully.
After Choi Hung Estate, head over to the nearby Ping Shek Estate, which is also conveniently located in Choi Hung. Known for its geometrically stacked condo buildings, Ping Shek Estate is quite a popular spot for photographers.
Lastly, check out the Lok Wah South Estate in Ngau Chi Wan. Though just a common area for locals to hang out, the even-spaced out blue circles create an interesting visual, especially at certain hours of the day when the metal railings connecting them cast their shadows.
After you have visited some of the most beautiful photo spots in Hong Kong, it is time to hike Lion Rock. Earning its iconic name from the rock outcrop that resembles a crouching lion, Lion Rock is one of the best hikes in Hong Kong. Hikers are blessed with stretching views of Kowloon, Victoria Harbour, and even parts of Hong Kong Island (on a good day).
Watching the sunset at Lion Rock is highly recommended if you can afford to spend the extra time there.
Finish off your night in Hong Kong with a visit to the bustling Temple Street Night Market. Sprawling several city blocks, Temple Street Night Market is your typical southeast street market. Cheap clothes, fake watches, street food, accessories, antiques, and streetside stalls inundate these busy streets. Just don’t forget to bargain when you are buying something at the Temple Street Night Market.
Day 2: Hike to Cape D’Aguilar and Enjoy the Hong Kong Nightlife
The second day in your Hong Kong itinerary will be spent exploring some of the hidden gems of Hong Kong, namely its gorgeous natural wonders. No better place epitomizes that than the beautiful Cape D’Aguilar.
Located on the southeastern tip of Hong Kong Island, Cape D’Aguilar is home to the only marine reserve in Hong Kong. Visitors will find dramatic cliffs accompanied by mesmerizing sea views, interesting geological formations, and a serenity that is rare for Hong Kong.
Because of its remote location, visitors will need to hike to Cape D’Aguilar. But worry not, the whole 8-kilometer out-and-back trail is relatively flat and offers stunning visuals along the way.
The turquoise waters and white waves might be tempting, but swimming is strictly prohibited. As a highly protected area, swimming, fishing, diving, and even the collection of any organisms is a crime.
Spend your night at Lan Kwai Fong (commonly known as LKF). With the highest concentration of bars and nightclubs, LKF is undoubtedly the best nightlife spot in Hong Kong.
Just be careful if you are traveling on a budget in Hong Kong as LKF is unreasonably expensive. With a beer costing about US$10 and clubs that charge heavy cover fees, a night out at LKF can easily set you back US$100 or more.
Alternatively, if you are visiting Hong Kong on a Wednesday, you can visit the Happy Valley Racecourse and watch some horse racing. With 156 years of British rule, some British tradition such as horse racing is deeply ingrained in Hong Kong.
The Happy Valley Racecourse is the perfect night out for someone that prefers a more relaxing night out but still enjoys a cheerful crowd. It is also much more affordable than visiting LKF.
Day 3: Explore Kowloon and Hong Kong Island
Hopefully, you are not too tired from your night out because day 3 of this Hong Kong itinerary is action-packed.
Start with visiting the zen Chi Lin Nunnery in Diamond Hill. Built in 1934, this large Buddhist complex follows traditional Tang Dynasty architecture and offers glimpses of Chinese heritage.
Its recent renovation in 1998 takes its construction to a whole new level by not using any nails. Sections of the wood would interlock like a jigsaw puzzle, thereby creating structurally safe buildings. The intent was to show the harmony between people and nature.
Here you will also find many Chines monastery elements such as a Lotus Pond Garden, statues of Chinese deities, and much more.
After a visit to Chi Lin Nunnery, it is time to delve into some authentic Hong Kong cuisine. As a metropolitan city, you will find diverse dining options, but none represents Hong Kong as much as dim sum.
When it comes to good dim sum, the Michelin-starred Tim Ho Wan is the perfect place to go. Considered one of the most affordable Michelin star restaurants in the world, Tim Ho Wan ensures you have a delicious but cheap meal. Don’t forget to try some traditional Hong Kong dishes such as the egg tart or the steamed pork bun (Cha Siu Bao).
Spend your afternoon exploring Mong Kok or Sham Shui Po, two of the oldest and most bustling neighborhoods in Hong Kong. Here you will find a glimpse into the daily lives of local Hong Kongers. It is uncommon for people to live in shared apartments in these neighborhoods, a phenomenon that happens because of the ridiculous housing market in Hong Kong.
These neighborhoods are also home to delicious street food, cheap street vendors, and are great places to people watch.
As the sun sets, make your way to Tsim Sha Tsui (TST). Known for its long-stretching promenade that offers unparalleled views of Victoria Harbour, visiting TST is a must in any Hong Kong itinerary.
At 8 PM every night, the Symphony of Lights light show occurs and the best place to watch it is on the TST promenade. Visitors that would like to indulge in a unique experience can board the Aqua Luna junk boat, an old traditional Chinese red-sail boat that sails around Victoria Harbour.
Guests can lounge in their outdoor deck with a complimentary drink in their hands, enjoying the longest permanent light show in the world!
Day 4: Spend the Day at Lantau Island & The Peak
Now that you have seen most of the attractions in Kowloon and Hong Kong Island, it is time to explore Lantau Island.
Lantau Island is the home to some of the most pristine hikes in Hong Kong, the famous Tai O fishing village, and Ngong Ping village, home of the iconic Big Buddha.
To get to Ngong Ping Village, take the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car at Tung Chung to save time. Though buses are also available, they take a considerably longer amount of time and you only have 5 days in Hong Kong.
Ngong Ping village is a 1.5-hectare open-air Chinese village filled with Chinese heritage. Stroll along the busy streets (especially on the weekends) and check out some of the temples, souvenir shops, and museums.
If you are visiting Ngong Ping, you are probably here for the Big Buddha (also known as Tian Tan Buddha). At 26.4 meters tall, it soars into the sky and can be seen on the traditional streets in Ngong Ping Village. That is because it takes a total of 268 steps to reach the bottom of this 250 metric ton landmark.
Don’t forget to check out the Po Lin Monastery and hike Wisdom Path when you visit Ngong Ping.
After exploring the Ngong Ping Village, head to the Tai O Fishing Village, a traditional fishing village in Hong Kong. Known for its stilt houses and delicious and fresh seafood, it is a great way to discover the heritage of Hong Kong and have some amazing food at the same time. Visitors can also take a boat tour to (possibly) see some native pink dolphins.
Finish your day off with a visit to The Peak (also called Victoria Peak), arguably the best night view of Hong Kong. Take the Peak Tram from Central and it will take you directly to the top.
Here you can decide to pay to visit the Sky Terrace 428 Observation Deck or wander around the area and check out the numerous vantage points. If you are traveling to Hong Kong on a budget, though, the Sky Terrace 428 is an unnecessary expense.
Day 5: Day Trip From Hong Kong to Macau
Spend the last day by going on a day trip from Hong Kong to Macau. Unlike Hong Kong which was a British territory, Macau was a Portuguese territory until 1999. However, you will only find a small portion of the population that speaks Portuguese. Mandarin and Cantonese are more dominant in Macau.
The result of the Portuguese rule is a unique mixture of Chinese and Portuguese culture. Visitors will find colonial architecture in Senado Square and Fisherman’s Wharf.
Stroll along the historical streets and you will inevitably stumble upon many colonial churches such as St. Dominic’s Church and the iconic ruins of St. Paul’s Church, the most famous attraction in Macau.
Keep exploring further and you will find Mandarin’s House, the family home of Zheng Guanying and a symbol of Chinese heritage in Macau.
A day trip is usually sufficient enough to see its main historical attractions. However, Macau is also known for its upscale casinos and nightclubs. Even if you are not into gambling, it is worth it to see the lavishness of casinos such as Venetian Macau.
How To Get To Macau From Hong Kong
Getting from Hong Kong to Macau is easy. The most popular and cheapest way is to take a from Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal in Central to Macau. It is possible to reserve your ticket in advance with one of the ferry operators (TurboJETt or Cotai) online, but the ferries depart so frequently it is not really necessary.
Alternatively, you can take one of the shuttle buses from the airport, Central, or Tsim Sai Tsui across the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge, the longest sea-crossing in the world.
Hopefully, this 5-day Hong Kong itinerary has given you some valuable information on how to plan your trip! Enjoy Hong Kong!