First Timer’s Travel Guide to Hong Kong

Hong Kong is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Asia. It’s a go-to place for holiday goers who want to have fun and taste authentic Asian cuisine at a very affordable price. In addition, it is where you can experience the beautiful skyline as well as the historical walled villages. So if you are planning to tour around Asia this year, Hong Kong is a great place to start.

Top tourist attractions in Hong Kong
A view of Hong Kong from the Peak | Photo by slack12 under creative commons

Visa Requirements to Hong Kong

Most nationals including Philippine passport holders do not require a visa to enter Hong Kong. The visa-free period ranges from 14 to 180 days depending on your nationality. For instance, citizens of the Philippines and India get 14 days to stay in Hong Kong without a visa, nationals of Thailand, Indonesia & Malaysia get 30 days, US citizens get 90 days and UK citizens get 180 days.

How to Get to Hong Kong

Hong International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world, so, if you are leaving in a major city, chances are, there is a direct flight from your place to Hong Kong. In the Philippines, many carriers both full-service airlines and low-cost carriers have direct flights to Hong Kong from Manila, Clark, Cebu, Kalibo, Iloilo, and Davao. [Read: Cathay Dragon Starts Direct Davao-Hong Kong Route]

When is the best time to visit Hong Kong?

It is highly recommended to visit Hong Kong from March to April and October until November.  These are the months where the weather in the country is ideal for outdoor activities and exploring the wondrous landmarks and cities. The usual daytime temperature drops from 26 ºC to 20 ºC, which means travelers may enjoy cooler nights and they can avoid the inconvenient that typhoons may bring during May until September.

How to get into the city center from Hong Kong Airport

By Airport Express

For the faster and more convenient way to get into the city from Hong Kong Airport, it’s highly recommended to ride the Airport Express with an interval of 10 minutes. Traveling from the airport via express will only take you 24 minutes to reach the city. For your perusal, you may download the MTR Next Train mobile app to get real-time updates of train schedules. Buy HK express train ticket now.

By Taxi

Don’t be confused as soon as you arrived at the airport’ arrival’s hall as you will see three different color-coded taxis operated by different managements. Among the three different taxis available, choose the Urban taxi which is the red one, it provides transportation from the airport to most areas in the country specifically if you want to go straight ahead to the city.

Green taxi are for travelers bound to the north-eastern part and north-western part of New Territories while the blue taxi provides transportation to travelers going to Lantau Island and Chek Lap Kok.

By Bus

Budget travelers would always find inexpensive ways to get into the city center from the Hong Kong Airport. With this in mind, you can ride a public bus for as low as $18.9 to $48. Prices may vary depends on your drop off location and time of transportation, since public buses also operate until 12 midnight. Buy a shared Shuttle Bus Transfers between Hong Kong International Airport and Hong Kong Island, Kowloon & New Territories.

Connecting to the internet in Hong Kong

Aside from the free internet connection you may get from the hotel, there are 15,000 public Wi-Fi hot spots in the country, you may see them on your devices as “Wi.Fi. HK” or “CSL.”  To completely find Wi-Fi hotspots near you, download the Wi-Fi HK app. This app enables you to see Wi-Fi hotspots near you to stay connected throughout your travel in Hong Kong. If you don’t want to get lost and get connected to the internet all the time, it is advisable to rent a 4G pocket wifi for your convenience You can rent a 4g WIFI here, it’s cheap and very useful.

Where to exchange local currency in Hong Kong

Get instant help on where to exchange local currency in Hong Kong with our list provided below. You can also take cash from the ATM with your debit card.

Kin Shing Money Exchange (KSME)

Shop No. 87 1/F Chung King Mansions, 36-44 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloong, Hong Kong
Schedule: Monday to Friday 9:00 to 6:00PM/ Saturday 9:00 to 2:00PM

Money Express

A G/F 28 Tung Choi Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Schedule: Monday to Friday 9:00 to 7:00PM/ Saturday 11:30 to 7:00PM

Ngau Kee Money Changer

G/F Champion Building, 1 Cleverly Street, Hong Kong
Schedule: Monday to Friday 9:00 to 5:30PM/ Saturday 9:30 to 5:00PM

Professional Foreign Currency Exchange

Shop B9-B10 Basement, Causeway Bay Centre, 15-23 Sugar Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Schedule: Monday to Saturday 10:00 to 7:00PM/ Sunday 9:00 to 6:30PM

Pacific Exchange

Shop No. 65, 1/F Chungking Mansions, 36-44 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Schedule: Monday to Friday 9:30 to 6:30PM/ Saturday 9:30 to 4:30PM

How to get around Hong Kong?

The first thing you must do is to get an octopus card. It’s a smart card you can use in most of the public transportation like riding a bus, taxi, minibus or MTR. This is also a convenient way to pay in cinemas, shops, restaurants and many more, it’s more like a tap and pay. Buy a discounted Octopus Card here.

Here’s how to get around while in Hong Kong

MTR provides transportation service to all main urban places in Kowloon Peninsula, Hong Kong Island and other parts of Lantau Island that operates as early as 6:00AM catch the MTR’s last trip at 1:00AM.

There are green and red mini buses that operate around the country, riding these buses travelers are required to have coins, as this type of transportation service do not provide small change to passengers.

Where to Stay in Hong Kong?

Hong Kong is a popular tourist destination so finding a hotel to stay is relatively easy. The key is booking online especially during peak season. Whether you are looking for a luxury or budget hotel, we got you covered. 

If money isn’t a concern, we highly suggest you stay in an international hotel for a more comfortable stay in Hong Kong. Your best options are Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, The Peninsula Hong Kong, The Ritz Carlton Hotel, and Marco Polo Hong Kong Hotel.

For mid-range accommodation, some of the best options are Burlington Hotel in Wanchai, East Hotel in North Point, Hotel LBP in Hong Kong Central, and Butterfly on Prat Boutique Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui.

If you are on a budget, you can stay at Delta Deluxe Hotel located at Flat A6, 16 Floor, Block A, Chung King Mansion, 36-44 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, Hong Kong. I have stayed in this hotel with a friend and it was a pleasant stay. We booked a room good for two and we were given a room good for three. Small room but comfortable. Friendly staff and the location is near everything – MRT, Malls, Victoria Harbor, The Garden of Stars and a lot of other interesting attractions. Check rates and availability.

Another option is Hop Inn on Mody located at 5/F, Lyton Building, 36 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, Hong Kong. It’s situated near to MRT station and just about 3 minutes walk to Victoria Harbor. Check rates and availability.

MUST-TRY RESTAURANTS IN HONG KONG: What and Where to Eat in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a food haven! Dim sum is one of the most popular eats in Hong Kong, but there’s more. See our list below of must-try food and where to find them in Hong Kong.

North Point Egglet
Address: 178 Nathan Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Opening hours: 11:30–23:00, Sun 12:30–23:00
What to order: Egglets / Egg Puff / Egg Waffle
Price: HKD15
Nearest MTR: Jordan 

Kau Kee Beef Brisket
Address: 21 Gough Street, Central, Hong Kong
Opening Hours: Mon to Sun 12.30pm – 10.30pm (Closed on Sunday)
What to order: Beef Brisket Noodle
Price Range: Around HKD40
Nearest MRT: Central MTR 

Lin Heung Teahouse
Address: G/F 160-164 Wellington St, Sheung Wan, Central Hong Kong
Opening Hours: Daily from 6AM to 11PM
What to order:  Assorted dim sum
Price range: Prepare HKD50-100 for a satisfying meal
Nearest MRT: Sheung Wan

Yat Lok Roast Goose
Address: 34-38 Stanley St, Hong Kong
Opening Hours: Daily 7.30am to 9.00pm
What to order:  Roast Goose
Price range: Around HKD100
Geting there: Central D2 – From Queens Street walk across the road towards D’Aguilar Street and turn right into Stanley Street. Walk past Luk Yu restaurant.

Mak’s Noodles 麥奀雲吞麵世家
Address: G/F, No. 55 Parkes Street, Jordan, Hong Kong
Opening Hours: Daily 11 AM to 9 PM
What to order:  Wanton NoodlesPrice range: HKD40
Nearest MRT: Jordan

Top Tourist Attractions in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Disneyland

Undeniably, Hong Kong Disneyland is one of the top attractions in Hong Kong.  It is the dreamland of kids and kids-at-heart who love Disney characters and their fantasy worlds. Unleash your inner child and enjoy a whole day of exciting rides, parades, shows, and firework display in this magical place. Buy a discounted Hong Kong Disneyland ticket.

Hong Kong Disneyland
Hong Kong Disneyland | Photo by WiNG under creative commons

Ocean Park Hong Kong

This theme park features a gigantic aquatic dome with over 400 species of fish, as well as sea cucumbers and starfish. Explore the Reef Tunnel, enjoy the Giant Panda Adventure, and have fun rides. Get a chance to have an up close and personal encounters with red pandas, giant pandas, and Chinese Giant Salamander. Get a discounted Ocean Park Hong Kong ticket.

Ocean Park Hong Kong
Ocean Park Hong Kong | Photo by Leonardolo under creative commons

Lantau Island

It is the biggest island of Hong Kong and the most visited because of its famous tourist attractions, theme parks, and historic structures. It is home to Hong Kong Disneyland, Ngong Ping village, Tian Tan Buddha, and the historic fishing community in Tai O. Book a Lantau Island Tour.

Lantau Island | Photo by hj_west under creative commons

Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade

This promenade is one of the top attractions in Hong Kong. It is the best place to stroll and watch the amazing view of the Victoria Harbour. As you walk along this 1.6-kilometer promenade, you get a chance to view the ancient buildings, the Tsim Sha Tsui Clock Tower, the Avenue of Stars, and a lot more.

Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade
Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade | Photo by Mk2010 under creative commons

The Peak

If you want a vantage view of the stunning skyline of Hong Kong, ride a tram to take you to the Victoria Peak or The Peak. The view from the top is amazing, giving you the spectacular sight of the harbor, skyscrapers, busy city, and nearby islands. Just a heads up that the ideal time to visit The Peak is at night. Buy a discounted Peak Tram Sky Pass.

View from the Peak | Photo by Dennis Tang under creative commons

Madame Tussauds Hong Kong

With over 100 wax figures of famous celebrities and personalities of the world collection, Madame Tussauds Hong Kong is one of the top attractions in Hong Kong. Tourists enjoy having photos with the Royal Family, Jackie Chan, David Beckham, Hitler, Gandhi, Pia Wurtzbach among others. Buy a discounted Madame Tussauds Hong Kong ticket.

Madame Tussauds Hong Kong
Madame Tussauds Hong Kong | Photo by Aldwinteo  under creative commons

Ngong Ping 360

This exciting aerial lift via the Cable Car gives an awesome 360-degree panoramic view of Lantau, Hong Kong. It is for the brave-hearted individuals who want to experience this world-renowned ride and explore the Ngong Ping Village. Get a discounted Ngong Ping 360 Pass.

Ngong Ping 360
Ngong Ping 360 | Photo by under VirtualSteve creative commons

Avenue of Stars

It is also called the Garden of Stars, where you will see the sculptures and the handprints on the plaques of the famous film stars of Hong Kong like Bruce Lee, Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Wong Kar-Wai, John Woo, the Shaw Brothers. It is the city’s tribute to their legacy and contribution in the film industry. Be sure to get some selfie or groupie photos with them to preserve the experience.

Avenue of Stars
Avenue of Stars | Photo by Wpcpey under creative commons

Hong Kong Skyline

It is a fact that one of the top attractions in Hong Kong is its impressive and unique skyline. As the night approaches, the skyline slowly transforms into a solid backdrop of the city lights, skyscrapers, Star Ferry and Chinese boats in the harbor, and other illuminated structures. A breathtaking sight which you should miss when in Hong Kong.

Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Hong Kong
Hong Kong Skyline | Photo by Brian H.Y under creative commons

Symphony of Lights

Every night at exactly 8:00 P.M. this breathtaking light and sound show illuminates the buildings on the sides of the Victoria Harbour. It ranks as one of the tourists’ most favorite things to do when in Hong Kong. The Symphony of Lights is recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s largest permanent light and sound display.

Symphony of Lights
Symphony of Lights | Photo by Zaldy Camerino under creative commons

Top Tours and Activities to Do in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Big Bus Unlimited Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tours

Hop on the iconic Big red Bus and Hong Kong’s top tourist attractions like traditional temples, colonial sites, shopping centers, and more. Book a discounted ticket now! This is an ideal way of seeing a lot of tourist spots at a very affordable price.

Hong Kong Big Bus
Hong Kong Big Bus | Photo by BbushkBiz under creative commons

Star Ferry Harbour Tour

In this tour, you can see all of Hong Kong’s popular harbor side tourist attractions. This is one of the cheap and convenient ways to experience cruising through Victoria Harbor. Get a discounted ticket here.

Macau Sightseeing Day Tour from Hong Kong

Macau represents a historic place for scenic beauty and travel destinations. The combination of Chinese and Portuguese culture made the city more interesting and beautiful. Experience the UNESCO World Heritage sites in Macau, book a discounted Macau tour from Hong Kong!

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Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post. If you book a tour or accommodation on one of the links, we get a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Think of it as a way of supporting our blog!

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