Hong Kong is a truly incredible city that is definitely worth putting on your travel bucket list. In December 2015, Martin made a sudden business trip to Hong Kong, and he returned to Seattle raving about the sci-fi city. After viewing his photos from the trip, we decided to make Hong Kong the first destination on our month-long trip to Asia a few months later. Below is our Hong Kong travel itinerary for a one-week trip, along with our thoughts on visiting this interesting Asian city.
Hong Kong was the very first destination on our tour of Asia throughout the month of April. We flew direct from Seattle to Hong Kong on Delta Airlines at a steal of an airfare price and immediately set about exploring the area on our first day in. Why Hong Kong? Martin had been sent here on a business trip in December and came back raving about the bustling activity, built up infrastructure, and overall high level of business activity in the region. While there were certainly many tourist attractions in Hong Kong that we frequented, the objective was to experience Hong Kong living as a local to see if it was a city we'd like to return to at a later date. The answer? Tiny living spaces and high humidity aside, absolutely!
- 7 Days
- 56.06 Miles Walked
- $105 USD Average Airbnb Cost Per Night
- 77°F Avg Temp
- 94% Avg Humidity
- Item Lost: Kindle
7-Day Hong Kong Travel Itinerary
First Day: Arrive in Hong Kong International Airport. Check into Airbnb rental in Central Hong Kong. Spend the day exploring Central by foot.
Second Day: Day trip to Kowloon and Mong Kok.
Third Day: Work day in Central with a hike up to Victoria Peak at sunset.
Fourth Day: Hike and day trip to Repulse Bay.
Days 5-7: Overnight trip to explore Macau.
Hong Kong Affordability
Hong Kong is easily the most expensive city we visited. Hotels were on the spendy side, averaging at least $100 USD per night. Hostels were also on the spendy side between $15-40 USD per night. Since we wanted to experience Hong Kong from a local's perspective, we opted for a private Airbnb rental. Although spendy, Airbnb apartments granted us access to an entire living space. This sounded great in theory but disappointing in reality.
It turns out Hong Kong living spaces are indeed very expensive and tiny, so this may affect your overall Hong Kong travel itinerary. Cheap food could definitely be found in Hong Kong, but eating out at hip Westernized restaurants was pricey. Cocktails were also spendy, averaging $15-20 USD per drink, and even abundant hookah bongs were in the $40 USD range. For comparison, hookah in Bali only cost $5 USD for the same quality. Despite the extravagant pricing, transportation was very cheap, making it an easy decision to take taxis around town.
Quick Observations on Hong Kong
Women on the street
We were startled at the wide number of women camping out on the sidewalks of the city. They were splayed out on cardboard boxes in large groups, engaged in various activities from braiding each others' hair, reading books, sharing meals and bottles of wine, and just socializing with each other. After inquiring on Google, we discovered that these women weren't homeless, but instead housemaids. Being mostly of Filipina descent, they work six days a week and have Sundays and holidays off. Since they tend to live either in the houses the work in or in dorms, they have no place to gather and socialize, so they take to the streets, with the permission of the Hong Kong government to do so.
The true city that never sleeps
There is always an incredible display of hustle and bustle throughout the streets at (almost) all hours of the day. Hong Kong is truly a city that never sleeps and is fittingly dubbed the "New York of Asia." If you're looking for an active nightlife scene, be sure to make it a part of your Hong Kong travel itinerary.
Hong Kong's demographics are diverse and varied consisting of high-rolling professionals (usually in banking or finance), international expats of young and old, and native Hong Kongese residents. Seeing these groups of people clash was a puzzling sight and was always apparent in the party areas of Soho and Lan Kwai Fong. It wasn't unusual to pass a raucously drunk crowd of street party-goers being watched warily by old Hong Kongese grandmas sweeping, cleaning and gathering the piles of booze bottles that accumulated streetside every night.
Not many personally owned cars
The streets of Hong Kong were filled mostly with taxis and very few personal cars. Most Hong Kongese get around by taxi or public transit. The personally owned vehicles we did see were mostly shiny new Tesla, Lamborghini, Porsche, or some other extremely high-end sports car. More often than not, the stunning vehicle was manned by a 20-year-old millionaire.
Very clean city
Despite not being as shiny new and clean as Singapore, Hong Kong had a penchant for cleanliness and order in other ways. Every public space and bathroom had a cleaning attendant on hand along with signs declaring how often the area was sanitized daily. All public restrooms were spotless with ample soap and tissues and no charge to use. There were also frequent signs urging denizens to wear a surgical mask if they had any signs of illness.
Tiny living spaces
"Our wardrobe at home is bigger than this bathroom!"
Those are words you never want to utter, especially when inspecting an apartment that you'll be spending the next 4 days in. To my utter horror and dismay, those were the exact words that came out of my mouth when I first stepped into the Hong Kong Airbnb apartment that Martin had booked us. Wanting to experience life like a local and thinking that an apartment rental would include more space than a hotel, we opted for an Airbnb experience.
We ended up in a 130 square foot studio apartment in the bustling entertainment area of Central Hong Kong, known as Soho. Located near the top of the famous Central-Mid-Levels escalator, Soho was full of restaurants, bars and nightclubs galore, making it our ideal home base for our first few days in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, living like a true HongKongese local also came with the acceptance of living in an incredibly tiny living space. The most difficult room to comprehend was the tiny closet of a bathroom and shower room. It was so small and narrow that even my 5' 3" frame could barely turn around or bend over in. Thus, you should be prepared for tight and cozy living quarters whether you opt for Airbnb or a hotel.
A blast from the past
As a kid, I got in my possession a vintage keychain photo of my parents in a Hong Kong restaurant. Originally taken in 70's, that keychain has been a favorite of mine throughout the years of adulthood. It immediately came to mind when we started planning this trip. Thus, that same restaurant in Kowloon was among the main priorities of our Hong Hong Travel itinerary. Pretty cool to see that La Taverna is still standing!
Our week of traveling in Hong Kong made us fall in love with this unique Asian city. We wouldn't hesitate to return in heartbeat, whether for business, pleasure, or both. What do you think of our Hong Kong travel itinerary? Let us know in the comments below!