After the realisation that we weren’t going to make it to China on this trip, we decided that spending two days in Hong Kong would be the next best thing. Although it wouldn’t be quite the same, at least it would provide us with a little taster, and luckily we found that flights from here to the Philippines were pretty cheap which gave us an added incentive to add it to our itinerary.
The big concern was cost. Cities are always expensive places to hang out, and while there’s usually some good free things to do, travel and food costs always add up. We were determined to have a jampacked couple of days where we’d see as much as possible while trying new foods, without breaking the bank.
Overall we managed to do the whole two days in Hong Kong while only spending £223 between two of us, including accommodation and all travel costs including airport transfers.
Here’s how we did it!
Our Two Day Hong Kong Itinerary
Day One: Hong Kong Island
We arrived in Hong Kong at 9.30am, and paid the 170HKD for two of us to get the airport express to Hong Kong Central Station, which was just one stop (21HKD) from Tsim Sha Tsui – which in turn was less than two minutes walk from our guesthouse.
We could have got the bus but time was of the essence and using the express and metro was amazingly quick and easy. Be prepared for lots of walking though as Hong Kong Central is enormous!
After checking in at Pearl Guesthouse – 500HKD / £50 for two nights – we grabbed a quick shower and set out to explore.
Grabbing the metro back to HK Central, we had a meander around the financial district of central, admiring the skyscrapers and taking pictures of some of the many statues. Like Wall Street in NYC and the Square Mile in London, this area of the city is well worth seeing – especially as Hong Kong is such an economic powerhouse.
Lunch was at the famous Kau Kee Beef Brisket which totally lived up to its fantastic reputation, serving up the best beef noodles we’ve ever had together with an ice cold beer, for just 141HKD.
We then blew the budget on some awesome Egglette Parfait at nearby Oddies Gelato. Yes it cost 125HKD for two icecreams and yes, it was worth every penny!
Next up, we took advantage of the sunshine to have a wander through the Soho and Old Town area of the city, home to many heritage walks and some great street art. You’ll need patience if you want to hold out for any clear photos though… Hong Kong is without a doubt one of the busiest cities we’ve been to!
As the sunshine persisted we went to the Hong Kong Zoological & Botanical Gardens, where free entry was another unexpected bonus, and had a great time mooching about and looking at the many birds and small animals on display, including tamarind monkeys and meerkats (my personal favourites).
Our only paid activity of day one was the 180HKD we spent to take the Peak Tram up to the Sky Terrace for some amazing views of that Hong Kong Skyline. Whilst I think the haze seldom clears completely, we were pretty lucky to have a fairly sunny afternoon and managed to get some reasonable pictures. The most iconic skyline view was still to come though – there’s a reason it’s the number one attraction according to tripadvisor!
We spent some time next at the nearby Hong Kong Park, where we saw the memorial of the SARS outbreak that affected the city. After a couple of hours relaxing back at the guesthouse, we headed to the nightly light show at Victoria Harbour – a short walk from our place – which takes place at 8pm every night. This was our first sight of the full skyline from across the bay, and it was pretty breathtaking to be honest. Sorry we don’t have any better pictures to share!
Last up, we grabbed a local dinner of prawn rice rolls and spicy noodles for 100HKD and headed to bed.
Day Two: Kowloon
Luckily we got all our outdoors bits done the first day of our trip as we woke up to a massive thunderstorm and torrential rain on the second of our two days in Hong Kong. I have never seen rain like it. It bucketed it down for hours on end and it wasn’t til the afternoon that it was clear enough to walk anywhere without the fear of getting soaked through.
The best thing to do in such awful weather in our experience is to hang out at Starbucks while considering your options, before heading to the Hong Kong History Museum. Not only is this another top spot with free entry, it is one of the best museums we’ve been to – easily on a par with the American Museum of Natural History or Te Papa in New Zealand, which are two of our other faves. It’s packed with everything from the geology and history of the region to exhibits on modern day life and social history, as well as some brilliant displays of local costumes and festival traditions. Cannot recommend this highly enough if you’re a museum fan!
After a good couple of hours exploring the museum we went for lunch at Canton Expert Dimsum, a budget chain who do some great dumplings as well as noodle and soup dishes. An enormous lunch was just 155HKD.
Next up, we grabbed a metro to Diamond Hill to see the Nan Lian Gardens and Chi Lin Nunnery, which are an oasis of calm in a truly crazy city. The gardens are particularly beautiful. As you walk under a busy ring road to reach them you’d have no idea that they are so peaceful and such a great spot to relax and wander for an hour or so. Also another place with free entry to help keep that budget under control.
Our final destination of our two days in Hong Kong was the Garden of Stars, the Clock Tower and one last quick glimpse of the (very cloudy) skyline in daylight before enjoying a BBQ dinner ready for another early flight. If we’d had nicer weather we probably would have taken a trip on the Star Ferry as well, but it was still fairly miserable so we gave up at this point!
Our Budget For Two Days in Hong Kong
We were pretty pleased that we managed to see so much and enjoy so much awesome food on our relatively tight budget. It is an expensive city, but if you’re careful it can be a budget destination – especially if you’re happy to walk rather than using taxis or the metro and if you seek out wallet friendly food options.
Our full budget breakdown is below in GBP and HKD.
Airport Express Two Ways – 170HKD / 17GBP per person
Metro Trips – 40HKD / 4GBP per person
Pearl Guesthouse 2 Nights – 500HKD / 50GBP
All Meals – 1118HKD / 111GBP
Peak Tram & Sky Terrace – 90HKD / 9GBP per person