Three Days in Hong Kong

Three Days in Hong Kong





Head for the city

skyline and you

head for the high

life. It’s time to take

in the view from

one of Hong Kong’s

top spots

by fay warrilow

short break

Look out over the vibrant cityscape

of Hong Kong and you will see a super-modern

city of neon and skyscrapers that is so futuristic

it feels ahead of its time. But scratch the surface

a little and look beyond its gleaming towers,

and you will discover that what was once just a

collection of fishing villages is now a place with

many personalities – modern and traditional,

international and local.

To explore the different areas of this “Pearl

of the Orient” – including Hong Kong Island,

Kowloon and the New Territories on the

Chinese mainland, and the outlying islands – is

to take a trip round the world. Each has its own

distinct flavor: Central, the iconic business

center, has a mix of cutting-edge architecture

and historic colonial buildings; Kowloon offers

a taste of Chinese culture, with its markets and

temples; and the villages, parks and residential

retreats of the islands provide welcome relief

from the often-sweltering city streets.

In three days, Hong Kong will dazzle you

with its ‘must-sees’ – such as the shopping malls

and the Big Buddha of Lantau – and provide a

pleasurable assault on the senses. From the

glint of sunlight on the skyscrapers, the lapping

of waves against a wooden sampan, the scent of

shrimp tossed in a street wok, and the heat haze

which blankets the area in summer, the sights,

sounds, and smells of the city will stay with you

long after you’ve left them all behind.

From the top



To get a sense of the size and scope of

the city, take the Peak Tram – over 100

years old, but well maintained – to

Victoria Peak, Hong Kong Island’s most famous

landmark (and most expensive residential area).

From the top tier of the city’s “Mount Olympus”

you can look out across the glass high-rises as

far as the island of Macau. (It’s worth checking

the weather forecast to ensure Hong Kong’s

haze doesn’t descend while you’re up there.)

The Peak Tower with its touristy gift shops and

waxworks museum dominates the area, but you

can still escape for a leisurely lunch away from

the crowds at The Peak Lookout. This former

sedan chair carriers’ shelter has a delightful

terrace overlooking the South China Sea and

has Hainan chicken rice among its specialties.

Descend from the Peak rubbing shoulders

with city execs on the Mid-Levels escalator

system in Central. It is regarded as the longest

In three days, Hong Kong

will provide a pleasurable

assault on the senses…

the sights, sounds, and

smells of the city will stay

with you long after you’ve

left them all behind

outdoor-covered escalator system in the world

and is a real snapshot of daily Hong Kong life.

For a taste of old Hong Kong, spend an

afternoon in Kowloon’s bustling traditional

markets. Take the historic Star Ferry from Wan

Chai or Central to Tsim Sha Tsui, then cab or

MTR (Mass Transit Railway – Hong Kong’s

fast, clean underground system) to Prince

Edward in Mongkok. From there you can

walk to the markets. The Yuen Po Street Bird

Garden and Flower Markets are wonderfully

atmospheric – the elderly locals sit and feed

grasshoppers to their brightly-colored birds

using chopsticks, in the Bird Garden, and

flamboyant blooms abound in the Flower

Market. Walk back towards the Tung Choi

Ladies’ Market, the place for quirky souvenirs

– if you’ve ever felt in need of a Jackie Chan

figurine, now is your chance. Then take a walk

through Temple Street Night Market and the

Jade Market (great for trinkets) to Jordan MTR.

Back at Tsim Sha Tsui, the waterfront is a

great place to admire the view of Hong Kong

Island from the Kowloon side. It’s also not far

from the new One Peking skyscraper, which is

ideal for a fashion fix – Dior, Fendi, and Miu

Miu are among the designer boutiques housed

within the complex. Then it’s up to the top of

the building for a cocktail in Aqua Spirit and

dinner at Hutong. On the menu at this Pekingstyle

restaurant are abalone carpaccio with

spring onion oil; crispy de-boned lamb ribs and

– if you’re brave – drunken raw crab.

There are regular Star Ferry crossings back

to Hong Kong Island right up to 11.30 p.m. If

you can summon up the energy, the bars of

Wan Chai and Admiralty will keep you

entertained into the early hours. Bar 1/5 has a

chic atmosphere and a large drinks selection,

but if you feel like something a little livelier,

Carnegies and Dusk Till Dawn will get you

dancing (possibly on the bar).


The scenic route



Hong Kong boasts a multicultural

population, including Christians,

Jews, Muslims and Hindus. Taoism,

Confucianism, and Buddhism define the

religious life of most people in Hong Kong and

this is very much in evidence. Like the Peak, the

Tian Tan Buddha on Lantau Island is

unmissable. Even getting there is memorable.

Take an early ferry or train across the water to

Tung Chung town centre on Lantau, then ride

the visually spectacular 360-degree-view cable

car (get the hotel to book this – it gets busy) to

Ngong Ping Village. Views from the cable car

are amazing – you’ll see the distant South

China Sea and the green hills of Lantau as you

approach the 111.5ft-high bronze Buddha

figure. Tell the ticket office at the Big Buddha

you don’t require lunch at the monastery (it’s

not particularly memorable) and you won’t be

charged for going up to see the statue.

One of Hong Kong’s big surprises is that

it’s mainly parkland; and, accordingly, it’s one

of the best places in the world for a hike, with

rolling countryside outside the financial and

industrial centres. You can take lunch at Ngong

Ping Village or take the cable car back down to

Tung Chung and try dim sum and tea (the

quintessential Chinese brunch) in the Citygate

Mall. Then spend the afternoon working it off

with a hike. Lantau has some great trails to

explore that make the most of its verdant

landscape; one option is to do the Tung Chung

to Discovery Bay hike. And if you do have a

chance to extend your break, a hike in Sai

Kung Country Park over in the New Territories

is a wonderful way to experience Hong Kong’s

striking natural beauty.

There’s no better way to recuperate back

on Hong Kong Island than with a preprandial

martini and piano music at the members-only

Kee Club on Wellington Street – one of Hong

Kong’s secret pleasures (ask your concierge to

book). For dinner, socialite Bonnie Gokson’s

bar and restaurant Sevva on Chater Road, is

one of the most fashionable new venues in the

city. Depending on your appetite, try tapas at

Sevva’s Taste Bar or a more substantial meal in

its Harbourside restaurant.

If you’re not visiting around the time of big

events, when things get quite crowded, make

your way to the bars and clubs of Lan Kwai

Fung and Soho. Joyce is Not Here and Yumla

are good for a chilled nightcap.

Views from the cable

car are amazing – you’ll

see the distant South

China Sea and the green

hills of Lantau as you

approach the 111.5ft-high

bronze Buddha figure


short break

Style and substance



Residents happily admit that

shopping is Hong Kong’s favorite

pastime – and queuing to get into a

boutique a regular sight. But it’s a pastime that

varies wildly in tone depending on what you

want to buy – from souvenirs in the markets

and labels in the style-conscious malls to

antiques in the shops of Hollywood Road and

Cat Street and Japanese department stores of

Causeway Bay.

If you’re short on days, however, the Joyce

warehouse on the island of Ap Lei Chau is a

real hidden gem. With new stock each week,

it’s great for a concentrated designer shopping

spree – even though you’ll feel like you’re in

the middle of nowhere. After breakfast on your

final morning, catch a taxi to Joyce on Lee

Nam Road on Ap Lei Chau, near Aberdeen. If

you’ve time afterwards, you might also want to

squeeze in a harbor tour in a traditional

wooden sampan boat in Aberdeen.

There are plenty of lunch spots in

Aberdeen, but if you’re here at the weekend,

then stretching out on a Dedon couch atop the

world-renowned imperial-style floating Jumbo

Restaurant is an excellent – if a little touristy –

choice. Run by the Café Deco Group, Topdeck

(on the top floor) offers fabulous al fresco

dining and signature dishes such as tandoori

Chilean sea bass.

Back in Admiralty, take the colonial

tramway – another Hong Kong institution that

has to be experienced, if just for a short

journey – to Central. From there you can

wander back towards Pacific Place on foot,

taking in some of the city’s most famous sights:

the observatory on the 55th floor of Two IFC

offers an exhilarating bird’s-eye view of the

cityscape (you’ll need photo ID, but it’s free);

the Hanart TZ Gallery is a good stop for

some home-grown fine art; and tea at the

Flagstaff House Museum in the beautiful

Hong Kong Park will revive you ahead of the

evening entertainment.

The laser show projected nightly from the

city’s prominent buildings won’t have escaped

you, but seeing it from the water is a different

experience entirely. The Aqua Luna junk – a

traditionally made red-sail boat – is a hip

Above left: Tian Tan Buddha on Lantau Island.

Bottom left: the breathtaking view from Victoria

Peak. Bottom right: Hong Kong’s evening light show

Where to stay

The Upper House

Located at Pacific Place on Hong

Kong Island, you’ll be immersed

in luxury Hong Kong living at this

beautiful hotel. With a sky lounge,

21st-century grand café on the 49th

floor and 117 guestrooms looking

out over the island or harbor, Hong

Kong’s stunning cityscape is never far

from view.

Pacific Place, 88 Queensway,

Admiralty +852 2918 1838

For further information

and reservations, visit

reinterpretation of Hong Kong’s water-trading

and privateering past. An evening sail,

lounging on its couches with a cocktail, is a

great way to see the harbor and the lights. You

can even time a trip, from Central Pier number

9, to catch the 8 p.m. light show.

For your last dinner in Hong Kong, try

Café Gray Deluxe at the Upper House.

Described as a “21st-century grand café” and

overlooking Victoria Harbour, it’s run by

Michelin-starred Gray Kunz. You can watch

him and his team in action in the restaurant’s

long, open kitchen.

Dragon-i on Wyndham Street is a famous

venue for the city’s glitterati and a great way to

round off a trip to Hong Kong (have a word

with the concierge before you go to make sure

your name’s on the door). It’s open until

midnight, but the intimate French-style Gecko

Lounge on Hollywood Road is a cab ride away

if you’d like to make your final night in this

vibrant city last that little bit longer.


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