Hong Kong: 48 Hours to Go
When it comes to entry into Asia, chances are a flight connecting through Hong Kong is in your future. Hong Kong is a gateway to almost all of Asia’s major travel destinations. But this vibrant metropolis is a destination city in its own right—a densely populated nexus where East meets West on every corner. When travel directs your path through Hong Kong, why spend your time at the airport? Instead, extend a long layover into a one- or two-night stay and take a mini-vacation in one of the world’s most fascinating cities. You’d be surprised at what you can accomplish with just 48 hours in Hong Kong.
Where to Stay
When time is short, location is key, and the Lan Kwai Fong Hotel is at the center of the action. Located in Hong Kong’s Central District, the hotel is a five-minute cab ride or easy walk from the Hong Kong Station of the clean, efficient Airport Express train—the quickest route into the heart of the city.
As you step through the door, you’ll notice the Lan Kwai Fong Hotel’s attention to detail, from the live turtles at the entrance, symbolically wishing you longevity and good health, to the custom design elements that blend Chinese tradition with contemporary culture. With only seven rooms per floor, the boutique hotel is a quiet refuge from the busy city. Book one of their Harbour View Suites. LKF is one of only two hotels in the city with exterior balconies, giving you a privileged view of Victoria Harbour. After check-in, you’ll have the Central District’s hottest neighborhoods at your fingertips, from the bars and restaurants of Soho to the bustling nightlife of Lan Kwai Fong. Or opt to stay in, dining at the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Celebrity Cuisine. After dinner, enjoy a fine cigar on an open-air terrace at the hotel’s Breeze Lounge before retiring to your suite.
The First 24 Hours
Start your morning steeped in tradition. Visit the nearby Man Mo Temple, where you can light incense and send up a prayer. Large coils of incense send spirals of smoke spinning through the room, leaving a smoky, heavily scented atmosphere. Locals and tourists come to pray and reflect. Man Mo Temple is located on Hollywood Road, a street also known for its authentic antique shops. Travelers looking to furnish their homes with the real deal will find plenty to purchase here. For souvenirs you can fit in your carry-on, tour the many markets of the Central District. The galleries and stands on Cat Street offer up an assortment of trinkets and souvenirs, from faux-jade bracelets to Mao Zedong watches. Snap a few pictures of the food at the market on Gage Street, where the fish are so fresh they’re still flopping and butchers chop meat in the open air. Pick up a magenta-skinned dragon fruit to eat later as you stroll Hong Kong’s crowded streets.
Once you’ve had your fill of bustling market spaces, enjoy the international cuisine of the Soho neighborhood, where you’ll find everything from British pubs to Nepalese food. One perk – travelers with weary feet can traverse this area via an incredibly long series of escalators and moving walkways. Because the Central District is nestled between the mountains and the sea, the city itself can become nearly vertical as you head away from the water, making these outdoor escalators a blessing. After lunch, make your way to the Garden Road Peak Tram Lower Terminus. Here a funicular with a 120-year-old history arrives to take you to The Peak, a collection of viewing platforms and public park spaces, for a bird’s eye view of the city. Nab the perfect photo op with Victoria Harbour as your backdrop.
Finish your day with authentic cuisine at Yung Kee Restaurant. The adventurous will try the black, gelatinous preserved egg and pickled ginger served before the meal. For the main course, indulge in the house specialty, roast goose. After your feast, go bar- and club-hopping in nearby Lan Kwai Fong.
Countdown to 48 Hours
If jet lag wakes you early, do as the locals do: head to Lin Heung Tea House. Open at 6 am, this decades-old dumpling house is just steps from the hotel door. Here you’ll find carts stacked with bamboo steamers and tasting plates, wheeled around the room by Cantonese-speaking women. If you’re there sans interpreter, order by pointing at what you’d like. You’ll be handed food and given a stamp on your receipt. Don’t leave without trying the bean-paste buns. Though it can get noisy and crowded, this casual gathering place is perfect for reading the paper, enjoying a hot cup of tea, and getting a taste of something new.
After breakfast, it’s time to leave Hong Kong Island and cross the harbor to Kowloon. Take the Star Ferry for an affordable (it’ll cost you about a quarter), eye-pleasing trip on the water. Once you disembark, you have a lot of ground to cover. Shoppers seeking covetable high-end goods will the love the designer stores on Canton Road, including Hermes, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and many more. Bargain hunters should head further inland to the crowded Ladies Market on Tung Choi Street or to admire the flowers at the Fa Yuen Street Market and the animals at the Gold Fish Market. If your day of shopping in Kowloon turns to evening, even better! You’ll find that is just when the Temple Street Night Market really heats up. Here vendors hawk clothing, gadgets and gifts at rock-bottom prices. Have your fortune told by one of the soothsayers clustered on the street. To reach the markets, take the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) to the Mongkok station.
When you’re ready to escape the sights and smells of the overcrowded markets, take an elevator to a bar like none other. Just opened in March at the Ritz-Carlton is OZONE. Located on the 118th floor, this swanky rooftop watering hole currently holds the distinction of being the world’s highest bar. Enjoy a specialty cocktail while you take in sweeping views of Victoria Harbour. Raise a glass and toast to a city full of local tradition and high-end luxury before you return to your hotel to depart on your next adventure.
Details and Information
Lan Kwai Fong Hotel
3 Kau U Fong, Central, Hong Kong
Yun Kee Restaurant
32-40 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong
Lin Heung Tea House
160-164 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong
International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Road West, 118th Floor,
Kowloon, Hong Kong