Hong Kong embodies everything you imagine when you think about traveling to Asia. It's chaotic, frenzied, and densely populated, yet impossible not to fall in love with. From its iconic tower-studded skyline to its famous food culture, you could spend weeks, or even months, in Hong Kong and barely scratch the surface of this ever-evolving metropolis, but if you only have 48 hours, you can make a dent as Hong Kong is a city that never sleeps. Here's a look at how to experience some of the best sights and eats in just two days.
9 AM - BREAKFAST AT TIM HO WAN
SHOP 12A, L 1/F HONG KONG MTR STATION CENTRAL
Start your first day off with one of Hong Kong's most well-known dim sum joints. Tim Ho Wan was founded by chef Pui Gor, formerly of the three-Michelin-starred restaurant Lung King Heen. Tim Ho Wan gained international recognition when the original Mongkok branch was awarded a Michelin star, lauded as the world's cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant. This branch is conveniently located in the MTR Station at the IFC building and, if you get there at opening, you shouldn't have much of a wait. Not-to-miss dishes include the famous cha siu pineapple pork buns, siu mai, beef balls, and radish cakes.
11 AM - NGONG PING 360
You're already at the Hong Kong MTR Station, which makes it convenient for heading out to Lantau Island and the Tung Chung Station. Ngong Ping 360 is a scenic 25-minute cable car ride from Tung Chung up to the cultural village of Ngong Ping. Here you can visit the Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery. For a real thrill, try the Crystal Cabin with glass bottom that will reward you with stunning views of the sea and mountains below.
11:30 AM - TIAN TAN BUDDHA AND PO LIN MONASTERY
When you exit the the cable car, you'll see the steps leading up to the Big Buddha, or formally, Tian Tan Buddha. It's a bit of a hike, but it's worth it, as it's said to be the biggest sitting Buddha statue outdoors. Erected in 1993, it stands 34 meters high and faces north to look over the Chinese people. Next to the statue is the Po Lin Monastery, one of Hong Kong's most important Buddhist monasteries.
1 PM - TAI O FISHING VILLAGE
TAI O, LANTAU ISLAND
Since you're in the area, head back down to Ngong Ping Village and catch Bus 21 to Tai O fishing village. The tiny village is considered remote, and as such, it's stayed true to its authentic roots. Take a stroll along the waterfront and see a whole different side of Hong Kong included stilted houses. Grab a seafood lunch from one of food vendors along the road. You'll find everything from donuts to salted dried fish and salted egg yolks. If you're interested in seeing the "pink dolphins," there are tours that depart from Tai O, as well.
3:30 PM - AFTERNOON TEA
5 CONNAUGHT RD. CENTRAL
Take the MTR back to Hong Kong island and head to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel for one of the best afternoon teas in the city. With its prior status as a British Colony, afternoon tea is a huge part of the culture in Hong Kong. The Clipper Lounge offers tasty scones and their signature rose petal jam.
5 PM - VICTORIA PEAK
HONG KONG ISLAND
Make your way to the Peak Tram Lower Terminus either by bus, taxi, or walking and enjoy the ride up to Victoria Peak just before sunset to take in the iconic Hong Kong skyline. You can spend as much or as little time as you want on the peak -- there are exhibits, shops, restaurants, and more to explore.
7:30 PM - SYMPHONY OF LIGHTS
GOLDEN BAUHINIA SQUARE, WAN CHAI
The 13-minute light and sound show occurs on both sides of Victoria Harbour at 8 pm and has been named the "World's Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show" by the Guinness Book of World Records. It's important to arrive early to secure a prime viewing spot near the Hong Kong Convention Center. Don't miss the giant six meter high gilded flower bauhinia, for which Golden Bauhinia Square is named. Live narration in English is available on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
8:30 PM - DINNER IN CAUSEWAY BAY / WAN CHAI
HONG KONG ISLAND
After you're done at the Peak, head into the lively Causeway Bay area of Central for dinner. It's one of the fanciest areas in Hong Kong, with rent that's among the most expensive in the world. Causeway Bay extends into the Wan Chai district, one of the busiest commercial districts. You'll find noted restaurants like Din Tai Fung and Tai Woo Cantonese in Causeway Bay, while Wan Chai is home to renowned spots like Michelin-starred Bo Innovation, 22 Ships, Ham & Sherry, and American Peking Restaurant.
10 PM - WOOLOOMOOLOO PRIME
31/F & ROOFTOP, THE HENNESSY, 256 HENNESSY RD. WAN CHAI
After dinner, head up to the 31st floor of the The Hennessy Building to the WoolooMooloo Steakhouse and rooftop bar. It's one of the most scenic outdoor areas in the city and offers a different perspective on the skyline, and across Victoria Harbour to the Kowloon Peninsula.
11 PM - LAN KWAI FONG
LAN KWAI FONG, HONG KONG ISLAND
If you're up for experiencing one of Hong Kong's noted party areas, head to Lan Kwai Fong on Hong Kong Island. This dining and entertainment district comes alive at night, especially on the weekends. You can dance all night at a club, grab drinks at some of the city's most interesting bars, or just wander the streets and do some people watching.
1 AM - TSUI WAH RESTAURANT
15-19 WELLINGTON ST. GF-2F, CENTRAL
If you're feeling peckish, hit up one of the cha chaa tengs, or local fast food eateries, before bed. Many of them, like Tsui Wah Restaurant, are open 24 hours, catering to the round-the-clock Hong Kong lifestyle. Tsui Wah has branches all over and are known for a variety of dishes, including fishball noodles, Hainanese chicken rice, milk pork chop buns, and milk tea. The milk pork chop bun is simply a toasted pork chop bun, minus the pork chop, with a healthy portion of sweetened condensed milk on top. It's a great snack after a night of partying.
9 AM - CAFFÈ HABITŪ
77-79 GLOUCESTER RD. WAN CHAI
While you may think Hong Kong is all about tea, coffee is a big part of the local culture too, with independent shops opening all over the city. One cool hole-in-the-wall is CAFFÈ HABITŪ, which offers quality Italian coffee and food. Grab a beverage and pastry and make your way to the Star Ferry Terminal to start your second day.
9:30 AM - STAR FERRY
CENTRAL PIER NO 6 / PENG CHAU FERRY PIER
Start day two with one of the most iconic ways to cross the Harbour -- by Ferry. Founded back in 1888, boats run continuously all day long. While you can cross via taxi or MTR, the journey on the Star Ferry is far more scenic, even earning recognition from National Geographic as one of the 10 best city boat trips.
10 AM - STARRY GALLERY (AVENUE OF THE STARS TEMPORARY EXHIBIT)
SALISBURY RD. UNDER EAST TSIM SHA TSUI MTR
One of the biggest attractions in Hong Kong is Avenue of the Stars, the "street" that pays homage to the stars that helped make Hong Kong the "Hollywood of the East." Since 2015, there has been construction in the area so the Avenue is closed until 2017-18. In the meantime, you'll find the exhibits at Starry Gallery and Garden of Stars. Garden of Stars includes sculptures of stars like Bruce Lee, handprint plaques, and more. The Starry Gallery is the pedestrian street that features iconic movie stills, posters, and a 100-year legacy of Hong Kong cinema.
12 PM - HELLO KITTY CHINESE CUISINE
LEE LOY MANSION CANTON RD. YAU MA TEI, KOWLOON
Since you're on the Kowloon side, check out one of the city's most popular themed restaurants. Look for everything to be Hello Kitty themed, from the food to the teapots, tables, and wall decor. Don't miss the beautiful Hello Kitty artwork in the adjacent dining room if it's open.
2 PM - JADE MARKET
JUNCTION OF KANSU ST. & BATTERY ST. YAU MA TEI, KOWLOON
Explore one of Hong Kong's most renown market areas -- the Jade Market in Kowloon. A very important stone in Chinese culture, jade is associated with long life and good health. You'll find hundreds of stalls selling everything from inexpensive trinkets to large exquisite sculptures -- come prepared to negotiate.
4 PM - LADIES MARKET
TUNG CHOI ST. MONGKOK, KOWLOON
Another one of Hong Kong's well-known market areas is the Ladies' Market where you'll find over 100 stalls of bargain items with everything from clothing to souvenirs. Haggling is the name of the game so don't be shy. The market is comprised of independent vendors so there is no set opening time per se, but stalls start to get going around noon. The street is closed to traffic from 4 pm until midnight every day except Sundays and holidays.
6 PM - MING COURT
SHANGHAI ST. LEVEL 6, CORDIS HOTEL HONG KONG AT LANGHAM PLACE, MONGKOK
Ming Court is the two-starred Michelin Cantonese restaurant at Cordis Hotel. Look for seasonal menus and be sure to check out the impressive Ming Cellar. They open at 6 pm for dinner, and reservations are recommended (which can be made online).
8 PM - SWEET MONSTER
SHOP 10-19 3/F LANGHAM PLACE 8 ARGYLE ST. MONGKOK
If you saved a little room for dessert, wander over to the adjacent Langham Place shopping center and check out one of Hong Kong's most popular soft serve ice cream spots. Sweet Monster originated in South Korea and combines savory popcorn with vanilla ice cream. The portions are huge so one serving can easily be shared between two people.
9 PM - OZONE ROOFTOP BAR
RITZ-CARLTON HOTEL, INTERNATIONAL COMMERCE CENTRE (ICC) 1 AUSTIN RD. W. HONG KONG
Currently recognized as the highest bar in the world, OZONE sky bar and lounge at the Ritz-Carlton is an impressive sight. Located on the 118th floor, you can sit indoors or head out onto the terrace for dizzying views over Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Island. Be sure to bring a light jacket or ask for a blanket as it does get rather windy and chilly that high up!
WHERE TO STAY: PARK LANE, A PULLMAN HOTEL
310 GLOUCESTER RD. CAUSEWAY BAY, HONG KONG
Located on Hong Kong Island, the Park Lane Hotel is a midrange luxury resort offering convenience, five-star service, and great views. The subway station is a two-minute walk, and there is plenty of shopping and entertainment nearby.