When we first arrived in Hong Kong, we immediately thought skyscrapers and the iconic skyline, but there is so much more to Hong Kong. We planned to extend our layover to 3 days instead of just a few hours to give us some time to explore and look for those photo opportunities. Here is what we recommend doing if you only have three days or less in Hong Kong!
Day 1: Hong Kong Disneyland
Truthfully speaking, we totally forgot about Disneyland here and were so happy that we were able to fit this into our itinerary. Disneyland in Hong Kong was really amazing. Both Kirstie and I have not been to Disney in a while so this gave us a chance to be a kid again and appreciate parts of Disney through the eyes of an adult. The special thing about Disney is that they really are able to express love and happiness regardless of culture, language or any others barriers. The whole park was decked out in holiday decorations and preparing for Christmas. We highly recommend Disney during the holidays to get into holiday spirit. Another thing we noticed about the park was that the park was just full enough to have people around but also with the comfort of not having to wait in ridiculous lines. We got through all the rides and shows we wanted without having to push and shove.
Ticket price: $82 USD for 1-day general admission. Please note there are discounts and specials via the Hong Kong Disneyland website
Transportation: Getting to Disneyland was super easy via public transit. We stayed in the Tim Sha Tsui area and took the MTR to Disneyland. You will need to make a few transfers but there are signs everywhere pointing to Disneyland. Travel time takes about 40-45 minutes.
Take the Tsuen Wan MTR train towards Tsuen Wan.
Get off at Lai King Station.
Transfer to Tung Chung line. The train should be Tung Chung-bound.
Alight at Sunny Bay Station.
Transfer to Disneyland Resort Line.
Day 2: Iconic Photo Day
Our second day in Hong Kong, we made time for some of those iconic Hong Kong photo spots. This is including the Monster Building, Choi Hung's Estate, and the main harbor.
HK Choi Hung Estate: Choi Hung is one of Hong Kong's oldest remaining and functioning estates. It isn't necessarily an attraction, butit draws in many tourists who have a love for photography on a daily basis. Its colorful backdrop behind the basketball courts make for a picturesque scene. Most people don't know that the basketball is actually on the rooftop of a parking lot. (Good to remember if you plan on coming here and don't circle around for an hour like we did).
How to get there: It's really simple to get here. Just take the MTR to Choi Hung station on the Kwun Tong line, then take exits C3 or C4. As you get off these exits, turn left to see the multi-level car park. Google Maps will lead you to the very center of Choi Hung Estate, which is actually an entire complex of homes of about 11 or so buildings, instead of this famous basketball court. Make sure you look for the parking lot instead.
Yick Fat Building: This is the iconic residential building found in the Transformers movie and is a popular instagram spot. Check out this article for all you need to know on this.
Hong Kong Harbour: Also known as Victoria Harbour, this is such a beautiful part of Hong Kong. It used to be an old maritime motorway but is now more known for its iconic skyline views. For an added experience we recommend taking the Star Ferry at sunset to see beautiful views of the city.
To get to the Hong Kong Harbour take the MTR to East Tsim Sha Tsui or Tsim Sha Tsui Station. You can also take the ferry to Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry Pier.
Day 3: Shop Until You Drop
Hong Kong is easily one of the best places in the world for shopping. You can basically find anything you need in Hong Kong and the biggest perk: no sales tax! You will find multiple department stores, malls, and shopping centers. You will find boutiques, outlet stores, and convenient stores. You will find most of the shopping areas in Kowloon and on Hong Kong Island. Considering most things are tax free and in the Hong Kong $ you will find that a majority of goods are cheaper than competing large cities.
As with the cheaper cosmetics, clothing and other goods you will also find night markets for food. Don't forget to try all of the Hong Kong favorites which will be a mix of Chinese and Western influences.
Hong Kong is a beautiful country with a lot of rich history. Surprisingly even with it being really over crowded in areas we found that the downtown areas were really clean. If you have a chance for a long layover in Hong Kong we definitely recommend! (Don't miss out on Disneyland!)
The Purple Diaries
Hong Kong is a little harsher when it comes to views with LGBT rights. There are no laws about discrimination against someone from the LGBT community. There is also no legalized same-sex marriage in Hong Kong and someone within the LGBT community could face legal or social challenges. However, maybe the times are changing as more people are supporting LGBT rights throughout the country. More and more studies show that people backing same-sex marriage and protection for LGBT citizens. We were a little more cautious when walking the streets of Hong Kong as there is also a lot of strict history in this area. We recommend exercising the same caution when visiting.
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