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Updated 2019. Hong Kong had been on my wishlist for so many years so I was very excited to arrive and to start checking out the City. With so much to do and only 3 days in Hong Kong to do it all in, whilst also being on a budget in Hong Kong I wasn’t sure where to start with planning my itinerary around Hong Kong but luckily things fell into place, so here’s what I got up to in my 3 days in Hong Kong and what I spent in Hong Kong whilst on a backpacker budget.
Day 1 – Seeing Hong Kong’s Best Temples!
On my first full day in Hong Kong I had originally planned to go to Victoria Peak however with low cloud above the city I decided to head there another day in hope of better weather and hit the Temples instead (which was a good idea, always check the weather before going to Victoria Peak in Hong Kong!)
I started by visiting the Big Buddha which is on Lantau Island close to the airport. I caught the MTR (which is very easy and cheap to use) to Tung Chung station and followed the signs to the Ngong Ping 360 cable car. I arrived at 11:00am and had to queue for a good hour to buy the tickets, after queueing and paying $165 HKD/ £14.00 for a return journey on a standard cable car (there’s also a clear floor cable car which is $255HKD) I started the 20 minute journey to Ngong Ping Village with some great views along the way.
On arrival, the ‘village’ was a little strange as it has been built for tourists so I kind of felt like I was in a fake place with overpriced shops, a Subway and a Starbucks, that wasn’t what I was here to see! I was there to see the giant Buddha of Hong Kong which is, in fact, the largest, outdoor sitting Buddha Statue in the world!
There are a good 200 steps leading up to the Bronze Buddha but they provide good photo opportunities as once up there he is hard to get into a photo but it was very beautiful.
Afterwards, I headed to the Monastery which is very close by and is a lovely place, housed within this area is the room with ten thousand Buddha’s (wow!) and lots of different rooms and buildings to check out.
I was starting to feel hungry by this point so when I spotted a Vegetarian Cafe I had to get some noodles from there which were surprisingly cheap considering its prime tourist location, perfect for my backpacker budget lunch in Hong Kong.
Related Post: The food in Hong Kong is amazing when you know where to go, check out this Hong Kong Food Guide for ideas!
Back at Tung Chung station, I caught the MTR to Dimond hill, it was quite a long journey as it’s on the other side of Kowloon with 2 changes but it was very easy.
I got off and followed the signs for Nan Lian Gardens. Although I hadn’t really felt the hustle and bustle of the city yet this is a great place to relax and unwind. The gardens aren’t huge but they’re very tranquil which a gorgeous gold Pagoda in the middle, a pond and plenty of places to sit it was a place I enjoyed visiting. This temple is a very iconic Hong Kong Temple and one of the best and easiest temples to visit in Kowloon!
Right next door is Chi Lin Nunnery which was also very peaceful and there are some lovely Buddha statues to see and read up on (with no photos allowed).
I was back on the MTR one station down to Wong Tai Sin which brings you out at Wong Tai Sin Temple, the temple was quite busy by the time I arrived at 4:00 pm but it was also lovely to see and another very famous and iconic Hong Kong Temple.
I found it really bizarre but great how these temples are set right in the middle of the city surrounding by huge skyscraper buildings yet feel so peaceful. This is another place you can sit and enjoy what’s going on with some relaxing music in the background.
While I was North of Kowloon and on the right MRT line, I decided to head to the Ladies market near Kowloon. I got off at Mong Kok station and found the 1km closed-off street pretty well and had a browse at what they had. As with most markets in Asia, once you have seen a few stalls you have seen them all, (it’s also not just for ladies, that’s just the name) but it was good to see and had I been heading straight home I could have bought a lot of things!
I ended my day by walking down Nathan Street back to my hotel via a Vegetarian Restaurant- Cute Few which was reasonable in price as it’s a local restaurant and called it a day so I wasn’t too tired for the following days!
Day 2 – Visiting Hong Kong Island!
The following morning I made my way down to the Star Ferry Terminal in Kowloon and jumped on a boat for $3.20 HKD/ £0.30p from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island.
I wasn’t too sure where the best places to visit in Hong Kong Island were so I had a wander around and decided to make my destination Times Square. I was a little disappointed as I felt like I was just walking through the financial district (I don’t know if it was or not) and all there were malls and huge buildings with no character.
Long story short, one of my sandal’s felt like it was going to break so I looked up where the nearest shop selling Havaiana’s was which took me to the Soho area of Hong Kong Island and although I didn’t find any shoes I did find lots of cool streets which were pretty steep but had a lot of character so I’m really had I did quite literally, stumble upon Soho on Hong Kong Island.
As it was a Saturday afternoon the streets were full of life. Plus I found an awesome Cafe where I had a healthy Vegan lunch, it was more expensive than a local restaurant but worth it.
The sun was peeking out of the clouds and as I was on Hong Kong Island I found the spot where the tram leaves up to Victoria Peak and after the hour-long queue (not loving these queues Hong Kong!) I was sitting on the tram going up a very steep hill. The price of the return tram journey to Victoria Peak was only $40 HKD/ £3.40 which was a lot cheaper than I thought it would be! A cheap activity in Hong Kong!
Once at the top, being the budget backpacker I am I headed for the ‘free’ viewpoint that I saw signs for to check this out before paying for the 360 view-points and I found that from here I saw the iconic view I wanted to see- all the buildings and the harbour and paying for the 360 viewpoint would only give me another version of this so I took in the view, took some photos and headed back down (and of course queued for ages for the tram back down!).
Day 3 – Day Trip to Macau from Hong Kong!
Although I only had 3 days in Hong Kong and I knew there was so much more to see in Hong Kong I wanted to visit Macau for one day from Hong Kong, and seen as Macau is just a one hour ferry ride from Hong Kong I decided to head there on day 3 before I had to leave Hong Kong.
Macau is a crazy but interesting mix of Portuguese influence, Chinese influence and a whole lot of Casinos!
Hong Kong is an incredible City! I know I barely scratched the surface during my 3 days there but I felt I saw a lot and that I planned each day well. I wasn’t running all over the city from one attraction to the next. I also didn’t spend that much money, there are a lot of free activities in Hong Kong, transport is cheap and so is food from local restaurants. The most expensive thing about travelling to Hong Kong is accommodation, so I recommend this 3 day Hong Kong Itinerary to you too!
Related Post: How to Visit Macau on a Day Trip from Hong Kong!
For more things to do in Hong Kong, have a look at some of these tours: