First Day in Hong Kong

Seattle International Airport

The Start of the Journey at Seattle Int’l Airport

Arrival Day

We arrived to Hong Kong International around 4 in the afternoon, fresh off a 13+ hour direct flight from Vancouver, B.C. We were pleased immediately with how smoothly everything operated, from the airport to the Mass Transit Railway (MTR). We were able to easily navigate to our hotel in the Tsim Sha Tsui area of Kowloon; just 2 short blocks away from the Victoria Harbor. The sidewalks were quite crowded since it was a Saturday evening. I don’t think I can even count how many times we heard, “You want watch? You need suit?” from vendors on Nathan Street. If I’m honest, it got a little annoying after being asked 20+ times the same question by the same people every time we left our hotel.  We spent the rest of the evening exploring Nathan Street and getting adjusted to the new time zone.

Kowloon Hong Kong

Day One

I’m not ashamed to admit that we made use of the nearby McDonalds. There may be options, but we had difficulty finding breakfast foods in Asia in general. We were able to pick up some breakfast and yummy latte’s in the morning and usually stopped by again in the afternoon for a $5 HKD (~$0.64 USD) ice cream cone.

Tian Tan Buddha

Tian Tan Buddha on Lantau Island

Po Lin Monastery

Po Lin Monastery 

Lantau Island

We spent the first part of the day on Lantau Island, where we were able to ride the Ngong Ping 360 cable car, climb the 268 steps to reach the Tian Tan Buddha and walk around the Po Lin Monastery. We arrived at the cable car right when they opened and there were about 20 people in line ahead of us. When we arrived back to the start of the cable car the line was at least 300 people long! That was around noon, so definitely plan on arriving early! I have a lot of great photos from Lantau Island to share, so I’m going to write a post specifically about it soon! So stay tuned! 

Chungking Mansions

Chungking Mansions

Chungking Mansions

While I rested at the hotel Jake went on a search for some “Foakleys” and “Faybans” (Fake Oakley and Rayban sunglasses). He finally stopped and talked to all the touts who had been trying to sell us suits and purses for the past 24 hours. They all said, “Yes! I have sunglasses!” and then proceeded to lead him down little streets or into the Chungking Mansions to view, surprise, suits and purses! His quest for sunglasses was unsuccessful. The Chungking Mansions is a 17 story building that takes up nearly an entire block. It is filled with budget guesthouses, a variety of ethnic food restaurants (famous especially for their Indian food selections) and numerous retail shops.

Symphony of Lights Show

Symphony of Lights Show

Symphony of Lights

We headed down to view the Avenue of Stars; Hong Kong’s equivalent of Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. We didn’t recognize most of the actors names, but we did spot Jackie Chan and Jet Le’s names! The Avenue of Stars was crowded and wasn’t especially interesting, but it was nice to view the Hong Kong skyline during the day. I would recommend grabbing an ice cream cone and going for a stroll if you have a little time to kill. After catching some dinner we returned back to view the Symphony of Lights show. The show was a little cheesy, but the fun part was taking pictures of the iconic junk boats before the show started and of the lights during it.

Hong Kong Skyline

With a population of over 7 million plus the high number of tourists from mainland China, Hong Kong felt overwhelming for me in the beginning. As the days passed though I began to notice and appreciate how clean and efficient the city was. The MTR was the best public transportation we have used. It was crowded, but it was easy to navigate and was always timely. Other than the touts, who could be relentless, the city felt quite safe as well and English was well spoken so communication was easy. Hong Kong was the perfect introduction to Asia. As much fun as we had on our first day, Day Two was even better!

Things to Know

  • We paid $220 HKD (approx $28 USD) per person for unlimited access to the MTR for 3 days plus 1 way on the Airport line
  • Prices for Ngong Ping 360 tickets are listed Here (opt for a Crystal Cabin if you can- it’s worth it!)
  • No Admission Price for Tian Tan Buddha or Po Lin Monastery
  • Arrive at least 30-45 minutes early for the Symphony of Lights Show to get a good view
  • We stayed at The Imperial Hotel and paid a total of $287 USD for 3 nights in a room with AC and twin beds. We paid extra for in-room WiFi, which was free in public areas

If you haven’t check out our fun travel video about our 3 Nights in Hong Kong you can view it HERE


Have you been to Hong Kong yet? If so, what did you think? 


18 thoughts on “First Day in Hong Kong

  1. As someone who’s never traveled to Asia, I find it very interesting to read some first impressions about Hong Kong. I think I would have looked for McDonald’s too if I were visiting. I always wonder what do Chinese people have for breakfast. I would be curious to hear about the rest of the trip.

  2. I’ve never been to Asia either, but my husband always said he’d like to visit Hong Kong–until we read that electronics aren’t such a bargain there anymore. I agree it’s good to hear from other people who have visited before going to someplace so different from home so we know what to expect. And good to know there are McD’s just in case…
    Connie Reed recently posted…The Pony Express Still Runs in ArizonaMy Profile

    1. Yeah, electronics didn’t seem to be too much of a bargain, but there is still a lot to see in Hong Kong. Also, it is such a big travel hub in Asia you can fly to many other countries for cheap, that’s what we did.

  3. I’ve been there at the McDonald’s too – sometimes you just want a breakfast you’re used to. And ice cream, well, what can you do! In Turkey, I was constantly approached by people wanting to sell me fake designer perfume so I identify with your watch and suit frustration.

  4. I have not been to Asia, but I think I can be comfortable to make Hong Kong my first Asian visit. I think a 3 day trip is enough for you to get an idea of the place. Loved your post and will definitely use it as a guide.

  5. I never realized that is wasn’t expensive to travel to Hong Kong. i always assumed it was out of our budget, but after reading your travel review I am adding it to my list of must see places. I’m adding it to the top since this one is achievable within the next few years. So one question though, how was the plane tickets to get there?
    Emily Martinez recently posted…Exclusive Cricut Deals Ending 4/30, Save on New Cricut Air, Mystery Box and MoreMy Profile

    1. We actually got a screamer deal on tickets! $450 roundtrip from Seattle. we had to do a 24 layover in Vancouver, B.C. on the way there and back though which was fine. Hong Kong is a hot destination right now with airlines battling each other and prices are getting lower. The Flight Deal has been showing deals for around $600 from the United States.

  6. Thanks for sharing! We will be heading over to Hong Kong in June so I am looking forward to seeing everything. I understand it can be overwhelming, that’s how we felt when we first arrived in South Korea but it all pays off in the end once you start getting comfortable. Was 3 days enough in Hong Kong or do you recommend staying longer to see everything?
    deafinitelywanderlust recently posted…Hanging with These Hooties at Fukuro No MiseMy Profile

    1. We only had 2 full days plus a couple hours on the day we arrived. I wish we had 1 more full day so we could have seen some other markets (jade, ladies, fish market, etc). I would have also liked to visit a fishing village and taken the ferry across the harbor. I would devote at least 3 full days. Will you be going to Macau as well?

  7. Great to hear thatyou felt so safe and that you were able to easily communicate with the locals! Neat post for an intro to Asia as normally the into to Asia is more in the Southeastern portion!! 🙂

  8. I’ve not been to Hong Kong, but I have been to Asia several times. I have friends who live there though, so maybe I’ll go in the future.

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