No one (willingly) visits Hong Kong for just a day. But if you happen to find yourself in Hong Kong and have 24 hours to spare, you will probably be baffled wondering what to do and from where to start. On my recent visit to Hong Kong, I had a packed itinerary which didn't leave me enough room to explore the city (or even a part of it) by myself, but somehow managed to squeezed out a day. Here's a very simple yet wholesome mini-guide on how to spend 24 hours in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong should be viewed at both daytime as well as nighttime. Both views are splendid and here's why–Hong Kong is mostly characterised by its skyscrapers. It's hard not to be mesmerised by the conglomeration of tall buildings, that is, Hong Kong. Best view of the Central, Victoria Harbour and Lamma Island is from Victoria Peak. From Hong Kong's Central district, you can either take The Peak tram, take a cab/drive or take the steep Old Peak Road, one step at a time. Depending on where you are staying, if at Central, then you can take a pleasant walk from the subway station to the Hong Kong Observation Wheel, overlooking the Victoria Harbour. The night view is splendid and the promenade is a fun place at night, with streets performers in their Jazz best.
After sightseeing, set aside the rest of the day for some fun. Hong Kong has two large theme parks–Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park Hong Kong. Depending on your preference, pick one of the two. I stayed at the South district, stone's throw distance from Ocean Park Hong Kong–the largest theme park in Asia. Ocean Park follows the concept of "Edutainment" whereby the many exhibits of endangered and exotic marine mammals, animals and oceanarium provides visitors with valuable lessons on conservation of various plants and animal species. Divided into two parts–The Summit and The Waterfront–one can take the Ocean Express funicular railway or the 1.5 km long cable car ride; try out the fun (and challenging) rides; or interact with the penguins and dolphins at their Animal Encounter Programmes where you can feed the penguins and help the dolphins maintain oral hygiene!
If you make plans for Hong Kong Disneyland, juggle your time between the park's seven themed areas: Main Street U.S.A, Fantasyland, Adventureland, Tomorrowland, Grizzly Gulch, Mystic Point and Toy Story Land.
If you are at Ocean Park Hong Kong, try their Neptune's Restaurant for some delicious grilled U.S. beef striploin steak with truffle sauce, wok-fried Canadian scallop or minced Australian Wagyu beef. But this restaurant also offers something other than food–an opportunity to dine with hammerhead sharks and manta rays gliding by. Yes, the dining area is separated by the aquarium's glass wall. Either dine with sharks or watch penguins swim by and frolic as you take a bite of pork cutlet with rice, angel hair carbonara with scallops or the Tux seafood pizza (lobster, scallop, mussels) at the park's Tuxedo Restaurant. Vegetarians fret not, their vegetarian fares are as good as the non-vegetarian ones. The park's Bayview Restaurant is also a great place to eat at; dine with a view facing the aquamarine blue of the South China Sea. [Indian food is available here!]
Another must-dine place is the popular Hong Kong Times Square's Club Alburgue 1601. I tried raw oyster for the first time and liked it! But their lobster risotto is something that deserves a special mention.
Hong Kong and shopping go hand in hand. Whether heavy shopping or window shopping, Times Square in Causeway Bay is an experience in itself. The iconic "huge TV screen" at the center of the square is a landmark, "When we want to meet our friends here, we just say come near the big TV" added my host, Joyce. Here you will find all the global and local designer brands. If you are in a mood to haggle with the shopkeepers, Mong Kok is the place. Tsim Sha Tsui if you are interested in buying electronics; Hollywood Road on Central and Sheung Wan is great for antiques or cheap bric-a-brac, if that interests you.
Tip: When in Hong Kong, best mode of transport is the subway (metro) or the city buses. Taxis are aplenty and you won't have to haggle for fare as fares are calculated automatically according to the choice of your destination so no fear of unfair fares. City trams are the cheapest at only HKD 2, but are also on the slower side. But if you don't wish to do anything aforementioned, just catch a tram and travel the entire city because good news, these trams ply all over the city and any destination you pick, the fare stays the same.