Hong Kong is an explorer’s dream. Rooted just-enough with Chinese culture and old school, offbeat charm, it’s also a truly diverse country with the city, mountains, beach and more to discover and play in. It’s easy to assume that Hong Kong is about the city and those infamous skyscrapers that formulate the equally concrete jungle, but step just a couple of blocks out and there’s plenty more.
Big Buddha, Lantau Island
Good morning! What better way to kickstart an explorative week in Hong Kong than with the atypical Big Buddha? It’s almost a given that you’ll pay the infamous Buddha and its surrounding monasteries a visit. Head to Tung Chung (end of the Tung Chung MTR line) and head for exit B to get to the Cable Car Terminus. There’s a choice of the 360° cable car or the standard, or a package deal to include a visit to Tai O. I did them separately but it makes sense to get it all in one.
Tai O, Lantau Island
If you’ve bought a package ticket, make sure you head to Tai O in the afternoon. If not, you can get to Tai O by taking the bus from Tung Chung. Tai O is one of the last remaining traditional villages in Hong Kong where you can view the age-old stilt houses. Primarily a fishing village, you are not coming here to shop. The air is somewhat cleaner though and it’s quite cool and refreshing to bop around a more authentic Hong Kong.
There are plenty of people who’ll push you to take a boat trip, all at affordable prices. I would definitely recommend taking one, as it’ll take you around the area and out to see the infamous Chinese pink dolphins! They’re out in the wild, FYI, so of course it isn’t guaranteed that you’ll see one but worth the trip regardless.
Rest up! Whether at the outlet mall in Tung Chung or towards your residence for the week, Monday night is all about resting up and/or getting involved in street food and tong sui!
However if you’re not fussed about sampling seafood, I adore the tapas at Casa in Sai Kung. You need to try their calamari and Korean seafood pancake!
The Flying Pan, Central
Hike! Repulse Bay Beach
Now that you’re on the island, you might as well indulge. The The Peak to Aberdeen Hike hiking trail is popular with novice and experienced hikers alike and results in a beautiful mountain-top view of much of Hong Kong Island and the South Horizons.
Hike, and then grab a taxi over to Repulse Bay Beach in the late afternoon for blissful sun-soaking time in beautiful surroundings. Repulse Bay is popular for it’s truly gorgeous beach plus there’s an ancient temple and wishing well right at the edge for good measure.
In the evening, catch the 73 bus from Aberdeen over to Stanley and check out the market. Whilst it is largely saturated by tourists nowadays, it’s a delightful little fisherman village with plenty to see and do, plus a fair few portside bars and pubs.
Hong Kong Botanical and Zoological Gardens, Central
Something a little different but I honestly think this is a worthy afternoon trip if you’re all hiked out. Just across from the Peak Terminus and all a little way up, there’s the Hong Kong Botanical and Zoological Gardens, a complete free garden full of beautiful plants and animals. Whilst there is a little controversy around the fact that the animals are in enclosures, it makes for a fun, free few hours out. The monkeys are adorable; the giant tortoise WAY too cute and there’s plenty of exotic birds to see too. Plus the views of the city are great.
The Peak, Central
Happy weekend! You made it! You deserve a leisurely brunch to energy up after a week of exploring beautiful Hong Kong. Might I recommend Aberdeen Street Social at PMQ on Aberdeen Street? Amazing classic and fusion brunch options with delectable coffee and even better cocktails.
To round off the weekend, you might as well squeeze in another island hop, eh? Cheung Chau is technically do-able in one day. Catch a ferry from Central Pier and explore the delights of this quaint old-timey island. You can rent tandem bikes and cycle along the waterfront, meander around the old village and eat local food. Nothing beats a little climb on the rocks for a really good Instagram either!