So, on my way back home from trekking Thailand for 2 weeks solo, I was lucky enough to have a pretty long layover in Hong Kong. Although at first I was mad because I knew I would hate having to wait in an airport that long, I was determined to find adventure – even if I could only do so in 8hrs or less. If you want to see how my challenge to trek Hong Kong in a layover, keep reading. If you enjoy it, please be sure to share it on Facebook and subscribe for more helpful travel tips and hacks. Enjoy!
Land at HKG at 6:45p
Points to see during layover:
- Skydeck/ sky100
- Golden Bauhinia Square
- Bank of China Tower
- Avenue of Stars
- Victoria Pier
- Victoria Peak
- Clock Tower
6:45pm – land. I packed all of my things in a carry-on so I didn’t have to wait in the long line to gather my bags. After going through customs and immigration (1hr) I walked out to where people buy train tickets. A train from HKG to the city is only 30min (catch it at 730p) and around 100yen ($12-15USD). Once you to Central station I suggest ensuring your electronics are fully charged – you’ve got a busy day, a lot to see and a lot of pictures to take.
**Check your luggage into the storage area for about 40-60HKD for the next 24hrs. Traveling light means not being limited to where you can go and what you can do.
8:00pm - Lucky you, the pier is within walking distance. This is where you can catch a glimpse of the Shanghai ships, the Ferris wheel, the Lights Show, Victoria Harbor, and some impressive skyscrapers. Once you depart from the train you’ll see a seating area next to a small bank to your right, taxis to your front outside of the door, and a set of escalators/ stair to your left. Take a quick picture of the map directly across from the customer service desk and take the stairs to your left. Ask for help if this isn’t descriptive enough for you.
Once you go up the steps you’ll follow the signs to the pier. Walk across the bridge once you exit the mall/train station and you’ll be able to see the pier as soon as you exit the doors. There is a trail that surrounds the pier that I highly suggest walking. If it’s around 8:00pm, then you’re in luck – the infamous lights show is about to start. All of the buildings and skyscrapers will light up in accordance with music in an epic festival of lights that happens every night I think. After, walk down to the harbor and get a glimpse of the island across the way – you’ll be venturing there here in a minute.
Walk the trail and find a good place to sit, maybe you’ll be lucky enough to spot the Shanghai ships pass by.
9:00pm – Time to make a decision, either Sky100 or Victoria Peak. Sky100 closes at 1030pm on the weekends and 9:00pm during the week. Both offer breathtaking views of the entire city and Victoria Pier.
1. Victoria Peak: catch the bus - it’s the cheapest but the last one runs at 11:00pm. Line 15 will take about 8min and cost 1-2USD. I would take the bus there so you can get amazing views of the city at night and then catch a taxi back. Don’t be intimidated by the lateness of the hour – people are up and about all day/night here. And HK is pretty safe for solo female travelers in my opinion. Once at the peak of the mountain, you’ll get breathtaking views – a picture just doesn’t do it justice. Flag down a taxi and have it take you back to Central Station – about 10min and only 17-20USD.
2. Sky100: I would take the subway, its faster and cheaper. Take the Tung Chung Line (about 1-2USD). In just 6min you’ll arrive at Kowloon Station. Walk about 2min and you’ll be at Sky100. Tickets bought online will run you 150HKD or 168HKD in-person (around 10-13USD). And well worth the price.
Take the subway back to central and make sure your batteries are charged – my cell died at this time and I had to “map” it around Hong Kong for the rest of the night lol.
11:00/ 11:30pm – You have a choice, continue to trek throughout the night or go back into the mall and go up to the 4th floor and wait for things to open up (around 5a) so you can continue on your adventure. I didn’t get a hotel – waste of money in my opinion. There were plenty of people on the rooftop of the mall/station so I did some writing from around 1130pm – 5a. **BEWARE: if you continue your venture, most attractions that require entry are closed, so you’ll be “on the streets” walking until 5a, so I suggest going with the latter option.**
12:00a – 5:00am – take this time to blog, go over your pictures, double check your remaining budget, grab a bite to eat and a cocktail at the outdoor bar on the rooftop (it doesn’t close until 2a so it’s still pretty busy up here, so don’t be intimidated). I got something to eat and just started re-capping my night and planning for the remainder of my morning. My plane left back to the USA at 10:00am so I needed to be there at the terminal by 9:00am. This meant I had
5:00am – 8:00am to venture around the city in order to catch a train back to HKG at 830 and be at the terminal by 9:00am.
If you decide to trek all night: Soho is great for nightlife, also try out SoyCowboy (I think that’s how it’s spelled). The nights are long and never ending so you’ll be pretty occupied for the next couple of hours. After partying it up downtown, catch a cab to the pier. You can walk to the Bank of China Tower for some pretty epic pictures and then walk/sit and relax at the harbor, watching all the boats pass by.
5:00am – alright next stops: breakfast lol. Walk to your nearest coffee shop/bakery and grab a bite to eat – you’ve got quite a bit of trekking to do from now until 8:00am lol.
6:00am - Golden Bauhinia Square, Avenue of Stars and the Clock Tower. So, catch a cab to the Golden Bauhinia Square – about 4min and it will run you around 9-12USD. Hang around here and get some pretty epic pictures, catch up on your history. Keep an eye on the clock – you need to leave here NLT 6:50am. Catch a cab back to Victoria Pier.
7:00am – Okay, to get to Ave of Stars and the Clock Tower you have two options: ferry or subway. The subway takes about 7min and will cost you around 1USD. Take the Red line (Admirality). Get off at Tsim Sha Tsui and walk about 4min (a couple blocks) and you’ll be at Avenue of Stars. To walk the entire trail, it’ll take you about 30min or so. You’ll pass by the Clock Tower on your way to the Ave. of Stars, so be sure to try and get a good selfie or two!
Ferry – this takes about 5min to cross the harbor and costs around 1-3HKD. Walk to Pier Central 7 and wait for the ferry, the cross all day so the wait isn’t long at all, and you can get some pretty awesome pictures while aboard! From here it’s the same, walk about 5min (a couple blocks) and you’ll be there.
8:00am – okay, head back to the train station. You should’ve just bought a round-trip ticket when you initially bought your ticket so just wait for the train now.
8:30am – Okay, you’re back at HKG. Go to the luggage storage and pick up your bag(s). Quickly go through security again and head straight to your terminal just in time to catch your 10:00am flight back to DAL (or wherever you’re flying into).
This trip can be modified to fit however long your layover is. Everything in Hong Kong is suuper close to each other and very cheap to get to. If you need help modifying your schedule, send me a message or contact me on Facebook @Livvstravels.
Good luck and Have Fun! Be sure to like, comment and subscribe please. And keep an eye out for my pictures while traveling Hong Kong on a layover below and on Instagram/ Facebook!