A few months ago I traveled solo from Shanghai to Hong Kong to get my student visa. One month prior to this trip, I entered China using a tourist visa, which allows you to stay in the country for only 30 days, so I had to go to Hong Kong to obtain my student visa, something I was not looking forward to in the beginning. Luckily that changed the moment I landed in amazing – and super hot – Hong Kong. I was not excited at first to go because I had to travel by myself. I had already traveled alone to China and within the borders of Europe – taking the airplane that is -, but those times I always met up with Nathan, so you cannot really label this as solo travel. This time, I had to spend a week all by myself in Hong Kong, a city on the other side of the world I had never visited before and of which I didn’t understand the language.
Touchdown in Hong Kong and I was as happy as ever. The sense of independence, responsibility and the positive feeling that everything was going to be smooth sailing made this trip very exciting and I couldn’t wait to go exploring the next day. On top of that, the hostel I had booked was great. Actually, this was my first time ever in a hostel, so I don’t really have enough experience to make a comparison, but I definitely recommend Yesinn Causeway Bay, given its perfect location, cheap prices and easy access from the airport.
I’ve already visited some bigger cities like New York, Paris, Beijing, Shanghai and Barcelona and Hong Kong definitely deserves a place in the top 3 of my favorite cities, maybe even the top 1! The first day, after going to the visa center, my plan was to stroll around Kowloon, Tsim Sha Tsui to be more specific, and Hong Kong Island. On the other days, however, I got sick and couldn’t do as planned. All the more reason to go back to awesome Hong Kong in the future!
The first day is all about discovering Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon peninsula. Don’t forget to add the following must-see places to your planning:
Located in Central and Sheung Wan, Hollywood Road is a popular street where you’ll find all kinds of trinket and antique shops. It has become the contemporary art district of Hong Kong with lots of galleries and street art.
While you’re there, you should definitely visit the Man Mo Temple. Filled with a haze of incense, this temple is a nice contrast with the hustle and bustle from Hollywood Road.
Located south of Hollywood Road is SoHo, the entertainment zone of Central known for its nightlife, restaurants, art galleries and bars.
If time permits, Hong Kong Park is a nice change of scenery from the urban district Central. It’s the perfect place to relax before or after taking the Peak Tram up to the Peak.
Victoria Peak is probably the most famous viewing point to see Hong Kong. For the full experience, take the Peak Tram to the top. It’s the quickest way to get there and you are treated with glimpses of Kowloon, Hong Kong and Victoria Harbor along the way.
Take the Star Ferry from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon and enjoy your view of the Victoria Harbor skyline as seen from the waterfront in Tsim Sha Tsui. While you’re there, take a stroll along the Avenue of Stars, Hong Kong’s version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
On Lantau Island you will find what has become Hong Kong’s major attraction: the Big Buddha. Another top destination on Lantau Island and just a short walk from the Big Buddha is the Po Lin Monastery. On the western part of Lantau Island, be sure to also visit the small fishing village Tai O, where you will experience a more authentic side of Hong Kong.
If you want to get away from the hectic pace of life in Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, exploring Lamma Island might be a great option for you. Lamma Island is known for its beaches, seafood and has a number of marked hiking trails, a perfect destination if you need to find some calm in the chaos of the city.