As soon as you land in Hong Kong, your first purchase should be – octopus card. They have a uniform card which works at most of the public transport and multiple stores so it comes in handy anytime you are making a purchase in Hong Kong. So we planned a 5 day trip to Hong Kong in which we managed to squeeze in Macau too.
Day 1: Victoria Peak , Peak tram and the Symphony of Light show
Peak tram: Victoria Peak is Hong Kong’s highest hill where you get a top view of the entire island and all its habitat. There are several ways to reach it and one of the popular ones is the Peak Tram which is also the oldest mode of transport in Hong Kong. The tram is slightly inclined so the trip to and from the hill is quite a ride. Although getting to the tram is a task on a weekend due to huge crowd so you can also opt for a taxi that directly drops you off at the peak.
Victoria Peak: Before you actually climb to the top, you can also take a walk around the place as the place is completely full of greenery and gives a 360 degree view of the entire island making it a popular place for people to do their evening walks or exercise. As you climb to Victoria peak, there are several shops and eateries on the way making it an entire mall. The peak itself gives a good view of Hong Kong from the top so try to go in evening so as to enjoy the sunset.
A Symphony of Light: There is a light and sound show that happens daily in Hong Kong so you have to make sure to grab a seat around the harbor at 8pm when the show starts. The show does not require any ticket and is basically free so whenever you find yourself around the harbor you can watch all the high and low rise buildings light up in coordination with music at 8pm.
Day 2: Tian Tan Buddha
Lantau Island: The Giant Buddha statue is at Lantau Island and takes around half an hour or more to reach there either by ferry or local transports but the best way to view the island beauty is through cable cars. Try to get a crystal cabin car which has a transparent floor so that you can enjoy the view of the island from top directly. The place has all the eateries and few souvenir shops to keep you occupied before you reach the actual Buddha statue. There is also a pure veg restaurant which is a rare find in Hong Kong.
Tian Tan Buddha: To reach the Buddha statue, be prepared to climb nearly 280 steps but the view from the top makes it worth the effort. The serenity and the greenery of the island is what attracts the tourists most but there is also a monastery at the island that should not be missed. One unique part of the monastery was their use of yellow incense sticks which were quite enormous in size so you can buy them as souvenirs of this place.
Street markets: If you are good at bargaining then street markets of Hong Kong are heaven as you can get anything from bags to electronics of any brand (fake versions mostly) at slashed prices. The shopkeepers may not understand much of English but they all stand with a calculator ready to bargain. Ladies Market and Toy street are the must visit for street purchases but most of these shops close around 8-9 pm.
Day 3: MACAU
You can reach Macau from Hong Kong either by bus or ferry but be prepared with all the visas or registration slip that you have of Hong Kong as you would need to enter the details again as you are moving to different country. So we took bus for one side trip and the ferry for return trip and got to enjoy the view both ways.
Ruins of St. Paul’s : As soon as we landed in Macau , we took a bus directly to the ruins of St. Paul’s as it is one of the historical landmarks of Macau and and we anted to cover it before it got too hot since the place is not covered. the cathedral got burned but the remains still show the architectural beauty of the place. The ruins are in the middle of the city so as you go through the narrow lanes , you can also explore the local markets and food specially the desserts.
Macau tower: It is a convention center where you get the tickets to the Macau tower and then it just takes less than a minute to reach the top – 61st floor of the tower where you can enjoy the panoramic view of the Macau city. In case you feel adventurous , you can try one the highest bungee jumps from the tower or even a sky walk outside the tower. However I got scared in just walking across the glass floors inside the Macau tower so the this place is a must visit on your Macau tour.
Venetian casino: There are hundreds of casino in Macau giving it the name of Las Vegas of Asia so we tried the Venetian Macau Casino and the grandeur of the Venetian hotel is overwhelming. The casino is at the ground floor and they allow only Hong Kong dollars to play. Most of the bets are through automated machines specially the Roulette where you can directly insert cash to play. the minimum bet go from $10 to $5000 so you can easily spend the day here as long as you have the money. Most of the hotels like Venetian provide free ride to ferry or bus stations so we can took the nearly two hour ferry ride back to Hong Kong.
Day 4 : Ocean Park
I had a hard time deciding between Disney land and Ocean park but the more thrilling rides of Ocean Park were a clear winner. The rides and show are numerous but the queue at these spots are daunting so its quite difficult to cover entire Ocean park in one day even if you start exactly at 10 am and stay till their closing time of 6 pm. The ocean park has rides spread all over the island and it is pretty vast so you can reach the places either on the cable car or a train. The best one was the VR roller coaster ride but rides are not the only attraction of this place as you get to see several live shows of the marine animals. One more good thing about this place is the access to metro with the metro station right near the Ocean Park entry, making the travel easy from the city.
Day 5: Stanley beach
The sea-side Stanley village can easily be reached by taking a bus as it is hardly a 40-50 min ride from the city. The bus ride will give a picturesque view of the hills around and the sea shore along the way. The Stanley beach itself is surrounded by multiple cafes and restaurants but the best part of the place is the Stanley market where you get extremely cheap and very unique electronics.
Hong Kong weather is quite unpredictable so umbrella was a must have carry-on for us; even the tickets for any visit were only purchased a day before after confirming the weather predictions.