Hong Kong is an ideal city stopover when crossing between Australia and Europe, as well as a great long weekend getaway, but can you see the best of Hong Kong in only 3 days?
Little City Trips recently interviewed on our City Travel with Kids podcast the Editor of Hong Kong Family Traveller Carolynne Dear, who along with our co-founder Marianne, a former Hong Kong resident herself have helped us put together this perfect 3-day itinerary for exploring Hong Kong on a short city trip.
You can see our full show notes for the podcast here or click below to listen to Carolynne and Marianne discuss favourite Hong Kong attractions, beaches, restaurants and hotels!
Day 1 Hong Kong itinerary with kids
Morning: The Peak
Start your Hong Kong family trip with a ride on the iconic Peak Tram. Travelling 428m above sea level on the world’s steepest funicular, you will be spoilt with views over Hong Kong’s dramatic city skyline.
The tram ride while very steep is actually quite short, so you will have plenty of time to explore around the top of the peak. There is a Trick-Eye Museum, Madam Tussauds as well as plentiful shops and cafes to be found.
From the Peak, there’s the Lugard Road walk, an easy gradient 3.5km walk if you are with strollers or little legs, and a stop at the Mt Austin playground is a must.
You can purchase your Peak Tram tickets here to avoid queuing, along with combinations of other top Hong Kong attractions including the Observation Wheel.
(Note the Peak Tram is presently shut for renovations, a grand re-opening is expected later in 2019. Until then your ticket will give you a replacement service on the uphill bus ride or a round-trip bus instead).
Head to the family-friendly area of Stanley on Hong Kong island for the afternoon. Here, as well as the Stanley Market you will find a pirate ship play area and lots of family-friendly restaurants so it’s a great area for a little run around.
If you are visiting on a weekend, you can add to the fun by taking a tour on the Aqua Luna – a traditional Chinese Junk to get to Stanley.
If the weather is nice, as an alternative you can head to Shek O, a gorgeous beach also on the south side of Hong Kong Island and have lunch at a Little City favourite restaurant, Cococabana.
Dinner: Soho Area
In Soho you will find a lot of restaurants in this area but most will not take bookings. If you go early enough with the kids you should have no problem getting tables.
Where to stay in Hong Kong with Kids
There are plenty of family-friendly options to choose from big brand names through to boutique hotel offerings. Most hotels are in high rises, and the higher up you go with better views, the more expensive the room!
- The main areas are Central on Hong Kong island or Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) on the other side of the harbour.
- At the high end, you can try The Ritz on TST side, or the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong and Island Shangri-La Hong Kong on Hong Kong Island.
- Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong is surprisingly great with children, probably one of the city’s best pool decks.
- On the budget end of the scale try the new Hotel Purple Hong Kong or Butterfly on Prat Hong Kong great value for groups.
- Ocean Park Marriott Hotel brand new with 4 pools and restaurants and weekend brunch, child gifts and activities, close to MTR station.
- Staying at Disney there are three great choices. If budget allows we recommend Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel.
Day 2 Hong Kong itinerary with kids
Morning: Big Buddha
Get an early start and head to Lantau Island to see one of the city’s most famous landmarks, Big Buddha. Half the fun is getting there as you take the Ngong Ping Cable Car from Tung Chung Town Centre – easy to reach by MTR.
You will arrive in to Ngong Ping Village. Take the time to explore the Po Lin Monastery before making your way to Big Buddha itself, a 34m high statue and a mere 268 steps to reach the base!
As a side trip, you can also add on visiting Tai O fishing village, a short bus ride from Ngong Ping Village or take a taxi. You can find more tips on visiting Big Buddha and Tai O Fishing village here.
Lunch: Maxims City Hall
Come back into the city for lunch at famous Dim Sum restaurant Maxim’s.
Afternoon: Explore Kowloon
Take the Star Ferry from Central and head across to Kowloon on the main land to explore the markets. There is the Ladies Market during the day as well as the Jade Market in Yau Ma Tei to explore.
Dinner: Temple Street Night Markets or Hutong at One Peking
Staying on Kowloon side, there are two eating options at either end of the budget scale! You will get an authentic street food experience at Temple Street Night Markets, but if you’d like a special treat, perhaps see if you can get a baby sitter for the night and check out the phenomenal views and culinary experience of Hutong at One Peking.
Evening: Star Ferry
Enjoy taking the Star Ferry back to Central and the simply magical night-time lights of the Hong Kong city skyline
Day 3 Hong Kong Itinerary with Kids
All Day: Disneyland Hong Kong or Ocean Park
Today is all about the kids and visiting one of the city’s exciting theme parks. Normally on a short break, we prefer not to shift hotels but on this occasion, we’re going to recommend you stay at one of the parks for an extra something special, and convenience!
Disneyland Hong Kong
Hong Kong Disneyland is smaller than other Disney parks around the world, but for this reason, it is easier to tackle in one day with small kids, and generally less crowded – although it can still get very busy at weekends!
The park consists of seven themed lands to enjoy including favourites Fantasyland, Toy Story Land, Tomorrowland (Star Wars fans!) & Adventureland, along with some unique Hong Kong rides.
We recommend you get there well before opening time and have an advanced booked ticket.
If you’ve taken our advice on not taking a stroller around Hong Kong, you may want to hire one at the park just for the day. You can get more Disney Hong Kong tips from Marianne here.
Disneyland Hong Kong is located on the same island as the airport, Lantau Island so for ease of departure, you may want to stay at one of our suggested Disney Hotels, such as Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel or Disney’s Explorer Lodge.
Ocean Park Hong Kong
Alternatively, many Hong Kong residents & visitors actually prefer Ocean Park Hong Kong to Disneyland (but if you have the time, do both!!).
Ocean Park is part aquarium, part zoo, part amusement park! At the waterfront level, the Grand Aquarium is a favorite, but the stars of the show are definitely the two resident pandas, Ling Ling and Le Le.
It does get super busy, especially at weekends so advance purchase your tickets here (No ticket collection needed, just scan the QR Code).
When the kids are finished with the animal attractions, jump on the cable car which will take you to the park summit and amusement rides (or head straight here if you want to beat the ride queues!)
Although arguably the amusement rides are slightly better suited to older kids due to height restrictions, your little ones will love it too for the variety on offer. You can find a great guide to tackling Ocean Park with younger kids here.
We recommend staying at the new Hong Kong Ocean Park Marriott Hotel – listen to our podcast to find out more from Carolynne about this spectacular new family offering.
Further family activities in Hong Kong
If you have more than 3 days in Hong Kong, the best thing to do is explore more of Hong Kong’s “backyard” and get to the outer islands. Some day trip ideas include:
- Take the free ferry from Central over to Lamma Island, famous for its strip of seafood restaurants in Sok Kwu Wan. here there are also calm beaches good for small children.
- Visit Discovery Bay where there are plenty of parks and beaches.
- Hike Devil’s Peak an easy grade track and Explore Lei Yue Mun Village
- Hike the Dragon’s Back, a 2-hour hike offering spectacular views of Hong Kong’s Southside and ending at Big Wave Bay Beach.
- Head to the “New Territories” closer to the Chinese border for hiking and Clear Water Bay 1 & 2 beaches.
How to get around Hong Kong
There is an excellent public transport system called the MTR which is clean, efficient and punctual. You will need to get all members of your family an Octopus card. Taxis are also a cheap and easy way to get about when little legs will walk no further. It is really not a stroller friendly city!
What to pack for Hong Kong
- A good pair of walking shoes will be essential any time of year.
- For younger children, look to bring a stroller-alternative for tackling the main parts of the city.
- In summer pack loose clothing to deal with the heat, but also a cardigan to deal with the air conditioning
- Don’t be surprised by how cold the winters can be, you’ll need to pack enough layers.
Remember to pop on over and listen to the podcast if you would like to learn more about all of the places mentioned.
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