Stopovers are the perfect opportunity to visit somewhere you’ve always wanted to go, but at a minimal cost.
By simply moving your connecting flight by a few days, you can get off the plane and explore somewhere new. The best part, the price of your flight will either be same as if you flew direct, or only slightly increased.
I‘ve always been fascinated by Hong Kong. So as were meeting family in Vietnam it gave us the perfect excuse to visit this vibrant, cosmopolitan city for a few days.
One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Hong Kong is known for its unique history and rich blend of Chinese and colonial influences.
You’ll find most of the tourist areas and hotels in Hong Kong Island and Kowloon which are split in two by the iconic Victoria Harbour.
The largest island, Lantau Island, is also home to the airport and many major attractions such as the ancient Big Buddha in Ngong Ping Village and Hong Kong Disneyland.
On our 5 day stopover we visited the busy, commercial district of Kowloon, witnessed beautiful scenery and stunning architecture in Hong Kong Island and experienced Chinese tradition and Disney magic on Lantau Island.
We had an absolutely fantastic trip and, despite my initial reservations about taking young children to such a busy city, I would highly recommend Hong Kong as a family friendly destination.
Read on to discover the highlights of our trip.
We visited Hong Kong en route to Vietnam in April 2018. The kids were 8, 6 and 3.
1. Sightseeing – Big Bus Hong Kong
When you are short on time, nothing beats hopping on a sightseeing bus to get your bearings and see as much of a city as possible.
And in the case of Hong Kong, as it’s such an expansive city you simply cannot walk around and expect to see it all.
We hopped onto the Big Bus Hong Kong and it was fascinating to drive around and see the contrasting landscapes of both Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. As we were short on time, we simply stayed on board and took in our surroundings from the top deck.
From the crazy, bustling, skyscraper lined downtown area of Kowloon to parts of Hong Kong Island which are filled with contemporary architecture and beautiful beaches, I was blown away by this magnificent city.
2. Star Ferry
Included in the price of our Bug Bus tour was a trip on the historical Star Ferry.
This popular passenger ferry and tourist attraction has taken millions of passengers from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island and back since 1888.
This relaxing twenty minute journey is the ideal way to admire the world class skylines of both Hong Kong Island and Kowloon.
3. Ngong Ping 360 & Village
No trip to Hong Kong would be complete without visiting Ngong Ping village in Lantau Island.
Easily accessible from Kowloon and Hong Kong Island by train, this cultural, historical and spiritual village is reached by an absolutely spectacular 25 minute ride on the longest bi-cable ropeway in Asia.
We opted for the glass bottomed crystal cable car and were completely blown away by the panoramic views of the South China sea and mountains of Lantau Island. Especially as it was all right under our feet!
Once you reach the top you’ll discover many fascinating, cultural sites such as the Big Buddha, Wisdom Path and Po Lin Monastery. Everything is in walking distance from the cable car and there are also some really nice souvenir shops, photo opportunities, entertainment and a number of dining options to choose from.
The highlight for us was the Big Buddha, or Tian Tan Buddha as it also referred to.
Sitting majestically on the top of Mount Muk Yue, this 26.4m tall bronze statue is the second largest seated Buddha in the world. Reached by 268 steps, Tian Tan is seated amongst stunning views of the surrounding mountains and six smaller bronze statues known as “The Offering of the Six Devas.
For prices and further details click here.
4. Ladies Market
When you are 8 years old and have HK$ burning a hole in your pocket, this is the place to go!
Not for the faint hearted as it’s extremely tight and crowded, the infamous Ladies Market is a treasure trove for all ages. The perfect place to get some souvenirs, clothes, accessories, bargains or unique presents.
5. Our Hotel – The Salisbury YMCA of Hong Kong
Don’t let the fact this is a YMCA deceive you.
The Salisbury YMCA of Hong Kong is a 4 star hotel which not only accommodates families of five (no easy feat in Hong Kong) but it also has the most luxurious rooms with spectacular views.
It’s centrally located in the heart of Kowloon, boasts an indoor swimming pool and gym and has friendly staff on hand to assist you 24 hours a day. Also, it’s significantly cheaper than some of the neighboring hotels.
We booked a 1 bedroom family suite (city view) which included one king sized bed, double sofa bed and one roll away bed. This was perfect for our short stay and I would highly recommend it.
This room really had the wow factor and I’ll never forget the moment we opened the blinds to reveal this magnificent view.
Please note: Please contact the hotel directly if you wish you book a room for 5 people. Whilst they advertise room capacity of 4 people, they sometimes make allowances for families with small children.
6. Hong Kong Disneyland
Leaving behind the spectacular skyscrapers and hustle and bustle of Kowloon, it was time for some Disney magic!
Located on Lantau Island, close to the airport, Hong Kong Disneyland is home to one Disney park comprising of 7 lands; Adventureland, Grizzly Gulch, Mystic Point, Toy Story Land, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland and Main Street, USA.
Whilst being a lot smaller than some of it’s American cousins, I instantly fell in love with how cute this park is.
It’s extremely manageable with small children, even at Easter. There were minimal queues for rides and characters, ample space at the parade, unique merchandise and some of the best shows we’ve ever seen at a Disney park.
We did two park days and stayed at one of the three Disney hotels available, the Explorers Lodge.
I would highly recommend staying here. Built in 2017 it has everything you would expect from a Disney hotel and more. Character breakfasts, free activities for the kids, comfortable rooms and an amazing pool with sea views.
For prices, opening hours and further information please click here.
I hope you enjoyed reading about our stopover in Hong Kong.
We only spent a short time in this fantastic city but thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It’s safe, easier to navigate your way around than you would expect and people are extremely friendly.
We can’t wait to come back and explore more of the historical landmarks, delicious restaurants and world class attractions this city is famous for.
Please click here to discover more about Hong Kong.