Only one day in Hong Kong? Here's how you do it

Discover great eats and cultural charm in this fast-moving, mind-boggling Asian metropolis.

Two girls walking in hongkong shopping street
  • Penny Watson
  • June 2018


A combo of magnificent views and exquisite Chinese breakfast at Café Gray Deluxe ensures a heady high-rise start to the day. From cosy cushioned booths (overseen by fastidious staff), take in the sun-bedazzled skyrises of Tsim Sha Tsui, boat-busy Victoria Harbour and, directly below, the fast-paced streets of Admiralty. You can stay here too. Café Gray is on the top floor of the opulent Upper House hotel.

The streets

From nearby Pacific Place One shopping mall, take the underground walkway to Pacific Place Three. Stroll the streets of Wan Chai (between Johnston and Queen’s Road East), a lively mix of modern eateries and bars, dumpling and congee shops, local businesses, temples, shrines and wet markets. At around 11am the nearby sleepy terraced enclave around Star Street, St Francis Yard and lesser-known Sau Wa Fong wakes up. Check out the galleries, boutiques, artisan and ephemera shops such as Kapok opens in new window and NLostnFound opens in new window.


Jump on any of the dinky two-storey ‘Ding Dings’ heading west on Johnston Road. These antique darlings are cheap as chopsticks and the top-level offers a unique view of local street life. Alight at Pottinger Street in Central and walk up this street’s steeply inclined cobbled stairway for novelty market stalls selling costumes, wigs and cheap souvenirs.

Variety of dumplings with different filling on a plate
Don't miss trying some Prawn Wontons in Hong Kong


Take a right down Wellington Street to Tsim Chai Kee dumpling soup shop, a local favourite with an emphasis on fast, clean, efficient service and a simple menu. Try prawn wonton and fish balls with yellow noodle soup. Douse with soy, vinegar and chilli. Add a side of Asian greens. Heaven.

Location: 98 Wellington Street, Central

Peak time

Crossing Wellington Street, the elevated Mid-Levels Escalator is the world’s longest. It climbs through the sloping streets of Soho past bustling al fresco bars and eateries. Step off at Robinson Road to catch a red cab to the Peak Tram terminus. On a ridiculously steep incline, this historical tram takes tourists to Hong Kong’s popular Peak. Up here, avoid the crowds and take the Peak Circuit, a signed walking trail through lush greenery with views of the city’s highest buildings opens in new window.

View over Hong Kong with Peak tram
Take the tram to The Peak for fantastic views of Hong Kong


Too much walking? Taxi back to Central for a reflexology session at quirky Gao’s Foot massage opens in new window. Opt for a 50 or 120-minute massage while enjoying a cup of tea, neck warmer, magazines and piped bird sounds. Upsize with a Shanghai pedicure – the kind where they scrape away all that dead skin.

Dinner and drinks

Ho Lee Fook opens in new window takes modern Chinese fusion to spicy new places. This basement restaurant is funked up with playful retro décor including lucky cats waving their paws. Try roast wagyu short ribs with jalapeno purée or DIY pork sang choi bao with cucumber kimchi. For drinks, Fu Lu Shou opens in new window is a cruisy rooftop bar. Entry is via an anonymous residential building. Hint: Check Facebook for the doorcode.