Can this site use your data to personalize useful ads for you?
By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand these
policies. You can change this setting later on the Disclosure page.
Seeing the Best of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon in One Day
Posted On 08/22/2019 16:39:51
Trip Date 03/10/2011
Destinations | Cruises | Asia | Hong Kong Island | Kowloon District | Star Ferry | Ding-Ding | Junk Boats | Victoria Peak | DIY Travel
Leaving from Tianjin, China (the nearest port city to Beijing), we sailed aboard the
Diamond Princess headed toward Singapore. Our first two port days had us exploring
Nagasaki and Shanghai. As we continued our journey around Asia, next up was a day in Hong
Kong. Before leaving home, we researched all that there was to see in both the Kowloon
District and on Hong Kong Island so that we were ready for DIY travel in Hong Kong.
If you are considering a cruise which allows you with a day or more to explore Hong Kong,
post will be a great introduction as you begin planning. Hong Kong has a different feel from other
Asian port cities, and is even more unlike ports on other continents. The overview of sites that
will find here will be helpful in deciding which section of Hong Kong you prefer to spend most (or
your time while on shore. You've probably heard about Victoria Peak and Avenue of
Stars, but what about the Junk Boats or the Ding-Ding? We've included
destinations in each district as well as transportation on the Star Ferry between the two.
Ports in Southeast Asia and China
Our ship was too large to dock at Ocean Terminal and Hong Kong's Kai Tak Cruise
Terminal had not yet opened. We were forced to dock at a container port outside of the city.
Similar to other ports, this meant that all passengers must ride a shuttle bus to get to the city
Container Port in Hong Kong
As we encountered similar circumstances at several ports in southeast Asia, we recommend
researching the docking locations for any cruise which you are considering. Learning about where
ship will dock in each port will help you to determine how much time you will need to get to the
that you want to go. As cruise traffic continues to grow, more cities will build ports which can
accommodate larger ships making this less of an issue as time goes by. Until then, you might
consider checking out some smaller ships which are often able to dock closer to the city center.
Visiting Hong Kong
Although our time was very limited, since this was our first ever visit to Hong Kong, we planned to
a taste of both Hong Kong Island as well as the Kowloon District north of the
Since Hong Kong was a British colony it is definitely easier for Americans to navigate as compared
many other Asian cities. We found all major signage to be printed either in English or, if not, it
bilingual with English as the second language. The blend of the old British Empire coupled with
Chinese culture makes a visit to Hong Kong a very memorable experience.
If your ship docks at Ocean Terminal, you will be just a stone's throw away from the
platform for the Star Ferry. Connecting Kowloon to Hong Kong Island,
ferry is used mainly by commuters, however it is an extremely affordable way for visitors to begin
their tour of Hong Kong Island. Although today there are plenty of roads that connect the two
the harbor, the boats have transported passengers since 1888 so it's also like riding on a piece of
You'll have a choice of either the lower deck (slightly less expensive) or the upper deck. We
recommend the upper deck as you'll enjoy a slightly better view as you cross the harbor.
Star Ferry Ride
Hong Kong Island
Hong Kong Island in Victoria Harbor boasts award-winning architecture at the foot
Victoria Peak and also a scenic coastline. The recognizable harbor is an excellent vantage point to
view the coastal skyline.
Locally known as Ding-Ding, the tram has been an essential part of Hong Kong Island's
life for over a century. In operation since 1902, the trams are virtually unchanged since they
hit the streets. The narrow bodied cabins wander on six main routes which traverse around Hong
Riding on the tram is a great way to get some sightseeing in. For just two dollars you can ride all
around the island seeing almost the whole city in the process. Exact change (or a transit card
Octopus) is required for each ride.
The highlight of the island for most people is Victoria Peak, the tallest mountain and most
popular tourist attraction in all of Hong Kong. After riding the ferry to Hong Kong Island, we
immediately made our way to the Lower Peak Tram Terminus. (The tram to Victoria Peak
not part of the Ding-Ding tram system which provides transportation around the island.)
It's at the terminus where passengers board the Peak Tram for the 1,200 foot upward
Getting there is an unforgettable trip. Whether you're going up or coming down, you'll love the
There is nothing in the world like it - it's so steep that the buildings you pass appear to be leaning!
There's a reason why Victoria's Peak is one of the most popular attractions in Hong Kong - the
the top (and even riding up and down) are absolutely incredible! Looking down, you'll be amazed
the spectacular view of the surrounding city skyline, the world-famous Victoria Harbor and even
Kowloon. You'll see both towering skyscrapers and peaceful green hillsides.
View from Peak Tram
Once at the top, there are a number of locations providing magnificent views of the city below.
fabulous views over the harbor, head to the Lugard Road Lookout. Following the Peak
Circle Walk will give you continuous unfolding vistas. You'll find more great scenery looking
from the Lions View Point Pavilion, the viewing terrace at the Peak Galleria or the
Peak Tower Sky Terrace.
View from Mount Victoria
View of Hong Kong
Hong Kong Island is dominated by a steep, hilly terrain which makes it the home of some rather
unusual methods of transport up and down the slopes. Since it was officially opened to the public
1993, the Mid-Level Escalator has played a very important role in making the district
walkable. The escalator links Des Voeux Road in Central with Conduit Road in the Mid-Levels and
passes through many a narrow street along the way. (There are entrances and exits at each
road, and often on both sides of the road.)
The twenty escalators and three moving side-walks total 2,600 feet in length with a vertical climb
443 feet. Traveling the same distance by car would be the equivalent of driving or riding on
miles of zigzagging roads because of the island's geography. Total travel time from end to end is
about 27 minutes. Most people, however, walk while the escalator moves to shorten their trip.
Although traffic projections estimated 27,000 people would use the escalators, daily traffic actually
exceeds 55,000 people.
The Kowloon Peninsula is home to some of the most interesting city-scapes and street
in all of Asia. Known for its dense population and urban sprawl, it is also quite competitive on the
tourism front with Victoria and Hong Kong Island.
Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade
A great place to walk with wonderful views of both Victoria Harbor and the Hong Kong skyline is
Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade. The promenade is home to a number of tourist attractions
including the Hong Kong Museum of Art, the Hong Kong Space Museum and the Hong Kong
Center. Along with many exotic and international restaurants, Harbor City, the biggest shopping
entertainment center in the Port of Hong Kong, is also located on the promenade.
Hong Kong Island from the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade
Avenue of the Stars
Located on the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, Avenue of the Stars is a must see point in the
harbor area. Discover what makes Hong Kong the Hollywood of the East at this tribute to
many people who have contributed to the territory's 100+ year history of film-making.
As you walk along Avenue of the Stars, you'll find lots to see including commemorative plaques
statues. The descriptive milestones, kiosks with movie memorabilia, towering Hong Kong Film
statue and life-size statue of kung-fu action star Bruce Lee will make you wonder what you'll
Filming on the Avenue of the Start
Bruce Lee Statue
Like in Hollywood, Hong Kong's Avenue of the Stars even has hand prints of movie celebrities.
the most popular stars on this walk are those celebrating Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan.
Jackie Chan Hand Prints
Near the Star Ferry concourse on the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade is the old Clock Tower at
site of the former railway station and landmark from the age of steam engines. Erected in 1915,
distinctive 44-meter red brick and granite tower is a graceful reminder of those Colonial times.
tower also has significance for many Chinese migrants for whom it was the conduit to new lives
in Hong Kong or by ship to distant destinations overseas. Today, the site of the historic railway
is occupied by the Hong Kong Cultural Center.
Historic Clock Tower
Big Bus Tour
With three routes to choose from (Kowloon, Stanley and Hong Kong Island), a ride on the Big
Tour gives you an overview of one, two or all three areas within Hong Kong. In under two
the bus drove a loop around the main tourist attractions in Kowloon. We saw more than we could
have on foot including Nathan Road, the main north-south artery in Central Kowloon.
Road passes many historic buildings, businesses, parks, residential areas and markets.
Although the value with tours like this one is with a multi-day pass, we enjoyed seeing more of
Kong than we would have had we not used the HOHO. (We also used the HOHO to a lesser extent
Hong Kong Island, but couldn't squeeze any of the Aberdeen & Stanley Route into our single day
A visit to Kowloon Park located on Nathan Road will give you a peaceful break from all
of the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong Island. Few areas within Hong Kong have a richer historical
background than this park. Originally the site of a walled fort, the nearly 8 acre park is also
Kowloon Walled City Park. You are sure to encounter locals performing Tai Chi exercises
the outdoor sculpture garden and lake.
Visiting the Jade Market will provide an insight into something very important to the
people - jade. The written character for jade means a combination of beauty and purity. The
associated with long life and good health. A giant jade stone weighing three tons has been
the junction of Canton Road and Jordan Road as a landmark.
Buying jade is really an art. Jade varies in color from deep green to yellow, brown and even
Most of the jade sold in Hong Kong is actually jadeite from Myanmar. If you have some time to go
shopping for jade, you'll likely find natural pieces as well as pieces impregnated with polymers or
pieces which have been dyed to enhance their color.
Junk Boat Harbor Cruise
Although taking an authentic Junk Boat Harbor Cruise was at the top of Stacy's list,
unfortunately the hours that we were in port didn't match with any scheduled trips. Boarding the
DukLing and sailing into the scenic harbor would surely be an experience not soon
Just imagine seeing the panoramic views of Hong Kong Island with its buildings reaching toward
sky while riding on an authentic "junk"!
Originally manned by Chinese fishermen, the DukLing is typical of the junks which crossed Hong
Kong's waters for hundreds of years. After sailing the waters and deep sea channels for more
years, the vessel was restored in the 1980s to her original classic design. Although there are
more modern boats modeled after the original junks such as the Aqua Luna, the DukLing
the last authentic sailing junk in Hong Kong.
Tsing Ma Bridge
Hong Kong's Tsing Ma Bridge is the largest suspension bridge in the world which features
decks and carries both road and rail traffic. Before being built, scale models of the bridge were
subjected to serious wind tunnel testing to ensure its safety since Hong Kong experiences annual
Symphony of Lights
If you are lucky, your cruise ship will stay docked into the evening so that you don't have to miss
Symphony of Lights in Victoria Harbor. Although we did leave port before the evening
we learned that the spectacular multimedia display has been named the World's Largest
Permanent Light and Sound Show. The show has continued to expand and now includes over
buildings on both sides of the harbor. It creates an all around vision of colored lights, laser beams
searchlights performing a spectacle demonstrating the diversity of Hong Kong. There are five
themes - Awakening, Energy, Heritage, Partnership and the finale, Celebration.
Cruising China and Southeast Asia
If you are planning to spend some time in Shanghai during your Asian odyssey, don't miss our
titled 22 of the Best Things to See and Do in Shanghai. You'll find both a description and
photos of some of our favorite places to see. We've also included some fun things to do that
the top of every list that you'll find (hint - riding a super fast train and shopping for "luxury"
Although Hong Kong marked the end of our too short visit to China, we can honestly say that our
was amazing ... totally amazing! Spending a day exploring Nha Trang, Vietnam will be
this series full of ideas for anyone planning a cruise around Southeast Asia. We welcome you to
subscribe to our weekly e-mail notifications. You will receive no more than one e-mail each week
which will alert you when successive parts of this cruise as well as other travel posts are
It's quick and easy to subscribe at Wordy Explorers User Account by completing the form.
If you had the opportunity to visit Hong Kong but were limited to spending all of your time in
the Kowloon District or Hong Kong Island, which would you choose and why?
Created On 07/19/2019 11:37:29
Updated On 09/17/2019 16:47:46
Scheduled On 07/27/2019 15:39:51
Posted On 08/22/2019 16:39:51
Last Editor Stacy