15 hours in Hong Kong!


Hong Kong! That was my first layover travel destination. I am super excited to be posting (my first) about my travel experience and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did compiling it:)

Hong Kong, is a city of its own, though it is close to China or assumed to be part of it. It is a Special Administartive Region (SAR) which has its own currency, political system and laws.

It consists of four main territories, Lantau Island, Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New territories.

My total layover was for 15 hours , I had about 8-10 hours to travel excluding the time for immigration , customs and some downtime. My Cathay Pacific flight landed early in the morning and my return flight was in the night. This gave me the whole day to explore the city.

I was travelling from the East Coast, USA to India so the flight in was a long 16 hours. The time difference is exactly 12 hours.

Most people do not need visas to tour around Hong Kong. You could look up if you need a visa here.

It took me a couple of hours to get myself out of immigration, get accustomed to the airport and get some food. I left my carry-on luggage at the airport storage so that I don’t have to lug it all over the place. { It costed about 10 HKD or 1.25 USD per hour}.

I decided to stick to the closest island to the airport – Lantau Island. Lantau island is known for its Tian Tan or Giant Buddha and it’s spectacular cable car experience. Getting to Lantau Island was pretty simple. There arebuses from the airport that drop you off at Tung Chung stop which is the starting point of Ngong Ping 360. The one I hopped on was S1. (It cost 6 HKD = 80 cents USD for the roundtrip).

Photo of 15 hours in Hong Kong! 1/10 by Jan's Doodles

Ngong Ping 360 is an amazing gondola ride that takes you on a 5.7km cable car journey, travelling between Tung Chung Town Centre and Ngong Ping on Lantau Island. It opens at 9 AM and I was so happy to get on the first car out. It was a clear beautiful day which was an added advantage. {Pricing and packages}

The cable car is travel 25 minutes and a must-visit if you go to Hong Kong. The views were spectacular. It is green and blue all around. The walking path in the middle reminded me of Kung Fu panda where Po treks to find his village.

Photo of 15 hours in Hong Kong! 2/10 by Jan's Doodles
From the gondola
Photo of 15 hours in Hong Kong! 3/10 by Jan's Doodles
View from far
Photo of 15 hours in Hong Kong! 4/10 by Jan's Doodles
Trekking path to the top!

Once you get to Ngong Ping village it is a good long walk to get to the Tian Tan Buddha and the Po Lin monastery. I took my own sweet time walking around the village and drinking in the truly Asian . You could shop some souvenirs or just walk around and maybe have a cup of tea from the Li Nong Tea House. There are Motion 360 and Stage 360 attractions to entertain you with action movies and other performances. Another attraction I loved was the Walking with Buddha , that is a multimedia presentation about the life of Buddha.

Photo of 15 hours in Hong Kong! 5/10 by Jan's Doodles
Photo of 15 hours in Hong Kong! 6/10 by Jan's Doodles
Photo of 15 hours in Hong Kong! 7/10 by Jan's Doodles

I came back down all tired from the mini-trek to meet the Buddha! And had a delicious bowl of noodle soup at the Zen Noodle Cafe. And set off to the Po Lin monastery.

Though the Giant Buddha is a hot tourist spot, you will find signs at the monastery that implicate it is only for those who have come to pray. I would advice you to be conscious of it . You could light incense and pray if you wish to. They had beautiful flower trees leading into the main entrance. It has intricate wall carvings that are a sight. The monastery has a vegetarian restaurant which I was told offers delicious food.

Photo of 15 hours in Hong Kong! 8/10 by Jan's Doodles
Po Lin Monastery
Photo of 15 hours in Hong Kong! 9/10 by Jan's Doodles
Photo of 15 hours in Hong Kong! 10/10 by Jan's Doodles

I took the cable car back to the airport after this since I was feeling jet-lagged and was a little anxious since the number of tourists were high. It takes a while to get on the cable car depending on the number of tourists so please keep that in mind and give yourself enough time.

The other attractions at Ngong Ping were the Wisdom Path and Tai O fishing village. I would say I had enough time to cover one more spot though I didn’t.

Things to do at the airport:

Hong Kong International Airport is one of the best in the world. You could easily spend a few of hours by people-watching, getting some food or pamper yourself at the spa.

There is an I-Max, I-sports and a golf course (yes, I know!!) to be entertained. You can find the guide here.

I felt my layover was well-spent and Hong Kong is a great place for it. There are other options such as spending the day in Downtown Hong Kong or visiting the Victoria Peak which are other great attractions. With its close proximity and great transport system you could plan your day depending on your interests. You could also spend a night and get on a flight the next day (because the night-life is amazing as well). Most airlines seem flexible with it if you call them and book.

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