A Guide to Hong Kong in 3 Days
As a CEO doing international business, I get to travel to a lot of interesting places. But with back-to-back meetings on almost every travel agenda, I rarely get time to explore the world outside my hotel room.
Recently, though, I had the opportunity to travel to Hong Kong, and I couldn’t bear the thought of spending three days in one of the world’s most fascinating cities in a state of work-induced tunnel vision.
So, for the first time in a long time, I decided to squeeze in some sightseeing along with my jam-packed meeting schedule. It took several shots of espresso, my Apple Watch and friend who rivals even the most dog-eared copy of “Frommer’s Hong Kong,” but I think I pulled it off — and lived to tell about it. If you’re going to be in Hong Kong for 72 hours or less, put these five attractions at the top of your list:
1. Studio Jazz Club in Central
Going into the trip, I guessed I’d experience a sense of familiarity in Hong Kong, thanks to its pervasive Western cultural influences (including the status of English as one of its official languages). I didn’t expect to stumble upon something so quintessentially American as a 1950s, New-York-style jazz club. But that’s exactly what I found at the grand opening of Studio, a new nightlife offering in Central Hong Kong. I liked its contemporary / Art-Deco interior mashup (wood inlay for days) and the classic cocktail offerings.
2. Yan Toh Heen Restaurant at the InterContinental Hotel
I’ve always heard that American-style Chinese food is loosely based on Cantonese cuisine. And by loosely, I mean the American version is so far removed from the real thing it’s almost its own thing entirely. (Did you hear about the guy who opened up an American-Style Chinese restaurant in Shanghai?)
As diverse as Hong Kong’s food culture has become, I really wanted to find some authentic Chinese offerings while I was there. Happily, one of the city’s best Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurants, Yan Toh Heen, was located right downstairs from my room at the InterContinental. I went there between meetings and got the Crispy Lobster Dim Sum, which was served on a marble placemat. Stone-cold delicious.
3. A Symphony of Lights
Every night of the year, the Hong Kong skyline is illuminated with laser beams and synchronized music across 40 different buildings. It’s called the Symphony of Lights, and though it’s an everyday thing for locals, it’s pretty much a can’t-miss attraction for travelers. I recommend catching a ride on the ferry (only about 60 cents) a few minutes before 8 o’clock to have a view of the entire show from the Victoria Harbor.
4. Tsim Sha Tsui Shopping District
To quote one travel article, “Whenever you walk in the street [at Tsim Sha Tsui], you will be confronted by heavy traffic and the crowd of citizens and visitors. But everything is very orderly.”
I’m pretty laid back, so I wasn’t all that keen on following my traveling companions into what seemed to be widely described as a scene of organized chaos.
Getting off the cab and taking in the sweeping view of the streets before me, however, I suddenly understood what all the fuss was about. In the few hours that we spent strolling through the district, I saw just about every store imaginable. The wildest thing was walking from one block that had stores like Hermes and Prada, to the next one, filled with artisanal street vendors.
Something else I didn’t know: The district is also famous for its high-quality custom-made menswear. Don’t ask me how, but I walked away with three custom suits and a sport jacket that day. Great, indeed.
5. The Ozone Bar at The Ritz Carlton Hong Kong
I didn’t think it right to leave Hong Kong without visiting the world’s highest bar. Located on the 118th floor of the Ritz-Carlton, Ozone offers incredible views of the Kowloon Peninsula and the Hong Kong Island skyline, not to mention a delicious selection of Asian tapas. Not a bad way to end the day — or the trip.