You’re in one of the world’s most happening cities, but only have 24 hours?

With all there is to do and see, one day in Hong Kong is definitely not enough. But with a can-do spirit like a real Hong Konger, we’ve put together an all-in-one—and affordable, of course—one-day Hong Kong guide that packs nature, action, culture, delicacies and nightlife. Bookmark and follow.

6 am–6:30 am | Airport to Central

one day in Hong Kong
Photo by Gregory Lane

Sure, there may be cheaper ways from Hong Kong Airport to Central, but in your case, time is more important. That’s why we recommend hopping on the Airport Express. (Tip: You can get discounted tickets in advance through travel sites like Klook.)

Note: The Airport Express doesn’t run 24 hours. The first train is at around 5 am and the last train departs at around 1 am.

6:30 am–9 am | Victoria Peak

Victoria Peak Loop Walk
Photo by Hiufu Wong

How to get there: Once you have arrived at Hong Kong Station, you can head towards the public transportation terminal under Exchange Square (Exit D). From there, take either bus 15 (45 minutes) or green mini-bus 1 (25 minutes) to go up to the Peak.

Instead of paying for entering the observatory deck at the Peak Galleria, you can opt for the free Lion’s Pavilion lookout next to the Peak Tram Station. And best of all, you’ll be there early enough to beat the crowds.

Lion Pavilion
Lion’s pavillion | Photo by iStock.com/lavendertime

If you have enough energy, it’s worth doing the Peak Circle Walk (also called the Loop Walk) around the peak. The entrance is on Lugard Road—with a Hong Kong Trail signage. The path is mostly flat, dotted by small waterfalls, trees and amazing views of the city.

The walk takes about one hour and it takes you back to the Peak Tram Station at the end. You can now head back the to Central the same way you came.

9 am–10:30 am | Breakfast at Tim Ho Wan, Central

Cheap Central dim sum Tim Ho Wan
Tim Ho Wan’s dim sum | Photo by Hiufu Wong

How to get there: It’s inside Hong Kong Station

You’ll be back at IFC just in time as Tim Ho Wan opens its door.

Cheap Central dim sum Tim Ho Wan
Cheap dim sum at Tim Ho Wan | Photo by Hiufu Wong

Once dubbed the cheapest Michelin-star restaurant in the world, Tim Ho Wan’s IFC branch offers one of the best-valued dim sum in Central.

If the weather is nice, you can order takeaway and bring your dim sum to the rooftop area in IFC.

10:30 am–12:30 pm | Museum of Art and Avenue of Stars

Hong Kong Museum of Art
Photo by Hiufu Wong

How to get there: Take the bridge from IFC to Central Star Ferry Pier (Pier no. 7). Take the Star Ferry to Tsim Sha Tsui. From Tsim Sha Tsui, you turn right to walk along the promenade towards the Hong Kong Museum of Art and Avenue of Stars.

With a full stomach, you’re now ready to take on Kowloon.

The newly reopened Museum of Art has a few significant collections—including the world’s largest collection of Wu Guanzhong’s arts.

But you only have a day, so you may choose to check out the museum’s “summary” exhibition Ordinary to Extraordinary, which showcases iconic works from each of its bigger exhibitions.

Don’t leave without checking out the seaview and small exhibition by Frog King on the 4/F.

12:30 pm–2 pm | Lunch at K11 MUSEA

K11 MUSEA to do
Photo by Hiufu Wong

The luxury mall has a few affordable dining options inside its food court, the somewhat pretentiously named Food Playground. Baked pork chops and rice with cheese and tomato, a classic cha chaan teng dish, is only HK$68.00.

K11 MUSEA atrium
K11 Musea atrium | Photo by Hiufu Wong

If you want to stay longer, check out our in-depth guide for K11 MUSEA.

2 pm–4:30 pm | Mongkok’s hectic markets

one day in Hong Kong
Photo by iStock.com/CHUNYIP-WONG

How to get there: MTR to Mongkok Station (Exit E2)

On some days, you may just find kitschy knockoffs; other days, you will find great bargains in the bustling markets of Mongkok. The unpredictability is part of the fun.

The Ladies’ Market is the most iconic market of all.

The Sneakers Street, the Goldfish Market, and the Fa Yuen Street Market (a great local market selling knick-knacks as well as groceries) are nearby.

Use our Kowloon markets guide to help you decide which one you want to visit.

16:30 pm–5:30 pm | Afternoon tea at Mido Café

How to get there: From whichever market you’re in, walk south on Nathan Road. Make a right on Public Square Street. It should just be a 15-minute walk (located at 63 Temple St, Yau Ma Tei, Hong Kong).

Mido is a two-story old-school Cantonese café. It’s a good place to take a break and sample some other Hong Kong classics, like egg tarts and milk tea.

5:30 pm–7 pm | Temple Street Market

The Temple Street night market, Hong Kong
The Temple Street night market. Late night shopping is quite typical for Hong Kong culture. | Photo by iStock.com/Nikada

How to get there: It’s right next to Mido Café

Home to antiques (both real and fake), old movie posters, sex toys, fortune tellers (or storytellers sometimes), al fresco clay pot rice stalls, and makeshift karaoke booths—Temple Street ensures an evening fun.

Temple street night market street food in Hong Kong
Photo by iStock.com/AsianDream

The night market, which opens at around 5 pm each day, is one of the most interesting flea markets in Hong Kong.

After perusing, have a clay pot rice and seafood dinner at a dai pai dong (outdoor diners). Alternatively, you can head back to the island side now.

7 pm–8pm | Victoria Harbour views

one day in Hong Kong
Photo by iStock.com/RomanBabakin

How to get there: Take bus number 1A/6 from Yau Ma Tei Wing Sing Lane to Star Ferry Pier

Taking a double-decker bus to Star Ferry Pier, you will be able to see the lights turning on along Nathan Road.

Leave some time for you to take some pictures from both sides of the harbour, as well as on the Star Ferry.

There is also a laser light show at 8 pm each day. The show lasts for 15 mins.

You can either stick around for the show or prepare to gear up for a busy night ahead of you.

8 pm–11 pm | Dinner and entertainment

How to get there: Take the Star Ferry to Wan Chai.

There are two amazing modes of century-old transportation in Hong Kong. You have used the Star Ferry, now you can try the tram on the island side. (Here’s a handy guide on how to take the tram if you’re unsure.)

There are two options for dinner:

Plan A: Happy Valley Racecourse

Parade Ring at Causeway Bay's Happy Valley Racecourse
Photo by Hiufu Wong

If it’s a Wednesday, take the tram towards Happy Valley.

You can go to Gi Kee at the Wong Nai Chung Cooked Food Centre for some reasonably priced Cantonese dinner. Order half of the crispy chicken with garlic, deep-fried fish with chili and salt, and sweet-and-sour prawn.

Some of the fresh seafood have “seasonal prices” that are marked on a red board in the restaurant. Fish and prawns are measured by weight. You can ask how much approximately for the seafood you want before deciding.

For easier options, you can try razor clams (around HK$50.00 each) and flower crabs (around HK$500.00) which are usually priced per item.

After dinner, head to Happy Valley Racecourse to have a beer and watch the horses.

Plan B: Shopping and dinner

one day in Hong Kong
Photo by Gregory Lane

Option two is to take the tram to Causeway Bay.

There are hundreds of restaurants on the street level as well as hidden in the skyscrapers that pack the area.

If you love something spicy, you can go to Yu (4 Yiu Wa St, Bowrington, Hong Kong), a diner serving spicy Chong Qing food on Yiu Wah Street. You can also try Cantonese-style hot pot dinner at Suppa (2/F, Circle Tower, 28 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay).

You can do a bit of souvenir shopping at smaller shopping malls like Island Beverley and LaForet where shops are open till late.

11:30 pm–3 am | Party time

How to get there: Tram

Well, it could be bedtime—or you could soldier on and enjoy Hong Kong’s late-night entertainment.

Plan A: Partying at Lan Kwai Fong

Christmas Lan Kwai Fong
Photo by Hong Kong Tourism Board

If it’s a weekend, the party is only heating up at Lan Kwai Fong. You can be a real cheapo and hit “Club Seven” (the 7-11 outside the Lan Kwai Fong Refuse Collection Point) where many people will buy a beer and have a chat with people outside.

Central Pier 3 is home to a rooftop dive bar offering a range of beers and snacks.

If it’s a weekday, you may have a chance to find seats at The Old Man, the best (not one of) cocktail bar in Hong Kong.

Plan B: Sit and karaoke your heart out

Sore legs? Tired of rubbing shoulders at Hong Kong’s hot spots? Unwind at one of the many karaoke bars in town. A few hours of entertainment—depending on how good a singer you/your travel companion is—in a private karaoke room is only about HK$250.00 per person, including one or two non-alcoholic drinks.

Two major karaoke bars near you are CEO Causeway Bay and Red Mr in Wan Chai.

3 am–5 am | Dim sum breakfast

How to get there: Take a taxi. Alternatively, there are also midnight red minibuses that drive crazily fast to Kennedy Town for HK$15.00 or HK$20.00).

With just a few hours left on your one day in Hong Kong, you can either go for a nearby cha chaan teng for early breakfast, or you can head to the western part of Hong Kong Island for late-night dim sum.

Sun Hing Teahouse, a favourite among locals, opens at around 3 am. Here, you will be joined by an army of hungry and sleep-deprived university students as well as grandpas and grannies who are getting breakfast to power up before their morning exercise in the park.

It’s a self-service diner. You just go and pick your dim sum, pour your own tea and grab your own chopsticks. Dishes are between HK$18.00 to HK$30.00 mostly.

It serves some of the best lava buns (with salted egg custard) in town. But their buns don’t usually come out until 4 am or 5 am.

When you’re done, just wave and let the server know. They will come and count your plates.

5 am to 6 am | Wrapping up your day in Hong Kong

It’s time to get ready and head back to the airport. Now dream away and start planning your next trip to Hong Kong—hopefully for longer than one day.