Hong Kong – A Kaleidoscope of fireworks

Sooner or later, globetrotters like me will find themselves with a layover in Hong Kong en route to a farther destination on some other part of the globe. Don’t stay at the airport. Go to town. Literally: Here’s a checklist, good whether you have a few hours or one night.

Arriving in Hong Kong is exhilarating: a mix of jet-lagged euphoria, loopy circadian rhythms, and sheer excitement. Hong Kong is all about motion. It’s an invigorating assault on the senses, a veritably kaleidoscope of fireworks — of motion, speed, and color, bursting everywhere, fast and furious. You’re racing past gleaming futuristic towers lined in rows, stacks upon stacks of glass and steel layers, with mountainous peaks perched in the background and expansive water views.

If you have 24-36 hours, Hong Kong makes for the perfect layover. Good thing, because sooner or later all travelers to Asia will find themselves here. It’s easily accessible and efficient to navigate. And you can pack a wonderously unique itinerary into a short period of time.

I check into the opulent, statuesque oasis that is the Harbor Plaza Metropolis Hotel . Whisking up the panoramic glass elevator to the 17th floor, it’s impossible to miss the grand Great Mother of China, the largest Chinese landscape silk painting in the world. In my room, I find breathtaking views of Victoria Harbour, a front-row-seat view of the Hong Kong skyline against the hazy fog. I’m Lost in Translation. I take a photo, feet reclined, and tell my mom I’ve relocated to Hong Kong.

A post lunch stroll through Hong Kong Park is a tranquil introduction to Hong Kong, a city that’s an unlikely mix of green and steel. Situated in a green oasis of koi fish, terrapins, and turtles, the park frames the reflection of the surrounding mountains and the towering, modern architectural world, including I.M. Pei’s gleaming Bank of China Tower.

Against the advice of trusted locals, I beat the herds of tourists — 7:30 a.m. has its privileges — and board The Peak tram. It’s a steep, five-minute climb, a ride that reminds me of a roller coaster’s slow wind-up before it drops at an exhilarating pace. Once you arrive, don’t dawdle in the mall-like structure of dizzying shopping and dining options, but rather head straight to The Sky Terrace 428. (Mathematical translation: 1,404 feet above sea level.) You’re here to absorb the bold, spectacular, unobstructed, 360-degree views. Go ahead, take an obligatory photo. Email it to Mom.


I decided to start walking from Wan Chai and head towards Kowloon to explore these thhwo parts on foot and the (required) ferry.

I started my walking tour from the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre popularly known as HKCEC. This is an exhibition and convention centre, made entirely of glass and a huge aluminium roof sculpted to supposedly resemble a seabird in flight (I really tried to imagine it but just couldn’t see the connection). It is a massive building and even when you are standing at the farthest point available on land, you can’t capture this building in one frame. Hence the best view of this landmark building is from a ferry (when you can see it in entirety).


Visiting Disneyland was a part of my itenary. Disneyland Hong Kong is located at Lantau island merely 20 mins from the Hong Kong International Airport