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Travel on a budget: Hong Kong for under RM2000

Hong Kong overwhelms in the best possible way with its towering buildings and hustling humanity. You can while away a morning scouring markets like Temple Street for priceless antiques, get away from it all on a windswept beach like Stanley and party with style at Lan Kwai Fong. Anything and everything is possible in this city of dreams, filled with lots of Hong Kong attractions such as Victoria Peak, and with Skyscanner's handy budget itinerary for a quick Hong Kong getaway, you can see it all without breaking the bank!

The Down-low

  • Suggested travel duration: 3 days/2 night
  • Places to visit: Tsim Sha Tsui; Chungking Mansions; Symphony of Lights; Aberdeen Harbour and Jumbo Kingdom; Stanley Market; Lan Kwai Fong; Victoria Peak; Upper Lascar Row
  • Transportation costs: Approx. RM200 (for return Airport Express tickets, Peak Tram, local bus rides and MTR journeys)
  • Meals: Approx. RM300 (for 2 daily restaurant meals, a glass of whisky for the drinkers, and a snack atop Victoria Peak).
  • Accommodation: From RM700 per night for a double room at Butterfly on Morrison
  • Approx. total cost for 1 pax, excluding flights: RM1200 (leaving plenty extra to go shopping!)

Where to stay in Hong Kong on a budget: Butterfly on Morrison, Causeway Bay

This budget-friendly boutique hotel is perfectly situated for convenient access to all the best places to visit in the city. A mere 6-minute walk from Causeway Bay MTR station, you will have no problem moving around the metropolis during your stay.

You don’t need to travel far to see what makes Hong Kong so great; the hotel’s immediate vicinity has tonnes of delicious eateries and the neighbouring markets and boutiques make for a pleasant shopping experience you will really appreciate.

The hotel even offers a free smartphone with unlimited local calls and 3G data! The price, location and convenience of Butterfly on Morrison make it an ideal choice for your trip. From Central Station, hop in a taxi and pay about RM28 to get to Causeway Bay.

Cheap flights to Hong Kong

Day One

Once you’ve landed, hop onto the Airport Express, which will take you to Hong Kong Station in less than half an hour. Hong Kong Station and Central Station are linked by an undercover walkway.

Tsim Sha Tsui

Start your Hong Kong trip off with a journey over to Tsim Sha Tsui, where you’ll find malls galore bursting with bargains. There are a lot of museums in the area, and once you’ve gotten your fix of high culture, you can head over to Chungking Mansions, the iconic 17 story megaplex that embodies all the wonderful seediness and charm of the area. It’s packed to the gills with stalls and shops where you will find just about anything you’d like .

If you’re thirsty, you can stop by the Nepali whisky bar out back, where RM2.50 will get you a glass of the fiery stuff and a conversation with the proprietor. To get there, take the MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui station (RM6). Chungking Mansions is on Nathan Road, 2 minutes away.

High and low culture collide in Tsim Sha Tsui. Photo credit: Joop / Flickr

Symphony of Lights

The buildings lining Victoria Harbour come to life in blazing light during this Guinness-certified display of illuminated synchronisation set to words and music celebrating everything that makes Hong Kong such a fascinating place. Nightly from 8:00 PM tourists can enjoy the show for free. Take exit J from the East Tsim Sha Tsui station on the MTR and just follow the signs.

Eat

For dinner, head to Haiphong Road Temporary Market (whose temporary location hasn’t changed in 30 years!) for some hawker fare. There’s a halal meat market there, and though the market itself is a bit barren these days, the beef ball stalls are still going strong. A bowl will set you back about RM12.

Day Two

As this is your one full day on the trip, we suggest you venture slightly far afield, as you don’t need to worry about missing your flight. After a hearty breakfast at one of Hong Kong’s famous cha chaan tengs, head out of the city into the outer reaches of greater Hong Kong for a glimpse of the other side of this fascinating place.

Aberdeen Harbour and Jumbo Kingdom

Aberdeen Harbour, in Hong Kong’s southern district, is a harbour clogged with junks that is a great place for a glimpse of old Hong Kong, presenting an interesting contrast with the intense modernity of its surroundings. For an excellent look at the real Aberdeen lifestyle, drop by Jumbo Kingdom, a floating restaurant first established back in the 70’s by an enterprising local. This ornate and painstakingly crafted floating restaurant is a throwback to the glamour days of old China, evoking ancestral memories of an imperial palace. Mains start from RM90.

Take bus 70 from Exchange Square Bus Terminal to Aberdeen terminus for RM2.40, take the pedestrian tunnel under the highway, turn right and hop on a boat that will ferry you to the restaurant for no charge.

A floating palace in Aberdeen Harbour. Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons

Stanley

This popular seaside market town on the south side of Hong Kong island is a great place to spend an afternoon, shopping, splashing or just lounging on the beach. The pace is definitely slower here than in more central parts of the island, and one of the main attractions is Stanley Market, whose bargains make this a great place to shop for souvenirs for your friends and family back home. There are also a number of great dining options for when you start to feel peckish.

From Aberdeen you can take bus 73 (every 20 mins or so) to Stanley. Journey time from Aberdeen to Stanley about 35 minutes and will cost about RM2.90.

Take a break from the city in lovely Stanley. Photo credit: -ocean / Flickr

Lan Kwai Fong

Once the sun sets, head to Lan Kwai Fong with the rest of Hong Kong’s party people for a taste of the local nightlife. This throbbing hub of clubs, pubs and spots for grub is a must-see for any traveller to the city. Whatever your taste, you’ll find something to captivate your attention.

From Stanley, take bus 6A; the ride is about 40-45 minutes and it should cost you around RM5.50.

Lan Kwai Fong is Hong Kong’s party spot. Photo credit: Matt Watts / Flickr

Eat

For dinner, head to Ho Lee Fook, in Central and walkable from Lan Kwai Fong. Despite its humorous name, this Chinese fusion restaurant has some seriously good eats. Mains start from RM50 and they are worth every cent, so treat yourself!

Day Three

On your last day in town, you should get some shopping done, not just for your friends and family, but also for yourself. There’s plenty to see and do conveniently close to your hotel before you bid farewell to the city.

Victoria Peak

High above the city lights, nearly 400 metres above the sea, the Peak Tower is a stylish Hong Kong architectural icon. Inside is as much of an attraction as the 360° view from Sky Terrace; with numerous restaurants, shops and other fun establishments, you’ll find hours of entertainment in the heavens above the city.

The base of the mountain is a short walk from MTR Central Station. Take the Peak Tram (RM25 for return), or for a vigorous workout, hike Old Peak Road to the top.

Snack

Grab a snack at one of the kiosks on top of the mountain. A tall coffee with a butter croissant from Pacific Coffee Co. will set you back about RM9.

Upper Lascar Row

Head over to Upper Lascar Row, otherwise known as Cat Street for some bargain hunting. You’ll find stall after stall of intriguing antiques here, and the perfect present for the people you love. Even if you buy nothing, it’s worth a wander to see what the sellers have accumulated over the years. In addition to the antiques, there are many art galleries dotting the area, and the nearby Man Po temple has been a local landmark for centuries. Keep your eyes peeled for a treasure, and be prepared to haggle for it when you come here .

If you’re coming from Victoria Peak, take the tram to Central and head outside on Des Voeux Road to the bus stop for the number 101 for RM2.90 and get off at Hollywood Terrace. Across the road from the bus stop take the steps up Ladder Street.

Last lunch

For your final meal in this world-class culinary city, just grab a bite at the airport. There are a tonne of options out there, from budget traveller to fancy sit-down, and you can choose the best option for your budget, which will vary depending on how much shopping you did while you were there. The options are local or international, and there is something to suit every taste. For a final taste of Hong Kong cuisine, try Hung’s Delicacies, which has a good reputation among savvy travellers.

Cheap flights to Hong Kong

Originally published on 24 June 2016 and updated in July 2018. Any prices are lowest estimated prices only at the time of publication and are subject to change and/or availability.

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