Never in my life did I imagine I would get to experience Hong Kong. It’s one of those places that I thought you only went to if you had business there or you were a super secret spy operative chasing down the bad guy or … that’s actually about it. I wasn’t sure why else you would have a reason to get to go.
That being said, it’s probably pretty obvious that Hong Kong was a complete surprise addition to our destination list! We had been trying to figure out where to go for September… Trying and trying, and nothing felt right. Finally, we stumbled on a killer flight deal that went from Seattle to Hong Kong to Tokyo. And that was it. We decided to go home to Seattle for a few weeks and then hit the road again, this time changing direction and heading to Asia!
I’m so so happy we did! Hong Kong is an incredible and awe-inspiring metropolis (as I always imagined it). But it turns out that it’s so much more than that! It is an incredibly family friendly destination that I will never again see as just for the executive traveler.
Above everything else, I couldn’t believe how SAFE we felt in Hong Kong. Also, the language barrier wasn’t much of a barrier at all. Most locals spoke English, or at least enough to help us out. And the kind and polite nature of our non-native confusion was overwhelming!
We only had 5 days in Hong Kong before we headed on to Japan so we wanted to make the absolute most of it! We decided that instead of our normal go-to of AirBnB we would stay at a hotel. We knew with our short stay we wouldn’t be grocery shopping and cooking in plus we really wanted the conveniences of a hotel who could help us through our adventures.
We chose the Dorsett Hotel – Wanchai because we heard it was extremely family friendly and it was! They left treats in the drawers for the kids, a basket of books for them to read which were chosen based on their age, goody bags, it was amazing! The kids were in heaven!
The view from our room.
A little treat was waiting for the kids when they started looking through every single drawer and cupboard – as they always do!
So I shared that one of the big reasons we chose Dorsett Hotel was for its family friendly reviews, and it did not disappoint. One of our favorite touches was the book basket that the hotel provides for all their younger guests, the basket is filled with age appropriate books for your kiddos. The kids loved it, and how awesome is this adorable little reading nook in The Ocean Park Suite!
With only 5 days in Hong Kong, we tried to have a bit of a plan ahead of time (we are terrible planners for the most part) for how we wanted to spend our days. So what is there to do in Hong Kong for a family – tons! You won’t be running out of things to do. There is, of course, the incredible culture of China.
DAY 1: Big Buddha & Caple Car Ride
I actually had to pull this image from Google (source) because thy day we went Buddha was completely enveloped in fog. But even despite that, we still enjoyed the day! There are a couple of choices on how to get up to the Big Buddha, both of which will culminate in front of the steps. There’s no avoiding the steps, and you shouldn’t – it’s right of passage.
We opted to take the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car up to the monetary and Big Buddha statue and then we took a bus back down. The view from the cable car was amazing! What was funny for us was that when we left it was completely clear skies, and for the first 1/2 of our ride, we had breathtaking views, but the further up we climbed, the more the clouds came into view. By the time we got to the top, we could barely see a passing cable car the fog was so thick.
Even despite the fog, I’m still so happy that we made this part of our itinerary. Besides, the fog almost adds to the ambiance. 🙂
DAY 2: The Markets, Exploring the City, and the Water Show
We arrived as the vendors were setting up their stalls and spent the day exploring the marketplaces of Hong Kong. There are several, each with different purposes. We explored the flower market, the food market (of course).
Each night at 8 pm, there is a 13 minute light show off Victoria Harbor called, ‘A Symphony of Lights’ – it’s something I worked really hard to see. I’ll be honest, the photography on the tourist sights makes it feel like a must see, in reality, none of us were particularly overwhelmed but the light display itself but it was still beautiful seeing the city at night and I would absolutely recommend taking in the view!
Day 3: Ocean Park Amusement Park
This is definitley an all day event. I think I’ll give Ocean Park it’s very own review post. But for now I’ll share that this was day 3 in Hong Kong for us. is Ocean Park is Hong Kong’s very own amusement park. We went back and forth on if we would spend our one theme park day at Disneyland HK or Ocean Park. The consensus from locals was that Ocean Park was the way to go, so we followed their advice. The park was great but if your kiddos are ride seekers and around 7 to 9 they may be stuck sitting out on a lot of the rides. As I remember Adi (11) was able to go on all of them, Ella (10) got to ride most of them but poor Paysen (8) didn’t make it on many of the rides at all.
Rides are not all Ocean Park has to offer, though. They also have the animal component including the penguins, panda bear, dolphins, the red panda (this was a highlight for Adi!), and make sure you don’t miss the arctic foxes; it would be easy to do. And then there is The Aquarium as well.
Ocean Park has it’s own water show, which we were really looking forward to. I’ll be honest, it was okay but it doesn’t compare to California Adventures World of Color Show or the Disney parades. This was probably the most epic moment of the show – the fire element was a really fun addition to the show.
The reality of playing hard all day long! 🙂 Mom becomes the ultimate pillow as we take the subway ride back to the hotel. We don’t look it, but I promise we are happy – just worn out and ready for our beds.
Day 4 – The LDS Hong Kong Temple
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, temples are an incredibly sacred and special place for us! They are dotted all over the earth with 1565 temples in operation today. It’s a dream for me to make it every single one – I think I’m on 17 temples so far so we have a long, long way to go. But it’s a fun dream!
With that dream and because temples are a place of peace and comfort for us, we’ve made a point to get to every temple we can throughout our travels. Getting to spend time in the Hong Kong temple was incredibly special and probably my favorite day spend here.
The kids are not quite old enough to go into the temple, Adi will actually get to start going when she turns 12 in December. So for now, they have to wait. They have been absolutely amazing about this! AMAZING! They sit in the waiting rooms of each temple with books and magazines and quietly sit, patiently waiting while we go inside.
Day 5 – Heading to Tokyo, Japan
It’s time for the next leg of our adventure and that means it’s another travel day! But I felt like I should share that the Hong Kong airport is amazing! Isn’t that so funny, but it really is! Even though this airport is absolutely massive !! it’s laid out so well that we had no problems navigating our way through. With plenty of signage and always an English option we were able to get everywhere we needed to go including their massive food court area for some lunch before we boarded our ANA flight for Tokyo. Which by the way is the absolute best airline we’ve ever flown!