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Hong Kong With Kids: A Quick & Easy Guide

Hong Kong with Kids - Ngong Ping

My husband and I traveled to Hong Kong this past May with our 5 year old daughter.  We found Hong Kong to be a great city for travel with children.  It was our daughter’s first time out of the country, and Hong Kong delivered just the right mix of exotic adventure and familiar comforts.  If you are contemplating visiting Hong Kong with kids, here are my recommendations for making your trip as successful as ours.

Getting To Hong Kong With Kids: Air Travel Options

If you are coming from the United States like we were, it’s a long, long flight.  Our flight to HKG from SFO was 13 hours.  From the East Coast, flights clock in at about 16 hours.  Doing this long of a trip with kids requires some serious preparation.  Our daughter at 5 was at a great stage for making the trip without much fuss, but it would have been a bit of a different story a year or two ago.

Cathay Pacific

Our daughter, ready to board Cathay Pacific from SFO to HKG

Plenty of major airlines serve Hong Kong, but you should give a serious look at flying Hong Kong’s hometown airline, Cathay Pacific, if you are coming from the U.S.  U.S. based carriers like United just won’t have the same level of service and amenities (for SFO based flyers, check out my comparison of the three non-stop flights from SFO to HKG and why I chose Cathay for this trip.)  Many other Asia-based airlines, like Singapore Airlines, are a good choice as well.

HKG Airport Ground Transportation

All the information I read prior to my trip recommended that visitors take the Airport Express train from the airport to Central Hong Kong upon arrival.  Traffic in HKG is notoriously bad and the train supposedly cuts some serious time off the trip during peak traffic hours.  After reading extensively what taking the train entailed (and having my husband take it  when he arrived a few days before my daughter and I), we decided against taking the Airport Express.  We instead opted for a taxi and I’m glad we did.

When you are traveling with small children and several pieces of luggage, taking this train is just too complicated.  The train drops at a central point in the city, but you then have to navigate with kids and bags to shuttle buses that run various routes to the hotels.  If you have tweens or teens and a reasonable amount of luggage, then this might be an option.  For little ones, no thanks.

Additionally, if you are headed to a Hong Kong Disneyland or a Disney hotel, you should definitely take a taxi as Disneyland is just minutes away and the cab fare is quite cheap for such a short distance.

Transportation While in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Subway

Hong Kong’s Subway, the MTR.

While in Hong Kong, we definitely tried and relied on any and all forms of transportation – ferries, taxis, MTR (subway), trams, and our own two feet.  We did it all and I recommend that you do the same.  Riding the clean and efficient subway is an activity all unto itself for small children.  We marveled at how extensive the underground system of tunnels in the Hong Kong subway was.  There were shops and restaurants galore in the tunnels, which then all connected to massive shopping malls and many businesses and hotels.  You could go for days without ever setting foot outside in Hong Kong.  This is, perhaps, the point given the heat and humidity on the streets.  We were sweating a lot in early May; I can only imagine what it is like in July or August!

Kid-Friendly Sights and Activities

Tea at Peninsula Hotel

Mom and daughter dressed up for tea at the British Peninsula Hotel.

Our family was in Hong Kong for six days and we couldn’t even begin to do all that the city had to offer.  A lot of the sights and activities in Hong Kong are fun for both kids and adults, so my husband and I were excited to be able to find so many options that appealed to us that were also a good fit for our 5 year old.

Here are some of the highlights of our trip that I’d recommend to other families traveling to Hong Kong:

1) Hong Kong Disneyland: A can’t miss for the young and young at heart.  Read my post on Hong Kong Disneyland and my review of the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel for more information.

2) Ngong Ping 360: Ride a gondola (the glass-bottomed crystal cabin is worth the extra cost) to see a gorgeous monastery and Buddha statue.  Located on Lantau island, Ngong Ping 360 is not far from Hong Kong Disneyland and easily accessible by MTR.  If you have a bit more time to spend at Ngong Ping, consider traveling on to Tai O fishing village as well.

3) Tea at the British Peninsula Hotel: With its British background, Hong Kong hotels adhere to the fine tradition of British afternoon tea.  The classic high tea experience in Hong Kong is at the Peninsula hotel, although many of the luxury hotels offer excellent alternatives.  Waits can be quite long at the Peninsula, so try to go on a weekday and arrive about 30 minutes before tea time to minimize your wait for a table.

4) Peak Tram: Kids and adults alike will enjoy the view of the city from Victoria Peak.  The funicular tram ride is half the fun.  Arrive early to avoid lines and wait for good weather, as the view is often blocked if there is any fog in the area.  Avoid the shopping malls and tourist traps at the top and just enjoy the view.

5) Star Ferry: The Star Ferry crosses the harbor from Hong Kong island to the mainland in Kowloon.  This is a great option for transit as well as for entertainment.  If you ride it at night, you can enjoy the city lights too.

Have you been to Hong Kong with kids?  What tips would you share?  What were your favorite attractions?

Peak Tram

Our daughter clearly had a great time at the Hong Kong Peak Tram.

Ngong Ping 360 with kids

Another excited little traveler ready to climb the steps to Ngong Ping’s giant Buddha statue.

Quick & Easy Guide to Hong Kong With Kids | Planning a family trip to Asia? All the tips you need to have a successful visit to Hong Kong, China. Things to do including Hong Kong Disneyland | Trips With Tykes

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Jess Lander

Tuesday 20th of February 2018

Taking our 3-year-old twins in a month. Would love to know where you stayed! Thanks!

tripswithtykes

Thursday 22nd of February 2018

We were at the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel for part of our stay since we did 2+ days at HKDL. The remainder of our stay was at the Renaissance Hong Kong Harbor View. My husband had to be there for a business conference so it was chosen for him because of its proximity to the convention center but location was actually great for family travelers too. The Star Ferry was just a 5 minute walk away. I'd stay in that neighborhood along the Harbor (Wan Chai & Central) or on the Kowloon side.

Mikaela A Walker

Saturday 6th of August 2016

Where did you stay in hong kong? We are going later this year with two kids and are looking for a good option.

Lisa Goodmurphy

Friday 5th of September 2014

We haven't been yet but Hong Kong is at the top of our wish list! My girls are older but I think that they would enjoy all the places that you have mentioned. My 11 year-old has a goal to visit all of the Disney properties (she has been at California, Florida and Paris) so Disneyland Hong Kong is a priority for her!

Katie Dillon

Thursday 4th of September 2014

I'm really glad you enjoyed it!!!! I adore Cathay, as you know. I think you get used to the Airport Express. I find it really easy with a ton of luggage mostly because I've done it hundreds of times. In Central, the taxi queue and carts are right as you exit the train. It is SO much faster and more pleasant than driving most of the time though. A taxi or limo at the wrong time of day can be disasterous especially if your kids are prone to motion sickness.

tripswithtykes

Thursday 4th of September 2014

Thanks Katie! Your posts were so helpful in our planning. I wouldn't be against giving the Airport Express another try, but we arrived at 9 pm into HKG, so we knew traffic would be reasonable. When my husband arrived and took it a few days prior, it was raining hard and the hotel he was staying in was the absolute last stop on the shuttle route. It took him more time to get to his hotel than it did us and he got quite drenched in the process.

alyson

Thursday 4th of September 2014

Yes and no! The boys and I ( they were 4 and 6 I think) spent 6 hours at Hong Kong airport on the way to London from Australia. Surprisingly, we had a great time, it's a really cool airport and it kept us well amused even though it was the middle of the night. Totally with you on Cathay and Singapore, both are excellent airlines, flying is a dream with them and most similar big carriers.