Hong Kong in 48 Hours

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After a whirlwind book tour in Europe and a week of stuffing myself with pastries in Paris, I made my way back towards Australia via Hong Kong, one of the most logical stopovers when journeying from Australia to Europe (along with Singapore).

With just 48 hours in the city and jet lag weighing my down, I was surprised to see how much I could fit in to such a short visit! If you also find yourself in Hong Kong for such a short space of time, here’s a complete itinerary to match (with some options, depending on how many times you have visited!)

Hong Kong Guide | World of Wanderlust

Check In: Hong Kong Island VS. Kowloon 

There are two main options when you arrive in Hong Kong: to stay “on the island” or to stay in Kowloon (the huge landmass on the other side of the water, connected to mainland China). To be completely honest with you, I love both and each for different reasons.

Hong Kong Island has the benefit of centrality, being within walking distance of many of the cities’ main attractions. Much of the island does have more of a financial vibe, with much of the business for Hong Kong operating out of Central. On the other hand you have Kowloon, offering a more authentic stay just minutes to the local markets and right “in the thick of it”.

On this trip I checked in to the Kerry Hotel, a new hotel located away from the hustle and bustle, with a view of the entire harbour. Other hotels I have really enjoyed are the Landmark Mandarin Oriental (a fashion bloggers’ dream), the Four Seasons Hotel (one of the best views of Kowloon from the Island), The Ritz Carlton (one of the highest hotels in the world – you literally wake up in the clouds) and a handful of 3-4 star hotels on Nathan Road from my days before blogging (all which were fantastic but none of which I remember the name).

Get your Bearings: Take the Peak Tram!

You can’t come to Hong Kong and not visit Victoria Peak, the iconic mountain overlooking Hong Kong Island below and with uninterrupted views of Kowloon Harbour. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for mountain mansions as you journey up the peak, where house prices fetch the multi-millions (some of the most expensive real estate in the entire world!)

Quirky Eats in Hong Kong | World of Wanderlust Hong Kong Guide | World of Wanderlust Quirky Eats in Hong Kong | World of Wanderlust

Grab Some Lunch at Cat Street

Bang in the expat-heavy part of town is Cat Street, which has nonetheless retained its authenticity offering local handicrafts, souvenirs, and plenty of great food to sink in to. The food is not quite as local as the neighbourhood has maintained itself, largely due to the expat population and a logical sense to offer more Western foods in the area (but thankfully most of these are Asian-Western fusions and usually really clever and original in their approach).

Catch the Star Ferry to Kowloon

No matter how many times I have visited Hong Kong and will continue to visit in to the future, I could never tire of the views and serenity when cruising from the island to Kowloon for a very reasonable price of less than $1 return.

Walk along the Kowloon Harbour

The Avenue of Stars is as tacky and kitsch as it sounds, but it does still offer one of the best views of the city skyline! I would recommend arriving in time for sunset and watching the city evolve from day to night. Bring along a picnic if you wish and watch the light show unfold at 8:00pm every evening.

Shopping in Hong Kong | World of Wanderlust

Night Markets in Mong Kok

After the peace and serenity of the harbour, switch things up a gear and make your way by MTR to Mong Kok, home to Hong Kong’s famous night markets. Over the years I have admittedly fallen out of love with the products (mostly cheap copies of brand items, phone cases and souvenir t-shirts, but the experience itself is still as fun as ever.

The most famous night markets are Temple Street Night Market and Ladies Market, but during the day check out Fa Yuen Street, the Fish Market and the Flower Market for something a little different.

Day 2: Visit an Outlying Island

Experiencing Hong Kong is as much about escaping it as it is visiting the city itself, if only for a day or an afternoon! Much of the beauty of Hong Kong lies outside of the city centre, with oodles of hikes, beaches and natural beauty to discover. If this is your first trip to Hong Kong you should make Lantau Island your first stop, as it is here where you will see the famous Bronze Buddha up close and experience more of Hong Kong’s ancient cultures and traditions.

If you have already visited Lantau, the options are endless! Lamma Island is another great half day trip for a more relaxed escape from the city and beautiful beaches that will make you forget the hustle and bustle in no time at all.

Dinner at Ho Lee Fook

On this most recent trip I found a new favourite dinner place in Central, thanks to my friend Morgan who has been living in Hong Kong the past year and has discovered the best that the city has to offer right now (it is always changing so so quickly).

This was hands down one of my favourite dining experiences in Hong Kong, and believe me when I say there are a lot to compare to! The food was exceptional – lots of Asian flavours, a quirky cocktail menu and low-key environment in a dimly lit basement.

The options to keep one entertained in Hong Kong are quite literally limitless and impossible to list in full detail. Here are some of my other favourite things to do that might take your fancy, depending on what you want from your time in Hong Kong!

Disneyland – Great for the young ones (or young at heart!) Very easy to reach by train.

Ocean Park – Hong Kong’s famous water theme park (with temperamental ride opening days – beware!)

Stanley Market – A really nice day trip out of town but the market itself is pretty kitsch, albeit slightly less so than the Mong Kok offerings.

Causeway Bay – A really nice neighbourhood to explore with great small cafes and cheaper accommodation offerings.

Macau – One of my favourite day trips just a 45 minute ferry away. Regarded as the “Las Vegas of the East” (but a much cleaner version).

Central – One of my favourite neighbourhoods to wander with so many cool up-and-coming cafes and quirky eateries.

I visited Hong Kong as a stopover on my way from Europe back to Australia with Finnair. The flight time from Helsinki to Hong Kong is around 10 hours, followed by the 8 hour journey back to Melbourne. If you’re looking to switch your body clock back before returning home, Hong Kong is just two hours behind Australia, making for the perfect stopover city between Oz and Europe.

Paris Photo Diary

Each year I make what has unintentionally become an annual pilgrimage to Paris. As if I need an annual ‘hit’ of the city that inspires me most, I conjure up any and every excuse to visit and spend months planning all the new eateries I will visit (which more often than not are patisseries). Below you will find snapshots of my week in Paris this month, where I pushed the boundaries of sweet tooth, burned my way through a pair of shoes from so much walking, and finally had the chance to visit the Gardens of Versailles, which were closed on my last visit in the unseasonal month of January. So, here we go! As per usual, you’ll find all my camera/lens details at the bottom of the post and commentary throughout should you wish to visit the same places. Enjoy! Old vs. New. It is no secret I visit Angelina on every trip to Paris, but on this trip I was excited to find new finds, especially if they were less talked about or written about in magazines. Au Petit Versailles was one such fab little find in Le Marais. The quiches made for a perfectly cheap breakfast each morning! Spring […]

The post Paris Photo Diary appeared first on WORLD OF WANDERLUST.

Checking In to a Dutch Chateau! My stay at St Gerlach Chateau

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When my Dutch book tour concluded (shout out to all who came to the signings!) I made my way to the countryside for a little R&R, checking myself in to the gorgeous St Gerlach Hotel and Chateau. The following three days would be spent walking the gardens, reading my book (currently Paris for One) and checking in to check out for a few days. If you’re looking for a little luxury and to escape city life, here’s a little insight in to my countryside escape!

St Gerlach Chateau | World of Wanderlust

Checking In: St Gerlach Chateau

St Gerlach is located just 20 minutes drive from Maastricht, deep in the South of the Netherlands and near to the border to Belgium (as well as France and Germany). Although not too far from the city, the hotel feels a world away from reality: focusing on luxurious spa retreats, gastronomic restaurants and beautiful gardens to explore. The good news for me was that you could do as much or as little as you like during your stay. As tempting as it was to rent a bicycle or take a vespa for a spin (sadly I lost my licence recently so couldn’t do so), I decided just to kick back, enjoy the countryside and eat my way through the hotel’s offerings.

St Gerlach Chateau | World of Wanderlust St Gerlach Chateau | World of Wanderlust

Around the Hotel

As the hotel promotes a city escape, it was little wonder they had an incredible indoor pool with a full spa menu to enjoy. There are gardens surrounding the hotel and chateau (which houses the hotel’s restaurant and bistro), so I made it my mission to explore these at great length and enjoy switching off after a week of city living. As I live on a farm back at home in Tasmania, I have a constant desire to switch off and enjoy the outdoors – something I had missed since boarding the plane over a week ago!

St Gerlach Chateau | World of Wanderlust

The Room

The rooms are simple and elegant, decorated in true countryside style. My room was located above reception on level two, giving me a nice view of the winter garden and allowing me the convenience to walk down to breakfast in my sweater before taking a walk around the grounds each morning.

City Guide to Maastricht | World of Wanderlust St Gerlach Chateau | World of Wanderlust St Gerlach Chateau | World of Wanderlust

Gastronomic Eats & Drinks

The food was one of the highlights of my time at St Gerlach and believe me when I say the chefs here are world class! Both nights I enjoyed a casual dinner in the bistro, which was much more my style over the fancy fine dining option. The food was exceptional both nights, reasonably priced and with great service.

Because of the hotel’s location in the countryside, there aren’t any other dining options nearby. Thus if you would prefer more options it would be wise to rent a car and make the trip in to Maastricht, located just 20 minutes away. The hotel also offers a free shuttle service to and from the city between the hours of 10:00am and 18:00pm.

City Guide to Maastricht | World of Wanderlust

Nearby: Maastricht and three country borders

If you decide to stay at St Gerlach I would highly recommend taking the time to explore nearby Maastricht. As I arrived by train from Utrecht, I left my luggage in the station lockers whilst spending my first day here exploring the city (besides, check-in time is 3pm, so it made sense!) You can also rent bicycles and vespas directly from the hotel, giving you a great excuse to explore the villages nearby or venture over the border into Belgium, France or Germany.

A very large thank you to St Gerlach for welcoming me on this two night retreat! It was a lovely little end to my book tour in the Netherlands. All photos and opinions are my own!

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

Checking In: Hotel Des Indes

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It doesn’t get much fancier than Hotel des Indes in Den Haag (that’s the Hague for all my English speakers out there). For as long as I can remember I have dreamed about visiting The Hague, so when the opportunity arose to promote my book in the Netherlands (I still cannot believe I have a published book in Dutch language), I jumped at the opportunity for a book signing in The Hague. With such a whirlwind trip, I checked in to the centrally located Des Indes, a part of the Leading Hotels Collection and truly a once-in-a-lifetime kinda hotel stay!

The Hague Netherlands | World of Wanderlust

Checking In: Hotel Des Indes

The hotel is located just a few minutes by taxi from the central train station, smack bang in the centre of town. I was able to walk to all of the cities’ major attractions without too much hassle of getting lost, using the hotel as a central point to explore from.

The hotel is a very traditional form of luxury with plenty of gold, mahogony, rich velvet furnishings and all the palatial interior decor one would imagine to be in a royal residence! It was quite fun playing along in the hotel’s lounge area, sipping on a coffee in the morning or watching the ladies who lunch enjoy their afternoon tea later in the day.

The Hague by World of Wanderlust

The Room

My room was located on the third floor and provided enough room to have a slumber party (shame I didn’t know anyone in town!) However as it was so large and dark in a masculine kind of way, I didn’t take any room photos as I was more interested in the view. The bed was however incredibly plush and comfortable, as has become a staple with Starwood hotels (they might be even better than my own bed at home – which is hard to beat!)

The Hague Netherlands | World of Wanderlust The Hague Netherlands | World of Wanderlust

Around the Hague

Throughout my short stay in The Hague I found plenty of attractions, eateries and namely patisseries to keep myself entertained! The hotel’s location near Frederikstraat was one of the highlights, as it is here you will find many great restaurants and cafes that are frequented by locals.

From here you can easily walk to all the attractions The Hague has to offer, as well as being a convenient 10-minute walk from the city centre.

The Hague Netherlands | World of Wanderlust The Hague Netherlands | World of Wanderlust

Sweet treats and eats Nearby

If you’ve got a sweet tooth like me, be sure to take a walk to Patisserie Jarreau, which is where you will find the best macarons in the city. This city is lucky to have a large amount of patisseries headed up by French pastry chefs, so you will be delighted to find macarons to the quality of what can be found in Paris!

For lunches and dinners I would highly recommend making your way to Frederikstraat, an eats street full of endless options (cafes, restaurants, gastro pubs and even a vegan eatery!)

A huge thanks to Starwood Hotels for welcoming me to stay at Hotel Des Indes, y’all know how long this has been on my hotels bucket list! All opinions and too many photos are my own. Thank you!

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!