If you only have 1 day to spend in Hong Kong, I feel for you. Seeing the top sights of Hong Kong in 1 day requires an early start, discipline, and a bit of stamina. Start: Star Ferry or MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui.

1. Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade

Start the day with an early morning stroll along the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, from which you have a great view of the harbor with its boat traffic and Hong Kong Island. At its eastern end is the Avenue of Stars, with handprints and statues of celebrities like Jackie Chan. If it's Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, you could join a free 1-hour lesson in tai chi, conducted at 8am in the Hong Kong Museum of Art's Sculpture Court near the promenade.


2. Take a Break -- Serenade Chinese Restaurant 

Located in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, next to the Star Ferry, this is my top choice for dim sum with a view of Victoria Harbour. It opens daily at 9am. On Salisbury Road (tel. 852/2722 0932).

3. Hong Kong Museum of Art 

Beside the Cultural Centre is this impressive museum housing Hong Kong's best collection of Chinese antiquities and fine art, including bronzes, paintings, and ceramics, shown on a rotating basis. Its relatively small size makes it easy to see in an hour or less; I also like the Victoria Harbour views from its windows. It's closed Thursday, and open the rest of the week from 10am to 6pm (Sat to 8pm).


4. Chinese Arts & Crafts 

For one-stop shopping, this two-story Chinese emporium in the Star House, across from the Star Ferry, is Hong Kong's best upscale chain for high-quality jade, jewelry, Chinese clothing, embroidered tablecloths, antiques, rosewood furniture, and more.

5. Star Ferry

No visit to Hong Kong would be complete without at least one trip across Victoria Harbour aboard one of the famous Star Ferries, which have been plying the waters between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon since 1898. The 5-minute trip (have your camera ready!) will deposit you at the Central Ferry Piers, where other ferries depart for the outlying islands.


Take the open-top shuttle bus no. 15C from the Star Ferry to the Peak Tram Station.

6. Victoria Peak

Board the Peak Tram, which began operations in 1888, for its 8-minute climb up Victoria Peak, where you'll be rewarded with fantastic views from Hong Kong Island's tallest hill if the weather is clear. Peak Tower has an observation platform with 360-degree panoramic views. If you have the time and energy, walk the 1-hour stroll around the Peak.

7. Take a Break -- The Peak Lookout 

Set in a former tram station across from Peak Tower, this restaurant is a delightful setting for American, Chinese, Indian, Japanese, and Southeast Asian fare, especially if the weather is nice and you can sit on its outdoor terrace surrounded by lush greenery. Other good choices abound in Peak Tower and Peak Galleria across the street. Located at 121 Peak Rd. tel. 852/2849 1000).


Take the Peak Tram back to Central and walk 10 minutes to the Central MTR station, where you should board the subway for Tsim Sha Tsui Station.

8. Nathan Road

Nicknamed the "Golden Mile of Shopping" for its endless string of shops selling electronics, jewelry, clothing, and a million other goods, this is Kowloon's most famous street.

9. Take a Break --  The Peninsula 

Hong Kong's most famous spot for afternoon tea -- and people-watching -- is the ornate lobby of the venerable Peninsula, built in 1928. A string quartet serenades as you feast on scones, finger sandwiches, pastries, and fine teas, served daily from 2 to 6pm. Located on the corner of Nathan and Salisbury roads. tel. 852/2315 3146.


10. Hong Kong Museum of History 

For a quick course in Hong Kong's history, from its days as a small fishing village through its years as a British colony, this museum is a must-see. Open Wednesday to Monday 10am to 6pm (until 7pm Sun and holidays).

11. Temple Street Night Market 

Hong Kong's most famous night market exudes a festive atmosphere, with its outdoor stalls selling everything from Chinese souvenirs to clothing and accessories, plus its fortunetellers and street opera singers. The market opens daily at 4pm, but the real action doesn't get underway until 7pm.


12. Take a Break -- Knutsford Terrace

This pedestrian alley, north of Kimberley Road, is lined with open-fronted bars and restaurants, including Tutto Bene, offering Italian fare (tel. 852/2316 2116), and All Night Long, a bar with live music (tel. 852/2367 9489).


Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.