Travel Guide to Hong Kong
As the last piece to my travel guide for China, I decided to delve into the big city of Hong Kong.
The vibe I get from this part of China is mostly modernized, its the America of China, with lots of technology and plenty of shopping but you can also just feel the different cultural and political views in the air. You're thrown into a culture shock if you've been in the more rural areas of China, because it is such a contrasting city but thats kind of what makes this place so special.
My time in Hong Kong was kind of a whirlwind, I visited non profits that helped women and immigrants gain jobs mainly working as nannies, textile workers or in some sort of production line. It was inspiring to hear some of the stories of what its like for many of these workers who tend to move to this city because its the closest city to make money in. Many women actually move to Hong Kong alone, away from their families, so they can send home a check to feed their children. Much like America wouldn't you say?
What To See
1. Victoria Peak - A beautiful area that is definitely a must-see where you'll be able to get the full view of the city, harbor and plenty of surrounding nature from the gardens. Note: the tram to the top is known to have a long line, I recommend you go before 10 am, which is when it starts to get crowded.
*There are several lookout points at the top but the one that is probably the best to see is on Sky Terrace 428, at the tallest point on the peak. Entry fee will roughly be around $6-7.
2. Old Town Central Art Walk - Such a funky, artistic sight to see, with lots of fun art on the walls but also little shops to see and take photos of. Plus you'll find some of the best food in this area as well. I would but this at the top of your list if you're planning a trip.
3.Tai O Fishing Village - A quaint village over the water, on stilts. It's pretty insane when you think about it. You'll find plenty of food and local shops here, and if you're lucky you might be able to see a pink dolphin. A rare sighting, but it does happen. (Fun option to do here would be to kayak or canoe through the village!)
4. Temple Street Night Market - There is so much to see at this market, you'll be overwhelmed. But it's a must see, with so much food you'll be in a coma by the end of the night. Local traders come in to open different booths however, so who knows what you might see, it varies from time to time. Note: The market opens at 5 pm.
5. Ngong Ping 360 - Cable car ride to get the full view over the giant Buddha in the small village located in Lantau Island. A beautiful location surrounded with greenery, and lots of relaxing areas nearby.
6. Kowloon Peak - While its nicknames Suicide Cliff, I think if you're looking for an adventure this is a great hike to try! For the most part the trail is fairly easy to follow, just stick to the signs and I've left a little guide to it linked here that can help you along the way!
7. Zoological and Botanical Gardens - If you're looking to get away from the city and see something a little more nature based, this is a beautiful option for you, with some animals to check out as well!
Where To Shop
1. Fa Yuen Street Market and Ladies Market (Tung Choi Street)- So. Many. Brands. Or I guess I should say they're"brands" but man, they come pretty close. At the ladies market, or black market you'll find anything you could possibly ever want or need here, honestly prepare in advance and don't fill your suitcase for the visit, because you will leave with some incredible sneakers, a purse that looks straight out of Europe and a coat that looks like it costs about $300 when it only cost you less than $40. Enjoy it. Then head to Fa Yuen for some incredible food, lots of options here, and it's so close by how could you not try it out?
2. Jade Market (West of Nathan Road, on the cross between Kansu and Battery Streets) - Hundreds of vendors, lots of jewelry options (Jade makes a great gift) and lucky charms to buy here. *Pro tip: in order to see if the jade is real, clink it against another piece of jade and if it sounds like plastic beads then it is most likely fake. If it has more of a glass sound to it, it is probably real. Found that out when I was traveling with an expert once, never would've known the difference.
4. Yuen Po Market - animals, plants and flowers, theres loads to see here. It's insane what they have sometimes, this would be kind of an out of the box thing to see, more local for sure.
5.Temple Street Night Market - Another market, another city. Same type of thing. If you're looking for something fun to do at night, try this out. Note: be wary of pickpockets especially at night, I wouldn't recommend going alone, this is definitely a better experience with friends anyways.
Where To Day Trip
1. Sai Kung Town - Another fishing village to check out, but this is an especially great option for when its warmer out, as the water color is gorgeous and theres plenty of beach areas here to try out. This town might be just what you need if you want to get out of the city and into a more low key, relaxing place.
2. Cheung Chau - Take a ferry on over to this beautiful little island and explore the market area, the Pay Tai Temple, which once inside you can smell the incense and instantly feel relaxed. There is a small trail called the "Mini Great Wall" that takes you along the water and gives you a good idea of the island overall.
*If you come in May, the Cheung Chau Bun Festival is a must see. As well as the Dragon Boat festival from May-June.
*Also note there are 2 types of ferries, one is faster at approx. 30-40 mins while the other will take about an hour, adjust your schedule to make time for travel as ferries are often unreliable time-wise.
3. Shenzhen & Macau - I put these together because they are more of that city feel, and will give you the best of Hong Kong. Both have lots to do and see. The best way to get to both (and the cheapest way) is by subway. I've linked some information about traveling to Shenzhen because it can be a bit confusing. There are special steps you'll need to take, but it is ultimately worth it to explore the area and see the sights.
Click here for more information on how to get there and what to do/what you'll need.
*HK Disneyland - Okay, I asterisked this one because its not really my thing to see something American in other countries but its an experience and many of you want to know about it. I'm a Disney fan too so I'll hop on the train for this post to give you the scoop. Located on Lantau Island, this resort will be a great day trip option for you, but of course, costs a bit of HK dollar, not as much as America though thank god. General admission is about 619HKD or $80 USD.
From reviews, and from what some of my friends have said, don't come into this expecting the American sized huge theme park however, it is smaller and a different experience, with a little less of the thrill side of things so be aware of that before you head over. But if you love your Disney and want to ride some rides (be ready for some lines) and eat some Mickey Mouse funnel cake stuff then this is the place for you.
Where To Stay
-Check Inn HK - ($54-70 per night) Great location, you're in the smack dab of everything with this one, plus its noted as a great place to meet other travelers that will go on adventures with you! If I were to choose where to stay, this would probably be the one for me, not just because its cheap but its safe and clean as well.
-Pandora After 80s - ($35-53 per night, depending on dorm style, etc.) Really looking for a cheaper place that you can trust? this might be the way to go. Deals roughly go for about $35 a night!
-Mini Hotel Central - ($100 per night roughly) Such a cute and cozy option! Plus excellent ratings on cleanliness!
Airbnb.com (pricing ranging approx. $25 - 75 per night and some that are more expensive of course)
- Royal View Hotel (be sure to click 'English' in the top right bar) Pricing for this ranges, they have great deals on Trivago for about $80 a night at times so if you're looking for something a little more lux for not too bad a price this might be the way to go.
- Royal Plaza- A beautiful pool, large minimalistic fashioned rooms with a great location on top of it.
- Hotel ICON - Known for having the best location, and best views in the rooms. Some are just stunning with a view of the water. Highly recommend this one if you're looking to spend for a better experience. This one is definitely spendy, so be aware this is one to choose when money isn't an issue.
Where & What To Eat
Dishes to try out:
1. Stinky Tofu - I know, sounds delish right?? Well, I promise its nothing like it smells, its amazing and needs to be experienced for itself.
2. Hong Kong style French toast - Yum. All I'm going to say here is you can't go wrong with this sweet treat, so make it a breakfast outing on your trip.
3. Chicken Feet- for you meat-lovers out there... this is a delicacy of most of China but is renown here in HK.
4. Egg Tart - whether you're having it as a breakfast with tea or a dessert, this is a classic to try out.
5. Egg noodles- a must have here in HK, the trick is to finding the best place for it, that has the perfect amount of fried oil to it and enough seasoning to make your mouth water.
Places to go (TOP rated):
1. Mak's Noodles - Located in central Hong Kong, this is the place to get noodles, dumplings and lots of soup. For a look at their menu click here.
2. Shanghai HK Restaurant - Large portions, cheap prices and lovely service. Tucked away in Jardins Bazaar, a very small family owned place but definitely at the top reviews for a must have.
3. Aberdeen,HK - Largest floating restaurant, so its got that going for it. But its also known to have some of the best authentic dishes.
4. Tai Cheong Bakery - try those egg tarts here, trust me its worth it! But bring some breakfast items back to your hotel or hostel and stock up on some of the yummy treats!
5. Mott 32 - More of a "hip" place to go, but worth it to try some of their steamed buns, another delicacy to try out in China.
Where To Drink
Pricey ones -
1. Foxglove: looks straight out of a movie, old fashioned decor and beautiful lounge areas.
2. Brickhouse - plants galore, great atmosphere
3. WooLooMooLoo - Rooftop bar, with a stunning view
4. Eyebar - A great location in Kowloon (so if you do the hike, head here after for a cocktail)
Cheaper ones -
1. TAP - The Ale project - is one of the best places to grab a beer.
2. The Globe
3. Sevva Rooftop Bar (more reasonably priced rooftop bar)
4. The Wanch -live music, some grungy vibes and lots of cheap drinks.
I hope you've enjoyed my travel series on China, next up will be Africa - Morocco, South Africa and Ghana! Thank you to everyone following along, and as always feedback is accepted and encouraged. xx