“Hong Kong – you and I have a loving relationship for sure, because you have given me all kinds of memories that I will never forget”.
Hong Kong is one of those places that you really can’t ignore when it comes on to the topic of Asia; it really has everything to offer and more. Great culture, sights, food, entertainment and just about everything else. I have visited Hong Kong numerous times and even had the chance to work out there for three months in 2013, which was arguably, one of the best experiences of my life. I met amazing people, took on the challenge of helping a business launch and created some awesome moments that will last me a lifetime. With all of that, I wanted to create this guide as an information piece as well as an entry post to remember the insanely great times I had out there. Here’s to Hong Kong (actually cheering my mug of tea to thin air).
Where to stay
Hong Kong is generally divided in to three sides – Hong Kong Island,Kowloon and New Territories. I have only visited Hong Kong Island and Kowloon sides and they both have their own unique characters and when visiting Hong Kong, I love jumping from side to side. In terms of where to stay, I would recommend Holiday Inn Golden Mile in Tsim Sha Tsui (Kowloon) or Hotel Indigo in Wan Chai (Hong Kong Island). I have done separate reviews on both the hotels and for the convenience alone, these hotels are the best. Close to shops, restaurants and the transport system, these hotels offer everything you need for the perfect stay.
Places to visit
The Big Buddha – visiting Lantau Island for the Big Buddha is definitely a must in Hong Kong. The wait to get over to the island is a little long though, so definitely wear your most comfiest clothes and shoes before embarking on the journey. But once up there, explore all the corners, check out the temples, walk up the long steps to the Buddha and try out the famous Tofu Pudding.
Disneyland – If you’re a Disney fan or travelling with children, then Disneyland is your ultimate theme park for a fun-filled day. Expect a lot of smiley characters, fun rides and Mickey Mouse themed foods. The parade is also something not to be missed and both adults and kids will definitely love it enough for a good old sing-a-long to Disney theme songs. Tickets are around $550 per person (approx. £54)
Ocean Park – For something a bit more suited for adults, Ocean Park is your best bet. The theme park itself is massive and there’s just so much to do there for both adults and children. Be it, mingling with the animals (the Pandas are my absolute fave) to testing your braveness on the rides, Ocean Park has everything to offer for a full day out. Tickets cost around $438 per person (approx. £43)
The Peak – To view Hong Kong in its full glory, a visit to The Peak is a definite must. The best time to head up there is about 2:30-3pm to catch the day time view before it slowly transforms in to the most stunning night time skyline I have ever seen. There are also a range of shops and restaurants up there, so you can enjoy the view and also a nice little dinner. To get to The Peak, you will need to take the Peak Tram from Admiralty station.
Ladies Market - Grab a bargain and test your skills at haggling by visiting the famous Ladies Market. The long stretch of stalls will have everything you need from replica designer handbags to phone cases to cuddly toys, literally a shopaholics dream. Once you have mastered the bartering skills, they will stick with you and it will only get better. Ladies Market can be found in Mongkok and is easily accessible from the station. Apart from the market, there are also a lot of cool and funky shops in the area, one street in particular is Trainer’s Street, a long street dedicated completely to trainers/sneakers and you can generally find many designs that are not available anywhere else.
Harbour City – Based in Tsim Sha Tsui, Harbour City is one of the main shopping centres in Hong Kong. Apart from housing many famous designer brands, the view of the harbour is pretty splendid and can be seen from the shopping centre itself.
Foods to try
Clay-pot Rice – Rice cooked with an array of meats and veg in one pot may not sound so appetising, but boy, it tastes so good. Clay-pot rice are generally found in local food shops in all areas of Hong Kong and it can be seen directly from the windows as you walk past. You can pick your meat, vegetables and condiments and it will then be cooked upon a small stove. Once done, it is served straight from the pot and it is honestly, so, so tasty.
Hot Pot – This dish is exactly what you call it, a big hot pot – filled with soup. And what you need to do is pick all your selected meats, seafood, vegetables, noodles, the lot and cook it in the soup. You can get all different types of soups ranging from mild to super spicy and just have fun with it! This type of meal is perfect for a group of friends as it super light and you can actually just sit there for hours cooking.
Street Foods – Hong Kong is famous for their street foods, there is no doubt about that. And when I say street, it doesn’t always mean you can only get them on the street, they also sell them inside shopping malls too. The most popular ones include curry fish balls, egglettes and crispy squid. They are always super cheap too, so you can try all of them without breaking the bank.
Won Ton Noodles – The ultimate favourite, won ton soup noodles, thinking of this dish actually makes me dribble. You cannot visit Hong Kong without trying this, a savoury soup with pork dumplings, thin noodles and a sprinkle of spring onion, perfect!
Congee and Dough Sticks – Technically mushy rice, I know, doesn’t sound delicious right? But I can assure you it’s so yummy and make the perfect breakfast or light lunch. You can have various toppings with this, pretty much everything goes actually. My personal favourite is the pork with thousand year egg (don’t knock it before you try it), paired with the deep fried dough sticks, this dish is honestly SO good.
Local Cafes – More than likely, at every corner, you will find a local cafes serving up classic Hong Kong food all day, every day. My favourite time to visit these cafes are either early morning for a classic pineapple bun and milk tea or afternoon tea time (around 2pm until 5pm) for French toast with condensed milk. When visiting Hong Kong, it is definitely a must to visit these cafes at least once or twice to fully experience the culture.