Huste and bustle is the best way to describe this densely packed wonderful city. We are always excited to visit Hong Kong and couldn’t wait to catch up with old friends, try out new culinary delights and take in the sights!
Hong Kong has an intriguing history with strong influences from its days under British rule . A British colony for close to 150 years before being repatriated to China, Hong Kong is a perfect example of ‘east meets west’.
More than seven million people pack the harbour city, from the populous peninsula of Kowloon to the rugged New Territories perched above. Markets and malls aplenty mean you’ll have no trouble laying down your hard earned dollars, but there are temples and shrines galore too if you’re more in the mood for cultural riches.
WHERE TO STAY
From historic quarters and commanding waterfront positions to rooms tucked away in the Outlying Islands, Hong Kong accommodation spans more than 200+ hotels, guesthouses and hostels. Hong Kong does luxury particularly well and ‘budget’ here does not translate in the same way as in some other Asian countries.
This trip we decided to stay on the island side of Hong Kong at the beautiful Island Shangri-la.
Being short on time, the Island Shangri-la was perfect due to it’s central location. The hotel is conveniently located above Pacific Place Shopping Centre in Admiralty and the MTR train system which is seriously one of the most convenient train systems we’ve ever encountered! Make sure you buy an Octopus Travel Card from the station help desk to make travelling (and buying things) in Hong Kong all that much more efficient and convenient!
We can’t recommend this hotel highly enough. A lot of care and attention has gone into every little detail from the service to the luxurious decor.
The hotel really is a luxurious masterpiece in itself. There is an absolutely stunning 16 storey silk painting of a beautiful chinese mountain landscape (deemed the largest in the world) that hangs from the top floor and can be seen out the glass elevators. As you rise up the elevator you feel as if you are ascending the mountains.
Accessing the Horizon Club level is also a phenomenal experience. The floor is beautifully decorated in marble and mahogany with an old world luxurious charm to it. Make sure the experience the free flow cocktails, champagne and canapés as you gaze out over the Hong Kong cityscape in the evenings. One benefit which we haven’t seen much at any other hotel is the offering of a small portable wifi device free of charge to use outside the hotel! This was so convenient and a nice added touch to keeping us globally connected citizens connected and also made accessing Google Maps and what not a whole lot easier!
There are numerous delicious restaurants to try at the hotel including the Restaurant Lobster Bar and Grill and it was definitely a hard task to toss up between just staying at the hotel to rest and relax and exploring the rest of Hong Kong’s culinary delights.
After a long day exploring the streets of Hong Kong the Island Shangri-La also has an amazing pool, 24 hour spa and health facility and gym that will help you relax and recharge before heading out again!
Hong Kong’s shopping and restaurant scenes are world renowned, but there’s more to do in this eclectic city than simply get your fill of shopping malls and top quality restaurants. If you only have time to tick off one top attraction in Hong Kong, it should be “the Peak”.
Catch the Peak Tram (running since 1888) up to the highest point on Hong Kong Island to admire the stunning view across the harbour, all the way out to Kowloon and the New Territories. It’s a magical sight seeing the city sprawl in the day and light up pretty at night.
For colour, bustle and bargain, go to the Ladies’ Market on Tung Choi Street to peruse the many market stalls.
Hong Kong Disneyland is also a great adventure waiting to happen on Lantau Island. While here, you can enjoy an experience at the other end of the spectrum, by visiting the Po Lin Monastery and ‘big Buddha’.
Wearing sneakers from Seed Heritage (Similar from Superga)
Hong Kong’s Flower Market is a bustling open air market filled with exotic blooms and scents that’s worth immersing yourself in. Located in Mong Kok just off of the Prince Edward Road it is an easy walk from the MTR and bus stops.
The Hong Kong Goldfish Market is a street lined with shops housing a huge selection of fish, from bobble headed goldfish to colourful tropical species. It is quite a site to behold and an interesting site seeing vendors pump up fish filled plastic bags with oxygen and hanging them on display to be purchased.
Yuen Po Street Bird Garden is a traditional Chinese garden next to the flower market. The park has stalls selling myriads of beautiful exotic birds. The garden is a pleasant place to witness an age-old Chinese hobby in action.
Enjoy spectacular views from…
The Peak Tram on Victoria Peak
Sweeping Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade
ICC Tower’s Sky100 observation deck
Hit the beach at…
Tai Long Wan – for spectacular scenery
South Bay Beach – a secluded sanctuary
Big Wave Bay – for a spot of surfing
EAT AND DRINK
You could easily get to know Hong Kong one bite at a time. Hong Kong is the heart of Dim Sum and the best in the world. Head to a traditional tea house or Dim Sum restaurant which will serve up to 2,000 of these snack-sized (mainly steamed but some fried or baked) morsels of goodness in the full range, you’ll surely find something to love.
Seafood fans are rewarded with fresh catches, while carnivores should try seasoned meats spit-roasted at Chinese barbecue restaurants. Hong Kong restaurants also excel at fusion food – east-meets-west means the flavours here collide as well. Look out for Hong Kong-style tea houses too, known for serving up Chinese and localised Western dishes in mere minutes.
Explore the culinary delights of…
Central, for ultimate dim sum
Kowloon’s Temple Street cheap eats
Causeway Bay, for upmarket dining
Where we dined…
Restaurant Lobster Bar and Grill in Island Shangri-La offers the most amazing seafood platter. The food is fresh and delicious and the restaurant serves up the best jamon in the world straight from Spain!
Mott32 is a modern cantonese restaurant where the specialty is the iberico barbecued pork and the signature applewood smoked peking duck which needs to be ordered in advance. The skin of the peking duck was amazingly crispy skin and the restaurants decor and ambience makes this place one of Hong Kong’s hottest restaurants.
Definitely one of our favourite places to have a drink and a meal is Ronin. Try the crab ‘flower’ here, a delicious combination of fresh uni and crab meet. The most amazing dish!
Yum Cha Central has some delicious and cute looking snacks for dim sum! The truffle fried rice dish is to die for!
Tucked away in Ezra’s Lane near the trendy SoHo district of Hong Kong J Boroski is a Hong Kong institution serving up delicious cocktails to those savvy enough to find it’s location. With no menus the bar tenders knock up inventive creations based on your personal palate.
Having been at the crossroads of trade for centuries, Hong Kong shopping is a treat. Antiques hunters will enjoy Cat Street and Hollywood Road on Hong Kong Island, for silk garments, porcelain, seals and handicrafts, check Chinese department stores such as China Arts and Crafts.
Electronics and communications technology trends can be seen and purchased around Causeway Bay, Tsim Sha and Mong Kok. You’ll find fashion and beauty products everywhere from towering malls to market stalls. Locals are in the know about what to find and where, so don’t hesitate to ask.
Hand over your HK dollar at…
Mong Kok – the neon neighbourhood
Causeway Bay – for serious shoppers
Cat Street – antiques markets ahoy!
HONG KONG LIKE A LOCAL
There’s more to this vibrant city than meets the eye! Did you know that Hong Kong hosts one of the most popular stops on the International Rugby Sevens tour? Or that it’s home to some of the best beaches in Asia?
Many locals like to get out of town on the weekend. Silver Mine Bay Beach on Lantau Island is an urban escapee haunt; on the same island, hike two hours to Lantau Peak pre-dawn so you catch the sunrise at the top; take a Northeast New Territories Geopark tour to see the remote, curious landforms.
If you don’t have time to get out of the bustle but still need some ‘green time’, Hong Kong Island’s Victoria Park is a popular spot for locals – there are even tai chi sessions in the mornings.
Take a hike on…
The Dragon’s Back, found south in Shek O
Peak – HK’s second highest summit
Fanling’s Lung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail