If you are travelling to North East Asia
, the bright, bustling harbour side city of Hong Kong
is a must-see. From exquisite seafood cuisines to incredible markets, gorgeous beaches and stunning, high rise views, there is something for travellers of all ages in this vibrant city.
Lan Kwai Fong & SoHo
If casual dining, a fancy cocktail or a nightlife extravaganza are on your Hong Kong agenda, the main island is an exciting “Western” influenced alternative to the crazy culture of Kowloon. Set on the slopes of the main island, Lan Kwai Fong and SoHo feature a range of pubs, bars, cafes, clubs and restaurants, where you can get everything from a bowl of noodles or some $20 crab, to an Aussie beer and a well-cooked steak. You’ll also find a wealth of boutique shops and markets here. Although the area is heavily westernised (often with English bartenders and rugby playing on the TV screens), travellers can still find pockets of more traditional Hong Kong culture scattered around.
Victoria Peak is a must-visit attraction and its Sky Terrace towers 552 metres above the city, providing amazing views of the Island itself and its surrounding islands. At night, the city glows with spectacular neons and light shows and it is a fantastic highlight to add to your Hong Kong holiday. While you can walk up, the Peak Tram is probably the best way to get to the Peak, and at the top, you’ll find an array of restaurants, cafes and shops to visit.
If you are visiting from the main island, simply jump onto the giant escalator (don’t forget to pay with your Octopus card halfway up) and then hop onto the Peak Tram. The tram takes you almost 400 metres above sea level to the Victoria Peak Tower, where you can gaze at Hong Kong in all its unforgettable glory.
No Hong Kong holiday-maker can avoid a bit of shopping, and the Times Square shopping centre at Causeway Bay is a must-visit. With over 230 stores, endless streams of tourists and locals flock to Causeway Bay to indulge in shopping and take in the magical exhibitions often on display. Everything from luxury items, clothes and electronics can be found here, and there are also plenty of bistros and restaurants to dine at. For easy access, simply catch the MTR to Causeway Bay station.
Winding its way from Central to Sheung Wan, Hollywood Road offers a great chance to catch a glimpse of Hong Kong’s traditional culture and history. Built in 1844, Hollywood Road is not about movies or celebrities, but is instead lined with boutiques and antique shops selling Chinese trinkets and souvenirs. Art galleries have also begun to pop up along Hollywood Road in the past few years and each offers visitors a chance to view and buy traditional and contemporary artwork. The Man Mo Temple, the Central Police station (which was built in 1864 as the first ever police building in Hong Kong) and the Hollywood Road Park are all key attractions along this central strip.
Famed for its prestigious waterside location and its markets, the fishing town of Stanley is located on the south side of Hong Kong Island. The open air Stanley Markets are always popular and it’s a great place to pick up some souvenirs and fun items to take home. A walk down the main street is a great way to find several waterside bars and restaurants and visitors will find both traditional seafood and Chinese food, as well as more westernised menus. A visit to Tin Hau Temple, one of the oldest in Hong Kong, should also be on your itinerary.
Across Hong Kong Harbour, just a short ride on the Star Ferry, is the area of Kowloon. Your Hong Kong holiday is sure to be packed with adventure when visiting Kowloon or ‘Nine Dragons.’ The small peninsula glows with neon lights, sparkles with new and modern developments and impresses with breath-taking cultural sights.
While the region seems quite modern at first, many of the districts in Kowloon also have an authentic vibe thanks to the open-air markets, historic buildings and temples, and the plethora of museums and galleries available.
The Kowloon City District holds much historical meaning and significance for Hong Kong. The Kowloon Walled City Park is a popular attraction for those wanting a historical experience on their Hong Kong holidays. In the park, you will find plenty of historical artefacts and remnants of ancient structures from the city that once served as a military outpost during the time of British rule and as an urban settlement following the Second World War.
The huge rock in the “Sung Wong Toi Garden” is worth a visit, too, as it stands as proof that the last emperor of the Sung Dynasty stayed there while attempting to escape from the Mongolian army.
Apart from its rich history, the Kowloon City district is also famous for amazing restaurants. There is plenty of local-style cuisine to be had in addition to the Thai restaurants that the area is known for. For this reason, Kowloon City is sometimes called “the Food City”.
Nathan Road is the place to shop in Kowloon! The infamous strip connecting Tsim Sha Tsui to Mong Kok will bring dozens of shopping centres and boutique stores to your fingertips, with everything from clothes and shoes to designer jewellery and the latest technological gadgets.
To get an authentic Hong Kong shopping experience there are plenty of fantastic markets to check out, such as the Tung Choi Street market and the Temple Street market in Jordan. Here, you can do some bargain hunting. The markets offer almost everything from clothes, bags, luggage, gadgets and hardware to fridge magnets, watches, lanterns and food stalls. The experience is a must-do, even if just for the bargaining fun or for the shoulder-to-shoulder excitement of immersing yourself in Hong Kong’s culture.
If you’re looking for luxury goods, you’ll find plenty at one of the many shopping malls, such as Langham Place, Harbour City, Miramar Shopping Centre and the New World Centre.
Other sites that you can’t miss on your trip include:
The Big Buddha
On Lantau Island, Hong Kong visitors will come face to face with the giant, Tian Tan Buddha. Over 34 metres high, this bronze wonder took 12 years to build and was only unveiled in 1993. You can either head up to the mountains by bus or, for a more scenic journey, take the cable car. Don’t forget to explore the Po Lin Monastery next door, which was opened by monks in 1906, the nearby villages of the Ngong Ping Plateau, the Wisdom Path of the Heart Sutra and the beautiful beaches along Lantau island’s coast.
Disneyland is also located on Lantau Island, so the kids (and the big kids) in your life will be kept happy!
If you’re powerless against the draw of incredible seafood, head to Lamma Island! Accessible by a half hour ferry ride, exquisite dining, golden beaches and beautiful forests are all common here and the island is world famous for its traditional, fisherman’s culture and its first class seafood. Sok Kwu Wan and Yung Shue Wan are the most popular villages here and offer a range of excellent dining experiences for seafood lovers.
Want to try something a little different during your stay in Hong Kong? Add the following into your itinerary and you won’t be disappointed…
Eat Snake Soup
A gourmet dish, Snake Soup is a favourite delicacy and a Hong Kong holiday essential. Locals claim that snake soup can increase circulation and help with winter aches and pains, and many say it tastes just like chicken! One of the most famous places to try Snake Soup is Se Wong Yee, on Causeway Bay. You will also find several snake restaurants in Kowloon.
Tip! For the best experience, try and find a venue where the meat is served fresh, rather than frozen.
Visit Sai Kung
If seafood is your thing, the seafood markets and restaurants at Sai Kung are an unforgettable Hong Kong holiday experience. Known as Seafood Street, the waterfront along the southern end of the promenade is home to a feast of fresh seafood restaurants, many with large live viewing tanks. Local fishermen also sell their catch directly off their boats. Getting there on public transport is easy, with regular buses travelling from Choi Hung and Diamond Hill MTR stations.
For those who enjoy the outdoors, a truly unique Hong Kong holiday adventure is available by camping on one of Hong Kong’s exquisite beaches. Ooh La La at Pui O Beach (on Lantau Island) provides everything you need for a night under the stars, including a tent, bed rolls, water and utensils, as well as showers and a restaurant on site. They can also organise bicycle and kayak hire for anyone wanting to explore the area further. Similar camping experiences can also be discovered at Ham Tin Beach near Sai Kung East.
Relax on the Beach
Few travellers think of Hong Kong as a tropical beach destination, yet the islands of Hong Kong are bursting with 40 public beaches and hundreds of stunning parkland beaches to explore. The public beaches all have facilities such as shark nets, lifeguards, change rooms and BBQs, whereas the parkland beaches are more remote and empty.
Tip! For a great local public beach try Repulse Bay Beach, this is one of Hong Kong’s most prestigious residential and property areas. For a more secluded option, head to Lo Shing Beach or Silvermine Bay Beach.
If Hong Kong sounds like somewhere you would like to visit, contact a Travellers Choice agent today.