Hong Kong, The Bustling Gem in Canton
Currency: Hong Kong Dollar
Language: Cantonese, Chinese, English
Tax Refund: Hong Kong offers Tax Free Shopping
Once owned by the Queen for a century, this is also the reason why Hong Kong currently is so developed and different from the Mainland China. With the daily life and culture so different it is one of the greatest city to visit in Asia, having a East meets West feeling.
From Airport to Downtown
Travellers who were here in the 1990s will definitely be lost slightly here, Hong Kong once has it’s iconic airport in Kowloon, right in the middle of town surrounded by houses which makes it so unique. Due to development and expansion, the airport was moved to the outlying district, located in Lantau Island, known as Chap Lap Kok, this became Hong Kong new getaway. Located roughly half and hour from town, mainly HK Island or Kowloon. The Airport is well connected with roads and also a rail link to town in HK Central.
For my recommendation, I will suggest cab being the most fuss less and easiest way to get to and from the airport, especially when you are travelling in a group, cabs are fast, clean and efficient. With a trip to town costing roughly around 300HKD. The cab sits 4 which is why it’s worth it. If you are only travelling solo or in pairs the airport express might sounds better, prices are 90HKD per way(to kowloon). However the train only takes you to the main station in town, Kowloon or Hong Kong Island, from there you have to transfer to the MTR. Just a slight tip, most MTR exits are stairs, another reason why I recommend a cab.
Hongkong is full of sights, numerous attractions and glamour, there will definitely be something for someone, despite your interest for shopping, sights or simply just to fill your stomach. Below are a few of my recommendation, must do when you are in town
Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront, Avenue of Stars
Perhaps the most well known attractions people have known that actually been in this city, Fragrant Port. Model after that original Hollywood Walk of Fame, and this asian counterpart isn’t lacking in any lustre too! Probably another reason why you should visit this place even more is the setting it is in, either day or night the ambience is amazing! With either the sea view and breezy weather and the sun for some perfect pictures while gazing at the skyline of Hong Kong Island side or either at night where you get the glamourous neon lights, same sea breeze and probably cooler weather and perhaps some street snacks too! ANOTHER PLUS POINT will be the “A Symphony of Lights” a daily light show on the waterfront at 2000. The blessed me have been there both occasion, day and night and trust me, you won’t want to miss this out in your lifetime.
Star Ferry / Clock Tower
Located a stone throw away from the Avenue of Stars and also Victoria harbour lies the Star Ferry Terminal and also the iconic Clock Tower. Just simply walk along the stretch of pathway along the coast and you will naturally see it in no time. Built in the 1915 this tower have been standing for a century, it represent the history of this city and have also sttod to witness it all, the tower is also the only structure left from the iconic Canton – Hong Kong Railway in the past. Located just beside it was the Star Ferry Terminal, the representation ferry route linking up the 2 main island in Hong Kong, just the way they travel in the past, instead of the MTR, try this, cheaper than the MTR and it’s just a short 5 to 10 mins ride, but definitely enjoyable. A much more classy way, a little brought back to the 1990s Hong Kong. If you are here during the day, I will recommend the walk along the Avenue of Stars, then the ferry to central, after that head for shopping or some tea at IFC, lastly end of your night on the highest point in town, Victoria Peak.
Victoria Peak / Madam Tussauds
Known to the locals as “Shan Ding” it literally means The Peak, this is also the highest point in Hong Kong, you may not know it, but actually the terrain in HK are actually pretty hilly, with most of the high grounds being used up for the modern development. However if you dig deep enough many of them still remains in New Territories & Lantau Island. But the most famous one remains to be the Victoria Peak, although it is an tourist attraction there are still residential area up there, known as the mid levels, staying there is a form of socal status and example of being successful in town. Getting up to the Victoria peak can be of different ways, Cab, Drive, Bus but the most iconic way is to get the Peak Tram which the journey up provides iconic views of town. You can also hike if you have the legs. Trust me, you gotta make a trip here as the bird eye view up from here is impeccable. Another great attraction on the top would be Madam Tussauds, a wax museum of famous people in town and also from the world. Do note that the queue to get tickets for the tram is super long, which I would recommend to get the 3 in 1 ticket, no queue and priority entrance to the tram, it includes return tram ticket, entrance to the museum and also the viewing platform on the top of the mountain.
Lan Kwai Fong
A visit to any bustling city can’t be without a spot for night life and in HK, Lan Kwai Fong is the place to be, a district of restaurants pubs to wine and dine the day off. The atmosphere and vibes here is great if drinking is your thing to do. Certainly gets crowded in the usuall popular days and also the weekends.
Open-air and located on the south-eastern part of Hong Kong island, although many of the goods on sale are a bit tacky, you can still find lovely silks and traditional Chinese clothing. Follow that with great unique little restaurants with terraces overlooking the harbour or one of those popular seafood restaurants. If you wanna get some local culture immersion and away from the usual hangout, this off beaten place will definitely be for you. However, public transport is a little hard since the MTR doesn’t travel there.
I would recommend coming here after taking the star ferry from Tsim Tsa Tsui, being in walking distance from the Central Pier, this large shopping is the place or some tea or escaping from the heat. There is a fairly large apple store here also and the decor is great for some instgrammy shots! However I would say that the stores in this mall are very mainstream, the usual big names.
The newest and latest large mall in Mongkok with multiple stories and also a cinema at the top. Great for some browsing and also to cool down after touring the popular streets in the vicinity. There is a pretty amazing sport shop all the way at the top few levels.
Nathan Street / Mong Kok
What more can I say about these place, the hype and soul right in the heart of Mongkok, the place that is so happening in town. The streets are full of everything, be it street vendors, shops or even food. Simply enough, if you can’t find it here, you probably can’t get it anywhere else.
Fa Yuen Street
This street is known as the sneakers street, located right beside Ladies Street in Mongkok, Fa Yuen Street is known for it’s sport shops, practically the whole street is lined up with shops selling all kinds of sports attire and equipment. Usually things here are sold at a huge discount than others places, and given the amount of stalls here, you have to walk aroudn and compare prices.
Tung Choi Street (Ladies Street)
Not like what you guest from the name of this street market, the market does not only sell stuff for the females but actually it is just like a normal street market. Its a street that are lined up with vendors on both side. However it is actually pretty crowded and the stuff vendors sell here are actually mostly common. Thus it is important to take your time, and bargain, literally you should get 60% off from the price they quote you. Hint* Hint* sometimes just walk away and you get a discount.
Another popular market in town, Temple Street Market is more popular at night, making it more pleasant to tour and also much more cooling. Famous for it’s Cantonese singing and also Dai Pai Dong, it is an atmosphere to get delicious stir fly foods and sitting on plastic chairs, drinking beer in the streets.
The famous bakery in town for producing the great butter cookies in a teddy bear tin, this place is amazing, the cookies produced are delicious and tasty, however there is a super long queue. Do take note to only buy from the original stores and not from hawkers who resell them at a bargain. The outlets can be found in Tsim Tsa Tsui or Sheung Wan.
Hang Heung Cake Shop
The go to bake shop for awesome wife biscuit from Hong Kong. Try imagining soft tender flaky pastry filled with the gel like winter melon filling. Best souvenir ever from town. There are numerous stores located throughout town.
Wellington St 32 – 40, Yung Kee Building
If you says that the Hong Kong Island side fails in comparison to the Kowloon in terms of culinary, you are definitely wrong. Being the land where roast goose are famous, this is where you should start the hunt for! Frankly speaking, most of the roast goose are already delicious in town, hop into any Cha Can Ting and eateries, their roast meat are already probably the best you have ever taste. However, if you want to get the best, there are only two places in Hong Kong, Yung Kee & Sham Tseng, could definitely be said as the Messi and Ronaldo of Roast Goose, if you want to know which is the best, you could only try them yourself. Given that Yung Kee is more accessible, you should definitely pay them a visit. Do note that the prices aren’t cheap.
City Hall Maxim Palace
City Hall, Hong Kong, China
A Dim Sum experience is what you should be getting as part of your trip to Hong Kong, I mean, this is probably the best way to get your culture shock, and at the same time, filling your stomach. The Crowd, The View and The Pushcart, no better original experience to have. However this place is crowded to the packed, for the best experience, I will recommend you to come on a Sat, given that weekdays it’s packed with the office crowd and during Sun, it is usually a typical hongkongers tradition to have tea with their family.
One Dim Sum
15 Playing Field Road, Prince Edwards
Located on the fringe of Mongkok in a residential area, this is the best no fills, down to earth experience you will have. Be expected to queue and wait in line for the small tiny seats. Having affordable, yet delicious dim sum while being immerse in the daily life of the working class people, there is much to gain. Being somewhat famous and reputable, pay a visit here and you definitely won’t leave here dissapointed.
Australia Dairy Company
47 Parkes St, Jordan, Hong Kong
Opened from 0730 to 2300, this Cha Can Ting in Jordan is famous for its scrambled egg and milk tea just within walking distance of the MTR, you couldn’t missed out on some silky smooth eggs to start your day. Trust me, for the price and quality things usually doesn’t go together but in this place, it does! Just a slightly warning, you might have to queue.
Kam Wah Cafe
47 Bute St, Mong Kok, Hong Kong
Located in the always crowded Mongkok, this gem is famous for it’s egg tart and Bo Luo Bao. I would say that their eggs tart are simply from Space, out of this world. Once you had it, the moment you taste something from other place you will just puke. Be alarmed by their all day piping hot buns and egg tarts, since the goods goes off the shelf fast, most of them are sold piping hot, right out from the oven as the chef try to keep up with the demand. At only the price of 5HKD, you could get fat easily. A Tart and a Tea, here is how your afternoon should be wasted.
Hui Lau Shan
What is HongKong without a visit here, the land of “Tang Shui”. The dessert served here are amazing, try the mango pomelo for a start, then follow by some mango balls and the other delights. If fruits are your thing, you will find a paradise here. Price are affordable and absolute you will find it worth spending. Locations are numerous and found throughout where you all, every turn every street, you are most likely to find it.
27 Soy St, Mong Kok, Hong Kong
For those looking for something more traditional and unique from the usual tourist dessert that you could easily get and from Hui Lau Shan. Lucky Dessert is your choice, originated from Sham Tsing, this is a good place to get some authentic and affordable dessert. And it doesn’t close till 2am, perfect.