Ten Places to go in Hong Kong that I Love
Forever iconic is the sea of skyscrapers – yet there is so much more to Hong Kong than immediately meets the eye – it is hard to choose one activity over another when the choice is endless. Yet to get you seeing the best of the best, read on for ten places to go in Hong Kong that I love.
The juxtaposition of old and new, bustle and peace, high tech and spiritual – the many magnificent layers that make up this at once modern, yet ancient city
One moment you can be surrounded cheek to jowl by humanity and buildings – the cacophony of sounds threatening to swallow you whole – yet just a few steps away you find a remote and peaceful mountain trail. Being based in Australia it is generally a long flight to get to what are considered the finest cities in the world; London, Paris, New York, Rome – yet on our doorstep is one of the best. A tropical climate gives way to vast tracts of lush vegetation and beaches – the history as a colonial outpost providing quirks that are uniquely Hong Kong.
Stay in Kowloon for the best Hong Kong Skyline
The Hong Kong skyline (in my opinion) is best viewed straight on from Kowloon side – which is why I’ll send you straight to Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers. As an in-house guest of the Towers Floors you will have the treat of enjoying the view over breakfast daily, again for cocktail hour, and if you can tear yourself away from the shops then afternoon tea is yours too.
Located a short stroll to the Star Ferry (or across the road to the MTR), you can be in Central in no time at all, shopping around the hotel runs the gamut of high end (Shanghai Tang & Harbour City), to all the iconic markets (Ladies & Temple Street Night market).
My tip is to book direct with the the hotel for the latest ‘best rates’ and promotions.
Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers – 20 Nathan Road, Kowloon
Walk this Way with a Local
Strolling, a past-time of which I never tire. A slim handful of girlfriends enjoy this style of exploration, my husband and sons do not. They require a start and a finish. For me a beginning, but a definitive end – now that misses the point entirely.
So a compromise is reached – ‘quirky tours’, affording elements of surprise to keep the family happy. Walking the streets of a new destination, my preferred way to get to the heart of a place (Shanghai, Tokyo & Kyoto), I do my research thoroughly as not everyone has the gift of bringing culture to life in a way that crosses generations – keeping the family from looking at their watches and dreaming of a return to the hotel. Ski Yeo is one such cool chick – her company Big Foot Tour will have you understanding unique Hong Kong (and you will be fed along the way…extra points).
Eat local in Hong Kong for the best Sweet Treats
I needn’t tell you about the myriad of eating opportunities in Hong Kong, you can’t take a step without being able to satisfy all cravings – and I mean ALL. Yet missing off the radar of many visitors is a truly local, must try breakfast of Hong Kong French toast (a sandwich of coconut jam – golden and buttery) served with Yuan Yang (1/2 coffee, 1/2 tea blend) – a mish mash of flavours left over from British colonial days.
Then there are Egg Tarts, yes we can buy them in Australia but like most local favourites they don’t quite translate – I defy you to stop at just one sweet, warm, gooey, eggy delight.
Lan Fong Yuen – next block from the Sheraton – Shop 26, WK Square, Basement, Chungking Mansions, 36-44 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui or Gage Street Central, Hong Kong (MTR Sheung Wan Exit E2 or Central)
Hoixe Cake Shop – 55 Hankow Road, G/F, Tsim Sha Tsui | 2-min walk from Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Station Exit A1
Shoppers Paradise found in Hong Kong Central Laneways
Some secrets are meant to be shared with the ‘shopping sisterhood’. Hong Kong shopping is some of the best, and the plethora of high end boutiques can leave your head spinning – however if your budget doesn’t stretch (or like me you love a good bargain) then brace yourself, I have the spot you must go.
A narrow, steep meandering street just off the mid levels escalator (look for the Marks & Spencer FoodHall and alight at the next stop) holds the key to Designer ‘sample’ heaven. A trifecta of boutiques; De ja vu, Button hole and Betty Blue hold a tight collection of outfits, you will find only one of each style in small or medium (although if you ask nicely they might be able to order larger sizes). The labels are cut (some cynical types might suggest the garments are only copies and the labels are cut to entice you to believe they are designer – the jury is out on this), yet regardless I have found some of the most beautiful jackets and blouses – all have stood the test of time, the fabrics are sublime and they constantly elicit favourable comments.
Deja Vu – 63 Peel Street, Soho, Central,
Betty Blue – just across the road from De Ja Vu) 4B Staunton Street, Soho, Central,
ButtonHole -56-60B Peel Street, Soho, Central
Classy Places for Gin & Tonic in Hong Kong
On holidays I love nothing more than sitting at night with a G & T to watch the passing parade. Hong Kong has bars forever – so if you are looking for a tipple try these;
Iconic – Peninsula Hotel – Salisbury Road, Kowloon
You could line up for Afternoon High Tea, I’d give that a miss – you have better ways to spend your time than stand in a queue – instead pop in and choose from the extensive Gin & Tonic trolley – settle back and enjoy the passing parade in the lobby of this long established glamour hotel,
Hip – Aberdeen Street Social 35 Aberdeen Street, Central
In the PMQ Building (Police Married Quarters – a reimagined space full to the brim with local designers and quality crafts) – this bar is an upscale collaboration by one of Hong Kong food and beverage ‘darlings’.
Chic – Sevva Prince’s Building 25th Floor, 10 Chater Road, Central
Sit on the wraparound terrace and watch the nightly laser show from a different aspect (if you can tear your eyes away from the beautiful people).
Views – The Lounge Bar, 102nd Floor, Ritz Carlton
Yes there is the Ozone Bar upstairs, however I much prefer the quieter atmosphere of The Lounge Bar (where kids are welcome too). Sit at a window bench table, order a Club Sandwich and Fries (and G &T), and take in the birds-eye view.
Go off the Beaten Track and find Nature
Clean and green didn’t ever spring to mind when describing Hong Kong. That is until I ‘hit the hills’ for some hikes during a sisters trip last year. Locals in the know describe the options better than I do (I can highly recommend the Dragons Back), whilst walking on a mid-morning Friday we bumped into a handful of other Mum’s out for the fresh air and exercise otherwise we had the flora and views to our selves.
This activity ties in well with a visit to Stanley Markets.
Finding Fortune (Teller) in Hong Kong
I have a penchant for seeking out Fortune Tellers whilst I travel; three visits later to Man Mo temple and the resident ‘bearer of news’ and the entertainment value never wanes. Even sceptics admit it is good fun – and those that are believers agree this gentleman is on the money. As you enter Man Mo Temple (which you must put on your itinerary regardless) – you will find the little booth at the right hand side entrance.
Man Mo Temple – Hollywood Road, Mid Levels
Scenic (local) Bus to Stanley Markets
The best part of the trip to Stanley is the bus ride –double decker bus (line up early to get the front, upstairs seats – if you sit on the right-hand side you will be on the ‘sea’ side).
Take the #6 bus it goes over the hill rather than through the Aberdeen Tunnel, the most spectacular views as the route ascends/descends the Island backbone.
The journey takes you through busy city streets, then a meander along the coastline (with views of the South China Seas) and the exclusive beachside ‘expat’ suburbs of Deep Water Bay (some of most expensive Real Estate nestled on the hillside). Finally along Repulse Bay (pictured above) before you arrive at Stanley (you will see the market as you approach the township – confirm with the driver you are getting off at the correct stop – the Stanley Bus Terminus).
Bus from Central – Exchange Bus Terminus (across from Star Ferry Pier)
Bus 6, 6A, 6X or 260 (bus 6 more scenic) Cost: HK10 (can use your Octopus Card)
Return Bus to Kowloon – Stanley Bus Terminus, Bus #973 (takes about 1.5 hours around Western Side of Hong Kong Island – passing through Aberdeen and along the coast)
Stanley Markets are my favourite. Prices are fixed and a quick ‘price check’ on my last trip showed little to no difference from what we were quoted at the ‘haggle til you drop’ markets in Kowloon.
You will find lovely linens (think 100% cotton pillow cases, drawstring travel bags, robes), artwork (yes they are reproduced in similar fashion around town, but sift through the dross and you will unearth some stunning canvases from AUD$30 – ask for them to be taken off the frame and rolled for easy transport), traditional silks and other nic knacks.
On Top of the (Hong Kong) World at The Peak
You can get the ‘tram’ from the bottom of the Peak – and if the waiting line is short it will be the quickest way to the expansive views at the top – however more often than not, the queue can be massive. The best tip is to give the upward tram ride a miss and use the Peak Tram for the return trip instead. The waiting line for Peak Tram at the Upper Terminus is usually shorter.
My sister and I braved the steady (okay it was downright steep in parts) 45 minute walk – you will be in the company of loads of fit locals. Alternatively take the exhilarating local bus – Bus 15 from Central Bus Terminus – they depart regularly and you can use your Octopus Card.
For a ‘secret’ viewing spot Big Foot Tours have the best advice.
Relax – the best Foot Massage in Hong Kong
A particular Hong Kong quirk appears to be an evening ritual of popping in for a foot massage after work (or dinner, generally everything happens ‘late night’ in Hong Kong). In the interests of finding the best I sampled several (okay sometimes twice a day, they can become addictive); I found
Tai Pan Reflexology – 83 Nathan Road, Kowloon
Let me know if you can add to;
Ten Places in Hong Kong that I Love
- images credits: from The Urban Mum media library, Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers & the team at Unsplash. xoxo