Welcome to Hong Kong!
Hong Kong is a densely packed city, with so much to see and do. Its small size makes it easily explorable. The hidden areas of the side streets, however, are where a worldwide local finds the good stuff like amazing restaurants, great shopping opportunities, and unparalleled views. Enjoy our guide to get the inside scoop on how to have the best time in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is a special city, both in the literal sense and metaphorically speaking. Technically a part of China, the city of Hong Kong has enjoyed its status as a “special administrative region.” This gives it a distinct culture and flair compared to the rest of mainland China. Hong Kong became a colony of the British Empire in the 1840s and ruled over it for 99 years. Because of this, the city is unique in the sense that it is an “east meets west” situation. Remnants of Hong Kong’s colonial past are intertwined with modern Chinese culture.
Getting Around the City
Locals know that the best way to get around town is public transportation. Hong Kong’s transport network is extensive and very affordable. Taxis are abundant and cheap--starting fares are around USD 3.00--making them a convenient way to get around from any of the major Hong Kong hotels. Traffic is, however, very busy in the city, so although taxis are relatively affordable, you’re probably still better off on the bus, train, or metro. Cantonese is the primary language spoken in Hong Kong, but English is also written on most signs around town, so becoming oriented shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
Worldwide Local Tip: Get the Octopus card when you arrive. The Octopus card comes pre-loaded with HKD 50.00 (USD 6.37) and can be used for all public transportation (with the exception of taxis) as a means of paying for your ride.
Hong Kong Shopping
Any worldwide local knows that the best way to experience a city fully is through its various neighborhoods (not just spending all of their time at Hong Kong Disneyland). Hong Kong has plenty of glitz and glamour in its neon-lit skyscrapers. For high-end shopping, you can get a true local experience by heading to the Sham Shui Po district. The area is a little poorer in comparison to some other areas of town but still has tons to offer. Every street specializes in selling something; whether it’s children’s clothes, decorations, bags, electronics, or jewelry, you can probably find it here.
Worldwide Local Tip: If you’re in the mood for something to eat, enjoy Tim Ho Wan in the Sham Shui Po district. It is known as the cheapest Michelin-star restaurant in the world and serves some of the best dumplings in the city.
Speaking of food, Hong Kong is not short of variety, with choices ranging from the super expensive to downright cheap. If you’re looking for a quick fix, locals know that there are always Hong Kong markets and food vendors. For example, you can enjoy pork buns for just a couple of bucks in busy areas. If you’re looking for something unique in your dining experience check out Ha Cube. The interactive concept of this unusual restaurant allows guests the opportunity to fish for their food, including shrimp, lobster, and fish. Once you’ve caught your food, they’ll cook it for you right there. It might not be high-end dining, but it’s certainly a quirky Hong Kong restaurant, and a fun, unique experience.
An Island Day-trip
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong for a bit, catch a ferry to Cheung Chau Island. The island was once a haven for pirates and swashbucklers but has since become a quiet place of escape. Here, fishing is a way of life, and most locals ride bicycles. The ferry ride takes about 30 minutes and is a great way to break from the city. Hang out by the beach to enjoy some quiet time.
Worldwide Local Tip: The island of Cheung Chau hosts an annual bun festival where the celebrations around the island pick up considerably and deliciously.
The Best Hong Kong Views
If you’re looking to find some great views of the city, people will probably tell you to go to Peak Tower. The locals, however, know that Lugard Road is really the way to go. Visit Lugard Road, located right next to Peak Tower, to avoid the crowds of people. This mostly shaded area makes for a great way to spend a day enjoying the warm Hong Kong weather.
Worldwide Local Tip: Halfway through the walk, there’s a fork in the road. Head right, then keep walking until you reach the cliffs overlooking the city. Not only will you have a relaxing moment of time in Hong Kong, but you’ll also have amazing panoramic views of the city with almost no one around.
Enjoy Your Stay!
Hong Kong is full of special areas and places to discover. Its unique twist of eastern and western influence makes it a special place to experience. With its amazing modern architecture, old traditional buildings, and delicious food, you will enjoy discovering something fascinating around every corner. This makes Hong Kong a great place for any worldwide local.