A busy bustling city that is so super rich, you’ll see Bentley’s, Tesla’s, Rolls Royce’s and more, some even with P plates on. This wealth means there’s heaps of high end shopping, bars and restaurants. People in Hong Kong are into their hiking and there’s plenty of walks to do and many sites to see. There are also plenty of cheap michelin restaurants where you can get some seriously good roast pork or duck as well as a massive amount of dumplings. Even just walking around, you’ll see plenty of interesting sites.
Where to stay
We were lucky enough to stay with relatives in Hong Kong, in a suburb called Happy Vally (the racecourse district), however everything is mostly happening in Central or Causeway Bay. We would also recommend Tsim Sham Shui or Jordan as there’s plenty of markets, eateries and shops nearby.
Accommodation location isn’t too much of an issue as the MTR lines (train) make it very easy to get around from suburb to suburb. There’s also the trams which are cheap, albeit slow, and plenty of buses that make getting around HK pretty stress free. Uber is available and there are also plenty of taxis if you are in a hurry.
You can also get a train (about $125 HK dollars) from the airport (make sure you have cash). When you arrive from the airport, have cash and load up your Octopus card, which you can use for buses, trams, trains and even at shops. We found the train system very efficient and we never waited for a train, they were always there.
On the return leg, if you get the airport express, you can even check your bags in at the train station which makes for an easy trip. On the airport train (30-40 mins) you can charge devices and use the free wifi too.
What to do
Happy Vally Racecourse
We didn’t go here as we weren’t here on a Wednesday, but hear it’s a great race night out. Hong Kong has lots of money and racing is the biggest sport in HK, so we’re hardly surprised they put on a big show.
A new heritage and cultural centre in central Hong Kong. It is the old central police station converted into a museum and gallery. It is super interesting and has been done really well. There’s plenty of spaces to eat and drink and rest whilst you’re looking around. Bonus – entry is free.
Located at Causeway Bay, you will find the entrance via the World Trade Centre underground tunnel. Make sure you’re on time or you’ll miss the Gun going off at exactly noon.
It’s a long standing tradition in Hong Kong, dating back to the site being the first plot of land publicly sold there. It was apparently customary to give a gun salute when entering or leaving Hong Kong until 1941, recommencing in 1947.
Not sure how exactly, but the Noonday Gun has to date raised over 6million for charity. Apparently people can donate to fire it.
Basically turn up before 12, see the officer in military gear get ready and shoot the cannon. Take a few pics and be on your way.
It is the largest island in Hong Kong and has a large tourist site with a village full of restaurants, a huge Buddha statue to be accessed via a walk up a huge set of stairs. We travelled from Central Hong Kong to Tung Chung and caught the 25 minute cable car ride – Ngong Ping 360.
Your ticket only includes a one way cable car ticket unless you specifically buy otherwise. Then once you’ve looked around Lantau Island, catch the bus back down to Tung Chung station.
This is the highest mountain in Hong Kong and can be accessed via car or you can also walk up the peak. There’s high scale residential (extremely wealthy accommodation) up there as well as some shops, cafes and restaurants and lookouts. It offers breathtaking views of all of Hong Kong. We got a cab up and made the big walk down where we got to the mid-levels area.
A small market with pushy sellers trying to sell a range of trinkets, jewellery and plenty of jade items. Make sure you bargain as they start super high and you can bargain them down very easily.
We went to Lively food in Happy Vally for a ‘Shanghai massage’ – basically a foot massage where they remove all your dead skin and make your feet super smooth. You can get these at many places around the city as well for about $150-200 HKD.
We are not entirely sure why it is called Cat Street, but if you are interested in Chinese art; sculpture, beads, wall hangings and more, head here for a street with a number of shops selling this stuff with not too much of a hefty price. The lane is only short and only a handful of shops but it is interesting to go and take a look.
You can take a ferry to Lamma Island and walk from one end to the other along a solid paved path and as you take this walk, you will pass by some beaches and seafood restaurants. Unfortunately the whole time we were in Hong Kong it was raining, so we had to adapt our plans slightly. Instead, we caught a fast ferry provided by a restaurant and went over to the island to Rainbow seafood restaurant and had a great seafood banquet menu and some beverages too. This is the perfect location to visit in a group for a boozy lunch.
Where to eat?
As mentioned there are plenty of cheap Michelin Restaurants you can visit. There are also a number of upmarket restaurants in Hong Kong.
The China Club
We were lucky enough to visit the exclusive China Club in the old Bank of China building. The food at the China Club was tasty and super expensive, overpriced for what it was. But this was made up for by the setting, an ornate dining room with plenty of character. The art in this establishment was very cool and there is an awesome rooftop bar view with a stunning outlook over Kowloon bay.
This restaurant can be accessed via a lift and found on the second floor of the building (which is a hotel). We came here for its playful twist on yum cha and emoticon inspired dumplings. Unfortunately a number of the menu items were note available (like the doggy buns and moustache dumplings). We ordered the piggy pork buns which were super tasty. The other dumplings we ordered were all sweet – the pineapple birds, which came in a mini bird cage, hot custard emoticon buns and flower red bean buns.
See our other blog on cheap Michelin eats here.
Where to drink?
Mizunara the library
If you are into fine whisky and cocktails and have some dollars to spend, Mizunara the library is highly recommended. This is a sophisticated Japanese run bar with leather armchairs and a private Japanese garden. Mizunara has a quality whisky selection including some select cask produced especially for the bar. We tried the trifecta of Mizunara the library cask whisky, the Mars heavily peated Komagtake single cask 60% was an excellent dram full of flavour yet super smooth for a whisky with such a high ABV.
Mizunara also has a list of specialty Championship cocktails, many of which have been award winners at national and international cocktail competitions. The “Spring Harmony” which won the World Championship Cocktail competition at the all world Open Cup of 2015 was super impressive. Made using Hi gn flavours of tea, cherry brandy, elderflower and lemon. Quite possibly the best cocktail I’ve ever had and we understand why this won the competition! At $230 HKD (almost $50 Aussie dollars, it would want to be good.
As super modern yet retro bar in Hong Kong that gives a nod to the prohibition style of architecture, disguised as an umbrella shop. Accessed via the 2nd floor of a printing house in Duddell street, you will be greeted by some staff and press an umbrella and in you go to this thriving speakeasy style bar with jazz musicians. Cool cocktails, and a range of food too – we ate the truffle and parmesan fries which were delicious. You will find this a cool place to visit. Impeccable service here too.
Hong Kong is such a busy place with plenty to see and do. This blog is really only touching at the surface but we had a great time and hopefully this helps you in your trip to Hong Kong.