Ready for my CliffsNotes guide to Hong Kong? Let’s jump right in to find out all about one of my favorite cities in the world! It has something for everyone, whether you’re a shopaholic, foodie, nature lover, movie buff, or adrenaline junkie.
Much of Hong Kong is easily walkable, but for the parts that are not, just grab a taxi or even better, take the Star Ferry. It’s inexpensive (less than $1 USD per ride) and gives you a panoramic view of Victoria Harbor as you go from Hong Kong to Kowloon. Quite a romantic ride at night once the crowds die down!
You’ll notice high prices and tiny rooms are the norm here, no matter where you choose to stay. With over 1 million people living on this island, there is just not much space to spare. To avoid paying upwards of $250 per night at most of the hotels, we opted for an Airbnb inside the infamous Chungking Mansions. This is not the place for you if you don’t enjoy FULL cultural immersion and a backpacker vibe.
- When you enter the building, you’ll notice the smell of curry and Indian food, along with incense. You might be approached by vendors trying to sell you fake Rolex watches or tours. The bottom floors of the building are mostly shops and restaurants, while the lodging is on the upper floors – both Airbnb/hotel type places and apartments. Elevators are small and rather confusing as they only stop on odd floors or even floors, depending on which side you choose. I strongly preferred to take the stairs!
- Once you reach the lodging floors, it’s nice and quiet, and much safer feeling. There are bars on the doors and while we never had any issues with safety, I would not recommend it for solo female travelers. I was traveling with my husband and my Dad on this trip, so they were my muscle! Bottom line, this is probably the cheapest place you’ll find to stay in HK (other than maybe a few of the hostels), but it’s not for everyone. It’s almost a bucket list badge of honor – you stayed WHERE?! Any locals will give you some street cred if they know you lodged at Chungking Mansions.
Food and Shopping
- Temple Street Market – This is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the culture with countless local cuisine options and plenty of vendors ready to haggle with you. We snagged a beautiful painting of the Hong Kong skyline and ate our way through the market on our last night there. You’ll also want to be sure to stop by the Tsim Sha Tsui area of Kowloon, which is famous for its shopping and nightlife.
- If you want some decadent French pastries that won’t break the bank, head to Passion by Gerard Dubois. It was so good we went two days in a row!
What To See And Do
- Take the Tram to the top of Victoria Peak to see the gorgeous view above. Try to make the trip on an evening without fog for the best view. We ate at The Peak Lookout Restaurant. It was good, but very overpriced.
- Book a Dukling Boat Ride to watch the famous light show that happens each night! It rained the night we went out but it was still a blast! Also check out The Eye (giant ferris wheel). It’s a fun ride, but gets shaky with all the wind!
- Get some fitness in by riding up the World’s Longest Escalator and walking back down! Don’t worry, there are places to stop for food and drinks along the way. Another great fitness option – join a FREE outdoor workout with November Project Hong Kong. They meet every Wednesday morning at 7:00 am.
- Take a trip to the top of the IFC Tower for some spectacular views and to find this neat mural made entirely of coins!
- Walk around the park and view over 70 species of birds in the Aviary. This was one of our favorite spots to escape the hustle and bustle of the busy city. Free admission!
- Stop in for afternoon tea at The Peninsula Hotel. Fancy pants central. You can usually spot plenty of Rolls-Royces around. If you have $550 to spare, you can spend the night here in luxury.
- Pose by the Bruce Lee Statue and check out the Avenue of Stars
- Find Waldo (we found him in the Star Ferry Terminal)
- If you have extra time, take a hovercraft (around 1- 2 hours) to the former Portuguese colony of Macau. It is known for its casinos that rival Vegas, but you can also check out the world’s highest bungee jump from the Macau Tower. Would you dare? I’d be too scared, but I’d take a video for you!
There are countless other attractions in and around Hong Kong like Ocean Park, Disneyland and Lantau Island, but I tried to focus on the ones that you might not find in other travel guides. I hope you enjoyed learning a little about Hong Kong and let me know if you are planning to go. I’d love to help you plan!
Until next time, thanks for reading!