Hong Kong is one of the most popular travel destinations in Asia for a great reason! This mini travel guide to Hong Kong will definitely start the travel itch. This is one of many Mini Travel Guides in which locals and expats share their favorite places and tips with us.
Hi, I’m Manda from Break The Sky. I’m originally from Hong Kong and I make regular return visits to see my family. There’s so much Hong Kong has to offer, but I did my very best to highlight some of my favorite things about the city!
The Peak offers spectacular views of the city and its harbors, especially at night. While the line to take the Peak Tram to ascend the mountain might be daunting, this is one attraction that cannot be missed.
Sai Kung is famous for its seafood and islands that encircle the peninsula. You can charter a boat to take you to the islands, order seafood in the live fish market for dinner, or walk along the promenade and soak in views of the harbor. With Hong Kong being so hectic, it’s easy to forget that it has beautiful gems like Sai Kung off the beaten track.
This iconic harbor is the largest one in China and is one of the world’s busiest. The famous Star Ferry transports passengers between Tsim Sha Tsui Harbor and Wan Chai Harbor. On the Tsim Sha Tsui side is the Avenue of the Stars, which is Hong Kong’s answer to the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The Ngong Ping Cable Car gives you a 360 view of Hong Kong. From the Tung Chung station, you get panoramic views of the South China Sea, Hong Kong International Airport, Tung Chung valley, Ngong Ping Plateau and surrounding areas. The Ngong Ping terminal is located in Ngong Ping Village, and from there you can go to the famous sites of Big Buddha and Po-Lin Monastery.
Hong Kong is famous for several street markets, and here you can practice your bargaining skills! There’s a market for just about anything you could possibly want. Famous ones include Ladies Market (Mong Kok), Temple Street Market (Mong Kok), Stanley Market (Stanley), Golden Shopping Arcade (Sham Shui Po), Wan Chai Market (Wan Chai). Prepare for crowds and keep an eye on personal belongings.
Lan Kwai Fong is an L-shaped cobblestone lane famous for its nightlife scene. It’s incredibly popular with both expats and tourists. There’s something that will appeal to everyone, whether it be hole-in-the-wall pubs or elite nightclubs. The proximity of all the bars and clubs make LFK an ideal bar-hopping location.
When one thinks of Hong Kong cuisine, one thinks of dim sum. It’s a style of food served in small portions on steamer baskets. Fully cooked and ready-to-serve dim sum dishes are carted around the restaurant for people to order while at their tables. Popular dim sum dishes include har gow (shrimp dumpling), siu mai (pork and shrimp meatball), cha siu bao (steamed barbecue pork bun, my favorite), phoenix talons (chicken feet) and cheung fun (thin, rolled sheets of steamed rice noodle).
Hong Kong is famous for its fresh seafood. Delicious seafood dishes include typhoon shelter fried crab (my favorite), salt and pepper pissing shrimp, curried fish balls, braised abalone and razor clams in black bean sauce. Jumbo Floating Restaurant in Aberdeen is a famous seafood restaurant. Sai Kung, Cheung Chau and Lamma Island are also known for seafood restaurants.
For many in Hong Kong, food in cha chaan tengs (“tea restaurant”) constitute comfort food. Popular things to order are Hong Kong-style milk tea, toast with condensed milk and/or peanut butter, fried rice, instant noodles, sandwiches, rice noodles with fish balls and/or wontons, and congee. These dishes might sound ordinary and run-of-the-mill, but if you don’t eat at a cha chaan teng, you’re missing out.
When dining in a group setting, always fill others’ tea before your own. Never point the spout of the teapot directly at someone, as that indicates he or she is unwelcome at the table.
If there are no serving chopsticks for dishes at the table, use the reverse end of your chopsticks for the shared dishes and the front end for yourself.
Always greet elders individually upon meeting, even in a group setting. This is a sign of respect. Terms such as “grandfather” or “aunty” are customary.
Chungking Mansions in Tsim Sha Tsui is known as the cheapest accommodation in the city. It’s right along Nathan Road, which is a hub of the bustling Tsim Sha Tsui area.
The Symphony of Lights is the world’s largest permanent light and sound show involving over 40 skyscrapers on both sides of Victoria Harbor. It happens nightly and is free! Good vantage points are on the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront and the promenade in Wan Chai.
Instead of taking the subway on Hong Kong island, a cheaper alternative is the tram, which follows a similar route above ground. This tram system is the only double-decker operated tram system in the world!
Thanks so much for sharing, Manda! Do you have have any Hong Kong travel tips to share?