Mini Travel Guide: Hong Kong

This is one of many Mini Travel Guides, in which locals and expats share their favorite things.  This guide comes to us via Madeline!
I lived in Hong Kong for two summers while I was working at an English learning summer program. While my students left me with many wonderful memories, I also loved experiencing this dynamic and fast-changing city.Hong Kong and its surrounding islands contain so many different worlds to explore, from luxury shopping avenues to crowded market streets, and from breathtaking skyscrapers to gorgeous hikes and parks. Whether you’re looking for historic temples or a glamorous night on the town, this dense, energetic metropolis has something for everyone.

Must Go

Victoria Peak
Hong Kong’s most stunning viewing spot, the Peak, is the city’s answer to the Eiffel Tower. The Peak is a great place to take in the majesty of the city’s incredible skyline. You can even hike the way down (or up)!

The Islands

Board a ferry in Hong Kong’s bustling commercial center and an hour later you’ll be amidst tropical greenery, pristine beaches, and a much slower vibe. If you’re like me and new to the whole metropolis thing, you’ll be thrilled to discover the hiking trails, bike paths, and culinary specialties of the islands around Hong Kong.The Star Ferry
For a fraction of a US dollar, you can take this beautiful cruise from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island. This is a great chance to see the skyscrapers of Hong Kong’s Central district from the water. Come back at night to see the city light up.


Must Do

Shopping
Even if you aren’t in the market for a Gucci bag, Hong Kong’s towering shopping centers are a dazzling window into the city’s glamorous side. Head to the lounge on the top floor of the International Financial Center and enjoy the spectacular view for free. You can even bring your own beverage for a cheap night out.

Outdoor Markets
For a taste of local life, head to a “wet market,” where you can find colorful produce and still-flopping fish. Then stroll down to the Temple Street Night Market to browse outdoor stalls of jewelry, souvenirs, and electric flyswatters. Take a break with a crock of the street’s renowned clay pot rice, and don’t forget to order a fried oyster cake on the side.

Must eat
International food
From Japanese to French, you can find almost every type of food in this international city. But some things are just better in Hong Kong, like delicious Cantonese specialties. You’ll also find plenty of fusion cuisine. You might eat Korean style beef and rice with a cup of borscht on the side, or toast and eggs with ramen for breakfast.

Dim Sum
Hong Kong may just be the best place to enjoy this delicious brunch ritual. Grab some traveling companions and enjoy stacks of steamed sweet and savory dumplings, buns, cakes, and more.

Street Food
Enjoy some fried treats while you browse Hong Kong’s most crowded neighborhoods. Fish balls, dumplings, and fried stuffed veggies are common finds. Also popular are waffles made fresh on the street, sometimes filled with a mixture of peanut butter and condensed milk.

Bubble TeaIn the sweltering summer heat, a big cup of ice-cold tea with milk and
tapioca pearls is the perfect companion. Try the purple tarot root
flavor, or switch out the tapioca for grass jellies.

Cultural tips
An incredibly diverse city, Hong Kong residents will forgive many a faux pas. That said, your new friends will appreciate your familiarity with local etiquette. Don’t stick your chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice (it reminds people of funerary incense). Fill others’ teacups before your own, and when someone pours you tea, tap on the table to show your gratitude.

Travel on the Cheap
Take the Tram For a few US cents, you can board a double-decker tram and rattle across the island. The tram has been around for over a century, and you can pass through a rich slice of Hong Kong Island in a single slow, shaky journey.

City Parks

Free to the public, Hong Kong’s parks are islands of greenery tucked amongst the skyscrapers. You can walk through a sculpture garden in Kowloon Park in Tsim Sha Tsui, or you can discover some Hong Kong history at the Walled City Park. Now a delightful green space, the Walled City used to be a haven for criminals.

Thanks so much for sharing, Madeline! Do you guys have any other Hong Kong tips to share?

photo 1 by kitty kaht, for sale here // photos 2 and 3 by madeline // photo 4 by adrian miles // photo 5 by busma, for sale here // photo 6 by candy mountain photos, for sale here

6 Comments

Maria

Hong Kong is definitely on my list! I love these mini travel guides, I like getting just the scoop and not wading thru too many details!

Reply
Nicole S.

It's nice to hear about the hiking and outdoorsy opportunities! I find big cities fascinating, but too many days without nature makes me crabby. I like to scope out the parks wherever I go!

Reply
thursday in my head

I spent a really great week in Hong Kong, waiting for our visas for China. Such an amazing, crazy place. Also I think I spent the whole time eating all the delicious things.

Reply
Raymond

Thank you for mentioning Temple Street Night Market, I think it is part of "real Hong Kong" that visitor should really see. Not so artificial as some parts. I try to make a guide for people to understand our night market better, there is much to seem, not just the official part but also fortune teller and opera singer come out later and not in Government area of night market. I hope you can mention my guide http://www.temple-street-night-market.hk so more people can find these parts! Thank you.

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