Hong Kong is a city known for skyscrapers, shopping and smiles at Disneyland. But what else does this city have to offer global wanderers looking for a new country to plant their flag? Megan Aney of An Australian Wintour spent four days in Hong Kong and quickly discovered what an interesting city lies beneath.
Here are her top 7 things to do in Hong Kong.
1. Explore the Local Hot Spots
Wan Chai is an area of Hong Kong where the new truly meets the old. Wander the streets like a local past the new designer stores, which are next door to the rickety looking restaurants that are still filled to the brim (everything was in Cantonese so we didn’t dare try and order). We stayed at Hotel Indigo, which is a brand new boutique hotel in the heart of Wan Chai, it was great to have such a cultural hub on our door step.
2. Take in the views
Hong Kong is truly a beautiful city to take in, surprisingly. The best way to experience the skylines, the thick trees and the mountains is to take a ride on the historic Peak Tram. The tram is a one hundred year old public transportation system and also the steepest railway in the world. The journey takes only seven minutes and is a visual experience to remember, as skyscrapers glide past at what appears to be impossible angles while the tram makes its ascent. Once you get to ‘The Peak’ head up to the observation deck for views across all of Hong Kong Island.
Hot Tip: Visit The Peak at lunch time and dine at one of the restaurants with a view.
3. Visit the Markets
Visit Stanley for a picturesque walk along the waters edge and a sneaky shop at the markets. The Stanley Markets are a more relaxed version of the famed ‘Ladies Markets’ but with the tourist buys and cheap kids clothes you can expect at every market. The ‘Ladies Market’ is definitely worth a look also, as it boasts over 100 stalls stretched across a one-kilometre strip in Mong Kok.
Hot Tip: Visit the markets late at night, most stalls stay open until midnight and the air is much more pleasant in the evening.
4. Enjoy great French or Spanish cuisine
Travelling to Hong Kong I of course was expecting great Chinese and local cuisine. But interestingly the stand out food was French and Spanish cuisines. Hong Kong has such a rich and diverse expat culture so great international cuisine is plentiful. But I’m sure we don’t have to tell you twice to eat well on holidays!
5. Shop the Super Malls
Hong Kong is known for being a shopping mecca, they even have an annual shopping festival (Summer Spectacular) which takes place in July-August each year. If you aren’t visiting around then there is still plenty of bargains to be snatched up. With so many shops to choose from you are sure to burn some plastic on duty free fashion. Visit Times Square to shop like the locals or for a more tourist friendly experience head to Harbour City Shopping Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui.
6. Eat an Egg Tart and Drink a Milk Tea
This sugar hit has been a staple treat with locals for a reason. The light fluffy pastry of the egg tart paired with the cold sweet tea is the ultimate ‘get out the heat treat’. The tea is made through a sackcloth bag and most teahouses have a good view of the kitchen so make sure to order one and watch the traditional process.
Hot Tip: Look for a bustling small shop filled with locals enjoying a milky looking tea in a big plastic cup. If the restaurant is full you are probably onto a good thing.
7. Catch Public Transport
This is usually a no brainer for the cost conscious traveler, but taxi’s are so cheap in Hong Kong you could be forgiven for skipping the tram. Make the time to take a ride on the double decker trams, sit up the top and watch the bustling streets pass you buy. It’s a very cheap mode of transport in Hong Kong (one ticket is about $1.90) and surprisingly it’s a relaxing experience.