Hong Kong is a pretty amazing city. It’s hot, humid, people are friendly, and not to mention their train system is incredible. Before relocating to the UK my boyfriend and I decided to meet up in Hong Kong for a week in September 2017. Wow! Almost a year ago now, and I felt guilty for how long it took me to post about my trip to Paris/Budapest. You can see my posts about that here: Paris in a weekend and 4 nights in Budapest.
Anyway, Hong Kong was so much better than I ever imagined. I was just in awe of the place, it is so easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of the city but it isn’t anything like Melbourne so I didn’t mind, but then only a short train ride away you can go and be one with nature.
Being over a year ago since I went I can’t quite remember our itinerary but I’ve put below what we did so I hope it inspires you to go and visit the amazing city that this is.
Train from the airport
The easiest way to get from the airport to your hotel would be via subway. At the airport buy a Octopus card which I guarantee will be used so much during your trip. Plus, if you already have one you can get discounts at certain attractions!
We were in Hong Kong for about 7 nights and neither of us having been here before we had no idea where to stay. From recommendations we ended up booking a Deluxe Suite at Hotel Pravo in Kowloon. In a central location on minutes away from the subway it was a no brainer, the rooms I’ve been told are also a bit bigger than the average in Hong Kong so we were lucky. I would recommend booking a room in Kowloon rather than the island as most of what you want to do is in Kowloon and you can always get the subway anywhere. I found it to be one of the most reliable and safe transport systems I’ve ever been on.
While researching Hong Kong I’m sure this has come up as the number one this to do. Victoria Peak is located on Hong Kong Island. When waiting in line for tickets for the tram up the mountain, use your octopus card to pay instead. It’s quicker and can cut your wait time in half.
When you get up there you can pay a further fee to go to the top of The Peak Tower. Sure you might be able to get some great views from up there but we decided to pass on this. The views from down below were just as good. Make sure you take some time to walk around while you’re at the top. We did and found some great little spots. Wear some comfy shoes though, it’s very hilly and steep! Just remember that Hong Kong is a polluted city so you won’t always have a clear day. When we got up to the peak we were lucky we got to see some the skyline but it was still a little polluted.
Nan Lian Garden and Chi Lin Nursery
We spent half a day spending time in Nan Lian Garden and Chi Lin Nursery. It is not in the middle of town so you have to get the train out. It doesn’t take long to get there, about 40 minutes via subway. It’s quite beautiful, it’s like a quiet sanctuary in the middle of a busy city. We spent a good hour or so just walking around the garden and taking in the beauty of it, it is extremely well kept.
Wong Tai Sin Temple
The other half of our day after spending it in the garden, we spent at the temple. It is a very busy place but still beautiful. I had a few people ask to take photos with me and my boyfriend which was a little strange. After coming back home and talking to a few people about it we think it’s because of my very blonde hair at the time and the the people wanting photos were from mainland China who had possibly never come across Caucasian tourists before….who knows.
Disneyland was a full day activity for us, it wasn’t as busy as what it might usually be seeing as it wasn’t peak tourist season but it was still busy enough. Disneyland was a must for us, just prepared for your inner kid to come out.
Again, this was another full day activity for us but a must in Hong Kong. If you like roller coasters then check out The Dragon, it was absolutely petrified but ended up going on it twice. A few rides were closed for maintenance when we were there but that was expected due to it not being peak season. Also just walking around the park you can get some pretty amazing views too!
Lantau Island should be high on your to-do list for Hong Kong. Again it is another full day activity. You can buy tickets in advance for the cable car. I recommend buying one glass floor and one standard cable car so you can experience both. We had 7 of us in our glass floor cable car. The group who were with us were messing around a bit so I didn’t get to enjoy the experience quite as much but I’m still glad I did it. On the island you can find the Po Lin Monastery and The Big Buddha. Both are extremely busy and the steps up to the Buddha are quite steep but once you get to the top, oh my god the views are incredible. Like I said at the start of this post, you can enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city and once a short train ride away you’re escaping to the mountains.
Po Lin Monastery is directly across from the Buddha. While on the island I guarantee you’re going to get hungry, don’t worry there is a Starbucks there for your coffee fix. But when you’re wanting something a little bit more substantial then check out Matsuzaka Express Restaurant. This was easily some of the best food we ate in Hong Kong, I still think about this food constantly which is saying something!
Ozone Bar, Ritz Carlton
For a very fancy pants night out we went to the tallest bar in Hong Kong which was the Ozone Bar in the Ritz Carlton. I warn you know it is extremely expensive and honestly a little overrated. It was nice and the views wonderful BUT it took ages to wait for a couple of seats to open up at the window and even then we didn’t fancy staying long because of the drink prices. We only got 1 drink each but I’m glad we had the experience.
After leaving the Ozone Bar we went to Joia Ristorante Italiano for some dinner. It was in a courtyard just near the Ritz Carlton. We treated ourselves to a steak and a bottle of wine (which turns out we do quite often)….
Temple Street Night Market
There are so many markets in Hong Kong to choose from it’s hard to decide. We decided on Temple Street and boy is it interesting. I only wish I took more photos of the street foods. All I have is this blurry photo. I can give you one tip though, once you get to the end of the market, go back through the same way you came. Don’t be like us and walk around the outside of the stalls, otherwise you may come across some ladies of the night…
Shopping and Bars
For shopping Nathan Road is the place to go. It is just a row of shops among shops among shops. All from high end to budget. It is an extremely busy street but nothing compared to other cities, its bearable.
For a night out go to Hong Kong Island and Lan Kwai Fong which is a bar district. This is the main tourist spot for going out and the street is filled with bars. Be careful tho, when ordering drinks the waitresses take your card up to the bar and pay for you and bring your drinks back, just be aware of your surroundings at all times. Luckily we had no issues with this but looking back I probably wouldn’t allow that to happen again. Because there are so many bars wanting your business it is possible to bargain a little when going into the bar with the bouncer outside. We were able to score a few free shots on entry to a few places. If you are staying in Kowloon plan your how you are going to get back to that side in advance. We really struggled trying to get a cab from Hong Kong Island back to Kowloon, not a lot of cab drivers want to take you over there. They prefer to stay on the island.
For some food check out Ashley Road. This was the road our hotel was on and restaurants and bars all up and down. For really good nachos check out The Ashley Road Trading Company!
While in Hong Kong make sure you take a day tour over the Macau. We booked ours through Viator. I had never booked anything through here before so I was a little sceptical but we didn’t have any issues. I think the photos of Macau speak for itself in that it is a must do!
I had such a good time in Hong Kong, I would love to go back as there is still so much more to do. Maybe one day I’ll venture out there again but in the meantime I hope this has given you some ideas of what to do and where to go while you’re there.