An insiders guide to Hong Kong
It's no secret that Hong Kong is an incredible place full of excitement, buzz and of course plenty of people. I've lived in the the middle of this crazy city for almost 3 years now, and still haven't tried everything on my list of Sassy Approved things to do!
There are events, exhibitions, brunches and activities on each weekend, and equally during the week. So, how do you decide what to do and where to go when visiting or living in Hong Kong?
I asked a friend and resident Hong Konger - Fiona Hubee - for her top tips on things to do in the +852!
What is the best time of year to visit?
Fiona - September/October as it's warm outside but not too hot or sticky and the air quality tends to be quite good!
What one thing would you recommend to do when visiting Hong Kong?
Fiona - Take a tram ride, especially if you can get on the 120 tram, one of the very old ones. For HKD2.3 you'll see lots of Hong Kong's sights along the way.
What is a junk boat and why are they so popular?
Fiona - The term "Junk Boat" is used quite loosely in Hong Kong. A traditional junk boat is a traditional Chinese sailing ship, there are still a few that run tours at night time - look out for the big red sails in the harbor! Today, most of the boats we refer to as junks are modern speed boat versions and have capacity for 20+ people. We usually refer to junks as boats we have a party on! It's a great way to spend the day on the water, eating and drinking and making new friends.
Where is the best nightlife in the city?
Fiona - Lan Kwai Fong (aka LKF) has a bit of everything. It's cheap and trashy (and FUN!) but there are also some nicer classier bars and restaurants too. If you're in need of a late night kebab you've come to the right place.
What is the best way to get around Hong Kong?
Fiona - Taxis are so cheap so why not!
What are the best outdoor activities?
Fiona - My top pics are hiking, dragon boating, swimming and cycling.
Best dim sum restaurant?
Fiona - Hands down, Tim Ho Wan (it's a Michelin star restaurant).
Where do you recommend for the best cup of coffee?
Fiona - Hmmm I don't drink coffee so can't comment... however, I have heard Coco Espresso has Melbourne style coffee.
There are so many weekend brunches, which one do I choose?
Fiona - Try them all! They range from inexpensive to luxurious extravaganzas, usually with free flow booze and a variety of buffet styles. I use Timeout or Sassy to find the best new places to try in town.
Best shopping location?
Fiona - It's crazy busy, but Causeway Bay has it all.
In five words, describe what it is like to live in Hong Kong?
Fiona - Intense, fun, adventurous, exciting and errr expensive..!
Name one thing have you learnt from living in Hong Kong?
Fiona - Patience! Which by the way, is a work in progress.
I couldn't resist adding in a list of honourable mentions from my own experience living in Hong Kong. Here are my favourite picks of things to do when visiting!
- Hike (or taxi) to Victoria Peak - The views are sensational especially at night time during the light show. The whole harbor lights up and you can enjoy a glass of wine outside on a balmy night with unbelievable views of Hong Kong!
- Visit the Big Buddha - Always a nice one to add to the tourist list, the Big Buddha stands tall at Ngong Ping on Lantau Island which is close-ish to the airport. There is a cable car across the mountain which provides outstanding scenery of Hong Kong's national parks and the famed Lantau Peak hiking trail.
- Walk through the Markets - There are so many markets in Hong Kong, but if I had to choose my top recommendations include the Ladies Market in TST, the food market in Wan Chai, Stanley Market for a beach side visit, and if you can find one and navigate a non-english menu by pointing at pictures or just taking a punt then visit a Cooked Food Market. There are plenty of them across the city!
- Try the local cuisine - If you're on a budget and hankering for a local dish then nothing beats a prawn wanton noodle soup (and sometimes mixed with sliced beef or fish balls, with a plate of greens on the side!). My favourite store to visit is Tsim Chai Kee at 98 Wellington Street, Central. Alternatively, try a bowl of Ramen - whilst it's not a local dish there are plenty of restaurants that specialise in this tasty Japanese soup.
- Visit LKF and if you have time, Macau - Macau is a mere hour away by ferry (take the fast one, and remember to bring your passport), and has plenty to offer if you have time for a quick visit. Dubbed the Las Vegas of Asia, Macau has plenty of entertainment and I can personally attest that Pacha pool parties are plenty of fun! As Fiona mentioned, LKF is a great night scene in Hong Kong and a must see if you're visiting during Halloween, Christmas or when the Rugby Seven's is on. Which brings me to my next point...
- Go to the Rugby Sevens - Possibly the most fun you can have dressing up next to Oktoberfest and Halloween, everyone in Hong Kong loves a costume party and the Rugby Seven's is no exception (unless of course you're there to watch the Rugby sans costume).
Thanks to Fiona for her time and input into this blog post!
Feel free to add any other recommendations in the comments section below.