Are you planning a Hong Kong vacation? Well, you're in for a treat! This bustling metropolis is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Asia, and for good reason. With its stunning skyline, rich culture, delicious food, and exciting attractions, Hong Kong has something to offer for every type of traveler. Here are some suggestions for how to make the most of your trip:
Wanting to see the East for the first time we thought a Hong Kong and Thailand combination would give us a good taste of what the East had to offer.
Hong Kong meaning “Fragrant Harbor” was named after a small stream that ran through the village and provided sweet, clear drinking water, the river was named “Fragrant River” which was then also applied to the harbor. Hong Kong is also geographically interesting. It consists of two parts, the Mainland of Kowloon and the outlying area of the New Territories and Hong Kong Island both separated by Victoria Harbor. Yes, Hong Kong was a British colony until 1997 when the Crown gave Hong Kong back to the people of China. The colonial influence is still however very visible in architecture and influence.
What to see:
Victoria Peak is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Hong Kong, offering stunning views of the city skyline and Victoria Harbor. Also known as The Peak, it is a mountain that stands 552 meters high and is located on the western side of Hong Kong Island.
To reach the Peak, tourists can take the Peak Tram, a historic funicular railway that has been in operation since 1888. The tram ride itself is an attraction, offering breathtaking views of the city as it climbs up the steep slope of the mountain.
Once at the top of the Peak, visitors can enjoy the panoramic views of the city from the Sky Terrace 428, a 360-degree viewing platform that’s located on the rooftop of the Peak Tower. There are also several restaurants, cafes, and shops at the Peak Tower, making it a great place to spend some time and take in the sights.
If you’re looking for a more adventurous experience, several hiking trails lead to the Peak. One popular trail is the Peak Circle Walk, a 3.5 km loop that takes visitors around the Peak and offers great views of the city from different vantage points.
The Star Ferry.
The ferry is the main method of transport between Kowloon (Tsim Sha Tsui) and Hong Kong Island. It’s also the cheapest bay tour you will get costing around 50c for a round trip. Enjoy the thirty-minute boat ride and take in the stunning views of the Hong Kong skyline and harbor.
Departure is every 6 – 12 minutes depending on the time of day, and if you want a longer ride, take the one between Kowloon and Wan Chai which will take you further along the Hong Kong coastline. Alternatively, do a harbor tour which takes around an hour to see all the popular spots.
Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, Kowloon
The Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade is a popular attraction located in the Kowloon district of Hong Kong. It’s a waterfront promenade that offers stunning views of Victoria Harbour and the Hong Kong Island skyline.
Stretching for 2.5 kilometers, the promenade is a great place to take a stroll and enjoy the panoramic views of the city. It’s especially beautiful at night when the skyscrapers on Hong Kong Island light up and create a dazzling display of colors.
Along the promenade, you’ll find several landmarks and attractions, including the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, the Clock Tower, and the Avenue of Stars. The Avenue of Stars is a popular tourist attraction that’s modeled after the Hollywood Walk of Fame, featuring handprints and statues of famous Hong Kong actors and filmmakers.
There are also several parks and gardens along the promenade, including the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade Garden and the Kowloon Park. These offer a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and are great spots for a picnic or some quiet reflection.
If you’re looking for a unique experience, consider taking a ferry ride across Victoria Harbour from the Tsim Sha Tsui Ferry Pier. This is a great way to see the city from a different perspective and get some great photos of the skyline.
Overall, the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade is a must-visit attraction for anyone traveling to Hong Kong. With its stunning views, cultural landmarks, and peaceful parks, it offers a great way to experience the beauty and charm of this amazing city.
Aberdeen, Hong Kong Island
Aberdeen is a vibrant district located on the south side of Hong Kong Island. It’s a historic fishing village that has been transformed into a bustling neighborhood, offering a unique blend of tradition and modernity.
One of the main attractions is the harbor, which is one of the busiest fishing harbors in Hong Kong. Visitors can take a ride on a traditional junk boat to explore the harbor and see fishing boats in action. Several floating restaurants in the harbor offer delicious seafood dishes and stunning views of the surrounding scenery.
Another popular attraction in Aberdeen is Jumbo Kingdom, a floating restaurant that’s designed to look like a traditional Chinese palace. It’s a great place to try some local seafood and enjoy the unique atmosphere of the floating restaurant.
For a more traditional experience, visitors can explore the Aberdeen Promenade, which is a waterfront walkway that offers great views of the harbor and the surrounding mountains. There are also several temples and shrines in the area, including the Tin Hau Temple, which is dedicated to the goddess of the sea.
If you’re interested in shopping and dining, the Ap Lei Chau Main Street is a bustling commercial area that offers a wide range of shops, restaurants, and cafes. It’s a great place to try some local delicacies and shop for souvenirs.
Aberdeen is a unique and vibrant district that’s worth exploring during your visit to Hong Kong. With its bustling harbor, traditional junks, and delicious seafood, it offers a glimpse into the city’s rich history and culture.
Ocean Park, Hong Kong Island
Ocean Park is a world-renowned theme park and marine mammal park located on Hong Kong Island. It’s one of the top tourist attractions in the city, offering a wide range of exciting rides, animal exhibits, and shows.
One of the main attractions in Ocean Park is the giant panda exhibit, where visitors can see giant pandas up close and learn about their habitat and conservation efforts. There are also other animal exhibits, such as the Pacific Pier, where visitors can see sea lions, dolphins, and other marine animals.
For thrill-seekers, Ocean Park offers a wide range of exciting rides, including roller coasters, water rides, and other attractions. One of the most popular rides is the Hair Raiser, a roller coaster that reaches speeds of up to 88 km/h and offering high speed views of the surrounding scenery.
Another highlight of Ocean Park is the Ocean Theatre, which features a variety of animal shows, including dolphin and sea lion performances. These shows are not only entertaining, but they also educate visitors about marine conservation and the importance of protecting the environment.
In addition to the rides and animal exhibits, Ocean Park also has several restaurants, cafes, and shops where visitors can relax and enjoy some delicious food or shop for souvenirs. Ocean Park is a must-visit attraction for anyone traveling to Hong Kong with kids.
The world-famous theme park is located on Lantau Island in Hong Kong. It’s one of the top tourist attractions in the city, offering a wide range of exciting rides, shows, and attractions that are perfect for visitors of all ages.
One of the main attractions in Hong Kong Disneyland is the Sleeping Beauty Castle, which is the centerpiece of the park and a popular spot for photos. The castle features stunning architecture and intricate details, and visitors can explore the castle’s interior to see exhibits and displays related to the Disney princess.
Another popular attraction in the park is the Iron Man Experience, which is a thrilling ride that takes visitors on a simulated flight with Iron Man over the city of Hong Kong. The ride uses state-of-the-art technology to create an immersive and exciting experience.
For families with young children, Fantasyland is a great area to explore. It features classic Disney attractions like the “It’s a Small World” ride, the “Dumbo the Flying Elephant” ride, and the “Mad Hatter Tea Cups” ride. There are also opportunities to meet and take photos with beloved Disney characters like Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Donald Duck even if they are slightly shorter than their USA and EU colleagues.
In addition to the rides and attractions, Hong Kong Disneyland also has several restaurants, cafes, and shops where visitors can enjoy delicious food and shop for souvenirs. The park also hosts several parades and shows throughout the day, featuring colorful floats, live music, and energetic performances.
The largest island in Hong Kong and a popular tourist destination that offers a unique mix of nature, culture, and entertainment. The island is easily accessible by ferry, bus, and train, making it a convenient destination for visitors to the city.
One of the main attractions on Lantau Island is the Tian Tan Buddha, also known as the Big Buddha. This iconic bronze statue stands 34 meters tall and is located on top of a hill overlooking the island. Visitors can climb the 268 steps to reach the Buddha and enjoy stunning views of the surrounding scenery.
Another popular attraction on Lantau Island is the Po Lin Monastery, which is located near the Big Buddha. This Buddhist monastery is famous for its colorful architecture and peaceful atmosphere, and visitors can explore the complex to see the intricate details of the buildings and learn about the history and culture of the area.
For nature lovers, Lantau Island also offers several scenic hiking trails, including the Lantau Trail and the Ngong Ping 360 Nature Trail. These trails offer panoramic views of the island’s rugged terrain, lush forests, and breathtaking coastline.
Peng Chau Island.
Peng Chau Island is a small, charming island located off the coast of Lantau Island in Hong Kong. Despite its small size, the island has a rich history and culture, and it’s a popular destination for visitors looking for a more relaxed and off-the-beaten-path experience.
One of the main attractions on Peng Chau Island is the Peng Chau Heritage Trail, which takes visitors on a scenic walk through the island’s historic sites and landmarks. The trail includes several temples, old houses, and other buildings that date back to the Qing Dynasty and the early 20th century.
Another popular activity on Peng Chau Island is hiking. The island has several trails that offer stunning views of the surrounding coastline and natural scenery, including the Peng Yu Path and the Finger Hill Trail.
For beach lovers, Peng Chau Island also has several small beaches and coves where visitors can swim, sunbathe, and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. One of the most popular beaches on the island is Tung Wan Beach, which has clear waters and a picturesque setting.
In addition to its natural and cultural attractions, Peng Chau Island also has several restaurants and cafes where visitors can enjoy delicious local food and drink. The island is known for its seafood, and visitors can sample fresh catches from the surrounding waters at one of the many seafood restaurants on the island.
Indulge in Hong Kong's Food Scene:
We just love Chinese food, so no time was wasted having our first meal after checking into our hotel. The restaurant was conveniently located just across the road and looked very authentic, the locals were loving it. So we ordered the most “western” dishes we could. Boy was that a mistake. “Hong Kong Belly” for the next 3 days. Choose carefully what you put in your mouth. After visiting the Stanley Market is apparent that NOTHING is wasted.
Cuisine in Hong Kong is influenced by Cantonese, European, Japanese, Korean and British. From street food to upscale restaurants, Hong Kong has it all.
Dim Sum: Hong Kong is famous for its dim sum, a style of Chinese cuisine where small dishes are served alongside tea. Tim Ho Wan is a popular dim sum restaurant, while Lin Heung Tea House is known for its more traditional and atmospheric dining experience.
Egg Tarts: Another popular Hong Kong food is egg tart. Tai Cheong Bakery is known for its delicious egg tarts that have a flaky pastry crust and creamy egg filling.
Roast Meat: Roast meat is a staple of Hong Kong cuisine. Some popular places to try roast meat include Yat Lok for roast goose and Joy Hing for char siu (barbecued pork).
Where to Shop:
The most renowned market which is visited by almost every visitor on a Hong Kong vacation is Stanley Market on the south side of Hong Kong Island. It is a labyrinth of narrow alleyways containing stalls and shops selling every kind of merchandise including silk garments, sportswear, art, Chinese costume jewelry and souvenirs. There are also several restaurants available for lunch or a snack.
Hong Kong’s Other Markets
In addition to the famous Stanley Market, there are several other markets in Hong Kong that are worth exploring. Here are some of the most popular ones:
Ladies’ Market: Located in the heart of Mong Kok, the Ladies’ Market is one of the most popular street markets in Hong Kong. It offers a wide range of fashion items, accessories, and souvenirs at affordable prices. The market is especially popular among women, but men and children can also find something to their liking here.
Temple Street Night Market: The Temple Street Night Market is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for a taste of Hong Kong’s nightlife. Located in the heart of Kowloon, the market comes alive at night with its colorful stalls, fortune tellers, and street performers. Here you can find all sorts of goods, from clothes and accessories to electronics and antiques.
Jade Market: The Jade Market in Yau Ma Tei is a fascinating place to explore, even if you’re not in the market for jade. Here you can find all kinds of beautiful and unique jade products, as well as other traditional Chinese souvenirs and gifts. The market is especially popular among collectors and those interested in Chinese culture and history.
Goldfish Market: The Goldfish Market in Mong Kok is a unique and fascinating destination that’s worth a visit. Here you can find all kinds of exotic fish, as well as other pets, such as birds and turtles. The market is especially popular among locals, but tourists can also enjoy its lively and colorful atmosphere.
Fa Yuen Street Market: The Fa Yuen Street Market in Mong Kok is a great place to find affordable and trendy shoes, clothes, and accessories. It’s also home to several local food stalls and restaurants, where you can try traditional Hong Kong snacks and dishes.
Best time to visit:
Having a subtropical climate, Hong Kong has mild, relatively dry winters and hot, humid and wet summers. So the best time would be from March to April and from October to early December. We were there around Christmas time and the weather was just perfect. There are however many shops that remain closed during the Chinese New Year, this is between mid-January to February.
Transportation within Hong Kong
Hong Kong has a well-developed and efficient public transportation system that makes it easy for tourists to get around the city. There are several options available, depending on your budget, destination, and preferred mode of transportation.
MTR (Mass Transit Railway): The MTR is the most popular and efficient mode of transportation in Hong Kong. It’s a subway system that covers most of the city and offers fast, reliable, and affordable transportation. The MTR is easy to use, with clear signs and announcements in both Chinese and English.
Buses: Hong Kong has an extensive bus network that covers most of the city, including the outlying islands. Buses are a good option for getting around if you want to see more of the city and don’t mind navigating through traffic. There are several types of buses available, including double-decker buses and air-conditioned coaches.
Trams: Hong Kong’s iconic trams are a fun and unique way to see the city. The trams run along the northern coast of Hong Kong Island and offer a scenic and affordable ride. The trams are slow, but they’re a great way to take in the sights and sounds of the city.
Ferries: Hong Kong’s harbor is one of its most famous landmarks, and taking a ferry ride is a great way to experience it. Ferries connect Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, and the outlying islands, and they offer stunning views of the city skyline and the surrounding mountains.
Taxis: Taxis are readily available in Hong Kong, and they’re a good option if you’re traveling in a group or need to get somewhere quickly. Taxis are more expensive than public transportation, but they’re still affordable by Western standards.
The most convenient payment method is the Octopus Card. It is used to pay for rides on almost all modes of public transport
Hong Kong is a vibrant and exciting destination that offers something for everyone. From its stunning skyline and natural beauty to its rich culture, history, and cuisine, Hong Kong is a city that never fails to amaze and delight visitors.
With its efficient public transportation system, it’s easy to get around and explore all that Hong Kong has to offer, from the bustling markets of Mong Kok to the tranquil beaches of Lantau Island. Whether you’re a foodie, a shopper, a history buff, or an adventure seeker, Hong Kong has something to offer you.
In addition to its many attractions, Hong Kong is also a safe and welcoming destination with friendly locals, excellent healthcare facilities, and a low crime rate. It’s a great place to experience a different culture and way of life and to create memories that will last a lifetime.
Overall, if you’re looking for a vacation destination that’s full of energy, excitement, and endless possibilities, then Hong Kong should be at the top of your list. With its unique blend of East and West, Hong Kong is a city that’s both timeless and modern, and it’s a must-visit destination for anyone looking for an unforgettable travel experience.