"Hong Kong has always been a dynamic, exciting, and high-energy city. It has that New York thing going on, and people here care about how they look."
- Mickey Drexler
A lot can be said about the city of Hong Kong. Just a few miles away from mainland china, this city feels like you're stepping into a whole new world. From extravagant street festivals to the cheapest michelin star restaurant in the world, I'm going to be taking you through a list of my top 10 favorite ways to experience this city.
FOR A LIST OF MY FAVORITE STREET FOOD SPOTS AND RESTAURANTS, CLICK HERE
1. Apliu Street Flea Market
You've probably already heard that Hong Kong has some crazy cheap electronics, mostly because many of them are shipped through Hong Kong's port. You can find them all over the city, but there are only a few places that don't actively try to rip you off (like the much larger Mongkok Street Market). The Apliu Flea market is one of the few markets that doesn't cater to tourists.
Located in Kowloon, this authentic local market is the perfect place to check out the wide variety of cheap products sold in HK. Now it's important to note that any american branded product (like beats by dre for example) are 100% replicas, so you should always be looking for non-branded electronics which are generally higher quality.
Hours: 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Address: Apliu Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
2. Lamma Island (Yung Shue Wan)
Lamma island is a small island off the coast of Hong Kong, with two tiny fishing villages on it that have been there for thousands of years. The total population of the island is around 7,000 people, although it has risen in popularity over the past few years.
I recommend taking the ferry around 11:00am, and stopping in the first village to grab lunch at one of the many seaside restaurants. Then you can rent a bike for a few dollars and ride the single path that takes you around the island (side note: the path isn't a loop its a dead end, so whenever you feel like you've seen enough just turn around and head back). The perfect day trip!
Price: Take the Central Ferry Pier #4 to Lamma Island (Yung Shue Wan) for 16 HK
Hours: Ferries run 6:30AM - 11:30PM (every 45min)
Address: Central Ferry Pier #4, Central, Hong Kong
3. Big Buddha (Tin Tian)
The Big Buddha is located on Lantau Island (near the airport) and stands at a little over 112ft tall (34 metres). The towering statue was completed in 1993 and the opening ceremony was attended by renowned Buddhists from all over the world.
Entrance to the outside is free. To go inside the statue (which isn't really necessary), you have to pay a $65 HK admittance fee, which gives you access to the three floors beneath the Buddha. The easiest way to get to Ngong Ping is by taxi, alternatively you can take the bus or cable car which both leave from Tung Chung.
Hours: 10:00AM - 5:30PM
Address: Ngong Ping Rd, Lantau Island, Hong Kong
4. DIM SUM!
Hong Kong is known for its diverse (and delicious!) food scene. At the top, of which is Dim Sum.
I'll start by recommending what is currently the cheapest Michelin star restaurant in the world, Tim Ho Wan's, in Kowloon. Famous for its BBQ pork buns and soup dumplings, you can fill up on some of the best food in the city, without breaking the bank. Another more local spot is Dim Dim Sum in Wan Chai where I can guarantee you'll be the only foreigner in the entire restaurant.
For a complete list of favorite restaurants, street food spots, and bars click here
5. Yuen Po Street Bird Garden
Birds are one of the most popular pets for Hong Kong locals, and this is the street where many come to... I guess walk them? Regardless this is one of the most peaceful spots in the whole city, and you can walk around and admire the many different types of birds as the noise and chaos of the city fades away.
Hours: 7:00AM - 8:00PM Daily
Address: 222-224 Prince Edward Rd W, Prince Edward, Hong Kong
6. Flower Market Rd.
Right next to the Yuen Po Bird Street is the Flower Market. Packed full of every single type of flower imaginable, sit back and watch the locals elbow there way past one another as they try to get the best deal on the latest bouquet. Bonus points if you go right before Chinese New Year, when the market really takes off.
A fun stop on your way to lunch or dinner, this unique market will amaze you with its size and energy.
Hours: 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM Daily
Address: Flower Market Rd, Mong Kok, Hong Kong
7. Lan Kwai Fong
Lan Kwai Fong is the party district of Hong Kong. Young locals flock to this area of the city, grabbing a drink at their favorite live music bar or club. If you want to have a good night out, this is the place to be.
There are a few specific bars that I would recommend, starting with Senses 99. This intimate live music bar offers the latest up and coming Hong Kong bands in a venue so small your practically part of the band (in a good way!). A great spot to get into Hong Kong's live music scene. The second place I would recommend is Anthony's Ranch, which serves delicious western-style food and refreshing pints of ale in a hip atmosphere.
For a full list of my bar/club recommendations, check out my interactive map of Hong Kong
8. Victoria's Peak
Sitting at 1,800ft (552m), Victoria's Peak overlooks the south side of Hong Kong, including the harbor and Kowloon. If you want to hike up, the route starts at the bottom of Old Peak Road, right next to the Central metro stop (beware it's quite steep!). Alternatively you can take a tram that drops you off right at the observation deck, albeit a much less interesting route.
Once you're at the top you get amazing 360 degree views of the city. You can also find various shops and restaurants in the area.
Price: Tram costs $45 HK (return) and $32 HK (single)
Hours: Leaves every 15min and runs from 7:00AM - 12:00PM
Walking route: Starts at Old Peak Road, you'll see signs for it as you leave Central station
Tram: The Peak Tram, Central, Hong Kong
9. Central Park
The Hong Kong Central Park cost the city a whopping $398 million HK and covers some 360,000 sqft. Several water features, vantage points, and even an aviary are located in the park. That being said, my favorite thing to do here is to watch the old guys play chinese checkers, as dozens of spectators gather to watch and/or place bets!
Although it's somewhat crowded during the day, as soon as the sun begins to set the park clears out and a strange silence descends around it. This was my favorite time to visit (I'm not much for huge throngs of tourists).
Address: Central Park, Central, Hong Kong
10. Tai Long Wan
About 45min outside of the city is one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Asia. Crystal clear waters, white sand beaches, and teeming wildlife surround Tai Long Wan. You can drive to Sai Kung and then hire a boat to take you out to one of the four beaches, or you can hike for about 60min through some amazing trails.
Although it's a bit out of the way, the serenity of this area is intoxicating and well worth the time it takes to get there (in some cases that's a bonus because it means less tourists are willing to make the trek out).
Address: The beach is called Tai Long Wan, but all the ways to get there start with a town called Sai Kung
WHERE TO STAY?
There are two main areas to stay within Hong Kong. The first is on the so-called island side of the city. This puts you close to Lan Kwai Fong, the Central Park, and Victoria's Peak, a high action area of the city. The second area to stay in is Kowloon across the bay. This is where all the electronic markets are as well as some of the best restaurants and street food in the city.
The important thing is to be located close to a metro line because that's how everyone gets around the city (I highly recommend getting an Octopus card which are refillable and make navigating a breeze.