Hong Kong is a mix of urban and history. On one hand, you face an old apartment block with its paint chipping away. Crowds hustle and bustle their way through traffic and each other for some late night street food. On the other hand, there are new and brightly lit shopping malls flooded with luxury apparel, beauty and lifestyle goods no matter where you walk (Not to mention the city is a global financial hub too).
With its rich culture dating back hundreds of years, there is much to see and something for everyone! I’ve put together a city guide below of my time spent in Hong Kong for some recommendations and handy tips the next time you decide to go.
WHERE TO STAY
For this trip, we booked a stay at The Upper House on the island side of Hong Kong.
The Upper House is a fairly new establishment, designed by architect Andre Fu to create a feeling of luxury and residential calmness. I loved this hotel due to its central location to everything. It’s located in the same blocks of buildings as Pacific Place, a shopping hotspot. Admiralty station is also just a 7 minute walk away which connects you to all major MTR stops (Tsim Sha Tsui is only one stop away!).
Let’s talk about the service first. From the moment you arrive, you are greeted by a no-form check-in – a paperless arrival. You can then wait anywhere you want and the reception will come to you to complete the checkin process! Super easy, customer focused and gives you time to explore the hotel whilst they take care of your luggage and room.
I fell in love with the room the moment I arrived. Mi casa, su casa. Spacious living areas in the Studio 80 room make you feel right at home and oh where can I begin with their spa-inspired bathrooms! Choose between the walk-in rain show or a bubble bath in the limestone tub that overlooks Hong Kong’s skyline. Plenty of walking room for you to kick back and relax without having any issues with luggage space.
More features of Upper House include dining at their Cafe Gray Deluxe, free (yes free!) yoga classes every Saturday and Sunday morning, and a 24 hour fitness centre to keep you fit during your trip.
WHAT TO DO
When in Hong Kong, you can’t miss a trip to Victoria Peak – a mountain famous for its vantage lookout point of Hong Kong’s incredible city scape. Access is easier via tram (operates from 7am) which will take you up the peak for a small fare, or other public transport options.
However if you’re up for an adventure like I was, try heading up the peak at 4am to catch the famous ‘blue hour’ followed by a spectacular sunrise. It will take a taxi ride and 15 minutes walk to Lugard Rd, but trust me it’s completely worth it for the view. Make sure to dress warm though! It gets cold once the wind begins to draft into the city.
Hong Kong Markets
Shopping is one of the best leisure activities to do in Hong Kong, but by far the best shopping experience you’ll have is being surrounded by bustling markets where vendors sell practically everything you didn’t know you needed. There is a thrill being in an atmosphere where multiple sellers are trying to rope you in by irresistible offers. From clothing, knock off handbags to homewares and souvenirs, there’s something for everything in the crowd of Hong Kong markets! Be sure to carry cash though because most vendors don’t carry ATM machines, and be prepared to do some haggling for a lower price!
Museum of History
If you love learning about a city and their story like I do, then Hong Kong has you covered with their museums. Hong Kong is a place with very rich history and culture spanning thousands of years and their museums teach you just about everything you need to know – from how the city first established its roots to the different cultures that assimilated into one. You’ll also get to learn fun facts about their animals and ecosystem as well as see some genuine artefacts and built to scale exhibits! If History isn’t your thing, the Museum of Science is just next door. On some days, both museums have free entry for guests on certain exhibitions.
Other note worthy destinations:
✢ Ocean Park
✢ Stanley Road
✢ Tian Tan Buddha
WHAT TO EAT
CAFE GRAY DELUXE
Cafe Gray Deluxe is located on the highest level of The Upper House. If Panoramic views of the Hong Kong skyline wasn’t good enough, then you have to dip your taste buds into their menu for a classic Chinese twist! I had one of the best traditional breakfasts at Cafe Gray Deluxe – freshly made congee, tea and hot dim sum all in one serving…yummmm
HIGH TEA @ HOTEL ICON
My mum is a big lover of high tea, so we didn’t skimp out on the afternoon tea (We went 4 times in 8 days!). Situated at Hotel Icon, Above & Beyond is one of Hong Kong’s most celebrated Cantonese restaurants, with three Michelin stars to boot! They offer a Cantonese inspired high tea selection, with some of the best tea leaves I’ve ever witnessed on a menu. All produce is selected fresh and local and changes seasonally.
The only restaurant I went to twice whilst in Hong Kong, because I simply couldn’t get enough! Mott 32 is again, based on traditional Chinese food and their specialty is their dim sum in the mornings, and roasted food at night. The dimly lit restaurant and decor will exude an ambience of intimacy, a definite popular spot for couples and friends! If you’re planning to dine at Mott 32, do call up and pre order their signature dish, the peking duck. The skin is crisped to perfection and all flavours balance out like magic!
Other note worthy food stops:
✢ Yat Lok
✢ Tin Lung Heen
✢ The Market Buffet
✢ Capital Cafe
Hong Kong in a nutshell
Beautifully chaotic, is what I would describe it, the city is such a wonderful place with many street corners worth exploring. I was very lucky to have experienced not only great dining, sightseeing and views, but the warmth of culture and living like a local in such a bustling place. Bye Bye to Hong Kong for now, but I will definitely be back soon! ♥♥