HOW TO EXPLORE HONG KONG IF YOU’RE A FIRST TIMER
When I think of Hong Kong I think of the hustle and bustle, the signs and the smells, the mountains and the skyscrapers. A city with much to offer! Yet when I also think about how to explore Hong Kong, I get a little overwhelmed. There is just so much to see and do. When our Australasia contributor Phoebe from Little Grey Box recently went, she learned a few things about being a first timer in Hong Kong and wanted to share it with us her on Mister Weekender. She also has lots of travel guides about Hong Kong, so make sure to visit her blog when you get a chance. Take it away Phoebe!
Visiting Hong Kong for the first time can seem a but daunting; it’s a big city and there are lots of different places to stay, eat and play whilst you’re there. But don’t let it overwhelm you because navigating your way around and finding the best spots turn out to be pretty easy.
HOW TO GET THERE The flight from Brisbane to Hong Kong takes around nine hours and the time difference doesn’t take too much of a toll on you as there is only a two hour time difference. Getting through immigration and customs is fast and easy, as is getting into the heart of Hong Kong for AUD$50 cab ride. If budget is a factor, it’s really easy to catch a bus or a train. Tip: You will need cash to pay for the bus
WHERE TO STAY Choosing a place to stay might seem tricky, given there are hundreds upon hundreds of hotels to choose from. Causeway Bay is a great place to base yourself as it has an old Hong Kong feel to it with bustling street markets, an old tram system and easy access to Kowloon and Mong Kok via the Star Ferry.
WHERE TO EAT Causeway Bay is also home to some of Hong Kong’s best food, including the famou egg waffles at Oddies. My favourite is the Delicious Italian low fat chocolate and vanilla gelato served with buter crumbs, caramelised banana ice cream, and passionfruit panna cotta topped with a freshly made brownie and chocolate chip eggette.
I definitely recommend eating lunch at one of the most affordable Michelin Star restaurants in the world by stopping in at Din Tai Fung. This simple, low-key restaurant serves up incredible handmade dumplings stuffed with fillings like steamed shrimp and pork. The food is super tasty and well priced, just be sure to get there early so you can get a seat. Just be warned, you’ll need to queue up. Don’t be discouraged, it’s worth the wait.
To experience great local food head to Gage Street for freshly made fish dumplings and noodles at Sun King Kee. You also have to try a Hong Kong Crispy Bun and traditional silk stocking coffee at Lan Fong Yuen, which is right across the street. This old-school HK cafe serves up all manner of traditional breakfast foods, including weird concoctions of watery macaroni and spam.
WHAT TO DO AT NIGHT If you like to go wild for the night, then you’ve got to get yourself down to Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong’s party district. This area doesn’t come alive until later in the evening, but it’s definitely where the action is. You can do a bar crawl and work your way around the streets.
WHERE TO SHOP Hong Kong has entire streets dedicated to one particular ware. Take a visit to Mong Kok to wander through the bright and beautiful flower market selling fresh cut flowers, delicate orchids and stunning succulents. If you keep going past the Flower Market streets you’ll eventually find yourself at the Yuen Po Street Bird Market. Then, stroll to the nearby Goldfish Market to see hundreds of bags containing all kinds of fish.
A little further on and you’ll come across sneaker street and the ladies markets, stocked full of clothes, accessories and shoes for men and women. Just remember, it’s acceptable to barter and full price is for chumps. Wander through the incredible outdoor markets which pop up in streets around Causeway Bay or visit the winding, narrow Graham Street wet markets. Stall holders sell everything from dried fruits and assorted medicines to plants and fresh meat, fruits and vegetables, the perfect place to grab some fresh fruit to snack on during the day.
HOW TO GET AROUND Getting around Hong Kong is easy thanks to an incredible efficient and affordable public transport system. Jump on the back of a tram and go either west or east for a flat rate of AUD$0.40. Catch the underground just about anywhere for between AUD$1.00 to AUD$4.00, it’s easy to navigate and trains come by every few minutes.