A city break in Hong Kong is the perfect way to rejuvenate yourself without having to work too hard navigating a new country or planning elaborate itineraries. This makes it ideal for a last-minute holiday or a completely relaxing getaway. It’s easy to navigate Hong Kong – cabs are affordable and the metro connects most parts of the country. This makes it suitable for first time travellers, families, and tourists who don’t like to pack too much into their holiday.
Here’s a guide to all our favourite things to do, see, and most importantly eat, in Hong Kong:
Getting to Hong Kong
Hong Kong is clearly divided into 2 parts – the Island side and the Kowloon side. It’s easy to get to both from the airport. There are two options – you could take the Airport Express, which costs £18/person. This is the quickest option, especially during peak traffic hours. Alternatively you could take a cab. It takes approximately £35 to get to the airport on a cab from downtown Hong Kong.
Cathay Pacific offers excellent connections to Hong Kong from most cities in the world, so getting to Hong Kong is relatively easy and straightforward. We flew to Hong Kong with Cathay Airways from New Delhi and had a very pleasant flight. We liked the fact that the Economy Class had spacious seats as compared to other airlines and the service, both on and off the ground, was excellent. Unsurprisingly, Cathay won the leading airline in Asia for its Economy Class in 2017. Both of us really enjoyed the food and the state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment through the flight and were secretly hoping the flight to be a tad bit longer so that we could polish off a few more series of sitcoms 😉
There are frequent offers on fares on Cathay Pacific, so do always check thoroughly before booking. One quick tip – there are promotions on local attractions (e.g. Ocean Park) in Hong Kong if you show your Cathay Pacific boarding pass so always keep a lookout for these offers.
Accommodation in Hong Kong
It’s no secret – we love the decadence of Shangri-La. We’ve stayed with them several times in countries such as Myanmar and India, so Island Shangri-La was our hotel of choice. We had a great time in our room, 54 floors above the iconic harbour of Hong Kong. Warm jasmine tea and chocolates were waiting in our room upon check-in and this set the tone of our stay at the hotel – lazy mornings were spent having breakfast in bed, the perfect prelude to days spent exploring Hong Kong’s urban landscape.
Unfortunately we couldn’t stay at Island Shangri-La for the entire length of our stay in Hong Kong as it was all booked out due to a huge Rugby Tournament in Hong Kong. So we moved to Hotel Jen. We were not expecting much from it, but it turned out to be rather nice. Rooms are well equipped, the hotel has a cute 24 hour coffee and snack bar, and it is conveniently located in a bustling part of town (very close to the famous Instagram Pier ;-)). There are a number of local eateries and stores around, should you wish to explore the local landscape. Hotel Jen is ideal if you are on a budget or do not want to splurge on accommodation in Hong Kong.
Things to do in Hong Kong
There is no dearth of things to do in Hong Kong and it’s easy to cram your itinerary, whether you like shopping, dining, or partying. Here are some of our favourite things to do in the city:
- Instagram Pier – There’s nowhere else you will find a panoramic sunset spot called Instagram Pier. The quirky pier is packed with warehouse container and comes with a healthy smattering of fashion bloggers and teenagers. Expect to chance on a few photoshoots at the very least. Instagram pier can get quite crowded and windy. But its the perfect place to watch the sun set over Hong Kong’s skyline.
- Victoria Peak – It’s not possible to visit Hong Kong and not visit The Peak as its fondly called. A cab from centre to The Peak will set you back by 60HKD (~8 USD). But we recommend doing that because the tram to/from The Peak can get insanely crowded. Once you are there, you can pay to go to the top of a viewing platform. But we suggest taking a short walk along Lugard road for an equally gorgeous view that’s free of cost!
- Pink Dolphin Tour – Hong Kong’s waters are home to playful and dainty pink dolphins. If you enjoy spotting marine life, then make sure you book a Dolphin Watching Tour for yourself. Ensure you pick an eco-conscious company that truly cares about the health of these rare and delicate creatures.
Shopping in Hong Kong
- Explore Kowloon – If you, like us, are living on the Island side, then make sure you visit the bustling district of Kowloon. It is home to some of Hong Kong’s most famous Argyle Centre, Ladies Market – night market style but expensive. Watsons, Langham Place has H&M etc.
- Go to Aeon Living Plaza for cute odds and ends – Jusco Aeon Living Plaza is the equivalent of Daiso in Japan. It is similar to dollar stores all over the world but the products are way cuter. Expect washi tape, adorable stationery and ribbons, cute travel essentials, Asian candy, and hundreds of other items. Most products will set you back by a dollar. It’s impossible to enter Aeon Living Plaza and come out without purchasing anything.
- Pacific Place Mall – If you want to indulge in a bit of high-end shopping, then there’s no better place than Pacific Place Mall. The sprawling mall, located on the island side, boasts of hundreds of designer showrooms and boutiques. A couple of high-street favourites such as Zara and Watsons can be found here as well.
Eats and Drinks in Hong Kong
- Hong Kong is the mecca of cute food. Food that looks adorable seems to be quite the craze in Hong Kong. Drop by Hello Kitty Chinese Cuisine for Hello Kitty shaped dumplings, buns, and cookies (the list goes on). The restaurant is one of the oldest Hello Kitty themed eateries in the world and is extremely popular with locals because of its emphasis on natural ingredients. Surprisingly the colourful dishes on the menu taste pretty good too!
- If you love your coffee, then you must try some adorable 3D Latte Art at Leo’s Espresso. Watch the barista craft animals and cute furry creatures out of coloured milk foam in front of your eyes. What’s more – the 3D animals jiggle too! Choose from a menu featuring ivory kitties, blue elephants, and pink piglets. Don’t let the adorable food you into dismissing the actual product -the coffee itself tastes pretty good. It’s Vid approved 😉
- If you’re a third-wave coffee geek and like your coffee without any gimmicks, then you’re in for a treat in Hong Kong. Visit gourmet coffee shops such as Coco Espresso, Barista jam, Winstons Coffee and Lof10 for your fix. Our friend Shuchi, who is a coffee geek, used to live in Hong Kong. She recommended a lot of these cafés to us and we loved them!
- The Cakery has some decadent cakes with wholesome and natural ingredients. Their signature cupcakes look gorgeous but they come loaded with organic natural goodness and low sugar. We picked up some of their signature cupcakes and loved the sunflower cupcake with a pumpkin puree frosting and the low-fat double date cupcake.Why not get some delivered to your hotel if you’re celebrating a birthday or special occasion in Hong Kong? They make for the perfect gifts 🙂
- It’s not everyday that you find a Michelin starred eatery that sells incredible food at affordable prices. Tim Ho Wan is the master of dumplings – the menu changes every month but there is always a range of delectable dumplings and desserts to choose from. Of course, this does mean that it is incredibly popular and it’s common to find long queues. Make sure you have time at hand when you visit Tim Ho Wan.
- If you enjoy the tradition of English Afternoon Tea, then check out Island Shangri-La’s immensely popular afternoon tea. Expect a wide array of delicacies – everything from buttery scones and finger sandwiches to delicately-crafted pastries and flavourful canapés is on offer. You can relish it even if you aren’t staying at the hotel.
- If you’re celebrating a special occasion in Hong Kong, then try celebrity chef Seiji Yamamoto’s Ryu Gin Restaurant for some exquisite Japanese food – boasts of two Michelin stars and a gorgeous view. If Japanese food isn’t your thing, try Hutong for a delicious Chinese spread. Cafe Gray Deluxe offer perfect set menus for those who enjoy continental food – request for a table overlooking the harbour and you’re almost sure to have a meal that you’ll remember for a long long time.
- Kowloon’s streets are bursting at their seams with street food stalls and hole-in-the-wall eateries that serve delicious fare. Go for a self-guided food tour on the Streets of Mongkok. You will discover some great hole-in-the-wall eateries along the way. As for us, we discovered dumplings that tasted like little bites of heaven, sampled noodles in a bag, acquainted ourselves with Siu Mai (steamed yellow pastry), tried curry fish balls, and even got to know Hong Kong’s stinky tofu that little bit better in Mongkok
And here’s a video with all the fun we had in Hong Kong:
That’s it – a list of all our favourite things to do during a short city break in Hong Kong. Have you been to Hong Kong? What’s your favourite thing to do in the city?
Visiting Hong Kong? Combine it with a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Japan