From its bustling city life, rich culture, wide variety of cuisines and endless skyscrapers, what’s not to love about the spectacular place that is Hong Kong?
I visited Hong Kong in 2017 – coincidentally this just so happened to be the the 20th anniversary year of Hong Kong’s handover from British to Chinese rule (FYI). The rich combination of both Eastern and Western cultures has made Hong Kong an incredibly unique, colourful and vibrant place to visit whether for business or for pleasure. Known as the city that never sleeps in the East, Hong Kong is “Asia’s World City”.
Here’s my top ten reasons why you must visit Hong Kong!
1. The Peak
Just a tram ride away, you can escape the hustle and bustle of the city with a trip up to Hong Kong’s highest point, the Peak. Ranked as one of the best city skylines in the world, the dazzling city of futuristic skyscrapers offer from the peak are not to be missed. It’s also any Instagrammer’s dream. The Peak, situated on a mountain overlooking the city, offers spectacular, 360 degree views of the skyscrapers and the surrounding open sea and stunning mountains which will absolutely take your breath away.
2. Dim Sum
You’ll either love it or you’ll hate it! Hong Kong certainly offers a unique food culture as the Cantonese cuisine is enjoyed by many across the world today. Dim Sum refers to small dumplings that are usually steamed in bamboo steamer baskets or fried; often served with a pot of traditional Chinese tea. Whilst dim sum has stolen the hearts of many, Hong Kong is certainly the place to try it and if it doesn’t tingle your taste buds there are plenty of other cuisines to try out. Try ditching the knife and fork and give chopsticks a go – it’s harder than it looks!
Top Tip: if you are a fussy eater I recommend researching beforehand on places you can get something you’d prefer.
3. The world’s tallest bar
Until October 2017, the Ozone Bar located at the very top of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Hong Kong was the world’s highest bar. I must admit, watching the spectacular sunset views through the panoramic windows in the magical luxury surroundings of the world’s highest bar with a delicious cocktail in hand is one of the most unforgettable moments of my life. If you’re on a budget like I was, that cocktail will be your only one in that bar as it isn’t cheap but it is most definitely worth it.
4. Victoria Harbor
Located in the very center of Hong Kong, Victoria Harbor sums up the essence of the spectacular city. You haven’t been to Hong Kong if you haven’t visited Victoria Harbor! It offers yet more stunning views of the city skyline. The ‘Symphony of Lights’ display is fantastic, offering a display of both lights and sounds and happens every night at 8pm, enjoyed by both tourists and locals. You can travel alongside the traditional Chinese vessels on the Star Line Ferry if you have an Octopus card to take in yet more of Hong Kong’s surroundings. You can also walk along the “Avenue of Stars” and get some cool snaps with some of Hong Kong’s greatest film stars including the iconic Bruce Lee. Sadly, this was closed when I was there but it’s just an excuse to go back some day!
5. The nightlife
One thing I hadn’t thought much about before visiting Hong Kong was the nightlife. I didn’t have a clue what it would be like. I soon discovered that Hong Kong is not only a city of culture but of partying. If you’re looking for a good night out, take a trip to Lan Kwai Fong. This small square of streets in central Hong Kong is buzzing with fantastic bars and clubs of both tourists and locals. The rules are a little different than the UK as partying and drinking on the streets of Lan Kwai Fong just seems to be part of the culture and experience. It seems a little bizarre but just embrace it. Hong Kong is also a massive place for gambling and the horse races on a Wednesday night are a surreal yet extraordinary experience that I couldn’t recommend more and I’m not even a gambler!
6. Mong Kok
A buzzing maze of narrow streets, Mong Kok is known for shopping. This is where you will find the Ladies’ Market where you will pick up your accurate Mulberry lookalike handbag. If you’re anything like me you’ll soon begin to feel like a total professional bargaining down the price of goods with the local venders. Ladies’ Market allows you to soak up the essence of Hong Kong, offering an array of colours from the stalls and smells from the nearby street market. It’s the part that fits your description of what you imagined Hong Kong to be like.
7. The Big Buddha
One of my favourite things about Hong Kong was how the tallest skyscrapers in the world could be surrounded by sea, mountains and mountain setting. It felt to me like a city in a jungle. If you do get a chance, you need to visit the Tian Tan Buddha, also known as the Big Buddha. One of the biggest Buddha statues in the world, this large bronze statue is located at Ngong Ping, Lantau Island, in Hong Kong. It’s incredibly calming to leave the buzzing city behind and enter the stunning rural surroundings. I must note also that it is extremely easy to get to via the metro. Once off the metro, you can take a cable car up to the big Buddha where you can embrace calm vibes like nothing I’ve ever experienced.
8. Chi Lin Nunnery
This nunnery, located in the centre of Hong Kong is something I ended up stumbling upon unexpectedly. Its picturesque setting, delicate architecture and rich colours contradicts the skyscrapers which surround it. If you are a first-timer to Asia like I was when I visited Hong Kong you will be blown away by the Chi Lin Nunnery along with the stunning temples of which there are plenty to choose from in Hong Kong. Please do not miss visiting this or Wong Tai Sin Temple – I won’t say anymore on that one, you can see it for yourself!
If you are a huge Disney fan like me, you’ll be delighted to hear that Hong Kong has its very own Disneyland. Take a trip to visit Mickey and Minnie and embrace your inner child for the day!
Last but certainly not least – I cannot recommend Hong Kong without mentioning the incredible shopping scene which it has to offer. If you’re looking for cheap clothing to bargain for visit Mong Kok, if you’re looking for something a little more high-end then Causeway Bay or Tsim Sha Tsui is the place for you! This will offer you world class shopping and entertainment
Where to stay?
There are plenty of hotels on offer in Hong Kong but if I can give any advice just try to stay in the area known as ‘Central.’ This will be close to the main metro station and allow you to fit more into your trip. Check out some central hotels below – it all depends on your budget!
Four Seasons Hotel, Hong Kong
JW Marriott Hotel, Hong Kong
Shama Central, Hong Kong
Ovolo Central, Hong Kong
When to go?
I visited Hong Kong in mid-June – the time of the year when the city tends to get very hot, wet and humid (not ideal for the Instagram selfies at Victoria Harbor when your hair is sticking to your face). If you’re going around that time just remember your umbrella… The best time would typically be between October and December but it is fantastic all year around!
One of the most important things to remember when you are visiting Hong Kong is to buy a rechargeable Octopus Card. This will allow you use all methods of public transportation including the subway, the Star Ferry, buses, the Peak tram to Victoria Peak as well as plenty of others which will save you a lot of money (which you will probably spend on shopping instead) Hong Kong can be expensive but if you are booking your flights well in advance and eating in the street markets will save you a lot of money. Also, remember to order in your Hong Kong Dollars in advance to avoid stress because you’re UK bank will more than likely have to order them in before you go.
Well, I could write another 10 reasons of why you should go to Hong Kong but I don’t want to give any more spoilers about this wonderful place. Go see for yourself! What are you waiting for? Go and book your flights!