When I went to Hong Kong, I knew at once I wanted to write a story set there.
Hong Kong, called “Pearl of the Orient”, is a unique city because it’s a blend between English and Chinese culture. There, you’ll be able to see a special connection between the urban, the mountain and the maritime setting. The spirituality of the culture may seem to clash with the skyscrapers, the financial districts and so on, but actually, the combination creates a uniquely interesting atmosphere. Despite recent problems, Hong Kong really is a place worth visiting. Don’t miss the chance to see the views from its amazing harbour.
1) Things to Do in Hong Kong: A Walk Around the City
Hong Kong literally means “fragrant harbour” and it’s from the beautiful harbour that we suggest you start your walk around the city. The streets of Hong Kong are well-known for their buzz and their vibrant atmosphere. The city’s a melting pot of cultures and you’re sure to find something interesting at every turning. Of course, Hong Kong is a huge city so it can be quite difficult to move around in, but we suggest you spend at least a day walking to catch a glimpse of the city, its rhythms and its details. People from Hong Kong are well-known for being friendly, kind and easygoing, so don’t feel shy when asking for directions or talking to people. Also in bars and restaurants, expect them to be welcoming and gentle. If you get lost, if you need to check your location or if you are simply a social media freak, don’t worry – there will be a lot of free wifi all around the city.
A word of caution: Hong Kong can be very humid, so make sure you wear fresh, light fabrics (linen for example is one of the best) and keep yourself well hydrated. Water, water, water! The best time to visit Hong Kong is from November to April, which is the dry season. You will never feel rushed in Hong Kong as everything opens and stays open until very late. Some shops even open at only 1.30pm! You’ll have plenty of time to do everything you want and even sleep in for longer – and don’t miss out on having a nice, relaxing breakfast before your long walk.
2) Places to visit in Hong Kong: Victoria Peak
You’ll probably find this in many tourist guide books, so maybe you already know about it, but it is really worth it. Victoria Peak is one of the coolest architectural spots in Hong Kong. It is located almost 400 metres above sea level and you can only reach it via tram. The trip to the peak will be wonderful… you will see the city moving in front of your eyes just outside the window. The tram’s path is the historical funicular railway. If you want to know more about it, you can visit The Peak Tram Historical Gallery. The tram has served the city since 1888, and the gallery collects the memories of past citizens, how the city changed in time and so on.
Once you get to the top of the peak, your first impulse will be to take a million pictures of the amazing view. The Pearl of the Orient’s skyline and the sea are very beautiful when seen from here. This is the highest point of all of Hong Kong Island. It is also a very exclusive neighbourhood to live in – and it has been so since the colonial era. The view is of course one of the most appealing aspects of this place, but you’ll find many cool features there as well: the Peak Tower is a must see, not only because it has a wide range of restaurants and amazing shops, but also because it has a cool terrace, the Sky Terrace 428, which will provide you a breath-taking view. The Peak Galleria has a free-entry observation deck. If you want to have a walk through the place, we highly recommend you follow the Peak Circle Walk, on which you’ll find the best view of the harbour.
3. What to See in Hong Kong: Wong Tai Sin Temple
Hong Kong is famous for being a very modern city, with huge skyscrapers, excellent public transportation and so on. But of course, Hong Kong is not only a modern city; it is a place rich in Chinese culture as well. Therefore, we highly recommend you immerse yourself in the special atmosphere that the Wong Tai Sin Temple can give you. It is a very important religious centre home to three very important religions in Asia: Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. The temple is said to make every dream come true upon request, but this is not the only reason for its popularity. It is truly beautiful, and its decoration is unforgettable. Wong Tai Sin was an important monk that lived during the Fourth century and became a deity. The temple contains a very famous and precious portrait of the monk which has been there since 1915. You can visit a lot of different buildings within the temple. It is divided into areas devoted to different religions. You can admire the colourful Good Wish Garden, the Yuk Yik Fountain and so on. It is a very colourful place and you’ll be able to see something which is very different from the modern glass and steel buildings you’ll find in the urban part of the city. You can visit the temple from 7am to 5.30pm and admission is free. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit one of the most interesting spots in the city. We guarantee a visit to Wong Tai Sin will make your stay more diverse and interesting.
4. Hong Kong Museums
If you want to know more about Hong Kong’s culture and history, then you may want to visit a museum. If you are an art lover, there are plenty of museums and they are all worth a visit. One of the most famous is CUHK Art Museum, which contains a wide range of items and traces of China’s past, including works of art and cultural and historical artefacts. Make sure to check with their website for exhibitions as they often change.
Hong Kong Museum of Art is another very famous museum, but it is temporarily closed down – it will re-open in 2018 or 2019. Until then, fill your time at the Hong Kong Arts Centre, where you’ll be able to visit the 3D-equipped cinema, the theatres, galleries, studios and so on. Moreover, the Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre is another place where you can enjoy pieces of local art. The centre is very well-organised and every artist can book a well-equipped studio to work in.
If you’re more interested in the history of the city, then you may want to visit the many cultural and historical museums – the most famous of those is of course the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, which is built according to the si he yuan tradition. The museum is divided into twelve exhibitions that regard Hong Kong history and culture. It is very interesting and would be a treat for people who are very interested in learning more about Hong Kong in general. There is a beautiful collection of paintings by the famous artist Zhao Shao’ang, and an exhibition about Bruce Lee and the art of Kung Fu, in collaboration with the Bruce Lee Foundation in the United States.
5. Hong Kong Sightseeing and Nightlife
Hong Kong is a hot and humid city, so you’d better save your energy and just take cabs or buses. For those who cant walk that much or don’t like walking, bus tours are effective and organised. Big Bus Sightseeing is the most famous company and it will help you get an overview of the city.You can choose between the 24 and the 48 hours tickets, and of course Big Bus provides a hop-on hop-off service. It provides the most extensive route and you can choose between the Day Route and the Night Route: the first one will tour around Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and Stanley, including Repulse Bay, Victoria Peak, Man Mo Temple, Soho and Stanley Market. The Night Tour, on the other hand, will show you the amazing city’s nightlife. A ferry tour is also available, and a Sampan ride in Aberdeen Harbour is even more traditional! If you want to explore the city by boat, go for it! It will make your stay unforgettable.
The nightlife in Hong Kong is amazing – apart from night events such as the neon spectacle of Nathan Road or the Symphony of Lights display, there are many places where you can enjoy great parties, especially in the area of Lan Kwai Fong.
One of the many night activities Hong Kong has to offer is the Temple Street Night Market, where you’ll be able to find many souvenirs and local specialties for yourself or your beloved. You’ll also see many street artists, opera singers or fortune tellers who will add value to your evening.
6. Hong Kong Shopping, Food and Entertainment
If you’re tired and you’ve already filled your head with notions about the history of Hong Kong, there are many things you can do to free your mind, especially if you are traveling with younger people that would appreciate a break from learning about the city’s culture. One of these attractions is of course Disneyland Hong Kong, where you’ll see the shows of many talented performers dressed as Disney characters. There will be parades, parties, shops, just like every other Disney park! Another top attraction is of course the Ocean Park, where you’ll see amazing exhibitions of marine animals, shows and so on. You will also learn a lot about the biodiversity of the Hong Kong sea.
If you are a shopaholic, you of course know that Hong Kong is full of malls and great shops, but if you want to try something local, we highly recommend the night market or the Ladies’ Market. Here, you’ll find beautiful traditional dresses that you can wear once back home to wow all your friends and colleagues!
In Hong Kong, you’ll also taste some of the best food of your life, heavily influenced by Cantonese cuisine. Japan, the Western world and South Asia have all had a strong impact on the cuisine over the years as well. We highly recommend you try the traditional dim sum breakfast and treat yourself with some specialties at the food district, called Tsim Sha Tsui.
Now you are ready to plan your trip to Hong Kong! If you visited any of the places we recommended make sure to upload a picture on Instagram and tag us in it.