Although I have always heard how beautiful and “amazing” Hong Kong is, I didn’t really get it until my first visit. Hong Kong is a city that must be experienced first-hand. Upon arrival I immediately sensed the vibrancy and energy of the city. Then I was struck by the peaceful beauty of nature, the sea and the food. Wow, the food scene in Hong Kong is truly a big deal. It’s such an interesting juxtaposition of Western and Chinese culture, not to mention the incredible wealth on display. On a single city block, you could find street markets hocking trinkets, alongside fine couture shops so exclusive that you need an invitation look inside.
Getting Around Hong Kong
Our flight into Hong Kong International Airport was uneventful. One very useful traveler’s tip is to take the Airport Express train to get to/from the city, which stops at Kowloon Station, from where a short 10-minute cab ride could get us to The Langham Hotel, where we stayed for the long weekend.
The metro (MTR) is very convenient and gets you close to most places. The exception is Ocean Park, which you get to by car. If you plan to take the metro more than a few times, then go ahead and buy the Octopus card. This multi-purpose card also can be used for taxis, some convenience stores, vending machines, and even at McDonald’s.
The Star Ferry is both fun and convenient as well, which is a must-do at least once.
See & Do
Rent a boat to take you around Victoria Harbor at night. A mini-laser light show runs nightly around 20:00, emanating from one of the tall buildings in downtown Hong Kong. It’s worth seeing, although the “normal” view of Hong Kong at night is pretty darn cool on its own. I would compare the illuminated skyscrapers to Shanghai’s buildings yet slightly different.
The skyline is impressive and quite stunning anytime. Rain, sunny, and night all amazing view. Try to go up into one of the sky bars at dusk.
Like most tourists, we went up to The Peak (Victoria Peak) overlooking Hong Kong. It is extraordinarily impressive at night which explains all the other tourists up there. We took a taxi up but you can also ride on the tram, however, the tram lines are very long.
Take a ride on the Star Ferry. Quick, easy, and enjoyable way to cross the harbor.
We also ventured to the Temple Street night market in Tsim Sha Tsui. I didn’t think it was all that good. Even though many reviews suggested it as a place worth seeing, I got the feeling it is way over hyped. There were not that many vendors, the food scene was just okay, and most of all it’s relatively far from downtown. We went out there, bought some trinkets. Meh.
Ocean Park is fantastic. Plenty to do including thrill rides, walk through exhibits, shows, and scenic decor. The location is beautiful with greenery and ocean vistas. Fairly hilly but not too much walking as place is compact.
On the Kowloon side of the harbor is a restaurant bar called Aqua Spirit, located at One Peking Road. Located on the 29th floor, Aqua overlooks the harbor with stunning views of Hong Kong island. The place is great either during the day or at night, though I’d recommend going at happy hour so that you can catch the remaining daylight transitioning into the early evening lights.
Like most visitors to Hong Kong, we enjoyed shopping and dining out. One stand-out eatery is Yat Lok Restaurant located in Central Hong Kong, not far from the Mid Levels Escalators. The goose, crispy pork, and bbq pork are exceptional. The rice was a bit mushy and a couple vegetable dishes just average. They are best known for their goose, which was just about perfectly done with crispy skin and succulent meat. I will return.