Top 27 Things to do in Hong Kong - Introduction
Hong Kong is one of the world's most crowded urban environments. The city is diverse, fast-paced and an incredible introduction to Asia and China.
Kowloon, Central and the Causeway Bay areas get really crowded. This is fun to see, but if you want to get somewhere you better make sure you deal with it properly.
Hong Kong has a wet yet very hot climate for most of the summer (April to September). Frequent rain and thunderstorms drown the city with water so always bring a sturdy umbrella or rain jacket.
Hong Kong is also expensive; the closer you get to Causeway Bay and Central, the costs climb to a level you see in Manhattan. Since the Hong Kong Dollar has been pegged to the US Dollar for a long time, there is no currency arbitrage; expect costs to be very similar to New York City.
Top 27 Things to do in Hong Kong - Sightseeing
Hong Kong can hit you with a surprise behind every door and it changes quickly from block to block. I have been to Hong Kong half a dozen times and always found new things to discover or rediscover. Here are my current favorites.
Victoria Peak (or simply 'The Peak') offers a wonderful panoramic viewpoint over Hong Kong. It is a must-do if the weather is clear.
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Picture courtesy of Ed
There is a tram that goes up to the Peak - I would strongly advise not to use it as it's really touristy. Instead, get on Bus No. 15
- it's just HK$9.80 per person and half price for children.
Victoria Harbour Ferry
The Victoria Harbour isn't really a harbor between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island - it is just a waterway. The ferry rides keeps getting shorter as the city reclaims more land. However, this is the quintessential way to discover Hong Kong and a must-do.
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Picture courtesy of VirtualTourist
Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade / Avenue of Stars
These are the places to experience the famous Hong Kong skyline (which Shanghai has copied somewhat successfully). The best time is late in the day so you get to see them at dusk and at night time (with the many illuminated billboards).
Hong Kong Museum of History
I went there a couple of years ago and found it to be a quirky and interesting museum. It does not take long to go round, but it helps you to understand the special role this city played in the last 200 years.
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Picture courtesy of Alina M
This is one of the favorite jogging trails for locals. To get there you have to climb the steep hill, but once up on that level, it is mostly flat. It's away from it all and has a real nature feel to it. Don't miss the incredible views towards the city.
Causeway Bay Shopping
Causeway Bay is described as the most exhilarating shopping area on earth
. It is incredibly crowded and does not look chic. Thankfully there are very few chain stores in this area and if you dig deep enough you can find incredible bargains.
Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car
I admit that this one I have not done myself yet, but I heard enough people recommend it. The cable car spans a wide section of Lantau Island. It's not recommended on cloudy days or when thunderstorms hit, but on clear days this can be fun!
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Picture courtesy of Cynthia D
Top 27 Things to do in Hong Kong - Food and Drinks
Hong Kong is chock-full of every kind of cuisine as well as coffee shops and drinking holes. I use Foursquare
to find place locals like the most. Here are the places I like the most.
This tiny place (what else would you expect in Hong Kong) dishes out healthy and tasty Korean fast food. I had the bibimbap which was ready in a minute and a steal at $10 for lunch.
Nagahama No. 1 Ramen
No. 1 Ramen lives up to its name, with excellent ramen. Plus it's good value, too.
Once you step in here, you may well have a déjà vu about other places in Hong Kong. It's super-small and there's way too many staff, but it's cozy, the espresso drinks are awesome and the food is delicious and not as expensive as you might fear.
Brew Bros also has WiFi, though it isn't very fast. So this place is a clear winner even without its uber-friendly staff.
This ultra-hip coffee shop is just next door to Brew Bros. It's clearly more hip and artsy here and the WiFi is faster. I felt that the food was a bit less exciting, though, but the coffee was just as great.
This little bar is like the bars a dime a dozen in the busy Lang Kwai Fong area. However, it has a beautiful setting, friendly staff and a long list of drinks that are all 2 for 1 during happy hour.
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Picture courtesy of Tom S
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Picture courtesy of Asia Bars & Restaurants
Hazel & Hershey
Hazel & Hershey is properly hidden at the end of the steep Lang Kwai Fong streets. Don't come here to experience Hong Kong's best coffee (though they certainly try); instead come here for the beautiful outdoor patio on a not so hot day. This is when this place shines. It closes at 6PM, so don't be late either.
If you spent all your money already and doubt that you can afford more beer at the fancy Lan Kwai Fong places, head to HK Brewcraft for the city's best selection in craft beers.
Via Tokyo Desserts
This tiny little place serves incredibly delicious Japanese-inspired desserts. The Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream will blow you away.
Che's Cantonese Restaurant
No Hong Kong visit is complete without a healthy portion of dim sum. Che's Cantonese will provide you with the experience and it does not get much more local than that.
Din Tai Fung
Din Tai Fung is a mini-chain of dim sum restaurants. It's colorful, bright and rather cheap.
Lan Kwai Fong
Lan Kwai Fong (or LKF) is a number of street blocks that are famous, but they are also - disappointingly - really tacky. However, there are some gems here that include Brickhouse
, which serves awesome Mexican food, and The Globe
which has a seemingly endless amount of craft beers to offer.
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Picture courtesy of Brickhouse
The Globe is my favorite place in Hong Kong to get a local brew (besides T.A.P. on the other side of the harbor).
T. A. P. - The Ale Project
The Ale Project is small but comes with a lot of atmosphere. It has a seemingly endless range of local brews on tap. Awesome spot in a good part of Kowloon.
I'm sure you have been to similar ramen places before, where there's a long wait and a tiny dining hall but you get a huge and hugely delicious bowl of ramen. That's what you can expect at Butao Ramen.
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Picture courtesy of Fiona C
Ritz Carlton Ozone
The new Ritz Carlton Hotel development is a major addition to Hong Kong's skyline. It's a bit removed from the action, though, so you will need to get a taxi there.
The bar sits on top of the hotel, 100 stories up (and often in the clouds). Go for a drink there and marvel at the view on a clear day!
Nha Trang is a chain that serves delicious and rather cheap southern Vietnamese cuisine. It's located in most malls, but don't let the location distract you - it is high quality food for a fair price!
Coco Espresso is a safe choice in the abundance of Hong Kong coffee shops. The coffee is delicious and the baristas are friendly, though the space can be very crowded!
Woodlands (Indian Cuisine)
If you crave original Indian cuisine (knowing me, that is every second day), then Hong Kong has Woodlands for you. It is located in a rather modest-looking shopping mall and the seating isn't exactly inviting, but ignore all that, order the thali and indulge!
Urban Coffee Roaster (Kowloon)
Yes, it is tiny and the WiFi is only good for 15 minutes, but it's amazing what you can do with a spot so small. Awesome coffee, friendly staff and a down-to-earth atmosphere make this place a winner.
Top 27 Things to do in Hong Kong - Places to Stay
Looking for places to stay in Hong Kong? See my recent reviews!
- InterContinental Hong Kong
- Hotel Indigo Hong Kong
- Eaton House Wanchai
- Holiday Inn Express Mong Kok