Cost: £££ – you’ve got to have cash to splash
Rating: 10/10 – I LOVE Hong Kong but you only need a short time there as it’s fast-paced and pretty crazy. You will likely need to sleep for a week afterwards
I’m incredibly fortunate as I travel to HK each year with work to run one of our events out there. Below is the mix of things I’ve done when visiting over the last 4 years…
Return flights from London are £600 – £700 when booked a couple of months in advance! Check SkyScanner for best fares and don’t forget to enter your frequent flyer number so you can use the points to reduce the cost of your next flight!
Hong Kong is too far from London to be a mini break so I’d perhaps tag it onto a longer Asia trip (Thailand / Cambodia etc.)
The hotel we host the event in is the Grand Hyatt, Wan Chai. It’s an absolutely gorgeous 5* hotel with great rooms, service, food and views! Below and above have been the views from my room over the last 4 years.
Looking online, it is super expensive: standard rate for a king room advance booking = HKD3,864 / £380 per night. If you have a bit of cash you want to splash then it might just be worth it.
Although Hong Kong is generally expensive, you could try AirBnb / booking.com for far cheaper options. You could also try Kowloon instead of Hong Kong island as I’d assume staying there wouldn’t be so costly.
Currency is the Hong Kong dollar! As I write, the HKD 1 = £0.098 / £10 = HKD 101.60! Roughly it works out to be HKD 10 to every GBP 1! Check conversion rates before you go as they may well change.
You can get the Hong Kong Airport Express Train to get from the airport to Hong Kong Central station. It runs really regularly and costs HKD 115 (around £11). The local taxis are very cheap but aren’t the snazziest things in the world. If you want a nicer car, you can use Uber but you’ll pay a fair amount more. The underground system is fantastic – so clean and easy to use. It’s called the MTR and you can get yourself an Octopus card to get around (like Oyster card).
Things to do…
1 – The Victoria Peak
Head to The Peak for an unbelievable view of Hong Kong (and Kowloon in the distance). Tickets for the terrace (Sky Terrace 428) are HKD 52 (around £5). If you haven’t bought them before you go, make sure you buy them from the first floor of the building you’ll enter to get there. On our most recent trip we made the mistake of going all the way to the top expecting to buy tickets there, then were sent all the way back down again!
You can get the tram to the top which costs HKD 52 per person (around £5), but you have to wait for this and it’s usually cheaper and quicker for a group to head up in a taxi. I’d suggest aiming to get to the top just before sunset. That way you see HK in the daylight, when the sun sets, and when it’s lit up in the dark!
2 – Big Buddha
Big Buddha is a half day trip from Hong Kong but definitely worth doing. You get the MTR from Hong Kong Central to the MTR Tung Chung Station Exit B, then take the Ngong Ping Cable Car. The cable car is an experience in itself – some have glass bottomed floors so you can see below you. If you get a nice day, it’s stunning!
A round trip in the Crystal Cabin is HKD 315 (£31), or in the standard cabin (opaque floor) is HKD 235 (£23). If you go really early in the morning, you might get lucky like I did and have a Crystal Cabin to yourself!! (loner)!!
Big Buddha is actually called the Tian Tan Buddha statue and was erected in 1993 after taking 12 years to complete. It’s 34 metres high and you have to climb 268 steps to get to the top! Opposite Buddha is the Po Lin Monastery which has been dubbed ‘the Buddhist World in the South’.
3 – Star Ferry
If you’re travelling to / from Kowloon, I’d definitely recommend taking the Star Ferry. It gives you absolutely stunning views! You can book a tour for around £10 or just hop on the ferry like a local which costs HKD 4 / 40p!!!
4 – Kowloon
Kowloon is over the water from Hong Kong island and is a very busy, urban area with a population of over 2 million. Things to do there:
– Victoria Harbour
A busy harbour area on the waterfront!
– Mong Kok / Tung Choi Street
Area known for shopping with pop up stalls and the famous Ladies’ Market! You probably wont buy much (unless you’re after fakes), but it’s fun to walk around. There are 100s of stalls selling clothes, accessories, watches etc.
– Avenue of Stars
I haven’t actually been here but it’s on a list of ‘things to do’! Honours Hong Kong celebs.
– Sky 100
Also haven’t been here but looks good if you’re into views. Has a 360 degree observation deck on the 100th floor of the International Commerce Centre.
5 – Disneyland
Disneyland. Need I say more? The most wonderful place in the world!
Hong Kong Disney is a lot smaller than the others I’ve been to but of course there’s plenty to do. I’ve been twice, but most recently I got there as it opened which was great… there were no queues for any of the rides so we whizzed round quite quickly.
I love the shows they put on there. The Lion King one is great so make sure you get to see that! You can book day tickets online for HKD 619 / £62! 100% worth it! It’s quite close to the airport and has luggage storage if you want to fill the day before you leave. It’s about 30 mins from Hong Kong Central station and very easy to get there. The train has Mickey shaped windows and handles!!! So cute!
6 – Tai O
Tai O is a teeny fishing town on Lantau Island in Hong Kong. The name means large inlet!
I went on a hike with my boss, one of our lovely clients and her ‘Hong Kong Happy Hiker’ friends. I believe we met at Tung Chung station (I recognised it from my Big Buddha trip) and we walked all the way there. I think it took a couple of hours but the scenery was amazing. I think you can also get a bus and a ferry from the station if you’d prefer. Apparently if you take a boat trip you might see dolphins too!
Tai O has tiny streets, old buildings and a village on stilts. It was amazing to see all the weird foods and goods on display to buy. It feels very local and not too full of tourists!
We went to a really cool, super casual restaurant with the most amazing food! It was called the Crossing Boat Restaurant and is apparently famous for its roast goose. The food was incredible but don’t expect a super glam setting.
7 – Po Toi
A friend (and client) took us to Po Toi island on his boat. I think it was about a 20 min super fast ride in a speedboat. It’s a tiny island with a very small population. We went to an incredible restaurant on the beach with the most amazing Cantonese and fresh seafood! It’s called Ming Kee Restaurant. The squid was soooooo yum! The only downside is the bathrooms are portaloos (however, these may have been because a recent typhoon had wiped out half of the restaurant).
We only went for a quick lunch, but if you have the time I think the island is great for hiking. I had a quick look on TripAdvisor and lots of people seem to visit the island on boat trips so that may be worth investigating.
8 – Macau
Macau is an interesting place known for its casinos, earning it the nickname “Las Vegas of Asia”. We got the ferry from Hong Kong to Macau. Ferries run quite regularly from different ports in Hong Kong – see which one you’re nearest to! You can book in advance / check times online and buy tickets at the ferry port. Remember your passport (we forgot and had to go back for them – oops).
Things to do…
– Ruins of St. Paul’s – pic above right – it’s a 17th-century church destroyed by a fire!
– Fortaleza do Monte – a massive fort completed in 1626. It has an incredible view and garden at the top!
Other things to do which we didn’t…
– The Venetian Macao
A posh resort with ‘plush’ restaurants, outdoor pools, canals etc.
– Macau Tower
Tower with shops, cinema & eateries with a revolving restaurant at the top.
– Casinos and partying
I didn’t go to any casinos / bars as only visited for the day, but here is a guide to the nightlife in Macau!
9 – Stanley Market
I haven’t actually been here but my dad tells me to go each year. He tells me to get there on the top floor of a double-decker bus and take in the views.
CLICK HERE to read more about the market. I believe Stanley has a beach too.
10 – Going out
I absolutely love going out in Hong Kong. The nightlife is fantastic. What I particularly love is that there are live bands in most bars / clubs you go to.
Here are some of the places I’ve enjoyed the most over the last few years…
– Ce La Vi
Restaurant and bar with incredible rooftop and top floor views in Lan Kwai Fong!
This was quite a cool bar with a great terrace if I remember correctly. Also in Lan Kwai Fong!
Also a fun bar in Lan Kwai Fong.
And my favourite place in Lan Kwai Fong is…….
LOVE this place! It will be your last stop before home and I’d recommend you go quite drunk, but I have honestly had the best times there!
Really cool bar in Wan Chai. It calls itself a ‘performance venue for the sophisticated’! It basically has women models elaborately dressed / painted all over the bar.
– Dusk till Dawn
An unbelievable music spot in Wan Chai! Lots of fun.
– The Drop
We actually ended up here after Insomnia this year (at about 6am… ergh!) It’s ‘Hong Kong’s Home of House‘! Bit of an odd place but I guess fun if you like house music.
11 – Food
Lots of amazing food and different cuisines on offer in Hong Kong. Here are a few of my faves…
You will definitely need to book in advance as this is a tiny restaurant in Sai Ying Pun. I really love the intimate setting. The food is a blend of Southeast Asian and European flavours and is absolutely delicious and beautifully presented. Dishes are made for sharing.
– Din Tai Fung
World famous Taiwanese restaurant (one is actually now coming to London which I am VERY excited about). The restaurant is kind of like a canteen so not a particularly visually special restaurant, but the dumplings are absolutely incredible. I believe it has one Michelin star! They do takeaway too (which we got one year because the queue was too long to wait for a table). I hope the one in London is as good.
Jumbo is a little bit of a novelty but I must admit, very fun. You get a free boat across the water to get there which is quite pretty. The restaurant has 3 floors, absolutely covered in lights!
I think it’s more about the atmosphere and experience rather than outstanding food. Food was okay but not amazing. I couldn’t stop laughing when my colleagues and clients started dressing for a family photograph in traditional gear. Good fun!
– Potato Head
Restaurant in Sin Ying Pun with a cool vibe… ‘simple food with an Indonesian twist‘!
We ordered lots of sharing plates which were all delicious. We had the cooking area right next to us which was nice as we could see the chefs finishing the dishes.
Really nice Italian restaurant in Wan Chai. We had a fantastic dinner here!
– Bib n Hops
Nice Korean food also in Wan Chai. Service wasn’t great but food was!
Restaurant at the Landmark in central Hong Kong. ‘Twist on the traditional Japanese Izakaya style of informal eating and drinking‘! Food is good but pricey. They have Zuma restaurants across the world (one in London too if you’re desperate to go).
A bar / restaurant in Wan Chai. The rooftop bar has fantastic views of the city.
– Grand Hyatt
As we stay at the Hyatt we tend to eat there a lot. The breakfast buffet is the best I have ever had… definitely recommend if you want lots of variation and deliciousness!
Restaurants at the Hyatt:
– Grand Cafe on the ground floor. Home to the unreal breakfast, and dinner buffets.
– Tiffin on the first floor. Lunch and dinner buffets in a casual lounge setting.
– Grissini has an Italian restaurant with amazing views of the Victoria Harbour.
– Steakhouse boast itself as one of the best steak houses in HK.
– One Harbour Road is a gorgeous and elegant Chinese restaurant. Known for serving traditional home-style Cantonese cuisine. YUM!
There’s also a restaurant by the pool called The Grill! Very cute lunch / dinner spot.
And just to prove I do work when in Hong Kong, here are some pics of the event I run…
I absolutely LOVE Hong Kong. Think it is such an amazing place with so much variety and would definitely recommend you go and see it for yourself 🙂