In 2014, My best friend and I boarded a plane to London for what would be the greatest decision of my life. We decided to make a pit-stop in Hong Kong and explore another new city before our big European adventure.
It’s been three years since our trip and has taken me this long to put together a helpful guide for travellers visiting Hong Kong for the first time or like us, making a quick pit-stop. To be honest, I forgot about it. Not because it was uneventful ( it was anything but that ) but because I didn’t have a travel blog at the time and as I was clicking around my blog today, I discovered a simple blog post titled Hong Kong, that featured one photo and nothing else. Any city deserves more than that.
A Pit-stop in Hong Kong
A few helpful facts about Hong Kong before you visit:
- Hong Kong was taken over by the British forces after the defeat of China in the Opium War of 1842 (Note: In 1997, Hong Kong became the Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China) This totally explains the electricity outlets being the same as in the UK.
- Hong Kong does not have any Goods and Service Tax (GST), or Value Added Tax (V.A.T), or whatever it is your country calls it. This = a retail heaven for shoppers alike. Happy Shopping, lovelies.
- They speak Cantonese, and then English.
Again, because of their historical background, most people can speak English fluently.
- It has an enormous amount of Sky Scrapers and almost as many hills.
Bring great walking shoes, ladies and gentlemen. This is seriously necessary when exploring any of Hong Kong on foot.
- Hotel rooms are SMALL!
Okay, this is based on my personal experience and a few circulating rumours, but even higher priced hotels are still way smaller than you expect. It made for a pretty hilarious time, being able to hold my friend’s hand from our separate beds.
Where we stayed: We stayed at a 3-star hotel called ‘Mingle on the Wing’, located in the busy business district of Hong Kong, walking distance to local subway station, SoHo and Lan Kwai Fong. We were also able to walk to the Peak Tram Station, an easy 1.2 km from the hotel. The room was incredibly tiny, but we found the location very central and perfect for a first-timer not knowing anything about the city, we stumbled across the sites. I will say, our street was FULL of very strange things, like jars of dried up seahorses.
I would summarise my visit in Hong Kong as weird, wonderful and wildly humid. Despite being pushed for time, we found ourselves kept busy the entire time. We ticked off a few ‘must do’ activities during our two short days and managed to stumble across some fantastic Cafe’s (full of expats from Australian) ate amazing food and continueously stumbled across confusing situations.
What did we do?
Visited Victorian Peak. Also Known As, The Peak.
Even on a day where fog is destroying the view, and the visibility is close to nothing, a trip to The Peak is an absolute must. We stood 1,800 ft above sea level, looking over the captivating city, mesmerised by the view. Yes, the weather could have been better, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be perfect for other tourists. From memory, the sky pass and tram ride cost us around HKD $90, which is approx $15.00 Australian dollars. Pretty reasonable considering this is one of the top tourist attraction and a view unlike any. If you have ever seen a photo of Hong Kong, chances are it was a panoramic shot of the captivating skyscrapers, taken from The Peak.
Explored the ‘trendy’ entertainment zone, Soho
From irresistible street food to bustling night life, Soho is a place I would have loved to explore a little more of if I had the time. With one full night in Hong Kong, we only saw a mere smidgen of what we hear SOHO has to offer. We did, however, enjoy one of the tastiest meals of my life. If only I were a blogger at the time, I didn’t write down anything.
Saw Pandas for the first time at Ocean Park
Now, this isn’t always going to appear in the ‘top 10 activities’ lists for Hong Kong, but we vowed to see a Panda, while in HK, and we did exactly that. The views from Ocean Park were incredibly beautiful; I recommend taking the cable car (despite not doing this ourselves). Ocean Park gave us a full day of fun!
I can’t remember the exact entry price that we paid, but their site currently price adults entry at roughly $70 AUD.
Make the most of Hong Kong’s Shopping
Even if you are on a budget, you’ll never window shop the way you will in Hong Kong. From bargain store and bric-a-brac to designer labels at Time Square, Hong Kong has you covered!
If we had more time?
- Temple Street Night Markets
- Catch the Star Ferry
- Visit Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple
The list is never ending; there are so many amazing things to do and see in Hong Kong and so many sides of it to explore. We look forward to getting back there soon and ticking off more ‘must do’ activities.
What do you recommend doing in Hong Kong?