Hong Kong is probably one of my favorite cities in Asia that has a New York City cool vibe yet maintain a port Asian ambiance at the same time. Expect a lot of eating, a lot of drinking and a lot of shopping.
Hong Kong consists of multiple islands: Hong Kong Islands, Kowloon, The New Territories and a number of smaller islands. It still remains quite small and is filled to the brim with more than 7 million people, making it one of the most densely inhabited cities in the world.
Surrounded by people with infinite energy, appetite, and taste for the finer things in life. Shopping malls, small to big stores, night bazaars. People come to Hongkong and actualize what it means to be a consumer. If I could give in to my pursuit of desires, but after a weekend, I realize that I can never keep up with this city. Nevertheless, I’d do it all over again.
Interdependent from China, Hong Kong has benefited greatly from the influence and built by its British colonizers and the hard-working economy of the Chinese. Stellar in its financial market, culture & arts, food and all the Louis Vuitton shops you could see in every damn corner of the city. In its bipolar state, you can find yourself in certain situations where you can pretend you’re in an old Kung Fu movie.
How to Get There
One of the best ways to book your flight to Hong Kong is thru Kiwi.com, they find you the lowest rates across hundreds of airlines with a guarantee from canceled flights, rescheduling, and delays.
It is really easy to get into the city. Their airport is pretty efficient and has lots of signage to a fault. You won’t see enough ground airport staff ushering you where to go because of everything channels efficiently. Once landed you landed, you’ll breeze your way thru immigration, grab your bag make your way to the available transfer services.
You’ll have options depending on your budget and how pressed your time is. I normally go these options below:
- Airport Express The fastest and most convenient way to the city. Takes 24-30 minutes tops. Starts at 250 HKD (1,650php) and you get discounts If you purchase more than 2 tickets. It comes with an unlimited ride with their very efficient and well-connected MTR.
- Public Buses: They’re all categorized per location and strategically placed in one central location outside the arrival area. It is relatively cheaper and efficient as well. Although, it will take you longer to get to the city as it needs to do stopovers. It follows a strict timetable. It is 24/7 operations. Make sure to check the published schedules and rates. Fare rate will cost you 20HKD-40HKD (120php-240php)
Tip: Upon arrival make sure to get your Octopus Card at the airport to avoid the hassle.
If you are staying for just a couple of days, you could stay in around Central-Hongkong Island as it just has enough energy and calmness to balance your day. If you want the tension and chaos yet the reward is being in the center of it all, by all means, you look for places around Kowloon area. Click this link for accommodations ranging from lowest-mid-high that can sure fit any budget.
Plenty of pension inns, guest house in Tsim Tsa Tsui that offers A/C rooms and hot shower for just 250 HKD (1,500php). Don’t expect ample room space though. You are getting what you pay for. Do your research and read guest reviews. Notable areas for backpackers are the Chungking Mansion (click here to get rates and booking) as it is pretty near the Stars of Boulevard.
There are plenty of ways to get around Hong Kong, whether it’s by taxi, ferry, rail, bus or tram. The city claims one of the world’s safest, most efficient and frequent public transport systems and a convenient payment method in the form of the Octopus Card.
Book you Octopus Card in advance here
How To Stay Connected
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Food in Hong Kong is like a religion you have all the people constantly eating. The street scene is really strong and even the high end as well. Their food is no bullshit no holds bar flavor but at the same time, they can also do some refined dishes. Hong Kong is a great place to come when you are hungry.
The city is packed with so many dining options. From that place behind a hardware store, along fishing alleys to high-end Michelin star rated restaurants. I never get tired of eating my way thru Hongkong. They have generous servings of whatever it is on their menu.
- Yat Lok for their Michelin star roasted goose*** highly recommended
- Australian Dairy Company
- Cafe Hoi On
- Green Waffles Dinner
- Flying Pan
- The original Tim Ho Wan
For local Chinese fares and adopted Japanese street foods. Anytime of the day if you are hungry the food scene is always alive and ready to satisfy your palate.
Brawl, scrape and scream your way through the noise and throng of hungry eaters to get your hands unidentified baskets where only your nose can guide you. Pick blindly, you’ll never be far from something delicious, just be open to eating whatever you pick up.
- Dimsum Square
- Dimdimsum Dimsum Specialty Store
- Lung King Heen
- Yan Toh Heen
Michelin Rated street food stalls
Michelin stars are synonymous with quality. They’re normally handing out stars to the best and most consistent restaurants in the world- not to mention expensive ones.But not anymore as they’re able to review and hand out starts to humble food stalls in Hong Kong that offers an ecstatic adventure to your taste buds. I won’t be indicating the address as you can easily look for each on Google Maps. I clustered them per area.
- Cheung Hing Kee
- Fat Boy 第三代肥仔
- Mammy Pancake
- Joyful Dessert House
- Kee Tsui 奇趣餅家
- Three Potatoes叁薯
- Block 18 Doggie’s Noodle
- Block 18 Doggie’s Noodle 十八座 狗仔粉
- Kai Kai 佳佳甜品
- Butcher’s Club
- Kelly’s Cape Bop
- Keung Kee 強記
- Lei Keung Kee 利強記
- Mak Kee 麥記美食
- Tonkla Thai Snack 迦南泰國小食
Sham Shui Po
- Hop Yik Tai 合益泰小食
- Kung Wo Tofu 公和荳品廠
- Kwan Kee Store 坤記糕品
- Chin Sik 千色車仔麵
- Wing On 榮安小食
But if you want a taste of the local bar scene, head down to the areas surrounding Lang Kwai Fong, the popular, surreal bar street, filled with clubs and drinking holes you’ll always wonder how you ended up in and talk to locals or people who are also travelers
- Post Republico
- Rummin Tings
- Liily and Bloom
- The Woods
- Ping Pong
- The Envoy
- Honi Honi
Bespoke suits to knock off items, need a new set of knives? Or buy the latest beauty products from around the world. It caters every budget, may it be from a need perspective or simply being a compulsive buyer and you’d want to treat yourself. Houses variety of shopping areas, chic side streets, a block long of just sneaker or your nerdy budget bazaars. and a mix of markets where you can haggle to your heart’s content. The city has no sales tax thus making it one of the most visited places in Asia for shopping.
Sights to See:
- Man Mo Temple
- Tsim Tsa Tsui Promenade
- Peak Tram and Victoria Peak (Central Hongkong)
- Victoria Harbour (Central Hongkong)
- Sik Sik Wong Tai Sin Temple (Lantau Island)
- Po Lin Monastery and Big Buddha (Lantau Island)
- Lai Chi Wo (Sha Tau Kok)
- Temple Street Night Market
- Parks all over the city
Things to Do
- Hongkong Disneyland
- Ocean Park
- Ngong Ping 360
- Victoria Peak
- Madamme Tussands
There are plenty of things to do in Hong Kong you may get discounted tours and tickets from
A few tips and reminders:
- Food: the Cheapest decent meal with rice will cost you around 38-58HKD (250ph-382php). Same price with Singapore’s pricing but double the size.
- Useful Apps: Google Maps and Google Travel
- Hongkong -Central controlled chaos. Whereas, Kowloon is loud as and aggressive.
- Best exchange rates are at the Chungking Mansion (36–44 Nathan Road) money changers. They buy Philippine peso at a relatively higher price as compared elsewhere.
- Make sure to wear comfortable shoes as you will do a lot of walking.
- Optimize the use of MTR or their subway system as it will take you do different places efficiently and quickly.
- Buy 1 a gallon of bottled water instead of buying smaller bottles as it’ll save you a few extra bucks. Coke is relatively cheaper than water in Hongkong for some reason.
- They don’t give out napkins and does not serve service water.
- Buying street food make sure to know what you want and point them out quickly
- Bring your own eco bag or shopping bag as it will cost you a few dollars (5 HKD) if you request their plastic bags. Of course for high-end items paper bags are free.
- Don’t use your roaming option for SMART and GLOBE as both services are bad and expensive. You’ll only get a 3G network with only 1GB limit. Advisable to get a FlexiRoam Simcard Adapter
Useful Official Sites:
Hong Kong has an intricacy that defies definition. The only place where you can see relics near the Chinese border, a Buddhist Temple, High Rise skylines or you could be splurging on a new Chanel bag- all within 4 hours followed by a night of LKF drinking session or an opera? Or even karaoke. Hong Kong is so intense and so full of potential. Given their wonderful transport system that won’t stop you to jump from chaos to another.
There is this raw underlying energy in this place. So much energy, everything is open 24/7. Nothing is ever closed. There are so many things to do on the island regardless how small it is. Every mood you are in there will always something to do. You will never feel lonely in this city because there are so many people walking around
Surrounded by beautiful things and with one of the richest people in Asia, a great testament hat hard work and dedication can take you to the top. Things are becoming more Chinese, but if you review their history books only just 20 years ago Hong Kong is this cluster of islands given back by the Great Britain to the mainland. But beyond the entire materialism element, 1 out 5 residents are living below the poverty line. Prices of space and land have been increasing detrimentally and the cost of living has been rising for years.
One of the best cities in the world and we’re lucky enough that it just a 2-hour plane ride away from Manila. Every couple of months I feel its charm calling me – Hong Kong bates you in swallows you and spits you out. Leaving you to desire her more and more.
As we always say. Explore and wander! and become a storyteller when you return home.
Make sure to book all tickets ahead of time so you’d be able to get the best price. Helpful links and tools below.
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