Hong Kong is the gateway to China, this former British colony located in southeastern China is a fusion of eastern and western cultures. It’s a city where multi billion dollar deals are made on a daily basis and skyscrapers sit next to traditional temples and colonial buildings. Hong Kong’s compact size lends itself perfectly to a layover and you can pack a big itinerary into a small period of time, so read on to find out more about the city’s not to be missed experiences.
Breakfast and Coffee
Start your day by grabbing a coffee and breakfast in Sheung Wan or Soho. I love these districts, both of which are packed with independent coffee houses. One of my favourites is Barista Jam, 126-128 Jervois St.
Man Mo Temple
A short stroll up the road and you can visit Man Mo Temple on Hollywood Road. Said to be the oldest of its kind within Hong Kong it was built in 1847 by Taoists. Today the Temple burns giant incense coils from the roof, which make for an amazing photo opportunity.
Whilst you are in this area, head along to the former Hollywood Road Police Married Quarters which has now been turned into a shopping and restaurant quarters. Find everything from organic tea to cupcakes.
A trip to Hong Kong is not complete without a trip on the Star Ferry. More than just boats, these set of ferries have played a key role in transporting passengers from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon for 120 years. Whilst the MTR (Metro service) is far more efficient there is something completely breathtaking about crossing the harbour by ferry. For less than £1 you can cross the waters and get one of the best photo opportunities of Hong Kong island into the bargain. (it is also worth doing the trip in the evening when the sun is setting and the buildings start to light up)
If you are heading from Island Side to Kowloon by the Star ferry you will find yourself in Tsim Sha Tsui. If you want to experience a slice of colonial style luxury then lunch or afternoon tea at the Peninsula Hotel is a must. Popular with tourists it is worth booking in advance.
If you want cheap and cheerful and very very tasty then an Indian curry at Hong Kong’s infamous Chungking Mansions doesn’t disappoint.
Hong Kong is a shopper's paradise, and it is the main pastime that many people come to the city just to do. With low taxes in Hong Kong, prices for virtually everything will be less than the UK so it’s a good time to stock up! For high end luxury TST and Nathan Road offer numerous shopping malls with everything from Louis Vuitton through to Prada, Gucci the list goes on.
If you are on Island side, Queens Road in Central is one of the main shopping streets with numerous malls and mid price fashion houses. Head along to Causeway Bay for even more shopping - one of my favourite malls being Sogo.
You can literally shop till you drop!
Take a Tram
Trams have been running on the island side of Hong Kong since 1904 and still covering 13km of track today and 100 stops. Whilst they are not as fast as using the MTR, they are fun and you get to see parts of the city you would miss otherwise.
It is about this time in the day Hongkongers like to have a snack, which is traditionally a sweet pastry and cup of thick milk-tea. Honolulu Coffee Shop is famous for its sweet flaky egg tarts and light bites and an ideal pit stop in Wan Chai if you have just taken the tram from Causeway Bay.
Head to the Peak
The Peak is the highest point in the city and the 120 year old Peak Tram is your chariot to guide you up the mountain. The best time to visit is when the sun is setting and you see the city light up. If you are feeling energetic you can walk around the top of the Peak which offers look out points around the island.
With skyscrapers come sky-bars and with sky-bars come cocktail happy hours and we are very thankful for that! With many sky bars to choose are few of our favourites include Sugar, SEVVA and the Ozone Bar at the Ritz Carlton.
If you like to speakeasy then Foxglove is.
Happy Valley Races
Depending on what night you are in the city there is something to suit all tastes. Wednesday night is race night at Happy Valley Race Track in Wan Chai. Even if horse racing is not your cup of tea the experience is definitely worth a visit. High energy and millions of Hong Kong dollars changing hands makes for an electrifying atmosphere. The beer garden offers excellent views of the race track and provides a great immersive experience.
1km and over 100 stalls of bargain clothing, accessories and souvenirs. Ladies Market on Tung Choi Street doesn’t disappoint. Open daily from 4pm to midnight apart from Sundays, you can stock up on your souvenirs here.
A Symphony of Lights
Every night at 8pm Victoria Harbour comes to life with a light show that uses 46 of the islands skyscrapers. Best viewed from TST.