Hong Kong, China
We lived there for four years and still feel like we only dipped our toe into the many layers of the city.
- More about your oliver guide: Daisley Kramer
- Trip type: Adult, Family, City
- Activity level: high
- Ideal length of trip: 3-4 days
to & from
Airport Express from Hong Kong airport to hotel is easy and convenient, but most of the larger hotels are also able to send a car. It’s easy to take red taxi from the airport as well.
- Taxis abound but drivers may not speak English so have the name of your destination printed out in Chinese. Uber is also an easy way to get around.
Where to Stay
Hong Kong does luxury really well. There are slightly more budget friendly options but the drop in quality from luxury to ‘mid-level’ hotels is steep.
Where to Eat and Drink
OMG Hong Kong people are all about food and there are so many directions you can go. If you know someone who can take you to a private eating club (or China Club), do not pass it up. If not, here are just a sampling of great options…
- Dim Sum: Duddell’s (dim sum with an arty slant), Yan Toh Heen at the Intercontinental (classy), Dim Sum Library (hipster dim sum), City Hall Maxim’s Palace (old school banquet hall dim sum), Lockcha Tea House (traditional Chinese Dim Sum), Tim Ho Wan (the cheapest Michelin starred restaurant in the world)
- Chinese and International: BIBO, Qi – Nine Dragons (spicy Sichuan Crab), under bridge spicy crab, Bo Innovation, 81/2 Otto e Mezzo, The Pawn, Hutong, Aberdeen Street Social, Duecento Otto, Ye Shanghai in the Marco Polo in Kowloon (or in Pacific Place in Admiralty), Private Kitchen Doesn’t really have a website but here is a review.
- Afternoon Tea: at the Peninsula or the Mandarin
- Cocktails: Sevva In Princes Building, Felix Phillippe Starckk bar in the peninsula
What to Do
Hong Kong is dense, busy, and hot and humid from May to October. The air can be disgustingly polluted and the traffic is crazy. That said, it is full of interesting people and things to see and smell and taste. Be prepared to walk… wear comfortable shoes…do not attempt to bring a stroller unless you are ok being limited in where you can go. If all you do is walk around with no plan, you will soak up the city’s flavor and get a real sense for the city. My favorite neighborhood is Sheung Wan.
- The usual: Escalator up mid-levels, Stanley Market, Star Ferry, Tram to peak, temples listed in a guide book...
- Ride tram from Central to Causeway Bay
- Ladies Market in Mon Kok/ Kowloon wet markets
- Police married quarters (now a cultural center)
- M+ (cultural center in Kowloon)
- Zoo/botanical gardens in Central
- Walk up or down Pottinger Street - check out costumes and masks
- Hire a junk boat (essentially a yacht) for the day
- Kennedy town for half day – tons of new restaurants out there
- Big Buddha in Lantau Island
Know your colors when taking a cab – HK Island is Red. Buy an Octopus Card in the Airport. Enjoy the local non-alcoholic drink: fresh lime soda. The pollution can be brutal (But don’t stress; it can’t do any damage during your short trip!)
Victoria Garden at top of Victoria Island is really just grass- it is kinda fun to walk all the way to the top, but be very mindful of cards driving very fast on very narrow roads.
What to Pack
Everyone wears black and color stands out, but that shouldn’t deter. Central is functional but stylish. And it is hot. Carry a small umbrella for sudden downpours, although I have seen many an umbrella turn inside out and fly away in Hong Kong’s famous sideways black rain.
40% of Hong Kong is green space and people in Hong Kong do a lot of hiking on the many trails there – don’t be afraid to get out there – the views are stunning. I didn’t really cover the south side of the island as there is less there for tourists, but there are nice beaches and hiking trails and Aberdeen, Repulse Bay, and Stanley are worth seeing.