I recently spent two wonderful weeks out of the office and my first stop was Hong Kong for five days. Here are some of my highlights and any tips I have if you are off their soon!
Mongkok Ladies Market
We arrived in the evening and were staying in Mongkok. We were greeted by the hustle and bustle, people singing and dancing in the street and glowing neon lights. Amongst all of this is the Ladies’ Market. We went a few times (as we were staying so close) and would say it is best to visit at night. There are over 100 stalls of clothing, accessories and souvenirs, the Ladies’ Market on Tung Choi Street provides a one-kilometre stretch on which to practise your haggling skills. We got wonderfully touristy t-shirts and a nice tacky magnet that looks like a bowl of noodles.
Down the sides of the market stalls were lots of eateries offering local dishes – pigeon is a must have but would avoid the pork belly sticks. I would also highly recommend pineapple buns and milk tea (strongly brewed tea with condensed milk – get it iced!)
If you are not keen on the tacky magnets available at the Ladies Market (why not?) you may be more interested in the nearby goldfish, flower and bird markets – beautiful and not at all touristy.
Hopping on the Star Ferry gave us a great view of the harbour. The towering sky scrapers are really something to behold and, although the two sides of Hong Kong are connected by the MTR, the small bobbing, open-air ferry is still one of the best ways to get a great view. Also, grab a gelato from XTC when you hop off the ferry – the most delicious, creamy ice cream and they even do milk tea flavour (see above).
TIP: Buy an Octopus card (same as a London Oyster card) when you arrive and you can use this for the ferry as well as the tubes.
The peak was my highlight of the whole trip. We ventured up there at sunset so we could see it in the light, watch the sunset and then see all the huge buildings light up as night fell. Unfortunately for us, the tram that usually takes you up to the peak was broken. Luckily we found ourselves some Austrian friends and shared a red Hong Kong taxi to the top. The taxi wound up Peak Road, you could glimpse the huge buildings through the trees. I have never seen anything quite like the view. Buildings larger than anything I have ever seen, London or New York, breaking through mountainous forests and surrounded by the sea.
TIP: Dinner at the Peak Lookout in amongst the forest and glittering fairy lights is wonderful.
Disneyland Hong Kong
I don’t think this one needs too much explaining – who needs culture when you can go to Disneyland?! I adore all things Disney and this day was magical. The light show at the end of the day with the projection on to the castle is a must-see.
Lan Kwai Fong
We headed to Lan Kwai Fong for a night on the tiles – it was quite busy with a mixture of young people and professionals heading for a drink after work. The area is strewn with bars but there are two (very different) places I would pick out as highlights. The first is Geranimos, tucked away on the second floor of a residential building (odd, I know) is a Native American themed shot bar full of questionably named tipples – too bizarre to miss. The second is the sky bar, Ce La Vi, with great cocktails (241 at happy hour) and stunning views across the lit up city. For an even higher experience, there is Ozone bar on the 118th floor, not for those afraid of heights.
Old Town Central
‘Old Town Central’ showcases the rich elements of Central and Sheung Wan, including historical architecture, arts and culture, culinary treats and hidden gems, with different themed walking tours through to highlight each: Tasting Hong Kong, Time Traveller, Crazy for Art and Treasure Hunt. The best sights for me included the antiques market and Tai Sui Temple. You can see junk and gems alike piled high at the antiques market and, yes, we bought this picture of the mother and child.
TIP: Take the affectionately named “Ding ding”, old double decker trams, around Central to see the sights.
Hong Kong is certainly one of the most amazing places that I have been luckily enough to go to. Next stop: Bali!
Until then, stay adventurous.