Hong Kong was a huge eye opener for our family and we loved every minute of it. We left HK thinking we could easily live there. We spent 9 days in HK and could have spent longer. The place was vibrant, busy and lots of activities to keep us entertained. I hope you are inspired to visit and fall in love with this place. I think this was one of our favourite destinations.
There are so many options and areas to consider. We were lucky enough to stay with friends on Hong Kong Island. There are many Airbnb choices and hotels. We loved the area of Hong Kong Island as there are many beaches, water views, hikes and other activities to do there. The accommodation (units, hotels) are very small in HK so do not expect large luxurious places. Remember HK is the most densely populated place in the world. I would recommend staying on Hong Kong Island.
HK transport is unbelievably cheap, fast and reliable. Once we hopped off the plane and had our bags we boarded the fast train from the airport to Hong Kong Island. The train leaves every 10mins so no need to rush and worry you have missed it. When returning to the airport there is the option to check your bags in at the fast train station and keep exploring the city. You will get your boarding pass and your bags will be taken to the airport.
We used every other type of transport whilst in HK – trams, buses, private mini buses, taxis (5 people can fit in a taxi) and ferries. All these transport types are so so cheap. The ferry was about AUD 50c a person. We had an Octopus Card for the metro system which is used in a tap on/off system and the fares are cheaper using the card compared to buying for single trips.
To make taxi trips easier we used the App – Hong Kong Taxi Translator. This translated our destination from English to Cantonese. Most taxi drivers do not speak English so this translator app made sure we arrived where we wanted to go.
Food in HK is simply amazing and so varied. We ate at street vendors, restaurants where no one speaks English, fancy restaurants (Lily and Bloom), Michelin Star place (One Dim Sum near Prince Edward Train Station) and we also ate at home a few nights.
HK Disneyland was as magical as any other Disney with an Asian influence. The train to catch out to the park is an easy ride and the carriages are themed with Mickey Mouse windows and décor. Try to avoid school holidays or when it is a holiday in mainland China as this will make it very busy We purchased our tickets for Disneyland at the ticket office within one of the metro train stations. We also took in our own food and snacks. We were offered cheap tickets from Chinese people whilst on the train. WARNING- do not be tempted by these cheap prices as the tickets can only be used by the original owner. Tickets for more than one day are coded with a fingerprint reader so they are not transferable. HK Disney is not big and can be completed in one full day. The Chinese are more drawn to the shows and parades so we found the wait time on rides very minimal and often we got to stay on the ride twice in a row. Disney’s magic was there in Hong Kong.
THINGS TO DO
HK is full of activities to keep you very busy during your trip. Here is a list that you could tick off in a week to ten days.
- The Peak Tram – which is, one of the world’s oldest and most famous funicular railways. The view from the top is spectacular.
- Repulse Bay is a beautiful beach area where you can swim and cool down.
- Disneyland Hong Kong.
- Ocean Park – a marine-life theme park featuring animal exhibits, thrill rides and shows.
- Boat Ride on Victoria Harbour.
- Nightly Light Show at 8pm which is over the harbour and can be viewed from the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade.
- Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade – Avenue of the Stars and Bruce Lee Statue. This is a great view of the harbour
- Botanical Gardens – this includes a huge aviary which the kids adored.
- Science Museum in Kowloon.
- Che Kung Temple at Sha Tin – a beautiful temple with 10000 gold Budda statutes lining the path leading to the temple.
- Hong Kong Heritage Museum – Bruce Lee exhibit.
- Ozone Bar Ritz Carlton – The highest bar in the world (grab a cocktail here).
- Lantau Island – The huge Golden Buddha statue is here. Catch the cable car to get there, the view is amazing. The cable car information can be found here. The ride is 30mins of mountain views, waterfalls, hills, beaches- an amazing vista.
- Tai O Fishing Village – catch a bus or cab from the Golden Buddha to the most quaint fishing village. The houses are on stilts. We took a boat ride in search of pink dolphins that are famed to be in the water but we didn’t see any. This area felt like it was in a time warp. Lots of markets, small restaurants and culture.
- Happy Valley Racecourse – a famous place to watch the races on a Wednesday night- a real eye opener
- Foot Massage – these feet massage places are everywhere. No polish but a full treatment for tired feet. A great treat at the end of a holiday.
So many market places are dotted around the islands. We had a great time bargaining and people watching. We bought lots of things for the kids including watches, bags, some toys, dress ups. I bought a few bags, scarves, iPad covers and wallets.
- Ladies Markets – With over 100 stalls of bargain clothing, accessories and souvenirs, the Ladies’ Market on Tung Choi Street provides a one-kilometre stretch on which to practise your haggling skills.
- Temple Street Night Market
- Chun Yeung Street (Wet Market) – fish market to buy seafood and people watch
- Goldfish Market –Tung Choi Street North – better known as the Goldfish Market – is lined on either side with shops devoted to the raising of many types of fish, from weirdly shaped goldfish to colourful tropical species with gaspingly high price tags. The kids loved it here.
- Stanley Markets – on Hong Kong island
- Full on full list of more market places have a look here. The list is long and you can tailor your visit to suit your interests.
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