I’ve been to Hong Kong many times in the last few years, both as a destination and as a stopover point on trips for both work and for fun. With 2 business trips to mainland China since late 2016, I’ve planned some extra time to spend in what is one of my favorite cities.
In this report, I’ll share some highlights from my last 2 trips to Hong Kong. In both cases I had around 24 hours on the ground. On one trip I stayed in Kowloon, and another I stayed in the New Territories. I usually prefer being closer to the action in a more central location, but thanks to Kyle and Carly’s recommendations, I’ve enjoyed the Hyatt Regency Sha Tin both times I’ve stayed here.
Eating my way around Hong Kong
Eating is one of my favorite ways to explore somewhere I’m visiting. On my last trip to Hong Kong, I finally was able to visit Tim Ho Wan, famous as the world’s cheapest restaurant with a Michelin Star. Maybe Tim Ho Wan doesn’t still have that distinction, but the dim sum was great, and the Char Siu Bao was amazing. Best of all, the prices were cheap. Being alone allowed me to jump the line, so my wait for a table lasted only for a few minutes.
Another favorite is Dandanmian, noodles in a spicy soup, often with peanuts. This dish is originally from Sichuan Province, I get it almost every time I visit a Cathay Pacific lounge and in this case I found a place with good reviews in Hong Kong. DanDan appears to be closed currently, but when I visited, the shop was located in the Grand Millennium Plaza in Central.
Off the Beaten Path in Hong Kong
When I stayed in Sha Tin, I enjoy the slightly less hectic nature of this area in the New Territories. There is a running/biking trail along the water, and I enjoy running here. This area is typically much less busy than in more central locations in Hong Kong.
Looking up in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is very picturesque, there are mountains, water, and some beautiful buildings. While I’ve never formally studied architecture, I definitely am a fan. Hong Kong has more skyscrapers than any other city, and there are countless spots to view the skyline.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy the view is crossing the harbor on the Star Ferry. There have been ferries crossing Victoria Harbour for nearly 150 years. The Star Ferry company started as the Kowloon Ferry Company in 1888. Until 1972, when the Cross Harbour Tunnel opened, it was the primary option for public transportation between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. Crossing by ferry isn’t as fast as a ride on the MTR (subway), but the scenic views are well worth it. Plus, like most public transit in Hong Kong, it is cheap, HK$2.80 at peak times for the lower deck. The top photo on this page shows a view across the harbor near the Kowloon Star Ferry terminal. Note: Star Ferry history from Wikipedia
Hong Kong as a Tourist
I’ve stayed at the Hyatt Regency Tsim Sha Tsui several times, and while it is not as opulent as the Grand Hyatt across the harbor, the property is typically much more reasonably priced and the Kowloon location is convenient enough. For those taking Airport Express train, there is a shuttle bus from Kowloon station to the Hyatt Regency.
There are countless areas I enjoy visiting in Hong Kong. The Peak allows for great views. Stanley is a more calm waterfront area on the south side of Hong Kong Island with a fun market. Sometimes, I enjoy just enjoy picking an area and walking around. There is even a set of escalators that is an attraction, as the world’s longest outdoor covered escalator system. Given the hilly terrain and warm temperatures, taking these escalators are often a godsend.
Final Thoughts on Hong Kong
If I could live anywhere in the world, I still think New Zealand or Australia would top my list, although seeing family in the US would be really difficult. Europe would be good too. To choose a place in Asia, Hong Kong would probably be my choice. Maybe Singapore, but it is just too hot for me. Hong Kong is also warmer than I prefer, but even after many trips, I’m enchanted by the blend of Chinese and English influences that makes Hong so unique.
What is your favorite spot or activity in Hong Kong? What other destinations do you look forward to returning to?