Hong Kong: An Insider's tricks and tips

Updated: May 12




Back in August (2019) I was fortunate enough to live in Hong Kong for a couple of months as part of my Third Year of Uni. This was supposed to be for a year, however the ongoing political unrest, with daily city-wide protests, cut my trip short. Despite this however my three months in Hong Kong have provided me with some of my greatest memories and I cannot wait to go back there in the future. For me, Hong Kong is a city that caters to every type of traveller. Whether you’re after a cityscape, beach holiday or interested in hiking and nature this city truly has it all.

Hong Kong is a proper city. It is busy, confronting and full on, bustling with people and if you’re there in the summer it is stiflingly hot. It is a city that never sleeps, full of great restaurants and street vendors all huddled together underneath its monstrous skyscrapers. It is also a city that undoubtably knows how to party with its strip LKF (the Malia of HK), Happy Valley horse races, tram parties and famous junk boat parties (an all-day booze cruise). The highlight of my week was Wednesday, known as ‘Ladies Night’. As the title suggests, this night is for all the ladiessss! Where women can drink and party for free everywhere across the city - unlucky boys.


However, if you’re not into partying then fear not as Hong Kong has so much more to offer. It is renowned for its plethora of stunning hiking trails that run across the city and outlaying islands. These hikes provide spectacular views of the concrete jungle below and are for people of all levels of fitness – I promise just ask my mum. These scenic trails are truly breath taking and part of Hong Kong’s unique charm. Climb ‘The Peak’ trail to see the postcard image of Hong Kong’s cityscape on Hong Kong Island or hike up ‘Lantau trail’ to catch the sunrise and the world’s tallest outdoor-seated bronze Buddha statue (see pics above!)

Finally, if you’ve had enough of city life and are just looking to relax on the beach whilst reading a book then Hong Kong has plenty of beaches to chose from. Just a short bus ride from Hong Kong Island are some stunning beaches with clear, blue water and soft golden sand. Clearwater Bay, Repulse Bay, Shek O and Stanley are a few to name but many hiking routes lead you to some more secluded beaches that are off the beaten track.

For a city lover like myself I think Hong Kong has everything to offer. It's an incredibly fun city with lots of activities to choose from, interesting food to indulge in and spectacular views to soak up. Here are a few of my favourite insider tips and tricks…

Restaurants:

Din Tai Fung, Causeway Bay (and others):

· Taiwanese

· Good value Michelin star restaurant

· Must try the soup noodles


Australian Dairy Company, Jordan:

· Traditional Hong Kong breakfast

· You will probably have to queue but it’s worth it – amazing scrambled eggs and interesting macaroni and ham soup

Mr Wongs, Mong Kok:

· All you can eat and drink for $60 (£6)

· Great place to pre – we did this at least one every two weeks

· Mr Wong is a great host, incredibly charismatic – you’ll get what I mean

Samson, Wan Chai:

· Thai restaurant with a fun lively atmosphere

· Delicious food

· Had to queue but worth it

Zion Coffee, Sai Ying Pun:

· Western comfort food: avocado on toast, scrambled eggs

· Delicious coffee

Ping Pong, Sai Ying Pun:

· Spanish Tapas

· Cool basement bar serving delicious cocktails and great Spanish food

· Bit pricey but definitely good place for Friday night or a date

Winston’s, Sai Ying Pun:

· Western café / bar

· Famous for its espresso martinis

Phit Thai, Sai Ying Pun:

· Very cheap and delicious authentic Thai food

· Cash Only


Bars/ clubs:

IFC Rooftop, IFC Mall Central:

. This is the biggest hidden gem in all of Hong Kong providing breath-taking views of the harbour and nightly light show

. It is surrounded by posh bars but don't be put off! It is a public area so if you want you can bring your drinks and drink'em with confidence! Go to the 7/11 around the corner to get your goods

. Great place to pre – most of our nights started here

. One of the best views of the harbour in my opinion

Wooloomooloo, Wan Chai:

Fancy rooftop with amazing view!

Cé La Vie, LKF

Free prosecco for ladies on Wednesday

Great view

La Jardin, LKF:

. Bar full of expats and most likely rugby boys if that floats your boat

. Packed on a Saturday night


Activities:

Happy Valley Races, Causeway Bay

An absolute must!

· Every Wednesday evening there are horse races on until 11pm

· Free to get into, no need to buy tickets in advance

· Extremely casual atmosphere

· Great for betting on horses

Lantau Island:

· Cable car to the Big Buddha!

· Get the bus from there to Tai O

· Tai O is a fishing village where the houses are built on stilts

· Local boat from Tai O to look for dolphins

Ladies Market, Mong Kok:

· Good market for classic Chinese fakes

· Good street food (e.g. HK waffles, egg tarts, bubble tea)

Star Ferry

· Joins Kowloon and Central

· Historic ferry

· Great views of both Kowloon and HK Island

HK Rugby 7s:

· Unfortunately, didn’t get to do but very famous

· 3-day tournament

· Get to the South Stand early (i.e. 7am) to make sure you get in – where the party is

· Sneak drinks in

· Tickets can be very expensive so if you can try and get them through a local rugby club

Travel:

· This is a must for anyone in HK for a long time

· Flights to all of Asia are easy and affordable - you've got to take advantage of this

· I explored Japan, Thailand and Mainland China

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