1. The Beaches
Because it’s a serious of islands, Hong Kong boasts some pretty amazing beaches! Only minutes from the city, one of my favourite ways to spend a weekend is at (my personal fave) Shek O or exploring a new place to catch some rays.
2. Beautiful Landscape
Whether you’re taking in the amazing city skyline or the rolling green mountains, it’s safe to say that Hong Kong’s landscape does not disappoint. Hiking is a great way to take in the greenery while staying close to the city. There are some pretty amazing views of the city from these hikes as well: Try climbing to the top of The Peak, especially at night to take in a spectacular view. If you’re not in to hiking, have no fear. You can enjoy the spectacular view of the city by taking the Star Ferry from Central to Kowloon. While you’re on Kowloon Side, head to Ozone – a bar located at the top of the ICC- for a drink with a view. Stick around and catch the light show in Tsim Sha Tsui as well!
3. Hundreds of Islands to Explore
If you’ve really taken a liking to hiking and exploring beaches, you’ll love the fact that there are hundreds of islands to explore. Simply catch a ferry from Central Pier and see where you can end up! The largest island, Lamma, is only a 30 minute ferry ride from downtown. Here you will find The Big Buddha, Tai O fishing village, and you may even spot some of Hong Kong’s famous pink dolphins! Head to Cheung Chau island in May for the bun festival – competitors race to grab the luckiest buns which are then shared with the island’s residents. It also makes for a lovely day to rent a bike to explore the island with!
4. Dim Sum
The Chinese version of tapas, Hong Kong is the King of dim sum. Going for dim sum a great way to taste the traditional Cantonese flavours and a fun (and cheap!) way to share a meal with friends! My personal favourite thing to order are lai wong bao, sweet egg custard buns.
5. Public Transportation That’s Second to None
I’m constantly amazed by the cleanliness and efficiency of Hong Kong’s public transpo. It’s also very user friendly, especially the MTR, so getting around the city is a breeze! The transportation is also very affordable, even a taxi will only set you back about $3!
6. The Best Nights Out
For a great night out, head to Lan Kwai Fong. The whole street is lined with clubs and it’s the place to be on the weekend! The street is packed as well as it’s legal to drink on the street. Simply head to “club 711″ for some cheap Tsing Tao beer to get your night started! Mr. Wong’s in Mong Kok is also a must visit, at least once! Mr. Wong is super friendly and QUITE the character! A night at Mr. Wong’s will set you back just $60HKD for all you can eat and drink! Rest assured, even in the wee hours of the morning the streets of Hong Kong are well lit and busy and, regardless of what time of day, very safe!
7. It’s a Great Hub for Travel
Just a quick ferry ride to Macao or a train to Shenzhen, but close enough to the rest of Asia that it’s possible to take a long weekend trip to Bangkok or Ho Chi Min. You’ll certainly make the most of your holiday time by taking trips across the continent!
8. A Night at the Races
Head to the Sha Tin race course or the Happy Valley race course each Wednesday. If lady luck is on your side, place a bet on your favourite horses!
9. Battle of the Theme Parks
Despite being fairly small in area, Hong Kong is home to two great theme parks. Ocean Park boats rides AND panda bears! Or, if Mickey Mouse is more your style, head to Disneyland Hong Kong!
10. Super Convenient Convenience Stores
You’ll never need to worry about being thirsty or needing a snack in Hong Kong as it has the world’s most convenient convenience stores. There is one 711 per 1.38sq miles – which doesn’t even account for the fact that there is another chain of shops, Circle K – you’ll often even find these shops beside each other!
Hong Kong offers so many markets. Wet markets seem to be around every corner and offer fresh fruits and vegetable. Temple Street market offers many great restaurants to sample while you shop for souvenirs. Near by you’ll find the Jade Market in Austin. My personal favourite, is the Ladies Market in Mong Kok, is the place to go for bargains on souvenirs and designer knockoffs!
12. Everything is Super Hygienic
The SARS outbreak in 2003 has forever scarred the people of Hong Kong. Windows are left open all winter long to allow air flow, masks are worn when you are sick, and hand santizer is in no short supply. Dare to sneeze on the train without wearing a mask and prepare for hundreds of death glares. Elevator buttons, railings, and escalators are sanitized every four hours!
13. Endless Brunch Options
This is very important to me because brunch is my favourite food group. The brunch options are limitless and each one better than the last. Some favourites of mine are Panevino’s all you can eat brunch with free flow prosecco on Sundays for $300HKD. If I’m feeling extra fancy, brunch at The Peninsula Hotel is the only way to go (also a great place for high tea!).
14. Many Holidays
Hong Kong celebrates both Chinese and Christian holidays which means A LOT of time off of work. This gives lots of ample time to explore the city, travel, and take in a lot of culture. The Lion Dances during Chinese New Year are breathtaking!
15. Escape the Hustle and Bustle by Retreating to a Park
Despite the fact that the city might seem like a true concrete jungle, there’s plenty of green space if you know where to look. Hong Kong Park, Victoria Park, Tamar Park, the botanical gardens… the list goes on. Check out my personal favourite, Nan Lian Garden and Chi Lin Nunnery in Diamond Hill for a feeling of real serenity and seclusion in the city. It’s really quite spectacular being in the beautiful, quiet gardens while simultaneously surrounded by sky scrapers on every side.
16. Rugby Sevens
The Rugby Sevens is a world class Rugby tournament which takes places over a weekend in late March or Early April and it’s a BIG DEAL. People get really in to the Sevens tournament – be sure to buy your tickets early and have a costume prepared as this is a fancy dress event! If you don’t manage to score tickets or you aren’t a huge fan of rugby, don’t worry! There’s a free viewing area where you can watch the game on a big screen while sitting on comfy beanbags… and there’s no obligation to stay for hours 😉
17. Junk Boats
My absolute FAVOURITE way to spend a sunny weekend in Hong Kong is by getting a bunch of friends together and renting a junk boat. Picture this: all your friends, drinks, pizza, and the sea. What could be better? A junk boat is a fun, party boat you can rent for a fairly low cost. A driver will take you around and stop in the middle of the sea (usually near Repulse Bay, Stanley, or whichever other beachy area you’d like to go!). They often come with toys, although it’s fun to buy rubber rings and floaties, and many restaurants will cater your trip as well (Checkmates does HUGE pizzas for a really low cost!). Trust me, it will be a great day!
18. The Best of Both Worlds
Hong Kong is amazing. It’s a great balance between the East and the West, tradition and modernity. There’s an amazing expat community and lots of Western dining in addition to amazing locals, dim sum, noodle carts, and milk tea. You’ll find state of the art technology and architecture mixed with crazy bamboo scaffolding. It truly is the most amazing city to live in