Hong Kong wasn’t supposed to be and yet it is, and it is magnificent. It has always felt like a floating city, an island, a city in a bubble high in the clouds, an experiment. Mountains into city into sea there is a lot compacted to see and do. It runs the risk these days of being engulfed into the country that surrounds it but, like water, Hong Kong can shape shift and persist and is worth seeing with your own eyes to understand.
In A Nutshell
Everyone has a good time in Hong Kong. Usually, you are in a slightly jet-lag induced state when you arrive, and this is the perfect place to sleep it off (or not sleep at all, your choice). There is always something happening, no matter what time, whether you want to eat until you burst, visit galleries and museums or dance the night away. Hong Kong Island is the centre of the city, and is home to most large corporations, banks, and hotels. However, some of the choicest gems and best sights are actually on the Kowloon side. If you scoot around to the south side of Hong Kong Island, you will find smaller villages and towns that better represent old Hong Kong and its history as a major trading port. Delightfully compact, you can really explore almost all corners of Hong Kong that interest you in just a few days. Culture, food, shopping, art and music can all be found in copious quantities. It may have been done before by lots of people (or even yourself), but true to its worldwide brethren like New York City, Paris or London, there is always something new to find.
Need To Know
- Most major cities in North America and Europe have direct flights into Hong Kong.
- For the first time visitor, we suggest spending 3-4 days to really get a feel for Hong Kong. However, lots of people pass through for just a night or two on the way to or from somewhere else in Asia.
- Hong Kong is for anybody, but especially for lovers of big cities. It is an unabashedly urban place.
- No visas are necessary for North Americans or Europeans.
- No shots are required for your entry into the country, but we suggest you visit a travel health clinic before your departure to make sure you have all the vaccinations you need.
- Within Hong Kong we do not recommend renting a car or hiring a driver. It is incredibly easy and efficient to get around using the metro, star ferry, and your own two feet.
- If you plan to eat and sleep well, be prepared to spend equally well—Hong Kong tends to be an expensive destination.
- Shopping here is fantastic, and there are a huge variety of markets to choose from, particularly for fashion.
- Hong Kong knew all about fusion before it was cool. Asian food drives the bus here, but every other imaginable cuisine has a seat. The restaurant scene is extremely dynamic.
- English and Chinese are the official languages.
When To Go
The spring (April through June) and fall (September through November) are the most agreeable months weather wise, as other times can be wet or very muggy. But as with any amazing metropolis, Hong Kong is easy to enjoy anytime, regardless of the weather.
As you’d expect from a business hub with a high end economy, there are numerous medium to large (and luxury to ultra luxury) hotels, including many of the standard chain brands. At the top end, you’d be hard pressed to find better service or more striking views in any country.
Man Mo Temple—It may sting your eyes a bit, but walking into this fragrant smoky temple will set you back in time. Giant rings of incense that burn for months are suspended from the ceiling to honour the dead. It's a great place to momentarily escape the big city feel of Hong Kong.
Tung Ping Chau—The most remote of Hong Kong’s islands, this formerly inhabited settlement boasts excellent coastal walking trails and deserted crumbling fishing villages. A few traditional structures have been restored and converted into museums and small cafes.
Macau—Whether it’s for the rush of the casinos or the colonial charm of the back streets, Macau is a contradiction. Move from mega casino restaurants to tiny Portuguese bakeries selling deliciously hot and fresh Belem egg tarts. Salt cod and roulette. Where else will you find both together?
The Perfect Wonton—If you’re in the mood for some culinary discovery, we can give you some (delightfully vague) directions to a great local spot that sells incredible wonton noodles. This involves some map pointing and Chinese character matching, but the end result is always delicious.
Local Markets—Whether it’s the wet market, bird market, flower market, goldfish market, Stanley market, women’s market (not just for women!) or night market, you have no lack of choice. Each offers their own unique vibe and gives a peek into the real Hong Kong.
What They Say
Thank you for all your work to make this such a nice trip for us.
— Aimee R.