Hong Kong is a city that never stops. Many think of it as just a shopping destination, but in reality there is much more than meets the eye. With the city ever-changing, every return journey allows new discoveries and hidden cultural treats. As a bonus, it’s also an easy journey from Bangkok or Chiang Mai.
The central business district of Hong Kong island is where it all begins. Designed to be consistent with the beliefs of Feng Shui , the futuristic architectures and buildings which pierce the sky house financial institutions, department stores, and all manner of businesses that somehow manage to keep the Chinese culture in their DNA.
The charm of this area is the bustle of people and traffic. You’ll notice the double decker trams, a symbol of this city. It’s the perfect spot to see fascinating architecture, and do some shopping.
If you like tea, we recommend the Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware, on the corner of Hong Kong Park. The exterior is a white Colonial-style building, which was originally the residence of a British commander until 1984. It has since been turned into a museum which displays everything you can possibly think of that deals with tea, from cups and porcelain teapots to vintage teaspoons and special ceramics with stamps that display family names. After soaking up all the exhibits, you can visit the first floor which has a teahouse. Sit back and sip fine oolong tea or try the refreshing green tea. Open from 10:00 – 18:00 daily. Admission is free.
The party never stops at Lan Kwai Fong, one of the most active spots for night life in Hong Kong. This street is lined with restaurants and bars, some of which are hidden in tall buildings. There is also great Japanese food as sushi is popular in this neighborhood. Also located here is the famous Dragon-I Club, a spot popular with local celebrities.
This district was built on one of the oldest roads on the island, and traditionally was the spot to find ancient herbalists and antique Buddha statues. It’s now being developed into a trendy neighborhood with chic cafes, cool clothing outlets and restaurants. These new additions keep the historic spot lively.
One of the most lively spots, it’s a short walk from adjacent Shueng Wan. You can also reach it by riding the longest escalator in the world (Central-Mid-levels Escalator) and get off at the street with plenty of restaurants and people of different nationalities. It’s not surprising that the symbol for this area is a spoon and fork, anyone on a diet may need to skip this road if they want to avoid temptation. There is amazing food to be had at every corner. We suggest you come here during the evenings.
Known as the location for the novel ‘The World of Susie Wong’ which was adapted into a movie, many might remember Wanchai as a ‘Red Light District’ with strong mafia ties. But these days, downtown Hong Kong has been transformed, from its start as a quaint fishing village a hundred years ago, Wanchai is now home to a hip vibe of modern culture. There are cool shops, galleries, businesses, and some of the most authentic restaurants in on the island.
Hysan place is a shopping mall and office building known for its innovate design concept. The building focuses on using natural light. Its 17 floors are filled with local brands and lifestyle brands, while floor 8 – 10 is taken over by famous book store ‘Eslite’ from Taiwan (this is the first branch outside of its origin country.) They carry mostly Chinese literature, with beautiful design and art books. (hp.leegardens.com.hk)
This is a premium mall that also contains 5-star hotels like Conrad Hong Kong, Island Shangri-La Hong Kong and JW Marriott Hong Kong. Aside from the hotels, this mall is comfortable and ideal for fashionistas and jetsetters due to its brand name shops, exquisite restaurants and spectacularly decorated cafes. (pacificplace.com.hk)
ross over to the Kowloon side and visit K11 Art Mall. Here, you’ll find a place where art merges with retail. A special thing about K11 Art Mall is that designers might join hands and create limited edition products exclusive to the mall. We recommend K11 Select on the first floor, which is a great spot to sniff out new trends. The prices are also surprisingly reasonable. (k11Concepts.com)
Every visit to Hong Kong should include a pilgrimage to a good dim sum restaurant. The Sweet Dynasty specialises in contemporary Chinese dim sum with an up-scale tea house atmosphere. It’s rather famous and has several branches. Choose the one that’s closest to you to try out their menu. Some highlights include the Hong Kong rice porridge with all the fixings (or with just preserved egg), and dim sum dishes like har gow with fresh shrimp, pork noodles, dumplings and a dessert of tofu pudding.
More Info: The easiest to find branch is at Shop A, Basement Hong Kong Pacific Centre, 28 Hankow Road, Tsim Sha Tsui.
Don’t go shopping on an empty stomach. This is a quick, easy and delicious noodle shop with over 100-years of history, and three generations of experience. The soup is prepared fresh every morning with a mix of shrimp, fish and pork. What sets this shop apart is the egg noodles which are made from duck eggs, giving the strands a nice soft ‘bounce’. They are even better with prawn dumplings. If you like beef, do not miss the noodles with braised beef. The meat is so soft it almost melts in your mouth.
More Info: Find this shop at G/F 77 Welling Street, Central
If you happen to be on the Kowloon side, save time in your evening for Hing Kee Restaurant that is famous for it’s rice steamed in a clay pot. You can choose a variety of toppings like chopped pork, chopped beef, salted fish and shrimp. Order a raw egg to help meld the flavours. The dish can also be accompanied with fried oysters or crayfish fried in chili. The store opens at 18:00 hrs, usually to a long line of customers.
More Info: 15-19 Temple Street, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon
This is a rather mysterious bar and restaurant hidden on the 5th and 6th floor of a building in Lan Kwai Fong. On the 5th floor is ‘Lily’ a vintage-style lounge. The 6th floor is home to ‘Bloom’ which has an electric American retro vibe. Here you can party from dusk to dawn.
More Info: 5/F, 6/F LKF Tower No.33 Wyundham Street, Central, Hong Kong (lily-bloom.com)