WHAT YOU WILL FIND IN THIS GUIDE
1. A round up of my time
3. Accommodation recommendations
4. How to get around
5. What to pack
6. Flying from Australia
7. Food must-try
9. Miscellaneous facts
10. Some things to do
A ROUND UP OF MY TIME
Last week I had the pleasure of traveling to Hong Kong with EAST, Cathay Pacific and Hong Kong Tourism. This was the first time I had ever visited the city and I quickly fell in love with it’s futuristic skyscrapers set against a harbour and the energy of the city instantly. You feel its energy the moment you land. It’s electric and much like LA and New York, it’s like that 24/7.
I’m going to jump right on in and let you know I thoroughly enjoyed Hong Kong. I would even go as far as to say, I love it. Is that coming on too strong when I only spent four days there? Probably, but when you know, you know.
With only four days in the bustling city, we had a lot of ground to cover, quickly. And I mean quickly. This meant a jammed packed itinerary which matched the fast pace nature of HKG, perfectly. To say I was DEAD by the end is of course a hyperbole, but not far from the truth. I had walked off everything I ate by the end and thus reach maximum tourist levels.
So, here and now, I am off-loading some things to do, see and definitely eat on your next adventure to the ever incredible, bustling city-state.
Best time to visit: from around the end of September till November, followed by Spring (March to May).
Typhoons: May to November is typhoon season, but there’s a highly efficient system for dealing with the tropical storms. A T1 signal indicates a brewing storm still some days away, a T3 means the storm is gathering speed and school children stay home. A T8 or T10 means winds of up to 180km/h spin across Hong Kong and work and public transport is cancelled.
HOW TO GET AROUND
MTR is where it’s at and it’s so simple to use. There are also taxi’s which are reasonably priced and of course because it’s 2018, Uber is also an option. I would probably recommend just sticking to the MTR though, because the traffic is a proverbial nightmare and it’s actually so much quicker to jump on a train.
WHAT TO PACK
Linen, shorts, dresses and breathable fabric. I would also recommend good walking shoes and some dressier pieces for evening. You won’t need warmer clothes like jeans etc, but as rule of thumb, I always pack something lightweight I can throw on at night in case the mercury drops dramatically. Which, may I add, it did whilst I was there. I also suggest packing some hiking clothing as there are some stunning hikes you can do! Swimwear as well!!
WHERE TO STAY
The city’s MTR system is so efficient that it doesn’t really matter neighbourhood you stay in; but after talking to some locals whilst in town they said some of the most popular neighbourhoods include Causeway Bay, Wan Chai, and Central on Hong Kong Island, and Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok in Kowloon.
I stayed at EAST; an incredible hotel which is located in Taikoo, Hong Kong Island. I stayed in a Harbour Corner room with boasts the most incredible panoramic views over Hong Kong harbour. It’s fresh, modern design was beautiful and tall floor to ceiling glass windows lets in so much natural light throughout the day, which I find so important in a hotel room. There is nothing worse that feeling like you’re enclosed and suffocated. I loved the open plan design and all the art which was integrated throughout each floor. Art, as you would know if you have been following me for a while, is one of my biggest loves!!
When I am staying at a hotel, especially if I have to work from there, I really love when they have thought about all the extras. From a Nespresso machine in your room, international charging ports and also a mini internet pod you can tether your phone to whilst out exploring.
On a sustainability note; which always look out for in hotels, especially in larger luxury hotels, they have implemented so many great “green” initiatives. They don’t have single use plastics, they have the larger shampoo and conditioner bottles, they only change linen and towels upon your request and they use recycled paper throughout. One final things which I loved was so simple, but I thought “that’s so unusual for a hotel”, was their roof-top herb garden! Bringing nature to a city, especially when it is something you can eat is amazing! Let’s hope its washed thoroughly before use – HA!
Food was incredible from FEAST and SUGAR was a really nice way to end a really long day walking around. Their cocktails are fantastic!
Navigating around was super easy from EAST as there was an MTR station right next door. I also forgot to pack an SD Card but luckily there was a shopping centre opened until 10pm the day I arrived, otherwise that would have been an absolute disaster!
WHAT YOU CAN DO IN HONG KONG
As I was only there for four days my list is in no way all encompassing, however, I did manage to cover A LOT of ground in a short time.
Highlights for me: walking the streets, eating at amazing places and also going to the art gallery’s and art district. Another highlight was going to SCAD – their design school! It made me want to pack up and go and study!
- Lantau Island’s Big Buddha & Po Lin Monastery
- Victoria Peak T
- en Thousand Buddha Monastery
- Central’s Escalator
- Stanley Market Shek O (beach town)
- Kowloon & Nathan Road
- A boat on the harbour
- Cable car to Ngong Ping Village
- Taikoo Streets
- Mong Kok Markets
- Art district
WHERE I ATE
- The Pond (Elements); Contemporary Chinese food. This was probably one of my favourite meals of the trip
- Vegetarian at the monastery: This was okay, but nothing to write home about. The tofu was pretty good. I wouldn’t rush back, but it was definitely a cultural experience.
- Mr & Mrs Fox: An incredible place for pre-dinner cocktails or purely just cocktails. They were honestly some of the best I have ever had. The food was exceptional. It’s split over three levels and the interiors were a dream; they have mixed traditional English country house vibes with industrial brass and iron details.
- Yum Cha at TST: This is the best Yum Cha I have ever had and also the most contemporary. Every dish was great, however, be prepared for some fried food (which I am not really a huge fan of). The green tea custard buns were the real MVP in this scenario.
SOME INTERESTING FACTS
- Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China. What that means is that it’s officially a part of China, though it’s allowed to operate as an independent country enjoying the highest degree of autonomy.
- Hong Kong became a colony of the British Empireafter Qing China ceded Hong Kong Island at the conclusion of the First Opium War in 1842.
- The territory features the largest number of skyscrapers in the world, most of them surrounding Victoria Harbour
- Over 90% of its population makes use of well-developed public transportation
- That city haze? air pollutionfrom neighbouring industrial areas of mainland China has resulted in a high level of atmospheric particulates
- The name of the territory was first spelled as “He-Ong-Kong” in 1780
- The majority of Hong Kong’s Chinese population speaks Cantonese. The language has nine tones and its system of Romanisation is called Jyutping.
I flew with Cathay Pacific from Sydney which is a 9 hour flight or so. It’s such a doable amount in one go I think. Anymore and it’s a little unbearable. I have had nearly every layover possible: AUS TO DUBAI, AUST TO BANGKOK, AUST TO ABU DHABI, and now I have crossed off AUS TO HKG. It is probably my favourite mid-point city. Bangkok is a lot of fun too, but I think I prefer Hong Kong.
I flew regular economy and I had was surprised by their legroom. I am 5’10” and normally struggle if I am not in an exit row. Don’t get me wrong, I would have preferred an exit row seat for additional room, but the space between chairs were actually reasonable.
I had never flown Cathay before, and I was really, really happy with their service. Sufficient drinks were serviced throughout the entire flight, which is always a concern of mine. There were great choices in food (I opted for the eggs and a vegetarian pasta on the way over), but didn’t eat on the way back because I had eaten in the lounge prior to boarding.
Another thing was their entertainment; great choice in new films and also I found myself listening to TEDTalks on their podcast feature! Sometimes on flights I don’t feel like watching something, but I always love to listen to something to drown out cabin noise.
If shopping, nightlife, and food are up your alley, then Hong Kong is definitely the destination for you. It’s an urban adventure and one I highly recommend!
I have now “done” the tourist-y parts and I am in no rush to go back to them. You know me, I much prefer immersing myself into the local culture instead of fighting every person for a slither of foot space in a congested area.
I collaborated with East and Cathay Pacific on a media trip for this blog post. All opinions are my own.