Hong Kong is a bustling hub of food, culture and a spectacular skyline. Perfect for the city lovers or beach bums, there’s plenty on offer, whether it’s your final destination or a stop over for a trip further afield.
With the expertise of Megan Douglas, an expat teacher who blogs about her life living in central Hong Kong for the past three years, these are the sights you simply cannot miss.
Her top tip for getting round the city? “Get an Octopus card on arrival as you can use it pay for more than just travel. You can use it to pay for food in supermarkets as well as entrance to many Hong Kong tourist attractions,” she tells HuffPost.
1. Victoria Peak
Hike, taxi or take the tram up to Victoria Peak, the highest point on Hong Kong island and marvel at the striking city landscape.At the peak you will also find a shopping mall and restaurants with incredible views. What’s more: entrance is completely free.
You can get a taxi up there, but we’d recommend the tram, which runs from 7am until midnight and costs just 70p to ride (you can pay using your Octopus card). The tram journey is short, but picturesque with stunning views of the whole city.
2. Chi Lin Nunnery
A quiet oasis in the middle of the fast-paced city life, Chi Lin Nunnery offers a space of calm and serenity. Created in 1934 as a Buddhist nun retreat, it cuts through Hong Kong’s high-rise buildings and is built in Tang dynasty style, with elegant wooden architecture and lotus ponds galore.
“Get off at the Diamond Hill stop on the MTR trains and wander though the beautiful Nan Lian Garden. Don’t miss out watching the koi carp feeding time,” says Douglas. And before you leave, pick up some incense from the gift shop to bring some peace and calm wherever you go.
3. Hu Tong Restaurant
For the best views of the bay paired with traditional Cantonese cuisine, head to the Hu Tong restaurant located in Tsim Sha Tsui for a three star Michelin meal. It’s pretty pricey, expect to pay upwards of £100 a head but Douglas says, if your budget allows: “It’s completely worth it.”
4. Happy Valley Race Course
Dress up for a night out betting at the Happy Valley Racecourse. Entrance is cheap, setting you back just HK$10 (the equivalent of £1) and the carnival atmosphere will ensure you have a good time. Sip jugs of beer while enjoying the view, as the racecourse is enclosed within the stunning skyline.
Douglas tells us race nights happen on Wednesdays but check the race schedule on its website as dates may change around public holidays.
5. Star Ferry
See the skyline from sea-level and sail across the bay in the Star Ferry. Pick your ride up from Victoria Harbour and travel between the main Hong Kong island and Kowloon for less than 50p, which can be paid for with your Octopus card. From 6am to 11:30pm, catch the ferry which arrives every ten minutes and the journey itself takes just over 10 minutes.
6. Felix Bar, Penninsula Hotel
Douglas recommends to skip the expensive afternoon tea at the hotel and take the lift up to the Felix Bar for a cocktail. Try to arrive at 7:45pm and grab a seat to catch the daily 8pm harbour light show. Also, ladies, take a trip to the ladies loo for a jaw-dropping view.
Drinks are served from 5:30pm to 1:30am, with a wine bar and supper served from 10pm too.
7. Tian Tan Buddha
Often referred to the Big Buddha, this colossal structure is the largest outdoor Buddha in the world. Break a sweat climbing the 268 steps from sea-level to the statue. Sitting in the Po Lin Monastery, once you reach the peak you can enjoy magnificent views of Lantau Island (and take a well-deserved breather).
Alternatively, skip the steps with a leisurely ride on the Ngong Ping 360 Skyrail cable cars. The glass bottoms of the cable cars mean you get an aerial view of the countryside beneath your feet.
You can’t visit Hong Kong without visiting the Mongkok district. A maze of shops and market stalls, pick up a bunch fresh flowers at the Ladies Market, stop off at the fortune tellers at the Temple Street Night Market before paying a visit to the traditional tea houses. Don’t forget to browse the shops on Sneaker Street, where you can buy find rare, limited edition styles you won’t find anywhere else.
9. Kowloon Park
Stumble across the unexpected flamboyance of flamingos (yes, that is the collective noun) while on a leisurely stroll through Kowloon Park. Head to the Chinese Garden and enjoy the tranquil lotus ponds while watching the terrapins catching the sun. There are also kung fu and lion dance performances every Sunday to keep you entertained.
Nicknamed the ‘Vegas of Asia’, Macau is just a hour ferry ride from Victoria Harbour if you’re interested in travelling further afield from the city.Munch on the Portuguese custard tarts, sip cocktails in the casinos or catch the water-based stage show to rival Cirque Du Soleil, make sure you get tickets to the The House Of Dancing Water at the City Of Dreams hotel. It costs HK$434 (£35) for a weekend return trip.