Top 10 reasons to visit Hong Kong
Although I might be biased, the variety of things that exists in Hong Kong has made it the most unique city in the world. Not only do you have endless skyscrapers and a world-famous skyline, unique mixture of modern and tradition along with the western and eastern world, but also a vast expanse of the countryside as well as outlying islands hidden from the hustle and bustle.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves and let’s start with number #1 reason to visit the city, and rest assured that sooner than you think you will be planning a trip to Hong Kong!
Top reasons why you should visit Hong Kong now
**Guest post by Nam Cheah, founder of Laugh Travel Eat
Experience the merge of Chinese and British Colonial culture
Hong Kong was a British Colony from the 19th century until 1997, and you can see much historical and cultural influence of this all over the island. The first area of settlement, the area known as Central and Admiralty, is still home to many buildings dating back to that era as well as infrastructures such as the Peak Tram, St John’s Cathedral, and Final Court of Appeal.
There are Tong Lau – a five to four-storey-high British influenced apartment buildings – spread all over Hong Kong, too. Although not unique to Hong Kong, each holds its own piece of history, such as the Lui Seng Chun that was once a Chinese bone-setting shop.
There is no shortage of good food in Hong Kong. Due to its international nature, you can find almost any kind of cuisine here, from the most local to exotic choices and at any price. If you want to go local, grab an egg waffle along with some bubble tea to refuel or try our version of French toast in a Cha Chaan Teng (our local restaurants). Want to get adventurous? We’ve got fusion street food joints such as Seoul Brothers that whips out good Bahn Mi and no one can resist a good burger from Beef and Liberty. I’ve got a whole list of recommendation on where to eat in Hong Kong here.
The view of Hong Kong from the Peak is legendary. In fact, one of my friends told me that it was the most amazing thing he had ever seen and he had visited half the world. It’s difficult to describe how special it is, so I’ll just leave this photo here:
Hiking trails in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is often advertised as a metropolis, but it actually has over 70 per cent of green area. Hiking the well-maintained trails of Hong Kong has become a popular past time for locals and an increasing number of tourists are venturing there as well. Some of the most famous ones include Dragon’s Back that offers a great view of Shek O on South Hong Kong Island and the Lion Rock Mountains in Kowloon that’s known as the symbol of Hong Kong’s spirit. Of course, there are many more hiking trails. If you are curious, you can see where I’ve hiked in Hong Kong here.
As a coastal city, it only makes sense that we should have beaches. Admittedly, not all of the beaches in Hong Kong are beautiful, given that we are at the end of a delta and rubbish gets washed down or thrown in a lot. However, we do have some gorgeous hidden beaches that take some effort to reach, particularly in the northeastern New Territories area of Sai Kung. There are pockets of paradise in Hong Kong, all you have to do is make the effort to get there.
If you are tired of the fast-paced center of Hong Kong and can’t be bothered to take the effort to reach the rural New Territories, heading to one of the outlying islands south of Hong Kong Island (the irony) is a grand idea. Cheung Chau is famed for its laid-back vibe and tempting street food, while Lantau Island has the famous Big Buddha and Tai O fishing village. There are a great number of other islands to choose from too, just make sure you don’t miss the last ferry.
Given Hong Kong’s reputation as a high density, busy city, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that we have efficient transport. Our metro, called MTR, comes every five minutes at its slowest point and the bus networks are extremely well connected. We also have the oldest double-decker tram system in the world on the northern side of Hong Kong Island, charging a measly 2.3 HKD for a single ride. It’d be a shame to not experience all of them during your stay!
Hong Kong isn’t all skyscrapers. In fact, even in Central you can find hawker stalls along the side of the street, selling innumerable amount of knick-knacks and such. However, the most famous markets are in Mong Kok, in Kowloon. We have the birds market, the flower market, the Ladies Market and more, and they all make for lovely Hong Kong tourist spots. If you are looking for more specialized ones, there is the antique market on Upper Larscar Street in Sheung Wan and electronics market in Sham Shui Po.
I have probably mentioned it before, but Hong Kong is a high-density city. Housing is the single biggest issue that this great city faced, and the government has been building public housing estates since the mid-1900s. This resulted in uniform, often delightfully painted, apartment blocks with an inner courtyard, many of which have become an Instagram hotspot and some fascinating Hong Kong tourist spots. The most famous ones are Montane Mansion, which would drive any claustrophobic off the rails and the rainbow-hued Choi Hung Estate.
Temples are by all means an important part of Chinese culture, consequently, they are abundant in Hong Kong. Whether you are religious or not, there is plenty to admire and learn from temples. For example, the Man Mo Temple in Sheung Wan, dedicated to the god of Literature and god of Martial Arts, was not only the first temple in the area but a law court for the Chinese during the early colonial period. The Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery was built by monks from China that hand-carried the statues up, and is a famous hidden gem in Shatin, definitely one of the places to visit in Hong Kong.
Nam Cheah is a third culture millennial who spent half of her life in Hong Kong and the other half in the UK. Planning to make the most out of life, she documents her passion to laugh, travel and eat on her suitably named blog: Laugh, Travel, Eat. When she’s not doing any of that, she’s either catching up on TV while online shopping or writing her novels.
Where to stay in Hong Kong, a selection of the best hotels
Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong. Hardly a trademark that needs any introduction, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, located in Finance Street, is a perfect accommodation for any type of trip, be it for business or for leisure. Surrounded by breathtaking views to be enjoyed from the comfort of your luxurious rooms aptly decorated with floor-to-ceiling windows, Hong Kong’s Four Seasons offers amenities such as Michelin-awarded restaurants, a spa, and a fitness center. The stylish rooms are equipped with flat-screen TV, iPod dock, DVD player, free WiFi, and bathrooms with bathtub and separate walk-in rain shower.
Click here for more details on availability and current offers at Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong.
Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong. If you are still choosing where to stay in Hong Kong, check out the amenities of its Mandarin Oriental. Providing ten dining options, a fitness center with indoor heated swimming pool, and a spa equipped with steam room, sauna, Jacuzzi and Chinese and Ayurveda treatments, this is the best place to relax after a day of working or sightseeing. Located in the heart of Hong Kong, here you can enjoy spacious rooms with panoramic views, flat-screen TV, minibar and iPod dock.
Click here for more information on availability and latest prices at Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong.
The Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong. With the highest cutting-edge luxury and state-of-the-art amenities, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong is the place to go for treating yourself. The largest rooms in the city boasting facilities such as air conditioning, flat-screen TV, a minibar, an electric kettle, bathrooms with free toiletries, slippers and hair dryer, and a spa equipped with heated indoor swimming pool, a fitness center, and yoga and pilates classes are some of the amenities welcoming the guests of this stunning hotel.
Click here for more details and latest rates at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong.
Hotel ICON. Elegant design resort, Hong Kong’s Hotel ICON features a rooftop outdoor heated pool, a health club and a modern spa. If you want to know where to stay in Hong Kong without spending a fortune, this is the place for you. Each room has a minibar and a smartphone with unlimited data, and guests can relax at the fitness center, at the pool bar, the Green Cafe and the on-site restaurants.
Click here for more details on booking availability and current prices at Hong Kong’s Hotel ICON.
The Peninsula Hong Kong. Inaugurated in 1928, The Peninsula Hong Kong is a luxurious 5-star that features a large spa, eight exclusive restaurants serving Chinese, Japanese, French and Swiss cuisine, an indoor pool, a fitness center and a business center. Rooms provide facilities such as bathrooms with a spa bathtub, a Blu-Ray player, free WiFi, LED touch-screen wall panels and LED TV.
Click here for more details on prices and availability at The Peninsula Hong Kong.