Hong Kong is such a fascinating techni-coloured city, a fusion of Eastern and Western cultures, a contrast of traditional and modern and packed with so much to experience and see.
It has a British Colonial past but is now a pulsating autonomous territory, lit by neon lights, skyscrapers marking and shaping its sky line and the delicious aroma of heavenly food, or yum cha, which can be found all over.
I visited Hong Kong for 4 days as part of a dual destination trip, before going to Bali, and here are my suggestions of what to do. I highly recommend spending a few days as a layover or even going to Hong Kong as a destination in it’s own right as it is just so expansive and full of amazing things to do and see.
Ride the Ngong Ping Cable Car*
There is nothing quite like seeing a destination from an aerial view, and I loved riding the Ngong Ping Cable Car from Tung Chung to Lantau Island. It takes roughly around 25 minutes and I highly recommend paying a little extra to ride in the Crystal Cabin, as long as you are okay with heights, as it has a glass bottom floor so you can clearly see the gorgeous views below you.https://binnyskitchen.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/img_0965-1.mov
It is how you get to the sights such as the Big Buddha, the Bodhi Wishing Shrine and the Po Lin Monastery.
Marvel at the Big Buddha*
Tian Tan Buddha, more popularly known as the Big Buddha, is a 34 metres high bronze statue of Buddha Shakyamuni, which is located at Ngong Ping, Lantau Island. It was built to symbolise the harmonious relationship between man and nature as well as people and faith.
Climbing the 268 steps to the Big Buddha is a real test of one’s fitness, but so worth it when you get to the top as it is just incredible to see. Unfortunately on the day we visited it was a little misty but it was still really amazing!
Surrounding it are “The Offering of the Six Devas” which are bronze statues with different poses offering flowers, incense, lamp, ointment, fruit, and music to the Buddha.
What is unusual about this Big Buddha is he actually faces North whilst it is more common for Big Buddhas to be facing South.
Access outside the Buddha is free but if you want to go inside you have to pay an admission fee.
Bodhi Wishing Shrine*
Don’t leave without writing down a wish and hanging it on the Bodhi Wishing Shrine. The Bodhi Tree, known as the Bo Tree, is the “Tree of Awakening”. It has a lot of significance as it was the tree under which Siddhartha meditated “Who am I and why am I here?”, eventually attaining Enlightenment and becoming Buddha.
It is believed that any wishes made under a Bodhi Tree will come true so if you are superstitious make sure you write that wish down 😉
Take a Cruise on the Aqua Luna
A cruise on the Aqua Luna, one of the few remaining red-sail Chinese junk boats, is an absolute must. It takes around 45 minutes and you get to see the city’s skyline and marvel at the beauty of the city and all its twinkling lights. If you time it right you will even catch the world famous Symphony of Lights, which is a spectacular light show and not to be missed.
While sailing, you can enjoy a drink (I had a glass of wine of course), and relax on some comfortable seats and just take in the fresh air and the gorgeous views.
For more information and to book visit their website here.
Get a 360 Degree view of Hong Kong from Sky100
On the 100th floor, ( yes 100th), is an indoor 360 degree observation deck called Sky100, where you can get some seriously phenomenal views of Hong Kong.
You can see the famous Victoria Harbour from an alternative view and it is just phenomenal.
We combined it with a visit to the Ozone Bar at Ritz Carlton, which you can read about further below.
For more information about Sky100 visit their website here.
The OZONE Bar at The Ritz Carlton
This is officially the highest bar in the world, on the 118th floor of the ICC, and an amazing spot for cocktails and stunning views. We decided to go to Sky100 when it wasn’t yet dark and then pop to OZONE Bar when night was falling just so we could get the contrast and experience both.
For more information visit their website here.
Café Gray Bar at The Upper House Hotel
This bar came highly recommended to me prior to my trip and it certainly lived up to the hype. I loved the luxe feel and the gorgeous views, and the cocktails were absolutely delicious too. Considering we waltzed in without any booking, the staff were so welcoming.
We opted to sit in one of the nooks with the views right behind us and it was just fabulous. At no point did we feel rushed and the staff were absolutely fantastic.
For more information visit their website here.
The Red Bar at the International Finance Centre
For a slightly more affordable option, the Red Bar at the IFC also offers superb views and you have the choice of ordering from the hole-in-the-wall bar or you are free to bring your own drinks. We arrived during happy hour so that was perfect timing!
Shop at the Markets
Temple Street Night Market
The liveliest and my favourite of all the markets we visited. This is a night market where you can find everything from drones to designer fakes, home accessories, clothes, shoes and toys. The side streets have street food stalls and shops, so a great place for late night wandering and exploring.
Graham Street Market
This is Hong Kong’s oldest food market where locals purchase fruit, vegetables, meats and flowers. I adored walking through and seeing the everyday local merchants selling their super fresh produce and I wish that I had a chance to try and cook with some of the ingredients as it was all so fascinating and so fresh.
The Ladies Market is not just for ladies purchases despite its name. You can find lots of clothes, shoes and accessories as well as trinkets and souvenirs here. It is found on Tung Choi Street and a great place to practice your bargaining skills.
Discover the Burguenoning Street Art Scene
When I first had my perception of what Hong Kong would be like, I didn’t expect it to have so much of an art culture as it does and it was so lovely to discover art in the most unexpected of places.
My favourite was the mural on Graham Street, which seemed to be an instagram photo hot spot in the city, with people even queuing up to take a photo of it or with it.
Various stairs had art on them too, whether the entrance to parks or shopping centres.
You could also spot the odd Street Graffiti in places too.
Eat all the Dim Sum!
I absolutely ate as much Dim Sum as I could in Hong Kong and my two favourite places were Dim Sum Library at Pacific Place, as well as Yum Cha, which has two locations, one in Central and one in Kowloon.
Fantastic quality Dim Sum could also be found at street food vendors, small local restaurants and the food courts of some of the shopping malls. I definitely made the most and am already missing the deliciousness of them.
Try the Egg Custard Tarts from Tai Cheong Bakery
Portuguese influence brought the famous Egg Tarts to Hong Kong and Macau. Whilst the ones in Macau symbolise the Portuguese ones more, the Hong Kong ones have their own touch, with custard as a glossy filling.
The bakery has several locations dotted around Hong Kong so it is super easy to get your fix of these delicious morsels of heaven!
If you are a shopaholic then Hong Kong is the perfect destination for you. From designer streets, to shopping malls of every shape and size and bargain alleys hidden behind main streets, you can find literally anything.
My favourite was the mall at Pacific Place as well as the various shopping streets in Kowloon.
Visit a Cat Cafe
I am totally cat obsessed so when I happened to stumble across the Meow Mi Home Cat cafe off Nathan Street, I abandoned all my other plans and headed inside.
At this cafe, for a minimum spend of roughly 6 pounds, you can stay as long as you like to play with the feline residents. They are super cute and so if you are a cat lover it is a must.
Take the Star Ferry
For the cheapest way to get the best views of Victoria Harbour, take the Star Ferry between Central and Kowloon. It is a great way to get around and a wonderful experience which promises the most fabulous views.
Take the MTR
Our favourite way to get around Hong Kong, once we figured it out, was the MTR. It was so so convenient and so reasonably priced. I highly recommend it.
Enjoy a chilled Tea in an inflatable Flamingo
At Flamingo Bloom, which has a few locations (we went to the one in Central) you can refresh and hydrate with a selection of Teas and even opt to have it in an inflatable Flamingo for a little bit more money. You then get to keep the Flamingo too!
It’s fun for the novelty factor but the teas are actually so good too and there is a massive variety to choose from.
Visit their website here.
Observe the contrast of the old vs new architecture and buildings
My favourite way to discover a city is to just ramble the streets looking up at all the different styles of the buildings, and what struck me in Hong Kong was the constant contrasts between old buildings with neon and multi coloured signs competing for air space vs the swanky shiny new skyscrapers.
It is a great way to spend time getting to know the city and I recommend walking as much as possible within the different areas.
Michelin Starred Dining
Hong Kong has no shortage of Michelin Starred restaurants and on one day I managed to eat at a 2 Michelin Starred restaurant, Caprice, for lunch, and then a 3 Michelin Starred Restaurant, Lung King Heen, for dinner. Both are located at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong, and will have full reviews on my blog soon.
Caprice at Four Seasons Hong Kong
French cuisine with such amazing flair under the helm of Chef Guillaume Galliot. I thoroughly enjoyed my lunch thanks to Four Seasons Hong Kong, and had a fabulous tables with amazing views. Keep an eye out for my full review, but the desserts by Pastry Chef Nicolas Lambert are not to be missed!
For more information or to book visit their website here.
Lung King Heen at Four Seasons Hong Kong
Serving authentic Cantonese food, this was the world’s first Chinese restaurant to be awarded 3 Michelin Stars and I can see why – the food was so fresh, full of flavour and the best Cantonese food I have ever eaten. I am still dreaming of it weeks later and would definitely go back when I am ever in Hong Kong again!
For more information and to book visit their website here.
Have you been to Hong Kong? What were your favourite things to do? I would love to know in the comments section below xx
Places denoted with a * These are all near each other and so can be combined in the same trip.