It’s been a couple of weeks since we’ve returned from Hong Kong, and I am still thinking about that dim sum. Seriously, I didn’t even know I could love dim sum even more than I already do!
English is one of Hong Kong’s national languages, so it’s a great place to travel to if you’re an English speaker who is worried about language barriers. I really enjoyed my time in Hong Kong, and I would love to come back again soon.
Hong Kong has the modern qualities of Seoul, but the craziness and intensity of Vietnam. The streets and crowds can get pretty crazy, and people are always moving! Everyone’s always in a hurry, and even the escalators are running at top speed. You think I’m joking, but actually – be careful on those escalators!
The real estate in Hong Kong is limited, but it’s still a hoppin’ city and it was as expensive as being in Seoul or LA or SF. We stayed at an Airbnb right on Sneaker Street in Mong Kok and got moved around a few times. The first night, our room was tiny. Will and I had two suitcases and a backpack each, and there wasn’t room for them! We ended up stacking all our suitcases into a tetris tower for the first night. On the second night, our host moved us to a bigger room (for our honeymoon :D) and it was a lot more comfortable. They ended up moving us a third time to accommodate a bigger party they had – it wasn’t ideal and we could’ve said no, but we just tried to be nice about it. It was poor planning on their part, but eh, I’ve had worst hotel experiences.
Just like Seoul, it’s good to stay within walking distance of the metro. The metro and bus’ are very convenient here! If I had to rebook, I might’ve looked on the Central side rather than Tsim Sha Tsui because we ended up crossing the river a lot, but I’m also not sure if it really made that much of a difference. Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, we were in a pretty good location. We were in walking distance of many good restaurants and bakeries, and just a couple blocks away from the Ladies Market, which ended up being a great place to shop and bargain.
Things to consider when looking for accommodation: being walking distance of metro or bus stop, stay in a walkable area to reduce commuting times
Dim Sum: Dim sum is probably one of my favorite categories of food and Hong Kong did not disappoint. Who knew dumplings could taste so good?! In Hong Kong, you can really eat with your eyes. Look at the signs on the streets and just visit the restaurant that makes your mouth water. I mean, I guess you can do that anywhere, but I’ve was never let down with any of the places we went to in HK.
My favorite dim sum orders: radish cake, shrimp dumplings, pork and chive dumplings, shu mai, chicken’s feet, Chinese broccoli…just get any dumpling and meatball ahha it’s all good!
Tim Ho Wan: MUST GET the baked char siu/pork buns here! This place has a well-deserved Michelin star and is so worth standing in line, although Will and I were super lucky the two times we came here! We went to two different locations; one of them had a short line that we stood probably 15 minutes in, and the second location had no line because we arrived 15 minutes before they were closing the kitchen (they were not too happy about that…but we ate fast!)
Kam Wah Cafe: I didn’t realize this place was a restaurant where you can order noodle and rice dishes, but you can! I came here for the pineapple bun with butter and the yuenyeung (milk tea mixed with coffee). We also got beef chow fun, and it was all good. This was like the last day of our trip, and we were a little carbed out, but I would def recommend coming here for a snack or breakfast coz dat bun is gewd 🙂
The Peak: If you’re the type of person who likes to go on top of things, go check out Victoria Peak! You can stand in line and pay to go up Sky Terrace 428 to see a 360-degree view of the city, or you can go to several free viewing spots available! We took the 15 bus from Central Station to Victoria Peak, but you can also google how to take the Tram if you like that type of experience.
Stanley: Head to Stanley for a day trip! If you like window shopping and strolling, Stanley is a scenic area for walking around and visiting shops that sell clothes, bags, and other souvenirs. The market itself isn’t huge, so make sure to walk around and compare prices before you buy anything, because some stores are definitely more expensive than others…or you could probably find better prices in the city, where you also have more bargaining power. The restaurants in Stanley are a little more expensive because I guess it’s a pretty touristy place, so we just got a snack before heading back to Central for dinner.
Garden of the Stars: Visiting the Garden of the Stars for me is like other people visiting the Hollywood Stars/Walk of Fame. At the Garden of Stars, I actually saw names of some of my favorite actors and actresses! Definitely was geeking out and taking pictures with the mural drawings 🙂 There’s an Avenue of Stars, too, but it was closed for construction.
Ladies Market: I probably had my most successful shopping/haggling conquests at the Ladies Market. I had a list of off brands I wanted to get and found them all there. You can be an aggressive haggler here, so don’t be shy! I probably bargained my way down to half or a third of their asking prices. Definitely recommend shopping here for souvenirs to bring back to your home country!
Ferry between Central and Tsim Sha Tsui: You can easily take the MTR all around, but it’s worth taking the Ferry between Central and Tsim Sha Tsui at least once for the experience. There will be lots of ads for tours and stuff at the ferry station, but you can actually just buy a ferry ticket through a kiosk, and it’s only $3.70 USD per person! You can also just use an octopus card instead of buying a ticket. The ride is short and brings you to the other side of a the water into walkable areas on each side.
Hong Kong Disneyland: Will bought 2-day tickets to Disneyland for my birthday! If you have limited days in HK but want to experience Disney, then get a one-day pass, but if you have extra days to spare, I was really happy with the 2-day. Hong Kong Disneyland is pretty small, and one can argue that you can experience the whole park in a day. We ended up just doing half a day for our second day, but it was nice to see the smaller things we might’ve missed and also to re-ride our favorite rides. OH YEAH AND DID I MENTION THE TRAIN TO DISNEY HAS MICKEY-SHAPED WINDOWS?!
Big Buddha/Tai O Fishing Village: Another good day trip venture that was recommended by my friend Susan: take the Ngong Ping Cable Car at from Tung Chung to Ngong Ping and walk over to see the Big Buddha. The cable car ticket was $145 HKD one way. It’s a lot longer of a ride than other cable car rides I’ve been on, and of course you get fantastic views. There is a little plaza of shops and restaurants in Ngong Ping and you can see some cows along the walk to see the Big Buddha! There are quite a few stairs to climb if you want to see the Buddha up close, but I welcomed the exercise. After checking out the Big Buddha, you can take a bus or taxi to Tai O Fishing Village. Bus will obviously be a lot cheaper. Will and I took a taxi because we had gotten a late start to the day and didn’t want to get there too late. At the recommendation of our Airbnb host, we checked out the shops and bought some shrimp paste, XO sauce, and other dried seafood for cooking. We also stumbled upon a small shop that sold dou hua, which is a silky tofu dessert in a sweet gingery syrup – definitely check out the little shops and eat all the foods!
- Get an Octopus card (metro card): Will and I didn’t get one during our trip. I really wish we had, though! You can purchase them at the metro stations, and later return them to get your “deposit” back. If we had mostly been taking the metro, then buying single journey tickets every time would’ve been fine. However, we ended up taking the bus a lot more than I thought, which had weird fares. So having a metro card is extra helpful and cheaper when taking the bus around!