Earlier this year the mrs and I visited Hong Kong for the first time ever. We didn’t really know what to expect, but man were we pleasantly surprised. To put it short: Hong Kong is friggin amazing! We could both agree that it is definitely one of the best (if not the best) cities we have ever visited. It kinda reminded me of New York only more interesting and definitely more crazy.
When we first bought the tickets I know exactly nothing about Hong Kong so I had some research to do. I couldn’t find too many good guides on the internet and the only good book I could find was the Monocle guide to Hong Kong, but with a lot of googling and with the help of some good people on Instagram I managed to get a pretty good idea what to do and where to stay – and im really glad I did my homework cause like I mentioned before Hong Kong is crazy.
But without further ado here are my recommendations to Hong Kong:
Where to stay
The first question I wanted to find the answer to was where to stay. First we needed to decide between Kowloon (the mainland) or Hong Kong (the island). After talking to some locals (thank god for Instagram) it quickly became apparent that the island was the place for us to stay. Then came the question of the area, and after consulting a lot with local instagrammer Timmy727 (thanks buddy) we decided on Sheung Wan. It’s right in the center and a lot of cafe’s, restaurants and shops nearby. I would definitely recommend to stay in this area.
There are no shortage of great coffee places in Hong Kong and more or less all of the better coffee shops serves hand brew. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Noc Coffee Co. – Both coffee and interior is top notch here. Maybe my favorite coffee place in Hong Kong.
- 18 Grams – I think there are 5-6 of these scattered around Hong Kong. Great coffee and decent interior.
- Roastery Lab By The Coffee Academics – Actually more a roastery than a coffee shop. There isn’t actually anywhere too sit, but they make a mean cup of coffee and you can really get a nerdy talk about coffee with the guys in here.
- Omotesando Koffee – Originally a Japanese store. Decent coffee, but the interior is amazing. Really worth a visit when you are in Wan Chai
- % Arabica – Another Japanese chain store. Makes good coffee and they have a super clean minimalistic interior.
I have never been in a city with so many great restaurants. There is literally a Michelin starred restaurant around every corner. And there is great food for every budget. I would recommend these:
- Bep Viet – Really good Vietnamese food in a cozy unformed atmosphere
- Yardbird – Yakitori the cool way.
- Ronin – The super cool sequel to Yardbird. Very small restaurant that servers amazing seafood. You need to book.
- Butchers Club Burgers – included in the Michelin guide. Try the Thin cut fries with bonito flakes
- Minh & Kok – When shopping in Causeway Bay this an excellent little stop for some great Vietnamese food.
There is no doubt in my mind that Hong Kong must be the best place in the world for shopping. I can’t come up with a single brand that isn’t represented in this city. There are a lot of both big brand flagship stores over small specialty boutiques to amazing department store like shops that carries every brand you could possible imagine.
- I.T. – We never heard off this company before we accidentally stumbled upon one of their many stores, but apperently I.T. is a gigantic fashion conglomerate that owns a lot of brands and retails even more. This has to my new favorite store – mostly because they carry so many nice brands: Beams, CDG, Ami, Maison Kitsune etc. etc. and they carry both mens and womens line. They are all over Hong Kong but I particular liked the ones that are placed in Causeway Bay.
- Maison Kitsune – Another of my favorite brands and of course the have a flagship ship store in Hong Kong.
- PMQ – A very cool place. Used to house police families but now it’s a kinda venue for a lot of small creative individuals brands and designers. Definitely worth a visit.
- WOAW – Decent shop with both fashion, interior and gadgets (they also have som Bearbricks). Staff seemed a bit stuck-up but ok selection.
- Studious Tokyo – a select shop that carries only Japanese brands.
- Uniqlo – there is quite a large Uniqlo in Causeway Bay and I found so many great items that I haven’t seen in european Uniqlo’s.
One of the things I really like about Hong Kong is how many things there are to see and do. There are beaches, temples, mountains, skyscrapers, amusement parks, parks etc. whatever you are in the mood for, it’s here.
- Victoria Peak – The highest mountain on Hong Kong island. Gives you an amazing view of Hong Kong and Koowloon. Don’t bother with the Tram – take a Taxi it’s fast, cheap and super easy. Don’t bother with the crowded Sky Terrace either – when you arrive at the top find Lugard Road and take a 15 minutes hike out of this beautiful trail and you’ll get an amazing view of Hong Kong (for free).
- Star Ferry -Definetly take a trip with the Star Ferry from Hong Kong to Kowloon. It’s super cheap and you get a wonderful view from the harbor.
- Kowloon – When you arrive at Kowloon after taking the Star Ferry spend a day (or two) at this crazy place. There are A LOT of people here and the ambiance is much more chinese than in Hong Kong. I would reccomend you try the markets in the area around Sham Shui Po (if you are a electronics geek also visit Golden Computer Mall in this area – electronic heaven) and if you are in the market for Bearbricks, Kaws etc. try some of the Collecters Toy shopping centres like In’s Point or CTMA Centre (worth a visit even if you are not looking for collectibles just because it’s so crazy).
- Sky Lobby Central Plaza – There are quite a few scyscrapers that provides a free view of Hong Kong’s amazing skyline. The Sky Lobby is on the 46th floor and gives you a stunning 360 degrees view of Hong Kong and Kowloon.
- Mid Levels Escalators – The longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world. Pretty fun to try and you get a bit around Hong Kong.
- Beaches – I didnt know this beforehand, but there is actually a lot of really nice beaches in Hong Kong – both for surfing and for relaxing.
- And the list could go on and on and on with Buddhas, temples, Disneyland, hiking routes etc. etc.
Tips and Tricks
Finally here are a few tips that I thought would be good to know about Hong Kong.
- Getting Around – It’s super easy to get around Hong Kong. Public transportation works exceptionally well and I would recommend you buy a Octopus Card on your first day. You can use it both Trams, underfround, ferry etc. Alternatively you could go by taxi – they are really cheap, but traffic can be a bitch and you could end up getting stuck in traffic.
- Safety – Crime is more or less none existing in Hong Kong and we felt super safe even in the darkest alleys. I have never been in a big city where i felt as safe as here. Also we never experienced any street hustlers or anything like that.
- Payment – Most of the shops and restaurants accept credit cards, but at the markets etc. you have to pay by cash. So I would recommend always carrying some cash around.
- Barber shop – Oh yeah, if you need a haircut or a beard trim, don’t deny yourself a chance to visit Hair House Barbershop by Adam Chan it’s such a cool place and they do amazing cuts and shaves
As you might sense I am totally in love with Hong Kong and i really cant recommend it enough. So what are you waiting for? Go, go, go……….