Good morning, Hong Kong, the magical land of Suzy Wong, pampering and dim sum. With a population of 7.2 million and more people living and working above the 14th floor than any other city in the world. This is my first stop on my six-country adventure. Skyscrapers, flashing light shows, world-famous cuisine served on a sparkling platter—Hong Kong, with its spectacular light affair is definitely not short of places to explore. With unobtrusive Michelin Star Restaurants found in the most unsuspecting places you could find yourself enjoying duck cooked right in front of you for a measly 10 Aussie dollars.
Hong Kong is a user-friendly city that the simplest of simpleton travellers (AKA me) wont struggle to find their way around. Hong Kong’s efficient and clean tube system allows any traveller to seamlessly navigate their way around without getting lost. In moments the tube can whisk you from the Hong Kong Island side to the Kowloon side which is half the time it would take if you chose to take a cab.
Hong Kong Must Do’s
1. Feed the Hunger
When overseas, the better the deal you can get, the better you feel about yourself and your traveller prowess. Lunchtime deals can be found all over this crazy town. It’s not uncommon to find a 3 course meal ranging from 100 to 300 HKong dollars. Fabulous value! Alternatively, there is an array of treats available from the many street vendors. Let’s not forget Hong Kong’s ritual, the Dim Sum. Here are 12 of the best from a man who knows his food: Lady Iron Chief’s Best Dim Sun in Hong Kong.
2. Get Happy
Let’s be honest, the ex-pat community is the driving force behind the HK Happy Hour with most of the fun taking place in the Lam Kwai Fong area. Try Tasmanian Ballroom and/or Dragoni when cocktails are on the agenda and you want to hang with the cool kids.
3. Rub a Belly and Get Good Luck
If you are in the need of some good fortune you can’t miss out on a visit to Big Budda (Tian Tan Buddha). Budda is located at Ngong Ping, Lantau Island. A 45-minute train trip from Central Station will lead you to a cable car ride that provides panoramic views of Lantau Island. When you embark from the cable car, 260 steps await you before you meet the Budda.
4. Ding Dings – The Iconic Hong Kong Tram
Fondly referred to by the locals as the ‘Ding Dings’, the trams in Hong Kong are an experience not to be missed. Looking at them, you could be forgiven for thinking that you may not exit in one piece—let alone make it to your destination—but they are surprisingly fun and great for sightseeing. Head to the top deck to take in the views. Typically, the trams are overcrowded but are certainly worth the ride.
5. Light Show
Victoria Harbour is famous for its spectacular multimedia light and sound show, and is certainly an attraction that should not be missed. More than 40 buildings from both Kowloon and Hong Kong light up as part of this extravaganza. The light show is best viewed at Tsim Shau Tsui waterfront or on one of the many ferries that get you in amongst it.
6. Indulge and Relax
In my humble opinion, pampering should be a prerequisite and scheduled as part of any holiday itinerary. If it’s pure indulgence that you are after, you would be hard pressed to find anything better than The Peninsula Hotel Spa. The Peninsula Hotel attracts many tourists for its famous afternoon tea. If it comes down to a toss-up of how best to spend your dollar here, I would be inclined to invest it in the Spa. With access to the Spa comes entrance to the pool which provides a panoramic view of Hong Kong’s skyline. This is the perfect place for a day of escapism that will revitalise and refresh your soul. The massages come with my highest recommendation and are incomparable to anything I’ve experienced before.
7. Night Markets
I remember the days when you could haggle for almost anything in a market, stand firm on your price and even walk away like a spoilt child if the seller didn’t come to the price party—and hope they would come chasing after you, succumbing to the price you wanted. Well folks, those days are gone. Though haggling/bartering is still in fashion it’s important to keep it real. Respectful bartering is the way to get a fair price with stall holders.
Temple Street is the most popular night market and you will find everything from fashion, travel goods, electrical goods and even a fortune teller!
Hong Kong is one of the safest cities and great for solo female travellers. You would be hard pressed not to have an action-packed visit and meet some new friends in the process.