Growing up, I have always thought of Hong Kong as every kid’s haven with the presence of Disneyland and Ocean Park. Shopping aficionados also consider Hong Kong as their paradise with the wide array of bargain finds you can think of. When I first visited this beautiful city, I didn’t know what to expect. Preparing a travel itinerary for Hong Kong was tough too. I thought five days was more than enough to see everything because of the size of this tiny island in Asia, but boy was I wrong. I underestimated Hong Kong! Even if I probably stayed for a month to explore and discover hidden gems in this city, it won’t still be enough. Hong Kong is always changing and the best way to explore the city is to connect with locals who can show you around.
Anthony Bourdain was lucky that Christopher Doyle, a renowned cinematographer and Hong Kong resident of nearly 30 years, was available to show him the city and help shoot the HK episode of his show, Parts Unknown. For the first-timer me, I did it in full D-I-Y splendor. No regrets though. But if given the chance, I would have reached out to locals who are familiar with Hong Kong to guide me and help me show the best of Hong Kong.
Here are some of the things you should not miss when you visit Hong Kong.
1. Ride the Scenic Ngong Ping Cable Car 360
The Ngong Ping Cable Car 360 is a favourite of mine. Those people who fear heights might struggle with this one but it’s definitely a worthy experience.
2. Get lost in the city
Allow yourself to discover hidden gems here and explore every nook possible. But if you are doubtful you can execute this task well, get a local to show you the way.
3. Indulge in great tasting dishes
Did you know that Hong Kong is home to many Michelin-starred restaurants? Cheap food stalls abound on the streets, which are also Michelin-recommended. In fact, a lot of people travel to HK just to indulge on a culinary feast.
4. Ride the Public Transportation
HK has an efficient transportation system. Wherever you’re going, you can choose to ride the MTR, ferry boat, the scenic ding ding or city trams, buses and taxis. Be sure to get an Octopus card as it will come in handy when riding any of those.
5. Visit Disneyland and/or Ocean Park
Disneyland and Ocean Park are not just for kids alone but also for those who are still kids at heart. If you’re going to Ocean Park, I highly recommend lining up for The Flash, The Abyss and the Hair Raiser (Disclaimer: All rides mentioned are not for the faint-hearted).
6. Explore the beautiful gardens and temples
One of the best things about HongKong is that despite the lack of space, the city has managed to preserve and maintain beautifully landscaped gardens. There are numerous temples in the city too. A personal favorite is the Po Lin Monastery located on the same area where the famous Tian Tan Buddha sits.
7. Watch the sunset from Victoria Peak
If you can, go to Victoria Peak before the sun sets so that you can witness HongKong light up at night. Seeing a bird’s eye view of those skyscrapers is quite something.
8. Find the Central-Mid-Levels Escalator
Find your way to the Central-Mid-Levels Escalator, the world’s longest outdoor escalator system with an 800-meter-long chain of walkways and moving stairs, if you are fond of people watching and seeing how locals go through their daily grind.
The city is home to great bargains so if you’re fond of shopping (especially sneakers) be sure to bring extra cash and baggage space for your hauls.
These are just a few of the things you should not miss whenever you visit Hong Kong. Climbing up the Sky100 Observation Deck, visiting the Ten Thousand Buddhas, strolling along the Avenue of Stars, watching the Symphony of Lights, and more are other things you can consider adding to your itinerary. But if you want a different perspective, something off-the-beaten, allow to get in touch with a local to show you an insider’s view of the best of Hong Kong.