How we covered most of Hong Kong in 4 days
“Hong Kong is a wonderful, mixed-up town where you’ve got great food and adventure. First and foremost, it’s a great place to experience China in a relatively accessible way.” – Anthony Bourdain
We had a fascinating time in Hong Kong. Overall, we loved its sprawling, mountainous terrain and its multi-faceted character, blending old with new. We really enjoyed its night scene, as neighbourhoods felt hip and young and the city does generally feel alive. Food is a-plenty — the city teems with restaurants serving noodles, fishballs and dim sum.
In a previous blog post, I covered Tian Tan and the wonderful Po Lin Monastery, both on Lantau Island (the same island that hosts the international airport). Tian Tan is the second largest, outdoor Buddha in the world, and the Po Lin Monastery is otherworldly in its delicately gilded details. You can read more about it here.
On the same day, we were able to hop onto a public bus just after the entrance of Tian Tan towards Tai O — a fishing village also located on Lantau Island, facing the South China Sea. You can also read about it here.
It's well worth visiting and I can promise you beautiful mountainous views, most of which which you can reach at ease. The path towards the viewpoint is paved up until a certain point. As I'm one for adventures (and shortcuts), we decided to take the downtrodden path, to learn that my block heels were not the best attire, as it was rather steep and slippery. We made it out alive, with a working camera, a few grazes and a lot of anxiety-induced perspiration.
In the Mong Kok neighbourhood on Hong Kong's mainland, you're able to swiftly tick off three famous markets. We managed to do all this in an afternoon.
The first is the Bird Market.
If I had to be quite honest to you, I felt sorry for the larger birds which were entrapped in the cages. However, I was fascinated by the relationship the shop owners had with some of the birds.
There was also a shop selling grub. This included grasshoppers and a tonne of cockroaches.
Then there's the Flower Market. Spanning many blocks, you could purchase a range of delicate and hardy plants, including many which were artificially coloured.
As we were there just before Christmas, we witnessed the most beautifully decorated wreaths.
We also passed by the Fish Market, where you can find many a shop selling fish of all shapes and sizes.
Stanley Market but I wasn't keen on the products there as they weren't unique in my opinion. We instead decided to make the most of the beach.
If you're not tired of markets, there are plenty more to explore. There are typical wet markets.
There's the Ladies Market, also in Mong Kok, which sells clothes at a bargain. There's the Temple Street Night Market in Jordan, which sells all sorts of things, notably counterfeit consumer goods at market prices. And there's the Jade Market, also in Jordan, which specialises in crafting items out of this precious stone. Expect to be drawn in by the shop owners. Haggling is also accepted and expected.
And of course, you don't have to shop at markets. You could instead spend all your money at Hong Kong's high streets, including the notable Times Square area in Central or along Kowloon's harbour.
We took the ferry to cross to either side and it's worth the ride, as you'll get to see the dazzling Hong Kong skyline. I would also recommend the light show which you can see from Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade outside the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Make sure to arrive at least 45 minutes early.
Another way to see Hong Kong's skyline is to take the Peak Train, bus or taxi to the Peak to see the Hong Kong's mountains, and the real star of the show - Hong Kong's glittering towers from above.
Trams are also a fund way to get around and the MRT accessed with an Octopus top up care is super efficient.
If one there's one phrase to learn before heading to Hong Kong, it's
Sik jor fahn mei ah? (食咗飯未呀?)
Sik jor fahn mei ah? (食咗飯未呀?) means 'Have you eaten yet?' This commonly used phrase speaks volumes about Hong Kong's food culture.
If you're a fan of Cantonese Dim Sum, noodles and fishballs, you're in for a treat. In the 3 days we were there, we weren't able to try all the top spots like Duddel's for dim sum (although I've been to the one in London), Mak's Noodles and The Australian Dairy Company for a typical Hong Kong breakfast of scrambled eggs in toast and steamed milk. We deliberately chose not to go to Yum Cha because we opted for the one's below.
With respect to the places we DID visit, my favourite Dim Sum restaurant was Dim Dim Sum. Everything we tried was mind-blowing, including the delicious piggy custard buns you can see in the gallery.
Don't forget to grab yourselves a freshly made egg waffle. We got ours from Lee Kueng Kee North Point.
Let me know what I've missed.
Doh jeh (多謝) Hong Kong - until next time!