Hong Kong Travel Guide
Hong Kong Summary
- Mix of old and new; skyscrapers cozy up next to historic temples
- Range of dining options; everything from street-cart dim sum to celebrity chef fusion
- Sweeping views from Victoria Peak
- Great shopping; antique stores, rug shops, and high-end boutiques line the streets
- Compact size and uber-efficient subway make it easy to get around
- Virtually smoke-free (a con for some!); smoking is not allowed in most public spaces, such as in restaurants and sections of public parks
- Hotels for every budget
- Very hot and humid summers
- Fast pace and hoards of people can be stressful
- Nightlife is tame compared to that of nearby cities such as Bangkok and Tokyo
What It's Like
When foreigners picture Hong Kong, it's often the neon lights, staggering skyscrapers, and hoards of people. This all may be true, but this city is home to just as much old as new; historic temples cozy up to massive modern buildings, and while the super-efficient subway rambles down below, quaint-looking trams above take locals and tourists on more scenic rides. A collection of islands, Hong Kong attracts visitors with its many things to do, from shopping to eating to visiting museums and historic sights. And with a compact layout and an uber-convenient subway, it's easy to get from one sight to the next.
With a beauitful setting on the water, Hong Kong boasts gorgeous views. Tourists can take in the sights from the Star Ferry or from upscale Victoria Peak, the tallest hill in the city. Peak Tower is home to high-end restaurants, an upscale mall, and even a Madame Tussauds. Central is the historic heart of the city and one of the busiest neighborhoods; visitors and locals come here to shop, eat, and party. Hong Kong's nightlife may not compare to the nightlife in cities such as Bangkok and Tokyo, but there are definitely wild scenes to be found, particularly in Central, Causeway Bay, and the hip Soho district.
When it comes to culture, Hong Kong's never at a loss. Though tourists may want to avoid major festivals such as the Chinese New Year, when the crowds are at their peak, there are plenty of other ways to get an authentic Hong Kong experience. Tourists can visit sprawling Hong Kong Park, or the museums and temples of Kawloon. There are lively markets on Nathan Road, where bargaining will get shoppers good deals on trinkets and souvenirs. Visitors should be sure to try traditional cuisine such as dim sum -- they won't regret it!
Where To Stay
In Hong Kong, you can find just about any hotel you're looking for. It is home to luxury chains such as the Mandarin Oriental and Intercontinental, as well as budget-friendly pod hotels, where rooms are small but the prices are right. Though tourists visit Hong Kong year-round, deals can often be found during the winter and summer. Try to avoid major holidays such as the Chinese New Year (taking place during January or February depending on the year) -- the crowds get huge and the prices skyrocket. Fall may be the best time of year to visit, when the weather is warm and comfortable.
Though Hong Kong is composed of several islands, the main focus of the city is on Hong Kong Island, where most visitors choose to stay. And staying in a central location is a good bet, particularly because room rates are often based on amenities and service more than location. Many luxury hotels are gathered around Victoria Harbor, boasting beautiful views. Tourist-friendly neighborhoods include Central, the heart of the city, as well as Kowloon, home to museums, temples, and great shopping.