We’ve already covered Hong Kong with kids, but when your husband announces that he’s off to the city that never sleeps for a business trip (and which happens to be a place you’ve never been before despite having lived in Asia for nine years), we think it is only fair to entrust our fabulous helper with the kids, book a flight and gatecrash his hotel room. With a little help from our cool-as-ice little sister site, Honeycombers Hong Kong, a large map and a determined spirit, it was one sweet (largely) solo adventure…
There are tons of direct flights making the 3.5 journey between Changi Airport and Hong Kong on a daily basis, and there are plenty of options for all budgets. I decided to plump for a cheap and cheerful option (Jet Star) and save the money for my Peking Duck, market expeditions and a Tsai Tao beer or two instead. It also transpires that getting from Hong Kong airport into the Kowloon or Central area is exceptionally easy and fast: I can’t recommend jumping on the Airport Express enough. For 100HKD you’ll board a speedy train complete with wifi that will whizz you to Central in just 24 minutes. No queues, no rollercoaster taxi rides and no drama. Hot tip: When you come out of departures head to the Airport Express desk and buy yourself an Octopus card (Hong Kong’s EZLink equivalent) and top up to around $200HKD (around $35SGD). This will not only cover your fare into town, but the Octopus is also valid on the boats – including the Star Ferry, trams, trains and buses.
WHAT TO DO
I arrived at my hotel (or rather my husband’s hotel) at lunchtime, dumped my bags and immediately dived into the city:
The Peak and Peak Tram
Not for the fainthearted but definitely one not to be missed, head up to The Peak on a rickety old tram that appears to defy gravity. Hot tip: The queues for the tram are enormous at sunset – if you want to be on The Peak when the sun goes down, make sure you go up early (around 4pm) or be prepared to hike up. There’s plenty of things to do up there besides snapping a million photos of the stunning view.
Tsim Sha Tsui
It wouldn’t be a vacay in Hong Kong without setting sail on the Star Ferry to Kowloon from Central. Fares are cheap as chips and the crossing takes just ten minutes to the Tsim Sha Tsui area. It’s also a great place for date night (once The Husband has finished work). Head to Ozone Bar on the 118th floor of the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong where you’ll find the the highest bar in the world – it certainly makes a great spot for a bird’s eye view of the harbour sights and nightly laser show. Head back down to earth for lots of wallet-friendly bars and eateries around the port.
I stumbled across this great little sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of the city by chance (okay: I was lost) but absolutely loved it’s quirky Avenue of Comic Stars which features 24 colourful characters including Bruce Lee, Ding Ding Penguin and Dragon Lord.
Stanley and Stanley Market
Hop on the No.6 bus from Exchange Square Bus Terminus and wind your way through Wan Chai and mountain roads to the picturesque town of Stanley. The journey takes about 40 minutes and costs just $6HKD. Make sure you sit on the top deck and have your camera at the ready: it really is quite the scenic (and sometimes a little scary) bus ride.
Brunch along the waterfront is a must, and do take an easy ramble into Ma Hang Park to check out the pretty-as-a-picture Pak Tai Temple and well. Once you’ve ticked off an exploration expedition, head back to Stanley Market to flex your bartering skills and pick up some fun souvenirs, leather goods and some cool knick knacks.
If you are heading to this vibrant shopping and market area from the Star Ferry, hop on the number 1 or 1A bus to Nathan Road and then follow the signs for Ladies Market on Tung Choi Street. It’s busy (do keep a close eye on your bags!) but so much fun bustling in and out of market stalls and finding a bargain. Look at for some cool street art, and try one of the little sidewalk cafes for authentic eats at cheap cost. Once you’re done with Ladies Market, carry on walking towards Tung Choi Street North where you will find Goldfish Market: a road filled with mostly aquatic shops where you’ll see some weird and wonderful fishy sights. Hot tip: Take lots of change with you and don’t be afraid to barter. Prices are slashed the minute you try to walk away!
Lan Kwai Fong
Once night has fallen (and hubby has knocked off work), head up the hill to the Lan Kwai Fong area for buzzy vibes, funky music and cheap drinks. Hot tip: Wear flat shoes. Wedges and heels do not fair well on the cobbled streets and steep inclines (I learnt this the hard way).
If you happen to be in Hong Kong on a Wednesday or Saturday night, then you absolutely have to take a trip out to the iconic Happy Valley racecourse.
WHERE TO EAT
Hot tip: Hong Kong is FULL of amazing places to eat, so do check out our sister site, Honeycombers Hong Kong, to get inside tips on must-tries and best places to divulge in delicious eats during your stay.
Possibly the best Peking Duck EVER. It’s popular so do book ahead if you can.
Peking Garden, various locations (we ate in the Tsim Shat Sui branch); www.maximschinese.com.hk
The food here was outstanding so if you’re a fan of Indian cuisine then mark this one top of your list. It gets busy at the weekends so best to make a reservation.
Bombay Dreams, 77 Wyndham St, Central, Hong Kong; www.facebook.com/BombayDreamsHK
For dim sum followed by traditional egg tarts it doesn’t get much better than retro-styled Lu Feng: Perched on the top of The Peak the views and the food were fantastic.
Lu Feng, Shop 13A, 2/F, Peak Galleria Shopping Centre, 118 Peak Raod, The Peak, Hong Kong; www.thepeak.com.hk
It’s no secret that we at HoneyKids are big fans of Pizza Express, and the Peking Duck pizza has long been on my foodie bucket list: it didn’t disappoint!
Pizza Express, various locations (we ate in the Harbour City branch); www.pizzaexpress.com.hk
WHERE TO STAY
We stayed in the fabulously located Mandarin Oriental, a stone’s throw from the Airport Express train, a quick walk to the buzzy Lang Kwai Fong area, a five-minute trot to the Star Ferry and across the road from the Exchange Square Bus Terminus. Service and accommodation were top-notch, and the view from our Harbour facing room absolutely spot-on.
Mandarin Oriental, 5 Connaught Rd Central, Central, Hong Kong; www.mandarinoriental.com/hongkong
Located near Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station, Hotel Icon is right next to the Science Museum and the Hong Kong Museum of History. It’s a swish, modern hotel and the young, friendly staff go out of their way to make sure you have a happy stay. The hotel is owned by Hong Kong Polytechnic University and therefore most of the staff are students training for careers in hotel and tourism management.
Hotel Icon, 17 Science Museum Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong; www.hotel-icon.com
Butterfly on Wellington
If you prefer a boutique choice then the Butterfly on Wellington offers Asian elegance blended with modern luxuries just a five minute walk from Central MTR Station, the SoHo area of Hong Kong.
Butterfly on Wellington, 122 Wellington St, Central, Hong Kong; www.butterflyhk.com
Photography: Tracy Tristram
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