As one of the most vibrant and bustling cities in the world, Hong Kong’s east-meets-west allure beckons travellers from all around the globe. However, with so much to see and do in this fast-paced, dynamic cosmopolis, it can be overwhelming for the first-time visitor.
To make your life a little easier, here are the 10 absolute must-do’s to tick off on your first trip to the “Pearl of the Orient.” Planning your travel itinerary has never been easier.
Marvel at Hong Kong’s Breathtaking Views from Victoria Peak
Victoria Peak is one of Hong Kong’s most iconic landmarks, providing the best vantage point for panoramic views of the city’s towering skyline. Take the Peak Tram up to the Peak Tower and aim to arrive half an hour before sundown to watch the city lights come alive in all their multi-hued glory.
Eat Dim Sum at the World’s Cheapest Michelin Star Restaurant
No trip to Hong Kong is complete until you’ve tried dim sum. Make a beeline for Tim Ho Wan, the world’s cheapest Michelin star restaurant, for delicious morsels of authentic Cantonese snacks like siu mai (pork and prawn dumplings) and har gau (prawn dumplings). The much-lauded baked barbeque pork buns are also a must-order.
Battle the Adrenaline-Pumping Rides at Ocean Park
Save Disneyland for the kids and spend your day at Ocean Park instead, a marine-life theme park designed for adults that’s located on the southern end of Hong Kong Island. With no shortage of animal exhibits, exciting attractions, and thrilling rollercoasters, adrenaline junkies can expect a full day’s worth of blood-pumping fun.
Shop Til You Drop
From bustling street markets and trendy boutiques to some of the most upscale multi-story shopping malls, Hong Kong is a shopper’s paradise. Head to Causeway Bay to shop at landmark areas like Time Square Mall and Sogo. Then check out Tsim Sha Tsui, an area in Kowloon that’s home to some of Hong Kong’s best luxury shopping, including the grand Harbour City Mall. Schedule rest breaks in between — you’ll need them!
Enjoy High Tea at The Peninsula Hotel
One of the lingering legacies of British occupation in Hong Kong is the widespread popularity of high tea. Indulge in the quintessential high tea experience at The Peninsula, Hong Kong’s oldest hotel. Help yourself to an assortment of delicious sandwiches, cakes, scones, and pastries from the three-tier stands and enjoy music from the string-quartet. No reservations are permitted, so arrive early to avoid disappointment.
Take the Star Ferry for the Symphony of Lights Show
Witness dazzling views of Victoria Harbour with the classic Star Ferry ride from Central to Kowloon. Hop on the boat just before 8 PM to catch the nightly Symphony of Lights show and see the city’s skyscrapers come to life. Picture a sensational multimedia bonanza of coloured lights and laser beams synchronised to music and narration. For a nominal ferry ride ticket fee (the show itself is free), this is one performance that can’t be missed.
Haggle and Score a Bargain at the Street Markets
For a unique shopping experience, venture out to Hong Kong’s lively street markets, where you can find and buy almost anything and everything. Temple Street Market is a popular favourite for cheap clothes, watches, and everyday items. Ladies’ Market, home to over 100 stalls selling clothing and accessories, is also a must-visit. Don’t be shy about haggling to negotiate a bargain — it’s all part of the experience.
Party It Up at Lan Kwai Fong
In Hong Kong, the mentality “work hard and play hard” is widely recognized and adopted. There’s no better place to do the latter than at Lan Kwai Fong, the city’s most vibrant nightlife district and where you’ll find the trendiest night spots. Home to over 100 restaurants, bars, clubs, and shops, Lan Kwai Fong is popular among locals and expats worldwide.
See The Big Buddha on Lantau Island
Take a day trip out to Lantau Island to see its biggest drawcard — The Big Buddha. Go via the Ngong Ping 360 cable car, which shuttles you from the town of Tung Chung to the mountaintop Buddha, a 25-minute journey with sweeping views of the bay and mountain peaks. Sitting at 34 meters high, climb the 268 steps leading to the stature to marvel at the massive bronze Buddha up close and personal.
Maximize Your Time or Stopover at Hong Kong Airport
Considered one of the best airports in the world and the gateway to Asia, Hong Kong airport is a destination in itself in terms of all that it has to offer. From miniature gardens to an IMAX Theatre, Aviation Discover Centre, and sports simulators such as soccer, basketball, car racing and golf, any time spent at the airport will fly by in a flash. If you’re travelling business or first class with Hong Kong’s flag carrier Cathay Pacific, arrive a little earlier to enjoy exclusive access to their premium lounges. 24-hour shopping and dining is also available at the airport — what more could you ask for?
Featured photo credit: Andres Garcia via unsplash.com