Things to do in Hong Kong

Get Your Bearings in Hong Kong

By Tracy You Xiaoying
Hong Kong Expert

See & Do
Stay
Eat
Party
Shop

Things to See

The Victoria Peak and Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront are the two biggies on almost every tourist's attractions itinerary in Hong Kong. The former provides a panoramic view over the jam-packed city; the latter features iconic attractions such as the stunning skyline and Avenue of Stars. The labyrinth-like neighborhood Mongkok has the best street market buzz, with attractions like Ladies Market, Temple Street Night Market and Goldfish Market within walking distance of each other.  Hong Kong also offers some amazing urban getaways, such as a good hike at Sai Kung and a beach-side stroll at Stanley.

Hot Tips:

Many major museums in Hong Kong are free to enter every Wednesday, including Hong Kong Science Museum, Hong Kong Museum of Arts and Hong Kong Space Museum.

Caution:

Be extra cautious if buying digital products on Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui. Many travelers have reported being conned by the independent businesses.

Avoid:

Free or extremely cheap tour groups. Guides of such tours will usually force tourists to shop.

Where to Stay

Due to scarce land resource and ever-growing population, Hong Kong is one of the most expensive Asian cities in which to rent a hotel room. Both sides of the Victoria Harbourwaterfront are vertical wonderlands of high-end hotels. International and home-grown luxury lodgings vie with one another to deliver impressive views of the city skyline. Look farther towards the end of Metro Lines or into some no-Metro pockets in central Hong Kong Island for cheap and cheerful accommodation.   

Hot Tips:

The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong is the world's highest hotel and offers an unparalleled panoramic view over the city and outlying islands.

Take It or Leave It:

Book way ahead to secure a room at hotels in shopping areas like Causeway Bay as they're the top picks for mainland Chinese tourists.

Avoid:

Booking during Chinese New Year (usually in January or Feburary) and the Chinese National Day Holiday (the first week of October).

What to Eat

Hong Kong's local fare, Cantonese food, is one of the most sophisticated cuisines in China. To many, typical Cantonese dishes like har gow (steamed shrimp dumplings), cha siu (honey glazed barbecue pork) and cheong fun (rice noodle rolls) mark the beginning of a lifelong love affair with Chinese food.  The tropical city also has the most envied international food scene in Asia with many Western celebrity chefs choosing here to expand their cooking empire to the Eastern Hemisphere. Hong Kong has over 60 Michelin-starred restaurants.

Caution:

Many Hong Kong dishes involve aminal organs and novelty meats. When in doubt, ask clearly what is in your food.

Be Sure to Sample:

Dim sum lunch at Fook Lam Moon, barbecued goose at Yung Kee and seafood spectacle at Jumbo Floating Restaurant.

Take It or Leave It:

Tipping is not customary in China, but most Hong Kong restaurants will include a 10 percent service fee in the bills.

Avoid:

Turning a fish over while dining with local guests. This act is considered to bring bad luck.

Places to Party

Hong Kong's nightlife scene is cosmopolitan, comprehensive and easy to navigate.  The city's best bars and clubs are concentrated in several pockets in downtown. The most established one is Lan Kwai Fong in Central with patrons filling out to the cobblestoned streets every night. Nearby Soho and Wan Chai are also hot spots on locals' alcohol radar. On Kowloon side, the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront has a number of fancy and upscale bars with incredible views towards the Hong Kong skyline. Knutsford Terrace in north Tsim Sha Tsui also has an active nightlife vibe.

Take It or Leave It:

Lan Kwai Fong holds an annual carnival every November featuring a great selection of beers and spirits as well as a street parade.

Hot Tips:

Get a martini at the world's highest bar, Ozone, while taking in the amazing view of the city.

Avoid:

Ordering Chinese baijiu. Often translated as 'white wine,' it's actually 50 percent alcohol in content.

Where to Shop

Hong Kong is a shopping magnet. The free trade port satisfies shopaholics with the latest merchandise at alluring prices. Major shopping malls assemble in Central, Admiralty, Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui, selling a comprehensive list of international fashion and beauty brands. Noteworthy malls include Times Square and Harbour City.  Hong Kong boasts competitive prices for electronic products as well. Major shopping destinations are the southern end of Nathan Road, Sham Shui Po and Wan Chai Computer Center. Souvenir hunters are also in luck as Hong Kong has a number of one-stop kitsch markets, such as Ladies Market in Mongkok and Stanley Market.

Hot Tips:

Hong Kong's main sales seasons are in late summer and between Christmas and Chinese New Year.

Caution:

If you plan to buy gadgets or electronic products in Hong Kong, make sure you compare the prices at several stores and check if the operation system would work in your country.

Best Local Souvenir:

Magnets in Chinese characters or Peking Opera eye masks at Goods of Desire.

Hong Kong Neighborhoods

Things to do in Hong Kong