Hong Kong is a conflux of ancient and modern, the intersection of East and West, and one of the most lively and exciting cities one can experience. Whether it’s indulging in gourmet dim sum, shopping for electronics or random gifts in the Ladies Market, or just sightseeing from Victoria’s Peak – I can’t stress enough that there’s something for everyone in this city-state. Having been to HK over a dozen times, I still choose to drop by here for layovers and without further delay, here are all the spots I recommend you checking out while you’re here for a short period of time!
1. Victorias Peak: This is usually at the top of everyone’s list of tourist spots, mostly because it has incredible views of Hong Kong harbor, along with views of mainland China on just the other side of the peak. You can take a cab up here, the tram, or go for a hike! There’s also a mall on top and lots of shops, so expect to spend a little bit of time taking in the view, and having a snack. If it’s cloudy, avoid Victoria’s Peak because you really won’t be able to see much up here.
2. Eat Dim Sum: This is where it all started. Dim Sum, or small snack in cantonese, means small dishes meant to be shared. Ask for opinions on which restaurant in Hong Kong serves the best Dim Sum, and you’ll be hard pressed to find one answer. However, I will recommend Tim Ho Wan as one of the top Dim Sum restaurants in Hong Kong. It’s a hole in the wall joint, and it doesn’t have the traditional Dim Sum carts rolling around for you to choose dishes. There is also usually a wait, but it goes by very quickly as the service is incredibly fast at this spot. If you’re looking for something fancier, I suggest checking out One Dim Sum. Either way, if you’re in Hong Kong, you HAVE to have Dim Sum! My favorite dish, which is tough to replicate almost anywhere else in the world is “Har Gao”, which is steamed shrimp with chives inside a delicate doughy shell. The mark of a good Har Gao is a soft relatively thin glutinous shell that isn’t too chewy yet doesn’t break apart the minute you bite into it.
3. Tian Tan Buddha: So i’d place this one in the tourist category, but definitely one of the tourist sites worth seeing. Located outside of Hong Kong city itself, it isn’t a terribly far journey, but definitely will take a few hours out of your day to visit. The Buddha itself is massive, and the area its located in (Ngong Ping) on Lantau Island, is green and lush, and feels a world away from the bustle of the city. The cable car ride up is worth doing, and remember to bring your hiking shoes because it’s a few hundred steps up to the top of the Buddha!
4. Walk Tsim sha Tsui Promenade: I’m going to preface this by saying, there’s not a lot going on at just the promenade, but spend a little bit of time and just wander the area, because whether it’s getting lost in Mong Kok (the nearby shopping area), sightseeing the Skyline of Hong Kong across the harbor, or just leisurely exploring the dozen or so museums in this area, you’re sure to find something to do by taking some time and just meandering. You might feel like you’re lost, but I guarantee you’ll be excited by this very walkable neighborhood of Hong Kong.
5. Eat on a floating restaurant: There are quite a few of these “junk boats” in the harbor and each one boasts to possess the best cuisine. My favorite is the original – Jumbo. However, depending on capacity and how early you book you really can’t go wrong because the experience of eating in the harbor on one of these boats, where you can choose fresh seafood brought live to your table, is something that is very uniquely Hong Kong. The menu constantly changes, but since you’re at a seafood restaurant, I would suggest ordering some seafood 😉
Whatever you do, you’ll have fun, because Hong Kong is a city of lights and a city of life, and everything about it is vibrant and unique!