How to Spend A Day in Hong Kong
The gateway to Asia is an intoxicating place to spend a day. There’s so much to offer in Hong Kong at any time of day, from early-morning markets to late night karaoke. It’s an assault on the senses in the best way possible and with time at a premium, you’ll have to pick and choose what you want to experience in this urban jungle, where East and West fuse.
As one of the best foodie cities in Asia and even the world, you should take every passing opportunity to fuel up on delicious cuisine. If you’re there on a Sunday, skip breakfast and instead go for brunch. It’s a Hong Kong tradition to dress up and spend a few hours socialising, sipping on champagne (which is often bottomless!), and indulging in some of the city’s best foods whether Western or Asian. If not, stop by a traditional dim sum house or a food cart selling dim sum. For Westerners, it seems strange to eat the famously delicious little dumplings so early in the morning but in Hong Kong, it’s a popular way to start the day. Siu Mai – a type of open chicken and prawn dumpling – is one of the most popular. It’s easily identifiable thanks to its yellow colour, so just point it out and dig in! For the kids, Cha Shao Bao, with its sweet barbecue pork filling and soft doughy outer shell, will go down well. You won’t struggle to find a place to eat dim sum, but for an experience you could always try the Michelin-starred Tim Ho Wan, which serves up some of Hong Kong’s best dim sum at rand-friendly prices.
To really experience the scenery of Hong Kong, a trip up to Victoria Peak is a must. It’s one of Hong Kong’s most breathtaking viewing points, with cityscape vistas which stretch for miles. Skyscrapers poke out of the cloud and you can see across the entire island to Victoria Harbour, the mainland and beyond. Make sure that it’s a clear day though, because your time will be wasted if it’s cloudy. You can take a tram or bus, so there’s no need to bring your hiking gear!
Ride the tram (or the ding ding as locals call it) through the various districts of Hong Kong to get a feel for the suburbs, hopping off wherever takes your fancy. Central is home to towering offices, hidden speakeasy bars, and the world’s longest outdoor covered escalator system, literally allowing you to go across the district almost entirely by escalators which run throughout the area. Stop in for lunch at Mak’s Noodles, famous for their wonton soup – or head over to Ichiran in Causeway Bay for a divine ramen experience straight from Japan.
When in Hong Kong, it’s almost compulsory to take a trip on the Star Ferry over to Kowloon. It’s cheap as chips at a cost of around R4 to R6 per person depending on when you go, and you’ll get the most spectacular views of the city from the water.
Since you’re in Kowloon anyway, now is the time to browse one of Hong Kong’s many famous markets. They’re big and lively and there’s enough to keep you entertained for hours.
The covered Jade market is a fun stop for those who want to buy jewellery, souvenirs or trinkets. If you know what you’re looking for, you can pick up some real bargains here. The Ladies Market is the place to go for clothes, accessories and designer gear at good prices. Of course, most of them are imitations of the real designers, but there are some nice finds! If you’re there in the evening, you can check out the buzzy Temple Street Night Market for a bite to eat, household goods, cheap clothes, souvenirs and pretty much everything else you can think of.
If you’re still around at 8pm, head over to Tsim Sha Tsui promenade to take in the Symphony of Lights. This is the world’s largest permanent light and music display. You’ll witness the harbour and skyline of Hong Kong Island light up in a dazzling display that lasts about ten minutes. It’s certainly a great way to bid farewell to a gorgeous city.
Hong Kong Island
Symphony of Lights:
Dim Sum at Tim Ho Wan: