Updated: Jun 3, 2019
Been living here for over two years and never knew life would lead us to such an amazing place. I HELLA love Hong Kong! So grateful and blessed to call this city home. There’s a unique lively energy here, it’s safe, super clean (compared to san Francisco), the transportation is extremely efficient/clean/cheap, there’s so much yummy food, lots of fun shopping, beautiful beaches, lots of hiking, everyone speaks English here, mmm.. what more need I say to convince you this city is so awesome?
Here's a few of my recommendations and fave things about this city
TO AND FROM AIRPORT:
Fastest way to get into the city is by the Airport Express. Upon exiting the arrival halls you’ll see the Airport Express in the middle of the airport. It runs every 10 minutes from about 6am to 12:30am daily and cost $15 USD one way. Depending on where you need to get to in HK it can take you to the Kowloon side (Kowloon station) or the Hong Kong Island side (Hong Kong Station) and takes about 25 minutes. From either station you can hop onto the MTR to get to your final destination or catch a cab.
I live in Tai Hang/CWB so I take the airport express to Hong Kong station and since it’s a close distance I grab a taxi. Straight ahead of the train exit you’ll see several lines for taxi’s and cost about $20 for train and cab each way.
When leaving Hong Kong most airlines let you check in at the airport express which I find easier since there are less lines and I don’t have to lug my suitcase all the way to the airport. Just drop it off at airport express and hop on the train. Not all airlines let you check in at the airport express though so, you’ll have to do some googling to find out.
If you have 3-4 people it’s probably easier just to hail a taxi from the airport. To get to CWB in Hong Kong Island from the airport cost about $50USD each way. Make sure you catch the RED urban taxi if you’re going to HK Island/Kowloon (green cabs are for new territories). Also, they only take Hong Kong Dollars so make sure you have cash.
WHERE TO STAY
Address: 88 Queensway, Admiralty
We stayed here for a week before deciding if we wanted to move to HK and it was a really nice hotel. The rooms are decent sized and comfy and the hotel is connected to Pacific Place mall so it’s pretty convenient. Located in Admiralty it’s easy to access the MTR and centrally located. Best part about this place is the breakfast buffet. Everything was fresh and I love all the different cuisines they offer. Would come back here just for the breakfast buffet.
Le Petite Rosedale
Address: Causeway Bay, Morton Terrace7號
If you’re looking for more of a budget stay this hotel is a good option. The rooms are small but really clean. There’s so much to see and do in HK you’ll most likely be out and about all day and only need a place to sleep/shower so even tho the rooms are small it works. The hotel is located right by Tai Hang which has lots of food and bar options and about a 10 min walk to either CWB or Tin Hau MTR station. They also offer a free shuttle to the airport express which saves you a $7USD taxi ride.
WHERE TO EAT LOCAL FOODS:
Din Tai Fung
Address 地下3-11舖, 68號Yee Wo St, Causeway Bay
Always my go to with visitors because who can say no to Michelin Star xiaolongbao?!? Service has always been decent (tried the TST location and CWB way better btw). They’re pretty efficient with seat turnover so I’ve never had to wait more than 20 min for a table. The deep-fried pork chop, sautéed angus beef, spicy shrimp & pork wonton, sautéed water spinach, and steamed truffle & pork dumplings are always a must.
Tim Ho Wan
Address: 9-11 Fuk Wing St, Sham Shui Po
Hong Kong’s Famous Local Michelin-Starred Dim Sum. Another must try while in HK. They also have multiple locations but I always go to the Sham Shui Po even though it’s further it’s worth the trek. They don’t really speak English but have an English menu upon request and pictures of the food on the placemats so it’s easy to order. Highly recommend the pork buns. Typically, they are steamed but at Tim ho they make it special with a crispy sweet bun. MUST try!! It gets pretty packed so usually will have to wait 10-30 min for a table at the SSP location.
Bing Kee Cha Dong
Address: 5 Shepherd St, Tai Hang
This place is pretty well known for its breakfast and lunch. Typically, there is always a line/wait for a table and you usually will have to share a table with randoms but that’s all part of the local experience. The menu is all in Cantonese and they don’t really speak English so the best way is to check out their IG and order using the pics they post. Or we always see what the others around us are eating and point to it. Definitely try the milk tea and the peanut butter toast with condensed milk.
Address: Shop H1, Fashion walk, 9 Kingston St, Causeway Bay
Bao burgers = hella good! Instead of using traditional burger buns they use Bao for the buns which makes the flavors unique and special to Hong Kong. The Pork belly Bao and the Fried Chicken Bao are packed with flavor. They also serve an impossible meat version which I love! Definitely try the fried mushrooms and the Ice cream bao desserts. Super yummy!
Address: 52-56 Staunton Street UG/F Central
Created by the same chef as Little Bao Happy Paradise is a fun, cool, and tasty place to try. Great for unique cocktails too! We basically ordered everything off the menu and all of it was really good. I think my fav was the egg waffle which is a HK staple but it came with an onion and chives dip that made the dish unique. The Szechuan fried chicken, and char siu rice bowl, were also stand out items. Reservations are needed.
Address: 31/F, 18 Tang Lung St, Causeway Bay
Hands down best steak ever in life. You can find me here on Mondays at least once a month for their buy 1 get 1 free deal. The steaks are pretty big (12-14oz) and come with a dipping sauce of your choice (chimichurri, or the cumin&garlic mustard are my recommendations). They have the best side dishes also. My favs are the grilled asparagus, sautéed mushrooms, and black truffle fries. The sides are pretty small and good for sharing. If you’re not a steak fan the Black Truffle Pappardelle or sous vide salmon is really good as well. After dinner head up to their rooftop for drinks/hookah, and beautiful views of the city. We usually make reservations bc it can be difficult or long waits for walk ins.
Address: 1/F The Hudson, 11 Davis St, Kennedy Town
We were pretty bummed there wasn’t decent Mexican food in HK but last year this place opened and has become one of our favs. Even tho it’s pretty pricey the quality and taste are amazing. They make the guac fresh in front of you (like Chilies used to do) and charge $19USD but it’s so worth it. The tacos are the size of a street taco (only 1 tortilla though) and $5USD each. My fav is the carne asada, mango shrimp, and Baja fish. They also have carne asada fries which are yum. If you like spicy make sure you ask them for the extra spicy salsa which they only bring out upon request. On Tuesdays they have ½ off tacos for taco Tuesday. Reservations are recommended but I think they accept walk ins.
Address: 17/Floor, Lee Theater, 99 Percival St, Causeway Bay
All you can eat shabu!! There are several places in HK but this one is one of my favs. It cost about 20-30 per person (for dinner) depending on what kind of meat you choose. All the veggies and carbs are laid out buffet style for you to choose from and comes with soda and ice cream for dessert. If you love shabu this place is a must.
WHERE TO SHOP:
Hong Kong is definitely a place where you can shop till you drop! Every clothing and makeup brand can be found here and I can’t recall any other city with more shopping malls than there is in HK. There is definitely something for everyone. All the luxury high end designers can be found in Causeway Bay, Central, Admiralty, and Tsim Sha Tsui. For more budget shopping here a few suggestions:
Address 311 Gloucester Rd, Causeway Bay (multiple locations)
Super cute, fun, and affordable UK brand. Good for basics, cute dresses, jeans, comfy clothes and accessories. I always like taking friends here since we don’t carry this brand in the states. Its located in Windsor House which also carries Pull & Bear, Bershka (Zara sister stores), and Gu (Uniqlo sister store) other affordable options also not available in the states. Two-minute walk from CWB MTR station.
Address: 35號Aberdeen St, Central
Local artists & designers showcase their wares in this cool, historic venue with shops & eateries. Check out Tai Kwun across the way which used to be a former Police compound but now has shops & eateries as well. Ive been to Madame Fu for drinks and snacks and its has super cute décor and outdoor seating on the balcony.
Address 100 Nathan Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui
They have lots of cutesy boutique style shops here. Lots of Japanese brands and Korean brand Style Nanda. Easy walk from TST MTR station.
Mong Kok Ladies Market
Address: Tung Choi Street, Mong Kok
If you’re looking for fun gifts and fake knock offs Ladies market is the best. It’s a tourist trap so make sure you bargain at least 50% off the price they tell you. I usually tell them my final price and if they say no I walk away. 95% of the time they call you back after you walk away. All the stalls carry similar items so if you couldn’t get the deal you wanted most likely you’ll be able to find it at another stall. Also make sure it’s something you really want bc if you waste their time looking at the item/bargaining with them and you change your mind they will curse at you in Cantonese as you walk away. They definitely aren’t the friendliest here. They only take cash and on the website it says it opens at 10am but I’ve gone around noon and a lot of the stalls haven’t opened yet so I’d say it’s safer to go in the evening since they close around 10-11pm every night. Take MTR to mong kok station Exit E2. At street level walk forward, directly away from the station. After 90 meters you will be at the junction with Tong Choi Street and have arrived!
Fa Yuen Street Market
Address: Fa Yuen St, Mong Kok
Also, in Mong kok about a 10-minute walk from ladies’ market is Fa Yuen street. The stalls in the middle sell similar items as the ladies’ market but on both sides of the streets are lots of little shops that sells super affable and cute clothes. It’s mostly woman’s clothing with a few stores that carry men’s clothes. You’re not allowed to try on any of the items before you buy them but the prices they offer are so low if it doesn’t fit you can always afford to gift the item (some of the stores let you try on the item after purchase and if you change your mind can exchange).
Located on every block in HK Sasa offers cosmetics, personal care, skin care and baby care products, often at discounted prices. Fun place if you’re really into makeup and skincare since they carry lots of Asian brands you can’t find overseas.
WHAT TO DO:
Address: Lantau Island
Takes about 1.5-2 hours to get here via MTR
It’s really small compared to the Disney land in CA but it’s not as crowded so the lines don’t take as long. I would suggest going really early since typically the city wakes up late and by 2pm everything starts to get really busy. It can get really hot in the summer also so you don’t want to have to be stuck standing an hour in the sun/humidity so if you get there earlier can probably avoid some of this. Also avoid Sundays at all cost. It’s the busiest day of the week everywhere so it would probably be super crazy here.
Catching a cab here from CWB would cost about $10USD one way and takes about 10 min. Or you can catch the mtr which takes about 25 min.
I love love Ocean Park! Been here 3 times already and each time is a lot of fun. Its sorta like Marine world but better. They have several rollercoaster rides which are super fun. The Hair Raiser is pretty scary but it has beautiful views of HK. So, make sure to keep your eyes open as you’re going up and down the crazy loops bc it offers a fun and beautiful experience. They also have lots of marine life with two huge aquariums, dolphins, sharks, sea otters, and the cutest PANDAS!!!!! One of my good friends works here and we get to experience some of the studies they put the dolphins thru and its really great to see how well loved and taken care of the animals are here. I would highly recommend checking out Ocean Park if you’re an animal lover. It can get pretty busy here also so same as Disneyland… go early if you can!
Kowloon Walled City Park
Address: Kowloon City
Kowloon walled city was a densely ungoverned settlement known for gambling, prostitution, and drugs. It housed around 50,000 ppl in the 6 acre borders up until 1993 when the HK government took over and demolished it. Now it’s a quiet and peaceful park you can visit with some of the artefacts still remaining. It’s pretty fascinating knowing the history of the city so when you visit the park now and see how small the space is its pretty crazy to think 50,000 ppl lived there.
Chi Lin Nunnery
Address:5號Chi Lin Dr, Sheung Yuen Leng
Buddhist temple that was built in 1934 as a retreat for Buddhist Nuns. Very beautiful temple with huge gold, wood, clay, and stone statues of several bodhisattvas. Nan Lian Garden is just across the temple as well and very beautiful and peaceful place.
There are tons and tons of other tourist attractions like Big Buddha and The Peak but I only listed my few favs so far. There’re also really great hiking trails and beaches if you’re into it! Also get your iPhones and camera's ready for some really cool and awesome photo opps!