The Ultimate Guide To Traveling To Hong Kong

By  //  January 28, 2021

A former British colony, Hong Kong–the cultural hub of South Asia– is a city that pulsates a sophisticated fusion of east and west to create a truly unique culture. A vibrant cosmopolitan that never sleeps– there’s truly no modern city more attractive and exciting than Hong Kong: its iconic skyline is a vertical playground of towering steel and glass-built skyscrapers, glazed in a spectrum of neon lights and silhouetted against majestic and breathtaking mountain peaks.

Encroaching on the center of the metropolitan is Victoria Harbor, crisscrossed with small-scaled wooden sampans, red-sailed junk boats, bustling commuter ferries, and container-loaded ships–indicating a day-to-day reminder of the city’s rich seafaring heritage.

On the west stands the glistening South China Sea, clearing away far-off is a glimpse of outlying islands–remnants of Hong Kong’s past lifestyle as a backwater fishing village less than a century ago.

Tap into this futuristic yet genuine Asian metropolis with our carefully categorized travel guide–equipped with useful tips and facts, budget-friendly places to stay, a handbook of the finest traditional restaurants, the most stunning nature trails and outdoor activities, and the best way to get around the city.

What To Know Before You Go

Best Time To Visit

Before booking a flight to the metropolitan area, you should be aware that Hong Kong lies in a subtropical location–with a warm and temperature climate–extending out of mainland China and southwest of Taiwan. Thus, the weather here sways anywhere between insanely hot and sticky summers and mild winters.

Weather-wise, the best times to visit Hong Kong (SAR) are in the Fall, from the more moderate October till mid-December, followed by Spring (in April). During these times, the skies are much sunnier than previous months and the temperature remains comfortably cool for you to conveniently explore all that Hong Kong has to offer.

As described, Fall is the ideal time to travel to Hong Kong. It seldom rains and the weather is mild. Plus, room rates are reasonable around this period too. If you can, avoid traveling to Hong Kong during August. It’s the wettest month and sometimes battered by typhoons, brewed by the Pacific Ocean.

Springtime in April can also be a good alternative if Fall isn’t possible. If you hate large crowds, look away from the busiest times of Hong Kong’s year like Lunar New Year or Chinese New Year–around late January or early February. Around these times, you’ll expect more tourists and higher hotel rates.

What To Pack

Before getting into the essential physical items, let’s cover the logistical side of packing to avoid hassles and extra expenses while you’re in Hong Kong.

The practical bases that you need to cover first are travel insurance, flights that offer the best deal, a passport with extra validity, visa or entry permit requirements, your doctor’s prescriptions & medicines, credit and debit cards, a smartphone with your scanned documents, travel guidebook, a larger travel wallet, and MTR Tourist Pass.

Now, when it comes to stocking up essential supplies on your luggage, we just want to remind you that Hong Kong is a busy, modern city–meaning that you can find most of the supplies that you need on a daily basis from toiletries to cheap medicines.

Therefore, when packing the essential physical items, you will have to consider when you’re going to visit Hong Kong. If you’ve booked during winter, then you will need a sweater or light jacket.

But regardless of when you’ll travel to Hong Kong certain items such as a backpack, t-shirts, shorts, summer clothing, underwear, footwear, swimwear, hats & sunglasses, camera, power adapter, portable charger, pocket Wi-Fi router, e-reader, tissues, pens, earplugs, bugs spray, and luggage locks, are all necessary.

Know The Local Customs

As mentioned, Hong Kong has a rich and unique culture.

To get to know more about Hong Kong, here are some local customs and etiquette you need to learn:

■ Keep your greetings more formal with a simple handshake while avoiding too much body contact like hugs and kissing. These warm signs of affection may leave the other person feeling rather awkward.

When using the MTR, running across the platform as well as getting really nice and tight with other people riding the train is simply part of the locals’ everyday life.

■ When handing out a business card, you should hold the card with both hands, with text facing the receipt, along with a subtle nod of the head to leave a positive impression.

■ As part of their superstition, shoes and clocks should never be given as gifts.

■ You will find no number “four” in elevators for it’s considered unlucky while number eight brings luck for Cantonese people.

■ Most Chinese restaurants provide extra chopsticks for hygiene purposes. Never stick chopsticks in your bowl of rice in an upright position for this is seen as impolite and disrespectful.

■ The light tapping of two fingers on the table is a gesture of appreciation while tea is being poured.

Where To Stay: Hotels, Airbnbs, and Guest Houses

For first timers, it’s best to stay on Hong Kong Island or on the Kowloon side, close to Victoria Harbor.

Listed below are some of the most convenient sectors to stay in Hong Kong, along with suggested neighboring hotels as well as cheap hostels and guesthouses:

Hong Kong Island

■ Central District– Conrad Hong Kong, and JW Marriott Hotel

■ Sheung Wan– The Jervois, iclub Sheung Wan Hotel, and Ibis Hong Kong Central

■ Soho– Hotel Madera Hollywood

■ Wan Chai– Renaissance Harbor View Hotel, and Wanchai 88 Hotel

■ Causeway Bay– Metropark Hotel Causeway Bay, L’hotel Causeway Bay Harbor View, and Comfort Hostel HK

Kowloon Peninsula

■ Tsim Sha Tsui–Hotel ICON, Kowloon Sharing-La, Butterfly on Prat Boutique Hotel, New China Yan Yan Guesthouse, and Tai Sain Guesthouse

■ Jordan & Yau Mei Tei– Hotel Stage, Nathan Hotel, and Inn Hotel Hong Kong

■ Mongkok–Cordis Hotel, Metropark Hotel Mongkok, and Hotel 108

Where To Eat: Street Foods, and Restaurants

Hong Kong is one of the top culinary capitals in the world, thanks to a wide variety of influences.

Categorized by Kowloon Side and Hong Kong Island location, here are the best restaurants and street food stalls in Hong Kong:

Kowloon Side

■ Yee Shun Milk Company

■ Kung Wo Tofu

■ Tim Ho Wan

■ One Dim Sum

■ Dim Dim Sum

■ Cheung Hing Kee

■ Hop Yik Tai

■ Fat Boy

■ Block 18 Doggie’s Noodle

■ Chin Sik

■ Four Seasons Clay Pot Rice

■ Mammy Pancake

■ A Chef’s Tour

Hong Kong Island

■ Yat Lok

■ Kam’s Roast Goose

■ Joy Hing Roasted Meat

■ Tai Hing

■ Tung Po

■ Bo Innovation: X-treme Chinese Cuisine

Things To Do: Museum, Hiking, and Markets

Whether you’re a hiker or a happy hour hopper, a foodie or forager, a winter wanderer or summer seeker, Hong Kong has everything you need.

Here’s a list of the best things to do and places to visit in Hong Kong:

■ Hike up to Victoria Peak.

■ Float on a Traditional Junk Boat.

■ Devour Dim Sum.

■ Explore the Sai Kung Peninsula.

■ Enjoy a Posh Afternoon Tea.

■ Visit Ancient Chinese Temples.

■ Drink Local Craft Beer.

■ Hang out at the Pui O Beach.

■ Sip Milk Tea at a Cha Chaan Teng Diner.

■ Get a Foot Massage at Happy Foot and Halite.

■ Shop Indie Designers.

■ Visit the Outlying Islands.

■ Ride the Star Ferry.

■ Take a walk through a Chinese Park.

■ Sip Cocktails with a view

■ Go searching for Speakeasies

■ Gallery hop on Hollywood Road

■ Eat Freshly Baked Egg Tarts

■ Place bets at Happy Valley Racecourse

■ Wander around the street markets.

How To Get Around: MTR, Trams, and Ferry

Getting around in Hong Kong is pretty simple. The city is quite well-connected by many public transportations. If you opt to use public transport, then we suggest you buy an Octopus Card. It’s cheaper, more convenient, and can be used on the Airport Express and all public transit.

■ MTR (Mass Transit Railway)– This is the best way to get around Hong Kong. This railway operates from 6 am to 1 am depending on the line.

■ The Airport Express Train – This train takes only about 24 minutes to reach the city. It runs from 6 am to 1 am.

■ Taxi– There are three types of taxis–specified in various colors–in Hong Kong. Red in the rural regions, Green in rural New Territories, and Blue taxis operate only on Lantau Island. Each has a different fare breakdown.

■ Buses– All bus companies accept the MTR Octopus Card, and fares vary depending on the route.

■ Ferry–The Star Ferry is the most popular one. The standard Star Ferry trip costs depend on the day as well as departure and arrival piers.

■ Trams– It may not be the fastest means, but this will take you along scenic routes. Just don’t rely on them when traveling long distances.

Final Recommendation

Indeed, Asia’s World City is full of wonderful sights, and a rich tapestry of flavors, and sounds–so make sure to pick out a place to stay in Hong Kong that reflects your unique tastes. Also, remember to pay attention to the weather and keep your eye out for approaching storms. Still, figuring out the best time to travel to Hong Kong will depend on your travel plans. We hope you find this guide useful and it helps you plan your Hong Kong travel itinerary more efficiently.