Intro to Hong Kong
For well over one hundred years Hong Kong was part of the British Empire. In the end of the 20th century it was returned to China but maintains some degree of independence from the mainland. If you’re coming from the US, and staying a short period of time, you don’t need a visa. Hong Kong is on the South China Sea in south eastern China. It’s made up of an island and a small piece of main land China. Victoria Harbor divides the city and its famous skyline. The famous Star Ferry shuttles people back and forth between the Central district on Hong Kong Island and the newer Kowloon district on the main land. We stayed on the Kowloon side but most of the sight-seeing is on Hong Kong Island.
There are direct flights from most major American airports to Hong Kong. From NYC it’s about 16hrs. Hong Kong makes for a great weekend layover stop if you’re on your way to South East Asia. We had friends living here and stopped over for one night on our way to Thailand.
When we went
May of 2013. This was part of a longer South East Asian Itinerary; Flew to Hong Kong (slept one night), flew to Chang Mai in Thailand (slept 3 nights), flew to Seim Reap Cambodia (slept 3 nights), flew to Bangkok Thailand (slept 3 nights).
What we did
At night the Hong Kong skyline lights up. The best way to enjoy this is to stroll along the banks of Kowloon. The lights actually dance to music.
On Hong Kong island the Soho district is home to numerous restaurants, hip bars, and a commuter escalator that takes ten minutes to get from the business district at the bottom to the residential neighborhood at the top.
The subway system is extremely efficient and clean. It was very easy to get from the Kowloon side to downtown Central.
Hong Kong is a major business and cultural center with a restaurant scene to match. The dim sum is excellent as is the peking duck. Restaurants and bars can be found in the oddest locations — like random 4th or 10th floors of nondescript buildings.
Or, in our case, we drank copious amounts of espresso.
Stanley. A small town on the other side of the island. Take a cab here and enjoy the quaint sea-side promenade.
Star Ferry. Cheap ferry between Hong Kong Central and Kowloon. It has great views of the harbor; it’s advisable to take it at night for the city nightcap views.
The Ritz Carlton; Hong Kong. We stayed at the Ritz using points and it was as grand as it should be. It’s on the Kowloon peninsula side but well connected to the city with spectacular views. We had the buffet for breakfast which was expensive but had a great selection of both eastern and western cuisine. Our room was on the 117th floor!
Luk Yu Tea House; Central district. HK’s most famous tea house serving dim sum. We ate here for brunch. The pork buns and egg custard tarts were awesome.
Shu Zhai; Stanley district. Restaurant serving dim sum and delicious pork buns. We ate here for lunch.
Spring Deer; Tsim Sha Tsui district. Serving awesome Peking duck in a non-touristy place.