According to the most recent report of an independent market research group on international arrival, Euromonitor, Hong Kong has received the highest number of visitors all over the world. In 2015, Hong Kong has welcomed over 26 million tourists and it wasn’t at all surprising. The metropolitan city of Hong Kong has become a center of international trading and a perfect tourist destination. It not only boasts impressive skyscrapers and world class leisure parks, but, it has preserved its rich tradition and history. This Hong Kong Travel Guide will give you a quick rundown of what to expect and how to get around this marvelous city.
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Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of People’s Republic of China and is located south of Mainland and east of its neighboring city of Macau, another SAR. It used to be a British Colony until its emancipation in 1997. Hong Kong’s economy is continuously growing and now one of the wealthiest cities in Asia. With its growth in economy comes its impressive skylines that has resulted in a boost on their tourism. Hong Kong is now the perfect destination of businessmen, shoppers, backpackers, family vacationers, and all travelers.
Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) is one of the largest airports in the world and one of the top 10 busiest. It is serving over hundred thousands of passengers on a daily basis to over 180 cities all over the world. The airport is located near Lantau Island and is reachable by taxi, public bus, uber, and by train. There is a direct MTR (train) from Hong Kong and Kowloon stations to HKIA in about 24 minutes.
Ferry is also available from its neighboring city, Macau and from Shenzhen, China. Ferries from Macau are almost 24 hours while ferries from Shenzhen are only available during the day.
There are many hotels all over Hong Kong and unlike Macau, backpackers and budget hotels are aplenty. Compare to some other cities in Asia, big hotels are quite expensive in Hong Kong, so if you are on a budget, try searching for hostels and backpacker hotels. It doesn’t matter where you book the hotel as long as it is near on any MTR stations. Being near the train stations gives convenience in touring the city. Central, Causeway Bay, Tsim Sha Tsui, and Mong Kok are my top picks of places, though.
For searching affordable hotels, we always use HotelsCombined for the best offer. Like this one below:
Taking the tram is the coolest mode of transport in Hong Kong aside from it’s cheap, but for tourists, MTR is the best recommended option. Hong Kong has taxis, uber, and public buses, but nothing beats the convenience brought by taking the train. Almost, if not all, of the most popular tourist spots are accessible by trains. If you are here for just a day, try purchasing the MTR Tourist Day pass for unlimited train rides. For more details about MTR, click on this link.
Here is the sample Hong Kong MTR train map:
Cantonese is the local dish in Hong Kong and is a must try when in the city. Restaurants are quite expensive that is why it is important to know where to get the cheapest food. Use the Open Rice website for all restaurant concerns.
Street foods available especially in the streets of Mong Kok and Tsim Sha Tsui should definitely be experienced.
A mere one or two days is not enough to cover all tourist attractions that made up Hong Kong. There are too many places to see and activities to do that you have to plan ahead and prioritize which interest you. Hong Kong has the grandest amusement parks, the biggest botanical gardens, lovely villages, temples, and historical places all available for everyone to enjoy and experience.
Here are some of the most famous attractions in Hong Kong that you shouldn’t miss:
The Peak Hong Kong: If you want the most stunning view of Hong Kong from above, then this is the place to go. The ride to top via tram is breathtaking and in itself an experience.
Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park: Two of the most famous leisure and entertainment parks are here in Hong Kong and are offering different types of entertainment but same level of enjoyment. Which one you should go to? Find the answer here: When in Hong Kong: Disneyland or Ocean Park?
Ngong Ping Village: This village located on Lantau Island is the home of the Big Buddha and is accessible by a cable car ride across mountains. It is situated away from the city and gives a different feel of Hong Kong. It is a must see. Read all about Ngong Ping here: Ngong Ping, Away from the City.
Crusing, having a drink on one of the rooftops of big buildings, going to museums or libraries, and campings are also some of the best things to do when in Hong Kong.
If you are the adventurous type and have enough time, try hiking for a different experience and see Hong Kong from the top. It is marvelous. Thinking about walking off the beaten path? Start here: Introduction to Hong Kong Hike.
Hong Kong used to be a fishing village and is evident upon a tour of Tai O. Tai O is one of the remaining places to see the life of quintessential Hong Kong. Read about our tour here: Tai O Fishing Village.
Those who love shopping won’t get any less in Hong Kong and its numerous shops. High-end retail outlets are available in Central, Tsim Sha Tsui, and Kowloon. Mong Kok, on the other hand is for budget shoppers. Night market is one popular reason of people visiting Hong Kong. So, how about we say shop until we drop?
You can get a drink almost anywhere in the city but to be in the center of all the action, you should go to Lan Kwai Fong. Lan Kwai Fong is the most famous pub street in Hong Kong and is located in Central. Tourists and locals flock this famous street to get a good taste of Hong Kong’s nightlife.
HKD or Hong Kong dollars is the local currency and the only acceptable currency in the city. USD1 is roughly HKD8.
Cantonese is the official language but English and Mandarin are widely spoken. Tourists shouldn’t have a hard time traveling because Hong Kong locals have a good grasp of the English language. Signage has english translation as well making it all the more tourist-friendly.
Same with Macau, Hong Kong has four seasons; Fall on October to November, Winter on December to February, Spring on March to May, and Summer on June to September. In summer season temperature can reach up to 33 degrees celsius and can drop to 6-8 degrees during winter.
You might want to avoid coming in Hong Kong during Chinese New Year, Golden Weeks in May and October if you do not want the crowd. Avoid also the months of July and August because these months are typhoon seasons. November to April for most people are the best months to visit and I totally agree.
Hong Kong has a lot to offer and there is a good reason why it is always on top of the list of all travelers. Experience the fusion of old and new culture and be amazed by this incredibly city. I love Hong Kong, truly.
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