Why Everyone Should Visit Hong Kong at Least Once in Their Lifetime

Hong Kong has a host of markets to fit every budget
Hong Kong has a host of markets to fit every budget | © Cliff Wong / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Michele Koh Morollo
Freelance Journalist10 July 2019

Hong Kong is a city that pulsates with energy. Here’s why everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime.

A former British colony, Hong Kong is a place where east and west meet to create a truly unique culture. There’s also a superb array of attractions, from towering skyscrapers and street bazaars to beaches and verdant parklands.

It’s a dining capital and home to the world’s cheapest Michelin-star meal

Hong Kong attracts chefs and restaurateurs from all over the world, and boasts the most restaurants per capita in Asia. The city has a rich gastronomic landscape, with authentic Chinese and global cuisines, rustic local noodle joints, fine dining, hipster microbreweries and healthy vegan cafés. You can even sample the world’s cheapest Michelin-star meal at the original branch of legendary dim sum emporium Tim Ho Wan. The unforgettable dining experiences on offer in Hong Kong also include the myriad street-food stalls, serving everything from stinky tofu and fish balls to poutine and milk tea.

Hong Kong has the most restaurants per capita in Asia | © picturelibrary / Alamy Stock Photo

Shopaholics will love the luxury malls and Mong Kok’s markets

Hong Kong is hard to beat as a shopping mecca, with malls, shops and markets to fit any budget. Those seeking haute-couture fashion from brands such as Chanel, Gucci or Hermès can head to one of the city’s luxury malls – pay a visit to the IFC Mall or Pacific Place on Hong Kong Island, or Elements in Kowloon. Bargain hunters looking for antiques, souvenirs or electronic goods will be spoilt for choice at the myriad local shops and street markets in Mong Kok, including the legendary Ladies’ Market and Temple Street Night Market.

There are loads of markets in Mong Kok, including the Temple Street Night Market | © Lucas Vallecillos / Alamy Stock Photo

Gorgeous hiking trails make it easy to explore nature

With a landscape as diverse as its population, there’s never a shortage of things to do in Hong Kong. Not everyone knows this, but the crowded skyscrapers and apartment blocks that Hong Kong is famous for only take up a third of the territory. The other two thirds are made up of lush, mountainous national parks and forests. If you want to see the greener, more tranquil side of the city, head out onto one of the city’s hiking trails to enjoy nature, fresh air and gorgeous views of the city and sea. Two of the best trails for beginners are the beautiful Dragon’s Back and Lion Rock Country Park.

Head out onto one of the city’s hiking trails to enjoy nature, fresh air and gorgeous views | © Raquel Mogado / Alamy Stock Photo

There are enchanting islands and beaches to explore

In summer, suntanning, building sandcastles and swimming are definitely on the table. Surrounding Hong Kong Island are a few small islands that are easily accessible via regular ferry boats from Central Pier. A visit to the islands of Cheung Chau, Lamma or Lantau – all of which offer seafood, street-food stalls, hiking trails, cool boutique shops and relaxing beaches – is a lovely way to enjoy a sunny day if you visit in the warmer months.

Cheung Chau is a small island easily accessible from Hong Kong Island | © Picturamic / Alamy Stock Photo

From the MTR to the Star Ferry, getting around is easy

Hong Kong’s public transportation system is one of the cleanest and most efficient in the world. And it’s not just the MTR – Hong Kong’s fantastic subway – that deserves praise. From the delightful double-decker trams that traverse the northern part of Hong Kong Island and the longest outdoor escalator system in the world, to the charming Star Ferry that takes passengers across Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong’s public transport makes for convenient sightseeing and is also quite an eye-opening experience in itself.

Hong Kong’s public transportation system is one of the cleanest and most efficient in the world | © idp hong kong collection / Alamy Stock Photo

The vibrant street art will blow you away

Hong Kong’s street-art scene is booming, with colourful murals testifying to the city’s creative verve. Many famed international street artists have left their mark on Hong Kong, with the most Instagram-worthy graffiti spots including the Shing Wong Street mural of two koi fish by Danish artist Christian Storm, a tribute to Bruce Lee on Tank Lane by South Korean artist Xeva, and the fully painted Man Fung Building by Madrid-based street artist Okuda San Miguel. Continue your street-art tour at Mong Kok’s Hall of Fame or at Art Lane in San Wai.

Hong Kong’s street-art scene is booming | © Jayne Russell / Alamy Stock Photo

It has an exciting nightlife scene, beginning with party central Lan Kwai Fong

To experience Hong Kong’s nightlife, Lan Kwai Fong is the place to go. This compact neighbourhood in Central is packed with upscale clubs and restaurants, and boasts some of the best bars and parties in Asia. Besides Lan Kwai Fong, there is the nightlife zone along Lockhart Road in Wanchai and Knutsford Terrace in Tsim Tsa Tsui, and a number of comedy clubs such as The Punchline and TakeOut Comedy.

Lan Kwai Fong is the place to go for nightlife | © Bob Henry / Alamy Stock Photo

This article is an updated version of a story created by Sally Gao.

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