In eclectic Hong Kong, even neighboring parts of the city can be as different as night and day. In one district, cheap noodle stalls jostle next to noisy markets where Cantonese is the lingua franca. In a nearby part of the city, young professionals congregate for after-work drinks, speaking fluent English. To help you explore this vibrant city, here’s a guide to the ten most important neighborhoods on both sides of Victoria Harbour.
Shop ’til you drop!
Hong Kong’s premier shopping mecca is one of the most crowded places on Earth. From sleek shopping malls and department stores to boutique shops lining Jardine’s Crescent, Causeway Bay promises endless retail therapy.
Old streets, modern arts.
The bustling district of Wan Chai is primarily known for its offices, bars, and restaurants, but it’s also a prime spot for Hong Kong’s arts scene. The Academy of Performing Arts and the Convention and Exhibition Centre and both located here, as is Comix Home Base, a hub for Hong Kong’s cartoon and animation industry. Lastly, the fashionable Starstreet Precinct is full of stylish galleries, restaurants, and cafés.
Work hard, play hard.
As its name suggests, Central is Hong Kong’ s business, finance, and administrative heart. Every day, the city’s white-collar professionals pour into Central en masse to work in soaring high-rises made from glass and steel. Central is also home to some of Hong Kong’s fanciest hotels, shoppings malls, and Michelin-starred restaurants and bars.
Lan Kwai Fong
Party ’til sunrise.
Located on the edge of Central, Lan Kwai Fong (frequently shortened to LKF) consists of Wyndham Street and the L-shaped D’Aguilar Street. The bars, restaurants, and clubs packed here make up Hong Kong’s principal district for nightlife and entertainment. The area comes alive come nightfall, when it becomes packed with yuppies, expats, and tourists.
Short for “South of Hollywood Road,” SoHo is located on the crooked, narrow streets by the Mid-Levels Escalator. Consider this neighborhood the posher, calmer cousin of Lan Kwai Fong. Known for its trendy bars, intimate restaurants, boutique galleries, and antique shops, SoHo is where bon vivants come to wine, dine, and enjoy the finer things in life.
One of Hong Kong’s oldest districts, laid-back Sheung Wan is home to a bevy of independent coffee shops, restaurants, and traditional shops selling dried seafood and Buddhist figurines. It also includes the artsy area known as PoHo, a sleepy and charming neighborhood filled with art galleries, cafés, and boutique clothing shops.
Sai Ying Pun
Where the new ‘it’ crowd goes.
Located to the west of Sheung Wan, Sai Ying Pun is one of Hong Kong’s hottest up-and-coming areas. Lured by more affordable rents than what you’d find around Central, millennials and expats are moving in in droves — and so are the bars and eateries hankering after their business. From trendy brunch spots to high-concept fusion restaurants, Sai Ying Pun boasts some of the city’s most exciting new eateries.
Craft beer town.
Right next to Sai Ying Pun is Kennedy Town, another rapidly growing hotspot for young professionals. In general, the vibe here is similar to Sai Ying Pun’s. What’s more, you can get a taste of Hong Kong’s growing craft beer scene here, with breweries, bottle shops, and gastropubs setting up shop in Kennedy Town left and right.
Tsim Sha Tsui
Located at the tip of the Kowloon peninsula, Tsim Sha Tsui is is densely packed with shops, hotels, restaurants, and also happens to be a major tourist area. There are just as many cultural attractions as commercial ones here — the Hong Kong Museum of Art, the Hong Kong Space Museum, the Hong Kong Science Museum, the Hong Kong Museum of History, and the arts venue known as the Hong Kong Cultural Centre all call Tsim Sha Tsui home.
Mongkok is famous for its markets and shops, selling anything and everything for dirt cheap prices. Here, you’ll find the famous Ladies Market, where vendors clothes, bags, knockoff leather goods, tourist trinkets, and more. If you prefer viewing to haggling, however, the goldfish market, the flower market, and the bird market are sure to charm you.