There are some magnificent cities in the world that you keep visiting and each time you visit, there is something new to discover – Hong Kong is such a city for me. Whether I stayed for a few days stopover or for a longer time, I was always again surprised and thrilled with what a magnificent and ever changing city it was. Since a lot of people visit Hong Kong when traveling somewhere further, here are some tips on what to do if you’re only there for a weekend.
The first thing that you’ll notice about Hong Kong is definitely its high-rise that makes one of the most impressive skyline in the world. With over 7,5 million people on a limited amount of land, the city needed to grow vertically and is now the city with the largest number of skyscrapers in the world. This cosmopolitan hive is a place where world’s cultures meet, each contributing to its charm, creating the unique identity of the city that you can never finish exploring.
One of the first places to visit should definitely be the Victoria Peak, a hill on the western part of the Hong Kong Island that offers the most beautiful view of the city and its waterfront. To reach The Peak, definitely take the Peak Tram – the funicular railway will bring you to the top from Central and the ride over the steep slopes will be an adventure of its own. Once you reach the very top, go to the viewing deck and prepare to be amazed – there is really nothing like the view in front of you, especially on a clear, sunny day.
One of the most fun ways to discover and move around the Hong Kong Island is definitely to use the world’s longest outdoor covered escalator system that will help you move up and down the hilly streets. Over 800 m long, it connects the island layers and you can hop on and off, discovering the beautiful markets, historic buildings, shops and restaurants and enjoy the small, hidden corners of the town.
Moving around the Island you will notice how colourful the city is and full of contrasts – the parks with jungle-like vegetation just next to the concrete and steel high rises, small shops and people having a picnic in the street just next to the luxury brands – and this is the true spirit of Hong Kong, the eclecticism of life in all its forms.
For a night out the city is your playground and you will not be sorry to go to Wan Chai – a colourful, vibrant neighbourhood on the Hong Kong Island full of restaurants and clubs that has been the centre of the Hong Kong nightlife for years. There is plenty to choose from, depending on how you feel – from local street food to high-end restaurants, from small, dodgy bars to exclusive clubs.
Be sure to visit the Lockhart Road with numerous bars in neon lights with some of the popular bars being Carnegies, Cavalier and San Francisco. If you’re up for the live rock music, Amazonia Bar that is the place to go. With the current COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions in place, some of the most interesting spots are temporarily closed, however, as the situation is changing, we hope that they will be opening up soon again.
From the Hong Kong Island take the Star Ferry across the Victoria harbour to go to Kowloon, the peninsula and urban area that is home to more than 2 million people. To learn more about the history and heritage, visit the Hong Kong Museum of History and the Wong Tai Sin Temple, the Buddhist Temple for which is believed that whatever you wish for here, will come true. Not to miss are the Mong Kok’s markets – grab a delicious bite from small street food shops or get a bargain at the Ladies Market. Temple Street Night Market is also a place worth visiting, especially if you’d like some souvenirs to take home.
In the evening, take a stroll along the Avenue of Stars at the Victoria Harbour waterfront. Modelled after the Hollywood Walk of Fame, it honours the celebrities of the Hong Kong film industry. In addition, from the waterfront you will have the most beautiful view at the Hong Kong Island. Try to find yourself there before 8 pm as at that time, each evening the world’s largest permanent light and sound show begins – The Symphony of Lights. The orchestrated music is used as a background to the beautiful show of lights and lasers between the buildings, over forty of them participating with their lights in this truly amazing play.
In case that you happen to be in Hong Kong on a Wednesday, don’t miss to go to the Happy Valley for one of the favourite activities of the locals, traditionally passionate about sports, speed and gambling – horse racing. Feel the hype of the race as the horses prepare for the run and, if you are a bit of adventurous, place a small bet on your favourite horse. Who knows, maybe you’ll pick a winner!