When you disembark, buy tickets for the Airport Express train, which takes you to Central Hong Kong in about 25 minutes, and Kowloon in about 20 minutes. Tickets are HKD$100 one way and it is by far the most convenient method of getting from the airport to the city.
When you arrive at Hong Kong station (or Kowloon station), there is a free shuttle bus to major hotels and a taxi rank. Taxis in Hong Kong are incredibly cheap and if your hotel is on the north of Hong Kong Island (or in the bulk of Kowloon), where most hotels are, you’re not likely to pay any more than AUD $10 for the ride.
Travel within Hong Kong
Download a copy of the Hong Kong MTR map to your smartphone or print out a colour copy – definitely the most useful thing to have on you!
The MTR is Hong Kong’s subway/metro system, it is very extensive, services almost every tourist destination, is fast, reliable, very clean for a subway system, and very cheap (the average journey costs less than AUD $1). Everything is in English on the MTR.
The highest point in Hong Kong island, offers stunning view of the harbour. The best viewing point is the Sky 428 terrace. As with everything in Hong Kong, there’s also a mall and several restaurants and cafes.
Price: about HKD$30 for Sky 428 terrace and HKD$50 for the tram ride
Hours: 10am to 11pm daily
Address: Victoria Peak
How to get there: use the special peak tram on Garden Road, or if there is a long line (as is often the case), get a cab – it should cost around HKD$70
A Symphony of Lights
A nightly attraction holding the record for the world’s biggest light and sound show, the skyscrapers on both sides of the harbour shoot out lights for 10 minutes with accompanying music. A cheesy must-see Hong Kong event – the light show itself isn’t really that impressive, but it’s a nice way to admire the harbour and the incredible skyline and see something that is uniquely Hong Kong, a celebration of the incredible vertical-ness of the city.
Hours: every night at 8pm
Address: the best place to see it is the viewing platform at the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade, an elevated platform on the western end of the promenade, near the Star Ferry port and the Clock Tower
How to get there:Tsim Sha Tsui/East Tsim Sha Tsui MTR exit L6 or if you’re coming from Central or Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island, take the Star Ferry (it costs about HKD$2 and is a nice, relaxing short trip across the harbour)
Avenue of the Stars
Hong Kong’s answer to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Avenue of the Stars has stars with the name/handprint/signature of famous Hong Kongers embedded into the ground of the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade. You’ll also see the famous Bruce Lee statue here. Price: Free Hours: does not close – public promenade Address: Avenue of the Stars, East Tsim Sha Tsui How to get there: Tsim Sha Tsui/East Tsim Sha Tsui MTR exit J
Hong Kong Museum of Art
Features a particularly excellent temporary exhibit of Andy Warhol’s work until the end of March, as well as its regular exhibitions.
Hours: 10am to 8pm daily but closed on Thursdays (these are special hours for Warhol exhibit)
Address: 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui promenade
How to get there: Tsim Sha Tsui/East Tsim Sha Tsui MTR exit L6 or J
The Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery
A giant Buddha (34 feet tall) and a monastery, very popular tourist attraction, in part due to the lovely views of the cable car ride it takes to get there
Price: free, though the cable car costs around HKD$200 for a return trip
Address: Ngong Ping village, Lantau Island
Hours: til 5pm daily
How to get there:MTR Tung Chung Station Exit B, then take Ngong Ping Cable Car, which takes around 25 minutes. Then walk for around 10 minutes to the Monastery.
Monastery of 10,000 Buddhas
A monastery that contains over 12,000 buddha statues, including those that line the stairs it takes to walk up there. A more peaceful alternative to the Big Buddha, which is often packed with tourists.
Hours: til 5pm daily
How to get there: Shatin MTR exit B and follow the signs
Jade Market & Temple Street Night Market
These two markets are very close to one another – the Jade Market sells all kinds of jade wares (make sure it’s real jade by setting a lighter to it) as well as a few other interesting materials like pearls and even ivory. The Night Market is an evening market hocking just about everything – you can get a really nice original painting of the Hong Kong skyline or many other sights for a paltry HKD$120.
Price: free, but bring cash to buy trinkets and don’t forget to haggle!
Hours: Jade Market closes around 5pm, which is around the time the Night Market starts to set up.
How to get there: Yau Ma Tei MTR exit C, walk east to Shanghai St (major road) and then walk south til you reach the Jade Market, which is enclosed in a large hut-like building (there are signs directing you). Temple Street is just south of the Jade Market
The more chaotic version of the Temple Street Night Market, the Ladies Market stocks everything despite its name and is located in the heart of Mong Kok, a very Cantonese area (especially compared to the expat-orientated Hong Kong Island).
Price: free, but bring cash to buy trinkets and don’t forget to haggle!
Hours: daily til late
Address: Tung Choi Street, Mong Kok
How to get there: Mong Kok MTR exit E2 and follow the crowd/signs
The world’s highest bar, it is located on the 118th floor of the ICC Tower, Hong Kong’s tallest building, which houses the Ritz-Carlton.
Price: free to enter but cocktails are quite steep – the view is worth it though!
Hours: open in the evenings until about 1am
Address:Ritz-Carlton, 1 Austin Road West
How to get there: Kowloon MTR exit B
Din Tai Fung
Listed by the New York Times as one of the top ten restaurants in the world, this restaurant specialises in Shanghaianese dumplings called ‘xiaolongbao’ or soup dumplings. Unlike regular dumplings, they contain a filling (meat, vegetables) but also a broth that gives them a lot of flavour. The black truffle variety is particularly good.
Price:about HKD$50 per steamer of 6 dumplings, expect to order maybe three steamers
Hours:daily til about 10pm
Address: 3/F Silvercord Mall How to get there: Tsim Sha Tsui MTR exit
Lab Made Ice Cream
Hong Kong’s first liquid nitrogen ice-cream parlour offers a rotating menu of four unique flavours (e.g. custard bun) that have an incredibly creamy texture. Also it’s fun watching them make it as they do so in front of you and the liquid nitrogen seeps out.
Price: HKD$40 per scoop Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 3pm til late
Address: 6 Brown Street, Tai Hang
How to get there: Tin Hau MTR exit A
Hong Kong’s best Mexican restaurant, tucked away in an alley of Lan Kwai Fong, the premier clubbing district. Offering top-shelf tequila and an interesting take on Mexican, order the taco platter and sample five small tacos with such fillings as tongue! Really delicious.
Price:Around HK$310 for the taco platter and a beer
Hours: Monday to Saturday 6pm – 2am (stops serving food earlier though), closed Sundays
Address: 20 D’Aguilar Street
How to get there: Central MTR exit D1 and head up to LKF; be warned, Brickhouse is quite hard to find – it is tucked behind another building, so you have to go down an unmarked alley right next to a handbag vendor stall that is 22 D’Aguilar St
Tim Ho Wan
The cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world has several branches in Hong Kong, including the original in Mong Kok, but I found the one in Central to be the most easily accessible. There is no English sign but you can tell you’ve found it because there’s always a big crowd waiting out the front. To avoid the hassle, ask for an English take-away menu, order takeaway and then take any of the MTR exits to IFC Mall. Once in the mall, head to the oval atrium and take the escalator up to the top level, where there is a public rooftop garden; you can sit here, enjoy the lovely view, and bring your own food and alcohol. It’s also attached to IFC 2, the tallest building on Hong Kong Island, used in the movie The Dark Knight Rises.
Price:around HK$18 per serving of dim sum; three serves is plenty for one person
Hours: last order 8:30pm daily
Address:Hong Kong MTR station, level 1 shops
How to get there: Hong Kong MTR station, level 1 shops (inside actual station)
SoHo, short for South of Hollywood St, is a bar/restaurant/boutique district offering many dining and drinking choices. It is navigated using the world’s longest outdoor escalator system, the Central Mid-Levels Travelator.
How to get there: Central MTR exit C and head west on Des Veoux Rd, the road you exited out onto. You’ll reach Jubilee Street, on the corner of which is an escalator going up, which is joined to the main SoHo escalator. Keep going with the SoHo escalator and hop off when something you see takes your fancy!
Treasure Lake Golden Banquet
This is a very traditional Hong Kong/Cantonese dim sum house. It is a behemoth two storey gold building right near the Western Market and offers excellent steamed pork buns, shrimp won tons, spring rolls and more.
Price: about HKD$100 will get you a hearty breakfast
Hours:best time to go is between 10am and 12:30pm
Address: 7 On Tai Street, Sheung Wan
How to get there: Sheung Wan MTR exit A2, cross the street (towards the Starbucks) and walk to the end of the tram terminus