If you asked me to describe why I love Hong Kong so much, I don't think my answer would make you want to visit. The chaos and noise, the strange intoxicating unpleasant smells, the grumpy taxi drivers, the crazy bamboo scaffolding that makes your stomach drop when you see someone climbing it, the way your clothing sticks to you in the humid damp heat, the dumplings (ok, that's clearly a good one), wandering aimlessly through the streets and never feeling lost. As much as I try, I can't find the words. Hong Kong feels alive. It's a place that needs to be visited, not described.
Hong Kong makes you feel like you have the whole world at your fingertips, and then when you leave, you feel sad. Because there is nowhere else in the world that makes you feel like Hong Kong does.
A few favourites
The Star Ferry - This iconic ferry ride offers impressive views of Hong Kong’s skyline, and has been running since the 1880s. It’s the perfect way to get to and from Central Hong Kong and Kowloon.
The Peak / The Peak Tram - Expect queues and lots of fellow tourists - for good reasons. Opening in 1926, the Peak Tram carried residents to the upper levels of Hong Kong Island. Now it’s better known for ferrying visitors to The Sky Terrace for a 360 degree view overlooking Hong Kong. At 428 meters above sea level, it’s the highest viewing platform in Hong Kong and the view is unparalleled.
Big Bus Tour - Surprisingly this was a highlight of the trip to Hong Kong. Hop on, pop the headphones in, and listen to stories and information about a Hong Kong that is long gone, and one that is evolving. Definitely the most relaxing way to explore Hong Kong and the surrounding areas.
Tai Hang - Hong Kong's little secret; this area is packed with cute shops, restaurants and coffee shops.
Mido Cafe - Old world charm and Hong Kong cafe food is what’s served up here - think condensed milk on toast and iced lemon tea. Stepping into Mido Cafe is like stepping back in time, it's a little hard to find but very worth the visit.
Brickhouse - This one is a little hard to find also, hidden down an alleyway off a busy main street, it serves up authentic Mexican food and cocktails.
Ho Lee Look - Translated from the Cantonese as 'good fortune for your mouth’, you can expect delicious Chinese food, and a great atmosphere. It’s gets really busy, so it’s good to factor in some extra time to go and put your name down for a table. The wait is generally about an hour, and there are lots of nearby bars to grab a drink. We were a little sceptical as to whether we wanted to wait for a table, seeing as the area is teeming with great restaurants, but were really happy that we did so - they food was excellent and worth the wait.
Aqua - There are so many restaurants and eating experiences to be had in Hong Kong. Fine dining in Kowloon with a view over Hong Kong is one of the must dos. But often the restaurants can feel stuffy and pretentious, and the food is expensive and disappointing. Aqua is nothing like that. It serves, quite possibly, the strangest and most wonderful combination of Japanese and Italian food. Confusing, and delicious. The views over Hong Kong are incredible and the service was outstanding. It was our favourite night in Hong Kong, and I can’t recommend it enough.
Little Bao - Highly recommended, but apparently it’s not such a secret any more. The queue was immense, and we were too hungry to wait, so ended up missing out on trying this one. It looked so good, and is a definite for our next visit.
Café Deadend - This place is always on my list when I am in Hong Kong. The coffee is excellent and the food is simple and tasty. The menu changes regularly, and it’s just the most calming spot in an otherwise hectic city.
Kau Kee Restaurant - Join the ever expanding queue and order the beef brisket noodles.
Oddies Foodies - Gelato and Hong Kong egg waffles. What more could you want.
Omotesando Koffee - The perfect pairing of minimalism and coffee.
Lof 10 - Another great coffee stop.
Teakha - I first discovered Teakha three years ago after a much needed break from walking for hours on end, and feeling a little jittery from all of the coffee I had consumed. Hong Kong is known for it’s tea houses and shops, and after a little research I came across this quaint little tea house with it’s outside seating and fire lamps to keep you warm in the cooler months. It’s the perfect place to cosy up with a cup of freshly brewed masala chai. Love and attention has gone into everything they do here, and it shows.
Unar Coffee Company - The prefect pit stop when out and about in Tai Hang.
Kanamono HK - They sell lots of tools and smaller items for the house. Think coffee brewers, soap holders, beautiful cleaning brushes, bottle openers. All perfectly formed items, that fit perfectly into your suitcase.
Harbour City - A trip to Asia isn’t complete without a visit to a shopping mall, if for nothing other than the sweet relief of air conditioning. Located on the island of Kowloon, this one is designer heaven.
99 Bonham - The perfect location, within walking distance to everything you could want or need, and best of all - crazy affordable for the location. Essentially it’s serviced apartments, which means you get the comforts of a hotel with a small kitchen and hang out area in your room.