While Hong Kong raises tons of questions like, “Is it part of China?”, it’s a must-visit at least once in your lifetime. Hong Kong is officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, as it was returned to China’s possession in 1997 after being occupied by the British for over a hundred years. So, the currency is the Hong Kong dollar and English and Chinese are both official languages. Once you come to understand that Hong Kong feels a bit like two different countries, you can enjoy all Hong Kong has to offer. Plus the food is one of the best in the world, with the most Michelin-starred restaurants. Here’s what you need to know to plan your Hong Kong vacation.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit the city is between October and December because the temperatures are most comfortable and the rates for the rooms are most reasonable. During this time of year, the temperatures range from lows in the low 60s F to highs in the low 80s F. After New Years, the city gets really busy and with that comes more crowds and higher hotel prices. For the best prices, avoid traveling during national holidays and large conventions.
How to Get Around
The best way to get around Hong Kong is via Mass Transit Railway (MTR) and by walking. Minibusses and buses are hard to navigate if you don’t speak Cantonese and there’s a chance you’ll miss your stop. Other options are ferries and trams, which are really scenic.
Where to Stay
Four Seasons, Hong Kong
Four Seasons, Hong Kong, a 5-star hotel, has eight Michelin stars and a Zen-inspired spa, all in one place. It’s the perfect place to stay if you’re looking for a luxury culinary and wellness experience.
Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong
Another 5-star hotel is Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, which features a slick design that mixes comfort and luxury in the heart of the city. There are tons of dining options in the hotel and a variety of spa facilities and activities including treatment rooms, a spa boutique, a Chinese herbal steam room, a sauna, hypnotherapy, and TaiQi & Martial Arts Combat Yoga.
The Ritz Carlton, Hong Kong
The Ritz Carlton, Hong Kong is another 5-star hotel that has a view of the skyline and Victoria Harbor reaching into the horizon, which can be enjoyed at the rooftop lounge and Michelin-starred restaurants. There’s also an indoor infinity pool with a mirrored ceiling and LED wall display and a spa.
What to Do
The Star Ferry transports guests between the Kowloon Peninsula and Hong Kong Island, giving a picturesque view of the city. While on it, you’ll be right in the center of the city’s famous skyline, which makes for great photos.
Also known as “The Peak“, Victoria Peak is a must-see because of its amazing views. Its located atop the highest point on Hong Kong Island and you can enjoy views of the skyscrapers, waterways, and green hills of New Territories. There are also tons of dining and shopping options at the Peak Tower, Peak Galleria, and Lions View Point Pavillion.
The street markets in Hong Kong are a bit crazy, but they have everything. The beauty of them is each one is a bit different. One of the bets is Temple Street Night Market, which has clothing, electronics, food, kitchen accessories, fortune tellers, and opera singers. Another can’t miss one is Stanley Market, which has home decor, jewelry, and souvenirs.
What to Eat
How can you go to Hong Kong without trying Dim Sum? The steamed dumpling comes in tons of varieties and the best ones are Har Gow (steamed shrimp dumplings) and Cheong Fun (steamed rice rolls or noodle rolls) made with shrimp, beef, or barbequed pork.
Char Sui (Barbequed Pork)
Barbeque food is one of the most popular in Hong Kong and you don’t want to miss this Cantonese-style pork marinated with five spices, rose liqueur, soybean paste, and glazed with honey or syrup.
These soft, sweet buns don’t actually have any pineapple in them, but they’re still a real treat! They are named pineapple buns because they resemble pineapple skin.