We fell in love with Hong Kong! There was just something about this city that left us feeling energized. It is a city we felt that we could imagine ourselves living in. From the efficient transportation, excellent infrastructure, beautiful parks, diverse food options, fantastic nightlife, fast wifi, great sense of security, and many luxury and bargain shopping options, Hong Kong has a great vibe.
If you would rather listen to our time in Hong Kong, check out the podcast episode Podcast 12: Hong Kong Travel Tips (and how we decide Where is Next).
We were lucky enough to spend 10 wonderful days in this epic city. I have put together a list of SOME of my favorite places we visited during our stay for your perfect weekend city vacation getaway.
Get lost in the streets of Hong Kong- Hong Kong is such an amazing city with so much to see and do. You can find upmarket shopping malls, local markets, restaurants, cafes, street food vendors, parks, promenades with beautiful harbor views, high-rise buildings, temples, and churches.
The transportation system in Hong Kong is called MTR (Mass Transit Railway) and is comprised of the subway, railway, and light rail. It is super efficient, clean and fast. To pay for rides on the MTR, buses, ferries, etc., you can purchase an Octopus Card for 50 HKD.
The card can also be used at convenience stores like 711, shops, supermarkets, fast food restaurants, etc. (which makes it nice so you do not have to carry around extra cash). When loading the Octopus Card with additional monies, you must put increments of 50 HKD on the card.
When you leave Hong Kong, you can return your card at the airport MTR information desk (or any MTR information desk), and you will be refunded any remaining monies plus the deposit of 50 HKD (service fee of 8 HKD for a refund will be charged to you).
Visit Temple Street Night Market (Temple Street) – Closest MTR Station: Mong Kok.
This night market has everything from street food to souvenirs, electronics, watches, menswear, jade jewelry, and antiques. It is an excellent place to people watch, try some local, Chinese street food, and work on your bargaining skills.
Visit Ladies Market (Tung Choi Street) – About a 20-minute walk from Temple Street Night Market is the Ladies Market. This market is a cluster of streets with stores and stalls selling everything from accessories, sunglasses, and handbags to cosmetics and perfumes. Just know that the luxury brand of bags you see (LV, Marc Jacobs, Gucci, etc.) are counterfeit (although I am sure you would have figured that out by the listed prices you will see).
Shop til you drop – If you love fashion like me, there are several options for high-end shopping malls in Hong Kong. Time Square (closest MTR Station: Causeway Bay) is a 12 story mall where shops are organized thematically. IFC (International Finance Centre), located at Central Station where the Central Piers and MTR meet, has luxury stores like Prada, Jimmy Choo, Chanel, and Valentino. However, stores like Kate Spade, Zara, and Coach are also located at IFC.
Eat Dim Sum- What is dim sum? Before visiting Hong Kong, I had no clue what this dish entailed. Dim sum is a Cantonese style of a steamed dumpling that is prepared as a small, bite-sized portion. The different types of steamed dumplings are filled with a variety of ingredients from pork, chicken, and seafood to vegetables.
Depending on the restaurant you choose to eat dim sum at, the cost will vary. People in China eat dim sum throughout the day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Dim sum is typically served in bamboo steamers or on small plates best enjoyed with tea in the company of family and friends. You can find local dim sum shops that will sell dim sum for ~25-30 HKD ($3-3.80 USD) per dish.
Place a bet at Happy Valley Racecourse (and have fun) – Closest MTR Station: Happy Valley Terminus. On Wednesday evenings, Happy Valley Racecourse brings together an international crowd with live bands and different entertainment each week in a unique horse racing experience in the middle of the city.
The mid-week party is called Happy Wednesday. You can also watch the last two races (8 races total) from the balcony at Club Adrenaline with a magnificent view of the finish line. Admission into Happy Valley Racecourse is only 10 HKD ($1.27 USD). There is free admission after Race 5. The racecourse has great beer and cocktails and also sells some snack food. The party starts at 1715 to 2300.
Travel Tip: Be sure to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to protect your information on your laptop when accessing the internet when traveling around the world or even when in local cafes. There are several good solutions out there but we trust in ExpressVPN. Find this and other tips on our Travel Tools Page.
Take a Day Trip to Macau- Macau is just a 55-minute ferry ride from Hong Kong island and getting there is very easy! The Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal is near the IFC Towers in the Shun Tak Center on Hong Kong Island. It is near the Sheung Wan MTR station.
Once you exit the MTR, simply take the escalators located inside the MTR station to the top floor and follow the signs for the Macau Ferry. During the day, the ferry prices are cheaper than the evening return prices. We paid 171 HKD per person for an economy ticket with Turbojet ($22 USD). The ferries leave roughly every 15-20 minutes (there are several ferry companies selling tickets and going at different times).
Just know that you must bring your passport along with your paper entry visa you received when entering Hong Kong (US citizen). Also, there are two sailing routes from Hong Kong island to Macau. You can either sail from Hong Kong island to Macau (Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal) or Taipa Ferry Terminal. The two islands are connected by a long bridge that takes approximately 11 minutes to drive across.
On either side of the bridge, there are different hotels and casinos to choose from. For example, the MGM and the Wynn are located on the Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal, and the Venetian and airport are located on the Taipa Ferry Terminal side.
There are free shuttle buses that will take you to and from each casino (and each side of the bridge) all day and night long. You do not have to be a casino guest to use the free shuttle bus services. The shuttle buses are located just outside of the ferry terminals and alongside the front of the casinos. The shuttle buses are very organized, clearly marked and have attendants outside directing passengers.
During our day trip to Macau, we visited The Venetian, MGM Grand, The Parisian Macau, and The Wynn. Apart from the luxury shopping experiences at these casinos, the decor, architecture, and artwork were top notch. The Venetian was very similar to The Venetian in Las Vegas, Nevada with its network of indoor canals, luxury shopping facilities and serenading gondoliers.
The Parisian had a replica of the Eiffel Tower that twinkled in the night sky and lush flower gardens as far as the eye could see. Make sure to catch your grand entrance into The Wynn. A cable car whisks you away over Performance Lake while a light, music and water show in front of the casino (think dancing water fountains like at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada) plays beneath you before you are gently dropped off into a garden of flowers inside the casino.
Catching a ferry back to Hong Kong island is very easy. Whether you are on the Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal side or Taipa Ferry Terminal side, there are a plethora of free shuttle buses to take you back to the ferry terminal 24/7. As I had mentioned before, tickets during the day to Macau are cheaper than the return tickets to Hong Kong island at night. We paid 200 HKD person for an economy ticket with Turbojet ($26/person).
Also, note that you will have to scan your passport for re-entry into Hong Kong and your tourist visa for your Hong Kong stay is reset at this point. At this point, you will receive a new tourist visa with new dates.
Visit the rooftop of the IFC Mall: Closest MTR Station: Central. The rooftop of the IFC Mall is lined with posh bars and restaurants. However, there are comfy club-style sofas, tables, chairs and heat lamps placed just outside the bars and restaurants that are for use by the public. These public areas are perfect gathering places for friends to meet up and hang out over your own cocktails, beer or wine (even snacks) that you can purchase downstairs at the CitySuper deli on the first floor. The views overlooking the harbor are spectacular!
Lan Kwai Fong- After chilling out with your significant other or a few friends at the IFC rooftop, head on over to Lan Kwai Fong on foot (just an 18-minute walk) or via tram (closest MTR station: Hong Kong). This small square is open until the wee hours of the morning and is one of Hong Kong’s most famous nightlife hotspots for expats, students, and locals to hang out as it has hundreds of restaurants and bars to choose from. Think Lisbon, Portugal; steep, winding, cobblestone streets, parties in the streets, music, and BYOB is acceptable (just not in the bars or restaurants). It is a great place to meet new people, and people watch in the streets of Hong Kong!
Traveled April 2018