Planning Your First Visit to Hong Kong
If you are planning your first visit to Hong Kong – a fascinating mix of East, West, past and future – these suggestions will help you make the most of your time in the city.
Eat and Drink
Tim Ho Wan
Tim Ho Wan, reported to be the “The world’s cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant,” can be found at a few locations throughout the city – Mong Kok, Sham Shui Po, and at Hong Kong Station under the IFC mall.
Don’t despair at the size of the crowd outside Tim Ho Wan – patience pays off at the self-proclaimed hole-in-the-wall Michelin star restaurant. Once you arrive at the check-in desk, select a menu in either English or Cantonese plus a pencil for marking the items you wish to order. Once you make your selections, hand the paper back to the host or hostess and wait. It could be a while, but it is worth it.
Lung King Heen
Another Michelin star recipient, Lung King Heen in the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, is the first Chinese restaurant in the world to receive three Michelin stars. No surprise that Lung King Heen is a popular restaurant, but reservations are an option here, so be sure to book in advance for a memorable experience.
Favourite items from the dinner menu designed by Executive Chef Chan Yan Tak include unforgettable crispy chicken fillet with sesame in lemon sauce and wok-fried prawns with organic black garlic and dried chilli.
Tai Cheong Bakery
Stop at Tai Cheong Bakery for egg tarts – gorgeous sweet, creamy custard surrounded by flaky pastry. Oh, my!
Lan Fong Yuen
Visit Lan Fong Yuen in Central District, a classic food stall in business since the 1950s, for a steaming cup of creamy Hong Kong-style milk tea or yuan yang (coffee with tea).
The Lan Fong Yuen food stall is the reported home of the original Hong Kong milk tea, known as “pantyhose tea” or “silk stocking tea” because a large tea sock resembling pantyhose is often used to brew the tea.
See and Do
Ride the World’s Longest Escalator
According to the Guinness Book of Records, the 800 meter Mid-Levels escalator system is the world’s longest. Designed as a way to move tens of thousands of commuters up and down Hong Kong’s legendary hills daily, the escalators also provide tourists with a peek into life in one of the world’s iconic cities.
The series of elevated, covered pathways, moving sidewalks, and escalators (or stairs if you are feeling energetic) connect the glittering skyscrapers in Central with shop-filled alleys and residential towers in the Mid-Levels. The system moves people downhill from 6 AM to 10 AM and uphill for the remainder of the day. It is fun to ride up to the Mid-Levels and wander back through the city.
Visit Man Mo Temple
The Man Mo temple, built in 1847, is a tribute to the God of Literature (Man) and the God of War (Mo). Massive bell-shaped incense coils along with individual offerings scent this peaceful space in Hong Kong’s Mid-Levels neighbourhood.
Explore Victoria Peak
Located only a short distance from the Central neighbourhood, the Peak feels miles away from the bustling city below. Walk from Central to the Peak Tram and ride up to the Peak or save time and take a short, scenic taxi ride to the top.
Here you can follow forested Morning Trail around the Peak, explore the multi-level shopping area, enjoy a meal, and admire the jaw-dropping view from Sky Terrace 428.
Shop the Lanes
Visit the Lanes in Hong Kong’s Central neighbourhood for gifts, souvenirs, Oriental clothing, and a suitcase for your treasures.
Take the Star Ferry
Don’t miss a ride on the iconic Star Ferry if you are planning your first visit to Hong Kong – it has been carrying passengers between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon since 1888, and the views of the city are unforgettable. Tickets for the 10-minute trip across the harbour can be purchased at the ticket counter at the Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry Pier and the Central Pier 7 on a first-come-first-served basis on the date of departure. There are two levels on the Star Ferry – it costs a bit more to ride on the upper level.
- Four Seasons Hong Kong is an excellent base to explore the city, and the prime location above the IFC shopping mall means it is a quick ride from the airport to your luxurious home base in Hong Kong on the ultra convenient Airport Express Train.
- Katie Dillon from La Jolla Mom is a Hong Kong expert, be sure to visit her website for more information and recommendations.
- The Hong Kong Tourism Board website is an excellent resource for planning your first visit to Hong Kong.
Have you visited Hong Kong? What are your favourite things to do?