Asia, Food & Drink, Hiking, History & Culture

How to Plan Your First Visit to Hong Kong

March 9, 2019

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.

Where to Eat and Drink in Hong Kong

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.

Tim Ho Wan first visit to Hong Kong

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. Lung King Heen is a popular restaurant, so be sure to book a table in advance.

Favourite items from the dinner menu designed by Executive Chef Chan Yan Tak include delicious 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. The sweet, creamy custard tarts are surrounded by flaky pastry. One is not enough!

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. This tea is also known as “pantyhose tea” or “silk stocking tea” because a large tea sock resembling pantyhose is often used to brew the tea.

Lan Fong Yuen First Visit to Hong Kong

What to See and Do in Hong Kong

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.

Mid-levels escalator first visit to hong kong

Explore Tai Kwan Centre for Heritage and Arts

Tai Kwan centre for Heritage and Arts, located on Hollywood Road at the top of the Mid-Levels escalator, opened in 2018. It is considered to be one of the most significant revitalization projects in Hong Kong’s history.

At Tai Kwan Centre, you can explore the Central Police Station compound that includes three monument buildings – the former Centra Police Station, Central Magistracy, and Victoria Prison, plus two contemporary structures known as JC Contemporary and JC Cube. 

Visitors to Tai Kwan Centre can learn about Hong Kong’s history and the role of law and order in the city through interactive tours, exhibits, and educational programmes. In addition, the JC Contemporary building is home to a non-profit centre showcasing art exhibitions. The outdoor spaces at Tai Kwan, such as the Prison Yard and Parade Ground, host theatre, music, and dance performances.

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.

Peaceful Man Mo Temple Hong Kong

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.

Victoria Peak View First visit to Hong Kong

Here you can follow forested Morning Trail around the Peak, explore the multi-level shopping area,  and admire the jaw-dropping view from Sky Terrace 428.

walk the peak on your first visit to Hong Kong

The Peak Station First visit to Hong Kong

Shop the Lanes

Visit the Lanes in Hong Kong’s Central neighbourhood for gifts, souvenirs, Oriental clothing, and a suitcase for your treasures.

Visit the Lanes first visit to Hong Kong

Take the Star Ferry

Don’t miss a ride on the iconic Star Ferry if you are planning your first visit to Hong Kong. The Star Ferry has been carrying passengers between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon since 1888. And the views of the city are spectacular. You can purchase tickets for the 10-minute trip across the harbour at the Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry Pier and Central Pier 7. There are two levels on the Star Ferry – it costs a bit more to ride on the upper level.

Star Ferry first visit to Hong Kong

Travel Tips

  • Four Seasons Hong Kong is a fantastic place to stay, and it’s very convenient to explore Hong Kong from this award-winning, waterfront hotel. The hotel’s location above the IFC shopping mall means it’s a quick ride from the airport on the Airport Express Train.
  • The Hong Kong Tourism Board website is an excellent resource for planning your first visit to Hong Kong.
  • Cathay Pacific provides service from North America to Hong Kong. You can learn more about flying Cathay Pacific Business Class here.

Have you visited Hong Kong? What are your favourite things to do?

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