It’s been nearly a month since I took off to spend a week in Hong Kong, and I am still having some pretty major holiday blues around being back. I wasn’t really ready to love it as much as I did, or be completely sucked in by the rhythm of the city. I don’t know if it’s possible to truly get a feel for the vibe of a place until you’re there, and I don’t imagine my words will really be able to encapsulate the experience I had, but I wanted to do a roundup of what we got up to nonetheless. If you’re planning a trip to Hong Kong, why not add these into your plans?
wandering around wan chai and hollywood road
We stayed on Hong Kong island in a pretty busy district called Wan Chai. If it’s important to you to have lots of amenities nearby, then it may be an area worth you checking out: we were a stone’s throw from restaurants, bars, shops and groceries, as well as just around the corner from the metro with quick links to Kowloon side and other areas on the island.
I’d recommend simply wandering around the area you’re staying regardless of where that is, and we did our fair share of it in Wan Chai. If you’re able to, you can discover all manner of hidden gems – not to mention get a real feel for the flow of daily life – by just walking around. Getting lost in Hong Kong isn’t too much of a big deal, with taxis being so plentiful and affordable. Alternatively, the tram offers a great way to see the local sights – several routes run across the island, so it’s definitely worth hopping on.
One rainy day after a delicious lunch, we headed to Hollywood Road, one of the oldest roads on the island and a well known antiques hotspot. We wandered around the area, coasting from one street to the next, admiring the wares. Eventually we reached Man Mo Temple in Sheung Wan, and ventured in briefly. While you can enter Temples in Hong Kong, it’s best to do so with the level of respect and decorum you’d exhibit at any religious site; there were people actively worshipping when we visited, so we refrained from taking any photos and didn’t stay very long at all. It was a beautiful building to see, though – the way that the Temples sit amongst skyscrapers and residential blocks is in itself a sight to behold.
Somehow, this drizzly day turned out to be one of my favourites. It truly gave me a sense of Hong Kong and I’d recommend passing through the area if you’re staying on the island.
holiday vibes in stanley bay
If you’re after a chilled day by the water, this chic – albeit touristy – coastal area on Hong Kong Island is worth veering off the beaten track for. A 25-minute taxi ride from Wan Chai didn’t cost us much more than HK$200, and only raised a few hairs on the back of my neck! We made our way through a maze of market stalls selling everything from clothing to jade trinkets and jewellery until we reached the bar-lined waterside. This was the perfect place to sit outside one such bar and while away the hours over beers, and we did just that.
kowloon walled city park
Hong Kong has a complex history, as interesting as it is at times brutal. While we skipped museums during our stay, we did head to the Kowloon Walled City Park, a beautiful and serene green space which stands on the site of the infamous Kowloon Walled City. The Walled City was essentially a densely populated, ungoverned enclave set apart from the rest of the region. Despite the pretty squalid conditions, people lived and worked there in relative peace before the triads took control. The Walled City was eventually demolished in 1994, with some remnants left behind and spotlighted in the Park’s exhibition. It’s a really intriguing piece of Hong Kong’s history which I’d recommend learning more about, and the park is just lovely to walk through; all in all, well worth a visit.
see the skyline at night
Hong Kong boasts a pretty stunning skyline, and where better to take it in from than up high! I overcame my trepidations and hopped on the tram to head up to The Peak, where breathtaking views of Hong Kong await on their viewing platform. The experience was ridiculously cheap – the tram journey up there and back and access to the viewing platform cost us the equivalent of around £10 each. When you think about how expensive attractions like this are in London, it boggles the mind! It’s worth bearing in mind that the journey up is not for the fainthearted – the tram ascends at quite the gradient! – but all of that melted away with the glimmering lights of the skyline. Head there on a clear night for guaranteed awe.
Given we didn’t have a packed out itinerary, I feel like we stayed pretty active during the trip and got a fair amount done and ticked off. Next time I have the pleasure of visiting Hong Kong, I’d love to make the journey to Lantau Island for Ngong Ping and the world renowned Tian Tan Buddha. For now, though, I look back on a holiday filled with great food, full hearts, fed souls and an appetite to experience it all over again in the not-so-distant future!
Have you been to Hong Kong? Let me know what your favourite thing to do on your trip was!