The Pearl of the Orient is well-known for its stunning skyline. One of the most densely populated countries, Hong Kong is also the third most important financial centre in the world. But apart from its finance portfolio, there are many other things about Hong Kong that the world loves.
Every year, Hong Kong sees increasing tourism, and this world city has a compilation of stories to fall in love with. Cultural and spiritual discoveries, old meets new architecture, food and more food; there is always something to look forward to at Hong Kong, and there is always something to keep us returning.
If you already have an intimate bonding with Hong Kong, how many of these can you resonate with? But if you haven’t been, maybe it is time to fall in love – hard.
Here are 29 Reasons To Love Hong Kong:
#1 MAKE A TRIP TO SAI KUNG
A small town that sits in New Territories, Sai Kung is an alternative to Hong Kong’s city skyline. Surrounded by villages and fishing ports, the town is every bit picturesque with blue waters and distant mountains. Notable for their seafood restaurants, Sai Kung is also a destination for seafood lovers, and the restaurants are mainly located on the seafront.
Cafes in particular is a big trend in Hong Kong. No, we are not talking about the Hong Kong-style cha chaan teng, but our regular coffee houses and thematic spaces to unwind at. Here is our guide to the Best Western Cafes in Hong Kong you must visit.
#2 EAT PINEAPPLE BUN (BO LUO BAO)
Or more commonly known as Bo Luo Bao. And there is no pineapple. It is a sweet and fluffy bun, with a crusty top that resembles a pineapple (hence its name) – akin to the crunchy texture of sugar cookies. A popular choice for breakfast, eat this with a slab of butter and your life will never be the same again.
Read our guide to Hong Kong’s best pineapple buns.
#3 DO THE DIM SUM RITUAL
Because Hong Kong is otherwise affectionately known as Dim Sum Land. So what is a trip to Hong Kong without some bite-sized delicacies? We really cannot do without our baked char siew buns, siew mai and custard buns.
#4 WONG TAI SIN TEMPLE
One of the most prominent worshipping grounds in Hong Kong, Wong Tai Sin Temple is a beautifully ornamented building with five main feng shui elements that will get every geomancy enthusiast excited.
#5 EGG TARTS – ONE OF THE BEST THINGS YOU CAN EAT IN HONG KONG
Glorious daan taat, oh how we love you so! Egg custard tart with a buttery pastry shell, baked to perfection and with a flaky crust, and exudes the creamiest fragrance. Our all-time favourite is Honolulu’s rendition. Three each, please!
#6 PARTY ROCK AT LAN KWAI FONG
Party animals, party rock is at Lan Kwai Fong! Put your hands up to the sound and shake that! This is the ultimate night spot for crazy nights and we heard even TVB celebrity Bosco Wong parties here and has been spotted a few times.
#7 FIND EVERYTHING THAT YOU NEED AT HARBOUR CITY
Dubbed as the best all-in-one destination in Hong Kong, Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui is a huge playground for every fashionista and gourmet. There are also entertainment options, and Marco Polo HongKong Hotel also sits within Harbour City. For the shoppers, you will most definitely be spoilt for choices with its myriad of international luxe labels, casual and sports wear, and kids’ apparels. Dining is also exhilarating with all its local and international names that will suit every budget and palate. There are also two cinemas and a ferry terminal that is home to cruise liners.
#8 MONGKOK – THE HEART OF HONG KONG
Known as the world’s most densely populated area, Mongkok is one happening part of Hong Kong. Some locals we know detest its rowdy atmosphere, but we see beauty beyond this messy hood. Nail parlours, massage houses and random boutiques are littered everywhere, and cafes and cha chaan tengs are aplenty. There is surely something to see and do, but you just have to beware of pickpockets.
#9 EXPLORE TAI HANG – THE HIPPEST NEIGHBOURHOOD IN HONG KONG
An obscure hood that is mainly residential, Tai Hang sits southeast of Causeway Bay and is fast becoming a dining destination. In the recent years, the gritty neighbourhood sees many new cafes and dessert shops, and the whole Tai Hang area henceforth exudes a charm that is second to none. Alongside car repair shops and old roadside stalls that they call dai pai dong, Tai Hang is one area not to be missed.
#10 HAVE A MEAL AT A LOCAL CHA CHAAN TENG
A Cha Chaan Teng, for the uninitiated, is a kind of local eatery in Hong Kong that serves comfort food at affordable prices. These local diners are where Hong Kongers go for their regular meals, and you can find them almost everywhere.
#11 GO FOR A HIKE
An alternative to the city life, locals love a good hike at the beautifully rural Hong Kong downtown. There are several itineraries to join if you need a little guidance.
#12 TEAKHA – A QUAINT TINY TEA CAFE
Offering the world an impressive range of organic tea like Masala Chai, Thai iced tea, Jasmine Blossoms, and Hoji au Lait, and Forest Black Tea, this tea specialist is housed in a little shophouse on a quiet alley off Tai Ping Shan Street. Unassuming yet full of surprises, Teakha is a hidden gem where locals and expats hang out and spend an afternoon.
#13 DISNEYLAND HONG KONG – THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH
Because this is the happiest place on Earth. Walt Disney was a brilliant man, and he made countless dreams come true; he made us all realize it is alright to not grow up. Discover the magic, be immersed in the fairytales and forget all your adult fears and unhappiness. Spend a day or two at Disneyland Hong Kong; because it is okay to bring out the kid in you.
#14 A LUXURIOUS STAY AT INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL HONG KONG
Intercontinental Hotel Hong Kong is easily our favourite hotel in Hong Kong. Over two-thirds of the 503 luxurious rooms and 87 suites provide a stunning view of Victoria Harbour, and all rooms come with 24-hour butler service. The hotel also offers complimentary yoga classes and Taiji for guests. Dining options within the property is aplenty, so if you are looking for a five-star experience when staying in Hong Kong, InterContinental Hong Kong is your best bet.
#15 ADMIRE THE CITY’S SKYLINE FROM THE PEAK
So this is where you get the best view of Hong Kong. With so many things to see and do, The Peak is ever popular with both locals and tourists. Dine in style at the many restaurants that serve both continental and international cuisine, enjoy a panoramic view of Hong Kong at the Sky Terrace that is 428m above sea level, but most importantly, take the Peak Tram – one of the oldest’s railway that travels at a very steep gradient.
#16 GO CRAZY FACTORY OUTLET SHOPPING AT CITYGATE OUTLETS
The husbands will hate us, but the Citygate outlets at Tung Chung will please the ladies. You can find brands like Burberry, Diane von Furstenberg, OnPedder and Club21. You might want to increase your credit limit prior to your trip.
#17 TAKE NGONG PING 360 TO LANTAU ISLAND
If you have some time to spare after shopping at Citygate outlets, take the 25 minutes cable car ride toNgong Ping 360 — one of Hong Kong’s must-visit tourist attractions on Lantau island. There, you get to see the spectacular Giant Buddha, and visit the Po Lin Monastery.
Often photographed for Hong Kong’s publicity, the International Financial Centre (ifc) is the most notable tall building. The heart of Hong Kong and an integrated commercial development, ifc is the most happening office building. The sheer amount of shopping options here is enough to keep you busy for a day, and there is a cinema too.
#19 THE PRIZED VICTORIA HARBOUR
The energetic skyline is one of our favourite sights, and one that we can never get sick of no matter how many times we visit Hong Kong. It is second to none, with its skyscrapers set against distant mountains and clouds hanging low in the day, and brightly lit up at night with a rainbow of colours. Not to be missed is the nightly “Symphony of Lights” show. At 8pm every night, witness the magic of the multimedia show that is named “World’s Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show” by Guinness World Records.
#20 CAUSEWAY BAY – THE ULTIMATE SHOPPING AREA IN HONG KONG
Want to boost the economy? Then head to Causeway Bay – quite possibly the ultimate shopping area in Hong Kong. It is on Hong Kong Island, and you can find shops at every inch of the street, and several major departmental stores are within walking distances from each other too. The renown Jardine’s Crescent street market is here, too!
#21 SHAM SHUI PO – EVERY GEEK’S HEAVEN
Known for being the street market for electronic devices and gadgets, Sham Shui Po is every geek’s heaven. Camera equipments are found to be relatively cheaper too.
#22 TAKE A STROLL ALONG THE AVENUE OF STARS
Walk the trail where celebrities leave their hand and foot prints – well, quite literally. It is a lovely stroll along the Victoria Harbour, and it overlooks the iconic Hong Kong skyline.
#23 BARGAIN HUNTING AT LADIES’ MARKET
We do think this place is kind of messy and it definitely is not the most tasteful, but for first-timers, it can be quite eye-opening. It is one long stretch in the heart of Mongkok, and you can find all sorts of merchandise – accessories and footwear, paintings and lifestyle products, sex costumes and soccer jerseys (imitations), and most stalls sell counterfeit branded bags and watches.
#24 OCEAN PARK – AMUSEMENT PARK, ANIMAL THEME PARK, OCEANARIUM AND MARINE MAMMAL PARK
Located in the Southern District, Ocean Park is one of the longest standing attraction of Hong Kong. It houses an amusement park, an animal theme park, an oceanarium and a marine mammal park all in the 17-hectare park. An ideal option for families to spend a day at.
#25 EGG WAFFLES (GAI DAN ZAI)
Just sugar and eggs, but there is something so addictive about this iconic street snack that gets everyone’s hearts. Crisp on the outside, warm and airy on the inside, Egg Waffles make a very affordable everyday snack.
#26 DA PAI DANG
Like our Singapore’s zi char, Da Pai Dang are roadside stalls and makeshift eateries at Hong Kong, and it is a diminishing trade. If you chance upon one, stop by for a quintessential Hong Kong meal. Most of them cook really well!
#27 BALL LAW COWSSANT – A HYBRID OF CROISSANT AND BO LUO BAO
If you love po luo bao, you will fall in love uncontrollably with URBAN Bakery Works’ Ball Law Cowssant! A hybrid of croissant and bo luo bao (pineapple bun) complete with a slab of French butter, the Ball Law Cowssant (Dare devil version) is nothing but sheer indulgence. URBAN Bakery Works has also just launched a new Molten Egg Yolk Custard Croissant, which is equally good, if not even better.
#28 BEST COCKTAIL BARS IN THE CITY
Best known as a city for the best shopping and dining, Hong Kong has no lack of good drinking spots, too. We dug through into the streets to score you the top five cocktail bars in Hong Kong so you can hit the ground running.
#29 THE ICONIC JUNK BOATS
Because we all need something for Instagram to conclude our trip, yes? And what can be more iconic of HongKong other than the ubiquitous Bank of China building?
For more recommendations, read our curated Hong Kong’s food and travel guides.