Here, you’ll find tips and reviews on luxury hotels, flights, the best restaurants, and things to do in Hong Kong from someone who lived there.
Hong Kong Travel Tips
I have a lot of advice on where to stay, family activities, shopping and what to eat. We go back frequently.
There are so many reasons to visit this vibrant metropolis in China that it’s hard to pick just a few. Because of its colonial British past, Hong Kong has a fascinating culture all its own that’s full of Eastern and Western cultural influences. It’s incredibly sophisticated with lots of luxury hotels, but it’s also family-friendly, and so it definitely deserves a spot on your travel bucket list.
We love it for the cuisine (which ranges from authentic street noodles to high-end Michelin-starred restaurants), the shopping (it’s a luxury shopping mecca but there’s absolutely nothing you can’t find here), and the festivals. There’s almost always some carnival, parade, dance, or feast happening in Hong Kong.
Most importantly, Hong Kong is a great city to visit as a family, and I’m not just saying that because my daughter was born here and return at least once a year. It’s also a great starting off point if you want to see more of Asia. If you plan on traveling to see more of China or other Asian nations, you can get relatively low fares on flights to neighboring areas or nations. In these posts, I share even more Hong Kong travel tips and lots of things to do in Hong Kong so you can experience all of the wonderful things about this city that is still so dear to us.
A Guide to Disneyland® in Hong Kong
Looking for things to do in Hong Kong? If you’re visiting Hong Kong with kids, you have to take them to Hong Kong Disneyland. It is simply the best. We’ve been to every Disney resort in the world, and this one is our absolute favorite for a number of reasons. Yes, it is the smallest Disney park in the world, but that may be why it feels less crowded and tends to have shorter lines. It also incorporates Chinese culture throughout the park, has some of the best hotels, and amazing food.
Check out the best hotel in Disneyland Hong Kong.
Tips for Traveling to Hong Kong with Kids
Hong Kong is a surprisingly kid-friendly destination — and I’m not just saying that because it’s my daughter’s birthplace. Every year, we return to the city multiple times as a family because it’s such a beautiful place and because there’s so much to do. Even though we’ve spent so much time here, we still end up doing something new every time we visit.
Disneyland isn’t the only spot for family fun. There are lots of things to do in Hong Kong with kids, including kid-friendly tours, parks, museums, and nature reserves. You can take a tram up the Victoria Peak or a boat ride to a traditional fishing village.
One of the best ways to see all of the sights on your itinerary is to grab the Hong Kong Pass. It’s a great option when you’re planning to check out multiple attractions because you’ll spend less money than you’d pay buying tickets separately — especially if you plan to visit two or three attractions per day. You’ll also skip the lines at many attractions, which can be long, and in some cases, get fast track entry. There are also restaurant discounts for pass holders and pre-booking options.
This city is one of the most diverse and cosmopolitan in the world, and Hong Kong’s neighborhoods contribute to that vibrancy. Whether you’re after glitz and luxury shopping, or if traditional Chinese food, markets, hiking, and eastern medicine are more your speed, exploring the diverse Hong Kong neighborhoods will give you the experience you’re looking for.
Before I tell you about what there is to see and do in the most popular Hong Kong neighborhoods with tourists (there are many other districts and islands that are not listed), I want to take a moment to say that shopping in Hong Kong is a fantastic experience. There are traditional markets, outlets, luxury malls, and specialty shops. You won’t run out of things to do in Hong Kong with kids, either which comes to a surprise to many parents. You’ll crave Hong Kong food long after leaving, too. And, there is plenty for outdoor enthusiasts to do from exploring Geoparks to cycling the New Territories.
Get to Know Hong Kong Neighborhoods
Hong Kong Island
Hong Kong Island is where you’ll find some of the tallest skyscrapers in the world along with historic buildings, Victoria Peak, Ocean Park, and a bustling nightlife. The major island neighborhoods where travelers stay are listed below from west to east.
For delicious authentic food and quirky markets, you can’t beat this Hong Kong neighborhood. Sheung Wan has quickly become a hipster paradise, with trendy vintage boutiques, lovely little cafes, great restaurants, and bars. That said, this is also where you’ll find some of the best antique shopping in Hong Kong along Hollywood Road and Cat Street Market. Do take a walk through Ko Shing Street which is the Traditional Chinese Medicine hub of Hong Kong and the fascinating dried seafood street at Des Voeux Road West.
This compact Hong Kong neighborhood is the hub of the city’s financial and business activity — and where you’ll find the most luxurious hotels in the world. The waterfront (where harbor cruises and ferries to the islands depart) is lovely to look at, and the skyline is awe-inspiring, but as you explore you’ll also catch glimpses of the city’s past. There are still traditional markets and shopping streets tucked away amid the skyscrapers in addition to modern attractions like the Hong Kong Observation Wheel, the Peak Tram Lower Terminus, and Mid-Levels Escalator.
We lived in Central at Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong still prefer to base our Hong Kong vacations here. It’s a very convenient location that I recommend.
Admiralty is also a business district and not a tourist hot spot, but it is home to four luxury hotels that are adjacent to the fantastic Pacific Place shopping mall. Walk easily to Central through Hong Kong Park, a green oasis in the city for kid-friendly fun and exercise. You can also stroll over to Tamar Park, which connects to the Central and Western District Promenade for waterfront walks and people watching.
There’s always a lot happening in Wan Chai. You’ll find neat antiques on Queens Road East, the Tai Yuen Street toy market, and the gentrified Starstreet Precinct with its cafes and boutiques. You’ll also find temples, shops heaving with everything from electrical supplies to housewares, the Bowrington Road wet market, tenement houses like the Blue House Cluster and other pockets of heritage. The white elephant in the room is that Wan Chai is also home to lots of bars and a red light district, but this is becoming less of a thing to point out. The convention center and Grand Hyatt are located here as are a handful of small boutique hotels.
Also known as East Point, Causeway Bay is one of the city’s major shopping districts and is now home to several boutique hotels. There are numerous notable shopping centers in this Hong Kong neighborhood, from the Japanese-style department store Sogo to the 17 floors of retail space at Hysan Place. You can spend an entire day shopping in stores here though take a spin through Jardine’s Crescent for a little market shopping along the way.
Kowloon has a reputation for perhaps being busier and a little grittier than Hong Kong Island, but if you’re not staying on this side, it’s worth checking out. Hong Kong neighborhoods on this side are full of older architecture (the further inland that you go), but in them, you’ll find some of the city’s best markets, amazing street food, interesting museums, and many hotels at more wallet-friendly price points.
Tsim Tsa Tsui
Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) sits on the tip of Hong Kong’s peninsula by Victoria Harbour and is one of the busiest and luxe areas in Kowloon. As in all Hong Kong neighborhoods, there’s plenty of shopping — from local shops along Nathan Road to designer boutiques on Canton Road to the massive Harbour City mall. There’s plenty of culture, too. Visit museums (like the Hong Kong Museum of History), ride the Star Ferry, or take a walk along the waterfront promenade. Top pick for hotels here is The Peninsula, Hong Kong but look to Kowloon Shangri-La or Hotel Icon as more wallet-friendly options.
Mong Kok is one of the most congested Hong Kong neighborhoods, but we go for the excellent market shopping and local food. We particularly like the Ladies’ Market, one of the city’s most popular markets, Fa Yuen Street, and the Flower Market. Plan to sample dim sum (Tim Ho Wan’s original location is here along with numerous hole-in-the-wall and a few high-end options), egg waffles, walnut cookies, and other local delights. Not sure where to eat? A good rule of thumb is to go where the crowds do. You’ll know what I mean when you get there.
Sham Shui Po
Love fashion? You could easily spend an entire day browsing the shopping streets of Sham Shui Po, where local and international fashion designers come to be inspired — and to take advantage of the wholesale pricing. It’s fantastic and one of my favorite cluster of shopping streets in the world. Like crafts or sewing? Your supplies await here.
Hong Kong’s largest outlying island, Lantau Island is a diverse hub of culture and history. Though it is the home of Hong Kong International Airport, it’s also where visitors can explore traditional fishing villages, tour beautiful Buddhist temples, and even relax on the beach. One of our favorite things to do is take the cable car to Ngong Ping Village, climb the steps to the vast Tian Tan Buddha statue, have a vegetarian lunch Po Lin Monastery, and walk the Wisdom Path. Stop into the Citygate Outlets on the way back to the MTR.
There is quite a bit of hiking to do on Lantau Island. And, of course, Hong Kong Disneyland is located here.
Outer Islands — Day Trips
Many people don’t know that Hong Kong has more than 200 small islands full of beautiful natural scenery and culture to explore. These are two of our favorites. Fun fact: There are no cars on either island.
Just 20 minutes away from Hong Kong Island by ferry, uncrowded Lamma couldn’t be more different. This island is home to only 5,000 people and is a lovely place to explore on foot thanks to the walking trails that connect small villages. The main village, Yung Shue Wan, is home to good seafood restaurants. And it’s a pretty place to relax on the beach.
This idyllic island is typically peaceful, but on May 25th throngs of people descend upon it for the annual week-long Bun Festival. While visiting during festival time means dealing with the crowds, the Piu Sik (floating colors) parade is a sight you should see at least once. Children in costume and paper mache gods seem to float in the air, there are bun snatching competitions, and the atmosphere is exuberant. Outside of this, go to the beach at Tung Wan, see the pirate hideout at Reclining Rock and enjoy a nice day out.
If you haven’t yet visited Hong Kong, let me encourage you to make the trip — this is one of our favorite family destinations and our beloved former home. If you have been lucky enough to travel here already, I’d love to hear about your favorite Hong Kong neighborhoods.
Need to Know
You can get around using public transportation. Taxis are plentiful and the MTR train system is clean and reliable. Tip: Load an Octopus card with money so that you don’t need to buy MTR tickets every time. You can also use it to buy goods around town.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Visit between October and mid-December for the best weather and pricing. Chinese New Year in January/February is busy and many shops will close during the actual holiday. March and April also see milder temperatures. It becomes hot and humid between May and September, but don’t let that stop you from going. Because of the weather, you can sometimes snag good hotel prices despite it being a peak travel season. Typhoon season is June through October.
220 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. The luxury hotels I work with have international plugs in the rooms, but carry an adaptor just in case.