looking for some tips + tricks for your next adventure that don't break the bank (or your finally-developed self-care habits)?! i've compiled everything i found during my favorite trips around the globe so you don't have to!
Hong Kong is a colorful, eclectic mix of eastern and western culture. Basically, it's the Asian version of New York.
It was an amazing city to visit - especially as the first spot on our long trip through Southeast Asia. HK has tons of the comforts of home, but loads of new experiences that we've never tried before (think: dried seafood + tonic markets). We spent most of our days walking around different neighborhoods, eating tons of dim sum + even fitting in a workout class or two.
If you're looking to dip your toe into a cosmopolitan city with some Asian flair - spend some time in HK.
We stayed in the Sai Ying Pun district of HK - an "up + coming" area of the city located on HK Island. It was actually really cool - tons of coffee shops, cocktail bars, restaurants, and workout spots were in walking distance.
We stayed at a tiny (TINY!) Airbnb - but this is supposedly super normal for the city. We opted for this instead of a hotel because there was a pretty big price difference, and we weren't planning on spending much time there. It was a perfect launching point for our adventures.
As a note - I would recommend staying on HK Island (Soho, Central, Sai Ying Pun) if you're looking for a more chill experience. The other parts of HK are definitely more busy and pretty touristy. IMO - you can always visit them!
we flew hong kong air from san francisco and while it was definitely more of a budget airline than we imagined, it was still comfortable for the 13-hour flight. They also have some amazing flight deals from the west coast to HK (think: > $300 one way!), so definitely check 'em out!
In terms of transportation in the city the MTR (or HK's version of the subway) is extremely simple to navigate. Just rent an Oyster Card (in any convenience store or at the airport) for a few days - you can swipe it at most small shops, too! And plus - if you don't spent the money you put on the card you can get it back in cash at the airport once you return it.
Other ways of getting around are definitely walking (HK Island is extremely walkable as is other parts of the city). Also, there are plenty of taxis available at any time. We didn’t use Uber or Lyft but they exist as well.
oh my gosh - as an aside there are so many amazing tiny restaurants in HK - and it definitely rivals NY and SF for top places to eat - both in terms of street food and otherwise. I would note that the city is largely centered on rice, pork, chicken and fried foods (dumplings, etc). So, while there are still many "healthy" options, these restaurants are pretty much what you could find at home. Go for the interesting + new here!
Polygon Coffee - SO cute. Really close to our airbnb + has a cute outdoor area. Perfect for a morning iced coffee or latte!
Cupping Room - australian breakfast/brunch spot. If you're craving good coffee and/or a "normal" brunch it's actually pretty amazing. There are a couple of locations but their original spot is in Central.
Teakha - super cute tea place in Soho area (the entire neighborhood is adorable!). They have a great sit-down area and a really delicious looking "cakes" section of their menu. Perfect for an afternoon stop!
Grassroots Pantry - OMG - I'm obsessed with this place. It was started by a female chef who is extremely focused on sustainability and plant-based eating. Really interesting menu and perfect for brunch or dinner. Definitely try out their Pho!
Yardbird - Trendy yacatori restaurant in central/ Sai Ying Pun. It was a bit expensive but cool for a group/a late night dinner.
Peking Garden - Their Peking duck is honestly out of this world. It's kind of random because their original location is in an MTR stop in Central, but inside it's pretty fancy. Definitely split their Peking Duck for two - you'll leave extremely full!
Tim Ho Wan - My favorite place in all of HK. Don't be deterred by the long line - it's in a kind of random/residential neighborhood and definitely not fancy but seriously some of the best food I've ever had. Go for their pork buns - SO GOOD!
The Peninsula - High Tea: D + I had never done "high tea" before, so we tried out this famous spot. It's pretty cool to do for the experience - it's really grandiose and reminds me of The XX near Central Park. If you're going for the experience, try it out.
Mak Kee - This street-side shop has some of the best dumplings I've ever had (they have a Michelin Star). Super Anthony Bourdain (there's legit plastic seats outside) but so worth it.
Tung Po - this place is pretty famous among locals and tourists. It's in the upstairs of a fish market and has those big round tables from elementary school. Be prepared to share with strangers and drink Pilsen out of ceramic bowls. This place is a bit expensive for what it's worth (damn Thrillist!) but come here to try out the experience for sure.
Potato Head - This drinks spot os from the same owners of the famed place is bali. This place is super cool to grab a drink (their cocktails are out of this world!) or even brunch.
*We didn’t get to try Mott 32 but it’s supposed to be really cool/amazing for dinner (Peking Duck is their star menu item!). There are also ones in other cities so we figured we could try it at home, too.
oh damn - most of the things to do are explore + walk around. here were some of my favorite spots:
1. Stroll through the Botanical Gardens + Zoo: This is FREE! And amazing. Perfect for a midday break or casual picnic in the park!
2. Hike Victoria's Peak: We hiked up this *mountain* via the “morning trail” and it was super nice. Great way to get in a workout and see amazing views of the whole city!
3. Visit Mou Tak Temple (and others): Worth a visit to some of the ancient temples in town - this one is super close to Central and is XYZ.
4. Get a foot massage: Oooh - after all that walking around you'll definitely want to treat yourself to a foot massage. D + I tried out Haylite in Central - it was pretty good for the price and they massage your legs with himalayan salt for extra healing
5. Explore all the markets: HK is made up of markets - flower market, bird market, jade market, ladies market. Worth exploring them all!
7. Rummage through Antique Street + Soho: definitely explore this area. Loads of cool shops, tiny stands and interesting people here.
8. Workout all that Dim Sum (my favorite - Fit45. they also have classpass!)
What are your favorite spots in Hong Kong? Drop ‘em below!