A Guide to a Hong Kong Trip
We’re heading to the city of ding-ding trams and dim sum this month, and I’m apparently in charge of making itinerary plans. Hopefully this will also be of some use to people planning a trip to Hong Kong.
List is culled from online sources and recommendations from friends and some friendly folks. My last (also my first) trip was eons ago, and I conveniently missed out all the “must-see” destinations. This trip shall see some remedial effort.
This is work-in-progress. If you know a place we ought to go, let us know!
Updated 5/April with some new listings!
- Tim Ho Wan
A dim sum joint with a Michelin star. Woah. I guess we shall see if it’s worth the wait. Flat 8, Ground Floor, Phase 2, Tsui Yuen Mansion, 2-20 Kwong Wa St 廣華街2-20號翠園大樓2期地下8號舖, 10am – 11pm Access: Walk from Yau Ma Tei or Mong Kok station.
Because I had the address for the Mong Kok restaurant and the directions to the Sham Shui Po restaurant (oops), we spent quite a while looking for the restaurant. We eventually ended up at the Sham Shui Po restaurant, which was okay because we didn’t have to queue at all! We came a little before noon and were very lucky to just escape the incoming lunch crowd. The dim sum is rad and really affordable. Recommendations: cripsy char siew buns, pork spare ribs with black bean sauce, century egg porridge. I accidentally ordered the special siew mai with pork liver and that wasn’t so great for us.
- Australia Dairy Company 澳洲牛奶公司
47-49 Parkes Street Jordan Access: Alight at Jordan MTR station and head towards Parkes Street. Opens daily, 7.30am – 11pm. Tip from @smudgi3: Head to Yee Shun Milk Company at Jordan (63 Pilkem St) for some milk pudding. Main shop is at 513 Nathan Road near Yau Ma Tei MTR station.
- 九記牛腩 Kau Kee Restaurant
This is really yummy beef noodles! We went there on the evening we arrived, after first satiating our desperate hunger at a noodles shop, and lamented the fact that we could only share a bowl between us. We had the original version, but there is plenty of variety to pick from. We spied quite many ordering the curry version. 21 Gough Street, Sheung Wan. Mondays – Saturdays 12.30-10.30pm. Closed on Sundays and other public holidays.
- Che’s Cantonese Restaurant
I looove dim sum, and this, according to a friend, serves the best. 4th Floor, The Broadway, 54-62 Lockhart Rd., Wan Chai. Daily: 11:00-15:00, 18:00-23:00.
- Oyster C
Excellent for oysters and foie gras. G/F, 98-104 Hing Fat Street, Tin Hau. Open daily from 6.30pm till 2 in the morning.
- Tai Cheong Bakery
Egg tarts! In various locations.
The parents got a card for this shop from a cab driver. I’m temporarily entrusted with said card, but am told to return it after my trip. I guess the food is good. 油麻地渡船角文苑樓地下.
- Full Cup Café
36 Dundas St, Mong Kok 旺角登打士街恆威商業中心 3/f to 7/f Hanway Commercial Centre
- Café Loisl
Tai On Terrace, Sheung Wan. Closed on Mondays. All other days: 8am – 7pm.
A tea place slash zakka shop. See our post on Teakha. Opens Wednesdays – Sundays 11am – 7pm. Shop B, 18 Tai Ping Shan Street, Sheung Wan. Access: Sheung Wan MTR, Exit A2. Located near Blake Garden.
- Chez Shibata
- Bing Sutt Starbucks
A 1950s-1970s style coffee shop also known as the “ice room” Starbucks on Duddell Road. I think someone may be interested in the coffee egg tarts offered here. Shop M2, Mezzanine Floor, Baskerville House, 13 Duddel Street, Central.
- Café Golden
We were at the Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre and decided to pop in for a quick meal before exploring the building. The coffee is decent (try the honey coffee), and I especially liked the salad we had. Café Golden is located at L1-05 at the JCCAC on 30 Pak Tin Street. Alight at Shek Kip Mei station and take exit C.
- Urban Bakery
This bakery is located in the brand new Hysan Place at Causeway Bay. Come (and stand in line) for freshly baked croissants (original, almond, chocolate and cheese). All ingredients are AOC-graded and 100% imported from France, if that matters to you. Access: Jasons Food & Living, B2/F, Hysan Place, 500 Hennessy Rd, Causeway Bay. Take the MTR to Causeway Bay and
K11 is apparently the first Fine Art shopping mall in the world. Not sure what exactly that means, since most of the shop mix (as listed in the shop directory) feels quite typical. It does have some interesting art and design-related shops as well as exhibitions. Access: Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station, Exit D2 / Middle Road or Mody Road bus stops if you’re coming by bus.
- Fabric Street
HK’s Fabric Street is on Ki Lung Street and Yu Chau Street between Yen Chow Street and Wong Chuk Street. Access: Sham Shui Po MTR station, Exit A2 for Ki Lung Street. (Also read this: Sewing Materials in Hong Kong)
1/F, Foo Tak Building, 365 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai
- 文化屋雑貨店 Bunkaya Zakkaten
18 Hamilton Street (basement), Mong Kok. Mondays – Thursdays, Sundays: 1pm – 10pm. Fridays – Saturdays: 1pm – 11pm.
Hong Kong’s equivalent of Art Friend. 3/F Lockhart Centre 301-307 Lockhart Road, Wanchai. Mondays – Fridays: 9am – 7pm. Saturdays: 9am – 5pm. Closed on Sundays and public holidays.
- Monocle Shop
The Monocle Shop Hong Kong, Shop 1 U/G, Bo Fung Mansion, 1-4 St. Francis Yard, Wanchai. Mondays – Fridays: 11am – 7pm. Saturdays: 12nn – 8pm. Sundays: 12nn – 6pm.
Carries a nice curated variety of wares from Sandqvist, Makr, etc. Shop locations: G/F. 5, St Francis Yard Wanchai / G/F. 3, Sun Street Wanchai / Shop 101, 1/F, K11 Art Mall, 18 Hanoi Road, Tsim Sha Tsui. (They offer free worldwide shipping, by the way)
Previously a stool factory, mirth is a retail concept shop offering a curated selection of interior accessories, art, stationery, apparel etc. Open daily from 10am – 6pm. The Mezzanine Floor, Yip Kan Street, Wong Chu Hang. See map here.
- Mushroom, thanks Will for the recco!
Mushroom stocks pretty things! Think Natalie Lete dolls, Walnut Animal plushies, vintage kitchenware and furniture. Access: G/F, 14 Aberdeen Street. This is quite near Kau Kee Beef Noodles.
Hong Kong is a great place to shop for photography equipment. The Japan Camera Hunter has an excellent series on where to go in the country for film photography as well as writeups for Sham Shui Po and Mong Kok and Tsim Sha Tsui, Stanley Street and Wanchai.
Also, see this link for what to look out for when purchasing camera equipment in Hong Kong.
FilMe – for all your analogue photography needs. Flat 14B, Redana Centre, 25 Yiu Wa Street, Causeway Bay. Tuesdays – Sundays: 12.30-8.30pm. Closed on Mondays. Access: Google Maps directions – when walking from Causeway Bay MTR, head west on Hennessy Road toward Percival Street. Turn left onto Percival, before making a right onto Russell Street. Make a left on Matheson Street, and then Yiu Wa Street. Redana Centre will be on the right.
Our directions: alight at Causeway Bay station, head to Times Square. Emerge from the shopping mall and look for Stanley Street. Then sniff around for Matheson Street, where you will find Yiu Wa. Head down it and mid-way through, you will find Redana Centre. FilMe is a small shop, but it is stocked with quite a bit of film goodies! We spotted a signed Daido Moriyama camera and almost didn’t recover.
Dot-Well Photo Workshop is at G/F, 44 Carnarvon Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. Daily: 11am – 8.30pm. Access: Google Maps directions – from Tsim Sha Tsui MTR, head north on Nathan Road to Carnarvon Road. We couldn’t find this shop.
- The Peak
Access: Walk from Central MTR station, Exit J2. Turn right, through Chater Garden, cross Queen’s Road Central, and make your way up Garden Road. You will pass the Bank of China Tower and Citibank Plaza on your left and St John’s Cathedral on your right. (Directions from here)
We meant to take the peak tram up, but ended up taking the bus instead (full story: we expected the bus to stop at the tram station. After 30 minutes, we figured that it wouldn’t). The bus is a wallet-friendly option and a nice way to take things slow in a fast city, but the ride takes about 45 minutes with a lot of ascent action. Two girls who were sitting in the upper deck came down halfway and held their heads for the remainder of the ride. We took the tram down and it took 5 minutes (we spent 15 minutes queuing). By the way, the view is awesome.
- Lung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail / Fanling Walled Village
Access: 10 min walk from Fanling station. If you’re interested, there are quite a few walled villages in the city.
- New Territories
Rural Hong Kong.
- Explore the NoHo neighbourhood
A 2009 guide: The ultimate guide to Hong Kong’s NoHo neighborhood
From Time, also in 2009: 10 Reasons to Visit Hong Kong’s NoHo (note: Kau Kee Beef noodles is on Gough Street)
- Take the Central-Mid-Levels Escalator
Also known as the “longest covered outdoor escalator system”. That alone was enough to convince me that we should spend some time on this. Escalator runs downhill from 6.30-10am, and ascends from 10.30 till midnight. What happens between 10.01-10.29am is unknown, but I guess we can assume it takes some time for this 800-m escalator to reverse its tracks.
This is an exercise in endurance. When will you decide that enough is enough! We decided that we had to see what the end holds. We did.
- Ride the minibuses
If you’ve watched any non-period TVB dramas, why wouldn’t you want to try this? However, it would be best if you know some Cantonese. I do (a teeny bit), and yet I found it rather intimidating to shout out 落车! I can only hope that they have installed bells on these buses since.
- Ride the ding-ding trams
- Tai-O Fishing Village on Lantau Island
Loved this place. If it is still what it is after five years, this will be a great place to get away from the hustle of the city, walk around and burn some film. Directions here.
- Lamma Island
Head to Lamma Island for a TVB-drama walk, some beach time, or SEAFOOD. Friend recommends Rainbow Seafood. Access: Ferries depart from the Central Piers (walk from Hong Kong MTR station) to either Yung Shue Wan or Sok Kwu Wan.
- Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre
Sorta like our Goodman Arts Centre. Lucky us found out the day before we planned to visit that there was going to be a photography equipment fair held at the centre. But this is a nice place to visit anyway. The JCCAC houses creative and art organisations and collectives, so there is plenty to see and be inquisitive about. There is access to the roof, if you like them. We do. Open daily: 10am – 10pm. 30 Pak Tin St, Shek Kip Mei.
- Island East Markets
Farmers’ Market! Too bad our trip doesn’t coincide with their dates.
Accommodation in Hong Kong is expensive. Even the affordable hotels average between 150-200 per person/night. Airbnb and Roomorama also have a decent list of available short-term accommodation options for Hong Kong.
- Mingle Place
Chain of boutique hotels in very decent locations across the city. We’re staying in Mingle on the Wing this time, but what first caught my eye was the Mingle on the Park property that was housed in a 1960′s-style residential building. We were less keen on the no-elevator part. Rates vary by location and room types, but are pretty okay by Hong Kong’s standards.
Post-trip thoughts: Mingle on the Wing is actually a little lacklustre. Room is plenty small (we shoved our small luggage under a table/ledge but that first involved relocation of a rubbish bin and restricting access to the wardrobe). The fridge was broken when we checked in, as was the TV remote. For the price we paid (S$190 per night), we were expecting a little better. Location is great though; just a short walk from the Sheung Wan station.
- Hop Inn | Facebook page
This independent hostel/guesthouse has two locations: Hankow and Carnarvon. Rates range from 410 HKD (cheap!) for a single to 1140 HKD for a quadruple. Rooms are very limited, so book early.
- Royal Plaza Hotel
My parents stayed here when they traveled there earlier this year. Excellent location – it’s a stone throw away from the Mong Kok East MTR station and within walking distance to both the Mong Kok and Prince Edward MTR stations. According to the mothership, it was very near to the shopping streets in the area too. Okay rates to be had, if you book a few months in advance.
- The Anne Black – YWCA
I stayed here on my solo trip in 2007. Decent enough – walkable from the Mong Kok MTR station. It’s on a slope – take a cab if you’re arriving with luggage. Promotional rates are usually a significant discount off the published rates, so book early.
- Hotel Benito
Recommended by a friend who praised it for their great location (1 min walk from Exit B2 of the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station) and accessibility (the airport A21 bus stops nearby).
- CHI Residences
Serviced apartments in various parts of Hong Kong. All properties are available for monthly rental but daily rates are available for selected locations. Rates for a one-bedroom apartment at CHI 279 near Yau Ma Tei MTR in Kowloon start from the early S$200s per night. Goodbye cramped Hong Kong hotel rooms!
- Just Inn
Located in Tsim Sha Tsui (and a minute from the MTR, as they claim), this new boutique hostel slash art gallery offers “individually decorated guest rooms of art gallery style by different local artists”. Their website is pretty dismal; for photographs and booking rates/details, leave a message on their Facebook page.
Guardian’s Hong Kong city guide
10 best Hong Kong day trips
Hong Kong (and Macau) Stuff: Obscure, hidden and off-the-beaten-path places, things, history and film locations in Hong Kong and Macau
Chilling out by MTR: 5 seriously relaxed stations in Hong Kong
HK Good Store 香港小舖 is an online database of “small, nice, local shops” and businesses in Hong Kong. Listings are organised by service and product types, and each is accompanied by a writeup and access information. An iOS app for the site is also available.
If you would like to explore the hidden side of Hong Kong, sign up for one of the tours organised by Secret Tour Hong Kong (Facebook). They appear not to be taking public tours till April but group and corporate groups are welcome.