Hong Kong

Travel Photos to Inspire You to Visit Hong Kong

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Hong Kong is one of those places in Asia that we've never aspired to visit but were pleasantly surprised by. As the first stop of our month long trip to Asia, we were blown away by Hong Kong during our one-week stay. Known for its vibrant street food scene, bustling markets, and diverse culture, Hong Kong is a hotspot for tourists from all over the world. Visiting in the spring meant that Hong Kong was warm, yet overcast with relatively cool temperatures for its tropical climate. It ended up being our most tolerable climate of the 5 countries in Asia we visited during our month long trip. We have so many stories and travel tips from our recent trip but we wanted to start by introducing this magical place in the form of pictures. Here our are favorite travel photos to inspire you to visit Hong Kong.

Further Reading:

Photos to Inspire You to Visit Hong Kong

hong kong street market

Lan Kwai Fong Hong Kong

Hong Kong things to do

Repulse Bay

hong kong restaurants

Things to Do in Hong Kong

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Despite the relative expensiveness of Hong Kong, there are plenty of cheap or free things to do in Hong Kong. In fact, taking a long walk around the city with no particular destination in mind often led to beautiful parks and gardens, and even a free zoo and aviary. Many of the city's sightseeing attractions are free, and getting to them via a taxi or the metro is very affordable.

Getting Around Hong Kong

Between the MRT metro and incredibly cheap local taxis, Hong Kong is can be traversed very easily and affordably. There are also many walkways and paths throughout the city, so it is easy to traverse by foot. Perhaps the biggest initial challenge is getting from the Hong Kong International Airport to the city center (Central) since they are located about 25 miles apart.

The quickest cheapest way to get into Hong Kong from the airport is to take the Airport Express train. It leaves directly from inside the airport and connects to Hong Kong's larger metro station layout. It's about $100  Hong Kong dollars ($12 USD) for a one-way ticket, and trains run every 10 minutes. Another option is to catch a taxi from the airport to your final destination, which can cost $200-300 Hong Kong dollars ($25-39 USD).

9 Things to Do in Hong Kong

  1. Ride the world's longest elevator
  2. Party on a Friday night at Lan Kwai Fong
  3. Eat your heart out in SoHo
  4. Take a ride on the Hong Kong Observation Wheel
  5. Photograph Hong Kong's skyline at Victoria park
  6. See the birds at Edward Youde Aviary
  7. Take a day trip to Kowloon
  8. Escape to the beach at Repulse Bay
  9. Go for a hike

Things to do in Hong Kong

1) Ride the world's longest outdoor escalator

Spanning 2,600 feet at an elevation of 443 feet from top to bottom, the Central-Mid-Levels escalator in Hong Kong is the world's longest outdoor covered escalator. It was constructed in 1993 with the intent of helping commuters get around the city. Today it is also a tourist attraction and a practical solution for traversing some of the incredibly steep hills.

Mid-Levels Escalator in Hong Kong.

2) Party on a Friday night at Lan Kwai Fong

Hong Kong's loud party zone is Lan Kwai Fong. Located in the heart of the Central Business District, Lan Kwai Fong's roads are blocked off and locals and tourists alike emerge to party the night away. The busiest nights by far are Friday and Saturday. Featuring cobble-stoned streets, the area is full of trendy restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, surrounded by the city's nearby skyscrapers. While bars will charge quite a bit for cocktails and booze, it's perfectly acceptable to get cheap drinks at 7-Eleven and drink in the streets. In fact, that's probably one of the cheapest and easiest ways to socialize and really experience the full party scene at Lan Kwai Fong.

Lan Kwai Fong Hong Kong

3) Eat your heart out in Soho

Located next to Lan Kwai Fong, Soho is the main entertainment district of Hong Kong, featuring an array of hip and diverse eateries and bars, all contained within colonial architecture. It's also the hipster area of town, full of Western food and drink options including craft beer from Oregon! Curious about other foodie hotspots in town? Check out the Hong Kong Food Guide for ideas and recommendations.

hong kong restaurants

4) Take a ride on the Hong Kong Observation Wheel

A very distinct marker on the harborfront is the flashy ferris wheel. Fun to take photos of and a ride as well if you're willing to shell out for the ticket.

Hong Kong things to do5) Photograph Hong Kong's skyline at Victoria Peak

Hike up by foot for free, or pay to get up quicker via tram. Go up for sunset and stick around until around 7:00 pm to see the city come alive with the nightly light show. Word of caution: if the weather is overly foggy, hold off and visit on a clear day. The whole point of Victoria Peak is to enjoy the expansive city view, so a foggy day will be a waste.

Victoria Peak Hong Kong skyline

6) See the birds at Edward Youde Aviary

Nestled in the south corner of Hong Kong Park, is a large 32,000 square foot walk-through aviary. Free to the public, the aviary houses 600 birds that are indigenous to Southeast Asia, Indonesia, and New Guinea. Named after one of the city's late governors, Edward Youde Aviary is considered the largest aviary in Southeast Asia.

Edward Youde bird aviary7) Take a day trip to Kowloon

Located on the peninsula north of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon is one of the most densely populated places in the world. However, compared to Soho and the rest of "downtown" Hong Kong, Kowloon feels less chaotic and much more livable. Two key areas of Kowloon include the budget hotel district of Tsim Sha Tsui and the shopping markets of Mong Kok.

hong kong food guide

8) Escape to the beach at Repulse Bay

Hop aboard a public bus or take a taxi about 30 minutes south of downtown Hong Kong and you'll find yourself in a cluster of urban beaches. This urban retreat features modern shopping malls and dining facilities. There are also outdoor recreation areas including a designated swim areas and even an outdoor golf course.

Repulse Bay

9) Go for a hike

While Hong Kong is indeed a crazy concrete jungle, it also has its fair share of nature hikes. One of the most scenic and relatively easy hikes begins at Parkview and ends at Wilson Trail Stage One. It's an incredibly scenic hike with stunning views of Hong Kong and Repulse Bay. Unfortunately, the weather was foggy on the day of our hike, so we did not get a clear view. To get to Parkview, take bus 6 or 61 from Exchange Square Terminus in Central to Wong Nai Chung Gap. Or you can simply take a taxi directly to Parkview.

Hong Kong hikingOver To You

Share your favorite things to do in Hong Kong in the comments below!

Hong Kong Travel Itinerary

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Hong Kong is a truly incredible city that is definitely worth putting on your travel bucket list. In December 2015, Martin made a sudden business trip to Hong Kong, and he returned to Seattle raving about the sci-fi city. After viewing his photos from the trip, we decided to make Hong Kong the first destination on our month-long trip to Asia a few months later. Below is our Hong Kong travel itinerary for a one-week trip, along with our thoughts on visiting this interesting Asian city.

Further Reading:

Hong Kong travel guideHong Kong Travel Stats

Hong Kong was the very first destination on our tour of Asia throughout the month of April. We flew direct from Seattle to Hong Kong on Delta Airlines at a steal of an airfare price and immediately set about exploring the area on our first day in. Why Hong Kong? Martin had been sent here on a business trip in December and came back raving about the bustling activity, built up infrastructure, and overall high level of business activity in the region. While there were certainly many tourist attractions in Hong Kong that we frequented, the objective was to experience Hong Kong living as a local to see if it was a city we'd like to return to at a later date. The answer? Tiny living spaces and high humidity aside, absolutely!

  • 7 Days
  • 56.06 Miles Walked
  • $105 USD Average Airbnb Cost Per Night
  • 77°F Avg Temp
  • 94% Avg Humidity
  • Item Lost: Kindle

7-Day Hong Kong Travel Itinerary

First Day: Arrive in Hong Kong International Airport. Check into Airbnb rental in Central Hong Kong. Spend the day exploring Central by foot.

Second Day: Day trip to Kowloon and Mong Kok.

Third Day: Work day in Central with a hike up to Victoria Peak at sunset.

Fourth Day: Hike and day trip to Repulse Bay.

Days 5-7: Overnight trip to explore Macau.

Travel Hong Kong Map

Hong Kong Affordability

Hong Kong is easily the most expensive city we visited. Hotels were on the spendy side, averaging at least $100 USD per night. Hostels were also on the spendy side between $15-40 USD per night. Since we wanted to experience Hong Kong from a local's perspective, we opted for a private Airbnb rental. Although spendy, Airbnb apartments granted us access to an entire living space. This sounded great in theory but disappointing in reality.

Travel Hong Kong DollarIt turns out Hong Kong living spaces are indeed very expensive and tiny, so this may affect your overall Hong Kong travel itinerary. Cheap food could definitely be found in Hong Kong, but eating out at hip Westernized restaurants was pricey. Cocktails were also spendy, averaging $15-20 USD per drink, and even abundant hookah bongs were in the $40 USD range. For comparison, hookah in Bali only cost $5 USD for the same quality. Despite the extravagant pricing, transportation was very cheap, making it an easy decision to take taxis around town.

Hong Kong travel photography

Quick Observations on Hong Kong

Women on the street

We were startled at the wide number of women camping out on the sidewalks of the city. They were splayed out on cardboard boxes in large groups, engaged in various activities from braiding each others' hair, reading books, sharing meals and bottles of wine, and just socializing with each other. After inquiring on Google, we discovered that these women weren't homeless, but instead housemaids. Being mostly of Filipina descent, they work six days a week and have Sundays and holidays off. Since they tend to live either in the houses the work in or in dorms, they have no place to gather and socialize, so they take to the streets, with the permission of the Hong Kong government to do so.

Hong Kong travel photography

The true city that never sleeps

There is always an incredible display of hustle and bustle throughout the streets at (almost) all hours of the day. Hong Kong is truly a city that never sleeps and is fittingly dubbed the "New York of Asia." If you're looking for an active nightlife scene, be sure to make it a part of your Hong Kong travel itinerary.

Diverse demographic

Hong Kong's demographics are diverse and varied consisting of high-rolling professionals (usually in banking or finance), international expats of young and old, and native Hong Kongese residents. Seeing these groups of people clash was a puzzling sight and was always apparent in the party areas of Soho and Lan Kwai Fong. It wasn't unusual to pass a raucously drunk crowd of street party-goers being watched warily by old Hong Kongese grandmas sweeping, cleaning and gathering the piles of booze bottles that accumulated streetside every night.

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Not many personally owned cars

The streets of Hong Kong were filled mostly with taxis and very few personal cars. Most Hong Kongese get around by taxi or public transit. The personally owned vehicles we did see were mostly shiny new Tesla, Lamborghini, Porsche, or some other extremely high-end sports car. More often than not, the stunning vehicle was manned by a 20-year-old millionaire.

Very clean city

Despite not being as shiny new and clean as Singapore, Hong Kong had a penchant for cleanliness and order in other ways. Every public space and bathroom had a cleaning attendant on hand along with signs declaring how often the area was sanitized daily. All public restrooms were spotless with ample soap and tissues and no charge to use. There were also frequent signs urging denizens to wear a surgical mask if they had any signs of illness.

Hong Kong apartments

Tiny living spaces

"Our wardrobe at home is bigger than this bathroom!"

Those are words you never want to utter, especially when inspecting an apartment that you'll be spending the next 4 days in. To my utter horror and dismay, those were the exact words that came out of my mouth when I first stepped into the Hong Kong Airbnb apartment that Martin had booked us. Wanting to experience life like a local and thinking that an apartment rental would include more space than a hotel, we opted for an Airbnb experience.

We ended up in a 130 square foot studio apartment in the bustling entertainment area of Central Hong Kong, known as Soho. Located near the top of the famous Central-Mid-Levels escalator, Soho was full of restaurants, bars and nightclubs galore, making it our ideal home base for our first few days in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, living like a true HongKongese local also came with the acceptance of living in an incredibly tiny living space. The most difficult room to comprehend was the tiny closet of a bathroom and shower room. It was so small and narrow that even my 5' 3" frame could barely turn around or bend over in. Thus, you should be prepared for tight and cozy living quarters whether you opt for Airbnb or a hotel.

Where to stay in Hong Kong

A blast from the past

As a kid, I got in my possession a vintage keychain photo of my parents in a Hong Kong restaurant. Originally taken in 70's, that keychain has been a favorite of mine throughout the years of adulthood. It immediately came to mind when we started planning this trip. Thus, that same restaurant in Kowloon was among the main priorities of our Hong Hong Travel itinerary. Pretty cool to see that La Taverna is still standing!

Kowloon Hong Kong

In Conclusion

Our week of traveling in Hong Kong made us fall in love with this unique Asian city. We wouldn't hesitate to return in heartbeat, whether for business, pleasure, or both. What do you think of our Hong Kong travel itinerary? Let us know in the comments below!