kowloon

Where to Stay in Hong Kong

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Hong Kong is a bustling, busy city that is definitely worth exploring. It was the very first place we visited during our month-long trip to Asia, and we had a one week Hong Kong travel itinerary. As we tried to figure out what to do in Hong Kong and where to stay, we realized the importance of knowing the main neighborhoods of the area. This, along with your budget and timeframe, will help you choose the best accommodations to suit your travel needs.

Main Districts of Hong Kong

  • Hong Kong Island: Central, Sai Ying Pun, Causeway Bay, and Wan Chai
  • Kowloon Peninsula: Tsim Sha Tsui, Mong Kok

Where to stay in Hong Kong

Getting Around Hong Kong

Thanks to a well-connected MRT train system, it is pretty cheap and easy to get around Hong Kong via public transit. Below is the Hong Kong MRT System Map, but please be sure to check their website for the latest version. If you prefer taxis, they are ample and also decently affordable for getting around town.

Hong Kong MRT transportation mapAccommodations in Hong Kong

With a populated of more than 7 million people, space is limited in Hong Kong. Whether you opt for a budget trip or have a bigger budget to play with, you'll likely face tight accommodations. Below, you'll find suggested hotels, hostels, and accommodations for each major neighborhood.

Lan Kwai Fong Hong Kong

Hong Kong Island

Central Hong Kong

This is the financial district of Hong Kong known simply as Central. It is on the north shore of Hong Kong island, located across the way from Tsim Sha Tsui.Walk the many winding streets of Central such as Gage Street, Graham Street, and Aberdeen Street to see many distinct, official-looking skyscrapers. Many of the world's top financial institutions have offices in Central, so you will see many professionals frequent the area by day. There are also many small wet markets and stalls where locals sell trinkets and traditional Hong Kong foods.

At night, Central is a great place to dine out in style, frequent bars, or go out to the many nightclubs that are full of energy every night of the week.  Since Central is close to the popular spots of Lan Kwai Fong and Victoria Peak, it is a very desirable place for most tourists to stay in Hong Kong.

Hotels in Central

Causeway Bay and Wan Chai

One of Hong Kong's major shopping districts, Causeway Bay and Wan Chai are where you go for shopping at name-brand stores from around the world. Despite being a largely commercial district, Causeway Bay and Wan Chai are very centrally located. It is very easy to catch a taxi or MRT to another neighborhood. For accommodations, Wan Chai has more Airbnb rentals and slightly cheaper hotels than in Causeway Bay. For young people desiring hip and trendy areas, Causeway Bay and Wan Chai are where to stay in Hong Kong.

Accommodations in Causeway Bay

Accommodations in Wan Chai

Hong Kong rooftop cityscape view

Sai Ying Pun

Located in the northwestern part of Hong Kong Island, Sai Ying Pun is one of the oldest areas in the city. A recent revitalization brought an extension of the MTR line to Sai Ying Pun. As a result, many new restaurants, cafes, and shops have sprouted between the older storefronts and wet markets. The newer construction has made the area very popular among hipsters. While the neighborhood is very liveable, it may be a bit low-key for tourists. However, very nice hotel rooms with great views of Kowloon and Victoria Harbor can be booked here for much cheaper than over on Tsim Sha Tsui.

Sai Ying Pun Hong Kong hotels

Hotels in Sai Ying Pun

Kowloon Peninsula

Tsim Sha Tsui hotelsTsim Sha Tsui

Located at the base of Kowloon, Tsim Sha Tsui is another popular spot for tourists visiting Hong Kong. It is very close to Victoria Harbor, where you can get stunning views of the city skyline. Tourist attractions are centered mainly on the shopping streets of Nathan Road and Canton Road. Tsim Sha Tsui doesn't have the young, party vibe of Central and Causeway Bay. However, it is a quick MRT ride away from these popular districts. This convenience along with the fact that the highest concentration of hotels in Hong Kong is in Tsim Sha Tsui make this the ideal location for accommodations. Here you can find everything from big-name international hotel chains or budget hostels.

Accommodations in Tsim Sha Tsui

hong kong food guide

Mong Kok

Not far from Tsim Sha Tsui is the highly dense area of Mong Kok. There are many bars, nightclubs, and massage parlors here, but most tourists are drawn to Mong Kok for its food and shopping markets. This is where you can find cheap knockoffs, trinkets, souvenirs, and everything on your travel shopping list. If you are seeking cheap hotels, Mong Kok is where to stay in Hong Kong for the most affordable options.

Accommodations in Mong Kok

Over To You

Have you visited Hong Kong before? Let us know any advice you may have about where to stay in Hong Kong!

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!