Hong Kong - Exclusive Destination Guide

  • Posted: 6th January 2019
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Lose yourself in Hong Kong’s glittering cityscapes and secluded islands as you learn to live like a local with our exclusive destination guide.

Get on board with island-hopping

Top Tip: Always take an overnight bag in case you fall in love with an island and decide to stay for longer

Famous for its iconic skyline and futuristic skyscrapers, it’s easy to forget that Hong Kong is actually bursting with green spaces, sandy beaches and diverse walking routes. With over 200 outlying islands, make sure you escape the hustle and bustle of the city to uncover the hidden gems which lie beyond the better-known tourist attractions. Tap Mun Chau is commonly known as ‘Grass Island’ thanks to its lush outlook, and boasts an abundance of authentic street-food, traditional seafood restaurants and a 400 year-old Tin Hau Temple. If you’re seeking a more active day-trip, join local walking and climbing groups on Tung Lung Chau. With its rugged topography and dramatic landscapes, outdoor enthusiasts will fall in love with the magnificent hiking trails that this lesser-known island has to offer.

Grab a bargain at the indie-chic markets

Top Tip: If you’re bartering, be sure to offer a reasonable price so as not to offend the vendors

Whilst Hong Kong boasts an array of stylish designer outlets and glamourous malls, the real shopping scene lies in the vibrant street markets scattered about this eclectic city. Splash some cash after dark at the Temple Street pop-up stalls, or be prepared to haggle as you browse the colorful displays at the popular Ladies Market. For a truly unique experience, head over to Mong Kok where the Tung Choi Street goldfish market takes place, with the fish celebrated by locals as symbols of good luck. You’ll also be spoiled for choice if you’re on the hunt for fresh produce, with the Dried Seafood Market in Sai Ying Pun and the Kowloon City Wet Market, which is popular with visitors and residents alike.

Fall in love with the contemporary arts scene

Top Tip: Research current exhibitions and performances in the city before you decide which venues to visit

Hong Kong boasts a fascinating modern art scene which seamlessly blends ancient traditions and Chinese culture with a contemporary twist. A multitude of private galleries, museums and independent performance spaces have popped up throughout the city in recent years, and the locals are embracing this revolution. Of all the quirky cultural spaces on offer, the TK (Tai Kwun) stands out from the crowd. Originally a police station and prison, this long-standing building has been transformed into a performance and modern arts venue, designed to create an immersive cultural experience which celebrates Hong Kong’s heritage. The West Kowloon district also boasts a distinctly hipster vibe, with the Xiqu Centre and smaller Tea House theatre having recently opened, showcasing a range of both traditional performances and modern exhibitions.

Explore Hong Kong’s Coffee & Café Culture

Top Tip: Familiarise yourself with Hong Kong dining etiquette before you tuck in!

The brunch scene has taken off in Hong Kong, with an array of delectable eateries on offer serving everything from retro Dim Sum to more Westernised brunch favorites. Whatever your palette, you’ll find something to tantalise your taste buds. Check out the Ling Heung Tea House, which serves freshly steamed dumplings in authentic Cantonese surroundings, or sip coffee at Mansons Lot, a quirky old-style coffee house nestled off the beaten track in a cosy side street. For the best experience, scrub up on your Hong Kong dining etiquette before eating out. In this bustling city, guests are expected to order and east fast – then move on to make space for the next diner! It’s also assumed that you’ll be comfortable sharing a table with others, and that you’ll bring your own tissues, since most restaurants provide hot towels rather than napkins.

Celebrate Like A Local

Top Tip: Research the festival before you get involved

Getting involved in traditional celebrations and festivals is a great way to submerse yourself in Hong Kong’s heritage and experience the culture first hand. Visit the island of Cheung Chau for the annual bun festival, which is celebrated by residents in their thousands every year. Initially employed by fishing villages to drive off evil spirits such as pirates, the festival continues today with street parades and bamboo towers hosting an abundance of buns! Another key date in the city’s calendar is the Winter Solstice, which originates from the Chinese concepts of yin and yang designed to create balance and harmony in life. Get involved by heading to a local restaurant with family and friends and sample an array of authentic dishes which symbolize togetherness, including tongyuen, dumplings and jiuniang.

Explore beyond mainstream tourist spots

Top Tip:Take a walking tour of Hong Kong’s lesser-known neighbourhoods

If you’re keen to live like a local, it’s important to venture off the beaten track and spend time in the neighbourhoods which aren’t as regularly frequented by tourists. Fortunately, Hong Kong is simply bursting with these hidden delights. Be sure to stop off in Sham Shui Po, which offers a sharp contrast to the glittering skyscrapers and modernistic architecture usually associated with the city. Sample mouthwatering street food you wouldn’t find anywhere else, including Michelin-recommended noodles, whilst admiring the authentic Chinese buildings. Alternatively, spend the day getting to know Old Town Central, one of Hong Kong’s oldest neighbourhoods which boasts five experiential walking routes designed to help visitors get to know this part of the city: Tasting Hong Kong, Time Traveller, Crazy for Art, Treasure Hunt and Highlights trip. Whatever your travel-type, there’s a tour to suit you and you’ll be blending in with the locals in no time at all.

Is Hong Kong on your wish-list? Get in touch…

01246 588653 | hello@ilmondotravel.co.uk


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