Highlights, Hong Kong, Travel

Hong Kong in 3 Months: Adventure of a Woman of Leisure

Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated places in the world. It is an extremely busy place – tall buildings, chaotic traffic and people-in-a-hurry are everywhere.

I am lucky to have stayed in Hong Kong for 3 months with Ben from 1 Feb to 27 Apr 2017. Ben had a work assignment here and everything was fully sponsored by Ben’s organisation. Our lifestyle was very good in Hong Kong. Since I did not work here, Ben gave me a new nickname: Woman of Leisure. We have the same feeling: these 3 months in Hong Kong may be one of the happiest memories in our life.

Although Hong Kong is well-known for food and shopping, there are much more to do here. We have tried many things in Hong Kong, and I am going to recommend some of The Best as well as writing down our memories. In short, you will never get bored in Hong Kong.

This is a super long post since it is the consolidation of our 3-month experiences in Hong Kong. It reminds us of our good time. If you are coming to Hong Kong, I hope you can get some ideas and useful tips here.

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Top 5 Experiences in Hong Kong

1. Free Walking Tour 👣

Joining a free walking tour is one of the best things to do when you are travelling in a new city. It is free of charge (give tips instead) and helps us to understand the culture, history, food, and much more. We can also meet new friends.

Tips for free walking tour: I wrote a detailed post about the reasons to join and the list of free walking tour in Hong Kong… highly recommended!!

 

2. Eat, eat, and eat… 😋

You can never have enough good food in Hong Kong! Even if we try different food/ restaurant each day, we will never have had all of them. Hong Kong is undoubtedly a food heaven, and we have gained a few pounds here… 😭

One interesting thing is the locals like 掃街 (direct translation: sweep the streets). It means buying and eating food from the food stalls and street hawkers. I recommend doing this in Mong Kok!

Tips on exploring food: I found TripAdvisor not so useful in Hong Kong, because it does not always show good locals’ restaurant. The better Apps used by locals are Open Rice and Food Panda which are available in English too. Food Panda also deliver food for an extra charge.

 

3. See a Real Horse Racing 🐎

We are not a big fan of gambling, but we enjoy the atmosphere and it is an exciting locals’ experience in Hong Kong! It is always fun if you are not too serious about it… 🙂 The races take place in Shatin or Happy Valley. We only went to Shatin Racecourse once, most of the times we are lazy and watch on the TV at our hotel.

Tips for horse racing: Click here to see the horse racing schedule from the official HK Jockey Club’s website. ‘ST’ means Shatin and ‘HV’ means Happy Valley.

 

4. Feel like a kid again in theme park ❤️

The two most popular theme parks in Hong Kong are Ocean Park and Disneyland. We have visited both and had a really good time. They are well-maintained and not as crazy as Universal Studio in Singapore (which is overly crowded). But the entrance fees are expensive.

Tips for choosing a theme park: If you have to choose one, my advice is: Ocean Park is for adults; Disneyland is for kids (of mindset).

 

5. Take a Bus and Get Lost 🚌

In Hong Kong, the public transportation system is well-connected and relatively cheaper as compared to many places. So why not just take a bus and relax and see where it will take you? If you are too afraid to get lost, Mr Google Map will always help you or you could use UBER which is widely used in Hong Kong.

Tips for transportation: Octopus card is very useful in Hong Kong! You can use Octopus card in all public transportation, including train, ferry, and bus EXCEPT the red colour minibus. I heard that those buses are operated by mafias 😱 and have higher rate of road accident.

 

Top 5 Places to Visit in Hong Kong

1. Mong Kok (旺角) 👜

I have taken the train (MTR) to Mong Kok many times, mainly because it is an excellent place for shopping and eating. It is also a good place to 掃街 as there are many food stalls.

About shopping, the famous Ladies Market (女人街) is located on Tung Choi Street in Mong Kok – but the things are overpriced since they are targeted at tourists. My friend recommended me to shop at New Town Mall (旺角新之城) instead which is cheaper but I will need to bargain. I spent a lot of money here!!

 

2. The Peak (山頂) 🌠

Enjoy a beautiful night view of Hong Kong at the top of Sky Terrace 428. It would be a romantic place… if there are not too many people. It is very crowded especially at 8 pm when you can see the Symphony of Light. It can get quite cold up there. Yet, it is still a stunning place not to be missed. Oh yes, it is also a place to say “I love you.” 😘

 

3. Ocean Park (海洋公園) 🎢

There are two main parts of Ocean Park and you have to take the cable car to access the thrilling rides. Download the app and check the timetable of the show performance. We had a wonderful day at Ocean Park. The entrance fee was free as it was paid by Ben’s organisation (for Family Day). By the way, we won a pencil! A Nerd Pencil. It becomes part of our family. 🙂

 

4. Disneyland (迪士尼公園) 🎠

Disneyland is a dream, a fairytale, and a fantasy for a kid. But adults can get quite happy in Disneyland too… we love the ride “it’s a small world”. One of Ben’s dream is to take a photo with Donald Duck, and finally, he fulfilled his dream here together with me! And we ate him. 😝

 

5. Stanley (赤柱) 🏖

I discovered Stanley by chance as it was recommended by a stranger when I was taking random buses to see where they will take me. If you love the beach, you will love Stanley. It is not as crazy as Shek O (overly crowded) yet a beautiful place. You can walk around to enjoy the nice of the beach and walk to Stanley Market to shop for souvenirs.

 

Top 10 Food in Hong Kong

**This is too hard to choose, so I made it to Top 10 instead of 5. You can find all types of food in Hong Kong… too many choices and too little time to try all of them! Read my tips to choose a restaurant/ store here.**

1. Ramen @ Butao 🍜

The spicy ramen from Butao is the best food that we have had (mutually agreed) in Hong Kong! I know it is not a Hong Kong’s food, but it is too good to miss. During our 3-months stay in Hong Kong, we have had about 5-6 times ramen from Butao (not including ramen from other restaurants).

 

2. Dim Sum (點心) 🍢

I think nobody will deny that the Dim Sum in Hong Kong is good…!! We love Dim Sum and have tried many restaurants including the famous Tim Ho Wan, but it is no better than any random Dim Sum restaurant that we walked in. So we don’t think it is worthwhile to find the ‘best Dim Sum restaurant’, just pick one randomly and you won’t be disappointed.

 

3. Siu Mei (燒味) 🍗

Siu Mei (roasted meat) is very popular in Hong Kong. The must-eats are roast duck, roast pork, roast chicken… and if you are adventurous, try roast goose and roast suckling pig.

 

4. Private Kitchen (unique Hong Kong’s fine dining experience) 👍🏼

I think this is something very unique in Hong Kong! It is actually a ‘private’ fine dining – usually located in remote area. We went to Fa Zu Jie as it was recommended by Ben’s colleague as one of the best Private Kitchen. The place looks shady when we reached there (located beside a massage shop), but once we went inside it seems like a very decent restaurant! It costs HKD$600/ USD$77 per person which is not cheap. But given that it is a proper fine dining, and it would probably cost at least double the price in somewhere else so it is a good deal.

 

5. Zha Liang (炸兩) 🥖

Zha Liang is a unique food in Hong Kong. It is a Cantonese food made by tightly wrapping rice noodle roll around You Tiao (fried dough) and often served doused in soy sauce. It is a perfect combination with congee… very cheap yet delicious.

 

6. Curry Fish Ball (咖喱魚蛋) and Siu Mai (燒賣) 🍡

I don’t really like fish balls much but the one in Hong Kong taste very different. Sometimes I just couldn’t stop myself from buying from the food stalls. They are cheap and delicious! I would eat them every time I 掃街.

 

7. Pork Chop Bun (豬扒包) 🌯

Whilst pork chop bun is more popular in Macau, I realised that it is quite good in Hong Kong as well. By the way, the pork chop is good in Hong Kong – good for breakfast.

 

8. Pineapple Bun with butter (港式菠萝包) 🍞

Credit: Web

Again, I do not usually eat pineapple bun in my home country but it tastes so good in Hong Kong. The secret is the butter!! Just try one and you would like to eat again and again and again… Better still, serve with bubble tea/ ying yang.

 

9. Wife Cake (老婆餅) and Egg Tart (蛋撻) 🍮

They are good snacks! One of the famous shops to buy egg tart and wife cake is Tai Cheong Bakery, but you can get them in most of the bakery shops and they taste really good. Oh yes, there is a romantic story behind the wife cake… read before you eat. 🙂

 

10. Steam Pork Belly with Preserved Vegetable (梅菜扣肉) 🥘

This is my personal favourite. I can get this in most of the 茶餐廳 (tea restaurant). It is fat with very strong flavour and tastes salty which I like very much.

 

Our Memories in Hong Kong

Our 3 months stay at One96 Hotel 🏨

We really enjoyed our 3-months stay at One96 Hotel. Spacious room (as per standard in Hong Kong) and space, relaxing Ottoman couch, comfortable bed, friendly staffs, daily maid service and unlimited drinks/ snacks… how can we not fall in love with it? We like to watch TVB drama and horse racing on the couch, eat a lot of food, or sometimes just relaxed for the whole day at the hotel. We are super lucky as Ben’s organisation had been so generous to allow us staying at this wonderful 4-star hotel. I wrote a detailed post with more photos here.

 

View the free Symphony of Light 🎇

It is free and showing every day at 8pm. We saw it together in the roof garden at IFC mall. I heard the better place to view the Symphony of Light is the harbour in Tsim Sha Tsui.

 

Walking around in Tsim Sha Tsui (尖沙咀) 🗼

We had a long walk in Tsim Sha Tsui. We started our day with a Dim Sum breakfast at Kung Fu Restaurant (it was great), then visited The Clock Tower and The Harbour City (biggest shopping mall in Hong Kong), walked around the harbour, had a nice afternoon tea at a luxury café and took many photos with Bruce Lee statue.

 

Seeing a friend from NZ at Wong Tai Sin Temple (黃大仙廟) ⛩

I haven’t seen my friend for at least 4 years. She brought me to Wong Tai Sin temple and we also walked around in Mong Kok. She gave me a lot of helpful advice.

I met my friend in New Zealand and we had a great time working/ living together. It is very happy to see her again in my life. Sometimes, we may not see our friend again for the entire life because it is just too far away. It was great to see her, and we met again just before I left Hong Kong. Not sure when we will have the chance to meet again.

 

Shopping in Causeway Bay (銅鑼灣) 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦

Well, just another shopping place. It is a popular place with many restaurant and shopping areas.

 

Visit Golden Bauhinia Square (金紫荊廣場) & Ani-Com Park (動漫海濱樂園) 🐼

A good place to take photos… especially for kids. Not so suitable for me as I went there alone and did not take many photos. Other than taking photos, there are not many things to do here.

 

Found Heritage 1881 in Tsim Sha Tsui 🏛

While I was on the free walking tour in Tsim Sha Tsui, the tour guide recommended an interesting place: Heritage 1881. It is a beautiful mall with many high-class restaurants for a romantic dinner.

 

Joining Free Walking Tour at Hong Kong Island 👣

Hong Kong Island free walking tour. Unlike the Tsim Sha Tsui tour, this tour covers more on the history and general knowledge of Hong Kong. The audiences are also a bit different, as the people joining this tour are likely staying here for a big longer than tourists.

 

Exercise at Hong Kong Park (香港公園) 🍃

A good place to do some exercise. Visit this park if you have extra time, otherwise just skip it. Climb up the tower to get a good view of the city.

 

Romantic Time at The Peak (山頂) 🌠

We didn’t take the tram up to The Peak because it was too crowded. We took UBER instead. We paid some money to get to the top of Sky Terrace 428 on The Peak, and get a good night view of Hong Kong! There were many people here, but still a very romantic place. The famous Madame Tussauds museum (with famous statues of celebrities) is also located here.

 

Celebrating Valentine’s Day 💑

Eat and eat again… Pizza, kebab and chocolate. Ben bought Godiva chocolates for me. 🙂

 

Meeting Ben’s friends in Hong Kong 🤰🏻

We met Ben’s good friends at The One, Tsim Sha Tsui. The train was crazily crowded, and we are glad that we usually do not have to take the train in the peak hours (since our hotel is nearby Ben’s office).

 

Kennedy Town – A Gentrified Town 🏘

Here is a new route of the MTR in Hong Kong, now you can go to Kennedy Town by taking the Blue Island Line train. One interesting fact about Kennedy Town: it has been through gentrification. So you can see well-preserved old buildings as well as high-end café and restaurant, which makes it an interesting to visit while in Hong Kong.

 

A trip to Macau from Hong Kong ⛴

Ben and his family and I have done a trip to Macau from Hong Kong. I wrote a detailed post about this.

 

Celebrating Ben’s birthday 🎂

Ben said this is one of the happiest birthdays in his life, so I was happy too. Ben’s parents were here and we wanted to give him a surprise, so we hid the cake. Yet, Ben opened the fridge and couldn’t wait to see the cake… just like a kid! >_< I also made him a small cushion with the sewing pattern of our favourite Bob Minion for his birthday present.

 

Nothing special at Nan Lian Garden (南蓮園池) 🌲

A quiet garden recommended by another website. To be honest, I can’t see anything special about this place.

 

Birthday Buffet Celebration @ Braza Churrascaria Brazilian Steakhouse 🐄

I treated Ben a late birthday’s Brunch at Braza Churrascaria Brazillian Steakhouse. It was very good. The price is below HKD$300 per person which is considered a good deal for this kind of buffet.

 

See the Horse Racing at Shatin Racecourse 🏇

Minimum bet is HKD$10! We only bought the ticket once… and of course, we lose.

 

Drinking in Lan Kwai Fong (蘭桂坊) 🍻

Lan Kwai Fong is a small district in Central Hong Kong and is extremely famous for clubbing and drinking. The space in the pubs is usually very small here – do you know why? Because it will be easier for men to touch the butt of women (taught by the free walking tour guide), LOL… We are not a big fan of a pub so we just had some grilled food and apple cider in the open area.

 

Best Wonton Noodle in Hong Kong: Mak’s Noodle 🍜

Although the Mak’s Noodle did not make it to the Top 10 Food that I listed above, we agreed that this is the best wonton noodle that we have had in Hong Kong. Too bad the portion is too small…

 

Visiting Kowloon Public Library (九龍公共圖書館) 📚

How do you find a free thing to do in a quiet and meaningful place in Hong Kong? Answer: go to the library. This library is big… with many books in different languages. If you love reading, it is a place to go.

 

Eating seafood in Lamma Island (南丫島) with a nice view of sea 🐠

Lamma Island is popular with seafood. However, it is heavily overpriced here because it is mainly targeted at tourists. It is even more expensive if you eat at Rainbow (the most popular seafood restaurant in Lamma Island). It costs us HKD$568 (USD$73) for a 2-person luxurious seafood meal at the Wai Kee Seafood Restaurant that we have been.

By the way, Lamma Island is a very small island. Usually, people like to do a one-day trip – hiking from Yung Shue Wan (榕樹灣) and walk to Sok Kwu Wan (索罟灣) and take a ferry back to Hong Kong Island from here. I suggested this to Ben but we were too lazy LOL.

 

First time watch movie together in Hong Kong 📺

Unfortunately, we haven’t watched a Cantonese movie in Hong Kong… look like there are not many Cantonese movies in Hong Kong Island (maybe we should go to Kowloon).

 

Delicious meal at Ding Tai Fung (鼎泰豐) 🍽

I had a dispute with Ben because he said this should be one of the Top 10 Food listed above. Well, it is very delicious (especially Xiao Long Bao) but I do not want to wait for an hour for this again and it is overpriced.

 

Wandering in Sai Kung (西貢) 🦐

This is another place for seafood and is much cheaper than Lamma Island!! Unfortunately, I was already full when I reached Sai Kung so did not eat anything here.

 

Ear Toilet & Pizza 👂🏻

Ben’s dream is to do Ear Toilet (means removing ear wax/ ear shit). So we went to the clinic, and the doctor said there is no ear wax in both of his ears (he was disappointed). But there is some ear wax in my ear so the doctor performed ear toilet for me. Ben was happy for me.

Although I took a few pictures of my ear wax, I won’t post the picture here because it is disgusting. We had a very good pizza for celebration.

 

The best spring roll we have had in our life – at Bun Cha 🥓

Again, not on the list of Top 10 Food above. But the spring roll is the best spring roll that we have had although it is super expensive (HKD$88 / USD$11 for a small serving portion).

 

Cheeseeeee 🧀

We had a lot of cheese in Hong Kong as we bought in Amsterdam. The cheese was super good. We bought one pack of cheese and I bought one for my close friend in NZ, but it was too good so we ate my friend’s cheese.

 

Best Coffee in Hong Kong Island at Antipodean ☕️

Finally, we found a café with good coffee which is closer to New Zealand’s standard. They also serve Long Black!

 

Shek O (石澳) – A crazily overcrowded beach ⛱

A very popular beach in Hong Kong, but I think it is seriously overcrowded. I really wanted to take a photo of myself in a bikini but did not have the chance. Not recommended.

 

You’re my destiny~ 🎼🎼

It was a very popular advertisement at our time in Hong Kong. Every time we heard “You’re my destiny” then we saw the people eating McDonald nuggets on TV. It was effective… now every time I heard this song I think about nuggets. Ben likes to sing this song now!

 

A visit of my best friend 👱🏻‍♀️

My best friend visited me in Hong Kong. We went for a drink (not alcohol) and she visited our hotel apartment.

 

Monster building 😈

This is becoming a popular new place to take photos or films in Hong Kong… It is called Monster Building because of the complex architectural which best demonstrates the busy and high-pressure side of Hong Kong. However, other than taking a few photos here we found it nothing much to do in this area.

 

First Hooters Experience 👙

Apparently, Hooters is famous because all the waitresses here have big boobs (and they showed it). Anyway, we came for the popular chicken wings!! Really!! The buffalo chicken wings and shrimps are delicious, though I am almost the only female here…

 

A day Trip to Tai O (大澳) ⛵️

Tai O is a small and well-preserved fishing village. It is a bit far from Central Hong Kong, and I am happy that I have visited this place just before I left Hong Kong. I was unlucky because it was rainy and wet. From here, I can see floating houses, observe the simple lifestyle of fishers, buy seafood snacks, or just having a drink at a tea house restaurant. An interesting place to visit.

PS: I was angry because an old guy approached me and asked me to sleep with him… I felt like slapping in his face! Which part of me look like prostitute?? The worst part is he only offered HKD$200 (USD$26). 😤

 

Five Downsides of Hong Kong

**Although Hong Kong is a good place to visit, there are a few annoying things. We would love Hong Kong more without these downsides! But well, no place is perfect right?**

1. Many of them are impatient 🤺

The pace in Hong Kong is extremely fast. They walk fast, act fast, speak fast, even the escalators move very fast.

Some people in Hong Kong are very nice and willing to offer help, but I have also met many rude people… or impatient people. The truth is: other than the staffs from the hotel and high-end restaurants who are always friendly, most of the locals in Hong Kong are impatient. Sometimes I was blamed by the shop owners for being not fast enough, sound ridiculous right!? You will feel this too, especially in Kowloon. It is not only me who feel this way, my friends have had the same feeling too.

 

2. Polluted Air 😷

The air pollution in Hong Kong is terrible. There was once I hiked all the way to The Peak and then realised that I can’t have a good view because it was too foggy. It happened many days during our stay in Hong Kong, which was disappointing especially when we went outing and were not able to take nice photos. Also, Ben and I are always having a sore throat that won’t fully go away and we suspect are due to the pollution (because it is cured once we left Hong Kong).

 

3. Slow Payment System 💰

I am shocked to see that payment system in Hong Kong is lagged behind. First, you can’t use credit/debit card in many places. Second, even if you can use the credit/debit card you will likely find many people queueing behind you (because the transaction process is too slow). Cash is still dominant in Hong Kong.

Fun fact: The banknotes in Hong Kong are not issued by the Central Bank. Instead they are issued by the commercial bank, so you will see different pattern for the same value of notes.

 

4. About Coffee ☕️

Well, I probably can’t blame about this because it is not the culture in Hong Kong, but we were spoilt with the good coffee in New Zealand! The coffee in Hong Kong is expensive – cost between HKD$35 and $55 (USD$4.50 – $7.0) for one cup and the taste is so-so only. But we can’t demand too much since Hong Kong has so much other good food.

Tips for good coffee:A few good coffee places that we have found in Hong Kong Island are: Antipodean (highly recommended), Filters Lane.

 

5. Overall, not a practical place to live

Ben and I were very lucky to have stayed in Hong Kong for 3 months and able to enjoy the good life here. However, it would be very costly if we have to start from scratch. It is alright to stay or travel in Hong Kong for short-term, but I don’t think it is practical to stay for long-term unless we are willing to make a sacrifice in our lifestyle.

 

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