Hong Kong is one of the most densely-populated places on earth. Composed of three different islands (Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories), there will be more than enough sights and sensations to soak up any type of trip you may have planned. From traditional street markets and beautiful temples to the fast-moving, skyscraper-dotted streets, there is so much to do here. I love Hong Kong. I can’t get enough of the city, and if you are a foodie like me, it is heaven. It’s hard not to walk away a few pounds heavier.
- Hostel prices – Dorm rooms start around $15 USD per night and private rooms start at around $40 USD for a double room.
- Budget hotel prices – Prices start from $50 USD per night for a double room, bathroom, and AC.
- Average cost of food – While Hong Kong is generally expensive, there are plenty of options for cheap food. Market food, noodles, and dumplings will cost around $5 USD per meal. McDonald’s goes for about $6 USD per meal. Restaurants will cost around $13 USD, and if you decide to splurge, you can expect to pay around $40 USD or more. But you’ll find there is enough cheap markets and noodle shops for you eat healthy and cheap.
- Transportation costs – A tourist travel pass costs $7 USD per day and covers unlimited travel on the metro, tram, and light rail service. Individual tickets are based on distance and range from $1-3 USD. The ferry between Hong Kong and Kowloon island is $0.25 USD.
Money Saving Tips
- Eat at the buffets – Many restaurants offer an all you can eat menu for less than $14 USD.
- Avoid staying on Hong Kong Island – If possible, avoid staying on Hong Kong Island. The other islands have much cheaper accommodations.
- Visit the markets – Most locals shop at the markets as they offer the cheapest and freshest foods, at times up to 50% cheaper than grocery stores.
- Stay in Chungking Mansion – While a far cry from even a 1 star hotel, Chungking Mansion offers the cheapest accommodation in Hong Kong.
- Get a transit day pass – Trains in Hong Kong can add up quickly as fares are based on distance. Getting a day pass will be much more economical if you are traveling distances in Hong Kong.
Top Things to See and Do
- Visit the temples – There are a large number of traditional temples and heritage sites throughout the city. You can visit the Miu Fat Buddhist Monastery, Lo Pan Temple, Sha Tin Che Kung Temple, or the Yuen Yuen Institute. Check out the Cultural Kaleidoscope program for an even more in-depth experiences of local culture.
- The Peak Tram – This tram takes you to the top of the Peak, Hong Kong Island’s largest mountain, which reaches 1700 feet. This is a spectacular way to view the skyscrapers of Victoria Harbor and Kowloon while you marvel at the encompassing beauty of the surrounding hills.
- Visit the street markets – These are possibly the best place to soak up the atmosphere, busy vibe, sights and sounds of Hong Kong. The best markets to go to are the Ladies Market, Temple Street Night Market, and the Stanley Market.
- Sheung Wan District – Famous for its bird’s nest and shark fin soup (which you should not eat), this area reflects a vintage charm. High end apartment and office blocks tower over small stores and traditional markets.
- Jungle trekking – You can explore or trek along one or more of the eight different “geo-areas” distributed across the Sai Kung Volcanic Rock Region and Northeast New Territories Sedimentary Rock Region.
- Disneyland and Ocean Park – If you’re on a family trip, or even if you’re a backpacker in touch with your inner child, head to Disneyland or Ocean Park for a fun-filled day. Hang out with Mickey Mouse and shake hands with sea creatures. You can see Giant Pandas at Ocean Park, which makes in itself justifies the whole visit.
- Visit Mongkok – Highly recommended, this area is home to shopping, food, and nightlife.
- Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront – Stroll along the Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront, and take in the breathtaking skyline view of Hong Kong island. While you’re here, make sure to visit the Avenue of Stars, Hong Kong’s answer to the Hollywood “Walk of Fame”.
- Mai Po Natural Area – This endless stretch of mangrove forest and muddy swampland is a paradise for birds and invertebrates. Overs 430 kinds of birds have been documented here. From October to April, you can even watch the annual migrations.
- Visit the Po Lin Monastery – Built in 1924, this temple is situated on Lantau Island. It is commonly known as the ‘Buddhist Kingdom in the South”, and ranks as the most magnificent structure among the four Buddhist temples in Hong Kong.
- Ride 360 Ngong Ping – This cable car runs a little over 3.5 miles long, spanning from Tung Chung, across the bay, to Airport Island. The view gives you a panoramic view of the whole area and goes through the mountains. The ride lasts about 25 minutes.
- Explore Tung Shoi Street – Also known as Ladies Street, this open-air bazaar is situated in the central area of Mong Kok. It is one of the busiest places in Hong Kong and is filled with shops and cheap goods. Remember to bargain.
- Experience the nightlife at Lan Kwai Fong – Everyone knows about this area. LKF is the main nightlife and party area in Hong Kong and is filled with tons of bars, clubs, sheesha, and cheap drinks. Nights out here are wild and crazy.
Here is a blog about my time in Hong Kong