Hong Kong Tourism Information
In 1997 Hong Kong became part once again of the Chinese Empire, leaving behind its dependency from the British Crown. However Hong Kong still enjoys close ties with it's former country and there is a very heavy influence on its people. Most of Hong Kong citizens are able to speak in English and are often enrolled into study programmes to the UK. This means that from a visitors perspective Hong Kong is very appealing to visit as it's easy to get around everywhere thus also enjoying a high quality of life, good weather, true Asian food cuisine and the best thing of all is that thanks to a bilateral agreement with China, those visiting directly into Hong Kong don't need a visa.
It's location makes it ideal to visit anytime of the year, but temperatures are mild for more than half the year. There are warm, relatively dry winters, and hot, humid, and wet summers. But the best time to visit Hong Kong is from October to February, when the weather is sunny, cool, and pleasant at about 20-30 °C. Spring is a cloudy season in Hong Kong (March to June).
It's best to avoid the high season of July and August, due to very hot temperatures, long queues at many tourist attractions and generally more expensive to travel.
Hong Kong only has one international airport which is very easy to commute from. You will find many options available, from high speed rail to local busses. An airport express trains connects to the main Hong Kong Station within 24 minutes and costs €12 one way. Busses range from €2/3 depending on the destination, it might be a better connection going by bus as they are luggage prepared and fully air conditioned with WIFI.
Within the city, public transport is easy to use and user friendly for locals and visitors as everything is clearly marked and signed in English. The city has a good metro system, busses, ferries and trams also form part of the public system and give travellers good connectivity. The combined transport system is used under the electronic "Octopus card". Using the card, ensures slightly cheaper single tickets than single cash tickets. The initial cost of the card is 150 HKD with 100 HKD travel value. Take note than during the weekends, fares on ferries are higher to those on the weekday. For more information check: Hong Kong Metro.
Visitors to Hong Kong will find authentic food from all the regions of China, including Cantonese, Northern (Peking), Chiu Chow (Swatow), Shanghai, Szechuan and Hakka. What’s more, there’s the chance to sample them in all kinds of surroundings: on a sampan in Causeway Bay or a floating restaurant, in a Kowloon back-street restaurant or street market; or in the dining room of a luxury hotel.
Chinese dishes are by no means the whole story, though, as Hong Kong is one of the great centres for international cooking. There are stalls and restaurants serving most of the key Asian cuisines, including Indian, Vietnamese, Filipino, Singapore/Malaysian and Thai, but there’s also some truly excellent Western cooking on offer.
The highlights of the Hong Kong cuisine are: Dim sum, savoury snacks, usually steamed and served in bamboo baskets on trolleys typically served until late afternoon. Cha siu bao (barbecue pork bun).Har gau (steamed shrimp dumplings). Hiu mai (steamed and minced pork with shrimp). Of course you will find all the other popular Chinese foods and cuisines which come all around the country and are represented in Hong Kong province.
Hong Kong is a vibrant, densely populated urban centre, a major port and global financial hub with a skyscraper-studded skyline.Hong Kong is also a major shopping destination, famed for bespoke tailors and the street night market. It's the modern side of Hong Kong which visitors come to see most but it's also possible to see Temples and beautiful views from the nearby hills with cable-car style gondolas taking you up the peaks.
Highlights of the city are:
- Tsim Sha Tsui: In this area you will find the famous Clock Tower, located on the southern shore of Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. It is the only remnant of the original site of the former Kowloon Station. From here there are excellent views across the harbour to the financial skyline of Hong Kong (Specially at night time). The promenade runs along the tip of Kowloon's waterfront. It is one of the best places to see the beautiful views of the Hong Kong skyline and bustling Victoria Harbour. Additionally, the Avenue of Stars, Hong Kong Space Museum, Star Ferry Terminal (recommended boat trip to cross to Hong Kong Island), and Hong Kong Museum of Art are also located along the promenade.
✔️Tip: Visit the Promenade at night, and everyday at 20.00h there is a light show from the buildings opposite, displaying a 10min light show to entertain the public. Take your cameras for some amazing shots!
- Tian Tan Buddha, is a large bronze statue of Buddha Shakyamuni, completed in 1993, and located at Ngong Ping, Lantau Island. Also nearby is Po Lin Monastery. To get there you can take the Ngong Ping 360, the cable car from Tung Chung MTR station. It costs 145 HKD single or 210 HKD return. Alternatively you can go up by bus for 10 HKD. Go to the MTR Tung Chung Station, Exit B. From the bus terminus next to the MTR station, take bus 23 to Ngong Ping (the journey takes about 50 minutes).
- Tai O: If you travel to Lantau Island, don't forget to visit the fishing village of Tai O. It's popular for its seafood, stilt-houses and shing culture. Especially on weekends, locals love to visit this unique shing village, strolling through the small streets, exploring the surroundings, and looking for the best seafood and snacks. The town gets very busy during the weekend, so it's better to travel midweek, to get away from the hustle and bustle from the crowded Hong Kong city. You can get there from Npong Ping as part of your travel itinerary. Take the bus shuttle which leaves every 30 minutes from the terminal at Npong Ping. Alternatively you can take bus 11 from Tung Chung MTR Station direct to Tai O.
- Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery is a Buddhist temple in Sha Tin, located at 220 Pai Tau Village, Sha Tin. Founded in the 1950s, Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery is actually not only one temple, but consists of 5 temples, 4 pavilions and one pagoda. Be prepared to walk more than 430 steps and a steep concrete path uphill. Along the long climb up, you will be accompanied by dozens of life-sized golden painted Buddha statues, which lead you up the mountain towards the hall with the ten thousand Buddhas. Take your time uphill and take a closer look at the statues because each of the statues is different. To get there take the MTR to Sha Tin station. Walk behind the Homesquare shopping centre where the path begins to the temple.
- Temple street night market: is one of the best markets with a local atmosphere. There, you can find a great variety of things, such as local food, clothes, watches, jade, and antiques. Also you can find street singers and fortune tellers making it more colourful and vibrant. To get there take the MTR to Jordan Station and walk 5 min till Temple street.
- Lamma Island: It is one of the very few places in Hong Kong that still hangs on to its old fishery ancestry customs and traditions. Lamma Island is a great option for an escape from the crowds of the city. There are no vehicles or public transport here, except for service vehicles. It's ideal for walking, hiking and cycling! There is a very popular trail that crosses the island and connects both towns. (Yung Shue Wan and Sok Kwu Wan). Exploring the island is as easy on the 4 km paths that takes about one-and-a-half hours from one end to the other. The ride to/from Yung Shue Wan is only 20 minutes. From/to Sok Kwu Wan about 40 minutes. Yung She Wan ferries run more frequently. Pay attention at the return schedule. Sailings are more sporadic specially returning from Sok Kwu Wan, intervals could be up to two hours, check the times below. To get there take the MTR to Hong Kong station, walk to Pier 4 where you find the Ferry boats.
- View the city from "The Peak", one of the most popular attractions in Hong Kong. By day your eyes stretch across sparkling skyscrapers and Victoria Harbour all the way to the green hills of the New Territories. In early evening this panorama melts into pink and orange before reincarnating as a dazzling galaxy of light. To get there you can take the "peak Tram",located at the Lower Terminus. You will also find The Peak Tram Historical Gallery, a paying tribute to The Peak Tram, its heritage and the history of Hong Kong. Since 1888, The Peak Tram has served Hong Kong, quietly witnessing 120 years of the city's changes. The tram gets very busy, specially during the weekends and evenings so make you you arrive with plenty of time and are prepared to wait! The cost of the tram is 37 HKD one way or 52 HKD return. You can also take bus 15 for under 10 HKD, leaving from opposite Pier 5. (Near Hong Kong Station).
✔️Tip: Quite often the Peak is very cloudy and when you reach the top it will be foggy. There is an information desk (inside an old tram) located at the top of the higher tram terminus, where they will provide useful tips on walks. You can walk around the Victoria Park. There is a circle walk (no hills nor steps) which takes 45 minutes and ensures a peaceful walk around the area. You can then opt to to walk down hill to central station for another 40 minutes or take the bus/tram down instead.
- Another viewing platform to see the city is from the International Commerce Centre Tower, Sky 100 level. Its located at Kowloon MTR Station. Price is 169 HKD per adult if bought online. Click here to buy your tickets.
Hong Kong is renowned for its jam-packed nightlife, with a varied nightclub scene, lots of good live music, and some world-class performing arts for more sophisticated tastes.
Notoriously the "red light district" area of Wan Chai has calmed down a lot over the last few decades, and although it has retained some of its seediness and a few girlie bars can be found, there are also many British-style pubs frequented by expatriate locals in the area. The Central district's Lan Kwai Fong is known for having one of the biggest drinking crowds in Hong Kong. SoHo has a number of ethnic bars and restaurants, and off-the-path Knutsford Terrace is popular for its open-fronted bars and cafes.
Live music has become a standard feature of so many restaurants, cocktail lounges, and bars in Hong Kong. The Fringe Club is Hong Kong's most well-known venue for all things alternative and live acts can be seen here on most weekends, for a price. As it gets later and more alcohol is consumed, most of Hong Kong's small bars tend to evolve into nightclubs. Trendy dance clubs impose a strict dress code and often only grant entrance to members.
Those looking for a quieter night out may enjoy seeing Chinese opera, performed at City Hall in the Central district and the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui. The Hong Kong Ballet Company and various theatre groups also stage performances throughout the year, though the highlight of the arts calendar is definitely the Hong Kong Arts Festival in February and March.
Everyone knows Hong Kong is a place of neon-lit retail signs and a shopping heaven. All international brands have their logo outlets here, and they are supplemented by the city’s own retail locals shops and markets. That said, Hong Kong's reputation as a bargain hunter’s paradise is pretty much a thing of the past. What can you find in Hong Kong? the answer is easy. Anything you want! Clothing, luggage, jewellery, cameras and electronic goods are the city’s strong suits. Excellent shops and galleries specializing in Asian art and antiques also abound.
For antique shops and art galleries you will them bunched along Wyndham St and Hollywood Rd in Central and Sheung Wan.The shops at the western end of Hollywood Rd tend to be cheaper paraphernalia, including propaganda posters and badges from the Cultural Revolution.
For Clothes, the best places to find global designer brands and luxury stores are in malls, such as the IFC and the Landmark in Central, Times Square in Causeway Bay, Pacific Place in Admiralty, and Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui.
For markets and minimalls, the best hunting grounds for low-cost garments are at the eastern end of Granville Rd in Tsim Sha Tsui, and Cheung Sha Wan Rd in Sham Shui Po. The street markets on Temple St in Yau Ma Tei and Tung Choi St in Mong Kok have the cheapest clothes.
For electronic products, Hong Kong has a plethora of shops specialising in electronic and digital gadgets, but the product mix and prices vary. Shopkeepers are generally honest but some have been known to sell display second-hand items as new. One of the best spots in Hong Kong to buy photographic equipment is Stanley St in Central. Everything sold here carries a price tag (never buy a product without one).
For jewellery and watches, reputable shops and chains, are found in Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok.
✔️Tip: Remember to bargain and ask for discounts, specially as many smaller shops and stalls where the owners are working direct, and naturally in markets. The best tip to see if you can bargain of not is by checking if there is a price tag on it. Often for visitors they will increase the price potentially just by asking where you from!
Though Sales assistants in department or chain stores rarely have any leeway to give discounts. However in Hong Kong you must be careful of counterfeit products and copies, even if you can get really cheap prices, often the product can be of bad quality or have limited warranty.
Hong Kong can be reasonable to stay at if you book in advance and compare prices, even good hotels can have deals at €35 a night! However it's worth staying a little out of the typical tourist areas to save money and therefore spending on leisure. There are plenty of hostels as well offering really cheap nights though some places may not be as clean as expected especially in the city centre. Also private accommodation via Airbnb is getting more and more popular.
❗Attention: Note that space in Hong Kong is at a premium! This means that you should not expect big rooms and magnificent views and large windows! Many hotels have interior rooms with no windows and a tight space. Check reviews, prices and pictures to really get what you want! Avoid surprises as well by calling the hotel or leaving an email with a request for a specific room to be confirmed, in case you end up getting something inferior to what you paid!
Most tourists go to Hong Kong for shopping or for business. This makes the city a heaven for shoppers but if your interest is just to discover the city then 3 nights should just do it. Including one day to visit Macau is also recommended to add value to your trip.
Hong Kong Photo Slide 📷
Macau Tourism Information
Best known as the 'Vegas of China', Macau is a special administrative region of China, where most visitors don't need a visa to visit. The city was a Portuguese colony for more than 300 years, it was a major port in the 1600 and 1700's for its exports to Europe and South America. It is a city of blended cultures. Ancient Chinese temples sit on streets paved with traditional Portuguese style buildings, churches and even a fort. The sound of Cantonese fills the air on streets with Portuguese names. In Macau you can also enjoy multi-cultural infusion of food, you can eat Chinese for breakfast, enjoy a Portuguese lunch and dine a hybrid Macanese meal such as ground beef or pork, often served over rice.
There are warm, relatively dry winters, and hot, humid, and wet summers. But the best time to visit Macau is from October to February, when the weather is sunny, cool, and pleasant at about 20-30 °C. Spring is a cloudy season in Macau (March to June).
It's best to avoid the high season of July and August, due to very hot temperatures, crowded tourist places and generally expensive hotels in the region.
To get to Macau from Hong Kong you can take the Ferry, which takes 1 hour to cross over. Prices are 150 HKD one way going and 180-200 HKD coming back. You can depart from either Kowloon (MTR Tsim Sha Tsui Station or MTR Austin Station) or from Sheung Wan (MTR Sheung Wan Station) which is on Hong Kong Island. You will find more frequencies from Sheung Wan.
It's possible to reach two ports in Macau, The Outer Harbour (best for old city, culture and history) and Taipa (best for Taipa and Cotai areas, Casinos and shopping boutiques). There are also two companies which offer the best transportation, Cotai Super Jet and Turbo Jet. Depending of where you want to travel. There is 24h services between Sheung Wan and the Outer Harbour. However other services are limited with last departures from Taipa to Kowloon finishing at 19.45 and Taipa to Sheung Wan at 01.00am.
✔️Tip: The best idea is to travel from Sheung Wan to the Outer Harbour in the morning, spend the day travelling around the Old City and when the sun sets, take a bus (25X, Next to Casino Lisboa for 4.20) to Cotai, for the Casino and Shopping Centres. Return in the evening from any of the mega-shopping centres or Casinos which have a free shuttle bus service to Taipa Ferry terminal (free busses run till 23.00) where you can travel back to Sheung Wan. (last departure 01.00am) or you will need to travel back to Outer Harbour for later departures.
The most tempting things to try are local Macanese specialities, along with the traditional Portuguese and Chinese dishes which contributed to it. Other Asian cuisines are also represented, however, including Japanese, Korean and Indonesian. You’ll find other European cooking too, particularly in hotels and casinos.
Macanese food is spicy, a unique combination of Chinese and Portuguese cooking methods with inuences of Indian and African spices, the result of Portugual’s various colonial activities. Restaurants known for their Macanese dishes can be found on Rua Almirante Sérgio, in the Outer Harbour New Land Reclamation Area (NAPE) and on Taipa island.
For traditional Portuguese food, try Rua do Almirante Sérgio (near the A-Ma Temple), Rua Central and Travessa de São Domingos (both in the centre). You’ll also find Portuguese restaurants on Coloane (in the village and on Hac-Sa beach) and Taipa (try Rua do Cunha).
Specialities include: Pasteis de nata, egg tarts, a cross between the European and Chinese kinds; often considered quintessentially Macanese, they were in fact invented only in the 1980s , they are still an unmissable treat!. Daan Saan, a Cantonese snack made with flour, eggs, and lard; the ingredients are mixed and twisted into strips and fried until it has a golden colour.It can be dipped into malt syrup when served to enrich the flavour. Bacalhau, salted cod, a Portuguese speciality which can be served in many different ways. Caldo verde, a Portuguese soup made from potatoes, onions and greens, with a variety of other ingredients sometimes including ham. Sopa a alentejana, a garlic and coriander soup with poached egg, another Portuguese dish. Galinha a portuguesa, despite the name, this is really a Macanese dish of chicken baked with potatoes, onions and eggs in a coconut-based sauce. Minchi, this Macanese comfort food consists of minced meat; pork, beef or both, with fried potato and onion. Ta pin nou, a Chinese dish in which seafood, meats and vegetables that are boiled in a tureen at the table. Dim sum, available from dawn until around noon, with diners choosing from numerous small Chinese dishes – many of them steamed and served in small round bamboo baskets.
When you travel to Macau, you will notice two major areas, the Peninsula, (attached to China) holds the old city centre, where colonial ruins sit next to arty new shops, residential streets, little markets and colonial parks. Further south are the areas of Taipa, Cotai and Coloane. Taipa has also preserved Macanese architecture, whilst Cotai is home to the new mega casinos, luxury Hotels and boutique shops and high class retail make the area a class of it's own.
Cotai is in constant development, new Hotels and mega-shopping centres are being built and the area is now the economic-force for Macau. It's indeed a mecca of gambling and glitz. Further south you will find the area of Coloane, lined with colonial villages and pretty beaches.
Places not to miss whilst in Macau:
- Sé Cathedral Macau,
- Ruins of St. Paul's,
- Monte Forte and the Macau Museum,
- Farol da Guia (lighthouse),
- Casa Do Mandarim,
- Macau Tower, and Largo do Senado, (Senado Square).
- When you travel to Cotai, don't miss the Eiffel Tower replica, the Venetian Canal replica, Galaxy Hotel-Shopping Centre and Casinos, and the Parisian. (Shopping and Casinos).
For many visitors, gambling is the big attraction in Macau and the main reason to come to the area! Naturally with it, comes much sophistication at night, with restaurants and nightclubs all matching the high end style and luxury. Casinos are open 24 hours, providing baccarat, blackjack, roulette and Chinese games like fantan and dai-siu.
Most nightlife is centred on the main hotels and casino resorts, many of which have nightclubs with cabaret, Portuguese folk dancing, dance bands and discos. Nightclub music often has Asian touches, with international pop sung in Cantonese, Mandarin, Thai and Japanese.
Outside of this, a lively bar strip has developed along Avenida Dr. Sun Yat-sen, near the Kun Iam Statue, with many bars offering live Filipino cover bands each night. Alternatively there are great views from Sky21, the bar on the 21st floor, which also has a restaurant, dance floor and alfresco deck.
There are also some popular bars on Taipa island, opposite the Macau Jockey Club.
For nightclubs, which typically get going around midnight, try the Outer Harbour or Fisherman’s Wharf.
Macau is a popular shopping destination due to its free port status: there is no sales tax. Common buys include jewellery (particularly gold), Chinese antiques, porcelain, pottery, electronic gadgets, cameras and watches. For foodie treats, try dried seafood, abalone (which is something of an acquired taste), pastries or Portuguese wine is also very common to find and buy here.
Chinese herbs and medicines are also widely available, although it’s important to be aware of what you are buying (some traditional remedies are made from endangered animals, and quite apart from any moral objections, it may be illegal to import them into another country).
Several glitzy luxury goods malls have sprung up around several of the new casino resorts, including Wynn Macau and The Venetian. A rather more down-to-earth shopping experience can be had at the Red Market on the corner of Avenida Horta e Costa and Avenida Almirante Lacerda.
The best-known gold shops are along Avenida do Infante D Henrique, Avenida Horta e Costa and Avenida Almeida Ribeiro.
There’s a daily flea market in the lanes around Rua das Estalagens, near the ruins of St Paul's Church, as well as one every Sunday in Taipa Village between Bombeiros Square and Camões Square. These can be good for handicrafts, clothes and souvenirs, but always bargain over prices in smaller shops and markets.
Macau's hotels range from older colonial properties, inns and economy-class accommodation up to luxury havens from global chains, with the last of these coming into particular prominence now that Macau is successfully selling itself as an international casino destination. Most of Macau's small and mid-sized hotels are located on the peninsula, which has good access to most of the main tourist sights. These basic hotels can cost around €30-40 per night.
However, if you stay in the Cotai area, the casino resorts on the Cotai Strip, be prepared that, because for the lure of the casinos, it means prices rise on Friday and Saturday nights, typically by around 20%. The Grand Prix in November also sees an influx of visitors and a rise in prices. In both cases an advance reservation is advised. These high-end hotels can cost from a lower €100 per night to the thousands!
If you are more on the budget side, there are many "Bed and breakfast" called in Macau "pousadas", hotels which are typically small and intimate.
Airbbnb is not as popular in Macau and private accomodation is harder to find, but its on the rise. They key is to reserve in advance and watch out for deals off season!
Most visitors will come to Macau from Hong Kong to visit during one day. Taking a whole day to visit would be enough to see all the sights. Dedicate the morning to explore the older part of Macau in the north, and in the afternoon-evening cross over to Catai by bus, to explore the casino land and wonder around the paradise of luxury.
If you prefer to take a more relaxed approach, then 2 nights would be also enough. It all depends how much money are you going to spend in those casinos!