Hong Kong is a vibrant city that should be on everyone’s travel list. From it's must-know history, to the rich culture, to the beautiful countryside, this city has a little bit of everything. While I was there for business (not pleasure) – I took full advantage of my free time while not in meetings! Below is a list of my favorite experiences from the trip:
1. Visit the Big Buddha (Tian Tan Buddha) and Po Lin Monastery
The Big Buddha is located off Ngong Ping on Lantau Island – tucked in the mountains away from the city. The Ngong Ping village has many cute souvenir shops and places to dine. If you are brave enough, you can walk up the steps to the top of the Big Buddha to see a breathtaking view of the countryside. I definitely recommend going to the top – it was one of the most memorable experiences of my trip!
2. Have lunch at the Vegetarian Restaurant (by the Big Buddha)
Refuel after the hike up to the Big Buddha and enjoy a vegetarian meal that the monks of the monastery typically eat.
3. Make a wish on the Bodhi Tree (or the "Tree of Awakening" in Ngong Ping village)
Wishes are held in the tree by being tied to oranges (umm how cute!?). Legend has it that the higher your wish is placed in the tree, the more likely it will come true!
4. Visit Tai O
Tai O is a short drive from the Big Buddha. Tai O is an ancient fishing village and a declared UNESCO World Heritage site. It is a tourist spot to shop storefronts for seafood and marvel over the stilt houses along the river.
Hong Kong has GREAT shopping – shopping that is so good you’ll want to bring an empty suitcase type situation. There is no tax on the shopping in Hong Kong so it makes it more guilt free because you’re technically saving money, right?? The shopping ranges from high-end to very affordable. One of the more memorable areas for high-end shopping was LANDMARK.
A great market for fun souvenirs and gifts to bring home is Stanley Market. There are also waterfront restaurants and a few beautiful temples within walking distance from Stanley Market so you could spend an entire afternoon there!
I spent most of my shopping time in little boutique stores in Kowloon (Granville & Nathan Rd area). There are seemingly endless boutique clothing stores, malls, bigger name brand stores (such as Nike), and restaurants in this area. Something to note: this area opens later in the morning and stays open pretty late into the evening.
6. Bubble Tea
7. Dine at the floating restaurant
Jumbo Kingdom is a floating restaurant within Hong Kong’s Aberdeen Harbor. The floating restaurant is absolutely gorgeous inside and a fun experience you can write home about. It is a bit touristy but a great experience nonetheless.
8. Victoria Peak (or “The Peak”)
I would recommend heading up to The Peak right before dusk to watch the sunset over the city. The Peak also has a shopping mall and some dining options if you choose to have dinner while watching the sunset (like I did!).
You can get to The Peak by taking The Peak Tram. For more information please see the link below:
9. Ride the Star Ferry to Kowloon
The Star Ferry operates between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. The Star Ferry is an affordable way to travel between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon and they offer tours as well.
10. Visit the Heritage of Mei Ho House museum
This museum is located at the Mei Ho House Hostel and is a great resource to learn about the history of housing in Hong Kong. The Mei Ho House Hostel is a Grade II historic building and Hong Kong’s oldest public housing building. This museum is free and worth the trip!
11. Go on the World’s longest outdoor escalator
The escalator is located in Hong Kong’s Central district and is definitely a bucket list item!
12. Visit Tai Kwun Center for Heritage and Arts
Tai Kwun is a short walk from the world’s largest outdoor escalator and a more leisurely, culturally rich activity to do in the city.