Hong Kong hints

By | Category: Travel destinations, Travel tips & opinions

Modern skyscrapers, colonial buildings, traditional temples and a fabulous food scene combine to help make Hong Kong one of the most exciting cities in the world. Hong Kong resident, Evelyn Wong, guides us around

 

Name: Evelyn Wong
Age: 32
Occupation: Freelance writer and communications professional

 

Evelyn Wong

 

Are you a local girl?
No, but I have family here in  Hong Kong so have been visiting  frequently since I was tiny.

What’s it like to live in HK?
Great! It’s so convenient and easy.  It’s also such an optimistic and lively place. Just be aware that it gets very hot and humid in summer and you need to enjoy being in a city.

 


What is your favourite thing about Hong Kong?
That you can get from the heart of the city to the beach, or the hills, or the countryside in less than an hour on public transport.

 

Why should we visit Hong Kong?
For such a small location, Hong Kong manages to pack in a lot of contrasts. Naturally, there are lots of upmarket restaurants and bars, as well as designer label shopping opportunities. However you can also wander around Ladies’ Market or Temple Street Market and, after all your bartering, refresh yourself Hong Kong-style with French toast and milk tea (hot or cold) at a local café.

 

I’ve found the museum exhibitions here are really well put together and only cost $20 for standard entry. The hikes have amazing views too, and there’s one to suit every level of ability. And try to fit in a trip to Ocean Park during your trip  – the world’s seventh most popular amusement park according to Forbes!

How long do we, ideally, need?
Depending on your interests, anything from two days to two weeks. My main focuses when I was a visitor were eating and shopping, so it was more a case of 1) have I reached my baggage weight limit yet, and 2) have I consumed everything I’ve been dreaming about (and to hell with my personal weight limit).

How can you tell locals apart from our readers?
I have to say, I find people in Hong Kong walk very slowly, and then drift gently into your path as you attempt to overtake. Maybe it’s because I grew up used to London’s walking speed.

Best sites?
A spectacular yet family friendly hike is along the excitingly named Dragon’s Back (catch the number 9 bus from Shau Kei Wan for the start). Head out to the islands for a different atmosphere and amazing seafood. It’s always worth dropping by Café Gray Deluxe at The Upper House Hotel in Admiralty for quality cocktails and breathtaking city views.


Best bites?
It would be a shame if you came to Hong Kong and didn’t tuck into a bowl of wonton noodles and at least one egg tart, ideally washed down with a sweet red bean ice drink. Don’t be afraid of going into a dai pai dong (local café) – if you can’t see an English menu, ask for one. You will be rewarded with baked pork chop rice, a variety of toasts and sandwiches, and beef brisket curry, to name but a few items. You’ll find delicious scrambled eggs (I’m not kidding) in Capital Cafe in Wan Chai, served by waiters with the funkiest haircuts I’ve ever seen outside of a fashion magazine.

Top shops?
I love Wan Chai Market – it has everything from fresh noodles to pyjamas. It’s not for you though if you like your markets sanitised and pre-packaged. Walk around it if you are happy to see live fish and poultry being sold, if you are excited by interesting fruits and vegetables and if you are prepared to dodge grannies and puddles on the busy pavement.
My favourite spots are Shing Fat Coconut Company on Spring Garden Lane (an Aladdin’s cave of spices); my chum, the Fruit Lady, just inside the doors of the covered market as you enter from Queen’s Road East; and a stall on Tai Yuen Street that sells bags (I’m particularly pleased with my Moomin coolbag).
Top tip: don’t barter hard with stall owners here as you would at some markets. This is where people do their daily shopping, so prices are pretty much set.

Any insider tips for our readers?
Hong Kong is a vertical city, so don’t assume that what you see at street level is all there is. Just inside the doorways of certain buildings will be small hoardings telling you what shops and restaurants are on the other floors. You can also simply look outside when you’re higher up – we discovered a fun fourth floor café by chance when glancing out of Uniqlo’s window one day!

 

 

Anything else you want to add?
Take the tram and the Star Ferry! Despite HK’s fondness for tearing down old things for shiny new ones, the double-decker trams have changed very little since they first began. It’s a brilliant, retro way to see the city. The Star Ferry goes between Tsim Sha Tsui on Kowloon side and both Central and Wan Chai on Island side. It has been going for over a century, and offers amazing views of the Kowloon and HK Island skylines.

Thanks Evelyn! To contact Evelyn for freelance writing commissions, email eytwong@yahoo.co.uk.

 

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