a-beginners-guide-to-hong-kong
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A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO HONG KONG

April 22, 2016 by @VanessaRivers

Hong Kong is a big, bustling city so it can be overwhelming trying to figure out what to do and see. This was my first trip to Hong Kong and my first time visiting Asia so I got off the plane with no clue where to start! Luckily, a friend, who grew up near Shanghai and has spent a great deal of time in Hong Kong, was there to show us around. If you only have a few days in Hong Kong, this is a good beginner’s guide for what you should see and do.

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ART BASEL HONG KONG

This was my first time attending an Art Basel, and Art Basel Hong Kong did not disappoint! Showcasing amazing artwork from across the globe, it is held at the HK Convention Center – the last weekend in March, which is a great time to visit because the weather is perfect. The show usually sells out, so get your tickets online in advance!

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VICTORIA PEAK

Head to Victoria Peak – also known as ‘The Peak’ for a must see view of Hong Kong! From the Mandarin Oriental (where  my husband and I were staying), it is a very short walk to the Peak tram that will take you from Central to the top. The line for the tram was very long the day we went, so we took a cab up the mountain instead. The best panoramic views of the city are from the Sky Terrace at the top of the peak. Go early to avoid the crazy crowds.

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VISIT TAI O

Tai O is a fishing village, home to the Tanka people, a community of fisherman who has, for generations, built their houses on stilts above the tidal flats of Lantau and Tai O Island. To reach this photographer’s paradise it is just a 50-minute bus ride. I did not have time to visit on this trip, but I was told it is amazing and well worth the short journey.

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HIKE DRAGON’S BACK

Selected by TIME Asia as the best urban hiking trail, Dragon’s Back, with its beautiful coastal scenery and easy accessibility from the city, is a popular hike, providing the perfect way to get outside and exercise. At the top of this 5+ mile-long hike you will be rewarded with breathtaking views from the sightseeing platform at Shek O peak.

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LUNCH AT LUNG KING HEEN

I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of Chinese food so when I say I loved my lunch at Lung King Heen that is saying a lot. Seafood and dim sum are among the specialties at this authentic Cantonese restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong – the world’s first Chinese restaurant to be awarded a three-star Michelin rating. The shrimp and crab dumpling were off the chart delicious! I highly recommend booking a lunch or dinner here!

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EXPLORE HOLLYWOOD ROAD

If you head up the streets directly behind Four Seasons Hong Kong you will hit Hollywood Road. Mimi Cheung, the Digital Marketing Manager for FSHK, gave us a quick tour of this area, where you can check out the street markets, antique and sweet shops, Man Mo Temple, and the PMQ open air night market. Ask your hotel for a map of the city, which will show you exactly where these are located.

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DINNER AT MOTT 32

Mott 32 is a modern Chinese restaurant in central Hong Kong (named after 32 Mott Street in New York) that focuses on farm-to-table cooking prepared by executive Chef Lee Man Sing. The atmosphere is sexy and sophisticated with dim lighting and decor that boasts a patchwork of imperial Chinese and colonial British influences.  This was by far the best dinner I had in Hong Kong. I do not eat meat often, but we ordered a whole Peking duck for the table (must be pre-ordered in advance because they sell out) and it was delicious!

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DRINKS WITH A VIEW

Enjoy a cocktail in the clouds at OZONE, the highest bar in the world, located on the 118th floor at Ritz Carlton Hong Kong. This sky bar offers an amazing view of the city. Go early in the evening to take full advantage of the view during the daylight hours and avoid paying the HK $150 entrance fee (charged after 10pm, Friday and Saturday). The rooftop bar at SEVVA is next door to the Mandarin Oriental, and is another great spot to have drinks with a killer view.

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LEI YUE MUN FISHERMAN VILLAGE

Visiting the fishing village of Lei Yue Mun is like stepping back in time to old Hong Kong days. 150 years ago, this village thrived on fishing, farming and mining, but in the 1960s, it gained a reputation as a popular spot for alfresco seafood dining. To order you first buy your fish from a tank in a market area, then you take it to one of the nearby restaurants, which will prepare it for a fee. We had a fun, authentic dinner here but next time I am back in Hong King I plan to return for lunch, as this is a great spot to take photos during the day (and I love seafood)!

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WHERE TO STAY

For amazing views of the city, stay at The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, one of the tallest hotels in the world! For convenience to the open-air markets, the convention center and restaurants in my guide stay at the Four Seasons Hong Kong or the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, which are both located in Central. I toured all three of these hotels, and each one is cool in its own way so it is really up to your preference. The Four Seasons is right on the water with rooms that have great harbor views, the Mandarin combines old-world elegance with new-age charm, offering rooms with a sophisticated Asian decor, and The Ritz offers spacious rooms with the best city view.

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Have you been to Hong Kong? Do you have any suggestions to add?
Please share in the comments section below!

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1 Comment

  • Reply Misha April 25, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    OMG that seafood place! A great authentic dining experience but not the best for a vegetarian haha! Great post!

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