Ask a (former) local – Secrets of Hong Kong

Still deciding on where you should go this year? Thinking about Asia? Let me, or rather, let my friend Thomas inspire you! Because I’ve asked him to introduce us to Hong Kong. And although he’s not a local anymore, he can give us some wonderful inside information about this Oriental gem. Thank you so much! I, for one, can’t wait to go!

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your city. What makes it special?

A: Hong Kong is an interesting mix of East meets West. This is partly because of its British heritage, but nowadays ‘enforced’ by thriving Filipino, French Australian and Canadian communities. The city has great accessibility through it’s network of metro, tram, bus and ferries and is still listed as one of the most densly populated cities on earth. It feels huge but is actually small and practical.

It’s also not ‘just a city’ but a combination of 261 islands, with the largest of course being Hong Kong Island.

Q: What is your personal favorite thing to do in your city?

A: Enjoying drinks on one of the many amazing rooftop bars. Of course the Skyline is the gem of this city.

Q: Can you name a (or more) typical dish(es) for your city or region?

A: There are some interesting local ‘snacks’ that are a must to try like Egg waffles, Bubble Tea and Curry Fish Balls.

Q: What are (some of) the best restaurants?

A: Hong Kong is an amazing place for foodie lovers, new restaurants open (and close) almost every day.

For local and chinese cuisine visit one of the many ‘Wet Markets’. Huge market buildings where you can buy fresh meat, fish and vegetables but as well go to one of the restaurants where they prepare the dishes with ingredients sources from the market.

Tim Ho Wan – One of the cheapest Michelin Star places in the world, serves amazing Dim Sum.

Butcher’s Club – I’ve tasted many burgers in my life in quite a few different countries, but this place by far serves the best burgers ever, simple, no frills, but amazing high quality beef.

Little Bao – Funky and tiny bao restaurant, serving from traditional pork buns to more exotic ice cream buns. This is the place where I found my love for steamed buns.

Q: What are some of the highlights and tourist traps?

A: Big Buddha on Lantau Island, it’s actually a must-see but always sprawling with tourists, which makes visiting it less enjoyable. The Peak, again a must see, for the amazing views of the city, but it’s always crowded. Lamma Island, this is actually a fun place to walk around, it’s considered the “Hippy Village” of Hong Kong and it’s an island where there are no cars allowed. Chungking Mansions, a bit of a dodgy place but really fun to wander around. Great foodstalls and other oddities are for sale here.

Q: What is the best place to take a selfie?

A: The Peak of course!

Q: Are there any fun day trips to take?

A: Enough! It’s always fun to visit one of the many other islands by ferry. If you have some more time then take a ferry to Macau, the Las Vegas of Asia. And there’s a fun little local amusement park called “Ocean Park”.

Q: Is it necessary to rent a car? Or would you recommend public transport and walking?

A: No cars! For sure. The Hong Kong metro (MTR) is one of the most efficient in the world. It’s also fun to take a ride on one of the few local double decker trams or take the bus, which look similar to the famous London double decker busses.

Another fun thing to do is to take the Star Ferry. This ferry takes you from Hong Kong Island to the other side of the city (Kowloon).

Ubers and Taxis are also great way to get from one place to another

Q: Are there any areas that should be avoided when looking for accommodation? Or, in other words, what areas would you definitely stay in?

A: If you wanna go more local, stay on the Kowloon side of town. If you want to keep it ‘safe’ and organised stay on the Hong Kong island side.

Q: Any last tips or words of advice for the future visitors of your city?

A: Visiting Hong Kong for just a short week is enough! It’s a small place, although fascinating and with lots of things to discover. It’s a great place to do a stopover whenever you’re traveling to another destination. Or simply make it part of a bigger itinerary when you’re traveling through Asia.

Pictures courtesy of www.pixabay.com

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