WanderList x Hong Kong: HK 101

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One of my favorite views of Hong Kong from Kowloon

Wanderings: Hong Kong

Hong Kong. An international mecca known for its collection of islands lined with skyscrapers, cushioned by waterways and submerged in smog. It’s a city renowned for being a world financial epicenter, British occupation and Bruce Lee.

However, once immersed in Hong Kong you soon realize that this coastal city reveals layers of culture that goes far beyond what you may have ever expected.

I certainly didn’t think I would end up visiting Hong Kong. But a $570 round trip fare made me take the leap and jump (across the Pacific) towards one of Asia’s greatest cities.

This trip actually took place last fall, but I have admittedly been lagging (sorry!) in posting for a while. Over the past few months, I have sent my Hong Kong list to several co-workers (who have enjoyed the recommendations) so I’ll take that this is a sign to stop lagging and share all the joy discovered in Hong Kong while I was there.

So why should you visit Hong Kong?

Hong Kong is the perfect collision of East and West, offering the most perfect escape for anyone wanting to lose themselves in a city or even escape in nature.  Hong Kong is the perfect intro city to Asia providing enough familiarity and comfort for Westerners to dip their toes into the waters of Eastern Culture. Every night, the city bustles with activity with locals and expats (hello Aussie accents!) co-mingling as if they’ve always coexisted. For those who want to fully immerse themselves in Eastern traditions, the locals occupied neighborhoods of Kowloon provide a glimpse of the local life through night markets, street food and neighborhood gardens.

No matter what budget you are on, you can experience Hong Kong on a budget OR with an open pocketbook. The city offers so much in terms of culture, dining, outdoors experience and local fun that you’ll find hard to accomplish all at once while you are there.

So, this post will be focused on HK geography, basics and transportation. Stay tuned for upcoming posts on where to stay, play & eat!

Wandering Hong Kong

The Islands

Hong Kong is actually comprised of a collection of islands. The main island that most people visit is Hong Kong island, but all the other islands also offer other adventures that are more rural or adventurous. As basic as this seems, I found this link most helpful when I was first adventuring to this city!

The Neighborhoods

Within Hong Kong, there are also neighborhoods that are worth discovering. Here were some of my favorites but I found this link to be the most HELPFUL in identifying the different types of neighborhoods and experiences:

  • Kowloon Penninsula – This is more of a region but hosts neighborhoods like TST, Jordan & Mong Kok. While Kowloon doesn’t seem quite as frequented as Hong Kong Island, I thought coming to this side offered a “real” cultural sense of Hong Kong and a glimpse of local life that wasn’t all glitz and glamour.
  • Soho District  – Cute cafes, galleries, shops and boutiques!
  • Sheung Wan – loved this neighborhood for all the antiques & antique shops. This was a great place to wander throughout the day.
  • Mid-Levels – This was a fun place to gather for happy hours, drinks and cocktails. Seemed to be frequented by both expats and locals, the energy here was lively yet approachable!

Getting Around Hong Kong

Airport –> HKG

  • Airport Express – There are several Metro terminals that offer Airport Express Service to and from the main island. The fare is very reasonable and transport is quick. If you have a late night flight on your return home from Hong Kong, you can take advantage of checking in your luggage at one of the express train stations in Hong Kong! The express train stations have airline terminals where you can pick up your boarding passes and check in your luggage to the airport. This is truly convenient for your last full day of travels! Whenever you are ready to head to the airport, just board the metro at one of the express stops and head to the airport.

Hong Kong Island –> Kowloon (and vice versa)

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Views at night from the Star Ferry
  • Star Ferry – Super cheap and affordable way to go across Kowloon to Hong Kong Island. It’s less than a seven minute ride and it’s sooooo picturesque!
  • Metro – The metro system is very easy and convenient (with stops listed in english as well)
  • Octopus Card – Get one of these when you get to HK. Like the Oyster Card in London, it’s a preloaded card that you can purchase at any train station or 7-11. Makes transport on train, bus and ferry much easier!

Hope these tips help you wander into Hong Kong. Stay tuned for more posts on things to EAT, DRINK, SEE & DO  in Hong Kong.

With Joy & Wanders,

J

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