Of all the great Asian cities, Hong Kong ranks very high on the most popular cities lists and many people regard it as a true gem of the orient. Traveling to Hong Kong for the first time requires you to have a solid and extensive plan so you don’t miss out on its main attractions. Even then, you’ll only scratch the surface of this great city’s rich cultural and historic scene.
Here are several practical tips to bear in mind when planning your very first exploration of Hong Kong.
Essential first-visit tips
There are a few essential things to know before your first visit to Hong Kong. The local currency is the Hong Kong dollar but you don’t have to rush and exchange your money as there are many ATMs around the city where you can withdraw your money but you need to first enable the international withdrawal option. Also, most places accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Going around the city isn’t a problem in Hong Kong as it has a reliable, clean and inexpensive public transportation but you will need to obtain your Octopus card as soon as you arrive.
One tricky thing about Hong Kong is its weather as this entire region has all four seasons and contrary to what most people think, this isn’t an all-year-round tropical country. This means that summers are typically hot and humid and winters can get quite cold, so the best time for your visit is somewhere between March and June or in September.
Book your accommodation
Booking the right accommodation in Hong Kong isn’t cheap so you’ll need to set aside a larger chunk of your budget towards that expense and it’s certainly a smart move to do the booking in advance so you can snatch the most affordable and convenient option. You could stay in a hotel but a better option might be to consider apartments for rent in Hong Kong, just make sure you think of the best location that fits best with your plan and itinerary. Staying in a rented flat gives you more space, privacy, comfort and freedom of movement. Your traveling buddies get to stay with you and you can all enjoy cooking meals together instead of spending money to eat out every evening. You also get to meet other tenants in the building – if they’re locals, you might get some inside tips on the best places to visit and if they’re travelers like you, you can share your experiences and make new friendships!
Don’t miss out on these delicacies
Many passionate travelers say that the best way to get to know a country and its culture is through food and this is where Hong Kong will not fail you. The choice of delicacies is huge and the price range as well but there is always something for every wallet. One thing you mustn’t miss is Dim Sum but also make sure to try the great local BBQ, pork roast, wonton noodle soup, Hong Kong waffles, egg tarts and many more. You’ll also have the opportunity to book foodie tours that take you to great restaurants or roam around on your own exploring the hidden gems of the city.
Find time for these great sights
There are so many exciting places to see in Hong Kong that you can just boil it down to a few, but you need to start somewhere and why not make it outdoors at the wonderful Hong Kong Park, a refreshing green spot in the heart of the city. After that, drop by the observatory and the waterfall as you make your way to the Peak Tram which will take you to Victoria Peak where you can enjoy in the breath-taking views of the harbor. It’s also a unique experience to explore the city on foot and marvel at its original street art pieces. Also, don’t miss out on the chance to climb the 268 steps that lead to the famous statue of the Tian Tan Buddha on Lantau Island.
Hong Kong is a city rich in cultural and historical heritage that leaves no visitor indifferent. Such is the walk of the Ping Shan Heritage Trail that takes you through the less-known northern district and past the spectacular ancient sites of the Tang clan. Another great way to learn more about the country’s history is by visiting the Hong Kong Museum of History that proudly displays the region’s social history, ethnography, archaeology, and natural history.
You could easily spend years discovering Hong Kong’s busy streets, vibrant markets, fantastic restaurants and bustling nightlife, so hopefully, with these tips, you’ll be able to compose your itinerary and explore Hong Kong on your own terms.