Hong Kong On a Budget
Hong Kong is so much more than a tourist destination. It's a booming city that has something to offer everyone. There are some districts that are popular with tourists, but if you really want to see the true Hong Kong you should look beyond the tourist attractions. There are several popular neighborhoods to hang out in as a traveler. Downtown Hong Kong is where you'll find some of the city's best shopping. Lan Kwai Fong is the place to go to grab a drink at a bar or a nice meal in a restaurant. Soho has a lot of the city's top entertainment and Sheung Wan has some smaller shops that reflect the area's colonial past. If you're looking for department store shopping head to Causeway Bay. For the best view of the skyline walk along the Kowloon Waterfront. This will offer you the most quintessential look at the city's skyline.
Another popular activity in Hong Kong is horse racing. Between September and June you can check out the races twice weekly. Many people choose to gamble, but if you're not the betting type it's fun to go and watch the festivities as well. Some people can be rather outspoken and involved so it's a great opportunity to see Hong Kong's culture.
At A Glance
- Octopus cards are an efficient way to pay for public transportation around Hong Kong. They offer access to the entire public transportation system with just a swipe of your card. The cards are only truly efficient however if you plan to be in Hong Kong for at least a few months. Those who are passing through will likely do better if they pay as they go.
- There are ferries that connect most of the islands around Hong Kong. The most popular route for tourists is the Star Ferry which runs between Tsim Sha Tsui and Central Hong Kong. It offers spectacular views, particularly in the early morning or late at night.
- If you're interested in festivals there are some great ones in Hong Kong. Some of the more popular festivals in the city include Chinese (Lunar) New Year, Mid Autumn Festival, and Hungry Ghost Festival.
- Most people don't head to Hong Kong for the beaches, but if you really want to find one some of the better options are found around Repulse Bay, Shek O, and Hung Shing Yeh Beach.
- Prices in Hong Kong are very high if you're coming from elsewhere in Southeast Asia. Still, you might be able to find some decent deals in some of the many shopping centers that are all around the city. Most sell western style clothing and some of the knockoff labels can be purchased for a cheap price.
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Top Tourist AttractionsVictoria Peak: Take the Peak Tram up to the top of Victoria Peak for a stunning view of the city from Peak Tower. Like most places in Hong Kong, you'll not only find an observation deck at the top, but also a shopping mall. You can also grab a nice dinner and wander through some museums.
Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront: This area is popular with backpackers as it is where you'll find most of the budget accommodation. There are a few nicer hotels here as well. It's a great place to explore. You can wander along the pedestrian only promenade and check out the Hong Kong skyline as it lights up at night.
"Ladies' Market": Go shopping at this famous street market. It's the place to go to find cheap knock off items or low cost clothing. It's located in in Mong Kok and can be reached by MTR or by bus.
Popular FoodsHong Kong is a food lovers' destination. Check out this Hong Kong food guide for more info and suggestions. Most locals eat out frequently so you'll find no shortage of restaurants around the city. There are any number of food options available from Chinese to Western style restaurants. Most have their own unique Hong Kong flare.
Dim Sum: Dim sum is similar to tapas in that you are served a variety of small dishes. Servers circle the restaurant with carts full of items which diners can choose from. Dumplings, fried rice, and noodle dishes are often among the options available.
Siu Mei: This is a pork dish that is popular all over Hong Kong. The meat is typically roasted over an open fire or in a rotisserie oven. It's prepared with a honey sauce and often has a rich barbecue flavor.
Chinese Hot Pot: Boil yourself up a soup at your table with a traditional Chinese Hot Pot. It's usually prepared with a broth base. Diners cook the thinly sliced meat and vegetables at the table until it makes a soup type dish.