Hong Kong evokes images of bright lights, fabulous shopping, amazing dining and all the glitz and glamour of one of the world’s most popular destinations for visitors from all over the world. And it’s a reputation that’s perfectly well deserved – because it’s all that and so much more!
The vibrant waterfront culture and luxury shopping malls contrast with ancient temples and tiny hidden teahouses where time appears to have stood still. It’s a heady mix of history, cuisine and contemporary attractions, with a unique blend of Eastern and Western influences and sensibilities. Its long association with Britain means there is a wealth of familiar and tangible legacies, but since 1997 (when it reverted to China) it has developed, or perhaps reclaimed, its own inimitable style.
With its soaring skyscrapers and plethora of familiar high-end retail brands in a very in-your-face display, it might be easy to think that’s all there is. However, you really don’t have to scrape the surface too deep to find the traditional old style markets and secret laneways, or head a little further afield and discover a wealth of natural beauty.
What to Do
Quite a lot of visitors come here specifically to shop; and shop you will if that’s your heart’s desire! Places like Central, Causeway Bay, Sham Shui Po, Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok, will have your head spinning and your credit cards working hard. In terms of dining out and enjoying the nightlife, there’s so much to offer it is difficult to choose, but the most popular place is the Lan Kwai Fong area, which has everything from fine dining to nightclubs to hole-in-the-wall cocktail bars.
But beyond shopping and nightlife, the broad-ranging culture and history are well-preserved in a huge array of galleries, museums and notable religious sites – both in the midst of the action and further afield in more rural areas. Getting out and about to places like Tai O fishing village or the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery, in Sha Tin, will open your eyes to some fascinating traditions.
Other activities and attractions that you can experience in this fabulously diverse destination are the surprisingly lovely beaches, the bustling street markets and getting out to hike in the dramatic volcanic landscape.
Renowned as a ‘global food fair’ and an undisputed culinary hot spot of Asia, Hong Kong’s food is an array of flavours, aromas and colours with an ever-present tang of exotic spices. But as well as its own signature Cantonese cuisine, wherever you turn you’ll be able to sample a vast range of international dishes including Indian, Vietnamese, French, Italian and more familiar Western styles.
What not to miss? A definitive answer to that question is probably impossible, but we’ll give you a bit of a head start. Some of the most iconic specialities include sweet and sour pork (so much more delicious than what you may be used to at your local Chinese takeaway), wontons, with their rich meat fillings and thin skins, served simmering in a piquant soup, steamed dumplings with a shrimp or vegetable filling, and the famous wind sand chicken, a local favourite.
Something else you really must try is the local Hong Kong style milk tea, which you’ll see all the locals drinking in the afternoon. It comprises black tea, evaporated milk and sugar and, once tasted, you’ll be hooked.
Hong Kong experiences four very distinct seasons: summer is hot and rainy, while winter is cool and dry and both spring and autumn are quite sunny and mild. The best time to travel is usually considered to be the later autumn months, between October to December. It’s definitely a year-round destination, although between May and October there’s the possibility of cyclones and typhoons.
In summer the temperatures can reach up to 32-degrees Celsius, while in the very mild winter the average is around 17C although it can drop to about 10C. In autumn and spring the averages are about 18-20C, making it a very comfortable time to visit in terms of the weather.
How to Get There
Hong Kong is around a 12-hour flight from the UK, with airlines such as British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Cathay Pacific offering direct routes several times a week. While it is a long haul flight, it’s not difficult to find a convenient time. You’ll fly into the one main airport, Hong Kong International (HKG), which is also known as Chep Lak Kok.
When you land, the best way of making your onward transfer seamless and stress-free is on a pre-booked shared or private transfer service with Shuttle Direct. You’ll be met by a friendly local driver and the trip into Central takes around 25 minutes.
Travelling to Hong Kong? Don’t Miss…
- A trip to the Outlying Islands, about 260 smaller, less-developed islands, will give you a wonderful insight into a traditional lifestyle. You can just hop over on the ferry for day trips to places like Lamma, Cheung Chau or Lantau, or stay overnight and really get a taste for the tiny fishing villages and lovely rural landscape. Want off the beaten track? This is it.
- The Peak dominates the backdrop of the central district and harbour and ascending its 552m heights is a great way to not only see how the wealthy locals live as well (if that’s your thing) but also enjoy lovely walks and outstanding views. The trip to the top is a big part of the attraction, either on a double-decker bus or on an extreme angle in the famous Peak Tram.
- Take a deep breath and head into the seething mass that is Kowloon, a place of extremes not only in its population, but also its commercial ventures, shopping, dining and architecture. One of the highlights, though, is the opportunity to take in the absolutely jaw-dropping views over to the skyscrapers of Hong Kong Island – particularly after dark.
About Shuttle Direct
Here at Shuttle Direct we’ve got a reputation as the best in the business and we live up to it every day. Our range of shared and private airport transfers is second to none, so wherever you choose to travel and whatever your budget, you can make a simple online booking before you leave. Once you land a professional local driver will be waiting to meet you and get you to your final destination. Easy, convenient and hassle free.