Hong Kong (Chinese for ‘Fragrant/Incense Harbour’) is an autonomous territory on the southern coast of China at the Pearl River Estuary of the South China Sea. It shares its northern border with the Guangdong Province of Mainland China and is the world’s fourth most densely populated sovereign state or territory with a whopping 7.2 million residents. While I have never visited the city myself, I had a stop over there on the way to Australia once and was so overcome by the beauty of the harbours and the hills that I could see from the airport, I almost didn’t get to Australia at all. I cannot wait to visit it.
Getting Around is Half the Fun
When I asked people about some of the best things to do in Hong Kong, one of the things that came back was “the three transports”! These being the Peak Tram, The Star Ferry and the regular trams. Getting around in a new place can be hard work, figuring it all out, sorting out tickets, knowing where you even want to go and what the easiest way to get there is, but it’s also a great way to get your bearings in a city, and the benefit over driving yourself is that you get to take in the views instead of having to concentrate on not getting lost!
Since 1888, the Peak Tram has been Hong Kong Island’s most reliable form of public transport between Central district and The Peak! It’s old fashioned, a great route to a great view but a word of warning – it may feel almost totally vertical at times so if you’re wary of heights there may be options better suited to you! Visitors to the city recommend going early if possible as it can get very busy and hot later in the day. Also busier on Sundays!
The Star Ferry boats have been taking people from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon and back since also since 1888. While the two sides of Victoria Harbour are now connected by road and rail tunnels, tens of millions of people still use Star Ferry annually and it’s the perfect trip for an up-close look at one of the world’s most photographed harbours. It’s also been listed as one of National Geographic’s 50 ‘places of a lifetime’ to visit.
The trams in Hong Kong have been used by commuters for over 110 years and are still a major tourist attraction at the same time. It’s not only the cheapest transport on the island but it’s apparently the most environmentaly friendly option too. Fun fact – it’s the only tram system in the world to use only double decker trams!
Visit Nan Lian Garden
This Zen Garden is situated at Diamond Hill and can be accessed by MTR’s Green Line. There is no entry fee making it an extra nice break from hustle and bustle. It’s designed in the Tang style and the garden itself is shaped like a half moon. While there you can also access the Chi Lin Nunnery Buddhist Monastery and take some time with the temples, sculptures, Buddhist quotes and lotus pond. Bliss. They are open from 9.30am until 4.30pm.
Temple Street Night Market
According to The Lonely Planet, this is the liveliest night market in Hong Kong, Temple St and extends from Man Ming Lane in the north to Nanking St in the south. People shop here for “cheap clothes, watches, pirated CDs, fake labels, footwear, cookware and everyday items” but you’ll also find fortune-tellers, herbalists and may even stumble across some free open-air Cantonese opera performances! It’s open until 11pm and while some stalls set up in the afternoon, evening is a better time to visit.
Making Friends in Hong Kong
GirlCrew was set up to make a few new friends for nights out dancing but it quickly evolved into the place to go for some female pals for any kinds of social activities. It started in Dublin, Ireland but there’s a small group growing in Hong Kong, along with over 40 other city groups across the globe too. The group is open to all women over about 25 and up and there’s always newbies joining the group so don’t worry about being new to it. We were all a newbie once. The Hong Kong crew started off enthusiastic but they must have all become such good friends that they no longer needed the group page (yay) so we’re looking forward to welcoming in a few new re-crew-ts to get it going again! Tell your friends 🙂 Whether moving to the city, travelling there or living their your whole life, GirlCrew is the perfect way to meet a few new people. Hit the link below to join or tell a friend who’s based there.