7 Reasons Why Hong Kong Should Be On Your Travel Bucket List This Year
1. Two words: DUTY FREE
If there's only one thing you need to know about Hong Kong, it's this: Hong Kong is a free port. This means that there are no tariffs or sales tax on products.
Once you touch down at the airport, head down to Tung Chung. The City Gate Outlets is a haven for designer products - at unbelievable prices. If that's not enough for you, head down to the Elements Mall in the ICC building, the SOGO Department Store and the Harbour City Shopping Mall, which has over 700 shops.
For tech enthusiasts, you'd be pleased to know that Hong Kong is home to whatever kind of electronics. The Computer Mall in Wan Chai and the Sin Tat Plaza in Mong Kok are good places to start for computers and mobile phones. Want video games? There's the Golden Shopping Centre in the local neighbourhood of Sham Shui Po.
2. It has gorgeous hiking trails and beaches for surfing!
You'd think that for a country like Hong Kong, any space available would be utilised. This is not the case as Hong Kong has reserved 40% of its land territories for country parks. There are local bookshops that provides guides to hiking trails across mountainous terrain and remote valleys to these secret and untouched beaches.
One of the most popular sites in Hong Kong is Tai Long Wan. Literally named as "Big Wave Bay", the area has four beaches Sai Wan, Ham Tin, Tai Wan and Tung Wan and all four are great for camping and surfing. Some, like the MacLehose and Wilson Trails, named after former governors are so rigorous that they take more than a day to complete.
No wonder it was voted as the world's best urban walk!
3. The abundance of Dim Sum and street food is enough to make you salivate
Hong Kong is a food haven for Cantonese cuisine with one that stands out amongst all: Dim Sum. The world's cheapest Michelin star restaurant, Tim Ho Wan in Mong Kok, is proof that the food speaks for itself. People queue up for hours in anticipation of its delicious Dim Sum dishes, which the restaurant offers at affordable prices. The average dish at this restaurant costs somewhere in the range of $10-15 HK.
It's not only about Dim Sum. Hong Kong is rich in it's street food culture. Even Anthony Bourdain claims that Hong Kong has the "best street food" in the world. Definitely try the curried fish balls in Mong Kok, outdoor street food stalls on the Temple Street Night Market and egg waffles in North Point.
4. It's all about the skyscrapers
Fact: Hong Kong has the most skyscrapers in the world with over 1,200 buildings huddled closely on the tiny island. That's more than double of it's closest competitor, New York City! Because of the iconic backgrounds, there are many places to take and soak in the view.
There's the Avenue of Stars on the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront, which memorialises popular stars such as Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, and Andy Lau. For a more comprehensive view of the city, head down to the Peak Tower on Victoria Peak. At a height of 428 metres, the tower offers a breathtaking view of the city.
5. You get to ride on a public transportation that's been running over a century!
Hong Kong love their public transportation. Yet, in the midst of modernisation, it has managed to preserve it's heritage when it comes to transportation. The city has three different types of public transportation that have been in operation for over 100 years!
First of all, there's the Star Ferry. The ferry has been ferrying people across the Victoria Harbour since 1888 and is widely loved by the public. When the British Colonial government tried to increase the fares in 1966, there was a widespread protest. A peaceful protest happened fourty years later, when there were plans to demolish the Star Ferry building.
Next on the iconic transportation list is the Peak Trams. Also in operation since 1888, the tram offers iconic views to and from Victoria Peak and is a must do attraction for any visitor.
Last but not the least is the Hong Kong Tramways. The tramways have been in operation since 1904 and have been plying their route from Kennedy Town to Shau Kei Wan. Their iconic double decker trams is a good way to enjoy a leisurely view of the city.
6. The serene village life
There are over 200 uninhabited islands in Hong Kong and it offers tourists a glimpse of what it's like away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The most famous of these islands is Lantau Island, known mostly for the giant Buddha statue on top of the island. You're able to get up by taking a 25-minute cable car ride which provides exhilarating views of the island.
Just further down the island is the Tai O village. A fishing village just a bus ride away from the Buddha statue, it's known for it's street food and the chance to catch pink dolphins!
7. The hustle and haggling to get a good deal at the street markets
Not only is Hong Kong a duty free city, it's also a great place to haggle and hustle for great deals at the street markets. The Mong Kok markets sells everything from iPhone covers to imitation designer bags, watches and CDs, T-shirts, jeans and household products. The most famous among these markets is the Ladies Market. Contrary to the name, you don't have to be a lady to enjoy it as the market caters to both men and women.
Further down the Ladies Market lies the Goldfish Market, and you've probably guessed right. It sells bags of goldfish and aquarium supplies! Looking for some flowers? There's Flower's Market down the corner and it's probably the nicest smelling market in the world with all the lovely bouquets arranged in rows.
Stop wondering what it is like eating scrumptious Dim Sum in the mornings, or surfing the waves in Tai Long Wan when you can be there in person...