Hong Kong is home to one of the world’s most spectacular skylines. Down at street level, Honkers is equally fascinating. From the iconic Hong Kong trams, lively street markets of Temple Street, Mong Kok and Stanley, bustling Hong Kong harbour to high end shopping malls and hole in the wall Chinese restaurants and western bars, Hong Kong has something for everyone and every taste. Don’t just take our word for it, here’s what our money savvy travellers recommend are the best ways to enjoy this thriving Asian metroplois.
If you want to experience the bustling Hong Kong street life then head to the Temple Street night markets in Yau Ma Tei. You will find everything from outdoor food stalls serving up noodle and rice dishes, cheap clothing, watches electronics, gadgets and second hand items. And for under $20 Australian, you can get your fortune told by one of the many Chinese fortune tellers along the street. Palm and face readings are popular or you can leave your fate up to a white finch. Several fortune tellers have caged white finches that are trained to come out of cage and select your fortune card, which is very cool.
Author: Natasha Baker
Get out at any MTR station onto Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui and you’ll only have to walk a couple of meters before you get approached by a someone, usually of Indian descent, asking if you want a ‘watch copy, copy watch.’ They’ll either have a briefcase handy or whisk you away into one of the arcades close by to reveal their selection of TAG, Rolex, Cartier, Omega designs. For HK$100 (about $20) I bought a TAG watch on a trip 5 years ago which has outlasted several other much more expensive watches.
Author: Dan Roland
Wing Wah Lane in Lang Kwai Fong is a great place to head to with a group for a quick, cheap meal in Honkers. The lane is packed with rows of long tables and you can take your pick of Thai, Vietnamese or Malaysian food. It’s a popular hang out with locals, expats and tourists so you might have to wait for a table. Most of the surrounding bars spill out onto the street so you can have a beer while you wait. To get around paying high bar prices in LKF just head to the Seven11 on the corner and pick up a few bottles of ice cold Carlsberg with your Octopus card and mingle with the street crowd!
Author: Mark Little
A ride on the Star Ferry is a Hong Kong must. It’s fast and dirt cheap and if you time it right just before sunset, you catch both sides of the city (Kowloon and Hong Kong Island) at their most spectacular as the HK skyline lights up. From Tsim Sha Tsui ferry terminal, head over to the historical Peninsula Hotel then up the wood paneled elevator to the Phillipe Stark designed Felix Restaurant. You’ll wipe out your $20 budget with just one drink but the view is worth it (especially from the men’s toilet).
Author: Phil Archer
A trip to Hong Kong would be incomplete without visiting the many bustling markets dotted around the city. ‘Ladies Markets’ in Mongkok Kowloon is THE biggest and most famous market, and you’ll find everything from traditional handicrafts to (great) fake designer handbags. A few blocks away at Temple Street Markets, tech-heads will find an endless arcade selling gadgets and small electronic items. Quick hint: Never accept the first offer and always haggle. However, it’s custom to purchase the item after 3-4 rounds of haggling so play strategically!
Author: Grace Mander
The busses in HK are dirt cheap and it is well worth taking the bus to check out Stanley Markets. You go through the tunnel and pop out over the other side of HK island which almost feels like you are in another country – lots of green and less high rise apartments. The markets sell the usual tourist souvenirs, silk clothing, t-shirts and gifts. If you’re there in June, Stanley is where the dragon boat championships are held and the area transforms into a sea of bright colours and loud chanting and drumming – great fun!
Author: Grace Mander
Every night at 8pm, the Hong Kong skyline lights up with a spectacular light show that includes spotlights, laser beams and pyrotechnics. More than 40 skyscrapers are turned into giant pillars of light and colour and you can even tune in to the local radio station for the dedicated soundtrack to the show. You’ll be able to grab a great spot almost anywhere on the harbour but Kowloon has the best views. If you want to soak up the atmosphere with a beverage, you can’t beat the lobby lounge of the Intercontinental Hotel.
Author: Paul Roger
We took the kids to HK for a visit to Disneyland and the one thing they keep talking about is the elevator trip that runs from central to mid levels, and unlike Disneyland, it’s free! It’s apparently the world’s longest elevator but you need to time your trip as it is a one-way system that works with peak commuting times – from mid-levels to central in the morning and reverse in the afternoons. The whole route is lined with shops, bars and restaurants so there is plenty to see and do along the way.
Author: Julie Nolan
Even though $20 Australian won’t get you very far at the Red Bar in the International Finance Centre (IFC), the spectacular views over Victoria Harbour and Kowloon seen from Hong Kong’s tallest building make it well worth the visit. If you want to stretch your dollars, make the most of happy hour between 6 – 9pm. Red Bar is also a popular place for parties and you’ll often see some of HKs best DJs mixing it up on the outdoor deck.
Author: Matt Leigh