Hong Kong: THE Travel Guide


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Do check out my Hong Kong Flights and Accommodation Guide here

Welcome to Hong Kong, a bustling metropolis

For the March holidays, I travelled to Hong Kong with 2 of good friends in school 🙂 I was previously in Hong Kong in November 2016. Thus, I decided why not combine both experiences into a fantastic guide for you guys 🙂

HongKong, a bustling city, is officially still part of China, lying at the southern borders. However, they use their own currency, the HongKong Dollar (HKD) and are known for their authenic Cantonese cuisine and culture.

The DSLR shots are by my good friend Reudi! Do check out his EyeEm photography profile page here

Activities to do there

Take a Hike

One of less-touristy things to do in Hong Kong is to attempt one of its many hiking trails. Its mountaineous regions offers many different hiking trails of varying difficulty, so there is always a trail suitable for anyone.

Dragon’s Back

Spectacular!

In November, I attempted the Dragon’s Back trail alone. It was such an experience. The temperature was pretty cool, but the winds will make you freeze. However, the sun was shining really brightly and you will experience a mix of heat and cold continuously. I had to keep on putting on and removing my sweater due to this. I took a total of 2 hours to complete the trail, which I ended at the Big Wave Beach. The views were great, overlooking the ocean and many other scenic natural formations.

Tip: Try not to wear slippers. I made a mistake and almost fell while traversing some rough terrain in the middle of the route.

Tip: Always follow the signs and don’t be afraid to ask a local for help!

Another view from the top, it was warm and cold at the same time….

How to get there

1. Take the MTR to Shau Kei Wan Station and go to Exit A3
2. Take Bus 9 to To Tei Wan, which will take you about 30 minutes and costs 6.90HKD for a single trip.
3. Start Hiking!
4. End at Big Wave Beach 🙂

You end at Big Wave Beach!

From the Big Wave beach, I took a local bus back to the main city.

Maclehose Trail Section 1

View along the trail

In March, three of us attempted the Maclehose Trail Section 1. This one was much more tedious than the Dragon’s Back. The entire trail comprises of 10 sections, but the first one already killed me 🙁 The views were SPECTACULAR though.

Halfway through the trail, we encountered a building that seemed to be dedicated to maintaining the lake? Anyway, we got pretty dope pictures from the top.

The building that my two crazy friends climbed
Photographer Reudi, the one who is providing all the DSLR shots 😛

After walking for about an hour so you, we went through this really photogenic road that was AMAZING. It had lakes on both sides of it, with one side being the resevoir and the other side being a watersports park. The scenery was so pretty, and we spent quite a bit of time here trying to perfect the camera shots. I do recommend stopping here to do a mini photoshoot before continuing on 🙂

The scenic road midway through the hike!
Encountered some cows on the way, they have tags on their ears?!

At the end, you reach a picturesque dam that marks the end of Machlehose Trail Section 1. At this point, you can choose to continue to Section 2 of the trail or turn tail and return back the way you came from. There are also some pretty nice rock formations when you walk down the trail towards the dam’s gate.

The dam!

The trail took us 5 hours in total.

How to get there

1. Take the MTR to Diamond Hill station
2. From there, take bus KMB 96R will directly to Tai Mong Tsai Road where you get off at Pak Tam Chung stop. (This operates on Sunday!) If you are hiking on the other days, take bus 92 to Sai Kung stop, then 94 to Pak Tam Chung stop.
3. Start Hiking!
4. End at the picturesque dam and either continue onto Section 2, or turn back (like I did :p)

Can I be a weathered rock too?

Explore old Hong Kong

Mongkok in the day

The areas I would suggest to explore and walk around are in Mongkok, Yau Ma Tei, Shek Kip Mei and other residential districts around. Choi Hung estate is one of the more iconic residential estates in Hong Kong.  There are many buildings and old estates that you can take nice pictures of. It is always nice to get away from the touristy sights and see how the locals live.

Of old, and old

MongKok is known for its glitzy neon street signs that appear on entire streets. It’s street food is also one of the BEST. I kept eating this roasted 3-mushroom stick that they had from one of the street vendors. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a photo 🙁 Besides this, there are also street performances that are going on pretty much every night. They include singing, dancing and other amazing feats by locals and foreigners.

Explore Cheng Chau Island

Locals walking toward Tung Wan Beach!

A little island off the shores of mainland HongKong, it offers a place for locals and tourists alike to take a respite from the hustle and bustle in the city. It boasts pristine beaches on its northern coast, and short trekking trails that you can follow either from the east coast or the west.

The coastline was really scenic and I loved just seeing locals walking about on a Saturday morning. While walking along the coastal path, we saw elderly couples just enjoying the sea breeze, and each other’s presence 🙂

So cute! And you can see the fishing boats in the background.

I heard that the trail and views around the East Coast were nicer so we went with that. Along the way, you would find plenty of photogenic spots, be it in the forest, or by the sea. As you continue walking, you would pass by a forest where you can rest, visit the toilet, or just continue walking on to the rocks and caves by the beach. The foliage and rocks make for a nice rest stop, or just another spot for your camera to work its magic :p

Just tryna act candid and all, but failing terribly.

After exiting the forest rest stop, we continued walking along the edges of the coast. There were railings and fences to prevent little children from falling onto the rocks, but we climbed over the railing and got rewarded with these sights. The photos opportunities here were massive. Do attempt this!

Of rocks and me
The color scheme fits well

There was supposedly a nice cave to visit at the end. Unfortunately, we did not visit the cave as it was too crowded and we did not want to squeeze with a bunch of other tourists.

Directions:  Take the MTR to Central station or Hong Kong station and walk towards the sea. Find Pier number 5 that goes to Cheng Chau Island! The ferry timings can be found on this website. The ferry is quite equipped with spacious toilets and adequate seats.

Tip: You can also rent a bicycle to move around the island! It seems pretty convenient, although I didn’t rent one!

Tip: Even if you’re going in November, the weather was pretty hot when the sun came out . I would recommend light clothing, and NOT a long-sleeved shirt that my friend wore.

Bicycles for rent…even the bicycles are photogenic here

Sai Wan Swimming Shed

Wei An attempting a dangerous stunt -.-

This was the place that I had read about in other blogs and I told myself: I need to go there and take nice pictures! It was a popular destination for locals to enter the sea and take a dip, however currently it is a photographer’s paradise, with a photogenic platform leading out the sea. The waves crashing onto the platform and the nearby rocks also provide a dynamic element in the photo. Do visit the swimming shed now, when not many people have heard of it!

Directions:

1. Take the MTR to  Kennedy Town station( Exit A).
2. Either walk (we did that) or take Green Minibus 58 ( HKD 6.90)

Do be careful though as the platform is slippery. When the waves crash onto the shed in the photo below, they make for a fantastic shot BUT you’ll get drenched if you’re standing there. #allforthegram

The picture gets really pretty when the waves crash onto the shed, not very nice for the photo’s subject though 🙂

Tip: Explore the rocky “coast” around Sai Wan’s swimming shed as it boasts good photo opportunities as well! From the main swimming shed, walk towards the right. You will eventually see a shed (that’s the toilet), continue to  walk behind the shed and eventually you will reach some pretty nice rocks that are worthy of your camera!

This was taken at the rocks and “ruins” around the swimming shed

Go shopping crazy

There are two major night markets that tourists flock to in the evening.

These locks were also available at the night market 🙂 we saw many of them in an enclosure on Cheng Chau Island

Temple Street Night Market

Temple Street Night Market, photo by ginomempin on Flickr

Temple Street Night Market open around 5pm and sells a variety of clothing, toys, bags and other accessories. It is very popular with tourists and it really gets into action around 7-9pm, where scores of tourists throng the night market in the search for good bargains.

Directions: Take the MTR to Jordan station (Exit B1) or Yau Ma Tei (Exit C). From there, walk a short distance to get to the night market 🙂

Tip: Do try to haggle as always.

Ladies Street Night Market

Ladies Street Night Market, photo by Richo in Flickr

Ladies Street Night Market opens at around the same time. There are many cool cafes located at the side roads of the night market, do check them out!

Directions: Take the MTR to Mong Kok station (Exit E2). From there, walk a short distance down Nelson Road to get there 🙂

Tip: I think that you can just choose one of them to visit.  This is because the goods sold in both the markets seem to be similar (bags, electronics, clothing and the ilk)

Sneakers Street

Wei An bought this trippy pair from Sneakers Street

This street is entirely filled with shops selling sneakers and other kinds of footwear. From Nike, to Adidas, to Puma, they have every single brand right there in this district. This was also where both my friends purchased new kicks.

Directions: Take the MTR to Mong Kok Station (Exit D3). Walk along Argyle Street to Fa Yuen Street.

Prices: 

1. Nike Lunar Epic Fly Knits 2: SGD 235
2. Trippy Nike Roshe 2 Fly Knit: SGD 90

Tip: Some shops would not have the latest designs, you can had to the official outlet in the shopping centre to check them out. Do also watch out for scams where the shoe isn’t genuine! In our case, we searched online on how to find out whether Nike shoes were authentic, there were many articles but we settled on 2 tips.

Reudi’s pair of grey Fly-Knits, we had to go to an actual store to purchase this as the shops along Sneakers Street did not have one of his size -.-

Catch the lights & night view of Victoria harbour

View of the harbour at night 🙂

Ah, Victoria Harbour. The iconic harbour is a staple attraction to the new-comer to HongKong. However, since it was too mainstream, I decided to put it behind in the list of activities to do.

However, it really is quite amazing. You drop off at Tsim Sha Tsiu MTR and walk straight out to the harbour, where cargo  ships, traditional chinese junk vessels and tourist boats mingle together on the water.

There is a light show going on every night at 8pm, where dazzling displays of laser lights will enthrall you for 15 minutes. Watch the lights dance around in the air, with the reflections in the water providing a magical element.

In the day!

Visit Sha Tin Wai Village

Old Gate of Sha Tin Wai village

This historic walled village used to be a prosperous part of HongKong in the past. The village is still surviving though, with monthly village congregations where the elders and leaders discuss about current events and the progress of the village. It is quite a walk from the MTR though. You will get to see village life past and present, and many spectacular ancient walls that protected the village from harm previously.

The main alley

After walking through the main gate, you will pass by many different traditional residential areas. Walk through this open alley and look for a main room where they hang portraits of all the past chieftains of the village. Walk further into this room, and you’ll find a little prayer room resembling a mini temple.

Directions: Take the MTR to Sha Tin Wai station. There will be plenty of signs directing you to the village. Or use Google Maps like I did.

Tip: Do take note that you cannot enter some residential parts of the village. There will be signs present, do follow them!

Old housing near to the village

Head to Tai-O fishing village

On the boat in Tai-O fishing village!

Tai-O is an old fishing village that has been transformed today to a major tourist hotspot, yet still retaining its rustic charm. You will get to sample many traditional HongKong snacks here, as well as take a short tour on a fishing boat through the fishing village. While on the boat, we saw many traditional houses on stilts lying above the water. It was really a unique experience!

Directions: Take bus 11 to Tai O bus terminus (50 minutes.) Walk for around five minutes to the Rope-drawn Ferry Bridge and then take a stroll along the waterfront;

Alternative directions: Take the MTR  to Tung Chung Station (Exit B.). Then, take Ngong Ping Cable Car to Ngong Ping Village (approximately 25 minutes).

Explore the NightLife at Lan Kwai Fong

We stopped at a pub to drink a little 🙂

Lan Kwai Fong is known as the place to go to at night, if you enjoy clubbing or just chilling out at one of their many bars. We went to a pub (pic above) that had special shots on offer from HKD 50, 60 to 100. The music was so good! However, alcohol in Hong Kong is expensive in general. You’ll be much happier going to Thailand or the Philippines to get the bang for your buck.

Directions: Take the MTR to Central station at (exit D2) or  Hong Kong station (exit C) . Go around the Pedder Building on Theatre Lane until it intersects Queen’s Road Central and proceed to walk along D’Aguilar Street

Enjoy the culinary delights

Tai Cheong Egg Tart!

I will write a separate blog post about this soon, but Hong Kong is renowned for its good food, be it in the streets or in the cosy restaurants. The food here is amazing and really delicious. Every single place we visited had really good cuisine, from the egg tarts, to “pineapple” buns, to roast goose and even the sumptous dim sum!

Well I hope you have a blast in Hong Kong!

Safe travels and pick your hikes well!

Jared

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