Wanting an authentic visitors guide to Hong Kong written by locals?
Hong Kong is a bustling and vibrant city, packed with history, food, nature, beaches, and sights galore. Although it’s got a reputation as an expensive city, it doesn’t mean your trip has to hurt your wallet or that you have to do what all the other visitors are doing.
With a bit of insider information, visiting Hong Kong as a tourist can be both more affordable and more enjoyable. When you live in a city for years, like our team here at Savvy in HK have, we can share the tips we’ve learned from living in Hong Kong.
In this article, we’re going to cover:
- The tourist activities and hidden gems in the city
- Great restaurants that you need to try
- Hotels that we recommend based on price and quality
Inexpensive activities to do in Hong Kong
Arrived in Hong Kong, and shocked at the prices? Yes, things can be expensive in Hong Kong, but there are plenty of inexpensive things to do in Hong Kong. So we’ve written an article about the 26 best inexpensive things to do in Hong Kong.
A few highlights from our guide to inexpensive activities in Hong Kong include:
- Going to Po Lin Monastery to light incense and make a wish
- Spending a few hours strolling through Hong Kong Park
- Taking a sunset cruise around the harbor – camera at the ready
- Getting your fortune told late at night during a visit to Tin Hau Temple.
- Walking the foreshore from Deep Water Bay to Repulse Bay.
To help you plan your adventures, we even have a perfect seven-day itinerary laid out for you. Not got a whole week to cruise around the city? Pick and choose what works for you and what you really don’t want to miss out on.
When you’re visiting Hong Kong, other useful tips include picking up an Oyster card to get you around on public transport, knowing to take the Airport Express train into the city rather than a taxi, and what to expect during different seasons. Check out the guide for more.
Best Sheung Wan restaurants
When you go to a new country, do you like eating where the locals eat? If so, try Sheung Wan.
Our absolutely favorite destination for eating out is Sheung Wan.
On top of the traditional Hong Kong fayre, visitors can try various Asian and European foods. Seek, and you shall find in this melting pot of international communities.
- Bedu is a favorite with locals. Before or after dinner, walk around the nearby streets, you’ll find a temple, old buildings, new buildings… just a fabulous experience!
- Yardbird is the perfect venue for having a great time while sharing excellent food. There are no bookings so get there early.
- Gia Bar in Sheung Wan is a restaurant that we recently came across. We love it because of its authentic Italian food, warm service, and reasonable prices. Mario is incredibly friendly. Do be careful of the cocktails – they are strong. We learned the hard way.
Still looking for more delicious dishes when you’re visiting Hong Kong? For our complete list of top recommendations for restaurants in Sheung Wan, head on over to our article about the best Sheung Wan restaurants.
Best affordable hotels in Hong Kong
If you know anyone living in Hong Kong, they’ll have already told you how expensive renting and buying property is here. With a limited footprint, there is a finite number of properties, so that’s why hotels can be so expensive.
As with every city, you get what you pay for when it comes to hotels. Expect locations outside of the central districts to be cheaper. Equally, if you expect a swimming pool, spa, and gym, you’ll be paying more.
Choose your district wisely – every area has its pros and cons. Here are some budget hotels that we like:
- Bishop Lei International comes with a swimming pool and compact but well-equipped rooms. It’s at the heart of everything, just two minutes away from Central, plus they offer shuttle buses to the terminal for the airport train.
- Ovolo Southside is a little out of the city center but has one of the trendiest restaurants and rooftop bars in town attached with a New York loft feel to boot.
- Mia Casa in Kennedy Town is super cheap, especially when you book a single room. You’re a couple of minutes from the MTR station for the district, which will have you downtown within fifteen minutes. It’s compact and basic and in a quiet neighborhood for a different Hong Kong visit vibe.
Looking for other recommendations to suit your travel style? These are just some of the highlights from our list of the eight best affordable hotels in Hong Kong; go read through the rest for inspiration.
Best visitors guide tip – take a trip to Cheung Chau Island
There is more to Hong Kong than Central. If you really want to soak in the local atmosphere, jump on a ferry and head to Cheung Chau Island.
Cheung Chau is known for:
- Great food
- Beautiful beaches
- Water activities
So basically, it’s a haven for both foodies and nature lovers. You can spend the day lazing by the beach, doing water activities, hiking, or cafe hopping. There’s no end to activities. If you have more time to explore, you can also book a glamping holiday at Saiyuen Camping Adventure Park.
If you want to learn more, check out our article on the best things to do in Cheung Chau Island.
Bucket List of 24 items to do and see in Hong Kong
Even for locals, it can be hard to figure out which activities are good to do in Hong Kong. That’s why we created our bucket list of best activities to do and see in Hong Kong. This list was designed for locals. So if you’re a tourist that likes to do both the expected and unexpected activities when traveling, check out our list.
Some of the activities we recommend include:
- Sham Shui Po: This vibrant and eclectic neighborhood has a number of famous markets. Yes, it’s hectic but it’s an authentic Hong Kong experience and you’ll also be able to pick up some fabric for reasonable prices at the same time.
- Aqua Luna/Duk Ling at night: Taking a cruise at night to enjoy the views of Victoria Harbour is one of the most enjoyable activities of Hong Kong. If you can, time your boat trip to coincide with the Symphony of Light show.
- Cheung Chau Island: this island is just a short 30-minute ferry ride from Hong Kong. There is so much to do and see here from watersports, hiking to enjoying fresh seafood around the sandy beaches. Even the local artwork that you will stumble across is intriguing.
- Hiking: Hong Kong offers a lot more than shopping and eating. Some of Hong Kong’s most popular hikes include Dragon’s Back, Lion Rock, and Bride’s Pool hike. However, if you’re short on time, do an early evening hike to Victoria Peak or even 1,000 steps from Park Hill to Stanley. The views are incredible on both these hikes.
- Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance: Tai Hang is a relatively small area due to skyscrapers but the excitement about the annual fiery dance’s enthusiasm has never waned. Check out the Dragon dance during the Next Mid Autumn festival. This festival became famous in the 19th century when the people of Tai Hang were convinced that the 3-day dragon festival was the only available method to stop the village’s bad luck.
With vaccine distributions underway, it’s time to start thinking about travel. If you’re planning a trip to Hong Kong, you’ve come to the right place. There’s a lot to pack into a trip to Hong Kong; with our on-the-ground tips, we hope you’re ready to enjoy your time in Hong Kong.
Have we missed something, or have you got some tips you’d like to share about a visitor’s guide to Hong Kong? Please let us know in the comments section below.
Are you still, hankering after something a little more local for your trip to Hong Kong? We’ve got a downloadable guide designed for people who’ve been here a while and will have done all the favorite tourist activities.