Meeting Locals on a One Year Trip Around the World

Things to do in Hong Kong Like a Local

August 13, 2018|Lena
Things to do in Hong Kong like a local. #hongkong

Our first stop on our trip around the world was Hong Kong. Why? Because it was the cheapest destination from Nagoya, and because we both had never been there. In 5 days we explored quite a bit of this fascinating country/city, and in this post, I would like to share with you the things to do in Hong Kong like a local. You might be wondering how I can recommend things to do like a local even though I am not a local. We got most of our recommendations from our Couchsurfing host Francis who is a Hong Kong local. More about him at the bottom of this post.

Having a good view of the Hong Kong skyline is something no visitor to the city should miss. It is totally free, so excellent for tight budgets and very impressive. Even for someone like me who has been living in Tokyo for the past three years (another city with an imposing skyline), the view of Hong Kong was spectacular. There are multiple spots from which you can see Hong Kong quite nicely.

Gain access to the exclusive
Social Travel Experiment Library

And start planning your unforgettable gap year around the world
using the Gap Year Prep Check List

From Victoria Harbor

The Hong Kong skyline

Victoria Harbor is on the mainland, which will give you an unforgettable view of the skyline of Hong Kong Island. No matter if you visit by day or by night the views are impressive and therefore it is one of the top things to do in Hong Kong. Many buildings feature light effects and big LED screens which look very beautiful at night especially with the colorful lights reflected in the channel between the mainland and the island.

From the Star Ferry

You can get a very similar but closer look at Hong Kong Island when you cross from the mainland to Hong Kong Island by Star Ferry. The fee is ridiculously cheap at 2.7 HKD, and even though there are other ways of crossing over to the island, for example by metro, this is the most scenic route.

From Victoria Peak

Peak Tram going up Victoria Peak in Hong Kong

The first recommendation of Francis was a visit to Victoria Peak, the highest point in Hong Kong and a great place to see the city from the top. Victoria Peak is also a favorite hiking spot, but in the heat, we gave up quite fast. We did, however, make it to a waterfall which is located not far from the Peak Tram Station.

There are different ways of getting to the top, and one of the experiences you shouldn’t miss is a ride with the Peak Tram. It is so steep that looking outside the window you will have the illusion that the buildings are actually not straight but leaning to the side. If you don’t reserve a ticket in advance, you will have to stand in line for quite a while, at least if you are planning a visit on the weekend. So my recommendation is to buy your Peak Tram ticket on the klook website (how about right now?).

We didn’t take the tram back down, mainly because we didn’t want to queue again to get back down, and opted to take the longer but cheaper route down the mountain by taking a public bus (number 50).

Cycle to the Chinese Border

Cycling to the Chinese border

Did you know that there is a whole other side to Hong Kong? One where there is no traffic, no high rise buildings and no busy bustle? If you take a train to the North of Hong Kong all the way to Sheung Shui or Lo Wu, you will get to know a different kind of Hong Kong. Here there are golf courses, and beautiful nature and the Chinese border is so close that you can cycle there easily.

We did our cycling tour with our Couchsurfing host Francis who lives in Sheung Shui, right next to a gigantic golf course. But even if you are not as lucky as us and you don’t happen to have a Couchsurfing host, you can still experience Hong Kong like a local. Simply rent an ofo bicycle! In China, bicycle rental is very common, and the yellow ofo bicycles can be found at every corner. You can rent a bike easily by downloading the ofo app to your phone. Once you have got your bicycle, simply input the Chinese border into Google Maps, and you are good to go.

To use Google Maps efficiently, you will need access to the internet. If you are looking for a cheap WIFI option, have a look at the portable WIFI routers on klook.com. That is how we stayed connected during our stay in Hong Kong.

Visit Lamma Island

Lamma Island fishing village

Lamma Island is another place where it is hard to believe that it is actually part of Hong Kong. This little island with ist two sleepy fishing villages is the perfect destination for a half-day trip from Hong Kong.

Gain access to the exclusive
Social Travel Experiment Library

And start planning your unforgettable gap year around the world
using the Gap Year Prep Check List

You can reach the island easily by ferry. From the first port town Yung Shue Wan you then hike all the way over to the other side. On the way, you can take a rest at the beach at about one-third of the distance. And once you reach Shok Kwu Wan, how about some delicious seafood to reward yourself. At least that’s what we did at the Rainbow Seafood Restaurant right at the waterfront.

If you want more information on what to do at and how to get to Lamma Island check out my post (as soon as it is finished).

Participate in a Hong Kong Food Tour

barbecue pork rice one of the highlights of the hong kong foodie tours

I believe the food is the easiest way to get to know a new culture. For this reason, I love participating in food tours. The first food tour I ever joined in was the food tour in Taipei run by Taipei eats. And it was amazing. The food tour in Hong Kong by Hong Kong Foodie Tours is an unforgettable tour as well and a great place to get to know the culture and history of Hong Kong. During a 3 hour walk around Central & Sheung Wu, I got to try many different Hong Kong dishes, drinks, and little treats. The tour guide Yammy was very knowledgeable and gave us a glimpse into Hong Kong that can’t be easily spotted when one is just looking at the surface.

If you want more information about the Hong Kong Foodie Tour check out my review post.

Have Some Wonton Noodle Soup

Wonton Noodle soup in Hong Kong

I was told the perfect Wonton is 80% shrimp and 20% pork. And the shop that does Wonton best is Tsim Chai Kee. We loved the Wonton Noodle Soup so much we ate it there three times in 5 days. And aperently so does everybody else, locals and tourists alike flock to Tsim Chai Kee around noon to have some of this delicious soup. Definitely one of the top things to do in Hong Kong like a local.

Additionally, the Wonton Noodle Soup as well as the other two noodle soups, one with fish balls and another with beef, are very cheap, so if you want amazing food on a budget Tsim Chai Kee is the place to go! Just writing about it now makes me want to go back to Hong Kong.

Try Egg Waffles at Oddies Foodies

Oddies Foodies in Hong Kong

Egg waffles are waffles that are shaped like little balls. They are fluffy inside and crispy in the areas connecting the balls. I had my first egg waffle at a food truck in Tokyo, close to my work and after the first taste, I knew I had to try it in Hong Kong.

There are traditional style egg waffles, basically a plain, sweet waffle, but there are also variations in the waffle batter, for example, chocolate chips, strawberry or matcha flavors.

I went all out. A simple waffle wasn’t good enough for me, and so I decided to go to a shop that sells a combination of egg waffle, gelato, soft serve and sauce in a cup. At Oddies Foodies you also get regular egg waffles or a simple scoop of gelato. But let’s be serious who would want that if they could have an impressive dessert wonder!

Oddies Foodies has been featured on many websites, and on klook.com you can even buy a discount voucher for your egg waffle dessert at Oddies Foodies.

Eat some Mango Sago at Auntie Sweet

Mango Sago in Hong Kong

Another sweet treat, popular in Hong Kong is Mango Sago. Basically, sweet chilled mango soup. Perfect for those super hot and humid summer days. We went out of our way to visit a little shop called Auntie Sweet where they have other delicious looking sweets beside Mango Sago.

The Mango Sago had two big slices of mango at the top, a thick mango soup and some yogurt with little tapioca in there.

Stay at Chungking Mansions

Chongking Mansions in Hong Kong

If you think you are a real backpacker or you are a traveler on a tight budget then you should book a night at Chungking Mansions. This massive complex is a labyrinth of elevators leading to little guesthouses. Mainly rooms with a reception somewhere in the vicinity. The staff is never available, and you have to wait or call to get someone to attend to you. The rooms can best be described as a closet with a bed and shower room that functions as a toilet at the same time.

We saw one little cockroach in our one night and slept horribly on the stained and hard bed. But it is an experience that every real backpacker should have, or so I tell myself.

Stay with a Local

Our Couchsurfing host in Hong Kong

If you want to experience unique things, then my recommendation for every destination is to try and find a local host to stay with. There are multiple options, Couchsurfing is probably the most famous one. But there are also hosts on Airbnb or Homestay and many less renowned hospitality networks.

In Hong Kong, we stayed with Francis, a Hong Kong local and teacher of business management at a University in Hong Kong. He welcomed us for three nights and even took the time to show us around and introduce us to some delicious authentic Hong Kong food. Really Hong Kong like a local.

Ride the Ding Ding

The hong kong tram

What’s the cheapest way to explore Hong Kong Island if you don’t want to walk all the way? The Hong Kong tram also called Ding Ding. It runs from east to west (or west to east) on different routes and is ridiculously cheap so it won’t burn a hole in your budget even if you hop on and off multiple times. Basically, the more affordable and let’s admit it, more stylish version of the red hop on/ hop off buses that can be found in Hong Kong.

In Conclusion


We had a fantastic time in Hong Kong, and it was a great destination as a first stop for our trip around the world. Alone for the food it is worth coming back. Even though Hong Kong is an expensive city it can be easily done on a budget if you try because transportation is basically free, there are delicious, cheap restaurants or food stalls all around, and staying in a guest house or with a host will also not burn a hole in your wallet.

Things to do in Hong Kong like a local. #hongkong
Things to do in Hong Kong like a local. #hongkong

Lena

Authors Note:
Some of the experiences in this post have been sponsored. The opinions stated are all my own and have not been influenced in any way.
This posts contains affiliate links. I receive a commission if a product is purchased through one of these links, at no extra cost to you. Please support me by purchasing products through my links!

Gain access to the exclusive
Social Travel Experiment Library

And start planning your unforgettable gap year around the world
using the Gap Year Prep Check List

Spread the love
  •  
  •  
  •  
  • 64
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
    64
    Shares
Search
Categories
Archive
About Lena

Hi, I'm Lena the founder of The Social Travel Experiment. My mission is to teach about Social Travel, the art of exploring destinations from the viewpoint of locals while learning about Culture, History, Food, and Traditions.

Find out more About Me and The Social Travel Experiment

If you are a business we might be able to work together so check out the Work With Me page for more details

Ads
Subscribe
Facebook
Search
Categories
Archive
About Lena

Hi, I'm Lena the founder of The Social Travel Experiment. My mission is to teach about Social Travel, the art of exploring destinations from the viewpoint of locals while learning about Culture, History, Food, and Traditions.

Find out more About Me and The Social Travel Experiment

If you are a business we might be able to work together so check out the Work With Me page for more details

Ads
Subscribe
Facebook