￼Vertigo-inducing skyscrapers that cling to mountainous slopes and busy fishing villages that proudly hold on to their cultural heritage: Hong Kong is more diverse than you’d imagine. This city can appear to be a collection of concrete high–rises but you are rarely further than a short taxi ride from verdant hikes. The mix of high and low will charm even the most hardened urban travellers.
- Taxi tactics: Affordable and abundant, Hong Kong’s taxis may not be the most charming in the world but they’re an efficient way to get around the city.
- Quick Cantonese: While you’ll be able to get around Hong Kong with relative ease using only English, knowing a few key Cantonese phrases will come in handy (and may win you some respect).
- The big smoke: Hong Kong’s temples are hubs for each community, where incense sticks and coils are lit to honour the dead and the gods.
- Come rain or shine: The weather here can be as dramatic and changeable as the skyline. If you’re caught without an umbrella the city’s myriad convenience stores always sell them.
- Dignified approach: Be sensitive to the pride that many people here take in their unique culture and history. Many identify themselves as Hong Kongers first and Chinese second.
The Peninsula, Tsim Sha Tsui
There are but a few places in Hong Kong that can drum up the city’s romance and history like The Peninsula, the iconic hotel that opened in 1928 overlooking Victoria Harbour from Kowloon’s shoreline.
Pentahotel, San Po Kong
At the heart of the hotel is the Penta lounge, a multifunctional space that houses an open marketplace-restaurant-bar-café where guests can order Hong Kong street-food classics.
The Pottinger, Central
Local design champion
The rooms reference old Hong Kong design and many display work by Fan Ho, who shot iconic images of the city during the 1950s and 1960s. The Envoy roof bar serves great cocktails too.
- Beeh-tzao: Beer
- Ciu Bao: Very cool
- Ding ding: Street trams
- Gei dor chihn ah?: How much is it?
- Ho Muhng: Very cute
- Jo San: Good morning
- Ng-goy: Thank you
- Sap Sap Soy: No big deal
Ho Lee Fook, Central
Chinese cuisine with a twist
Taiwanese-Canadian chef Jowett Yu is in Hong Kong to explore his version of modern Chinese cuisine with his restaurant Ho Lee Fook.
Hoi On Café, Sheung Wan
Hoi On was opened in the 1950s and its name means “safe voyage” in Chinese. Check out the traditional wooden booths and be sure to try the French toast.
Mido Café, Yau Ma Tei
Much loved by the city’s directors and actors for its well-preserved interiors, little has changed here since the 1960s. The Mido Café has been the backdrop for many Hong Kong films, photo shoots and TV shows.
Yan Toh Heen, Tim Sha Tsui
Modern dim sum with a view
Yan Toh Heen provides a ringside seat of Victoria Harbour and the cityscape while offering the chance to savour some of the best Cantonese food in town. At lunch, dim sum reigns supreme: if you’re dining alone the seafood dumpling trio – grouper, crab leg and scallop – is a particularly good choice.
This beautiful two-storey space designed by Ilse Crawford houses a Chinese restaurant, art gallery and salon for cultural events. But above all it’s a civilised spot for sundowners, especially the leafy terrace on the upper floor.
Kapok, Wan Chai
The St Francis Yard outpost focuses on fashion including homegrown womenswear label Berayah and shoes by Common Projects, while the Sun Street location stocks up on homeware such as trays by Hay from Denmark.
Everything under the sun
Woaw is one of the city’s best concept stores, stocking everything from tech accessories designed by Hong Kong’s Native Union to toiletries from Malin + Goetz.
Loveramics, Causeway Bay
Tableware with an edge
Loveramics is an urban loft-style china-tableware shop set up just off Leighton Road in 2009. William Lee founded the company with his wife Grace Ching and the couple take pride in the timelessness of the products they design and sell.
Kubrick, Yau Ma Tei
Between the covers
Housed inside the beloved arthouse cinema Broadway Cinematheque in Yau Ma Tei, Kubrick bookshop doubles as a café, recordshop and gallery, where works by artists are for sale.