A list of what we did, what we ate, where we stayed and a few friendly tips
The Empire Hotel Wan Chai – this hotel was alright. The bathroom was small, the pool was small and the room smelt a bit musty. This is a first world problem but I was most frustrated by the slow Internet. However, the room was still nice considering the price and the staff were very cheerful and happy to help!
Guang Dong Hotel – this hotel is literally a minute walk from Empire but I liked it a lot better. The room was slightly cleaner, the internet was so much faster and the bathroom was a bit bigger. On the negative side, the staff weren’t as friendly and the pool was located in a different building.
Island Pacific Hotel – this hotel was super cheap and so the room was unsurprisingly super small. Their redeeming quality was that half of the room were literally windows and so we got spectacular views of Victoria Harbour. It was very scenic and worth the money.
Empire Hotel Café – we got free buffet breakfasts for every day we spent at Empire Hotel Wan Chai. There was a lot of food but they tasted mediocre and they had the same selection every day. Going once is enough.
Joy Hing Roasted Meat – it was a little bit hard to find this restaurant because it is really tucked in. When we went, it was super busy. The restaurant itself is very small and people are seated with strangers. I wouldn’t call it the cleanest place I’ve been to, but I didn’t get sick… The food was nice and if you want to try their roast or peking meats, I’d recommend getting it takeaway.
Kam’s Roast Goose – the first time we tried to eat at KRG, we were turned away because the food had run out and there were absolutely no spaces left. The next day, we came earlier but there was still a long line and by the time we were seated, they had already run out of a few foods from the menu. Nevertheless, their pork and duck were (pricey but) I loved it and so I’d recommend this restaurant.
Kung Fu Dim Sum – we went to the one in Kowloon and although it wasn’t bad and it seemed to be popular because the restaurant was very busy, there was nothing spectacular about it.
La crêperie – I’d recommend coming here if you get sick of Asian food. It’s decor is inspired by Brittany, France and had a nautical theme. Their waiters were dressed in sailor uniforms and their salt and pepper shakers were lighthouses! I ordered L’Admiral’s Cup and it was delicious!
Maguro – this was a nice, authentic Japanese restaurant. It was quite pricey and the servings were small.
Mak’s Noodles – this small restaurant is located on top of Victoria Peak. There are a lot of Western restaurants up there (pizzerias, Burger King, etc.) but I would 100% recommend trying Mak’s Noodles instead. It’s not a big, flashy restaurant and the presentation isn’t great, but the food was delicious. I’d recommend the tossed noodles with chutney pork… I’m still dreaming of those noodles.
Tasty Congee & Noodle Wanton Shop – it’s a busy restaurant located in the IFC Mall. It’s not bad but I wouldn’t go out of my way to go here again.
Tim Ho Wan the Dim Sum Specialist – this Michelin star restaurant was on the list of restaurants I had to try. Luckily, finding the restaurant took longer than waiting for a table (the location is a bit odd) as we only had to wait for about 10-15 minutes. The food was so good that we ordered extra to takeaway and it still tasted great when it was cold.
Triple O’s – I’m pretty sure this fast food chain is Canadian? Anyway, as usual with all fast food, we were hungry and this was conveniently near the wharf (we were going to catch a ferry to Kowloon). It was nice though! I wish we went again.
Friendly tip: when we were unsure of what to order, we asked the waiters for their suggestion. Most of the time, their suggestions were our favourite dishes.
Friendly tip #2: there are 7/11 stores littered throughout the city but we bulk bought bottles of water from local corner shops and put them all in the hotel fridge. It saved us so much money.
Transport – the metro is quick and easy to use but I’d only recommend using it when you’re going somewhere with luggage. Trams were the best option to quickly get from one region of Hong Kong Island to another (you can’t bring luggage on board). If you know exactly where you want to get off, the buses were really good because they were air conditioned and the view from the top deck is the best. The ferry was our favourite option from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island because it was so cheap and the views were lovely. Friendly tip: make sure you carry coins as trams and buses don’t give change.
Friendly tip: wear comfortable shoes because our trip involved a whole lot of walking.
Symphony of Lights – I’m not sure if they’ve slacked off over time or if they were just having an off day when we went, but I found this so underwhelming. There wasn’t any music, not as many buildings as I thought participated and it just wasn’t worth the crowds.
Kowloon Park – it’s a nice oasis from the city. They even had swimming pools, bird parks and a McDonalds stand that sells milkshakes!
Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade – you can get the best view of Victoria Harbour from here but there’s not much else to do. There’s a clock tower and an array of museums but most of them were under renovation when we went.
Victoria Park – another oasis in a different part of the city.
Victoria Peak – they have the best views of Hong Kong and the tram ride up was quite nice. Friendly tip: the right side of the tram (going up) has the best views.
Hong Kong Museum of Art – Chinese art from Han to Qin dynasties
Pacific Place – a high-end shopping centre near the Admiralty MTR… Bring your $$$$
Wan Chai Markets – this is the only place where I found stereotypical souvenirs to take home for my family. Think “I love Hong Kong” t-shirts and keyrings and compact mirrors and boxes with Oriental designs.
Ocean Park – this is more an aquarium than a theme park. If that’s your kinda thing, then I’d recommend coming here. The entrance fee was about $70 AUD.
Stanley Beach – it wasn’t that crowded when we went but the water looked a bit green and it smelt a bit funny too. On the plus side, there are nice places to sit and eat and a small marketplace nearby.
St. Stephen’s Beach – the only thing I didn’t like about this beach was the sand was had broken shells or something sharp, so walking on it was uncomfortable. The water was a bit cleaner, though, and the atmosphere overall nicer.
Deep Water Bay – if you want to eat grilled meat by the beach, this is the place to go.
Tai O – we were advised to go to Tai O on Lantau Island. Tai O is a fishing village where they have stilt houses. People still live in the stilt houses so I felt very uncomfortable peaking in. The water underneath had mainly dried up as well, leaving only mud, a bit of rubbish and a tiny crab every so often. In saying that, it did have a few interesting things, such as old temples, pre-war shops and private museums. There was also a courtyard where people gave martial arts lessons. Our day here went by so slowly, so only go if you have nothing else to do.
This is all I can think of at the moment but I’ll definitely add to this if I think of more.