Visiting Hong Kong for the first time can seem a bit daunting. It’s a big city and there are lots of different places to stay, eat and play while you’re there. But don’t let it overwhelm you, because navigating your way around and finding the best spots turns out to be pretty easy.
The flight from Brisbane to Hong Kong takes around nine hours and the time difference doesn’t take too much of a toll on you as it’s only two hours behind what you’re used to. Getting through immigration and customs is fast and easy, as is getting into the heart of Hong Kong for a $50AU cab ride. If budget is a factor, it’s really easy to catch the bus. Just contact your hotel and ask them for information on what the nearest bus stop is. The buses are all colour coded and numbered outside the airport, making it easy to find the right one (provided you know where you’re going and the number of the bus). You’ll need cash and they don’t give change.
Choosing a place to stay might seem tricky, given there are hundreds upon hundreds of hotels to choose from. Causeway Bay is a great place to base yourself as it has an old Hong Kong feel to it with bustling streets markets, an old tram system and easy access to Kowloon and Mong Kok via the Star Ferry. You can read my full guide on where to stay in Hong Kong, here.
Another bonus of staying in Causeway Bay is its close proximity to some of Hong Kong’s best food, including the famous egg waffles at Oddies. Delicious Italian low fat chocolate and vanilla gelato served with buter crumbs, caramelised banana ice cream, passionfruit panna cotta topped with a freshly made brownie and chocolate chip eggette. You can read my full guide on must-try food in Hong Kong, here.
I definitely recommend eating lunch at one of the most affordable Michelin Star restaurants in the world by stopping in at Din Tai Fung. This simple, low-key restaurant serves up incredible handmade dumplings stuffed with fillings like steamed shrimp and pork. The food is super tasty and well priced, just be sure to get there early so you can get a seat. Just be warned, you’ll need to queue up. Don’t be discouraged, it’s worth the wait.
To experience great local food head to Gage Street for freshly made fish dumplings and noodles at Sun King Kee. You also have to try a Hong Kong Crispy Bun and traditional silk stocking coffee at Lan Fong Yuen, which is right across the street. This old-school HK cafe serves up all manner of traditional breakfast foods, including weird concoctions of watery macaroni and spam.
Watch my ‘Hong Kong for first-timers’ video
If you like to go wild for the night, then you’ve got to get yourself down to Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong’s party district. This area doesn’t come alive until later in the evening, but it’s definitely where the action is. You can do a bar crawl and work your way around the streets, find Hong Kong’s Best Bars here.
From incredible food to incredible shopping, Hong Kong has entire streets dedicated to one particular ware, you can find Hong Kong’s Best Shopping Spots here. Take a visit to Mong Kok to wander through the bright and beautiful flower market selling fresh cut flowers, delicate orchids and stunning succulents. If you keep going past the Flower Market streets you’ll eventually find yourself at the Yuen Po Street Bird Market. Then, stroll to the nearby Goldfish Market to see hundreds of bags containing all kinds of fish.
A little further on and you’ll come across sneaker street and the ladies markets, stocked full of clothes, accessories and shoes for men and women. Just remember, it’s acceptable to barter and full price is for chumps.
Wander through the incredible outdoor markets which pop up in streets around Causeway Bay or visit the winding, narrow Graham Street wet markets. Stall holders sell everything from dried fruits and assorted medicines to plants and fresh meat, fruits and vegetables, the perfect place to grab some fresh fruit to snack on during the day.
Getting around Hong Kong is easy thanks to an incredible efficient and affordable public transport system. Jump on the back of a tram and go either west or east for a flat rate of $0.40AU. Catch the underground just about anywhere for between $1.00AU to $4.00AU, it’s easy to navigate and trains come by every few minutes.
Watch: My first time in Hong Kong video
Phoebe Lee is a writer, award-winning blogger and travel lover sharing helpful travel tips, insight and reviews for regular people. Follow her adventures at home and around the world, right here on Little Grey Box and on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.