A few weeks ago, Skyscanner and Hong Kong Tourism Board sent me for a quick getaway weekend in Hong Kong. Here is what I did in the short 48 hours spent in Hong Kong!
You might be wondering why it was such a short trip when there are so much to eat and do in Hong Kong. The answer is… of course I wish I could stay longer! But I am working full time and I’ve already overrun my allocated annual vacation, so I had no choice but to settle for a weekend trip.
Also, I had actually just been to Hong Kong earlier in February (Here is my blog post on it) and I have already done most of the must-do’s. I absolutely LOVE Hong Kong though, so I was still excited to come back again to do some things I missed out on.
On this trip, my roommate Jessica joined me. It’s great to travel with someone for once!
The Star Ferry
In my last visit, I spent most of my time in the Hong Kong island and staying in Causeway Bay. This time around, even though I stayed in Causeway Bay again (at Mira Moon hotel – more on this later!) I made sure I give the other side of Hong Kong a little bit more love.
Normally I would take the MRT to go over to Kowloon but I wanted to do something different this time. So I headed to the harbor to take the Star Ferry and cruised over to Kowloon for a mere HK$6 per person.
The trip took only about 10 minutes and I got to see both sides of skylines at the same time. Highly recommended! It’s much more exciting than taking the train and a bit faster, but you do have to walk a bit to the MTR station after unless you were planning to spend time at Tsim Sha Tsui.
What is Kowloon? Basically if you look at the map of Hong Kong, you’ll see that parts of it are attached to mainland China. Kowloon is the area on the southern tip of the mainland side of Hong Kong, just north of Hong Kong island across the Victoria Harbour!
And good lord, there are so many things eat here…
1. Australian Dairy Company
I have been told multiple times to not miss Australian Dairy Company, which despite its western-sounding name, it is actually a very local ‘Cha Chaan Teng’ (tea restaurant). Cha Chaan Teng exists all over Hong Kong, but I dare say this one is the most famous one. That much is evident because when I arrived at 3pm on a Sunday, there was already a snaking queue out of the restaurant.
However, don’t be discouraged since the line moves very fast and I was seated with my food within ten minutes.
The two things to order here are the ham macaroni soup and the scrambled eggs sandwich. I have to say these are pretty damn good especially for the super affordable price (HK$38 for the two dishes). The macaroni soup is a must for HK styl breakfast, but the scrambled egg sandwich is a star. The people at ADC have discovered the secret to making eggs that are fluffy with the right amount of runny-ness. Put those in between the thick fluffy bread and the result is a divine dish. Other popular items are the Char Siew (roasted pork) noodle soup and the Egg White pudding, which I didn’t try.
Tip: If you don’t feel like lining up, you can also just get the sandwich to-go and have it while strolling around outside!
2. Mak’s Noodle
I stumbled upon Mak’s noodle on my last visit to Hong Kong, and stumbled upon it again this time around, as it was just next door to Australian Dairy Company (they have a few branches around the city).
Their wanton noodle is my favorite in Hong Kong! The broth made from flounder (?) fish which lends complexity to its savory soup, and the noodles are thin with al dente texture. I don’t even normally like prawn but I have to have Mak’s Noodle every time I’m in Hong Kong!
3. Mongkok Street Food
Mongkok is famous for all the street eats, most notably the one you see above where you can just point to a bunch of cooked food and they will give it to you piping hot in a Styrofoam cup. You can find these stalls everywhere in Hong Kong, not just in Mongkok, but I have to admit Mongkok has a great vibe that you don’t see in other parts of the city. I would suggest coming to Mongkok on Sunday afternoon or at night since the area tends to be more lively then.
One of my favorite things to get in Mongkok is cold noodles at New Town Mall / Argyle Center just outside the Mongkok MTR Station (Take exit D2 and enter the building to the left). For only HK$12, you get to choose a prepackaged small plastic bag of noodles and toppings like pork, various seafood, and other meats. The noodle and toppings are then mixed with soy and garlic chili.
4. Women’s Market @ Tung Choi Street
Just a close walk from Mongkok MTR, the Women’s market is listed in pretty much all of the guide books as a must visit. In my opinion, while it’s definitely an exciting and vibrant street, I don’t see a reason to visit more than once as you can find similar alley shops at other parts of Hong Kong. If this is your first time visit to Hong Kong though, definitely give it a go.
SoHo (South of Hollywood Rd)
I spent a ton of time in Central district last time but managed to completely miss SoHo. This time around, I made sure I spent time here too!
1. Mid-levels Escalator
The Central district is a very hilly area, and quite steep too! Thankfully Hong Kong government realized this and have built what is now called the Mid-levels escalator. Basically, it’s a long series of shaded moving platform which helps those who are trying to get from the bottom area of Central up to SoHo. During morning commute time, the platform goes downhill and then changes direction around lunch time to go uphill. Genius!
I suggest taking this up from Central area all the way up to SoHo, so that you can walk down the slopes later on. Much easier than walking uphill!
2. PMQ (Police Married Quarter)
Started out as living quarters for police officers back in the days, PMQ now houses 5-floors of local designers boutique and artsy DIY shops. If you are into that kind of stuff, you can spend hours here checking out each store! The usual suspects like G.O.D, Kapok and Vivienne Tam also has a space here. I can spend hours and hours window shopping here.
3. Aberdeen Street Social @ PMQ
If you are hungry for food while at PMQ, I suggest checking out Aberdeen Street Social downstairs next to the building. While the food offered here is not local at all (their menu is western brunch-y stuff like avocado toast and eggs benny), it’s a cool place to visit. You get a glimpse of the expatriate culture in Hong Kong, which I find very similar to Singapore. Good luck getting a seat during weekend brunch time though.
4. Tai Cheong Bakery
Also located just a few minutes walk from PMQ and right next to the historical Graham street market is Tai Cheong Bakery. There is only one thing worth getting here: The Egg Tarts! The filling is smooth and flavorful while the crumbs are flaky and perfect. MUST TRY.
On a clear day, I highly suggest visiting Hong Kong to go to The Peak for an impressive view over the entire Hong Kong island and Kowloon. There are three methods to go up to the peak: The Tram, Bus and Taxi.
I have taken all three methods and here is my recommendation: Bear in mind there will be a lot of tourists going up The Peak, so taking the taxi up there really early in the morning then going down using the tram is my recommended approach. Taxi really isn’t very expensive in Hong Kong and you can use Octopus card on the tram.
We went up very early (around 830am) so there was hardly anyone at the peak and I did not have to queue for the tram going down. When I got to the bottom station though, we witnessed a LONG queue for people who are trying to take the tram up! I have been told it could take an hour of wait.
Where we stayed
Thanks to Skyscanner, I was put up at the chic Mira Moon Hotel, which has become my favorite boutique hotel in Causeway Bay. The location is very strategic, close to the tram line, Causeway Bay MTR and the harbour to catch Star Ferry. The breakfast was also amazing and the room itself is very spacious, especially for Hong Kong standard.
However, the star of the entire experience is the bathroom in this hotel:
The fact that it has a bath tub already makes it super special in my book. I haven’t seen this in any other hotels that I’ve stayed in Causeway Bay (and i’ve stayed in 3 other hotels), where space is scarce so most hotels would just have a small shower. I definitely took advantage of soaking myself in hot bath while watching the sparkly skyline of Hong Kong, which can be seen from the huge window next to the tub.
What’s more is that they provide each room with a Handy device, which comes with unlimited 3G data and free calls to certain countries.
And that concludes our 48 hours in Hong Kong. Funny story though, I’m actually completing this blog while I’m back in Hong Kong (again) for work. I’ve been doing some cool non-touristy stuff here, so look forward to another post on a different side of Hong Kong in the near future!