If you've never been to this extremely touristy attraction, it's definitely worth seeing Hong Kong from its highest lookout point. Our advice is to get there early, before 9am to beat the crowds and catch the Peak Tram. There's no need to linger once you've taken your snaps of the beautiful skyline, best foot forward for there is a lot more to see.
On the foot of Admiralty inside Hong Kong Park you will find the quaint Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware and the Lockcha Tea House. You can sip tea and sample some delicate vegetarian dim sum in peaceful surroundings.
Head up Elgin Street in Soho, and you will enjoy many quaint eateries and boutique shops. Take a 15 minute walk over to Hollywood Road where you'll see Man Mo Temple, a famous temple for locals to change their bad luck, don't be surprised to see this place choking with incense around Chinese New Year when spiritual people believe to receive and extra hit of luck.
Tsim Sha Tsui is the museum centre of Hong Kong, with the Heritage Museum, Science Museum, Space Museum and Museum of Art all within a 20 minute walking radius. If you rather shop, the streets between Granville and Cameron Road are brimming with local and branded boutiques.
Experience the twinkling lights of Victoria Habour by taking the Ferry from TST to Central at night. Lan Kwai Fong is the epicentre of Hong Kong's nightlife, but the actual street is now overcrowded and to many has lost its appeal. Up the hill on Wyndham Street is where the real party is. Socialito is where the hip crowd gather, or go to Quinary for their gin based mixology or Salon 10 for a chillax.
Start off the day with an MTR ride to the Kowloon side of Hong Kong. This is the largest shrine in Hong Kong dedicated to a single deity and it has a whole MTR station named after it. Originally a private shrine in a Chinese medicine practitioner's shop. The story has it that after the shop burned down in 1921, the owner was visited by the deity to construct a temple in Kowloon. Famous for granting wishes for those who ask, the Wong Tai Sin temple is full of worshippers all year round.
There is a smell in the air when entering the heart of Mong Kok that could be mistaken for sewage. In fact the less than pleasant smell is a local delicacy called 'stinky tofu'. The adventurous could try the fermented tofu at Chun Mei Mei on Nelson Street, test your boundaries to see if you have the stomach for this esoteric snack.
Next, go past the Ladies' Market, walk down towards Argyle Street and on to Fa Yuen Street where 'Sneaker Street' begins. Not only are the sneakers competitively priced, there are many collectable stores that stock rare limited edition shoes for enthusiasts. If shoes aren't what you're after, you can walk down towards Tung Choi Street where locals buy goldfish and all kinds of aquarium paraphernalia. It's also a great photo op when you see all the individual goldfishes hanging together in plastic bags ready for sale.
Temple Street in Jordan is a famous night market that's lost a bit of its charm in recent years, but that doesn't mean it's not worth visiting. Amongst the tacky souvenir stalls, there's ethnic merchants who sell jewellery and trinkets. Drive a hard bargain and be prepared to walk away when the stall owners won't budge. Another fun thing to see are the fortune tellers at the end of the street, stalls have expanded to include a tarot reader now, but the old school guys using trained birds to pick out your fortune are still there.
Alternatively, TST is the area to unwind on Kowloon side, there is a lively bar scene on Knutsford Terrace, or you can pop up to Aqua on One Peking Road to have one of their famous variations of martinis and enjoy the view from Kowloon looking back onto Hong Kong Island.
This is the hip place to shop for local designers and home-grown Asian brands. Yiu Wa Street behind Times Square and Pak Sha Road facing Hysan Place is the hub where a lot of these stores are in walk-up buildings. You will find stores like Walk on Water and Off the Wall for Hong Kong and Asian designer clothing and Homeless for clever home furnishing designs. On Fashion Walk a little further from Sogo is Liger and Magenta where they also stock a lot of Hong Kong designers. Of course, for simplicity all under one roof, there's also a lot of large shopping malls to spend your day in Causeway Bay.
You must be tired after hard day of retail therapy. Treat yourself to an authentic Cantonese dinner at Tung Po. Situated on the second floor of the Java Road Market, it's the prime location to get the freshest ingredients for your meal. There's no reservations for this place so get there early to avoid long lines. Sink your teeth into some of their famous garlic chicken, drunken chicken and grilled eel. Knock back a few beers to the jovial music playing at this rowdy joint.
If the merriment at Tung Po is not enough, you can head to Lockhart Road, back in Wan Chai where historically and even now, sailors come to play whenever a fleet docks in town. Navigate your way through neon signs where you can find an abundance of Irish pubs, all-night tattoo parlours and more.
Start your day with something a little different! An idea imported from San Francisco, USA, real-life escapes have really taken off in Hong Kong. You can select the type of adventure scenario you want, and your fantasy can take a variety of shapes, from pirate treasure hunts, museum heists, or ghoulish haunted houses, to make it fun, there's a series of puzzles to solve to for you to complete the game. Though the office may seem rudimentary and tacky when you get there, you will be swept away by the puzzle solving and mystery aspect of the games.
Right outside of Prince Edward MTR station is Fa Yuen Street market, where the locals shop instead of the touristy Ladies' Market. Prices maybe a smidge more expensive here but the quality is also better. Shop to your heart's delight for clothes and household items like cushion covers, blankets, towels and anything in between. If you need to take a short break from all the shopping, cross Prince Edward Road to the Flower Market. Beautiful flowers of Asian and non-Asian origin are available and if you are green fingered, you can also buy a whole host of gardening paraphernalia here.
If you can't get enough of shopping, hitch an MTR ride to Kwun Tong to APM mall. This is literally the mall that never sleeps as retailers are open until midnight and restaurants till 2am. You can literally shop until you drop!
Causeway isn't just hustle and bustle, actually, there's some late night reflexology and massage places for those who want to unwind. After pounding the Hong Kong pavements, soak your tired feet in a warm herbal concoction and let the reflexologists work the kinks out of your tired toes. Be warned, certain pressure points could be quite painful for some, definitely not for the squeamish, other massages are also available.
It's going to be a big day today - a Big Buddha day that is! Another attraction that attracts the masses but still worth the effort. The cable car ride over will give you a view of the non-populated part of Hong Kong in its full natural splendour. Catch the MTR Tung Chung line to its last stop where you'll be dropped off conveniently at the start of the Ngong Ping 360 cable car. You can pay more for the clear bottom carriage, but there's usually a longer line.
Once you arrive, don't be put off by the steps leading up to the statue itself, the view up there is amazing and well worth the hike. Given that the statue is situated right next to the Po Lin Monastery, don't be surprised to see monks chilling and taking pictures themselves!
After taking all the snaps you need it's time to head down to the bus station to catch the number 21 bus to your next destination. Tai O is one of the last fishing villages in Hong Kong and because of its distance from the city, has remained authentic to its roots. There are still houses on stilts that reach over the water. The little village is tiny, as with most things in Hong Kong! But, there's lots to see and do.
There'll be a lot of people selling dolphin tours, on a good day when the stars align, you might be lucky enough to see the pink dolphins of Hong Kong, but for $20 it's a good deal, if only for a quick boat tour of Tai O and to get a closer look at the water village. Don't forget to tell the captain to drop you off at the Tai O Heritage Hotel. This was once a police outpost and has now been converted into a hotel, from there, you can have a spot of tea at the Tai O Lookout
Take the single road back to the village from the hotel and you will go past quaint village houses, among these is the Flanhardt Galerie, home to the work of many local artists and works inspired Tai O. Definitely worth checking out for some local flavour. After your explorations of the day you can catch the number 11 bus back to Tung Chung MTR.
Flanhardt Galerie, 1/F Blk B Tai O Garden, Shek Tsai Po St, Tai O Fishing Village, Lantau Island, 2882 3390, opened 12 noon - 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.
After a long day, grab some grub at the Star Street precinct where there are numerous restaurants and bars, all just a convenient stroll away from the hotel.
Upper Station Street to Po Hing Fong is the trend setting area of Hong Kong Island. Don't let these quiet streets fool you, around every corner are artisanal eateries, local galleries, vintage shops and designers. After that you can take a short walk westward towards Queen's Road West where there are whole streets of shops selling a variety of paper offerings. The Chinese believe that their ancestors exist only in a different dimension in the afterlife and are able to send them offerings by burning paper-made imitations.
Not to fall behind the times, these retailers get creative with designer bags, and the latest electronic gadgets all made in paper versions. Be careful about buying these as souvenirs as paper offerings are extremely taboo to the Chinese. Western Market is also home to some authentic eateries. Kwun Kee on Queen's Road West is where locals line out the door for the famous clay pot rice in winter and their stir fries are to die for too.
Head over to Central Pier number 5 and take a short ferry ride to Cheung Chau. Here, you can spend the afternoon cycling around the small island and soaking up the sun and fresh air. Don't forget to stop by the Kwan Yin temple. Though just a small temple it offers an unobstructed view of the Cheung Chau waters where waves crash onto its terrace.
End the day with a bargainous seafood dinner back on main street, try Hing Lok Restaurant for some garlic scallops and ginger crab, all washed down nicely with a bottle of Tsingtao beer.