If you’re going to Hong Kong on business or for a change of scenery now that the travel bubble with Singapore is opening, it’s a city with loads of variety. With great walks and hikes, fabulous hotels and impressive views, there’s plenty to do and see. Mix it up with a few markets some wining and dining, and you’ve got a well-balanced weekend getaway. Read on for recommendations from the EL team.
“With Hong Kong’s harbour views (from both Kowloon and Central) being the most impressive in the world, it’s worth staying, even for a few nights, in a room with a view. The JW Marriott Hotel has one that will blow you away – but beware; the rooms just made me want to stay in bed!
The location is great, and the hotel is linked to Pacific Place, so you couldn’t get much closer to the shops if you wanted to. It’s also directly linked to Admiralty MTR, which is brilliant.
There are an impressive eight different wine-and-dine outlets within the hotel. The most famous is the Cantonese (think dim sum) Man Ho Chinese Restaurant. Flint is great for grills and modern classics; there’s daily fresh seafood selections at the alfresco Fish Bar; and international à la carte and lavish buffets at JW Café. For afternoon tea, supper buffets and Sunday Champagne brunch, head to The Lounge. Then there’s the intimate setting of Bar Q88, or the Pool Lounge for unwinding. Finally, Dolce 88 Cafe is the hotel’s casual hangout spot, with pastries, cakes, desserts, sandwiches and gourmet coffees. Definitely something for every taste!
I thought the hotel was lovely. The location and décor are great, and the staff superb – really first class. If you need a special weekend away or a romantic spot, it’s ideal. There’s also a lovely pool and gym area if you want to add a weekend on to a business trip and have some ‘us’ time.”
– Rebecca Bisset, British
“We’d travelled to Hong Kong a number of times over the years, so on our recent family trip in May, we decided to head out of the city for a change. We ended up taking a trip to the island of Cheung Chau. It’s really easy to get there – just jump on a ferry at Central and you’ll arrive in about 40 minutes! If you’re taking the slow ferry, it’s worth paying a little more for the deluxe ticket so you can sit in the air-conditioned upper deck – especially important in summer!
The island is home to a fishing village, and we liked that it’s pretty laid back and less busy compared to the mainland. You’ll be able to find small shops selling souvenirs, dried goods (a lot of seafood) and snacks. Popular street foods you might want to try include ice fruit lollies, fish balls (prawn, squid, cheese and more) and steamed buns. There are seafood restaurants galore, too. After your meal, stop off at Tin Yin Dessert for a yummy local dessert like the mango pomelo sago and glutinous rice.
If you enjoy hiking, the island has plenty of trails and lookouts, including the ‘Mini Great Wall’. But you might want to save your walking for the cooler months – we were there on one of the hottest days of the year and it was scorching! During the summer months, the beaches around the island are also very popular.”
– Lindsay Yap, Singaporean
“We stayed at The Luna in Wan Chai, right in the centre of all the action! It’s just a 10-minute taxi ride – or two stops on the train – to Central, and 40 minutes from the airport on public transport.
For a bit of ‘healthy’ entertainment we also hiked – we did The Peak and Dragon’s Back. The Peak is a must-see for first-timers in Hong Kong. It took about 45 minutes from our hotel to get to the top. Once you’re up there, you can grab some unusual but tasty treats such as rainbow cheese toasties from KALA Toast. To get to Dragon’s Back from Wan Chai, it’s a 20-minute MTR followed by a 20-minute bus ride – it’s worth it, though, as it’s a great hike! You’ll end up at Big Wave Bay.
For nightlife in Wan Chai, I’d recommend the Back Bar. It’s just around the corner from The Luna. It’s in a ‘hidden’ location. Psst… to get there, head to Bibi & Baba (formerly Ham & Sherry), down the dodgy looking alleyway and follow the ‘eye’.) We tried the dumpling drink – it’s definitely an acquired taste.”
– Michaela Bisset, British
Hear from our Hong Kong team!
“Hong Kong is famous for its stunning harbour and great shopping, but there’s much more to the city than the concrete jungle and neon signs we see on the postcards. Once relatively remote and inaccessible, Hong Kong’s largest island Lantau has developed into one of city’s tourist hotspots.
Ngong Ping 360 is one of Hong Kong’s must-see attractions. The 5.7-kilometre cable car ride offers spectacular views over the airport and North Lantau Country Park during the 25-minute journey up to Ngong Ping village. Once there, you can visit Po Lin Monastery and the Big Buddha. A short bus or taxi ride away is the unique village of Tai O where you can see traditional stilt houses and get a glimpse of life in a Southern Chinese fishing village.
Lantau is also home to Disneyland and the starting point for the recently opened Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, which allows you to reach Macau by bus in 40 minutes. Lantau also has stunning beaches along the south coast and a relaxed atmosphere that offers a completely different experience from the city. The island has some of the best hiking trails in Hong Kong, and given that more than half of the island is classified as country parks, there are plenty of trails to choose from.”
– Danielle Higgins, Australian
“No trip to Hong Kong would be complete without visiting Sai Kung in the New Territories. Easily reached by public transport or a 40-minute taxi ride from Hong Kong island, Sai Kung is affectionately known as Hong Kong’s Back Garden. Stroll along the bustling seafront and enjoy a seafood lunch or take a sampan boat trip to explore the nearby Geopark, islands and beaches.
For hiking enthusiasts, the Sai Kung Country Park offers a range of well-signposted trails suitable for all abilities. The Pak Tam Country Trail is an easy hike suitable for families and younger kids. More adventurous hikers can enjoy the challenging MacLehose Trail. My favourite part of this trail is Section 2. Be warned: it’s not for the fainthearted, but you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking coastal views.
Insider tip: Visit Yau Ley Seafood Restaurant at High Island Reservoir. A much-loved Sai Kung institution enjoyed by locals and visitors alike, this rustic family-run restaurant has been serving up the freshest seafood for nearly 20 years. Must-try dishes include squid with chilli and garlic, and yeung chow fried rice. You can only reach Yay Ley by foot (take a taxi from Sai Kung to Pak A, then walk) or by boat. Call ahead (+852 2791 1822) and the restaurant will arrange their boat to pick you up from Sai Kung pier and return after lunch.”
– Kate Woodbury, British
Lan Kwai Fong
“Having previously lived in Hong Kong, I already knew it was a great party city, and so a perfect destination for a hen-night party travelling from Singapore. Our group flew with Jetstar ($380 return) and we stayed in a four-bed Airbnb apartment in Lan Kwai Fong (LKF). What our accommodation lacked in mod cons, it more than made up for with its central location. The first night was spent trawling some of the LKF and close-by Soho bars. This area is perfect for night owls on a hen weekend!
The next day, we had a boat trip with Island Junks (islandjunks.com.hk), setting off on our boat at 11.30am and not coming back until 5.30pm. This was definitely the highlight of the weekend; we brought our own alcohol and booked food to be delivered before we set sail (using recommended caterers from the boat operator). The boat had plenty of fun inflatables when we stopped off for a long break from sailing.
On Sunday, we booked brunch at Duddell’s, which serves a decent selection of dim sum and free-flow champagne – a great hangover cure all round. Sunday afternoon was then spent at Wan Chai before everyone finally sloped off to bed.”
– Amy Brook-Partridge
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