Travel to Hong Kong and you’ll experience a city that oozes culture. Plus, there are plenty of shopping malls, skyscrapers, and restaurants awaiting your discovery.
However, you should take time to explore some of the smaller alleys. They may contain shops selling locally-popular goods or restaurants serving traditional fare. Take advantage of Cathay Pacific flights to Hong Kong and it is a certainty you will love the following.
1. Walk on the Side of the Harbour
If you’re feeling the strain of Hong Kong, taking a walk along the side of the harbour is an excellent way to unwind and recharge. Take in views of the iconic skyline while listening to birds singing or small waterfalls as you breathe in fresh ocean air.
Another excellent walking tour option is a Heritage Walk, which explores Hong Kong’s culture and history. You’ll get to see some of its major attractions like temples and cemeteries as well as hear stories about what made Hong Kong what it is today.
You may opt for a Hong Kong Island Walking Tour, which will showcase many of the major sights and also let you explore the old city. You’ll gain an entirely new perspective of Hong Kong Island and learn about its vibrant culture – from street art to religious sites – from this perspective.
The best part of this tour is that it’s free! It runs daily at 10 am and on Saturdays at 2 pm.
One of the best ways to take in views of Hong Kong Harbour is by walking along Avenue of Stars. This promenade offers breathtaking panoramas of both the harbour and skyline, making it a must-visit for photographers who love taking photos in picturesque settings.
Aside from a stunning view, visitors to Hong Kong should not miss the captivating multimedia light show that takes place daily at 8pm. These laser lights illuminate different corporate buildings along Victoria Harbour and it’s not to be missed by anyone visiting Hong Kong.
For an even more adventurous way to enjoy the waterfront, take a hike along Dragon’s Back Hike. This trail is popular among locals because it provides stunning views of the harbour, Big Wave Bay, Mount Collinson and Shek O. After your hike you can relax on the beach at Shek O or swim in Big Wave Bay.
2. Don’t Forget the Small Alleys
Hong Kong, with 17,000 people packed into every square mile, understands the value of space. That is why the government is trying to clear away alleys and turn them into pedestrian pathways. Yet for residents living there, alleys are nothing less than extensions of their homes.
These narrow back streets, often just a few feet wide, provide people with breathing room and an oasis of serenity in the hustle-bustle of the city. Workers take breaks here too, stashing plastic stools behind air conditioning units or hiding cigarettes packs between grates; residents hang laundry from coat hangers suspended from window grates or use them as makeshift gardens. In one alley, pink rubber gloves clipped to vibrant wire hangers dangle against concrete walls while white lawn chairs with salted fish hanging on rusting pipes appear to float midair.
These multi-functional alleys are a remnant of 19th century Southern Chinese urban design. Although they’re usually gray and tiled, locals have an eye for making them more visually appealing with flowerpots – creating public spaces that not only function effectively but also look beautiful.
German photographer Michael Wolf, who has lived in Hong Kong for 22 years, has developed an interest in its quirky inhabitants. Recently he released the book Informal Solutions which documents how citizens have claimed alleys as their own space.
These alleys can be among the most picturesque parts of Hong Kong, so take some time out to stroll through them and appreciate their intricate details. It’s worth taking a break from the hectic city life to visit these hidden nooks – it will be well worth your while!
3. Don’t Forget to Tip
Tipping in Hong Kong is an excellent way to express your appreciation for good service. However, it’s essential to remember that tipping is voluntary and may vary based on the quality of service received.
Additionally, tipping in local currency is recommended – this can save you money on exchange fees and make your tip go further! Getting the Wise travel money card is also a wise idea as it allows for topping up with home country currency and quickly converting it to Hong Kong dollars when desired.
Hong Kong’s climate can be unpredictable, so it’s wise to bring an umbrella. Winters in Hong Kong tend to be cool (50-65degF) but never below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, so be prepared with a light jacket and scarf!
It’s also wise not to forget to tip your taxi driver if you use one. Taxis typically don’t expect tips, but it doesn’t hurt to round up the fare and leave them with a small gesture of around 10% if they helped with luggage or took you somewhere different.
When dining out, it’s customary to tip between $10-20 per person at budget-friendly restaurants and 15% at finer establishments. Hotels typically appreciate small tips for bellhops, valets or room service staff as well.
Tipping for beauty and spa treatments in Hong Kong is customary, especially if the service is of high quality or expensive. Generally, tipping an additional HK$20-50 is appropriate depending on how complex the treatment and its cost; however, this amount may increase depending on individual circumstances.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Hong Kong boasts an excellent public transport system, but you should always be prepared to ask for help when needed. Whether it’s finding the right taxi, navigating around town or simply needing somewhere to stay, don’t be embarrassed to reach out if you need assistance.
Despite recent mass protests, Hong Kongers remain proud of their independence. When China took control of the former British colony in 1997, they pledged to preserve much of what made Hong Kong unique and safeguard the liberties that make up its way of life.
Beijing’s government has taken a more authoritarian approach than in the past, fueling protesters’ anger and drawing international condemnation. To combat this backlash, they have implemented several repressive policies and measures such as the national security law that grants them new powers to punish dissidents.
One of the most alarming provisions of China’s national security law is its authority to extradite suspects from Hong Kong and try them on mainland China. This has resulted in a wave of large-scale protests across Hong Kong since mid-2019.
Another worrying aspect of the national security law is its provision enabling the Hong Kong government to obtain user data without judicial warrant. This has drawn widespread international condemnation and major online platforms such as WhatsApp have suspended processing requests from this authority for user data.