It was so much fun to interview my friend Sarah Li-Cain of the Beyond the Dollar Podcast about the foodie paradise of Hong Kong. Sarah was born in Hong Kong and moved to Canada when she was young, but she visits her family on a regular basis so she knows all of the hot spots. Sarah’s tips for the best things to do in Hong Kong are a mix of Eastern culture and Western tourism all wrapped into one.
Hong Kong is the perfect mix of cultures. You get the amazing food and history from the East. And the comfort of English-language, signs, and menus for the tourists. There are festivals and celebrations throughout the year that you shouldn’t miss.
There are actually several islands that make up Hong Kong. You can easily visit the islands via bridges or boat ferries. The city of Hong Kong makes up only a fraction of the islands, so there is a dichotomy between the neon signs and the beautiful parks and mountains for you to experience.
If you want to avoid the crowds, stay away during the Lunar New Year and National Holiday. Summer brings the heat, humidity, and the possibility of typhoons. Sarah recommends visiting in November or December to experience weather that is similar to the fall in the United States.
We share a lot of resources and local suggestions in today’s podcast, but you should also check out Discover Hong Kong, the local convention and visitor’s bureau. They are a wealth of information and can help you plan an itinerary based on your time, budget, and interests.
Best things to do in Hong Kong
Here are some of the best things to do in Hong Kong according to our local expert, Sarah Li-Cain. And I’ve added some additional options based on my research and recommendations from Discover Hong Kong.
- A Symphony of Lights (reviews) – holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest permanent installation of light and sound show.
- Hong Kong Disneyland Resort (reviews) – Sarah has heard that this park is primarily for Disney fans and younger children.
- Hong Kong International Airport (reviews) – the best way to fly in and out of Hong Kong.
- Hong Kong Sevens – a 3-day rugby tournament that occurs every April. It is one of the most popular annual sporting events in Asia. The tournament hosts 40 teams and over 120,000 spectators.
- Lantau Island (reviews) – this is where the Hong Kong airport, Hong Kong Disney, and Discovery Bay are.
- Nan Lian Garden (reviews) – a beautiful garden to spend the afternoon in.
- Ngong Ping 360 (reviews) – cable car in the sky with spectacular views.
- Ocean Park (reviews) – an amusement park with animals that is similar to Sea World. Sarah loves the giant pandas that are there.
- Sha Tin (reviews) – a good place to catch the double-decker tour buses.
- Tai O Dolphin Travel Limited (reviews) – a unique experience where you can see rare pink dolphins.
- The Peak (reviews) – it’s a bit touristy, but it is the best way to see the Hong Kong skyline when it is not foggy or hazy.
- Tian Tan Buddha aka The Big Buddha (reviews) – a large bronze statue of Buddha Shakyamuni. The statue is near Po Lin Monastery and represents the harmonious relationship between man and nature, people and faith.
- Visitor and Information Centre (reviews) – the Hong Kong visitor center will provide additional information to help you plan your trip.
The peak travel season is January and February for the Chinese New Year (aka Lunar New Year) and October for the National Holiday.
Here’s a short list of the current events happening in Hong Kong that you can buy tickets for.
Looking for other things to do? Here are the top 10 sightseeing tickets and packages for Hong Kong.
Or, you can buy one of the Lonely Planet books, which are another excellent resource. Their current promo offers 3 books for the price of two.
Best places to eat in Hong Kong
When you’re in Hong Kong, your taste buds will be on an amazing journey. The Chinese food in Hong Kong will put your tongue on a roller coaster of tastes and delights.
Sarah says that you Dim Sum is a must try while in Hong Kong. Dim Sum is essentially the Chinese version of tapas, where sampling from small plates is the norm. For example, you may try rice wrapped in lotus leaves or steamed ribs with black bean sauce. Some Dim Sum restaurants open as early as 6 am. The whole experience is pretty affordable, with prices as low as $10 per person.
Tea shops are like cafes with prices usually ranging from $5 to $10. You should order fried noodles, soup, or curry. Be careful, the iced tea is not like in the US because they’ll add condensed milk for flavoring.
Here are some of the best places to eat in Hong Kong.
- Ashley Road (reviews) – a cosmopolitan collection of bars and restaurants that offers Chinese, Asian and European dining choices.
- Big Pizza (Biggest Pizza in HK) (reviews) – good pizza at a reasonable price. Highly rated and they deliver.
- D’Deck at Discovery Bay (reviews) – a collection of 20 restaurants along the waterfront promenade. It offers a 180-degree sea view and relaxed open-air alfresco dining. As of publication, you receive a free ferry ride back to Central when you spend HK$120 at participating restaurants.
- Dai Pai Dong Cart Noodles (reviews) – open-air food stalls that specialize in tasty stir-fries. They offer a front-row view of the city’s street life.
- Jumbo Kingdom (reviews) – this is one of the world’s largest floating restaurants. It was designed like a Chinese palace and can seat up to 2,300 patrons.
- Lan Kwai Fong (reviews) – ex-pat area of Hong Kong. Sarah this is where most Westerners hang out when they want American food and drinks.
- Mong Kok Market (reviews) – a collection of night and day markets that Sarah highly recommends to sample food and shop.
- Murray House (reviews) – a Victorian-era building that was moved brick by brick from Central to the Stanley waterfront.
The Cheung Chau Bun Festival is another great option in May. There is literally a mountain of buns and there’s a competition to see who can climb to the top and grab the biggest bun.
Best places to stay in Hong Kong
When you come to Hong Kong, here are the best places to stay in Hong Kong.
- Best Western Hotel Harbour View (reviews) – this Best Western category 8 hotel is 36,000 points per night.
- Hilton Conrad Hong Kong (reviews) – stay in the heart of the city at this Hilton Honors category 8 property. It will range between 40,000 and 70,000 points per night.
- Hyatt Regency Hong Kong, Tsim Sha Tsui (reviews) – this Hyatt category 4 property is in the heart of the Tsim Sha Tsui business and tourism district. This Kowloon hotel offers direct access to two MTR (Mass Transit Railway) stations. It is 15,000 World of Hyatt points per night and is a good option for your Chase Hyatt annual free night.
- InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong (reviews) – beautiful views right on the water in this IHG Rewards category 9 hotel. Rooms are 50,000 points per night.
- Ramada Hotel Kowloon (reviews) – With Wyndham Rewards, any hotel is available for a fixed 15,000 per night.
- The Salisbury – YMCA of Hong Kong (reviews) – Sarah loves this YMCA for its hotel and awesome location near the Peninsula. It is a no-frills hotel, but it is very affordable.
- W Hong Kong (reviews) – with an amazing rooftop pool and stylish hotel lobby, this is my choice in Hong Kong. This Marriott category 7 hotel is 50,000 to 70,000 points per night.
AirBnB is also a great option. Use our referral link to get $40 off your first AirBnB stay.
If you’d like to learn how to travel for free using airline miles and hotel points, check out my free 7-day email course.
Getting around Hong Kong
You can take the buses to get around, but they can be slow and the drivers don’t always speak English. There are no predetermined stops, so you’ll need to shout out for the driver to stop. A better option is to ride in a mini-bus.
The Final Countdown
1) If a traveler could only have one meal in Hong Kong – Sarah that you should head to the Mong Kok Market (reviews) for the cheapest food and English menus. There you can have Dim Sum and Hong Kong BBQ. But, you really need to have Sarah’s favorite, fried noodles with fish balls in broth.
2) Favorite memory of Hong Kong – Sarah met her husband while working in nearby Shenzen, China, and they were married in Hong Kong because you need a Visa to get into mainland China. A typical Hong Kong wedding has 13 courses and is the most expensive part of the wedding.
3) Happiest Happy Hour in Hong Kong – For Happy Hour prices that we’re used to, Sarah recommends heading to the ex-pat area of Hong Kong known as Lan Kwai Fong (reviews). This is where all of the bars are concentrated.
Who is Sarah Li-Cain?
Sarah Li-Cain is a finance writer, author, and holistic money coach. She seeks to blend practical tips and mindset strategies to help clients change their financial life. Sarah is the co-host of the Beyond the Dollar Podcast with financial coach Garrett Philbin. Together they have deep and honest conversations about money and how decisions about money make you feel.
Here are a couple of their podcast episodes you should listen to:
- How to crush your financial (and life) goals with Ryan Hildebrandt.
- How to travel the world with Dale Thomas Vaughn.
- How money myths stop us from kicking butt in life.
Places we talked about on the podcast
Here is a map of all of the places we talked about on the podcast episode with Sarah Li-Cain about Hong Kong. You can zoom into the map and click on each dot to explore the city.
- Red dots = best places to eat in Hong Kong.
- Green dots = best things to do in Hong Kong.
- Yellow dots = best places to stay in Hong Kong.
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Stay tuned for our next episode
Join us in the next episode when Dustin Heiner of Master Passive Income takes on the Anaconda Burrito in Fresno, California. We hope to see you when We Travel There.
What’s your favorite part of Hong Kong? Let us know in the comment section below or continue the discussion in our Facebook group!
To learn more about cities in Southeast Asia, listen to our other episodes:
- Finding Speakeasies in Manila, Philippines with Kathy
- Sak Yant Festival, Grand Palace & Muay Thai in Bangkok, Thailand
- Flying Lanterns, Elephant Sanctuaries & Historic Temples in Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Exploring the Batu Caves with Grant in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia