Hong Kong was originally a grouping of fishing villages until Britain forced cession in 1842 with the Treaty of Nanking – a trading treaty that gave the British full trade access. Politically, Hong Kong has seen some dramatic changes over the years, but today it flourishes as one of the most cosmopolitan cities of the world. You can find just about any type of market you want, like a goldfish market, sneaker street, or even a ladies market. Plus, Hong Kong has more skyscrapers than any other city, and probably some of the best dim sum restaurants ever! Be sure to visit Lin Heung Tea House (open since 1928). For those interested in business, Hong Kong is the easiest country to open a business and it has the lowest taxes in Asia.
Places to Visit in Hong Kong
- Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery
- HSBC Building
- The Peak
- Tsing Ma Bridge
- Aberdeen Harbour
- Hong Kong Disneyland
Unique Things to See and Do in Hong Kong
- Ride the famous Star Ferry
- View panda bears at Ocean Park
- Make a wish at the ornate Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple
- Stroll through the bargain centre: Ladies Market
- See the Clock Tower along the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade
Hong Kong Markets and Shopping
Trying to describe a city like Hong Kong is difficult because there is just so much one can do in this city. You will hear that Hong Kong is where “east meets west” and its cultural differences are blended together so well that it epitomizes cultural fusion. Which feels quite true, but what it is best known for is the shopping, the international cuisines, and being the gateway city to the rest of Asia.
Okay, so let’s get serious. Where is the best shopping in Hong Kong? There is so much of it that we are going to only name a few popular spots.
Causeway Bay offers department store shopping along with smaller boutiques where you can find vintage t-shirts, antique watches, trendy fashion stores, and more. SOGO is a Japanese-style department store with two stores; one is located in Causeway Bay and the other in Tsim Sha Tsui.
Temple Street Market is market lover’s paradise – there are plenty of delicious food stalls and some of the best offerings of local Cantonese cuisine. At the north end, you can check out the medicine stalls, fortune-tellers, and karaoke bars! This is a good spot for cell phone accessories too.
The Sheung Wan area is a great place to stroll through for shopping. Dried Seafood Street is a uniquely Chinese shopping experience. You can find anything from dried black moss, snakeskin, seaweeds, to a plethora of little fishes.
Getting Around Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a compact city with an extensive public transportation system, and easy for first-time travellers to HK to navigate. Many of the signs are in English and the cost it is fairly cheap. A must-do while in Hong Kong is to take a ride on the iconic Star Ferries. These white and green ferries have been transporting passengers between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon ever since 1898. The short jaunt across is loaded with fishing boats and barges to navigate through while taking in the harbour sights. Other ferry companies offer service to the outlying islands, like Sharp Island (a relic of a super volcano with a disappearing natural bridge), Lamma, or Poi Toi.
Another popular way to sightsee in Hong Kong is on one of the older British style double decker buses. They offer a great vantage point for sitting up higher. Other bus options are tour companies that cater to the hop on/hop off concept, which is a great way to learn some history while moving about.
Best Time of Year to Travel to Hong Kong
Hong Kong has turned into a huge hub for international travellers and most will say that any time of the year is a good time to go, but there are a few considerations you’ll need know about.
First, summers are hot and humid. The summer temperatures start in May range from around 24C and can reach highs of 33C in July, but it’s the humidity that sits around 82% that makes it unbearable for some. This is also the stormy time of year, where you could experience a hurricane (typhoon), but that doesn’t happen often. Fall and spring are much easier times of year to visit, with the temperatures down to 18C – 22C, and a few less rainy days. Hong Kong winters are mild, experiencing the least amount rain. In the winter, you’ll want to layer your clothing to combat the crispy winds.
Ready to plan your visit to Hong Kong? Check out these popular guides and trips.