Coordinates: Hong Kong
Coordinates: Hong Kong
Hong Kong is unlike any place on Earth. This unique harbor metropolis stands apart, not only in terms of culture and tradition, but also physically and geographically. Located off China’s southeast coast, Hong Kong has evolved from a small fishing village into the leading international financial and commercial center it is today. After experiencing significant growth under British colonial rule, Hong Kong and its environs were returned to China as an autonomous territory under the condition that capitalism and existing political freedoms would continue to be observed for fifty years. As it continues to grow and diversify, visiting Hong Kong is an absolute must. From boutique accommodations to traditional dining experiences, read on to discover the best ways to weekend in Southeast Asia’s most vibrant city.
Stay: While Hong Kong boasts an array of luxury hotels and accommodations to choose from, something about Upper House keeps us coming back for more. Noted for its understated elegance and prime location with sweeping views to match, Upper House oozes contemporary chicness, all while ensuring the ultimate comfort and convenience. For unadulterated, age-old decadence choose The Peninsula, the hotel chain’s flagship property. First opened in 1928 and widely regarded as “the finest hotel east of Suez,” The Peninsula continues to pay homage to its colonial-era splendor while simultaneously reflecting what luxury hospitality means in the 21st century. For those looking to book something boutique, try Tuve. Located in Tai Hang, this design-driven hotel exudes ultra minimalist cool, and is purposefully devoid of any branding to create an ultra-soothing and uncomplicated vibe.
Explore: From panoramic views to unbeatable shopping and incredible culinary experiences, Hong Kong won’t disappoint. Start your day aboard a Star Ferry between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon to fully appreciate the city’s impressive skyline at sea level, before snapping the ultimate Instagram shot at Quarry Bay’s ‘Monster Building‘ (22.2842° N, 114.2123° E). Comprised of five connecting residential towers, ‘Monster Building’ has become a global visual symbol of the densely populated city and its valuable housing market.
For a bird’s eye perspective of the metropolis, make your way up to The Peak, one of Hong Kong’s prime vantage points and the city’s highest mountain. Be sure to spot various landmarks including the Bank of China Tower and the International Commerce Center, which define the city skyline. To fully appreciate the stacked terraces and various layers that make up Hong Kong, venture aboard the Central-Mid-Levels Escalators. Here, jump on the world’s longest outdoor escalator and travel between Hong Kong’s Central and Mid-Levels, all while passing a litany of restaurants, bars and shops to explore and enjoy.
Hong Kong by-night is an entirely different experience. As the sun begins to set, watch as the city transforms into a series of outdoor marketplaces, each bustling with activity and tradition. Our favorite is Temple Street Night Market, located near the Tin Hau temple in Kowloon. Although admittedly a tourist trap, Temple Street Night Market shouldn’t be missed, especially if you’re keen to experience the raw and grittier side of the city which includes fortune-tellers, street performers and a plethora of street food to try.
Shop: Although Hong Kong boasts beautiful outposts of iconic luxury brands at malls including IFC and Harbour City, nothing beats the thrill of bargain hunting. Culturally, it’s common practice to haggle for goods, especially in owner-operated stores where items are often sold without a set price. Our tip? Do some competitive research and source several options from neighboring stores to determine a fair price.
Hong Kong’s rich history has meant it has become a hub for fine art and antiques. Aside from annual cultural events including Art Basel and the Hong Kong Art Walk, the city is also home to several global galleries including Gagosian and Lehmann Maupin. The Hong Kong Contemporary Art Foundation is also worth a visit, focusing on a younger generation of contemporary international artists and conveniently located at the heart of the city. For a concise overview of Hong Kong’s rich history be sure to visit the Hong Kong Museum of History, located in Kowloon. Totaling five branches including the Museum of Coastal Defense and the Law Uk Folk Museum, take a moment to absorb fascinating details about Hong Kong’s incredible culture and heritage, including its geographic significance and the vast impact of trade.
Caffeine Fix: Although Hong Kong isn’t widely recognized for its café scene, a distinct coffee culture is brewing. Die-hard coffee snobs should try Artisan Room in Shek Tong Tsui, where baristas pride themselves on producing a signature strong brew via a 3.5 foot tall cold-brewer. For a convenient and quick afternoon pick-me-up head to Elephant Grounds, if only to try their signature red velvet latte.
Dine: Like New York City, Hong Kong has developed a unique culinary culture and scene serving up cuisines ranging from traditional Cantonese to modern fusion. Make a point to dine at Duddell’s in Shanghai Tang Mansion and be delighted by Michelin-starred traditional delights including dim sum filled with black truffles. For something more experimental head to Amber at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, where contemporary French cuisine is fused with traditional Asian flavors. And if you’re after dim sum don’t miss a visit to Yan Toh Heen, where chefs experiment with traditional and modish flavors to create truly delectable delights. Remember to ask your server about the best tea pairings to compliment your dim sum selection.