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Don's ESL Journey
China Travel Tips
Kunshan Dubai Sydney Singapore Japan Korea
Teach in China
Don's ESL Journey
The Man ...
Sup? I hail from Los Angeles and been teaching English in China for 7 years. And yep, I never would of thought!
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Oh boy, Hong Kong—have you been? It’s been one of my favorite travel destinations ever since I packed my bags, moved to China to work as an ESL teacher, and began my trek across East Asia. I first fell in love with Hong Kong during my initial 4-day visit back in 2012, and since then I’ve returned nearly several more times on solo trips and with family and friends. Here’s my list of 15+ reasons why I love Hong Kong and why you need to visit ASAP.
Scenic Ride from Airport
First up, the journey from Hong Kong International Airport into Kowloon might just be the best airport-into-city ride you’ll ever experience in your life. No kidding, it doesn’t matter whether taxi, Uber, or airport express—pass over bridges, whiz by some of the largest apartment complexes you’ll probably ever lay eyes on, and catch some breathtaking views of the South China Sea while you’re at it. Really, the ride itself is worthy of 5-star attraction status!
Catch the A21 bus from Hong Kong International Airport into Tsim Sha Tsui
Victoria Harbour might just be the world’s best-looking harbor, and hey, I’ve visited Sydney, Australia! So what’s all the hype about? Well, you’ve got the Avenue of Stars, Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, Clock Tower, Harbour City Mall, a bunch of ferryboats, cruise ships, Chinese junk boats passing through the water, and best of all, the grandest view of Hong Kong Island’s stunning architecture. Have you ever seen a skyline more eye-catching?
Plus, head there in the evening and you’ll not only catch a street performer or two, but there’s also a daily laser show, a couple of vendors, and a whole gang of people hanging out on the promenade at all hours of the day. Oh yeah, and that’s just one side of the harbour!
Directions: Take the subway to Tsim Sha Tsui Station or East Tsim Sha Tsui and walk 10 min. towards the harbour.
Night markets and East Asia just go hand in hand, and Hong Kong’s got plenty of them. The most popular night markets in Hong Kong—Ladies’ Market, Temple Street Market, and Yau Ma Tei, of the Kowloon District—are where you should start. Street snacks, souvenirs, clothing, accessories, electronics, and … culture, all around. You’d just better prep up on your bargaining skills before making a visit!
Ladies' Market: Hop on the subway to Mong Kok Station. Take Exit 2 and follow the signs, or people.
Temple Street Market: Hop on the subway to Yau Ma Tei Station. Take Exit C. Or, hop on the subway to Jordan Station. Take Exit A.
Yau Ma Tei: Hop on the subway to Yau Ma Tei Station.
You heard right, Hong Kong’s got its own ‘sneaker street’—this huge kingdom of shoe shops dishing out everything from vintage apparel and popular styles to the latest designs, personalized creations, and even limited-edition releases. Heck, even if you’re not into sneakers it’s best just to go and enjoy the spectacle!
Directions: Hop on a subway to Mong Kok Station. Take Exit D3.
Tian Tian Big Buddha
Call me crazy, but I just love seeing giant statues, and mainland China’s got a whole bunch. Hong Kong’s got one too— the Tian Tian Big Buddha Statue of Lantau Island. It’s 34-meters tall, weighs 250 metric tons, and takes a 268 step climb to reach it. On top of that, it’s surrounded by green hills, blue water, and plenty of fresh air. Another must do!
Directions: Hop on the subway to Tung Chung Station. Take Exit B.
Avenue of Stars
I remember it like it was yesterday. I had just crossed the intersection of Salisbury and Nathan Road, passed Hong Kong Space Museum, and that’s when I saw this incredible 4.5-meter tall bronze statuette—a replica of the award given to recipients at the Hong Kong Film Awards—perched in front of the most awe-inspiring skyline I had ever seen. Welcome to the Avenue of Stars!
You’ve just got to go there. Not later, right now. Stop what you’re doing and book your ticket. Yep, Avenue of Stars—Hong Kong’s equivalent to the Hollywood Walk of Fame—is that cool. You’ve got celebrity handprint plaques from major Chinese celebrities like Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeoh, and Jet Li, a few film ornaments, and best of all, a 2.5-meter tall bronze statue of Bruce Lee in his iconic action pose. You’d be crazy not to add this one to your list of things to see!
Directions: Take the subway to Tsim Sha Tsui Station or East Tsim Sha Tsui and walk 10 min. towards Victoria Harbour.
Hong Kong’s got the world’s longest escalator. You should see it—that thing just keeps on going on and on up the hills of Hong Kong Island. What’s cool is that the Mid-Level Escalators are a hop-on, hop off type of deal, meaning that if you see something you like while riding the escalators—and you will see something you like—then it’s easy to hop off at the next break and hit a staircase leading down onto the street. It’s a truly unique way to see the city. Just ask all the partygoers at night who use the escalators to get to a bar or club around the island.
DIrections: Hop on a subway to Central Station on Hong Kong Island. Take Exit D2. Follow the signs for the escalator.
Big Bus Tour
Thank God for whoever created sightseeing bus tours! Hong Kong’s got one—the Big Bus Tour to be exact. Avoid the subway, forget the taxi, jump on the Big Bus Tour, hit its roofless top-deck and experience all the sights and sounds of the city, from Kowloon and Hong Kong Island to Aberdene and Stanley. Trust me, the Big Bus Tour is the best way to travel across Hong Kong.
You can sign up for the Big Bus Tour Hong Kong at Star Ferry Pier in Kowloon. Check out the Big Bus Tour Hong Kong website for more details.
Chinese Junk Boats
A Chinese junkboat? In Victoria Harbour? Hell yeah! It just might be the best 1 hour cruise you’ll ever take anywhere. And what’s a junkboat? It’s a traditional Chinese ship once used by fisherman to cross the Hong Kong waterways. C'mon, what better way to experience East Asia than getting a feel of authentic China on a junkboat while gazing out at a spectacular skyline that’s very futuristic.
Directions: Hop on the Chinese junk boat on the Victoria Harbour promenade via Kowloon, right around Clock Tower.
Sampan Ride / Aberdeen Fishing Village
And speaking of boat rides, Victoria Harbour isn't the only place in Hong Kong where you can catch them. Nope. Ever heard of a sampan? It's a small, traditional boat ridden sea-dwelling fishing community in Hong Kong's Aberdeen Harbour. You can take a 30-minute ride around and catch sight of everything from bridges and floating restaurants to some of the tallest apartments you'v ever seen. Did I tell you that I love cruises!?
Directions: Hop on a subway to Wong Chuk Hang Station. Take Exit B and walk towards the fishing village.
It’s Hong Kong’s tallest building at 490-meters tall. It’s got Hong Kong’s highest observation deck on its 100th floor (393-meters). And it’s also arguably Hong Kong’s most iconic building. It’s the International Commerce Center, or ICC. I try to hit the observation deck of the tallest building in town every time I travel. Bird’s eye views, remarkable cityscapes, memorable experiences—hey, you just can’t go wrong.
Directions: Hop on a subway to Kowloon Station. Take Exit C1 or D1.
Hong’s Kong has its fair share of beaches, but there is no doubt that the region’s most popular beach belongs to Repulse Bay, an upend residential area home to some of the most expensive real estate in all of Hong Kong. Is it on par with Sydney’s Bondi Beach, Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach, or Los Angeles’ Venice Beach—three of my favorite beaches in the world? Not really, but trust me, with its scenic bay views, hordes of tourists, and some of the world’s most expensive luxury hotels and apartments perched hillside, a trip to Repulse Bay is worth every penny you’ll spend getting there.
Directions: This one's tough. I'd say the best way to get there is via Big Bus Tour! Otherwise, you'll need to take the subway, then a bus, and ... ah, it's just too much!
If you’re a big fan of seeing unique architecture across the world like I am then you’ll definitely need to make a trip to Hong Kong. You’ll find that Hong Kong Island is home to Hong Kong’s most fascinating buildings, including my absolute favorite, the Lippo Centre.
And don’t forget about Hong Kong’s hotels and apartments—they too are some of the most incredibly massive and dynamic buildings you’ll ever see in your life. No wonder Hong Kong is one of the world’s most expensive cities to live in!
Lan Kwai Fong
Lan Kwai Fong is one of the most popular places to party and mingle in Hong Kong. Bars, clubs, expats, locals, tourists, and everything in-between. What else is there to say?
Directions: Hop on a subway to Central Station. Take Exit D2. Find D'Aguilar Street and walk up.
Man Mo Temple
What would anywhere in China be without a temple? And Hong Kong's got several of them in fact. Buddhist statues, shrines, incense, candles, lingering smoke—you can find it all at Central's Man Mo Temple.
You'll need to do a lot of walking to get to this one!
Hong Kong Disney
Any region of the world outfitted with a Disney must be one of those ‘top-places-to-see-before-you-die’ type of destinations, right? Yep! It's Hong Kong Disneyland Resort. Expect all the parades, kiddy rides, fireworks, memorabilia, and loveable characters Disney is known for. And if you’ve got kids, this one’s definitely a must do.
Directions: Take a subway to Disneyland Resort Station.
I have no doubt that you've seen pictures of this place plastered across Instagram. Outside of Victoria Harbor and SkyTerrace 428, I'd say it's one of the most popular places to take pictures in Hong Kong. And you know what? Montane Mansions is nothing but a collection of old buildings enclosing a teeny-tiny walkway. And why all the hype? I don't know; I guess it just makes for some pretty dope photos. No wonder why you'll see people there queuing up just to take the best pic.
Directions: Take a subway to Quarry Bay Station. Take Exit B. Turn Right and walk along King's Road until you arrive at Montane Mansion. You'll see a lot of photographers going in and out.
Hong Kong New Year's Fireworks
It's 15-minutes long and one of the biggest fireworks shows in the region. Yep, Hong Kong's New Year's Fireworks Show is as good as it gets. Epic, in fact. Watch it and it'll evoke one of those damn-it-feels-good-to-be-living-out-my-dreams-in-South-Asia type of feelings. You'll need to get there early though. After all, half the city will probably show up!
Peak Tower + Sky Terrace 428
And then there’s Peak Tower and its Sky Terrace 428—one of thee best places in the world to catch an EPIC view of a sprawling cityscape. Seriously, at 428-meters high it’s the highest 360-degree viewing platform in Hong Kong, meaning that you can spot just about everything across the region far and near.
Want a little bit of nature? Check. Peak Tower sits atop Victoria Peak, a picturesque lush green 552-meter tall mountainside.
Looking to see a little East meets West? Got it. You can spot everything from towering new-aged skyscrapers riddled with flashing neon lights to colossal condo apartments jam-packed together—a lah China style—in a beautiful layout heavily drawn on the Chinese concept of ‘feng shui’, which focuses on designing buildings and objects to compliment nature.
I’ve visited Peak Tower 3 out of the 4 times I’ve been to Hong Kong and it’s NEVER failed to impress. The bottom line? You CANNOT leave Hong Kong without crossing this gem off the bucket list. Hey, it’s just the ‘golden rule!’
I’ve made a trip to Macau each time I’ve visited Hong Kong, and for good reason. For starters, it’s the only region of China where you can legally gamble. That’s paved way for popular mega-casino chains like the Venetian, Casino Lisboa, MGM, and Wynn, to stake their claim on Macau’s Cotai Strip. It’s the Vegas of the East!
And next? Macau is just a dope cultural escape from the hustle and bustle of city life in Hong Kong. There’s the Historic Cultural Centre of Macau, for example, which is home to Senado Square, St. Dominic’s Church, Macau Museum, and coolest of all, the Ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
I can go on and on about just how awesome Macau is, but hey, I guess this one you’re just going to have to check out yourself. And guess what? It's only an hour away from Hong Kong!
Directions: Ferries to Macau from Kowloon take 1 hour.
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Well, that’s my list of 15+ reasons why I love Hong Kong and why you need to visit ASAP. What do you think? Have you done anything EPIC in Hong Kong that I need to visit next time? If so, let me know down below. Safe & happy travels!
Travel Blogger. ESL Teacher. Optimistic Millennial Adventurer! -->