Hong Kong offers a rich blend of Chinese and European traditions and is known as the “Pearl of the Orient” with it’s glittering skyscrapers set against towering mountains nestled around Victoria Bay.
With so many hotels to choose from, we selected JW Marriott as our home base since its location is central to so many attractions and sites. This hotel also holds a high standard for service, and we found the staff to be very helpful from getting directions, to finding a taxi or making reservations for a restaurant.
The following is a list of our favorites in this vibrant city – what to do, where to stay & dine.
What to Do…
Take a cable car ride up to Victoria Peak at 1,800 ft. where you get the best panoramic views of Hong Kong, Victoria’s Harbor and the Kowloon Peninsula. It’s a short, scenic and steep ride and is a great way to get oriented to Hong Kong.
Escalators on Queen’s Road! Another awesome view of Hong Kong is seen from the escalator on Queen’s Road. Go to the bottom of the Central / Mid-Levels escalator on Queen’s Road. Take the escalator all the way 2,400 ft to the top. There are 20 subsequent escalators (so if you think it’s over after just 2 or 3 escalators, keep walking!!) You just glide up the mountain and can see such an authentic glimpse into real life in Hong Kong from the escalator. You will go past Hollywood Road which is such a cool street filled with art galleries and antique shops.
Man Mo Temple: Visit this well-preserved temple dedicated to the Gods of Literature and Martial Arts, where you’ll find giant hanging incense coils and local people praying and getting their fortunes interpreted.
Wan Chai Wet Market: Located near the Wan Chai metro station, you’ll find a maze of side streets with fresh produce and uncommon cuts of meat.
Hong Kong Park: Escape the fast paced life of Hong Kong at this public park. This green oasis is tucked away, yet in the middle of the city’s skyscrapers.
Wan Chai Blue House: A UNESCO historic building that used to be the kung fu studio of master Wong Fei-hung’s student Lam Sai-wing in the 50s and 60s.
Get a Foot Massage: A favorite is called FOOT in Central for tired feet! After a day of walking all over Hong Kong, we checked in for a foot massage and wished we came here every day during our stay.
Star Ferry: Take a taxi to the Star Ferry terminal in Central on Hong Kong Island, take the star ferry across the harbor to Tsim Sha Tsui Pier on the Kowloon side. The Star Ferry has been around since the late 1800’s (!) and is really the best way to see both sides of Hong Kong (island and kowloon) – it’s such a fun experience, like going back in time. While on the Kowloon side, walk Nathan Road and the surrounding streets.
Take a Junk Boat Cruise: We recommend Aqua Luna Junk Boat . This is one of the only functioning Junk Boats, but it’s modern and super cool – it takes you around the harbor and if you take the 7:30pm cruise (it just lasts 45 minutes) you can see the nightly 8pm light show from the boat which is the BEST way to see it. If you’re up for a late dinner, the junk boat drops you off at Tsim Sha Tsui (Kowloon Pier), so you could walk to an amazing restaurant right on the pier for dinner called Hutong. The best views of the harbor while eating dinner (ask for a window table). OR you could do dinner at Hutong before the junk boat, and then get on the junk boat at Tsim Sha Tsui at 7:45pm… either way, we recommend doing the junk boat and hutong coupled together. It’s such a special experience.
Take a Hike! One of the best urban hikes in the world is in Hong Kong. Just follow the signs to the Bowen Fitness Trail and you’ll find other walkers, joggers along the path. As you go along this trail, you’ll find yourself in the “jungle” of the city and the views of Hong Kong will be incredible.
Visit Tai Kwun: These buildings and courtyard used to be the old justice court and prison of Hong Kong, and has since been converted into boutique shops, cafes and restaurants. There is a museum there too, and you can still tour old prison cells and the prison yard.
Shop at PMQ: Located in one of the trendiest areas of Hong Kong – the Soho neighborhood off Hollywood Road, is where you’ll find the restored police building revitalized and transformed into a hub of boutique shops and dining spots called PMQ. Discover designers are selling their creations in boutique shops. There are also some cafes to relax and rest before going to the next floor of shops.
Concrete Jungle: The density of this city can best be seen in the Yau Tsim Mong neighborhood at Quarry Bay. Visit the “Monster Building” an architectural complex of five buildings in the shape of an “E” with an inner courtyard– Oceanic Mansion, Fook Cheong Building, Montane Mansion, Yick Cheony and Yick Fat Buildings. Many blockbuster movies have been filmed here.
Take exit A at Quarry Bay MTR Station, then walk along King’s Road towards Tai Koo. After walking past the junction to Mount Parker, you’ll be near the entrance to Montane Mansion and Oceanic Mansion, just 2-3 mins away.
Pottinger Street: This alley is famous for its uneven stone slabs that lead up the hill. Find treats and souvenirs along the way.
Hong Kong Observation Wheel: Ride the city’s wheel up to 180 ft high and get some of the city’s best views.
Star Street: Visit one of the city’s hippest spots, Star Street where you’ll find boutiques, galleries, bars and restaurants.
Sampan: Take a ride on a traditional sampan for a cruise through Aberdeen’s Floating village where hundreds of locals live on fishing junks. Here you’ll see a stark contrast to the high-rise community that soars skywards in the backdrop.
Macau Day Visit: Take a ferry to Macau – it’s the Las Vegas of Hong Kong.
Visit Stanley, a cute beach town on the south shore and shop at the open-air market Stanley’s Market, where you’ll find clothing, jewelry, ornaments and more in the dozens of stalls that line the lanes in this market. It’s no wonder Hong Kong is called “Asia’s shopping paradise”. Walk around Stanley market, beachfront.
Where to Stay?
JW Marriott Hong Kong: Our hotel is centrally located in the Admiralty neighborhood on Hong Kong Island. Great location! This is the first JW Marriott outside of the USA and its celebrating its 30th year. If you want excellent service and some of the best city views, stay here.
As we entered the spacious lobby, the natural light filled the spacious lobby of this 5-star hotel with 608 non-smoking rooms & suites. Our room looked out to Victoria’s Harbor, and we watched the activity on the waterfront throughout the day. Some rooms have access to the Executive Lounge where guests can enjoy a continental breakfast, light snacks and evening cocktails with appetizers. There are a variety of restaurants in the hotel and our favorite was the JW Cafe.
photos courtesy of JW Marriott Hong Kong
On the hotel’s lowest level, guests can access the MTR metro and the hotel is connected to the Pacific Place Mall so if you need to shop for anything you can find it within minutes walking distance from your hotel room.
Don’t Miss! A dip in the pool with more of the best views of Hong Kong.
Where to Dine?
Posto Pubblico Dine here for some of the best Italian cuisine in Hong Kong, and maybe the world. The owner is from Brooklyn and brought real Italian-American cooking to Hong Kong.
The handmade old world cooking techniques and directly sourced local organic ingredients add flavor to every dish we ordered. Food is delicious and the service is superb!
China Club – this is a super exclusive Club in central HK with an amazing restaurant that is filled with incredible Chinese art and the food is good, too (dim sum, etc). Don’t Miss! The terrace on the top floor – amazing views of the city.
Maxim’s City Hall for a CLASSIC Hong Kong dim sum lunch / brunch
Yum Cha: the cutest dim sum in Asia!
Lok Cha Tea Shop is a small tea house in Hong Kong Park that serves vegetarian dim sum, it’s a beautiful tea house and a light meal.
Tea at the Peninsula (this is a classic HK experience) – apparently there is usually a line and it’s supposedly less crowded during the week, so best to do this on Friday. You can ask your concierge on tips in getting in, so you don’t have to wait in line!
Stanley – have lunch at Ocean Rock Seafood while enjoying the ocean views and relaxed vibes of this area of Hong Kong.
How to Get Around:
Take the airport express train from Hong Kong airport and then get off at Central Hong Kong station, then take a taxi or the metro to your hotel.
Good to note: Hong Kong was incorporated to be part of China during the Qin dynasty in 221 B.C. It was ceded to Great Britain in 1842 and became its own colony in the far east and then returned to China in 1997.
Global Adventuress would like to thank JW Marriott for partially hosting our stay. We also want to thank The Peninsula Hong Kong for hosting our lovely afternoon tea, and Posto Publico for the delicious Italian dinner. Big thanks to the JW Marriott concierge and Karissa Stone, an expat of Hong Kong, for a list of some of her favorite places to see in Hong Kong!