1. Dim Sum Breakfast – Lin Heung (Wellington Street)
When in Hong Kong, eat Dim Sum.
By 9am, Lin Heung Tea House is noisy, crowded and has a line of people waiting to get in. The teahouse is one of Hong Kong’s oldest and is filled with people (mostly of the older generation) sipping tea, eating and chatting with one another. The menus are entirely in Mandarin and the waiters and waitresses are not known for their smiles and politeness.
Yet, be not afraid. Dining at Lin Heung is truly an experience. Walk right in (because no one is going to seat you) and find a table. It’s so crowded that there’s a 4 out of 5 chance you’re going to have to share it with a stranger, but this might prove helpful for those who are baffled by all the nuances in this bustling teahouse. If your neighbour has a fair command of Mandarin, go ahead and ask for help with the menu and they would probably have a good idea of what to eat.
The food is pushed out on carts and as the waiter and waitresses walk out of the kitchen, hungry customers leave their seats with their order sheets and grab the dim sum off the carts. While competing for your food might prove a daunting task, be observant and patient and you will get your fill of delicious dim sum soon enough.
Lin Heung Teahouse may serve dim sum that would fill your stomach but come here with an open mind and soak in the atmosphere of a traditional Hong Kong dim sum teahouse. Don’t come here looking for quality food, instead come for the experience.
2. Kowloon Park
After a filling and perhaps exhilarating meal at Lin Heung, head to Kowloon Park for some down time. Walk off your heavy breakfast as you wander through the expansive park that provides tranquillity and beautiful flora for you to admire.
Benches are scattered around the park for those looking to spend some time reading, chatting with a friend or even people watching. For the more active park goer, the Tai Chi groups practice in the mornings so join in for some early morning exercise. There is also a public pool and for a small fee you can enjoy some water fun. Lastly, for the wanderer, there are multiple ponds and aviaries with exotic birds that are worth taking a look at!
This serene and beautifully landscaped park is definitely an oasis in the middle of a bustling and busy Hong Kong.
Now that you’re all recharged after a nice morning stroll, throw yourself back into the hustle and bustle that characterizes Hong Kong.
Mongkok is made up of many streets that sell anything and everything. Stop for a quick bite (if you’re still full from breakfast) or go on a food trail, sampling street food from every stall that interests you. Hong Kong’s street food isn’t for the faint hearted though, from the ‘stinky toufu’, to offal in a bowl or on a stick to the more ordinary but still interesting, ‘curry fishballs’, you will definitely be spoilt for choice.
When you’re done with eating, follow up with some shopping at Ladies Street. This is where you’ll find clothes, accessories, cell phone covers and even handbag counterfeits. Mongkok is made up of several markets but if you don’t have time for all, Ladies Street is where the best deals happen.
4. Victoria Park
One of Hong Kong’s top destinations, Victoria Peak provides 360-degree view of Hong Kong. Take the peak tram, which was first opened in 1888 (of course, thoroughly maintained and upgraded today), which goes up a steep incline but provides marvellous views on the way up. For photo opportunities, sit on the right side of the tram when going up – you’ll have breath-taking views of Victoria Harbour in the background.
At the peak, be in awe of Hong Kong’s city skyline. The mix of old buildings and skyscrapers can be seen as you overlook Hong Kong with a birds’ eye view. Look out for the map that pinpoints well-known buildings in the city and play a game of ‘spot-the-famous-landmark’, which could make for a fun activity either with friends or family.
If you stay long enough till sunset, watch as the city comes to life at night. Lights start to fill the landscape of every colour, pattern and intensity. Colourful neon boards flicker in the distance against the backdrop of yellow and white building lights. Definitely a pretty sight to behold!
5. Temple Street Night Market
Head back down and straight to the Temple Street Night Market. Come up close and personal with the flashing neon lights you saw from afar at Victoria Peak. This place will be packed with people, sounds and smells (as is the rest of Hong Kong) but this night market sums up the cultural experience in the busy city.
Restaurants, cafes and street vendors dot the streets at night contributing to the variety of food available on Temple Street. From fish to shellfish, it’s a pretty common sight on Temple Street as the Hong Kong-ers are very fond of their seafood. So, choose from a wonderful seafood spread to a bowl of piping hot beef/chicken/pork/ wonton noodles, Temple Street will not be short of food for the hungry traveller.
After dinner, continue with your shopping. This is the place to buy your last minute souvenirs both for yourself or someone else at a relatively cheap price. For the avid bargain hunter, Temple Street Market will definitely suit your fancy as you navigate through crowded streets, flanked by stalls selling trinkets of all sorts.
6. Tsim Sha Tsui
For those who prefer big malls and fancy brand names, head over to Tsim Sha Tsui instead of Temple Street Night Market. Tsim Sha Tsui offers a more glitzy nightlife with restaurants (which offer better service than in the markets) and pubs and bars to chill at after.
Serving up an international array of food, whether you are craving Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Italian, Thai and even Indian food, you’re bound to be able to find something to satisfy your cravings. After dinner, head over to one of the many pubs and bars for a beer with some friends to complete the night!
And if you think the night is still young, walk over to The Avenue of Stars along Victoria Harbour. If you’re done with dinner early, catch the Symphony of Lights – a ten-minute light show at 8pm featuring 45 buildings on both sides of the Harbour accompanied by music. It is definitely a sight to behold and if you think Hong Kong can’t get any brighter, this will prove you wrong. If not, walk down the avenue and see if you can spot any famous Hong Kong star. One thing’s for sure, you won’t be able to miss the 2.5metre statue of Bruce Lee.