I highly recommend Hong Kong as a travel destination, particularly if touring with children.
Hong Kong is one of the most user-friendly, easy-to-travel cities we have visited thus far. Not only do most residents speak English, but the city is clean, well-organized, and all signage is bilingual (English and Mandarin Chinese), so the city is easy to navigate.
The Chinese Empire ruled Hong Kong from 221 BC until 1842. In 1842, China signed the Treaty of Nanking, wherein Hong Kong became a British Colony. Japan briefly occupied Hong Kong during WWII (1941-1945) under Emperor Hirohito. Upon Japan’s surrender, the British reclaimed Hong Kong as a colony and maintained sovereignty over Hong Kong until 1997 (known internationally as “the Handover”).
“In 1997, China resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong, ending more than 150 years of British colonial rule. Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region [“SAR”] of the People’s Republic of China. Its foreign relations and defense are the responsibility of China. However, Hong Kong is a customs territory and economic entity separate from the rest of China and is able to enter into international agreements on its own behalf in commercial and economic matters.” Direct quotation from U.S. Dept. of State
On my quick research, there are several major air carriers flying from the U.S. to Hong Kong (HKG). Prices will vary by travel dates and city of origin.
* I make no claim to be a travel agent or expert on booking travel. I am simply offering a ball park idea for what to expect when booking travel from the U.S. to Hong Kong, and while travelling within Hong Kong.double-decker buses are used for tours and public transport alike
Hong Kong’ s public transportation system is called the MTR. It is affordable, clean, punctual, and well-connected to all major parts of the territory.
Go to your nearest MTR Customer Service Centre (located inside all Metro stations except Racecourse station) and purchase an MTR pass, called an “Octopus card”. Expect a minor deposit, then load money onto the card. Whatever unused portion is refundable – just take your Octopus card back to any MTR Customer Service Centre to obtain your refund.
There are taxi cabs and larger vans for transport, but fares are expensive due to the high volume of traffic in Hong Kong.
I recommend steering clear of accommodations along Nathan Road or in the heart of Kowloon. There are several cheap places to stay there – both literally and figuratively – you’ll see them listed on travel websites such as Trip Advisor or Agoda. When booking accommodations, I always begin at the easy-to-navigate Trip Advisor to get recommendations and amenity listings. I then price shop my list of favorites at different online booking sites using their Search features.
The safest, best, places to stay that won’t break the bank are going to be in the ballpark of $110-$200US+/night. Yes, Hong Kong can be expensive for certain things! These venues are typically hotels, and are located near, but not in the main areas of business.
You’ll have a fairly easy time finding every type of fare in Hong Kong, particularly at or near tourist attractions. There remains a strong Western influence over food in Hong King due to the long tenure of English rule. You may enjoy continental breakfasts daily, bakery goods in all regions, and food of any ethnicity within 20 minutes of wherever you are.
To See/To Do…
Using the internet to search “Things to Do in Hong Kong” on Trip Advisor, “Hong Kong” on Gogobot, and “Hong Kong” on Lonely Planet offer excellent reviews and recommendations of must-sees and things to do in Hong Kong.
We really enjoyed riding up the Peak Tram to see and experience all the beauty surrounding Victoria Peak and Hong Kong. Once atop Victoria Peak, you have 360 degree views of the entire island. We spent several hours exploring, having lunch and taking photos.
There are several distinct neighborhoods in Hong Kong. Each neighborhood has its own vibe and unique characteristics. We bought Octopus passes for the MTR public transportation system so we were able to travel from from place to place via Metro or buses. This is a simple, fast, punctual way to navigate the city’s neighborhoods.
Our favorite neighborhoods include:
On Hong Kong Island
- Victoria Harbor
- Victoria Peak (“The Peak”)
- Lan Kwai Fong
- Central District
On Kowloon Peninsula
- Tsim Sha Tsui
- Yau Ma Tei
The outlying islands of Hong Kong are also popular destinations/day trips for visitors to Hong Kong. Lantau is popular for its landmarks, including the Giant Buddha and Po Lin Monastery. Cheung Chau is a popular destination for families and is the best choice for those seeking an up-close look into village life. Lamma has delectable fresh seafood restaurants, hiking and beaches.
Highlights in Hong Kong…
- View the Victoria Harbour Light Show at night
- Take the tram up to Victoria Peak (aka “The Peak”)
- Ride a double-decker bus and the Star Ferry
- Eat Dim Sum
C’mon, let’s get going! It’s time to Life the Life You’ve Imagined!
Helpful Resources for Travel in Hong Kong
Geographic areas to know in Hong Kong – Trip Advisor
Octopus card – rechargeable Mass Transit/Public Transportation card in Hong Kong
Places to Stay in Hong Kong – Trip Advisor
Places to Stay in Hong Kong – Agoda
Things to Do in Hong Kong – Trip Advisor
Hong Kong – Lonely Planet
Quick list of hotels in the $75-$175 price range from I recommend – from Trip Advisor:
1. The T Hotel – 6th Floor, VTC Pokfulam Complex, 145 Pokfulam Road – Hong Kong
2. Metropark Hotel Kowloon – No.75 Waterloo Road – Kowloon, Hong Kong (Mong Kok, Yau Tsim Mong)
3. Metropark Hotel Wanchai Hongkong – 41-49 Hennessy Road – Wanchai, Hong Kong
4. Holiday Inn Express Causeway Bay – No.33 Sharp Street East – Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, (Causeway Bay, Wan Chai)
5. Ovolo Hotel – No.256 Tung Chau Street – West Kowloon, Hong Kong
Song du Jour: Take Me to the River – The Reverend Al Green