Affordable Hong Kong – China
For glittering skylines, bustling markets and steaming bowls of congee.
WHAT IS THERE TO DO?
Glimpse Hong Kong’s Chinese history at its temples, get up close to skyscrapers on tram rides, and bring home souvenirs from one of many lively markets.
A floating piece of Hong Kong heritage, the legendary Star Ferry was founded in 1880 and plies the waters of Victoria Harbour, with backdrop views of skyscrapers marching up jungle-clad hills. The 15-minute ride to Kowloon, or vice versa, must be one of the world’s best-value cruises. Catch it from either Central or Wan Chai.
Rising above the financial heart of Hong Kong Island, Victoria Peak offers superlative views of the city. Ride the hair-raising Peak Tram, Asia’s first cable funicular (running since 1888), to the cooler climes at the top. Once you’re up top, there are excellent gardens and a free viewing deck at Peak Galleria. Expect long queues for the tram on clear days.
HONG KONG PARK
At the foot of skyscrapers such as the Bank of China Tower and the Lippo Centre, this eighthectare swathe of greenery and water makes for dramatic photos (00-852-2521-5041; www.lcsd. gov.hk; 19, Cotton Tree Drive). The urban rainforest effect is at its fullest inside the Edward Youde Aviary, home to 75 species of bird.
GOOD HOPE NOODLE
This 45-year-old shop in busy Mong Kok has a long-standing Michelin commendation and fan following. Its al dente egg noodles, bite-sized wontons and silky congee.
TEMPLE STREET NIGHT MARKET
The city’s liveliest night market runs along Temple Street from Man Ming Lane in the north to Nanking Street in the south, cut in two by the Tin Hau Temple complex. It sells everything, and bargaining is expected. For street food, try Woo Sung Street, running parallel to the east, or the section of Temple Street north of the temple, for anything from a bowl of noodles to a full meal.
TIM HO WAN
Serving what may be the world’s cheapest Michelin-starred food, Tim Ho Wan is the creation of a former Four Seasons dim sum chef. The Sham Shui Po and North Point branches are the ones with stars, but the standard is the same at the more central restaurant under Hong Kong MTR station. Try the top-selling baked barbecue pork bun.
HONG KONG MUSEUM OF HISTORY
The Hong Kong Story exhibit at this museum covers the territory’s natural history and indigenous culture in eight galleries. Displays include recreated shophouses, a vintage tram and a colourful replica of a Chinese marriage procession.
This new arts hub occupies the modernist buildings and breezy courtyard of the 1951 police married quarters. Dozens of small galleries and shops hawk hip handmade jewellery, leather goods, prints, clothing and non-tacky souvenirs. There are also restaurants and bakeries, and an exhibition space with a rotating variety of free shows.
MAN MO TEMPLE
One of Hong Kong’s oldest temples, atmospheric Man Mo Temple is dedicated to the gods of literature (‘Man’), holding a writing brush, and of war (‘Mo’), wielding a sword. The temple was built in 1847 by wealthy Chinese merchants. Back in the day, it was a court of arbitration for local disputes as well as a place of worship. Rows of large, smoky incense coils curl down from the roof.
InnSight has warmly decorated rooms, and the owner makes an effort to please. For a wider bed, opt for a Comfort Double (www.innsight.hk; 3/F, 9, Lock Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui; from ` 4,800). Hong Kong hotels aren’t known for spacious rooms and those at Mia Casa 11 are a case in point. Still, it’s located close to the Kennedy Town tram terminus, there’s a roof terrace, and some suites have balconies.
Cosmo is a VFM hotel on the quiet side of Wan Chai, with rooms done up in cool whites and greys with modish pops of bright orange.