Before I searched about Hong Kong, I always associated Hong Kong with skyscrapers, concrete jungle, triad, kung fu, and dark alleys. Blame those movies though. Only when I decided to go to Hong Kong that I began to do a bit research about the attractions and places to visit. To my surprise, Hong Kong does have remarkable landscape and amazing hikes as well. Those hikes like Victoria Peak hiking trails, Sai Kung County hikes, Kowloon Peak, Dragon’s back, Lion’s Rock hike are just few of so many amazing hikes in Hong Kong. Although, i did not make all the hike due to drizzling and raining for the consecutive three days when i was there.
My itinerary was already set though, out of 14 days off that I got, 7 days were for Taiwan and 6 days for Hong Kong. But I had also decided to spent one day in Macau and one day in Hong Kong Disneyland. Thus, I only had four days to explore Hong Kong, and I wanted to explore both its nature and city center as well And, I got to do it with my mom. So, I needed to select places and hike that are friendly and medium-rated difficulties in term of elevation and geography. In summary, here’s the rough map or itinerary of the four days in Hong Kong (I have excluded Macau and Disneyland Hong Kong in this map)
I made it to Montane Mansion, Lee Tung Avenue, Hong Kong Park, Hong Kong Wetland Park, Victoria Peak, Hong Kong Cultural Center, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Avenue of Stars, and central-mid level elevators. There were also places on my list that I planned to visit but I cancelled due to bad weather. Out of four days in Hong Kong, I got three rainy days. Thus, I cancelled the Lion’s Rock hike, Dragon’s back, as well as High Island Reservoir East Dam. At least I have a reason to come back 😉
This post will outline each of the place I visited in detail, but I will also explain how to travel around Hong Kong and where did I stay back then in general.
Selecting places to stay in Hong Kong
I used every channel that I know to book accommodation. I searched through Booking.com, Airbnb, and HostelWorld. Since I went with my mom, I needed to select an accommodation that meets her criteria which is clean, close to MTR, and is not dump/muggy as well as spacey. Talking about the latter is very tough though, since Hong Kong is a very tight place to stay and you’d be very lucky to find a place that is affordable and spacey. Most of accommodation reviews that I read mention about the small size of the room. Also, it does not come with reasonable price. Even for a nice 9-meter square room (ensuite bathroom) the price is around 60 USD. Compare it to the same size, the same Hotel Chain in Taichung – Taiwan costs USD 36 for 9-meter square. Although, Hong Kong and Taichung are different countries and Taichung is not metropolitan area.
I spent almost a week choosing place to stay and ended up staying on a hotel at 61 USD with 11 meter-square (ensuite bathroom). It’s two minutes from MTR Station and it’s on Hong Kong Island. It was the best deal I could get at that time. There were some Airbnb deals that were cheaper than that of the same room size, but it was quite far from MTR, so I ruled that out. Also, the good ones that met all my criteria cost why higher than that, especially after cleaning fee and service fee were included. But, that does not mean there were no options in Airbnb. In fact, now that I’m checking again at the time this blog post is being made, there are some great deal under 60 USD (Service Fee & cleaning fee included) in Hong Kong. But maybe at that time I wasn’t quick enough and ran out of great deal in Airbnb. So, make sure you book your accommodation way ahead your stay in Hong Kong. I would say two to three months booking in advance would land you a good deal. And manage your expectation in term of room size, space, and personal hygiene.
How to get around in Hong Kong
Hong kong has a great subway train and buses as well. That way, all you need to do is buy an Octopus Card, an electronic stored value smart card with automatic deduct-value for all major transportation in Hong Kong. It can be used for MTR, Airport Express, Light Rail, buses and ferries, etc.
You can get any information about Hong Kong MTR on its website (http://www.mtr.com.hk/en/customer/services/system_map.html)
Now, it’s time to explore on detail the attractions that I visited.
Montane Mansion is not a scary historical mansion nor a hotel. It simply is an apartment complex in Quarry Bay area that gained its popularity since it had been a place to shoot movies such as Ghost in the Shell in 2017 and Transformer: Age of Extinction. Ever since, instagramers and tourist visit this place to take pictures. What unique about this place is that it has a colourful wall on its stacked apartment. On early 2018 this area is banned by the local for tourist visit since the locals feel disturbed by the influx of tourists coming in their residence. But when i visited the place, i saw some people took picture and came in and out of the spot as well.
To get to Montane Mansion (Located in Quarry Bay area in Hong Kong Island), you can come from Quarry Bay MTR Station or Tai Koo MTR. If you are coming from the east, Tai Koo is closer MTR Station as well as closest walking distance to Montane Mansion. But if you are coming from the west, Tai Koo is one stop after Quarry Bay MTR. To me, I got off at Tai Koo and chose a shorter walk from there.
After I exit Tai Koo MRT Station, I walked until I arrived at the said building. At that time, honestly, I felt terrified. I was scared since from what I read, it was forbidden to enter the complex, although I still saw some recent Instagram photo from that place. And if that was true, I needed to enter the place smoothly without anyone suspecting anything. I felt like I was going to break into someone’s house, no kidding. So, I followed someone who apparently entering the complex from an narrow entry way as I show here in the map below. And it was just exactly the right spot to take a picture like those in Instagram.
When I arrived at that spot, there were two other people on that spot taking pictures of that apartment. I immediately felt a great relief to see them. It seems the ban no longer exist, or at least at that time. However, I think we need to keep in mind, that this place is residential area and there are people who doing their activities and rest, and we need to be very quiet and calm and respect them.
In many Instagram photos, I saw people hoped on a concrete in the middle of the area. I saw that concrete too, and there were two of them. Funnily enough, there was a broken chair beside that concrete. I used it to hop on top of the concrete though. No idea where the chair was coming from. These photo that I took was blurry, I did not use my tripod back then. I arrived around 8 pm first day in Hong Kong and my mom helped me taking this picture. After that, I revisited this place during the day few days later.
Note: I went here on May 5th 2018 and May 11th 2018
Lee Tung Avenue
To be honest, me and my mom found this place accidentally on our way to Wan Chai that night. We immediately attracted by the red lanterns displayed along its street. Although most of the store had closed already, the street was very busy with tourists and onlookers.
To get here, simply take MTR to Wan Chai MTR and walk for about 6-10 minutes. The place is hard to miss since it emits red lights from its lanterns.
Note: I went here on May 5th 2018
Hong Kong Park
To me, I simply cannot visit any cities without looking at the greens. The idea to zig-zag-ing in the street only seeing malls and building is quite boring. And therefore, I added Hong Kong Park in my itinerary.
To get to Hong Kong Park, you can hop on MTR and stop at admiralty MTR Station, take exit C1 and follow the direction to Conrad Hong Kong. You will also pass a bridge that will bring you to a mall. Keep following direction Hong Kong Park from inside the mall and you will get to the park very soon.
You can combine visit to Hong Kong Park with Hong Kong Visual Art Centre and riding tram to the Peak. If you are bored with the high rise building and city view, this park is the perfect place to escape. Or, you can even hike outside Hong Kong Island. Like I said, Hong Kong is not only offers City view but also wonderful nature and greeneries.
Note: I went here on May 6th 2018
Hong Kong Wetland Park
Me visiting this place was also part of the plan to escape “the city”. Hong Kong Wetland Park is located outside Hong Kong Main Island, it’s located in Yuen Long territory. If you use MTR, it takes about 1,5 up to 2 hours to get there. So, it was a day trip to and from Hong Kong Wetland Park. Allocate at least 6-7 hours to explore this place including the journey to and from that place.
Wherever you stay, you can get there by MTR and stop at Tin Shui Wai Station. From there, take a tram number 705/circular line and stop at Tin Sau. Walk for about 10-15 minutes to get to Hong Kong Wetland Park.
Website: http://www.wetlandpark.gov.hk/en/aboutus/index.asp)This place is family friendly and you can also see some lotus in the area. The thing that I love about this place that It made me forget for once that I was in Hong Kong and I got to see the other part of Hong Kong I never knew existed. There’s restaurant inside the park, so you don’t have to worry about food. They also have vegetarian option which I quite like. Try to walk its walkway as far as you can, you’ll be surprised by what you can find.Note: I went here on May 6th 2018
I visited this place twice. One after I went to Wetland Park and dropped my mom to the Hotel, and second is the night before I left Hong Kong together with my mom. I’m glad that I insisted to go to Victoria Peak after Wetland Park, since I thought it was a bright day and I tried to seize everything that I could (the next following days were constant drizzling and raining).
I did not take Tram to reach the Peak since I read that the queue is amazing. I took the bus instead. The bus is number 15 and it’s not to be confused with 15C which only take you to the lower peak. This bus starts at the Central Pier 5 and terminates at the Peak with 30 stops outbound and 29 stops inbound. It’s available from 10 am to 23:45 pm with the interval 11-20 minutes. You can learn about the stops here.
Before I went to Victoria Peak, I googled “where to get the best picture in Victoria Peak”. Most of articles that I read agrees that the view from The Peak Tower is not the best one. There are a few viewing platforms/spot where you can get the view of Hong Kong City from The peak, some are free and some are not.
Read more this blog which has pretty good information about Victoria Peak:
1. Travelling Caffeine (https://www.travelcaffeine.com/victoria-peak-hong-kong-skyline-view/)
2. Finding Beyond (https://findingbeyond.com/2017/01/29/hong-kong-night-view-bus-to-victoria-peak-at-night/)
After I arrived at the Bus Terminus at Victoria Peak, I headed to the Peak Galleria as recommended by this travel blog. It is said that if we pass through the galleria on the ground floor, we will come to a great free viewing point. But I didn’t find any. Also, the Galleria was under major construction, so I searched for another place instead. I only depended on google map which labels lookout point.
and so I went hike circling the peak until I arrived at Lugard Point Lookout and it was the best lookout point that I found after I explored the peak. It gives the view of Hong Kong city unobstructed and there were so many people already mark their spot and waited until sunset.
To get to Lugard Point Lookout, after arrive at the bus terminus on the Peak, get out and head to the Galleria direction. After you see this view on your right, keep walking until you find an intersection. Continue walk along Lugard road for about 20 minutes until your reach the unobstructed view of Hong Kong City. It’s the only spot without bushes and trees along that road so it’s not hard to spot.
Note: I went here on May 6th 2018
Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Hong Kong Museum of Art, and Avenue of Stars
I put Hong Kong Cultural Center, Hong Kong Museum of Art and Avenue of Stars altogether since they are close to each other. You can get to this place by MRT and stop at EAST Tsim Sha Tsui Station (please be reminded it’s different with Tsim Sha Tsui MTR). From there you can go to HK Cultural Center, and HK Museum of Art and Avenue of Stars)
Note: I went here on May 8th 2018
Central Mid-level Escalator
Central Mid-level Escalator is the largest outdoor covered escalator system in the world and connects central and mid-level district in Hong Kong. It has 800 meters and 135 meters height. It starts from conduit road and ends at Des Voeux Road. What is interesting is not the elevator ride itself, but the ability to observe and see every intersection along the ride, all the shops and restaurants, the building and all the traffic. It is probably the best way to enjoy Hong Kong’s Concrete Jungles. Along the street passed by the elevator are restaurants and shop so you can stop anywhere to rest and enjoy the walk later.
Note: I went here on May 8th 2018
I went back home at May 11th and felt so happy to be able to explore Hong Kong and Macau especially Hong Kong Disneyland ;). You can read my post about Hong Kong Disneyland here. On May 9th, i attempted to hike Lion’s Rock but got lost. By the time i arrived on the correct entrance, it was raining. So, i went back to the hotel. It was also raining hard at May 10th, so i only went for a quick lunch and dinner and took a short trip to Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Garden. The Garden wasn’t as great as Hong Kong Park, but it was a nice short trip anyway.
So that’s my adventure in Hong Kong. Although i missed some incredible hike due to weather, i still had so much fun and definitely going to revisit for the hike! If you have any questions about Hong Kong, drop me a message. I would be very glad to answer /discuss it with you.