Hong Kong, one of world’s greatest cities according to CNN, offers something to every type of traveller. Whether you prefer leisure dim sum brunch, hiking South China’s mountainous region, or party like it’s 1999, you’ll never be bored. Let’s start with the food!
Dumplings egg tarts galore
From ramen to french pastries, if you can dream it you can eat it in Hong Kong. We are lucky enough to have gracious colleagues treat us to dim sum. My north American counterparts planned to dine at michelin star Tim Ho Wan, but this meal could not be topped. For culinary ventures abroad, it’s best to trust the locals.
The best pork soup dumplings in Hong Kong are at Tsui Hang Village in Central. Attention all those with a case of sweet tooth, order egg tarts. This miniature custard style pie is a perfect end a meal. If you have the advantage of traveling with a local guide, let them order for you. Many of of the menus are in cantonese, especially local spots.
After a food induced coma and afternoon of meetings, we caught the tram up to Victoria Peak. (more on that shortly) Then onward to dinner.
One of my colleagues insists on trying a new food every trip. This sounds like fun, until the challenge is sea urchin. We hit up Kyoto Joe in the heart of Lan Kwai Fong. I’m not a huge sushi person, the tuna sashimi hit the spot. The sea urchin is not terrifying after all.
Tram to the Top of Hong Kong: Victoria Peak
If time is limited, Victoria Peak is the spot for a bird’s eye view. Yes, this is a tourist trap, and yes its still worthwhile. For twenty-eight Hong Kong dollars, (3.60 US) you ride up a tram (at a 45 degree angle) to the most beautiful skyline in Asia. I’d recommend going at night to see the city in its glory. Be prepared to wait an hour in line if taking the tram.
Party like it’s 1999…
Unbeknownst to our company’s travel agent, the Hotel LKF by Rhombus is smack dab in the middle of China’s party zone. Lan Kwai Fong, whose humble beginnings included prostitution, is where debauchery occurs seven nights a week. The 10 shot challenge was not quite our cup of tea, so off to the hotel rooftop bar for us! The plan was to stay just for one drink. A few gin and tonics later, an impromptu karaoke jam session commenced. You cannot escape the party in Hong Kong!
Soak in Lantau’s mountainous landscape
Advil required to survive Saturday morning. After the tuck and roll out of bed, we took a day trip to Lantau Island. Post hydration and medication all was well on the hangover front… or so I thought.
Our route included the Star Ferry, (great way to tour the city on a budget) followed by a windy bus connection to the monastery. One of my most embarrassing moments of the trip was when I lost my breakfast twenty minutes into the bus ride. In front of a vice president…at my company. I later learned we could have taken a aerial tram; my gastrointestinal incident could have been avoided.
It was a slow crawl up the 234 steps to Big Buddha. Despite my condition, I soaked in breathtaking views. We made a pit stop at an ancient fishing village, known for pink dolphins and a variety of seafare. Tai O has a variety of options, from dried fish bladder to shrimp paste. None of which was appealing to my ailing stomach!
Shop til you drop
Did you think I forgot about shopping? Of course not, it’s one of my favorite activities, especially when exploring a new city. Hong Kong is known for shopping. From Causeway Bay to Stanley Market, you can find anything and everything. I’d skip the mall and head over to Temple Street for a cultural experience. This market comes alive after dark, with plenty of authentic dining options lining the tent covered streets. I walked away with plenty of souvenirs for family and friends back home.
One of the greatest advantages of business travel is having an automatic set of locals with a wealth of insider advice. This equates to getting the most out of a short 36 hour visit. If you find yourself in Southeast Asia, be sure to add Hong Kong to your bucket list.