A city of my many adventures and two defining years of my twenties, Hong Kong holds a special place in my heart. My Mama is from Hong Kong and I spent my childhood school breaks and summers flying over to see family, eat to my heart’s desire, and eventually fall prey to the innovative beauty industry.
I’m thrilled that – largely thanks to Instagram – it’s seeing a huge uplift in interest and even more so that upon my last trip in March 2019 for my cousin’s wedding, it’s changed considerably to stay afloat of shifting perspectives in vegan food and cruelty-free skincare.
So with that in mind, it’s time for an updated Daisybutter travel guide!
For the first time since I was born, I had to stay in a hotel when I visited Hong Kong last month. Our apartment was sadly sold (it belonged to my late Granny, although that’s a story for another time), and although it isn’t ideal, it does mean I can now explore more corners of the city!
We stayed in three hotels in Hong Kong, which you can read all about in an upcoming standalone post, but by far the standout for me was Page148.
Page148 is carefully tucked away in Jordan, just a stone’s throw from Mong Kok and Tsim Sha Tsui. At first I was unsure about staying in such a notoriously busy district, but we absolutely loved it. A short walk will bring you to numerous shops, restaurants, coffee shops and an MTR station, plus there’s a supermarket and 7-Eleven across the road.
Moreover, their in-house coffee shop is a dream. Situated in the lobby, Page Common serves delicious coffee, a small but wholesome all-day menu and in aesthetically pleasing concrete and wood surroundings.
Our Signature Greenery Room was certainly a treat, but wholeheartedly worth the price we paid. (For clarity, I didn’t receive any press discount on our booking.) The room was surprisingly spacious: not just in Hong Kong terms – as the city is famously space-deficient – but just a decently sized room for a longer stay. Our view was stunning, and the hotel is perfectly eco-friendly. For instance, bamboo toothbrushes are provided once during your stay, toiletries are large bottles mounted to the wall as opposed to tiny disposable bottles, your sheets and towels are changed only if requested, and there are eco-friendly settings on the all-essential air-conditioning.
Plus, the complimentary drip-bag coffee (yes!) is worth staying for alone. We took home four bags and have made a note to invest in some for our future home!
You can receive £15 off your first stay by booking through my little referral code here.
I’ve covered plenty of places to explore in Hong Kong already, so in this guide I want to introduce you to some of my favourite districts to visit.
Much of the time when I travel, I create a handy Google Maps and plot my ideal destinations in, then craft out a rough itinerary based on where those pins are. It means I can then spend a day in that particular area, discovering things I hadn’t previously researched and adding new must-visits to my recommendations. Mong Kok, Causeway Bay, Central… These are places you’ll probably visit outside of my guide as they’re covered in Lonely Planet, Wallpaper… You get the gist.
I’ve never really publicised where I used to live in Hong Kong. This was mostly for privacy reasons (and I actually had two scares during my time there!), but now that my Granny’s flat has finally been sold I don’t mind sharing. Tsuen Wan is tucked away in the New Territories and, fittingly, sits at the end of the Tsuen Wan MTR line. For this reason, I loved relying on public transport to get me to the island – I’d always get a seat!
There are SO many things to see and do in Tsuen Wan. You’ll be able to indulge in shopping galore at Luk Yeung Galleria, Citywalk and countless little clothing boutiques (my favourites are in New Town Plaza). There’s also plenty of food too: try Ramen Taifu, BEANSS (for breakfast/brunch), Gaia Veggie Shop, and MOS Burger.
In terms of things to do, you can visit the Chuk Lam Shim Yuen Bamboo Grove Monastery, walk to the seafront and sit in the parks – plus a bonus dog park, visit the little beach beneath the bridge… There’s even a cat café, where I’ve spent many an hour!
One of my cousins used to live in the Sai Kung district and as such it’s one of my favourite places to visit. There’s a beach and it’s nestled in the mountains (yes, there are mountains!), and moreover, it’s a super dog-friendly fishing port. Expect plenty of cuddles from neighbourhood pets and the freshest seafood in Hong Kong. Several hiking paths begin in Sai Kung too and they’re perfect for getting unparalleled views of Hong Kong’s greener side.
For food, head to The Conservatory, Little Cove Espresso or Infinity, or nip into the 7-Eleven by the bus stop and make a picnic to eat on the beach.
Down on the south side of the island lies Repulse Bay, a fairly popular beach district. The beach itself is clean and incredibly well serviced with shower facilities, on-the-beach restaurants and a deliciously air-conditioned shopping centre, The Pulse.
Be sure to visit Limewood on the beach boardwalk for delicious tacos! Repulse Bay is the perfect spot for a little sunbathing session before cleaning yourself up and popping back to the city by bus or taxi. Plus, if you walk a little further along the beach there’s a stunning temple and statues to see.
Wong Tai Sin
Want to go and get ‘that’ Rainbow District ‘gram? Head to Wong Tai Sin for a bustling temple experience first. This temple is home to three religions: Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism. Not only is the temple absolutely stunning and adheres to traditional Chinese style, you can also have your fortune told here and my readings have all been uncanny.
Afterwards, take a short walk over to the Choi Hung District. Follow directions to the MTR station and look for the familiar buildings. They’re not nearly as vibrant as Instagram may tell you, and the infamous basketball courts are on top of the car park.
Sham Shui Po
I absolutely adore Sham Shui Po, back in the New Territories. A distinctly local neighbourhood, this area is known for its open-air markets and for being home to Hong Kong’s textile industry. You’ll find textile shops, factories and studios here, and it’s where I designed and sourced several pieces for Honey + Chai! The district is full of beautiful Grade II-listed buildings and is a joy to wander around in sticky humid heat, imagining what once was.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved heading to Dragon Centre to shop as well. The 9-storey shopping centre is full of as much shopping as you can imagine! And if you’re in the area, be sure to visit Tim Ho Wan, a Michelin-starred dim sum restaurant, for lunch. Their barbecue pork buns are second to none!
- Jardine’s Lookout hike
- Take the tram up to Victoria Peak and then hike down
- A picnic or yoga practice in Tamar Park
- Hong Kong Museum of History
- Haggle at the Ladies’ market
One of my biggest concerns about visiting Hong Kong again was the food. I’m now eating a plant-based diet and from combined experience and memory, it wasn’t a particularly vegan-friendly city. Roasted meats are the backbone of Cantonese cuisine, but it turns out… We ate SO well on this trip!
Have you ever been to Hong Kong? What was your favourite part/experience?