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Hong Kong is my hometown. I was born here and lived here until I was nine years old. While living in Toronto, I visited Hong Kong many times and witnessed the changes in the city. Sometimes I don’t feel I belong here but yet there is a sense of familiarity. I feel like I’m learning about the city from a foreigner’s perspective and it is refreshing to see the city from another angle.
Located at the southeastern tip of China, Hong Kong has a sub-tropical climate where it is excellent to visit all year round. And with over 7 million people living in a small area of 2,754 km², this fast pace city will you buzzing day and night. This vibrant city does not sleep, and there is always something going on. I can totally see why the little city attracts millions of tourists each year.
Why Hong Kong is Great for a Solo Female Traveller
Hong Kong is a big international hub in Asia. People speak Cantonese, and most people have a knowledge of English. But not to worry, the majority of signs, wayfinding and menus are in both English and Chinese since they are the official languages. English is widely used in the workplace and business sectors.
Most visitors can visit Hong Kong without a visa for up to 180 days, which is a long time considering all the other neighbouring countries only allow visitors to stay for 30 to 90 days. But check Hong Kong Immigration Department before booking your ticket.
Transportation is very efficient. Between MTR (subway system), train, Star Ferry, bus, minibus, and taxis, there are many ways to get around the city. When you arrive in Hong Kong, purchase a rechargeable stored value card called Octopus Card. You can use the card for all public transportation (except taxi), purchases for participating retailers and some restaurants.
As for being a solo female traveller in Hong Kong, it is very safe to wander around the city whether it is day or night. Crime is not prevalent in the city. But still, practice your safety precautions at all times. Most people mind their own business. They may look at you but purely because they are curious about where you are from and not coming from malicious intent.
Hong Kong is a very international city where many expats work, and millions of tourists visit each year. The feel of multiculturalism is very apparent especially if you are on Hong Kong Island. So no matter what your background or ethnicity, you will fit in no matter what, even if you are a solo female traveller.
What to Do in Hong Kong
Most people will spend between two to five days in Hong Kong. It all depends on the budget. Hong Kong has one of the highest cost of living in the world and this affect accommodation costs, which is a bulk of your travel budget. But no matter how much you can spend, there is always something to do for every budget level.
Kowloon has a local feel where you will see the majority of locals live. You will find different things to do in Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok areas. Whereas Hong Kong Island has a bit more of an international feel to the city where you will find international retailers, businesses and restaurants. There are a lot of foreigners in Central, SoHo, Sheung Wan and NoHo areas.
Must-see attractions in Hong Kong
There is only one thing you need to do in Hong Kong, and that is to go to the Peak. Being on top of the highest point on the island, you will see a panoramic view of the city including Victoria Harbour and Kowloon. If you go during the day, walk the Circle Walk aka Luguard Road, which is a big loop that starts and ends at the Peak Tram. And if you decide to experience the view at night, you will be in awe of the shimmering lights of the city high from above. Getting to the Peak is quite easy. Either take the Peak Tram, bus or minibus, or you can even walk up the hill for 45 minutes from Central MTR.
Shopping in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of the best cities for shopping! Honestly, I don’t know any other city that has extended hours of operation, stores open until 10 pm, night markets open well into the night, and major retailers will even open on most holidays (some may also open on Chinese New Year Day!). And there is no sales tax on any purchases. What you see is what you pay. There are opportunities to shop almost everywhere. One of the most central places is Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui where you will find all the retailers under one roof. As for markets, visit the Ladies Market in Mong Kok for bargains and Temple Street Night Market for all kinds of trinkets. And make your way to Stanley to visit Stanley Market as well. Remember you can haggle prices at the markets!
Nightlife in Hong Kong
A visit to Hong Kong is not the same without seeing the vibrant nightlife. Even if you are travelling solo, it is worth experiencing the exciting nightlife, and it goes on every night. Go to Lan Kwai Fong, where bars line every street and every corner. Hong Kong people love their happy hour. Drinks are discounted in the afternoon and usually between 5 to 8 pm. And partygoers continue well into the night. LKF is probably the best (and rowdiest) place for New Year’s Eve party.
Also, check out SoHo for high-end bars and restaurants. Take the set of escalators on Queens Road Central, and it will take you to SoHo. This area is a favourite amongst expats and tourists.
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Unique things to do in Hong Kong
If you want to see other sides of the city, Hong Kong has some unique spots around the city that might pique your interest. Goldfish Market only sells goldfish and pet-related items. The Flower Market and Bird Market are both nearby and are worth checking out. And a local favourite food market, Tai Po Market.
And if you like theme parks, Ocean Park has thrill rides and shows that will keep you entertained for an entire day. And the same goes for Hong Kong Disneyland.
One of my new favourite things to do in Hong Kong is the Happy Valley Racecourse on Wednesday nights. For a small admission fee, you will guarantee a grand old time! A lot of (local) people go for the actual horseracing, and you will see them studying newspapers and analyzing statistics to maximize their odds of winning. But if you are not into gambling (or don’t know what is going on, like me!), you will still enjoy the fun and social atmosphere (over some drinks, of course!)
Interested in tours in Hong Kong? Try one of these tours below:
Day trips & hikes
Sometimes you need to get out of the city and experience something else. One of the best day trips is visiting Lantau Island because you can find any treasures including a secret beach. The excursion includes a visit to The Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery. You can get there by a combination of MTR, bus, ferry or cable car.
A day trip to Cheung Chau Island can be fun and relaxing. Take the ferry ride, and you will arrive at a picturesque harbour. Then spend the day on the waterfront promenade, enjoying the beach, exploring caves and hiking various trails.
And if you like hiking as much as I do, try any of these scenic hikes: Dragon’s Back, Twin Peaks Stanley, Lion Rock Hike, Lantau Peak, and Jardine’s Lookout Hike. If you want to look up more hiking stuff in Hong Kong, there’s an app called “enjoy hiking.”
Where to Eat in Hong Kong
The food is fantastic in Hong Kong! The city offers many different types of cuisines around the world. While eating out can be expensive at times, there are many affordable (and delicious) options in the city. I listed some of my favourites below. Most of them are local food which each traveller must try. I’ve also included the closest MTR station information for easy navigation.
Moreover, Hong Kong people like to dine out! Probably because they work long hours and don’t have time to cook. So eating out is very common. Also, Hong Kong people do not usually invite friends and family over for a meal because they typically live in tiny spaces, which is why you can find food almost anywhere!
And a lot of restaurants will automatically add a percentage as a service fee. This is a common practice in Hong Kong. A tip is not required in some local restaurants but be prepared to see the service fee on your bill for most of your dining experiences.
A side note on the food culture and Hong Kong restaurants. Some local restaurants like to fill every seat in the restaurant. This means you may be sharing a table with complete strangers if you are going as a solo traveller. This is a widespread practice as the culture is “eat and go.”
Typical Hong Kong Food
When you are in Hong Kong, definitely try some (if not all) of these:
Typical Hong Kong Breakfast – includes eggs, spam, thick toast with butter, and macaroni in clear soup
Roast Goose – there are many excellent restaurants serving delicious roast goose
Gai Dan Zai (Egg Waffle) – similar to a regular waffle in terms of taste and texture, the egg waffle looks like a sheet of bubble wrap where each “bubble” resembles an egg
Dim Sum – Hong Kong people love their dim sum! There are many to choose from. Shumai (pork dumplings), Har Gow (shrimp dumpling), rice noodle roll, chicken feet and more! Yum!!
Fresh Seafood – seafood cannot be any fresher than this! Different types of fish, crabs, clams, and other types of seafood are placed in water tanks. You select the specific seafood you want to try, and the restaurant will prepare it exactly the way you want.
Pineapple Bun + Butter – an excellent option for either breakfast or afternoon tea. And best to eat it with a Hong Kong Milk Tea!
Hong Kong Milk Tea – there is something special about Hong Kong milk tea. Perhaps the tea has a distinct flavour and combining it with evaporated milk. Simple but delicious!
High Tea – a trendy thing to do in Hong Kong. A lot of hotels offer excellent high tea experiences. Typically, high tea includes savoury and sweet snacks with either tea or coffee. If you have a free afternoon (from 2 to 5 pm), do give this a try!
Some Must- try Restaurants while you are in Hong Kong
Australia Dairy Company 澳洲牛奶公司 – 47 Parkes St (MTR: Jordan); rated the best breakfast in the city. Pro tip: know what you want before sitting down. The waiters are very eager to take your order.
Mak Man Kee Noodle Shop 麥文記麵家 – 51 Parkes St (MTR: Jordan); they have the best wonton noodle soup! There’s something about the freshness and texture of the noodles that keep me going back!
Café de Coral 大家樂 – various locations; a cheap and cheerful local chain restaurant that serves hearty HK style dishes. I have to include this since I go there almost every day for breakfast.
Kam Wah Cafe & Bakery 金華冰室 – 47 Bute St (MTR: Prince Edward); they are famous for their pineapple bun with butter! This one is the best because the crust doesn’t fall apart!
Yee Shun Dairy Company 港澳義順牛奶公司 – 63 Pilkem St (MTR: Jordan); their steamed egg and steamed milk dessert are both extremely addictive!
Tai Cheong Bakery 泰昌餅家 – 35 Lyndhurst Terrace (MTR: Central); HK is known for egg tarts, and this one is the best! Yes, this store has a line-up too. All good places have line-ups, but they move quickly.
Mammy Pancake 媽咪雞蛋仔 – 1 Kwong Wa St Unit G23 (MTR: Mong Kok); this chain is recommended by Micheline Guide Street Food for the past three years. My favourite is the matcha and red bean egg waffle!
Tosca – 102/F, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon West (MTR: Kowloon); the Michelin-starred restaurant on the 102nd floor of ICC (International Commerce Centre) where you can get an incredible view of Victoria Harbour. Make a reservation for seats by the window.
Sai Kung Seafood Street 西貢海鮮街 – there are several restaurants to choose from; you pick your seafood from the tanks, and the restaurant cooks it the way you want. Seafood is fresh and tasty at these restaurants.
Where to Stay in Hong Kong
If you only have a few days, stay somewhere convenient and close to all the places you want to visit, like Tsim Sha Tsui on the Kowloon side or Central, Sheung Wan, Wanchai or Causeway Bay on the Hong Kong Island.
Space is a premium in Hong Kong, which means accommodation will not come cheap. There are many hotels in the city, as well as Airbnb and hostels. Accommodations on the Kowloon side is more affordable than the ones on Hong Kong Island. Typically, a hostel bed costs HKD 150+, a hotel room costs HKD 600+, and Airbnb option is anywhere in between.
In Tsim Sha Tsui, The Mira Hong Kong is a great hotel option because of its location and proximity to MTR. The room is comfortable, and they even give you a pocket wifi device to use while you are there. If you have Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) points, this is a great hotel to cash in your points as The Mira Hong Kong is part of Design Hotels of Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG).
If you prefer to stay on the island, try 99 Bonham. Tucked away in the small streets of Sheung Wan, this luxury boutique hotel has very stylish rooms. Each suite is well designed to maximize the compact space. There’s even a gym so you can work off all the food you tried in Hong Kong.
While there are many Airbnb apartments in both Kowloon and Hong Kong Island, you might want to consider staying outside of the city. Try Sai Kung, Lamma Island or Cheung Chau for a more local experience. And remember to claim your $35 Airbnb discount here.
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hong kong is my hometown. i lived abroad for many years and i'm finally came back to see this beautiful city again. the city changed a lot. sometimes it feels like home. other times i feel like i'm seeing the city as a visitor. but either way, i want to share with you everything i know. the solo guide for hong kong is online. link is in bio! and this view…!!! 😍
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