Updated: Feb 27, 2021
If you haven't been to Hong Kong then you are missing out. There is so much to do in this small city even in 2 days or a couple days. Hong Kong is such a small and compact city with lots of personality, with a mixture of English colonial style influence and Chinese culture. A city with more skyscrapers than New York and many other cities, Hong Kong is a nice city to visit for a mixture of both urban and city life. I loved the ornate decorations at the Dorsett Hotel in Wanchai where I stayed, and the convenience of the Happy Valley Racecourse and other things nearby. Hong Kong was long known as the gateway to the east because it connected the western world with mainland China when the mainland had still not opened to industrialization. The metro from the airport is also very convenient to take to downtown and there are many things to do besides shopping and city life. Hong Kong is known for its international culinary scene and nightlife scene with several districts including Lan Kwai Fong, Lockhart Road in Wanchai and others.Everyone knows that Hong Kong is famous for it’s Victoria Peak, the highest point reachable by the Peak Tram and the Star Ferry, however below are 3 distinct features of Hong Kong - The religion, the district, and the culinary scene -that I want to highlight for those of you considering Hong Kong for your layover if you only have 48 hours or exploratory trip in an city that combines the best of both eastern and western culture.
From 1841 - 1941 for 100 years, Hong Kong was British colony before been returned to mainland China recently. Because of this history, Hong Kong today is a mixture of both British and Chinese culture and historical influences as it was heavily influenced by British values and culture, which during this time many Christian values, educational values, democratic values and social activism practices were developed. In the 1990s, Hong Kong became one of the 4 Asian Tigers as it was noted as a prime location for low taxes, pluralism and entrepreneurship, some of those features which it still carries today. In 1997, Hong Kong was returned to China but still remained a special administrative region. Today Hong Kong still maintains it’s distinct profile apart from mainland China because of its history and culture and visitors can see the symbolic differences separating mainland and the island.
1.Tian Tian (Bud Buddha)
Consisting of over 268 steps, The Tian Tian (Big Buddha) is one of the largest Buddhas in the world, located on the famous Lantou Island. The NgongPing Cable Car will bring you to this attraction above Lantou Island, allowing to take a glimpse of the magnificent nature and scenery below. The PoLin Monastery is also nestled here below the famous Big Buddha. The Big Buddha Statue is regarded to be the second largest outdoor bronze seated Buddha known to man. Walk through the Ngong Ping Village, where there are creative shops and antiques to this majestic statue. The Big Buddha was built over 12 years and symbolizes the balance between nature and man and gives fulfilling wishes to grant happiness to all. If you want to try authentic Buddhist cuisine, be sure to try the dining at the temple and eating the tradition Buddhist Cuisine near the PoLin Monastery. It is definitely something you need to try if you want to experience that lifestyle.
2. Wan Chai
Wan Chai was one of the first places to be settled by the British and contains many trails and artifacts belonging to colonial architecture, along with hidden bars and restaurants that stretch for many miles. Today it is also the commercial and business district of Hong Kong, and where I stayed at the Dorsett Hotel, is close to many amenities, including authentic shops and restaurants. I would recommend Ophelia, the bar where there are special performances at night and elaborate rooms and atmosphere when it opens again to be on the top of your bucket list if you enjoy nightlife. This is also a nice place to visit different places in Hong Kong, such as the Victoria Peak, Victoria Harbour as the train and trams are all a walking distance nearby. The Star Ferry can also be conveniently accessed from Wanchai, and it is a prime location for transportation. I loved browsing through the various streets and local shops with the dazzling famous neon lights that Hong Kong is famous for and watching the famous double decker buses stroll by. If this is your first time or last time in Hong Kong, be sure to put Wan Chai on our list as it is a district that is constantly undergoing creative development, maintains it’s historical appeal, and is a central location for visiting top attractions in Hong Kong.
3. Hong Kong Cuisine
It is no secret that the traditional Hong Kong delicacy food of dim sum should be enjoyed here, but also various delicious such as high tea, Buddhist food, international Michelen star restaurants and more. Hong Kong is known for excelling in the international food scene, and you can eat at a Michelin Star restaurant for a fairly cheap price. So whether you came to Hong Kong to eat authentic dim sum, British High Tea, or a fashion a glass of French Pino Gras, Hong Kong has all that and more. I loved eating the Hong Kong inspired curry at one of the restaurants along Wan Chai when I visited, reminding of this great place every time I come back. The savoury food, exciting selection of international cuisine and a diverse selection of upscale and affordable cuisine all highlight Hong Kong as top culinary destination for you next trip. If you are a foodie or instagrammer, be sure to put Hong Kong on your list for your next food-inspired trip.