Hong Kong is often rated one of the world's great cities. I would put Hong Kong with its buzz, atmosphere and unique mix of east and west of in the top 10 of great cities along with New York, London, Tokyo, Sydney, Los Angeles, Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore and Chicago. Here is my list of the best places to visit in Hong Kong.
The Star Ferry
A lot of locals were pretty miffed to say the least that Star Ferry was moved from its iconic location in the heart of Central to a location near the IFC skyscraper on the western side of Central. A few diehard loyalists even staged a sit in just before the wrecking ball arrived which tells you the place that Star Ferry has in the heart of Hong Kongers. But if you have never experienced the Star Ferry before, new or old, it's still a Hong Kong essential experience. I'm often asked by visitors if it's better to take the Star Ferry from Tsim Sha Tsui or TST side or Hong Kong side. Both work just as well as each other so just add the Star Ferry to your itinerary for the day.
Get a tram, sit upstairs and travel along Central to Causeway Bay, passing by Admiralty and Wanchai on your way
The Hong Kong Tramways system still works beautifully and it's a great way to take in the sights and sounds of Hong Kong. Take it from Central, make sure you get a prime seat at the top deck in the front and have a leisurely ride through Admiralty which is a prime business district, Wanchai which mixes old, new, markets, small businesses and mega bustle up to the shopping district of Causeway Bay where you can head to Times Square shopping mall or Sogo Department store and shop to your hearts content.
Go shopping crazy in Causeway Bay or in Tsim Sha Tsui.
Causeway Bay is the main shopping district on Hong Kong Island. If you're based in Kowloon-side than you might want to head to Harbour City and Canton Road for your shopping needs
Depending on your budget, have a splash out feast or a small bowl of noodles in Hutong Restaurant, Tsim Sha Tsui
Hutong Restaurant on One Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui has a spectacular view looking out into Hong Kong Harbor. It's a little pricey - lunch is cheaper and quieter.
Stanley Market is on Hong Kong's south side. The beach is nothing to shout about but the area is packed with decent restaurant and pubs, and there's a market for great souvenir shopping. You can buy little purses, artwork, personalized chop (Chinese name stamps), Hong Kong classic signs and old photos and a lot more.
Seafood in Sai Kung
Sai Kung is filled with delicious seafood restaurants. Take a seat then go up to the aquarium tanks and order your LIVE sea food there and then. It then gets fished out with a big net into a plastic bag, weighed and cooked as you like it. Chinese style with ginger and spring onions is my favorite method of cooking for lobster and crab and plain steamed prawns with soy sauce is tough to beat. From Sai Kung you can take a boat to Half Moon Bay or any of the other islands or beaches. There are people all along the pier side offering boating services.
Ngong Ping 360
Ngong Ping 360 is a cable car ride that takes you to the Big Buddha on Lantau Island. If I were you, I would simply buy a roundtrip cable car ticket - no need to upgrade to the "Crystal Cable Car" option which has a glass-bottom and no need to visit the Tales of the Monkey and Walking WIth Buddha attractions. Go early as it gets pretty crowded during peak tourist seasons. It opens at 9am at the weekends and 10am during the weekdays and I would try to go within an hour of opening. The lines go fast but still. And if you go early, leave early - you can spend time shopping at the Citygate Outlet Mall in Tung Chung. Get there by getting the Tung Chung line on the MTR (the subway / underground train service)
Hong Kong Disneyland
Hong Kong Disneyland maybe on the smaller side compared to Tokyo Disneyland, DisneyWorld and the original Disneyland in Los Angeles but still, Disneyland is Disneyland - it's a magical world with all your favorite Disney characters, a fantastic fireworks display with the backdrop of Cinderella's castle and two mountain peaks behind it and all the Disney-themed souvenirs you could wish for. Christmas is a particularly great time to visit, when you actually get to see snow in Hong Kong! Great for families but perhaps a little too tame for teenagers and adults looking for rides that a little more adrenaline-busting.
Before Hong Kong Disneyland there was Ocean Park, Hong Kong's very own theme park. The most famous attraction is the cable car ride that takes you along the mountain and is absolutely beautiful. There's also an entertaining dolphin show, some lazy but cute pandas and fairground style games.
Take the Peak Tram up to the Peak
Get the Peak Tram in Admiralty and go up the steep slopes to the Peak for an unparalleled view of the city and the mountains beyond. The best time to visit is around magic hour at night (5pm) so you can see both the day time view and the city with all its neon lights in full glory as well. The souvenirs are a little over-priced but there's a Madame Tussauds up there for a spot of photo-taking with the stars.
Symphony Of Lights
Symphony of lights is a nightly light show that has lasers and bright strong lights shining from the tops of some of the city's best known buildings including the IM Pei built Bank of China, the Hong Kong Shanghai bank also known as the building that looks inside out designed by Sir Norman Foster and the Convention Centre in Wanchai. Symphony Of Lights starts every night at 8pm and lasts 15 minutes. It is best viewed from the Tsim Sha Tsui-side of Star Ferry or along the Avenue of the Stars.
A traditional "Cha Tang Tseng" (or local Cantonese tea house)
The birthplace of the famous Hong Kong hot milk tea, a traditional Hong Kong tea house is the place for Western-turned-Hong Kong snacks such as toast lathered in condensed milk, French toast, macaroni soup with ham and instant noodles with a fried egg and fried spam on top. Yummy!! You can find them in most areas. One of my favorites is the Tsui Wah chain (you can find one in Wellington Street in Central - at the base of Lan Kwai Fong)