Hong Kong is home to the team at Travel by Timothy Oulton, and the recommendations below are a selection of our absolute favourite things to do in this vibrant city that truly never sleeps.
One of the best things about Hong Kong is how cheap and easy it is to get around. Get yourself an Octopus card at any MTR station and hop on and off the MTR, bus and tram system like a local. Taxis are also very reasonable in comparison to other major cities and the meter system keeps it honest. Tips not necessary!
BakehouseBreakfast / Brunch
Bakehouse has queues lining outside the door at nearly all hours of the day. Their divine croissants, Portuguese egg tarts and other pastries are just that good. Come and see for yourself - it’s worth the wait. For those looking for something more wholesome, they also serve a short but fabulous brunch menu. For those who prefer not to wait, you can pick up any of Bakehouse’s pastries of bread loaves at the takeout counter.
14, Tai Wong Street East, Wan Chai I Open Monday - Friday from 9:00 - 5:00pm (takeout counter until 7:00pm). Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays from 9:00am - 5:00pm.
This is our favourite place to head for an indulgent breakfast. The buffet here is absolutely sensational and offers such value for money, at HKD$338 +10% for adults and HKD$228 + 10% for children aged 3-11. It might not sound that cheap from where you’re sitting, but when you take into account the high quality spread that includes dim dum, egg station, carvery, huge bakery selection, cold cuts and salad buffet, fabulous tropical fruits as well as unlimited fresh juices and as many cappuccinos as you can take before bouncing off the walls, we promise you it’s worth every penny, and you’ll save on your lunch bill as you won’t need any!
M/F, Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, 5 Connaught Road Central, Central I +852 2522 0111 I Open daily from 6:30am - 10:30am
We are talking specifically about the Zuma weekend brunch here, which is legendary in Hong Kong. zuma’s vast restaurant space is filled with large groups of friends and families each Saturday and Sunday, who come to feast on the exquisite Japanese cuisine and make the most of the two hour free-flow champagne package. The brunch menu includes a phenomenal buffet of sushi, sashimi, tempura as well as other hot and cold starters. Mains are then made to order (1 per person), and an impressive dessert platter is delivered to the table at the end of the meal. By this stage, the restaurant’s decibel level is significantly higher than at the start of the meal! Prices for the ‘basic’ 2 hour champagne free-flow (Ruinart nv) start at HKD$838 per person. A food only option costs HKD$548 per person, and children aged 4 - 10 are charged a very reasonable HKD$280.
Landmark Level 5 & 6, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Central I +852 3657 6388 I email@example.com I Brunch served on Saturday and Sundays from 11:00am - 3:00pm.
Empire City HuaiyangLunch - Dim Sum
Upmarket Chinese restaurant that has a particularly good lunch time dim sum menu. Expect delicate dim sum creations shaped into swans and the like, as well as truffle fried rice on the menu. Food here is of fantastic quality and the price not bad at all as long as you stick to the dim sum menu.
8/F, Convention Plaza, 1 Harbour Road, Wanchai (need to use the lift of Renaissance Harbour View Hotel I +852 2628 0218 I Open daily from 11:00am - 3:00pm and 6:00pm - 11:00pm
Ming KeeLunch - Seafood
This is our favourite destination for Hong Kong style seafood. It’s nothing fancy, in fact, don’t look into the kitchen and we implore you to avoid the loos . . . The food, however, is absolutely sensational. The star dishes are the deep fried squid with chilli and the deep fried shrimps with black pepper and chilli. It’s hard to go wrong at Ming Kee however, so order away and wash down the delicious fresh seafood with a cold beer. It’s also free of charge to BYO. Getting here is a bit of an adventure - it’s either a 40 minute journey on the scheduled ferry from Stanley Pier or rent a private boat and arrive at your leisure.
Po Too Island I +852 2849 7038 I Open Thursday - Sunday 11:00am - 18:00pm I Ferry fare and schedule information: http://tsuiwahferry.com/en/aberdeen-stanley-po-toi-island/
Mott 32Lunch - Dim Sum
This smart, hard to book restaurant is renowned for it’s Peking Duck, but for value for money, visit at lunchtime and order off the dim sum menu. All the dishes are impeccably prepared, using the very best ingredients. The Wagyu Beef Puffs are absolutely sensational.
Standard Chartered Bank Building, 4-4a Des Voeux Road, Central. I +852 2898 3788 I firstname.lastname@example.org I Open Thursday-Tuesday for lunch from 12:00pm - 2:30pm and for dinner from 6:00pm - 11:00pm
Sen RyoLunch - Sushi
This is our go-to cheap and cheerful sushi joint. Sit at the counter and pick good quality, reasonably priced dishes off the sushi train. It’s the perfect place to go on your own or with a friend for a quick fix. The best thing about Sen Ryo is how utterly satisfying it feels to leave a Hong Kong restaurant with a bill of less than HKD$200 per head! The chain has restaurants all over Hong Kong - check out their website to find your nearest branch.
Check website for branch locations and opening hours
The China ClubDinner - Cantonese
No list of Hong Kong’s best restaurants is complete without a mention of this absolute institution. The late David Tang opened his first restaurant in Hong Kong as a private members club, and it quickly became the place to see and be seen in Hong Kong, and an obvious place to take out of town guests in order to show them some old school glitz and glamour. The space is laid out over three floors, made up of private dining rooms, two bars, and a spectacular main dining room - which is the main draw. Beg, borrow or steal (or ask your hotel concierge) to bag a table here and you’ll find yourself in Hong Kong’s most impressive dining space. The old-Shanghai style dining room is incredibly atmospheric, from David’s impressive art collection lining every inch of wall space, to the entertainment (a tea pouring ceremony, noodle making show, and some questionable Chinese opera singing), guests will be entertained all evening. The menu features Hong Kong classics such as Peking Duck, Sweet and Sour Pork, and Shanghai Dumplings, and caters for an international crowd. Soak in the atmosphere, enjoy the food and make sure to head to the rooftop bar on a clear evening for a cocktail after your meal to admire the bright lights of our stunning city.
Old Bank of China Building, 1 Bank St., 13/F, Central I +852 2521 8888 I Open daily from 7:30am - Late
Chôm ChômDinner - Vietnamese
This Hanoi-inspired bar and eatery brings the Vietnamese tradition of Bia hoi (drinking beer with friends on a busy street corner) to Peel Street in the heart of SoHo. The atmosphere here is always buzzing, and as there are very few tables, waiting patrons spill out onto the street, cocktail in hand, waiting for their turn to sit. The sound track is always brilliant, so it’s not a bad place to wait a while for a table while perusing the menu. Once yo do sit down, the food is Vietnamese with a modern twist. The phô rolls are to die for, but pretty much everything is good here. Prices are reasonable.
58-60 Peel Street, SoHo I +852 2810 0850 I email@example.com I Open Sunday - Wednesday 5:00pm - 10:45pm, and Thursday - Saturday 5:00pm - 12:15am
New Punjab ClubDinner - Indian
The experience begins with the very regal, turbaned doorman, who welcomes diners into this exclusive palace of spice. It continues with the gin trolley that arrives at your table upon sitting down, from which you are invited to order a selection of gin cocktails, each designed to match the spicy food to come. This restaurant celebrates post-Colonial Pakistan and India, and it does so with style. It’s a buzzy restaurant with outstanding food and very few tables, so be sure to book well in advance. Star dishes include the Samosa Chaat - a kind of deconstructed version of the original, and the Keema Pau - the softest buns which guests fill with the tastiest mutton and potato mixture, Indian comfort food!
34 Wyndham Street, Central. I. +852 2368 1223. I. firstname.lastname@example.org I Open for lunch Monday - Friday from 12:00pm - 2:30pm and for dinner Mon-Wed 6:00pm - 10:30pm; Thu-Fri 6:00pm - 11:00pm; Sat 5:00pm - 11:00pm; Sunday 5:00pm - 10:30pm
Qi - House of SichuanDinner - Sichuan
For any chilli lovers out there, this one Michelin-starred Sichuan restaurant is the bomb (literally)! Don’t be put off if you are not partial to a bit of spice however - there is something for everyone here. The menu is clearly labelled with dishes listed as either mild, hot (regular chilis and other spices used) or Male hot (tongue and mind numbing Sichuan peppers used). It’s hard to go wrong here, but we can highly recommend the Bang Bang Wontons, the Sugar Glazed Ginger and Scallion Beef, and the Sizzling Eggplant with Minced Iberico Pork. There’s a good choice of vegetarian choices on the menu also, and enough of the non-spicy options to keep less experimental diners happy.
J Senses, 2/F, 60 Johnston Road (entrance on Ship St), Wan Chai I +852 2527 7117 I Open daily for lunch from 12:00pm - 2:30pm and for dinner from 6:00pm - 11:00pm
SamsenDinner - Thai
Downright cool and undeniably authentic Thai restaurant serving a short menu of street food specialities. Everything is good here, and tastes even better with their homemade chilli sauce on top. Lunch is particularly good value for money, with a good set meal deal. No reservations sadly so be prepared to queue. They have just opened a second, larger branch in Sheung Wan featuring a slightly different menu which is receiving rave reviews - the roti in particular seems to be a hit. Try either, or both restaurants if you like the first!
68 Stone Nullah Lane, Wan Chai I +852 2234 0001 I Open daily from 12:00pm - 2:30pm and from 6:00pm - 11:00pm
G/F, 23 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan I +852 2234 0080 I Currently open for dinner only Tuesday - Sunday 6:30pm - 11:00pm
Tung Po KitchenDinner - Seafood
Located on the top floor of North Point Wet Market, Tung Po Kitchen is the place to come for a fun night out with a group of friends. Expect local seafood specialities, mixed in with a few Italian pasta dishes - a strange combination perhaps, and a result of the fact that the restaurant is owned by a team of former Shangri-La Hotel chefs, some of whom worked in the Chinese restaurant others who came from the hotel’s Italian restaurant. The food is good here, but the main reason to visit is the atmosphere. It’s seriously fun! The staff - sporting crazy mohawk haircuts, wellington boots, shorts and string vests, dish out the food and big bowls of beer, and have a penchant for toasting the table each time another round is ordered. The beer keeps flowing and the rock music increases in volume as the night goes on. By the end of the evening everyone is dancing at their tables to Aerosmith and Bon Jovi. It’s a real experience!
2/F Java Road Municipal Services Building, 99 Java Road, North Point I +852 2880 5224 I Open daily from 5:30pm - 12:00pm
YardbirdDinner - Japanese
Every conceivable morsel of the humble chicken is served at this hugely popular yakitori joint. Every part is prepared differently and each is outstanding. Be brave or stick to the body parts you are familiar with. Don’t hold back on the vegetarian side dishes, they are superb. We can’t get enough of the corn fritters. Unfortunately the restaurant doesn’t take reservations, and there is almost always a queue. We recommend therefore arriving as as it opens, or after 9pm.
G/F, 154-158 Wing Lok Street, Sheung Wan I +852 2547 9273 I email@example.com I Open Monday - Saturday from 6:00pm - 12:00am
Bars and Nightlife
Frank'sBar / Restaurant
Frank’s is a two-storey New Jersey-style Italian restaurant and bar. The restaurant upstairs is cute but the Italian-American comfort food isn’t anything to write home about. The bar is a different story however. This is the place to come for stiff cocktails, and a fun crowd drawn by the brilliant funk and hip-hop soundtracks curated by the joint’s talented DJs.
G/F, 79 Wyndham Street, Central I +852 2320 0858
A hanging garden of 10,000 preserved butterflies elegantly dangling from the ceiling welcomes patrons to this other-worldly bar at the top of Pottinger Street. The butterflies flutter in vast contrast to the rest of the 80-seat space, which is modelled on an ironsmith’s workshop and furnished in raw iron, with accents of timber, leather and mining machinery. Live bands perform most nights, and the place is always packed (as are all the best places Hong Kong) with a lively crowd looking for a good time. It’s worth a visit here just for the interior decor, but we guarantees you will want to stay a while . . .
LG/F, 1-13 Hollywood Road, Central I +852 2603 6992 I firstname.lastname@example.org I Open Monday - Thursday and Sunday from 6:00pm - 2:00am, and Friday - Saturday from 6:00pm - 3:00am
Fun rooftop bar, perfect for an alfresco cocktail and snack when the weather is good. Sit down on one of the comfy sofas or beanbags and order a selection of charcuterie, cheese and quiches which arrive in cute picnic baskets.
R/F H Queen’s, 80 Queen’s Road Central, Central I +852 5200 1683 I Open Sunday - Thursday 11:00am - 12:00am, Friday - Saturday from 11:00am - 4:00am
Despite being located in the heart of Soho, Shady Acres feels very much like a local wine bar . The bar draws a fun crowd - often spilling out onto the street, who come for the excellent quality wines and cocktails, as well as the fantastic tapas style snacks. During the two happy hours (5pm-7pm and 11pm-1am), selected drinks are discounted as well as some of the food options, making it a great place to come for an early dinner or midnight feast!
G/F, 46 Peel Street, Soho I No reservations I Open Monday - Friday 5:00pm - 1:00am, Saturday 1:00pm - 1:00am and Sunday 1:00pm - 12:00am.
Hike Dragon's Back
A classic Hong Kong hike, and one of the best for views over the Southside of the island, which can be absolutely stunning. The full hike, (Stage 8 of the Hong Kong Trail), takes 4 hours, and the going is moderate for Hong Kong standards (quite a lot of uphill). The full hike ends at Big Wave Bay, which is one of Hong Kong’s best and cleanest beaches. Pack swimsuits and a picnic for after the hike. From Big Wave Bay, the number 9 bus will take you to Shau Kai Wan, from where you can jump onto the MTR to the destination of your choice. If 4 hours sounds like too much effort, you can split off after around 1.5 hours at the bottom of the Dragon’s Back by following signs to Shek O. You’ll reach the Shek O Road and will have to jump on a bus or taxi from there. It’s around 5 minutes drive to Shek O, which is nice for a potter, swim on the beach, or a meal at one of the many casual cafes.
Every year between the months of April and November, large audiences of squid arrive in the waters surrounding Hong Kong. Depart from Central Pier or Sai Kung in the evening and head out for an evening of fun on board a chartered boat and see if you can catch some of those slippery beasts. The crew will cook them for your dinner if you like, or instead choose to motor on to a nearby seafood restaurant. There are a few companies who offer this experience, find two of the best here.
Sea - E - O Boating: https://www.sea-e-o.hk/squid-fishing
Yacht Holimood: https://en.yacht.holimood.com/category/115/SQUID-FISHING
The Aqualuna is a traditional Chinese teakwood fishing junk that has been glammed up for hosting out of town visitors to Hong Kong. The company offers a variety of fantastic trips onboard including the Symphony of Lights Tour, where guests can board at Central at 7:30pm or Tsim She Tsui at 7:45pm and a unique way to take in the spectacle, as well as a perfect pre-dinner activity. There are two great day time itineraries on offer also. A weekday dim sum lunch tour from Central to Hong Kong as well as a weekend 90 minute sail to Stanley, on the Southside of Hong Kong is also fantastic, and includes a 2 hour stop at Stanley to allow guests to explore the market. The covered upper deck provides a comfy seating area for guests, and the lower outdoor deck, with its huge red sails billowing in the breeze is perfect for catching the sun. Visit the Aqualuna’s website for price and scheduling information.
Hong Kong is home to perhaps the most exciting horse racing in the world. Twice a week between September and July, people from all walks of life fill the stands at Shatin and Happy Valley race courses, hoping to win big. No trip to Hong Kong should go without a visit to the Public Stand of the Happy Valley Racecourse on a Wednesday night. It costs just HKD$10 to enter, and you’ll be met by a lively crowd, all enjoying a few bets and more than a few beers, surrounded by the spectacular city and mountain scenery beyond the stadium. In recent years, the Jockey Club has worked hard to appeal more to the younger generation, and as a result there are often live bands performing between races, as well as some themed food and drink stalls, which can be interesting. Have a flutter, the minimum bet is only HKD$10, so you can’t go too wrong!
Please check website for venue and scheduling information I Strictly for over 18s only
Historical Walks around Hong Kong
Jason Wordy is an established local historian and writer who takes people on fascinating journeys through the streets of Hong Kong. Lasting approximately 3 hours, each walk is unique and participants are enveloped in the history and mesmerising stories from times gone by that Jason has privy to thanks to his unparalleled knowledge of Hong Kong. The Kowloon Walled City tour comes particularly highly recommended. Check the website for upcoming itineraries and scheduling. Walks tend to take place on weekends only.
A classic Hong Kong pastime. Although there is a huge choice of reflexology centres in Hong Kong, not all are good, and most are pretty grimy. In contrast, Ten Feet Tall is a haven of peace and tranquility. Inspired by the island of St Barts, the white, yellow and natural wood interior is a far cry from the usual dark and dingy interiors of most alternatives in the city. It might cost around 10-20% more for a treatment here, but it is worth the extra for the service you receive (never had a bad massage), the level of hygiene and the stylish comfort of the environment. We also love the refreshments menu - fresh coconuts, cold pressed juice and frozen yogurt all go down a treat whilst flicking through one of the latest gossip magazines from the collection on offer at the entrance. There is a huge Central branch, and another in Happy Valley. Book a few hours ahead if possible.
Central branch: 21/F, L Place, 139 Queen’s Road Central I +852 2971 1010 I email@example.com
Central branch: 21/F, L Place, 139 Queen’s Road Central I +852 2971 1010 I firstname.lastname@example.org
Hong Kong with Kids
Hong Kong’s original theme park, located on the Southside of the island. Get there before the park opens to buy your tickets and be the first through the gates. Make a beeline for the aquarium as it is a special experience to walk through it without the crowds. For younger kids, there are lots of lovely animal enclosures to discover. The Amazing Asian Animals enclosure is where we head to after the aquarium, with two huge pandas to spot, as well as a few red pandas, which just melt your heart. After that, we jump on the train to the other side of the park and wrap up warm before heading into the penguin exhibit. Next door there are walruses and seals, who love to put on a show for visitors. We end with the Amazon exhibit, which has some toe-curling snakes and spiders on display, as well as an anaconda and some cute capybaras. For older kids, there are plenty of rides to keep them busy for a full day. Adult tickets from HKD$498 and chia tickets (age 3-11) from HKD$249.
Suitable for children aged 5 and up, this indoor climbing facility provides a brilliant opportunity for children to let off some steam. We love racing each other up some of the walls with timers, and trying to figure out some of the tricker ones. It’s a fabulous arm and core workout, expect some aches and pains the next day! Prices start at HKD$180 per person, and you can stay as long as you like.
4/F, Kodak House 1, 321 Java Road, Quarry Bay I +852 2560 8128 I email@example.com
Located in the same building as Verm City, Ryze is an indoor trampoline park suitable for children of all ages. It recently expanded by opening another level on the 1st floor of the building, which is more suited to children aged 5 and above, but the original space will keep children of all ages entertained for an hour easily. A great rainy day activity, if you are struggling for ideas. Children aged and under jump for free, 3-6 year olds pay HKD$105 for an hour, and 7 and over pay HKD$160.
3/F, Kodak House 1, 321 Java Road, Quarry Bay I +852 2337 8191 I firstname.lastname@example.org. I Open Monday - Thursday 10:00am - 7:00pm and Friday - Sunday 10:00am - 9:00pm
Body Boarding on Big Wave Bay Beach
Can be combined with the Dragons Back hike mentioned above. There is usually a small swell at Big Wave Bay, making it a popular spot for surfers and body boarders. It’s usually very child friendly (make sure the conditions are safe first) and body boards can be rented at any of the stalls on the way down to the beach from the road. Snacks and drinks can be bought at the stalls. There’s very little shade on the beach so bring plenty of good sunscreen. Best to get there by takking the no.9 bus from Shau Lei Wan MTR.
If this Insider Guide has inspired you, please do get in touch
so that we can help plan your trip.