When you are traveling to a new destination, proper preparation is needed to ensure you have a safe and pleasant trip. Though Hong Kong is a developed country, it is no exception to that rule. Below are 10 best tips for traveling to Hong Kong, especially if you are visiting for the first time!
1. Try Dim Sum
No trip to Hong Kong is complete without trying some of its authentic cuisine, namely dim sum. A little bit similar to the Spanish tapas, Chinese dim sum involves a large range of small dishes, most of which are steamed in a bamboo basket.
Typically, dim sum is enjoyed in the early morning or afternoon. It is rare to have dim sum at night.
Hong Kong has hundreds, if not thousands of dim sum restaurants to choose one. One that really stands out is Tim Ho Wan, one of the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurants in the world.
This authentic Hong Kong indoor activity is perfect for any time of the day, whether it is pouring rain or in a heat wave!
2. Pick up an Tourist Octopus Card as soon as you arrive
If you are visiting Hong Kong, the first thing you must do upon arrival is to pick up an Octopus Card. It is a contactless reusable stored value card that can be used almost everywhere in Hong Kong.
The Octopus Card is a must for anyone that would like to take advantage of the expansive public transportation in Hong Kong. You even get a discount when using the Octopus Card when using certain modes of public transportation!
As a tourist, it is recommended to purchase the Tourist Octopus Card, an Octopus Card that you can keep as a souvenir once it is deactivated.
3. Don’t forget to explore the beautiful nature in Hong Kong
One of the most overlooked parts of Hong Kong is its nature. Tourists typically only see the iconic views of Hong Kong such as Victoria Peak or Victoria Harbour, but few explore its stunning peaks and beautiful beaches.
Ironically, most people think Hong Kong is full of skyscrapers and crowded streets, but in fact, it is a city that is 75 percent green. So make sure you take some time to hike those country trails, check out the vistas, and enjoy the beaches!
4. Don’t forget to bargain if you are shopping in the street markets!
Though Hong Kong is very developed and haggling is generally not common, there are some places where you must haggle, especially as a tourist. These places are markets such as the Temple Street Market or the Ladies Market in Mong Kok.
The markets are full of counterfeits so don’t believe anyone when they tell you the products are real. For bargaining, a good starting point is about half of what their initial offer is, then you can work your way to an agreeable amount.
5. Take the scenic tram ride when you can!
The tram is one of the oldest modes of public transportation in Hong Kong. It runs exclusively on Hong Kong Island, from the neighborhood of Kennedy Town to Shau Kei Wan. Not only is the tram extremely affordable, but sitting in one of them is being a part of Hong Kong’s history.
The tram is extra pleasant at night, when you get to slowly pass all the soaring skyscrapers and their bright lights!
6. Choose your accommodation carefully!
Because the price of the housing market in Hong Kong is ridiculously high, picking a nice hotel with sufficient space can be difficult. That is why it is not only important to choose your accommodation carefully, but to also book ahead of time so you can secure the best deal possible.
The location of your accommodation matters a great deal too. Typically, as a tourist, you want to pick a place in Kowloon or Hong Kong Island. Stay away from Lantau Island and New Territories or you might need to travel far to see the best sights in Hong Kong.
7. No tipping required in Hong Kong!
Tipping is not required in Hong Kong, as most restaurants add on a 10% service charge to the bill already. However, if you are feeling generous and want to show appreciation for excellent service, then tipping is perfectly fine, unlike some places like Japan where the act of tipping is offensive!
8. Don’t drink the tap water in Hong Kong!
According to the government of Hong Kong, the tap water in Hong Kong is actually safe to drink. However, as the water is transported from the government facilities through the piping of private properties, the water might get contaminated. That is no surprise as some of the buildings in Hong Kong can be nearly 100 years old! To be safe, always drink bottled water in Hong Kong.
9. Avoid the MTR during rush hour!
The MTR (Mass Transit Railway) is the most popular form of public transportation in Hong Kong and should be avoided at all cost during rush hour! That is, except you enjoy the invasion of personal space and strong body odor. MTR during rush hour is never a good idea.
10. Take more money than you think you need!
Hong Kong is one of those destinations where you bring this amount of money and end up spending double that amount. From food to transportation to accommodation, everything is expensive in Hong Kong.
Tourists will also pay a premium as they will struggle to find local eateries and will have to stick to fancy touristy restaurants. Always bring more cash than you think you’ll need when visiting Hong Kong!
Those are the 10 tips when traveling to Hong Kong. We hope they have helped you plan your next adventure in Hong Kong!
Hey, I am Sean Lau of LivingOutLau. I left the comfort of my home in NYC to find out what truly inspired me. Since then, I’ve trekked through the Andes, encountered the world’s deadliest spider in the Amazon Rainforest, explored the world’s most catastrophic nuclear disaster, and more.
On LivingOutLau, you will find personal information, guides, and travel tips as he shares his discoveries of the world. This is me Living Out Loud(Lau).