3 Days in Hong Kong

Ah Hong Kong, the old fragrant harbor. It’s one of those places I kind of always wanted to go to. It definitely peaked my interest with its Chinese and simultaneously Western identity.

We decided to go to Hong Kong as a mid-point between the Philippines and Vietnam. That was the cheapest airfare route so alas that’s where we were.

What you need to know about Hong Kong geography

Hong Kong is divided into two areas, Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. They are only separated by Victoria Harbor, but seem a world away. Kowloon is on the mainland side and is more like China, where Hong Kong Island is you guessed it, an island! It has more of a western metropolitan influence while Kowloon feels more traditional.

Where to stay in Hong Kong

We hopped off the train from Macau at night and hoofed it on foot to our hostel, Yessin at YMT. We decided to stay on the Kowloon side because it was much cheaper (and seemed more authentic!) Our hostel was on one floor of a larger sky-rise building hosting other hotels, shops, and restaurants. (This is the norm in Hong Kong.)

After a check-in to our super tiny room, we headed out to the Temple Street Night Market for some grub. It was such a fun and lively vibe! And of course some interesting menu options (see: pig blood, fish balls).

Hong Kong Day 1: Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade and Markets in Kowloon

Always on the search for delicious coffee, we headed to 18 Grams inside of a food hall/market. Of course we stopped along the way at some temples (always a must-do for Grant!).

After a caffeine boost we walked to the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade to see the skyline and some cool sculptures. We also perused Nathan Road and the Chungking Mansions, a building with tons of little shops and kiosks selling everything you can imagine. We considered buying some off-market iPhones but decided not to.

Next stop the markets! Visiting markets is one of my favorite things to do while traveling, but I was not prepared for what I was about to see in Hong Kong. I had on my list to visit the Goldfish Market, Flower Market, and Ladies Market.

Visiting the Hong Kong Goldfish Market

We started with the Goldfish Market and it was horrifying. I’m not really sure what I expected, but what I saw was animal cruelty. I’ll spare you the details but imagine cages stacked on top of each other. This was pre-pandemic but now I can definitely see how mistreating animals in close quarters can lead to rogue viruses! One image of a turtle smashing his own head against the glass conjures up when I recall this market. How this place has good Google reviews, idk.

I don’t remember much of the other markets except that the Ladies Market was selling clothing (Thankfully not ladies! After the Goldfish Market, who knows what I was going to see!) and the flower market had a variety of beautiful flowers.

Nightlife in Hong Kong

After the craziness of the markets it was time for a beer. We headed back to Tsim Sha Tsui to have a craft beer at Tipsy Tap ($12 beers, yeesh!) before watching the famous Symphony Lights Show. (It’s every night at 8 PM.) After the show we headed to the island to check out the party scene. We took the ferry there and the metro back. The ferry stops at 11:30 PM. Both are super easy to navigate.

With a nightlife scene that is surprisingly more Cancun than cosmopolitan, there is some great people watching on Hong Kong Island. We had delish bao buns at Little Bao, craft beers at 65 Peel, and then bar hopped around Lan Kwai Fong for a bit.

After our first full day in Hong Kong, we were ready to crash. We walked 11.6 miles and over 20,000 steps!

Hong Kong Day 2: Exploring Hong Kong Central

While day 1 was dedicated to traditional markets, day 2 was all about the trendy stops in Central (Hong Kong Island).

We kicked off the day with acai bowls and green waffles at Supabowl. Then we decided to checkout the Hong Kong tea scene. I had originally wanted to do a high tea given Hong Kong’s British influence, but they were all absurdly over-budget. Instead we went to Lockcha Tea House which was really cool.

For our non eating or drinking stops of the day (There weren’t many!) we checked out Man Mo Temple and the Cat Street market which featured some cool antiques. I bought a jade roller!

Then it was time for the inevitable…Peking Duck! You can’t go to China and not eat Peking Duck. We chose Michelin approved spot Yat Lok but ultimately, as we are with most Chinese food, we left disappointed.

Hong Kong Day 3: Dim Sum and Ten Thousand Buddhas

After seeing the adorable dim sum at Yum Cha I knew we had to go, even if just for the ‘gram. (At least I’m honest!)

We ate a lot and dim sum! (I can’t resist.), so we decided to walk it off at the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery. It was nice to get outside of the city for a bit, and this was a really neat spot.

We wrapped up the day with some noodles from Lau Sum Kee, a Bourdain recommendation. Once again, we were unimpressed with the Chinese food.

We had a blast in Hong Kong. Like most cities, all we end up doing is eating and drinking 90% of the time so it puts a strain on the backpacker budget, but I’m glad we didn’t miss it in our SE Asia adventure.

*This itinerary was piece-mealed from Anthony Bourdain, the Blonde Abroad, Google searches, and our own curiosities.

Hungry in Hong Kong,


Note: We visited Hong Kong in March 2019.

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