Hong Kong’s reputation precedes the city.
For some people, Hong Kong is an indescribable business center for expats. For others, it’s a dizzying mix of old and new, with a perfect blend of Chinese and Western cultures into one.
In the end, Hong Kong is all of this, and this is what makes it one of the most exciting cities in Asia. Its towering skyline, looming mountains, a glittering harbor; the city is truly a marvel, and once you look beneath the surface, oh, how many secrets they are to uncover.
Here, we present seven things to consider before visiting Hong Kong, whether you are visiting for Business or a staycation.
You Will Spend A Lot.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, Hong Kong is an expensive place, and it’s complemented by the fact that many people who live in Hong Kong like the finer things in life.
Quite literally, Hong Kong is a city where you can very easily find not one, but up to two Gucci stores in adjacent blocks, and there are upscale malls that are seamlessly connected to luxurious hotels. Almost every street seems to be frequented by multiple Teslas.
Do not be surprised at how much some basic things will cost. A meal at a three-star restaurant will do a lot of damage to your bank balance.
Along the Central-Mid-Levels escalator in the heart of trendy Soho, even a meal at a casual mid-range restaurant can cost $400 for two, with no alcohol or dessert included.
When it comes to shopping, the city is full of malls, but once again, the prices of sportswear stores and independent boutiques can exceed other notoriously expensive shopping destination cities; we take the likes of New York and Paris to consideration.
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Hong Kong Is A Big Crowded City
Hong Kong doesn’t offer large open spaces. If you’re walking around the city, you can expect it to be crowded.
For some clarity, Hong Kong is not necessarily as busy as Ho Chi Minh City, Mumbai, nor Bangkok, but Hong Kong holds its own as one of the most densely populated cities in the world (7.3 million and counting).
More frustratingly, houses in Hong Kong per square feet are included among the smallest houses globally; we are talking around 470 square feet on average; this data is provided by the South China Morning Post.
Yes, we can’t overstate how busy Hong Kong is and just how little space there is. Further, many people troop back to their houses in the evenings creating traffic jams.
In Hong Kong, Shopping Is Everything
There is no official tally of shopping malls in the city, but the number of malls far exceeds 100. This is a large number of malls given the size of Hong Kong.
However, when we talk about shopping malls in Hong Kong, we do not refer to the typical suburban places you will find in North America. Here in Hong Kong, the shopping malls are a cultural destination with floor after floor of trendy restaurants. People go to shopping malls as something to do on the weekend, especially in the middle of Summer when the weather is super hot.
You can find just about anything, anywhere you are in Hong Kong.
If you are looking for modernized items, the K11 Art Mall should be on your bucket list; for luxury items, the Times Square, Pacific Place, and Landmark are great places to look.
There are exciting malls on just about any block, and most are worth exploring, especially PMQ, the former police headquarters, which now serves as an incubator for local design.
Back on the street terrains, you can find elegant independent boutiques in Soho, Star Street (as well as Moon and Sun Street) in Wan Chai, Sneaker Street in Mong Kok, and Hollywood Road in Sheung Wan.
Hong Kong Has An Impressive Art Presence
Dating back to 2013, the city of Hong Kong has hosted one of the most prominent fairs in the world, Art Basel. Perhaps you’d expect no less of Hong Kong? But what might surprise you is that almost every famous gallery in the US and Europe has an assigned branch in Hong Kong. This includes world famous galleries such as White Cube, Perrotin, Gagosian, and Pace. But if you’re willing to dig a little deeper, Hong Kong is also full of some less formal art spaces and approaches art in its entirety without rules. Discover the alleys of Sheung Wan and Central, where street art abounds in every corner. You can take sneak peeks at some of the best street graffiti.
Use The MTR System With An Octopus Card
The MTR (the local Hong Kong train network), an ever-expanding network of clean and efficient rail lines, provides much of the city for an easy commute. We recommend that you rely on this for most of your Hong Kong travelling needs. Although taxis are abundant, they can be expensive (especially for cross-border and late travel). The traffic situation in the city is also notoriously gruesome. Want to get some quickly? Take the train.
English Is Fair, But Meh!
Hong Kong was part of China until 1842 when it officially became a British colony, then returned to China in 1997 as a unique administrative region. Due to this status back and forth, Hong Kong is heavily rooted in the Chinese culture and its language.
There are many corners of the city where Cantonese is the primary language, including street food workers, retailers, fortune tellers, and restaurant menus.
Still, North of Hong Kong, mainland buildings, restaurants, schools, and what-not, you will easily find English Speakers.
Every Turn Is An Astonishing View
Hong-Kong it’s the city where you hardly find any buildings under 30 stories tall. Well, except when you venture to the outskirts of Hong Kong. Go to areas such as the New Territoires and Sai Kung and you’ll find deep blue seas, and huge beautiful mountains dominating the whole scene. The scenery is spectacular.
There are many things to consider when visiting Hong Kong, yet it doesn’t take away the sheer fact that Hong Kong is a must-visit if you can afford to, and it’s the ideal city for a staycation.