19 April 2022
Read Time: 5.3 mins
Hong Kong is a captivating city – but it’s got plenty of chill factors too! Read on for where to uncover the city’s hidden gems and more.
Where to chill in Hong Kong
Victoria Peak Garden
All the beaches
Street art scouting in Central
A city that pops and fizzes with excitement, a feast for the eyes at every turn and a smorgasbord for the senses served up on a platter – in this buzzing concrete jungle it might feel like you’re on sensory overload – but there’s loads of places to chill out and relax in Hong Kong (and heaps to find out about this eclectic city!)
Whether you’re on a stop-over or a destination holiday – here’s your guide for where to stay, relax and find the cool in HK.
Starting with the ideal place to rest and recharge...
brief overview of a few neighborhoods in Hong Kong (island)! follow me for more parts of this new series hehe♬ She Share Story (for Vlog) - 山口夕依
What Is The Best Area To Stay In Hong Kong?
The central parts of the city are divided by water – aka Victoria Harbour. You’ve got Hong Kong Island or the mainland (the Kowloon Peninsula) – however, it’s only a short ferry ride or metro ride connecting the two. Or, you could splurge and try a stay on both sides of the harbour!
Hong Kong Island
For ease of getting around on public transport or by foot, your best bet on Hong Kong Island is staying in the neighbourhoods of Wan Chai, Central or Soho, and Sheung Wan for maximum convenience. Wan Chai is known as a budget option for backpackers, it’s also more laid-back and less crowded.
Central is great for first-time visitors as it’s close to the main action and attractions and offers easy access to Tsim Sha Tsui on the other side of Victoria Harbour. Sheung Wan is right next to Central and considered one of the coolest neighbourhoods in Hong Kong – it has a great view of Victoria Harbour a mix of great restaurants, coffee shops, local boutiques, art galleries and colonial architecture. What about Causeway Bay, you ask? While known as the ‘heart of Hong Kong Island’, it’s considered an ideal location for families with kids to stay.
Over on Kowloon, Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) is the popular choice for a taste of the true Hong Kong, but it’s also a big tourist hotspot with the nearby Avenue of the Stars (aka the Chinese version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame). Even if you don't stay here, it’s worth a visit, particularly at sunset when you can gaze out at Hong Kong Island at twilight.
Neighbourhoods of Mong Kok and Yau Ma Tei are great if your idea of relaxing is hopping from cafes to food stalls and markets for tasty treats, or getting some serious retail therapy at the Ladies Market or Fa Yuen Street for sneakers – if your days turn into night – good news – there are night markets running until around 11pm.
Where Can I Relax In Hong Kong?
So, you’ve pounded the pavement and ticked off your shopping list, eaten your body weight in dim sum, done the Avenue of the Stars, caught the Star Ferry over the harbour like a local, and taken the tram to The Peak? Okay, you’ve earnt some chill points – holidays are meant to be relaxing, after all! Find your peace and quiet here:
Victoria Peak Garden
After you’ve had the thrill of riding the tram to The Peak and checking out the view from The Peak Tower’s 360 degree viewing platform, take some time to wander through Victoria Peak Garden for more epic views and green open spaces. Then, why not take the long way down and wind through the gardens and pathways that traverse Mount Austin Road.
Located north of the Kowloon Peninsula in the New Territories (where mostly locals live) is Hong Kong’s greenest neighbourhood of Tai Po. Head here for a relaxing day trip where you can hire a bicycle and cruise along a scenic cycle track from Tai Po to the beautiful villages of Tai Mei Tuk.
Or, take a hike in the mountains on the MacLehose Trail for stunning sea views and spectacular beaches. Getting to Tai Po is simple either via the MTR’s East Rail Line or one of the many buses that pass through Tai Po on their way to Shenzhen.
When you think of Hong Kong, you don’t necessarily think of beaches, but where there are islands... (and Hong Kong has plenty of those). We could dedicate an entire blog just to the best Hong Kong beaches, but for now, we’ll let you in on Tai Long Wan – located in the enormous Sai Kung East Country Park. Tai Long Wan (which translates to big wave bay in Cantonese) has four quality beaches – Sai Wan, Ham Tin Wan, Tung Wan and Tai Wan – let’s call them the Wan Beaches. They stretch over three km of coastline and are all connected by short hiking trails perfect for exploring. Grab some food from local cha chaan tengs (Hong Kong-style cafes) in Sai Wan or Ham Tin Wan and you’ve got your day made!
Take a hike
There’s plenty of place to connect with nature on Hong Kong Island, and one of the best is taking a hike through Tai Tam Country Park to Quarry Bay. Part nature, part history – you’ll come across structures build as part of the city’s defence in WWII. End the trek at Tong Chong Street to refuel on local eats at the Tong Chong Street Market.
What Is Cool In Hong Kong?
Located in the western New Territories along the coast – not too far from the Kowloon Peninsula. The neighbourhood is known for being a great blend of old and new – connect with traditional Chinese spirituality by visiting local temples or check out a former textiles factory now converted into the cultural institute, ‘The Mills’. You’ll also find The Cats Tearoom – the largest cat café in Hong Kong where you can enjoy a cup of coffee or tea while interacting with around 30 purring kitties!
This emerging neighbourhood is somewhat of a hidden gem. Currently undergoing a revival with its international art and culture district – it’s a place to experience traditional craftsmanship, historic buildings, authentic dining and unique shopping experiences.
Sham Shui Po
Another hidden gem, this colourful Kowloon neighbourhood is one of the poorest districts in Hong Kong and offers a unique contrast to the glitz and glamour of the skyscrapers. Here you’ll find rows of streets specialising in different goods from jewellery making supplies and endless fabrics to electronics and luggage. While you’re there, wander through the wet market and see every kind of sea creature being prepared, or line up to try the famous yet affordable dim sum at the Michelin started Tim Ho Wan.
Street art in Soho, Wan Chai and Sai Ying Pun
It’s hard not to stop every ten paces as you wander around these Central neighbourhoods – keen photographers and artistic types will appreciate the splattering of street art that adds an edgy vibe to the area. Head out on a self-guided street art tour from Graham Street in Central, along Hollywood Road towards Sheung Wan and Sai Ying Pun, and in Wan Chai start on Queen’s Road East and head towards Morrison Hill Swimming Pool – be sure to take in all the cool side streets along the way!