I always find visual diary posts a little overwhelming – half because there’s so much content to curate and the other half because I want to make sure we deliver the highest quality imagery and information for you all. Is this photo good enough? How many photos are too many photos? God, what was the price of the dim sum we completely fumbled over? I often sit on these photo diaries for days which quickly turn into weeks, and then into months. I guess you could I say I tend to overthink (nearly every aspect of my life…) the situation rather than just sharing it with you all, so here goes!
Ever since I shared our visit to Hong Kong on Instagram I’ve had many requests to post about our itinerary. This was our second time working on a travel project with the Hong Kong Tourism Board, which is why we wanted to visit places from a local’s perspective as well as re-visiting some highlights from our last trip here. So, as a result, our itinerary is quite different to a normal Hong Kong guide (which usually just consist of shopping and eating), so please keep that in mind when reading. If it’s your first time to Hong Kong it might be best to mix and match places from both posts – there’s a little bit of everything for everyone now.
1 – 2 & 25 / Sham Shu Po: This working class neighbourhood is home to electronic stores, clothing stores and countless fabric and accessories stores. If you’re like me and love DIY projects then this is the area for you. I came home with scraps of beautiful embossed leather (four pieces for only $40 AUD) that I plan on making into notebooks or clutches. If you’ve lost the remote to your air conditioner – I kid you not – then here you’ll find a whole stall dedicated to air conditioner remotes. The walls of fabric swatches and ribbons make it an easy place for DIY projects or creative inspiration.
3 – 4 / Wong Tai Sing Temple: I already wrote about Wong Tai Sing Temple in my last post here but make sure you join the locals and take time to say thank you and pray. The detail in the temple is incredibly impressive and you can escape the crowds and visit the little courtyards within the grounds.
5 – 7 / The Blue House: This four-storey historic site is a mixture of Chinese and Western architecture built in the 1920’s. It was recommended by a friend who thought we’d enjoy seeing the colourful street The Blue House belongs to. A lovely site to visit if you would like to see Hong Kong’s architecture and history rather than its shopping aspect.
8 – 11 / Lockcha Tea House: This was a personal favourite of ours, but it seems the places we really love are all places with something edible! The cosy ambience in this tea house made it feel like Hong Kong’s version of a cafe you’d see on Sex & the City – just swap the cosmopolitans for pots of tea and vegetarian dim sum. Even though there’s over a hundred teas to choose from I highly suggest trying the blossoming flower tea (pictured above). It’s so soothing watching it bloom in your teapot and the perfect way to escape the heat and crowds outside.
12 – 13 / Ocean Park: This was a last minute decision for us. We had planned on visiting the 1600 Pandas Exhibition but a down pour of rain quickly became an obstacle. Instead, we thought we’d visit a real panda or two at Ocean Park. This is a huge amusement park that blends entertainment with education and conservation, so it’s a great place to take the kids. We only popped in quickly for the pandas and after seeing one in real life for the first time I couldn’t recommend it more. They are one of my favourite animals so I may be biased.
14 – 16 & 30 / PMQ: This is the one place I wish we had more time to explore. The PMQ is a newly renovated hub for Hong Kong’s creative industries. Home to up-coming designers, artists, homewards and stationary divided into two large buildings across several levels, this felt like the Surry Hill Markets of Hong Kong. Unfortunately we were a few days early for the grand opening of the PMQ so half the stores were still being completed, but from the stores and window shopping we did see it looked really impressive. I think the majority of you all would absolutely love this place.
17 – 19 / Stanley Market and Blake Pier: Last time we were in Hong Kong we didn’t get a chance to visit the beaches so I had no idea what to expect. We explored Hong Kong island’s south coast at Stanley Beach and Blake Pier, which was a nice change to escape the bustling city center. I was wearing a T by Alexander Wang Singlet / Spell Shorts / Acne Studios Sandals / Roberto Cavalli Bag.
20 / Tim Ho Wan: My number one place to visit in Hong Kong – I can’t get enough of this Michelin Star restaurant!
21 – 22 / Hong Kong’s Trams: The iconic Hong Kong trams are visually fun to look at, although we didn’t have time to actually catch one. I guess they’re like the red public phone booths in London, just a lot more dangerous so be careful when crossing the streets.
23 / Aqua Luna
24 / View from our hotel
25 – 28 / Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge: In conjunction with the Hong Kong Tourism Board we were invited to experience Cathay Pacific’s First Class Lounge. As someone who appreciates how rare it is to fly business class, especially on long haul flights, I was in awe (and slightly depressed) of just how luxurious your flying experience can be. If you’re flying from Hong Kong you’ll find the Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge here, and if you arrive early enough you can access their cabanas – a room with a shower, bath, lounge, kitchen and computer desk to bask in while you wait for your flight. It was a first come first served term, so we enjoyed a sit down dinner while we crossed our fingers for a villa to become available. Be warned: after experiencing this you may not want to come back to reality. It is, without a doubt, a once in a lifetime experience. I’ve never felt so fresh boarding a flight, perhaps it was because I could apply a face mask in complete privacy for once without the fear of scaring onlookers.
30 / Hello Kitty Secret Garden Cafe: I couldn’t contain my excitement when I found out their was a Hello Kitty Cafe in Hong Kong – the ultimate place for cute instagrams and all things Hello Kitty. Unfortunately the cafe is quite small so there’s always about a one hour wait for a table here, but the hot chocolate and macaroon desserts are well worth wait. Just practice explaining that to your boyfriend though…
My friends often visit Hong Kong as a shopping stop over (the Lane Crawford and Joyce warehouses are dangerously good!), but if you can spare one day to see other parts of the city then I would definitely suggest visiting the PMQ for shopping, Tim Ho Wan for lunch, The Peak for spectacular views of Hong Kong, the Hello Kitty Secret Garden Cafe or Lockha Tea House for afternoon tea, and then finish the day by sailing across the harbour on the Aqua Luna. You would be able to fit that all into a full day.
I hope that gives you an in-depth look into our few days spent in Hong Kong. I’m not going to share how long this has taken me to compile but I honestly hope you enjoy the post!
Photographer: Luke Shadbolt