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The Best Of Hong Kong
Lifestyle News
By Celia Hu | March 22nd, 2022

All good things must come to an end. Life in Hong Kong is no different (at least for us), and even though circumstances may take us elsewhere, we will always have a special place reserved in our hearts for this dynamic, unique metropolis.

When we look out our windows on a dreary, rainy day in Vancouver, we will remember barbecuing on the sunny beaches of Shek O. As we fight through the groggy daily commute into London on the Tube, or clinch our bags a little closer whilst walking down a dark alleyway in Los Angeles, we will long for the safety and efficiency of Hong Kong.

To greener pastures or mirage, we will certainly miss the efficiency, safety and innovative spirit of the city, a city like no other. Here’s a bucket list of things we’d love to do (yes, some of these may be touristy!) before bidding farewell to the Fragrant Harbor.

(Editor’s note: Pandemic policies mean that some of the recommendations mentioned below may be temporarily available)

 

City Views from the Peak

Before you do an eye roll at how “touristy” the Peak sounds, just remember that you’ll likely not be returning to Hong Kong anytime soon and Victoria Peak is one of the best spots to grab a view of the city. Burn some calories and walk up to the Peak via the Morning Trail, or take the newly revamped Peak Tram up the steep incline to the top. The tram will be fully operational this summer after undergoing a makeover (and color change) last year. Stop by for a masala omelet club sandwich at Rajasthan Rifles before snapping farewell shots of Hong Kong’s iconic skyscrapers and Victoria Harbour.

 

Dim Sum at City Hall

An oldie but a goodie, the grandiose dining hall at Maxim’s Palace was established in 1980 and is one of the last remaining places where you can still get dim sum trolley service in space-strapped Hong Kong. Decorated in sparkling chandeliers with huge windows overlooking Victoria Harbour, this spot is popular with locals and tourists alike. Jostle with old ladies in the mornings at opening hour to grab the best spot next to the huge windows, and then flag down as many trolleys as possible, piled high with bamboo steamers filled with delicious goodies.

2/F, Low Bloack, City Hall, Central, 2521-1303

 

Star Ferry and Victoria Harbour

 

The Star Ferry, founded as the Kowloon Ferry Company in 1888, is not only a great (and cheap!) spot to catch a view of Hong Kong’s skyline from the water, it’s also part of the daily commute for many. Although a tad slower paced than the MTR, there’s something romantic and nostalgic about sitting on a classic ferry as it bops across Victoria Harbour. Views are stunning day or night, and there are even options to hire a ferry for private parties and events.

Click here for details.

 

Beach Barbecue at Shek O  

It’s hard to beat a day on the beach, especially if that said beach has fine, powdery sand and a beachside barbecue setup. Shek O is the perfect spot to dine with your feet in the sand, and grill sausages and skewers over charcoal, all in between dips in the waves. There are several simple beach grill outfits in the area, although we always call up Liu’s BBQ to reserve our grills and beach tables and chairs. They even offer grilling service and ingredients, including marinaded meats, although we like to bring along our personal favorites. A perfect way to celebrate living in a subtropical climate, where the warm days are long. Make sure to toast your friends in the Northern Hemisphere whilst on the sunny beach in December!

Liu’s Barbecue, Whatsapp 9884 7700

 

Hiking the Maclehouse Trail in Sai Kung

Remind yourself that there’s plenty of green space outside of Hong Kong’s urban jungle by taking a hike through Sai Kung’s scenic Maclehose Trails. Grab a cab at Sai Kung and have the driver drop you off at the end of Maclehose Trail section one, which is well past the entrance of the country park. This area is also called the High Island Reservoir East Dam. From here, walk on Maclehose Trail section two for a tranquil detour to Long Ke Wan before climbing over the mountain range to Sai Wan beach. There are simple beachside diners serving stir-fried noodles, fried rice and tofu desserts on the beach. Grab a few freshly shucked coconuts and settle on the white powdery sand whilst you wait for your speedboat ride to take you back to Sai Kung. Boats run regularly and can be ordered via the beachside diners.

 

Beef Brisket Noodles at Kau Kee

Established in the 1930s, Kau Kee is renowned for their tender, flavorful beef briskets, served over bowls of piping hot noodles. Back in the days when we had tourism in the city, there would be a massive line outside the restaurant by 12noon. There is still a line, albeit a much shorter one these days, and you could grab a seat within minutes on any given day. We have a weakness for the curry beef brisket and tendon over thick, chewy noodles. Each luscious strand of noodle is coated in intoxicatingly spiced sauce — make sure to ask for extra tendons for a gooey dose of sticky collagen! A time-tested recipe that will be hard to find anywhere else in the world: make sure to load up before you leave Hong Kong.

21 Gough Street, Central, 2850-5967 (no reservations)

 

Junk Trip

The beauty of living on an island or near the ocean is that the world is really your oyster… so to speak. What better way to bid farewell to Hong Kong than on the big blue sea that surrounds, well, most of the territory? Choose from classic wooden junks to premium yachts, depending on your budget. There are also plenty of restaurant groups that offer junk trip catering during the popular summer months. Add-ons like giant water slides, banana boats and wake boarding skiffs are worthy splurges. Junk trips are a great way to visit lesser accessible beaches and take in the unique views of Hong Kong from another angle.

There are plenty of boat rental options in Hong Kong, but click here for one we’ve personally used before.

 

Indulge in a bit of Retail Therapy

 

There are plenty of Hong Kong memorabilia to pack in your suitcase, and we’ve put together a handy little list of vendors to choose from (click here). However, make sure to also stock up on sauces and unique ingredients you can’t find easily in your next destination, so you can bring a taste of Hong Kong with you, wherever you end up. One of our favorite soy sauces is Yuan’s (sold at City’Super), a tiny heritage brand that uses a carefully guarded formula with zero preservatives and popping with incredible umami flavour. Hong Kong is the mecca for luxury brands, and you could save some dosh since there’s no sales tax here. Also stock up on cosmetics, hair products and skin care, especially from Asian brands, that you may not have access to or are exorbitantly priced elsewhere.

 

Me Day, Spa Day

You deserve some pampering after all that running around and packing! Unwind with a no-frills foot massage, or a decked out spa day at one of Hong Kong’s finest hotels. We love the couples therapy room at the Mandarin Oriental, and the view from the Ritz-Carlton is the perfect escape into the clouds, since you will be amongst them, literally. Go on a wellness journey at Asaya at the Rosewood, or a massage followed by poolside lunch at the Four Seasons. Of all the spas we’ve visited around the world, the Asian destinations definitely score top marks for their ambiance, and attention to detail, so enjoy the luxe treatment while you still can!