Traveling to Southeast Asia? Don’t leave Hong Kong off your list.. City and beach views to rival tropical islands..

What really surprised me the most about Hong Kong is the ease of maneuvering around all the islands within Hong Kong and how dynamic the entire country is!  HK wasn’t at the top of my list of Asian countries to travel (I’m not sure why.. I think because in my head it wasn’t tropical enough), but it was my lack of knowledge that was to blame.  Little did I know that the southeast asian country was going to be one of my favorite to visit! The small but well connected location has literally everything to satisfy every travelers dream.. from great dim sum, shopping, to mountains and beaches.  If you’re like me, my main goals of each new location is trying all the food and seeing the sights, tourist ones and all!

 

 

A little background on Hong Kong is they speak Cantonese, they are technically a part of China but two different Governments (fact provided by the fabulous @plumtr3 who is a transplant to HK and has inspiring fashion photos.. we got to meet in person and she is the cutest!!  Follow her!), so for Americans you don’t need a Chinese visa.  It’s the fourth most densely populated country in the world.  They have their own money, the Hong Kong dollar, and used to be under British rule until about 1997.

They have one main airport that is about 30 minutes by taxi to the well known downtown area of Tsim Sha Tsui.  It was about $30 via uber (which was easy to use in the country) – a little expensive for going short distances, but going from island to island well worth it.  Signs are easy to read since they were overseen by the British.  So there’s a lot of British feels to the country to include driving on the left side of the road.

Pro tip: taxi’s are colored according to the area you are in and going to.  This helps to keep transportation regulated and plentiful in each area.  The taxi’s have to charge what is on the meter and they have to turn the meter on.  Just be sure the meter is working and you are good to go.. also, cash only!  Don’t be surprised if they don’t want to take you somewhere even if they are allowed to from the color of their cab.

 

 

I’ll admit that I had zero time to research the country before arriving with the exception of 2-3 pictures I had saved via Instagram for inspirational posts for places I may one day visit in the future.. I categorize it by country so it’s easy to find when I actually go to that country.  I’m going to help you guys out and give you a list of the most instagrammable places in HK so you don’t even have to do any extra work like I did, scrambling last minute while I was already there..

The weather in April is pretty up and down.  We arrived and it was very Spring-Summer with temps in the mid 70’s F and great clear skies.. a couple of the other days was a little chilly but I was still able to dress light and have a jacket with me and it was perfect.  Think mild Cali winters..

 

 

 

 

It was my sister’s Spring Break, so my Dad actually made the call to head to HK which is only about 3 hours from Seoul, Korea.  He booked a room at the Chungking Mansions and I could tell it was a mixture of hotels, apartments for residents, and guesthouses (read: hostels) for travelers.  One thing apparent is unlike a lot of asian countries, HK was more expensive, so accommodations were a pretty penny.  Don’t let the name “mansions” fool you, they are FAR from mansions.. The location was epic and rooms clean for the most part, but the space was a closet and I was glad we only brought carry-ons, otherwise my suitcase would have turned into my bed.  It’s great for the no-frills traveler just needed a place to rest at night.. We stayed longer in the city, so I ended up booking a room at Hotel Panorama by Rhombus and the experience was completely different.  We upgraded the ocean view of the city and I was so glad I did because the skyline is so iconic.  We missed the night shows because we were always out, but the lights are so pretty with the boats throughout the day.  Worth it and I personally recommend the 4-star hotel if you are wanting to stay in the city but still not break the bank.. After Chungking, I felt like a bougie bitch in the new digs..

 

 

{for the city chic people}

Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon (area of Hong Kong) is the downtown mecca of luxury shopping, eats, and great harbor views.  We stayed in this area and I’m glad we did for our first trip to HK.  It’s very walkable and plenty of great restaurants to choose from.  We legit ate dim sum somehow every.single.day.  Again, I didn’t research restaurants ahead of time with the exception of one (which I’ll get to), so I know we missed some iconic ones, but they have everything in the area and I would recommend staying here at least a night or two to enjoy the city.

The bay is a huge must do on the TST side.. you get a great view of Hong Kong island and the famous ferris wheel and all the boats in the harbor.. They have ferry rides too (Star Ferry) to take you along the river..  Great way to see the two sides at once!

 

 

{for the beach goers who still want the city in arms reach}

Hong Kong Island is just a short trip across the bridge from Tsim Sha Tsui or TST.  Taking the subway is incredibly easy and I actually used Google maps to navigate because it gives all the transfer spots which includes subway and buses if necessary; not to mention it’s really cheap to take the subway.  The island is incredibly more laid back and almost makes you feel like you’ve transported to a major resort type of area.  They still have plenty of shopping and the feel of the city, but compared to TST, it’s way tamer.  I would totally stay here a night or two next time.  We ventured here quite  bit.. Top things to do on Hong Kong Island:

Hong Kong Observation Wheel/Quarry Bay. Giant ferris wheel with great views of the bay and Kowloon side of TST. A lot of financial institutions run through Hong Kong.. there is so much money running through the country and it’s apparent from all the skyscrapers.  In fact Hong Kong has the most skyscrapers in the WORLD!

 

 

Repulse Bay Beach.  Took about 30-40 minutes by subway and bus..  There are quite a few beaches to choose from but we chose to go to Repulse Bay because this one seems to be the most famous one with the best views and buildings are futuristic for the beach.  Didn’t disappoint and I felt like I transported to some tropical island in Hawaii..  There were so many foreigners in this area that weren’t necessarily American.. in fact most caucasian people were from all over the world so they all spoke with some sort of accent.. We hung and ate at a few of the beach bars. There’s one long row of restaurants and the aesthetics are all superb with great views of the beach.  Lots of people playing volleyball, walking their dogs, and kids playing kickball.. definitely surprised me with these views for Asia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Victoria Peak. When you think of Hong Kong, this is the view you think of but don’t know what it’s called.  We went on a day when it was cloudy so you couldn’t see the best details of the city below, but it was still so gorgeous.  I don’t mind grey days, especially for pictures, because the boldness makes for the best snaps in my opinion.  We paid about $6-7 (USD) to go up to the sky deck and you can stay for as long as you want, but there’s nothing up there besides the views.  Also, it’s sort of connected to a shopping mall, so don’t be weirded out like I was thinking we were in the wrong spot.

 

 

 

{the other island we didn’t get to see but where the airport is}

Lantau Island.. this is where the airport is located along with Disneyland and the Big Buddha (all of which we didn’t see this trip).  But gives you an idea of the main parts to see on Lantau..

 

{for my darlings who are here for the food pics}

Some places we chanced to pictures from the menus outside, to reading Trip Advisor reviews, to trusty Instagram for “pretty food” to eat.

Sometimes the best food finds are the ones you find by chance.  There are so many food carts, restaurants at the markets and some tucked away it’s hard to describe the location, because it’s on the corner of some street with a sign I can’t read because I don’t speak Cantonese but I speak hunger, and the food on people’s plates were an indicator of how good it looked.  This is what for me a lot of times makes for an adventurous vacation!

Places we ate that I can actually tell you the names and location:

1. The Drunken Pot – hot pot restaurant in TST.  Super confusing menu, but once we figured it out, ordering food to throw in our pot became easy.  Good food, but the price tag wasn’t worth it. A little bougie restaurant for hot pot.

 

2. Yum Cha – dim sum on Hong Kong Island near the Quarry.  This was one of the few places I saved on my list for awhile and I was so glad we made it here.  It’s dim sum but they make a few of their dishes blogger friendly.  I’m talking pig emoji looking steamed pork buns, rose shaped red mung bean buns, custard filled yumminess that look like frogs and um, I’m not really sure what the yellow faces are supposed to be, but they have googly eyes and that’s all I cared about.  The food was actually pretty good and we ordered a few normal dishes such as spring rolls, kale wraps, and chicken karage (Hawaiian word for fried chicken but I think they used the same term).  They also have a location in TST.

 

 

3. Limewood – beach bar at Repulse Bay. Great views and cocktails.  We ordered some plantain for snacks and I got the “Limewood Fresca” which was this refreshing drink originally made with gin but I substituted vodka and has watermelon, pistachio, basil, and black pepper.  The music and vibes in this place was so incredibly chill.  I was so beyond happy sitting there staring at the ocean.

 

4. Amalfitana – beach bar at Repulse Bay. Again, great views, and they serve Italian food.  I got a quinoa salad of sorts and Chris a pizza which was delicious!  Pretty white and blue aesthetics.  The aperol spritz was devine…

 

5. As for other places we ate.. literally couldn’t even begin to tell you because as I aforementioned, it was places I couldn’t read or street food here and there.  All of it was amazing!

 

{for my bloggers out there looking for the ‘gram spots}

 

1. Yick Cheong Building. This was the first photo I ever saved of HK and when we got there, I couldn’t believe how densely populated the apartments were.  They are stacked on top of each other but it’s some how so beautiful!  Little did I know it became famous because Transformers 4 was filmed there.  Makes for an intense photo!  Note that you are technically supposed to get permission to take photos here and it is a residential area, so you don’t want to disturb the people that live there.  We didn’t get permission, but everyone around was pretty quiet to not draw attention to the fact we were all taking pics.

 

{outfit details)

Two-piece set: Vici Dolls – blazer (here)/ shorts (here – sold out)

 

 

2. Choi Hung Estate. I had seen this photo before but was never labeled so I didn’t even bother trying to figure out where it was till a girlfriend of mine sent it to me and I figured I was all the way there, I should attempt to figure it out.  Less than 5 minutes later I realized it was about 15 minutes from where we were staying.. which also made it a popular destination for those who don’t want to venture too far from the city.  The public housing apartments were painted colorfully to uplift the spirits of those who live there.. Beware unless you go early, you might have to be up there awhile to take some good photos.

 

{outfit details}

Jumpsuit: Nasty Gal (similar here)

Sunglasses: ZeroUV (here)

 

 

 

 

3. Hong Kong Observation Wheel. Great aesthetics to have the massive skyscrapers and fun ferris wheel in view.

 

4. Repulse Bay. Head up to the rooftop of The Pulse for some hidden views we stumbled upon by chance.  This place would be so great for the summertime.. Huge beach chairs and bars and the ocean.. perfect summer combo.  Again, the overall beach area is all great for pics.

 

5. Streets of Tsim Sha Tsui.  It’s like Chinatown in a major city, except it’s all Chinatown.  Really cool signs that light up and the density of the buildings with walkable streets make for amazing street wear snaps!

{outfit details}

Dress (sponsored): Miss Me (here)

This post was a lot longer than I anticipated, but honestly, Hong Kong blew me away.  When we were landing, the water was so blue and I’m used to a lot of asian countries (obviously not all), where the waters are murky or just not “pretty”.  For me, HK was a nice surprise because I think in my head, I didn’t have any specific expectations.  I would 100% recommend my blogger and time traveling junkies to make a stop here!

Search for #BrigittexHongKong on Instagram to see my mini blogging on each picture.. you should also follow along because I promise great travel content throughout the world.. or at least food pictures to make you hungry!

 

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