Hong Kong is the culinary capital of the world, a bustling commercial hub, a melting pot of culture and diversity, and a shopping destination that rivals New York’s 5th Avenue.
But for many people, exploring the city and all it has to offer can be overwhelming.
For Stuart Carly, Hong Kong has become a home away from home, travelling to and from the “incense harbour” at least 30 times a year.
“For me, the best way to experience Hong Kong is to start by having a destination in mind, but to walk its streets while taking in the sights, sounds and smells all around,” he says. “Keeping in mind that it’s not the destination that’s important, but the journey itself.”
For first-time visitors and frequent travellers alike, Mr Carly shares some helpful advice based on his own explorations within the Pearl of the Orient over the years, for the perfect day in Hong Kong.
Explore the city’s trendiest neighbourhoods
“For me, no visit to Hong Kong is complete without a long walk through the alleyways and narrow streets of either Kowloon, You might choose to venture into one of the many art galleries and museums, but I often find that there’s so much more to entertain the senses and entrance you in the destination.”
Kowloon’s busy back streets are constantly abuzz with activity, and the neon signage displayed by nearly every shop is a sight to behold. However, for those who aren’t used to it, Kowloon can be a complete sensory overload, in which case you can always opt for a guided walking tour which you can easily book on arrival in the city or via Cathay Pacific’s online portal ahead of time.
Sheung Wan remains a night-life hotspot among locals, offering a range of trendy art galleries and restaurants as well as chic cocktail and whiskey bars that make for excellent places to socialise with the city’s trendiest millennials.
If the idea of getting around in Hong Kong is daunting, Carly recommends first picking a destination and then finding an MTR [Mass Transit Railway] station that’s closest to where you’re heading.
Take a stroll from Central to Sai Ying Pun
Central all the way up to Sai Ying Pun in the Western District is brimming with some of the best street markets the city has to offer, including the Western Market which offers arts and crafts and an exquisite range of fabrics and textiles.
Your nose will let you know when it’s time to break for lunch or a quick snack – simply follow the delicious smells to one of the many dai pai dong or ‘open-air food stalls’ lining the streets.
“While street food is enjoying a moment of fame in global foodie circles, open-air food stalls have lined the streets of some of the more established neighbourhood for years,” says Carly. “This is the best place to get traditional noodle and stir-fried dishes made fresh, while you wait."