If you’re only familiar with Hong Kong as a heaving metropolis of lively markets, Michelin-starred restaurants, high-rise blocks and double-decker trams, then it’s time to take a fresh look. Urban jungle it may be but a large part of Hong Kong is white-sand beaches, subtropical jungle and tiny islands where a hike is followed by a beachfront seafood feast. We asked three recent travellers to share their Hong Kong tips so you don’t miss a thing on your next visit.
“If I showed you photos, you'd think you were in Hawaii.”
Stephen Howard, Platinum Frequent Flyer
I travel to Hong Kong quite often for work (I work for Ovolo Hotels) and I lived there as a teen; it’s a second home. I love flying Qantas because it's quintessentially Australian service – you’re always treated exceptionally well. Whenever I visit, I always stay at Ovolo Central, deep in the Soho Central area and close to restaurants, bars, galleries and shopping.
Hong Kong is one of the best cities for food; it's the epitome of East meets West. I always go to Burger Circus, a great burger joint, and Associazione Chianti, a trattoria in Wan Chai. One of my other favourite spots is Tung Po Kitchen, a modern dai pai dong [open-air food stall]. Owner Robby is an entertainer and it becomes a bit of a party. A hole-in-the-wall place I also love for roast goose is Michelin-starred Kam's Roast Goose on Hennessy Road in Wan Chai. You must go.
Beaches are Hong Kong’s biggest secret: the south side of the island has Shek O, Repulse Bay and Stanley. From Sai Kung, known as the ‘back garden of Hong Kong’, you can reach Tai Long Wan bay by boat or hiking – if I showed you photos, you'd think you were in Hawaii.
“We ordered six trays of xiao long bao, Shanghainese soup dumplings, and ate them all.”
Justine Campbell, Platinum Frequent Flyer
My husband, myself and our three kids lived in Hong Kong for a decade. We hadn’t visited in three years and we were desperate to go back and see old friends, reconnect and eat. I’m a Qantas Platinum Frequent Flyer so the experience is always special; the staff were so happy to welcome people back on planes again.
We stayed at the Harbourside Renaissance, which is right on the water. It was incredible to see the junks and the Star Ferry going back and forth. The first thing we did was go out for dumplings. The Hong Kong Cricket Club has a fabulous Chinese restaurant. We ordered six trays of xiao long bao, Shanghainese soup dumplings, and ate them all. My son had three orders of mango pudding.
Zuma do an amazing brunch on weekends with unlimited French champagne, iced tea for the kids and beautiful Japanese food. My kids love it for the dessert platter loaded with ice cream, little cakes and gingerbread men. Book ahead!
Lamma Island is another gem. Take a water taxi, go for a hike and then stop for lunch at a seafood restaurant. There’s one called Lamma Hilton where you can get a super-cheap plate bulging with salt-and-pepper calamari. Locals all know the island’s mochi – a Japanese sticky rice dessert. We were desperate for comfort food and we found it.
“I wanted to find the old Hong Kong that I fell in love with…”
Catherine Cervasio, Platinum Frequent Flyer
I’ve been travelling to Hong Kong for business for 20 years. I recently went back for the first time since the pandemic. I was only there for three days but I made sure to enjoy everything I’ve missed.
On my first trip, many years ago, I stayed at the Hyatt Regency Hong Kong in Tsim Sha Tsui and I still choose to stay there today. It’s located just off the Golden Mile (Nathan Road) shopping strip so there’s a fabulous mix of old and new culture, including night markets and a beautiful shopping mall (Harbour City).
On this trip I wanted to find the old Hong Kong I fell in love with so I did all the beautiful touristy things I’ve previously taken for granted. I went on the Star Ferry, which costs about HKD$2. I walked from the hotel along Victoria Harbour, the Avenue of Stars as they call it. I travelled along the Central-Mid-Levels escalator, the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world, and I visited the Temple Street Night Market where you choose your seafood before having it cooked.
Yat Lok is a Michelin-starred roast goose restaurant you must visit. Being shoved into a booth with three strangers, as I was, is worth it for beautiful noodles and perfect roast goose for less than A$10. It’s great.