This guide is for travellers who have already seen the key sights in Hong Kong and are looking for new and local experiences. Here are our top 5 unique experiences. What are yours?
=> Read top experiences in Kowloon
=> Read guide to Hong Kong and Macau
1. Eat at a Dai Pai Dong
These no frills eateries on the side of the street offer fresh and cheap dishes and an authentic eating experience. Find one that is popular with the locals. We ate at Sing Kee restaurant. The salt and pepper tofu, sweet and sour pork and garlic infused bok choy were all delicious! Expect to spend around $100 HKD per person ($16 AUD, $12.90 USD) for a full meal.
Sing Kee restaurant, 9-10 Stanley Street, Central, Hong Kong
2. Ride the street trolleys
Generally Hong Kong’s subway system, the MTR, is the most efficient way to get around Hong Kong particularly if you have an Octopus card (which is a must-get, preferably at the airport but also available at any MTR station). However for short distances, the street trolleys are an entertaining and cheap way to get around. These rickety double decker trams are a great way to see the busy city and avoid excessive walking on the subway. Enter the tram through the back door and exit from the front. $2.30 HKD or $0.30 USD per ride. Pay by Octopus card for the easiest experience.
3. Eat roast goose
Roast goose is a very popular dish in Hong Kong and there is fierce rivalry between the top restaurants. We ate at Yat Lok and Kam’s Roast Goose, both Michelin Star restaurants. Yat Lok is famous for its crispy goose skin where as Kam’s is renowned for succulent and flavorsome meat.
While Yat Lok has quick service, particularly outside peak times, be prepared for a long and slow moving queue at Kam’s – especially on the weekend. We waited for 1.5 hours but it was well worth it.
Yat Lok is near Central station at 34-38 Stanley Street, and you can expect to pay around $100 HKD ($16 AUD, $12.90 USD) for a drumstick with rice, the most popular dish.
Kam’s Roast Goose is at 226 Hennessy street, near Wan Chai station, or take the tram. Expect to pay around $200 HKD ($32 AUD, $25.80 USD) for a quarter goose including drumstick with rice.
4. Eat dim sum
There are no shortages of dim sum restaurants in Hong Kong and its perfectly acceptable to eat dim sum every meal of the day. Some of our favourite dim sum dishes included vermicelli roll stuffed with BBQ pork, glutinous rice dumpling (lo mai gai), baked BBQ pork bun, steamed pork and shrimp dumplings (shao mai).
Tim Ho Wan and Sam Hui Yat were our favourite dim sum restaurants. Order as much or as little as you like, dishes tend to run in the range of $15 to $30 HKD ($2-$4 USD), but you’ll likely be very full with $50 HKD per person ($6.50 USD).
Tim Ho Wan has many branches all over Hong Kong Island, although the original is in Kowloon at 9-11 Fuk Wing Street, Sham Shui Po (near the Prince Edward subway station).
Sam Hui Yat is at 11 Pok Fu Lam road, Sai Wan Ho, near the Sai Ying Pun subway station.
5. Enter the Hong Kong Marathon
This was a very special experience that takes a fair bit of planning, but was absolutely worth the effort. The full marathon runs from downtown Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon, all the way up to the northern New Territories and down across the harbour to finish in Victoria Park. It’s a wonderful route, surprisingly flat given the hilly nature of Hong Kong. You’ll feel strongly rewarded as you fly through the highways and skyscrapers of Hong Kong in an experience that’s almost impossible to replicate at any other time.
We entered the half marathon and 10km races. The half marathon is effectively the same route as the full marathon but doesn’t go so far north. Whereas the 10km went across Hong Kong Island offering spectacular views of the harbour and city skyline.
To enter, you must either be very fast (have completed a full marathon in less than 3:30 for men, 3:50 for women or rough equivalents for the slower distances) which gives you a priority entry, or enter through the public ballot and win one of the 74,000 spots on offer. Registration for the ballot is open in around August to September, and the entry fee for international participants is $60 USD. See HKmarathon.com for more details.