What do you get when you merge nine mega-cities and two regions? A combined population of over 67 million and a GDP that's predicted to reach US$4.6 trillion by 2030.
Tsim Sha Tsui is a popular location from which to base a Hong Kong trip, there are numerous attractions in the area such as the Star Ferry, Victoria Harbour, Museums, Mosque and endless shopping via the major malls, Ladies Market, Temple St Night Market and much more.
These top 15 accommodation options are based on primarily visitor reviews, but also value and location.
Philippine Hostel 1-star hotel
Area: Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Located in Hong Kong, 109 yards from iSquare. It features air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi throughout the property. Each room includes a flat-screen TV.
Central is the financial heart of Hong Kong, featuring not only the business district but also numerous attractions such as the Peak Tram, Hollywood Road, the Mid Level Escalators, world famous shopping and more.
JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong 5-star hotel
Sitting at top the prestigious Pacific Place Complex. It has direct access to the Admiralty MTR subway station and Pacific Place Shopping Mall.
Conrad Hong Kong 5-star hotel
It has direct access to Pacific Place, a prestigious shopping and entertainment complex.
The Top 15 luxury hotels in Hong Kong based on location, value, star rating and most importantly, visitor reviews.
Renaissance Hong Kong Harbour View Hotel 5-star hotel
Area: Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Featuring an award-winning restaurant overlooking Victoria Harbour. It’s a Marriott Luxury & Lifestyle Hotel in Hong Kong, on the scenic Wanchai Waterfront.
Grand Hyatt Hong Kong 5-star hotel
Area: Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Directly connected to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) and a 5-minute walk from Wanchai MTR Station and Star Ferry Pier. It offers a 50-metre heated outdoor pool and a spa. Its elegant rooms overlook Victoria Harbour from floor-to-ceiling windows. Free WiFi is provided.
Some images released by NASA give a visual insight into the staggering growth of one of China’s fastest growing regions, the Perl River Delta, Guangdong.
Once upon a time this fertile farmland with fishing villages on the coast and rice fields inland, has in just 17 years, grown from 10 million people to 42 million people.
Comparing the light green areas of farmland to the now light grey colored urban areas, it’s quite staggering with the urban area now covering 7,000 square kilometers. In comparison the greater metropolis of Melbourne Australia is 9,990 square kilometers and holds 4.4 million people.
A popular snack you’ll find at Hong Kong tea restaurants is the local version of french toast.. the middle is filled with peanut butter, coated in egg batter then fried. Goes well with milk tea, which is another local speciality featuring a strong brew of black tea with condensed milk..
They take there tea very seriously many tea houses will have there own secret recipe. Usually consisting of a blend of maybe 5-7 types of black tea leaves brewed for a little longer than normal giving it a very strong tea taste that cuts through the richness of the condensed milk.
A guide to some of the snacks and meals that are popular with the locals, and where to get them
[NOTE: this has translated from wechat and its a little imperfect, but I put here as a guide for food lovers looking for a genuine ‘local’ Hong Kong food experience.]
beef brisket noodles
Description: Brisket was tasty, not chew bad, remains refreshingly noodle road, and no lye smell, as saying that I was the most hated that lye flavor, I think it’s smelly, soup is also not a lot of the grease, eating, half the soup to drink lol!
Here’s a hot tip. Don’t overstay your visa, they really don’t like it. Over the four years or so of staying in China I was always on time with renewing my visa, in which case I would travel to Hong Kong and get it renewed, or, go to the local PSB (Public Security Bureau) in the mainland and get it renewed there.
This time, through bad planning and stupidity, I had overstayed the visa by about four days, so I went down to the PSB at Louhu in Shenzhen, and was informed that I was to be given a deport notice and that I should leave the country. Dramatic! I explained that I had an apartment and other concerns to take care of, he said he would give me a 7 day visa to take care of my things. Also needing a new passport, they kindly allowed me extra time to arrange a passport replacement and then return to the PSB to get the 7 day visa pasted in.
After leaving the China Sourcing trade fair and I headed back to Mong Kok and picked up my passport with its new visa, then from there to Tsim Sha Tsui to get my bag from the Cosmic Guest House. Then in a taxi over to Hung Hom Station to catch the train to Lo Wu (note its called Lo Wu on the Hong Kong side and Luo hu or Luohu on the Shenzhen side) which is the entry point to China mainland leading into the city of Shenzhen.
This time I purchased a first class ticket, I felt like sitting down during the 30 minute journey to the Lo Wu border! I made just one mistake, by the time I get off the train and through the border crossing formalities, it would be close to 6pm. Just when everyone finishes work!
It turned out that I happened to be in Hong Kong at a good time, just when the China Sourcing Fair was on. The China Sourcing Fair is a series of trade shows which each run for several days at the Asia-World Expo site near Hong Kongs Airport. If you are staying in HK, do check out the hand-picked list of top value hotels which are near to Asia-World Expo.
This session of the trade fair featured electronics including car audio and entertainment, consumer electronics, mobile phones, laptops, PC accessories, security products and more. There were 8 separate halls packed with what I believe was almost 1000 different manufacturers.
On Tuesdays they’re both free, so why not take a look at the Space Museum and the Museum of Art. The museums are located next to each other on the harbour at Tsim Sha Tsui next to the Hong Kong Cultural Centre.
I cant quite get my head around why Hong Kong has a space museum, but anyway. It seems like a great place for local students to learn about astronomy and the history of human space travel. Its popular with kids featuring many interactive element to the displays.
Theres even a full scale version of the nose section of the US space shuttle! It also has a cinema, planetarium and many interesting, interactive and educational displays.
The Hong Kong Museum is a fascinating walk through the history of Hong Kong, the exhibition covers right from the formation of the Island itself, it’s natural heritage, the British colonisation and through to the modern day.
Im not really into museums but this one is well worth the money and time. Its not just a set of posters and a collection of old junk, this exhibit features some awesome custom built displays that help place you right in that moment of time.
The later history of Hong Kong is particularly interesting, and the exhibit goes in depth to explain the Opium Wars with the British and the later British colonisation.
Mirador Mansions on Nathan Rd of Tsim Sha Tsui is an extremely well-known building that has been frequented by travelers to Hong Kong for many many years. The building takes up the whole block width ways and is about 15 stories high, and was built back in the 70’s is my guess. For many years it has been home to several different independently run hostels, including the well known Cosmic Guest House.
It has a great location, being less than a five-minute walk to the all the attractions along Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour. It’s also very close to Kowloon Park and its right across the road from the new iSquare shopping complex. Temple St Night market is within walking distance too.
An icon of Hong Kong that just should be missed, this amazing tram has been operating since 1888, and has apparently has never had a day out of service! I’m glad I got to the tram when it opened, and enjoyed a relaxed ride up the peak. Later on through the day the place becomes over run with tour groups and the tram gets packed!
The classic old tram runs up a steep climb all the way to the top of Victoria Peak . The tram itself doesn’t have a motor, its actually pulled up and down by a cable, with a huge electric motor at the base of the hill doing all the work.
Stra Ferry is a company that operates a ferry service that joins the Kowloon Peninsula to Hong Kong Island.
You could almost call the Star Ferry service one of Hong Kongs historic institutions, its been there since 1898 humbly carrying people from one side of the harbour to the other.
The ferrys themselves are still the classic old ships, featuring beautiful timber construction with a large open feel, and nice big windows to take in the view of the harbour. the ferrys have a lot of charm about them and when matched with the impressive harbour views it’s no wonder that National Geographic rated this one of the worlds top 10 ferry rides.
Located on the harbour shore at Tsim Sha Tsui the Avenue of Stars is pedestrian path which along the way showcases the Hong Kong film industry via statues and story boards. There’s not that much to see, but it’s a great place for a stroll while enjoying the excellent views of Hong Kongs Victoria Harbour.
The main feature, or at least the most popular one, is the statue of one of Hong Kongs most famous son, Bruce Lee.
Avenue of the Stars location map
Many Chinese mainlanders visit Hong Kong for one simple reason, shopping. This mainly due to many items in Hong Kong being tax-free. Hong Kong has a mix of modern retail departments stores, big luxury brand stores, shopping streets through to street markets.
One of the main shopping destinations is Harbour City which is the largest shopping mall in Hong Kong featuring over 700 shops. It stretches along the harbour at Tsim Sha Tsui and has a floor area of 2 million square feet! Along it’s Canton Road frontage there are the big luxury brand name stores including Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Channel, Dolce & Gabbana, Boss, Armani, Chanel, Hermes and more! Moving inside there’s a range of women’s and men’s fashion stores, beauty products, baby products, kids clothes and toys, sportswear and also a hotel and 2 cinemas. There’s also plenty of restaurants in the building too.
The harbour is a key feature of Hong Kong and really makes Hong Kong the special place that it is. The harbour has long been a trade port but also offers a visual feast for the visitor! The views really are something.
From the Kowloon side of the Harbour you can look across the wide calm waters to see the modern hi-rises of Hong Kong lining the harbours shore, and behind those is the mountains which form Victoria Peak. Day or night it’s an amazing sight. The weather was not so kind during my stay in Hong Kong, apparently blue sky days are rare but even so, it’s still a great sight.
Victoria Harbour at Hong Kong for me was Hong Kongs main draw card, it’s one unique view that shouldn’t be missed. And it gets even better at 8pm every night when what they call the ‘Symphony of Lights’ begins.
The show is also a must see, featuring an amazing co-ordination of lights and lasers that are fitted to 44 hi-rises along both sides of the harbour. What makes it special is the way the lights are coordinated with a musical score, the varying light effects and the sheer scale of it all.
My 30 day visa for mainland China had expired and even though I had only been in Hong Kong for a day I knew that I wanted to go back and explore more of China. So, it’s off to do a visa application for China while in Hong Kong.
There are many ways to go through the visa process while in Hong Kong including at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or via the many travel agents offering visa services, and even via some accommodation houses, particularly backpacker hostels.
I’m not sure which way is best but for my first time I went with the relative safety of the state owned travel agency, China Travel Service, commonly known as CTS. CTS have branches all over Hong Kong, so they were not to hard to find. Hong Kong – CTS Branch Map
Formerly known as the Dorsett Olympic Hotel, the place has 141 rooms and is located on Anchor St at the northern end of Kowloon in the area known as Tai Kok Tsui. It’s well back from the main attraction of the Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour but close to Mong Kok which will please shoppers.
To their credit, they run a free shuttle bus at regular intervals from morning through into the night. The shuttle bus is a modern 21 seater that stops off at the nearby MTR station, it also runs through to the Dorsett Seaview Hotel and to the airport.
Hong Kong really is a must visit place on a China tour, as it is so much a part of the whole china story. Its also a very vibrant, modern and busy city. Its a popular place for shopping with most things being tax free.
The region is small but still home to seven million people, the 1000 square kilometers that makes up Hong Kong consists of three main regions including Hong Kong Island, Kowloon Peninsula and the New Territories along with many surrounding islands. Kowloon and the northern part of Hong Kong Island, known as Central, is the hub of activity.
Shenzhen is right next door to Hong Kong which worked out very handy for me as my visa was about to expire. Hong Kong being a Special Administrative Region of China is just like going to another country, so, it’s a popular place to visit and explore, and to then get a new visa if you wish to return to back China.
There are several ways to get to Hong Kong from Shenzhen, including the ferry, but for this trip, I chose to go on the train. Apparently, this is the most popular way to get across to Hong Kong via the Luo Hu Border.