Things to see/eat/do in Hong Kong?
September 8, 2008 11:21 AM   Subscribe

Things to see/eat/do in Hong Kong?

I'm tagging along with my wife while she attends a conference next month in Hong Kong. We've gotten a Lonely Planet guide and plan to watch the episode of No Reservations where Bourdain visits Hong Kong, but are looking for recommendations for things to do, places to eat and places to stay.

So here's some info about us:

1. Outdoorsy, active, city dwellers.
2. We'll be there for just about a week, around Oct 10-19.
3. Adventurous eaters. Not so much into night clubbing, but dining out and drinking are always good.
4. We're considering visiting Macau, but hadn't planned to visit mainland China unless it's for something spectacular as our time is limited.
5. I'd like to get some tailored shirts and possibly suits, so tailor recommendations would be especially helpful, especially those that ship to the US and who I could use on an ongoing basis.
6. Are there any rugby matches going on in mid-October? Local or international, sevens or union. Hell, I might even watch a league match.

Thanks for the help!
posted by electroboy to Travel & Transportation around Hong Kong (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Go to Shatin racecourse if you can. You can glam it up in the exec boxes or sit amongst the locals (we chose the latter and it was a great day out). You don't need to be into horses or gambling at all. You can get a nice few beers just watching the rich expats and the locals mixing it. It is also a spectacular view for a race course too.

I wasn't into horse-racing at all before I went but found it one of the most memorable times I had there. 8 winners in a row helped!
posted by ClanvidHorse at 11:29 AM on September 8, 2008

One of the things I most treasure is the chop my uncle got for me while we were in HK. From what I recall, these were guys on the street who had a selection of stone seals (I chose a lion) and they would write your name in Chinese (either in older or modern characters) and you approve it. Show up a few days later and pick up your one of a kind name stamp that is in an emboidered box with a small pot of red ink.

Also a trip to Shanghai Tang was pretty fun.
posted by spec80 at 11:32 AM on September 8, 2008

re: point 5, I recall seeing a piece in GQ or Esquire in the past 2 years about a weekend trip to HK for a suit being cheaper than a suit in the US, including airfare, hotel, food, and suit. Plus it was ready to go when he left, so no shipping required? My google-fu is failing me right now, but I'll post again if I find anything.
posted by knile at 11:58 AM on September 8, 2008

Still failing vigorously to find the article I'm thinking of - which may not have even be in GQ or Esquire - but in searching I found this thread about tailors, recommending Sam's Tailor and Janzen.
posted by knile at 12:06 PM on September 8, 2008

Take a trip on the Star Ferry.
This is the Hong Kong Tourism Board website.
Take a fast ferry to Macau.
Maybe eat at one of the floating restaurants in Aberdeen.
Take the funicular to the top of Mt Victoria (on a clear day).
posted by lungtaworld at 12:56 PM on September 8, 2008

Take the ferry to Cheung Chau island, a sleepy little fishing village. There are lots of boats and bicycles, and basically no cars! Strangely, it's such a short hop from Hong Kong yet I didn't see any other tourists (last summer) and no one spoke English! There are little temples and landmarks to see, and fabulous seafood to be eaten by the water :)
posted by exquisite_deluxe at 1:03 PM on September 8, 2008

Buying tailored clothes in places like Hong Kong can end up being a waste of money and more importantly, time.

Take your wife to check out the antiques shops on Hollywood Rd. It's up the hill, away from the hub-bub. Lots of amazing stuff and it's a nice walk.
posted by bonobothegreat at 2:14 PM on September 8, 2008


1. take the ferry to Lamma Island and go to Rainbow Seafood.
2. eat at Mum Chau (the hong you cha shou / red oil wontons are particularly good)
3. I've always regretted not making it to Xiyan (a private kitchen of some reknown), Xiyan Sweets is a public arm, and the tomatos in sesame sauce dish is very good.
4. Hui Lau Shan is a popular local dessert chain, I like most of the coconut-sago based desserts and the mango mochi.
5. I don't have an address for this, but since you are an adventurous eater, you can try seeking out backroom "restaurants" behind Thai grocery stores in Wanchai Street Market, which are cheap and very spicy/authentic.

Tailors: I've had good luck with Ricky at Jantzen (horrible website). Prices are reasonable and quality seems fine so far. Once you're on file he can make pieces and ship to you but you should call him when you place an order to avoid delays due to any backlog.
posted by subtle-t at 2:26 PM on September 8, 2008

I forgot to mention 2 things:

1. you should eat lots of fresh and (relatively) cheap exotic fruits, esp. mangosteen, and
2. SAE Culinary Complex is a reliable bet for good Japanese.
posted by subtle-t at 2:33 PM on September 8, 2008

wonder around Mon Kok and Tsim Sha Tsui at night and look for a hole-in-the-wall serving bowls of snake soup, made while you wait.
I would suggest not doing the mainland until you have more time. You'll be hard-pressed to get much of HK in as it is. But what fun you'll have trying.
I never did the suit/tailor thing. I wasn't impressed with the prices (some obviously too low and of unremarkable cloth) and the tailors have guys who will hound you to death anyway. Just saunter up Nathan Rd late some evening. I once collected something like 20 cards in just a few blocks.
Apparently, and I may be wrong, the tailor thing where you get quality clothing in great material for a song from a reliable and established tailor is pretty much a thing of the past. At the least research it before you go.
posted by dawson at 3:29 PM on September 8, 2008

I've been there twice, and my future-wife is from HK, so I can offer my $0.02.

-Go to the night markets. Don't have to buy anything there, but you could always buy something cheap just to experience haggling with them (highly recommended).
-I'd avoid buying electronics. Most things won't be supported when you come back home, some stuff will be pirated/fake and useless. Phone market is huge there, just know what you're buying if you are into that. I am into computers, so I visited one of their giant computer mega-malls. Saw a bunch of interesting things that I typically only see on Engadget and so forth.
-Buy some street food. Try the stinky tofu. Try the odd looking meats-on-a-stick. Food... I could go on and on about the food in HK, except I don't know the names of most of them. They had some interesting 'healthy' dessert places (Mango/banana/coconut etc).
-Go to Din Tai Fung for dumplings one night. Hands down my favorite food.
-On the topic of food, Pizza Hut is like a (relatively) high class restaurant there. We were floored. I almost wanted to see what they served there, as I think it was the only Pizza restaurant I saw in HK.
-Clothing- I think you need to trust a local on this one. I got a custom suit there for a good deal, but my fiancee's family (HK residents) recommended the location. They claimed that the quality of the workmanship & materials was sketchy from the vendors that prey on tourists. So I got a good deal, but it wasn't as cheap as other vendors. I'll see if I can dig up the info on their recommendation. Mainland China has cheaper clothing deals (notice I didn't say *better* clothing deals).
-Could go to Ocean Park. Zoo meets amusement park, fun time.
-I didn't particularly like Macau, but I'm not a gambler :shrug:
posted by bxg at 3:41 PM on September 8, 2008

Former HK native here...

- Walk along the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront walkway - especially at night. That's where you'll see the 'classic' Hong Kong harbour view.
- Go to the Peak. Touristy but amazing views, again particularly at night. Bonus points for taking the Peak Tram.
- Star Ferry tip: I prefer the top deck to the lower. You see more because you are seated higher up.
- The MTR (the subway) is amazing and goes everywhere but you will see more of the city if you take buses to get around. You can use an Octopus card to pay for all public transportation fare.
- Speaking of public transportation, definitely try the trams on HK island! I don't know if any old-style trains are still in operation but they are a treat.
- If you are interested in purchasing electronics, stick with big chain stores like Fortress, although keep in mind that the products are for the Asia market so check plug and voltage configurations. Stay OUT of the little electronics shops on the street in Tsim Sha Tsui, especially on Nathan Road - they are notorious ripoffs.
- See the Tian Tan Buddha on Lantau Island.
- high tea at the Peninsula hotel lobby. Gawk at the 'tai tais' aka HK Ladies Who Lunch.
- masses of bars and yuppie nightlife (including lots of expats) in Soho area... and you also get to try out the Mid-Levels escalators. Trivia: one of the escalator levels/ walkways is the setting for a scene b/w Morgan Freeman and Christian Bale in the Dark Knight!
posted by kitkatcathy at 4:26 PM on September 8, 2008

10,000 Buddhas Monastery in Sha Tin. You climb a crazy amount of steps zigzagging up the side of a mountain all lined with human-sized buddha's on the left and right posing in all sorts of crazy ways... once you get to the top all out of breath it just gets outrageously hilarious how the buddhas are posing. I spent 2 months in Hong Kong and this still stands out as the overall most interesting part of the trick- part hike, part culture, totally hilarious.
posted by Jimmie at 5:31 PM on September 8, 2008

Adding to kitkatcathy's suggestion of Tian Tan Buddha - I went to see that and also saw a Shaolin Monk kung fu presentation there that was incredible.
posted by bxg at 7:44 AM on September 9, 2008

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