Hong Kong locals like their food fresh, after a trip to a Mong Kok food market the fish will still be swimming and the toads, yes toads are bagged up on the counter ready to meet their fate on the nearby chopping block. It’s a foodies heaven where you pay your money and pull up a chair and tuck in to who knows what, but you never know you might just like it.
Choose the wrong part of town and you wont be getting any of this, plump for the Mong Kok area of Kowloon officially one of the most densely populated area on the planet where they pack them in so tight you’ll probably hear your next door neighbour turn the pages of their travel guide.
Hong Kong is not the place to skimp on the hotel budget but if you look hard and choose wisely there is always a bargain to be found due to the sheer number of hotels. What may come as a slight shock is the “compactness” of Hong Kong hotel rooms, most are on average around 15 square feet want to open you full sized case on the floor? , you should be so lucky.
For Hong Kong Island side take a look at the Butterfly hotel chain as well as LBP hotel , both reasonable and centrally located and noise free.
If you find yourself on the Kowloon side of town and your feeling a bit flush or someone else if picking up the tab, The Mira is a bona fide Philip Stark designed boutique bolt hole, it even has a michelin star restaurant if your feeling a bit peckish
Hong Kong is like a photographic box of chocolates, you never know what your going to get.
Due to the sheer number of people, the golden rule of travel photography of ‘Go Early’ is vital in Hong Kong for all the major sights and temples, otherwise you run the risk of having half of China in the background of your shots literally.
The main must haves are the stunning skyline the choice is yours, the most picturesque is from Kowloon looking back on Hong Kong island , but there is also the option of grabbing a shot on the star ferry if you’ve got a steady hand or heading up to the Victoria peak on a clear day for the classic wide angle view.
Aside from the view, the temples in Hong Kong there are all the tourist friendly and everyones welcome regardless of your religion, and they are free of charge to boot to enter which helps keep the budget in check. The most photo friendly is the Man Mo Temple on Hong Kong island a small temple the ceilings are covered with hanging incense offerings to the sprits hoping for good fortune.
Another gem is the 10,000 Buddhas Temple, yes really there is but this one you’ve got to work for to get the perfect shot as it’s up a 90 degree hill out of town but after you’ve staggered to the top you will be richly rewarded.
The grandaddy of all temples is the Big Buddha on Lantau Island , its a day trip out of Hong Kong and again there are loads of stairs, 268 to be exact to climb in the relentless heat of the day but at the top there are breathtaking the views of both the 34 meter high Tian Tan aka Big buddha and the surrounding mountain views don’t move you, you might as well pack up and go home.
Other than that, the great thing about capturing Hong Kong is that there things happening right outside your hotel lobby all you got to do is head out and find it.
The airport express is the only way to get into town it takes just 24 mins to Hong Kong Island station 21 if your jumping off in Kowloon. picking up an octopus card at the airport is a must otherwise you’ll pay more as fares are discounted with the card plus you can pop into 7/11 with it but take note there is no eating or drinking allowed on the metro system like never.
For a cheap view of Hong Kong first take the famous Star Ferry over to Hong Kong Island for less than 30p each way. for the classic view head up to the peak not by the famous tram and it’s horrendous queues catch the number 15 bus from outside the ferry terminal for again pennies
When you make it to the top ( approx 30 mins ) head for the Galleria which has its own free viewing platform and even free wifi to update that all important facebook status. Grab a coffee on the balcony of the Pacific Coffee Company and watch the sun go down and the lights come on…
Another cheap sightseeing trip is riding on the ‘Ding Dings’ the Hong Kong double decker tram system an eco friendly way to travel as it runs on electric.
And if you find yourself caught in the rain on a wednesday all the local museums have free entry which is especially great if you are travelling with children the History and science museum’s are across the road from each other.
For more info on Hong Kong check out http://www.discoverhongkong.com