Feeling a little guilty that this post is being picked up by Google search and people are landing hoping for a Hong Kong guide. So, instead of it just being its original intention – an alert that I was heading there and asking for advice, now that I’ve actually been, I can change this post into an actual mini-guide to Hong Kong!
* First, I would say that a week in Hong Kong itself is a little too long if you like to sight-see. Apart from shops and markets, there are very few touristy things to do, but here’s my mini-guide:
– Take the Star Ferry to or from Kowloon; it’s a wonderful ride across the bay with stunning, stunning views. There are plenty of guidebooks to tell you the top things to do in Hong Kong.. we loved the Funicular to the Peak..although it was something of a shock to find another shopping centre and a Starbucks at the top. I’d sort of expected a temple or something!
– Go to Macau for the day (or overnight). It’s a mind-bending experience in that it is exactly like Las Vegas.. bigger, probably. There are free buses that meet you from the Hydrofoil and take you straight to the casinos, which are obviously full of slot machines, but also places to eat and shops. We headed for Caesars, but if you haven’t been to Las Vegas, then you should probably head for the Venetian, gondolas and faux sky and all. Do go into old Macau; formerly owned by the Portugese, for authentic and historical Portugese streets, Portugese food (custard tarts recommended) and the very experience of going from Las Vegas to Portugal in a taxi ride. When you go to Macau you will have to fill in the immigration slips that they provide on the boat – take them, and your passport, with you.
– Basically, Hong Kong is shops. I have no idea how the economy stays straight because you literally cannot walk down any street without encountering a shop of some sort. And, it is expensive, too. The vast majority of stores in any mall are high end with prices to match. Don’t be scared to go upstairs on side-streets where you will find warrens of tiny shops, but even they aren’t exactly bargains. We did find one shop in a basement selling premium brand clothes that obviously came directly from the warehouse – it was cheap (J Crew, Abercrombie etc) but the choice was poor. You also have to bear in mind that the clothes tend to be smaller than in Europe – so you’d struggle for a t-shirt for a 6ft man, for example, even in GAP.
– Museum wise.. the usual, a Science Museum and an Art Museum.. but we didn’t go.
– Atmosphere-wise, Hong Kong is all hussle and bustle; it is densely populated and people are constantly on the move. The buildings are high; super-high, so what you see on the ground, in streets for example, is just a tiny fraction of what goes on above.
– The Tin Hau Temple is definitely worth a look; it’s full of incense and atmosphere but is tiny.
– Generally, we found everyone to be exceptionally friendly; service is top notch but Brits can sometimes shy away from too much service, so be prepared to be very fussed over in higher end shops.
– Designer fakes are something that Hong Kong is well known for, but the reality is that there have been huge crackdowns on this activity, so what you can find in the markets is very low quality and often without any logo. You will be approached to see if you want to go and look at fakes in a side-street..it is safe to do this, although the ones we saw were again, poor quality. You should only express interest in AAA bags (high quality), but again, these really weren’t very good. Personally, I’m not one for fakes, they’re horrible for the industry in general, but I know that a lot of people are interested, so that’s the bottom line. They say that mainland China is the place to go for these, and it is entirely possible to do it from Hong Kong although you will need temporary visas (advice on how to do this is readily available on line).
– Always ask your hotel to write the name of the place you want to go to on a piece of card in Chinese, and most hotels will give you a card with the hotel address in Chinese to take out with you so you can always get ‘home’ again. Most taxi-drivers don’t speak or read English so this is essential.
– Taxis are the bargain of Hong Kong.. they are incredibly cheap so never worry about flagging one down.
– We missed the horse racing at Happy Valley (the one week in the year they decided to run it on a Friday and not a Wednesday) but everyone says its a lot of fun if you like a flutter.
– The weather is very hot and humid; your hair will be hellish. Be prepared! But, in shopping centres, the air con is set to freezing so however unlikely it seems, you will probably need a jacket when you venture out.
– We stayed at the Icon Hotel in Kowloon.. I cannot fault it in any way, shape or form. It was perfect and the level of service was outstanding. The food was fabulous (including the buffet; you don’t need to be resident to eat there but you will need to book), the views are amazing – utterly faultless.
– Knutsford Terrace in Kowloon has lots of restaurants that aren’t Chinese and is a really lively and fun place to go for food.
– We saw The House of Dancing Water Show at the City of Dreams (in Macau).. go! It’s unreal entertainment, but don’t bother trying to follow the thin story line.
– If you like beauty products, Sasa and Mannings have amazing offerings, and the whole of Hong Kong is mad for BB creams – try Missha as one of the very best ranges. Look out for Tony Moly (Korean) for quirky beauty buys in stores.
– JipiJapa shoes is a brand that isn’t available other than in Asia and they have amazing shoes.. gorgeous (but not cheap).
– The famous Hong Kong tailors are still there in abundance, although not quite the bargains they once were. However, I noticed several offering to make Chanel style jackets for a very reasonable price (£200 ish).. so if you ever hankered after boucle but can’t afford the £2,000 a real one would cost, it’s a very good option.
– Don’t be scared of food courts. They aren’t the pizza fest that you’d find in the UK and often have some very good restaurants in them.
All products are sent to me as samples from brands and agencies unless otherwise stated. Affiliate links may be used. Posts are not affiliate driven.
jealous! sonia rykiel eyeshadows! all kinds of asian makeup heh. and Japanese skincare found at drugstores.
Laneige water sleeping pack in airport duty free
I’m sure you’ll find a lot of things interesting there, skincare in particular but you could check out this Marie Claire special http://drivelaboutfrivol.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/magazines-2-marie-claire-beauty-bible.html and the Chanel Asia only illusion d’ombre eye shadow.
Sulwhasoo! It’s a little more expensive in Hong Kong than in Korea but worth every cent!
If not there are the cheaper brands like Missha, The Saem, Tony Moly, Sofina..
Oh, and try out the Lancome BB Cream!If you’re into BB Creams, there are lots that are asia-exclusive like the Helena Rubinstein BB, the Dior Prestige BB, Lancome BB,
I would love to see some nail polish in the bottles that are formed like women. I saw them in passing on a web page and now I can’t seem to find. Also, I love when you show the really unique, pretty palettes as in the ones resembling Faberge eggs. I wish I could send you with a shopping list for me biput I will look forward to seeing your buys! Have fun and travel safe.
Please head into Sasa, Bonjour, Watsons, Mannings, Colourmix! Fun for just browsing if not buying! If you have some extra time a local supermarket is fun too for checking out food and their beauty section…
hong kong = beauty blogger mecca … perhaps half the reason why i started blogging was bc i had to share all the goodies i picked up in hk in 2010. luckily there’s a sasa on every major street corner (high-end ‘drug store’) look out for brands such as canmake, lioele and visee for blushes, eyeshadows and lip products … and dolly wink for lashes and eyeliner. and juju for skin care. and the ‘asian’ biore is ahhhmazing for skin care.
you’re going to have a blast. can’t wait to see all the goodies you pick up x
Lucky you! Have a fab time. I’m looking forward to reading about it when you get back.
personally i will recommend Za cosmetics and a quick browse at shops like Watsons, Sasa, Mannings and Bonjours.
You definitely need
Laneige water sleeping pack (milky gel works as overnight mask).
Skinlite hair mask and essence cap.
Suki nail varnish remover (the best smelling remover you will ever use).
Check out the Revlon nail polishes. Colours seem to go out there before UK.
Loads and LOADS of sheet masks.
and go to bakery’s in the morning, when the bread and pastries are warm.
Take a look at Hong Kong beauty blogger: hakmebeauty.com. I’d send her an email too. I think she’s working on building a following. very knowledgeable and a local!!
Sonia Rykiel eye shadow? wheee get me some!!
i notice a lot of people telling you to buy the laneige water sleeping pack – in fact, laneige actually came up with a new & improved version of this called the firming sleeping pack – my friends have tried it and they said its amazing your skin actually feel more plump the next morning so i would recommend you try this over the water sleeping pack! the only reason why I haven’t picked it up yet is ’cause I’m heading to seoul in 10 days!
I have done several hauls recently in Hong Kong.
I love Japanese skincare and makeup, and also food is very nice there…
P.S. I was originally from HK
I second (and third) the Laneige Water Sleeping Pack!
Not sure if it’s sold in Hong Kong, but Ginvera Marvel Gel is the BEST exfoliator ever & not a grain in site. Very gentle & extremely effective.
Two Girls Florida Water: It’s from Hong Kong’s oldest beauty brand (since the 1890s), has gorgeous packaging and iconic for keeping skin cool and fresh in the summers. Basically like a cologne water, except with sweet orange rather than lemon and neroli. It’s a cult product.
OOOH NATIVE HONG KONGER HERE!
it seems like everyone before me has listed out a comment on great asian cosmetics, and i agree, but just a word of caution – hong kong doesn’t have as stringent statues on cosmetics, and their safety regulations aren’t as tight as those in the US or the UK, so just exercise a lot of common sense. when buying from sasa and bonjour, always look and smell before you buy. i’ve always found it better to be safe than sorry 😛
Beyond that, i’m sure you’ll have an awesome time in hong kong! also bear in mind that its really beastly hot by then so just bring thin layers of clothes so that you feel more comfortable 😀
You could always browse adambeauty.com for ideas on what to buy. And if you’re there long enough, you can actually order from them too, it’s cheaper. Disclaimer: I’m not endorsing anyone here, I’m just a satisfied customer of that website.
I love hk, my parents are from there. The food is glorious especially dim sum & streetfood!Hope you had a great time!
I love hk. Hope u had a lovely time! The food is glorious especially dim sum & streetfood!
im so happy to see your post.Because Hong Kong is my home town.I very miss the food. Welcome to Hong Kong!!!!!
Great post! But Hong Kong has a lot of mini shopping malls that have a lot of boutiques that sales cheap but chic clothes. Places like Mong Kok, Tsim Sha Tsui have loads. Maybe next time you should try those places 🙂