Hongkong- Financial and economic center. Cosmopolitan and cultural city, Gourmet’s paradise, exciting and vibrant nightlife, Dorado for adventurers, city of superlatives and opposites. Hardly any other cosmopolitan city is tainted with such a touch of adventure. In Hong Kong, the fascinating West meets the mysterious East. This creates a unique blend of temples, rice fields and skyscrapers.
My first honeymoon destination took us to Hong Kong last September! This trip was definitely the journey of my lifetime, not least because I needed to pack for 4 weeks in advance!
Hong Kong, home to more than 7 million people
Hongkong is a one-of-a-kind cultural and tourist high spot, that invites you to mingle with both the past and the present. Whatever your reason is for coming to the megacity Hong Kong that is home to more than 7 million people on a territory that is spread over a peninsula and 236 offshore islands. Mine definitely was experiencing a spectacular city rich of culture and secrets, something overwhelmingly special that I’ve never seen before in my life.
Our direct flight with Lufthansa from Munich to Hongkong took us overnight to the „Fragrant Harbour“. This is also the English meaning of Hongkong. The International Airport of Hongkong is tremendously huge, but very good organised.
I expected an asian chaotic scenery, but experienced a very quite and stress free arrival. First thing to do upon arrival is of course, exchanging currency. So I went to the next ATM around to get some Hong Kong Dollars. It was easy for us to calculate, because 1 HKD are 10 Euro Cents!
We took a public cab on the way from the Airport to our Hotel. There are also all very basic red coloured Toyotas with a look and feel of design and comfort back from the 80s. All the drivers we have met were able to speak English and the prices were fair for a metropole. While driving from the huge airport area to Kowloon, the mainland, we were witnessing beautiful nature spectacles, such as several small islands covered in dust which had a mysteriously interesting effect.
I definitely didn’t expect so much greenery and nature! Hong Kong may be famous for its towering skyscrapers but 40 percent of the territory is actually country park and also nature reserve. After around 20 minutes drive, we finally arrived the area where all the skyscrapers start.
Royal Garden Hotel
With over 8,000 glittering skyscrapers, double that of its nearest rival New York City, Hong Kong’s skyline is definitely one to marvel at. Its tallest building! Almost half a kilometre high, sits in West Kowloon and is the International Commerce Centre. On top the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong whose bar and swimming pool are located on the building’s 118th floor. This make the Hotel also the highest in the world.
We stayed with a local 5-Star, the Royal Garden Hotel, which is also located in the Tsim Sha Tsui quarter. Next to the Nathan Road, famous for all the neon illuminated advertising signs, countless number of casual restaurants and individual local shops. Luxurious shopping malls can be found in nearby Canton Road. The Tsim Sha Tsui promenade at Victoria Harbor is a popular spot to catch a glimpse of the Hong Kong skyline. During Rush-Hours its not really recommended to take a cab for short distances. We were able to walk any distance in around 20 minute from our Hotel to for example the Star Ferry Pier or the Canton Road.
Hong Kong street style from day to night! I decided to go with looks that can be worn day-to-night, because there was not much time for changing and going back to the Hotel during the day. In our first sightseeing point in Hong Kong we visited Victoria Peak. It is also the highest hill on Hong Kong Island that can be reached with the peak tram, an old railway back from 1888.
Lin Heung Tea House
After one day in Hongkong and being able to get used to the humid climate, it was time to mingle under the asian culture and experience some true asian tradition. We visited one of the last tea houses that still remain in Hong Kong. The Lin Heung tea house opened in 1926, and also is especially popular with locals. Britain’s former colonial rule has left its mark on the cityscape, nevertheless the asian culture was still preserved.
Visiting traditional tea houses is also definitely recommended. I have to say that a visit demanded strong nerves, tuned against noise, possible waiting times and language barriers. But it was much fun and also I learned to know real asian culture.
I was so glad that we were able to sit on a table with some very friendly locals, who had their business lunch there and explained us how we can order tea and something to eat. All of the food was very delicious but also I can’t explained you exactly what we were eating. I just guessed it was some fried seafood, something glittery where I found out later that it was rumen and then sweet dumplings. Ok not so much my taste for a Southern German girl who loves her Schnitzel, but it was worth a try! Even the street where the Lin Heung Tea House is located, also we took some amazing shots. I have to say, I assumed most of the streets in Hong Kong look like that, but actually they don’t.
Hong Kong is such a newly constructed and super clean city. By the way, I just remembered that our Hotel gave us a local smartphone with all relevant guides, sightseeing addresses, restaurant recommendations. I was also even able to use it as a wifi Hotspot. This was so helpful!
Here is the Address: Lin Heung Tea House: 162 Wellington St, Sheung Wan, Hongkong.
Dinner Recommendations For Hong Kong
Our first night we had Dinner in the Royal Garden Chinese, a restaurant in our Hotel, the Royal Garden. I had probably the best braised goose in my life. Also, our waiter was so polite and gentle. One time I was coughing because it was very cold due to the low air conditioning. He brought me some tea without asking. My husband spilled some sauce over his jacket, he removed the stains, without asking.
We were having a conversation with him about his daughter, he showed us some pictures. I seriously never met such a friendly person in my life, he even brought me tears in my eyes.
Our second night we had dinner at the Felix Restaurant. Visit my other blog Post to read more.
Our last night
Our last night we spend again in our hotel and had some amazing Italian food. Probably also the most expensive one 🙈. The atmosphere in the Sabatini Restaurant is authentic Italian, wo won’t recognise that you are actually in Hongkong.
The original Sabatini Ristorante Italiano restaurant opened in Rome in 1954. Since then, the Sabatini brothers‘ flair and excellence have led to 2 other Sabatini Ristorante Italiano restaurants around the world. Including this fine dining room at The Royal Garden Hong Kong. Here, an authentic yet creative menu is prepared by our also experienced chefs. And is served in a picturesque “countryside” setting. The menu features seasonal specialties and is complimented by an extensive wine list.
Afterwards we had some drinks at the Intercontinental Hotel, which has an amazing location directly at the Hong Kong River. Also, the Lobby Lounge showcases a mesmerising panorama of Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Island. Truly one of the world’s most magnificent views. Having a cocktail during the „Symphony of Lights“ show at 8:00 pm, whilst listening to live Jazz music was perfectly rounding up our stay in Hong Kong.
1. THE ROYAL GARDEN CHINESE RESTAURANT and the Sabatini Ristorante Italiano:
The Royal Garden, 69 Mody Road, Tsimshatsui East, Kowloon, Hong Kong.
2. Felix Restaurant: 28/F, The Peninsula Hong Kong, Salisbury Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hongkong
3. InterContinental Hotel Kong Kong, No. 18 Salisbury Road, Kowloon Hong Kong
Victora Harbour – Sunset Junk Boat Ride
When we arrived in Hong Kong, my Mom all of the sudden wrote me also that she just has seen the old boats called „junkes“ floating on the Hong Kong river. She insisted that we definitely need to plan a tour during our stay in Hong kong! Of course this was already on my bucket list. But I found it so cute, that she’s always curious about where I am, what I’m doing and experiencing. We booked a tour with our concierge in our Hotel and just needed to stop by at the Victoria Harbour at a Pier.
The area of the Victoria Harbour is very nice, also newly constructed and super clean. Canton Road and also all of the designer stores are right around the corner. Lots of people are hanging there around waiting to get a water taxi to Hong Kong Island. It reminds me also a lot of NYC. Where all of the Wall Street brokers are waiting in line for their water taxis heading to Brooklyn. On that day we had great weather conditions leading to a wonderful sunset.