Deal Expert Wainang from the Hong Kong office shares his top five must-visit places on this small but bustling island:
This is a great destination to catch the sunrise and experience the Big Buddha by foot. Lantau Peak is the highest point in Lantau Island, with a height of almost 1000 metres above sea level. Most hikers spend a night at the youth hostel near Ngong Ping before dawn to catch the sunrise. At its top of Lantau Peak you’ll find the grand Big Buddha statue and monastery, which is a good place to grab some food. The hike itself affords excellent vistas over the thick greenery that carpets Lantau and onto the South China Sea. Take the Ngong Ping cable car back down the mountainside for more amazing views. The hike up could be quite challenging but well worth it. Dress warmly, bring snacks and sufficient water, in addition to a torch or headlamp.
The Kowloon Walled City Park
The history behind the Kowloon Walled City Park is what makes this park a memorable experience. Kowloon Walled City was a densely populated, largely ungoverned settlement in Kowloon, Hong Kong. Originally a Chinese military fort, the Walled City became an enclave after the New Territories were leased to Britain in 1898. Its population increased dramatically following the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong during World War II. From the 1950s to the 1970s, it was controlled by Triads and had high rates of prostitution, gambling, and drug use.
In 1987, when the Hong Kong government announced plans to demolish the Walled City, there were 33,000 residents. After an arduous eviction process, demolition began in March 1993 and was completed in April 1994. Kowloon Walled City Park opened in December 1995 and occupies the area of the former Walled City. Some historical artifacts from the Walled City, including its Yamen, an imperial administrative building and remnants of its South Gate, have been preserved there.
Ng Tung Chai Waterfall
Located on Tai Mo Shan, Ng Tung Chai is the city’s most impressive natural waterfall. At an imposing 120 feet, the waterfall can be seen from up to three kilometres away. Located along an easy hiking track, this fairly accessible waterfall is a great place for a picnic and a romantic spot for couples. For the best view of the falls, visit four days after heavy rain -- that’s when the water flow is the strongest.
Cat Store Cafe Causeway Bay
If you are an animal lover, be sure to check out the cat cafe at the cosmopolitan Causeway Bay in Hong Kong. It's adored by local cat fanciers who just don't have the time or space to care for pets at home.
The atmosphere is extremely cosy, with many friendly cats that live and wander around the small cafe. You get everything from cat shaped desserts, cat deco such as photographs, portraits and drawings, and of course, cats sitting on tables, on your lap, snuggling beside you and sharing your seat. The food and drinks are on the pricy side but are expected by customers who are looking for feline fun as a way to de-stress.
Dai Pai Dongs on Muen Lun Street
Check out the no frill eateries on Muen Lun Street to get a taste of the old Hong Kong. The street hosts food stalls including the most famous dai pai dong in Central, Sing Heung Yuen, known for its macaroni and tomato soup.
Dai pai dongs used to be synonymous with good cheap eats in Hong Kong, but the no frills eateries have been an increasingly rare sight on the streets in recent years. Given that the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department is not renewing any dai pai dong licenses, it’s a decline that seems destined to continue.