There’s been a lot of press surrounding the recent protests in Hong Kong, but not much coverage on just how amazing it is to visit. So I thought I’d share with you guys all the reasons why I believe that Hong Kong is one of the best places to visit in the world, especially with kids.
We had two of our three kids in Hong Kong, and absolutely loved the years we spent there as a family. I hope this article reminds you of the uniqueness of this incredible country, and inspires you to visit. So, here are my top 10 tips for holidaying in Hong Kong with the family…
Hong Kong has fabulous beaches, you really are spoilt for choice. Our favourites are Repulse Bay Beach and Shek-O. Repulse Bay is closer to the Central District than Shek-O and easy for a stop-off on your journey down to Stanley (read more about Stanley further down). There is also a shopping & restaurant plaza next to Repulse Bay beach, so it’s also a great destination in itself. To get to Repulse Bay, you can get a bus from Central, or take a taxi.
Shek-O is on the Eastern side of the island and is best reached by bus from Shau Kei Wan station. Right next to Shek-O beach are some delicious local restaurants, so if you are on the hunt for local food and a remote beach experience, I’d definitely recommend a day trip down to Shek-O.
- The Peak
The Peak is a must see for any tourists in Hong Kong, and our kids loved taking the tram up and down the hill. The tram station is in the central district and has been operational since 1888! The view from the top of the Peak is panoramic across both Hong Kong and neighbouring Kowloon. Pick a clear day to head up to the Peak so you can get the best out of the view. There are some cute shops in the Peak shopping centre, and you’ll be sure to pick up some presents for the family back home. If you are peckish when you are up there, try the Peak Lookout for a sit down meal, or for more of a snack, Mak’s Noodle shop has some of the best wonton noodle soup in town.
- Central District, Hong Kong Island
Hong Kong is home to the longest outdoor escalator in the world. It’s a must see for all the family and is located in the central district of Hong Kong. Here are some handy stop off points we’d recommend are:
- Happy Foot or Iyara for a massage. They do kids massages too, or find something to occupy your kids whilst you indulge – we’ve never found a foot massage quite as good since..
- We would always suggest timing an escalator trip with food.. it’s just too yummy not to eat. You have have breakfast, lunch or dinner on Elgin, Shelley or Peel street which you can reach easily via the escalator (especially recommended is Chom Chom on Peel Street for Vietnamese food – there are no reservations though so you’ll need to plan some waiting time given its popularity)
Also located in the central district is the Hong Kong Park, a wonderful place to let the children run around, or scooter. There are playground areas, an aviary and a monkey park and it was our go to place whenever the kids needed to let off some steam.
- Star Ferry
The Star Ferry runs across the waters between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. It’s a step back into the past of Hong Kong and a wonderful way to see the views of Hong Kong Islands skyscrapers by sea. The kids absolutely loved our trips on the Star Ferry!
Once over in Kowloon, the Ladies Market in Mong Kok is a must see for us. You’ll be the talk of the playground when you come back with your new Chanel bag.. or is it a Chanel bag?!
Stanley is a no miss visit for any family holiday in Hong Kong. It’s a beautiful seaside town with restaurants, shops and market.
As for shopping, we loved the GOD shop in Stanley Plaza which sells high-end kitchenware and gives you plenty of options for mementos to bring back home. Stanley market is a also great option for buying paintings (if you are that way inclined). We bought a few that proudly reside in our living room back at home..
There are also several beaches nearby which makes Stanley somewhere you’ll likely want to spend a whole day at.
- Theme Parks
Over the years we spent in Hong Kong, Disneyland was a regular feature in our social calendar.. It’s the perfect size for a day trip out from Hong Kong and who doesn’t like a day trip to Disney?! Getting there is easy – you take the MTR out to Sunny Bay station and then a train complete with Mickey Mouse windows all the way to the entrance of the park. We stayed over once at the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel and the breakfast with Mickey was a definite highlight. The evening fireworks show is spectacular, if you can keep your kids going long enough for it..
Hong Kong also has it’s own theme park – Ocean Park – which is ideal for slightly older children. The theme park is built on a hill, and to get to it, you take an incredible cable car ride over the hillside. The rides are truly terrifying, but if you have children that love a bit of a thrill, this is somewhere you don’t want to miss:
Macau is a great day trip or night out a relatively short distance from Hong Kong. There are regular ferries to Macau from Hong Kong and once you are there, you can easily fill the day browsing through the hotels, and visiting the main city centre. If you are staying there for lunch, we loved A Lorca and Antonio Restaurant, two very authentic Portuguese restaurants. And for overnight stays, we recommend the Galaxy Macau, their aquatic play zone for children is a LOT of fun!
8. Big Buddha
The Big Buddha is an unmissable part of any family holiday in Hong Kong. This incredible statue of Buddha is located on the top of a mountain, accessible via cable car from Ngong Ping, Lantau Island. The cable car ride is worth it in itself, however when you arrive at Tian Tan Buddha, your adventure just keeps going.. There are 268 steps to get up to the buddha statue, so not for the fainthearted, but totally worth it. We visited the Buddha on a wet rainy day, but in some ways that added to the drama.. wouldn’t have missed it for the world!
- Food and more food..
Don’t leave Hong Kong without eating dumplings. And by dumplings I mean the real deal.. An insider tip – the best dumplings in central we think are found at Wang Fu on Wellington Street. Leave some space though – once you start, it’s hard to stop eating them!
Hong Kong is also known for Sunday Brunches. Nowhere else does it quite like Hong Kong. You are spoilt for choice, with most of the luxury hotels providing Sunday buffets that are fit for a king. Our favourites were Grand Hyatt where you get to sit by the pool and enjoy fresh seafood and meats grilled on the BBQ, whilst you and your kids swim off the excesses afterwards.. Also Shangri-La is a fantastic option for a Sunday brunch that covers most of the continents of the world. We also recommend the all you can eat weekend brunch at Zuma, Central, a mouthwatering Japanese restaurant. They have bottomless Prosecco so make sure you have something relaxing planned for the rest of the day!
10. Night life
Hong Kong night life is like a freshers night out at university.. every night! If you can find cover for the kids, or even bring them along with you, a holiday to Hong Kong is not the same without a night out on the town! There are so many options.. but one place you should tick off your list for sure is Lan Kwai Fong in central – the rooftop bar at Ce La Vi has great views across the city.
If you are into live music (and don’t mind being dragged onto stage to sing alongside the band..) head to Wan Chai where the streets are lined with late night bars and live bands.
And for nights where the horses are racing, you don’t want to miss the Hong Kong Races at the Happy Valley Racecourse. There are always a lot of children there, and it’s certainly a spectacle your kids will enjoy, equally as much as you!
In terms of when to visit, our favourite times of the year are Easter holidays, May half term and October half term. The weather is still hot but you miss the scorching heat of the summer months (and avoid peak Typhoon season..).
And that’s a wrap for our top 10 tips on visiting Hong Kong. We hope you put it on your bucket list if you haven’t already 🙂