When you’re in Hong Kong with the family, you’re never more than 30 minutes from a good time. You could be on one of it’s sunny beaches in the morning, take to the hills for a hike in the evening and scout through the narrow market street lanes at night. The next day you can head to theme park and the following day you can check out the art and heritage scene. All this without having to go very far or pay much for transportation.
December is a great time to visit Hong Kong with the family. It is cooler, and families can enjoy the outdoors in comfort. Additionally, Hong Kong has many halal eateries on offer.
Still not convinced? Let us detail for you 10 reasons why Hong Kong with the family should be your next vacation.
1. Safe for tourist
Hong Kong is a safe city. Crime rate in the first six months of 2018 fell by 6.2% compared to the same period in 2017. In fact, according to The Economists 2017 Safe Cities Index, Hong Kong ranks number 9 among the 11 safest cities in the world.
2. Transportation is a breeze
Travel hassle-free via the most interconnected public transportation in the world. You can ride the tram, bus, ferry and train in one afternoon and still have change for ice cream.
Make it fun and let kids pay for their rides by buying them an Octopus card (for ages three and above). This makes moving around Hong Kong with the family a breeze.
Tip: One of the best ways to see Hong Kong Island is to ride the tram from Shau Kei Wan in the east to Kennedy Town in the west. The entire journey costs only $2.60 (RM1.30) for adults and takes 80 mins.
3. Theme parks!
Also on offer are majestic views of the hills and surrounding ocean from a cliff side cable car ride or atop a roller coaster.
Tip: Tickets from online sites like Klook give the best deals and help you ditch queues at ticket booths. Perfect solution if you’re in Hong Kong with the family.
4. Majestic views
The iconic Star Ferry crossing from Tsim Sha Tsui is a must when you’re in Hong Kong with the Family. It enables you and your family to savour views of towering skyscrapers against the majestic Victoria Peak.
Another good place to catch a glimpse of the city skyline is from the viewing platform of the IFC Mall. IFC stands for, the International Finance Centre. There are many restaurants and a mall at the base of this iconic building, so plan to take in more than just the view.
5. Budget friendly attractions
This is an expensive city but activities catering to all budgets are readily available. And when you’re in Hong Kong with the family, budgeting matters!
The Hong Kong Science Museum and Hong Kong Museum of History are great affordable alternatives for rainy days. Tai Kwun, the historic former central police station, is now a centre for heritage and arts. It is accessible via the Mid-Levels escalator (which is the world’s longest outdoor escalator at 800m).
Meanwhile, prison cell blocks are open for public viewing for free.
6. The shopping
Soak up gritty scenes when in Hong Kong with the family, by visiting their many street markets.
Ladies’ Market in Tung Choi Street, Mong Kok has neon signboards dangling precariously over busy streets choked with minibuses as you navigate your way through. What’s on offer? Well, pretty much everything a lady could want from shoes to bags, and lingerie, and all at discounted prices too.
Temple Street Night Market in Yau Ma Tei is popular for signs featuring laugh-out-loud translations of popular Cantonese sayings. Find clothing and souvenirs and other kitschy knick knacks here. Stanley Market has customized name seals in English.
Find seasonal decorations and dress up costumes for kids and adults at stalls along Pottinger Street, Central. Get Lego up to 10 per cent cheaper than regular retail prices at Tai Yuen Street, Wan Chai.
For gaming, computer and mobile phone accessories, head to the Golden Shopping Arcade 146-152 Fuk Wa Street, Sham Shui Po.
Finally, for Hong Kong themed souvenirs go to G.O.D. (Goods of Desire) stores for good quality, cheeky Hong Kong themed tees, jewellery, furnishings and gifts. Indeed there is something for everyone when you’re in Hong Kong with the family.
7. Instagram-worthy graffiti
Perhaps the most recognisable is the G.O.D. mural on Hollywood Road depicting old townhouses. Whether you’re in Central, Wong Chuk Hang, Sham Shui Po or Mong Kok, commissioned street art is taking Hong Kong streets by storm.
8. The hills are alive
With temperatures ranging from 15-20C, clear, blue skies, plenty of sunshine and low humidity, it is no wonder locals and tourists take to the hills. When in Hong Kong with the family, pack a picnic lunch and head to the hills to enjoy a cool stroll.
For a family-friendly sampler, try:
- The Peak Circle Walk. This circular trail starting at Lugard Road covers 3.5km, along a flat path that winds around the top of The Peak. Great for strollers. Tip: Buy Peak Tram tickets on Klook. Opt to take Bus #15 down to Central. Sit on the upper deck for the best views.
- Tai Tam Reservoir. Also located n Hong Kong Island, the 5km trail from Parkview to Tai Tam is another stroller-friendly walk that will take just over an hour. There are toilet facilities early on in the trail and at the end.
- The Po Lin Monastery in Lantau has its own version of our Batu Caves, minus the caves. Climb its 268 steps to get a better look at the 34m-tall Tian Tan Buddha statue. Get there via a 25-min ride on the Ngong Ping 360 cable car.
9. Winter at the beach
Hong Kong is one of the few places you can still hit the beach in winter. It is also the best time to fire up the barbecue pits by the beach.
The south side of Hong Kong has several, including Deep Water Bay and Stanley Beach. All you need to do is raid a supermarket for coals, fish balls, sausages, skewers and wire mesh.
10. The food!
The food – wan tan noodles, dim sum, hot pot – need we say more? We will!
Halal food options
1. The no-frills Islamic Centre Canteen in Wan Chai serves budget-friendly dim sum until 2.30pm and dishes for lunch and dinner. Dress appropriately as the canteen is located within a mosque. Address: 5th floor, Osman Ramju Sadick Islamic Centre, 40 Oi Kwan Road, Wan Chai. Closest station: Causeway Bay MTR Exit A1.
2. Hong Kong is all about roast meats. At the Cooked Food Centre in Wan Chai, Wai Kee serves up an awesome halal roast duck. Here, you will you enjoy the local atmosphere and the friendly owner Osman Wong is familiar with Malaysians. A set meal of a thigh and siew pak choy on steamed rice costs HKD$40 (RM20). They also serve mutton curry, steamed and roasted chicken and wan tan noodles. Address: Cooked Food Centre, 1st Floor, Bowrington Road Market, Wan Chai. Nearest station: Causeway Bay MTR Exit A1,
Call ahead to check availability as this small restaurant is sometimes booked for private events. Set lunch $105. Set dinner for two: $340. Address: Room A&B, 11/F, Southern Commercial Building, 11-13 Luard Road, Wan Chai. Tel: +852-25293999. Nearest station: Wan Chai MTR Exit B1,
2/F Dragon Rise, 9-11 Pennington Street, Causeway Bay. Tel: +852-29157859. Nearest station: Causeway Bay MTR Exit F1.
Bombay Dreams has a separate, glass-walled kitchen for its vegetarian cuisine. It is an elegant restaurant located just meters from Tai Kwun, the former central police station. Get a set lunch for $158 and Sunday brunch at $198. Address: 4/F, 77 Wyndham Street, Central. Tel: +852-29710001. Nearest station: Central MTR Exit D2.
Tim Ho Wan. Pay a visit to the outlet above the Airport Express station in IFC. Skip the queue by ordering a takeaway and spirit it away to the landscaped IFC Mall rooftop with its resort-style tables and chairs. Enjoy priceless views of Victoria Harbour while you much on your Michelin-starred dim sum.
Kam’s Roast Goose in Wan Chai has a long queue forming even before it opens. Address: G/F, Po Wah Commercial Centre, 226 Hennessey Road, Wan Chai. Nearest station: Wan Chai MTR Exit A5.
Cooked Food Centre, 1st Floor, Bowrington Road Market, Wan Chai. Nearest station: Causeway Bay MTR Exit A1.
Cha Chaan Teng like Honolulu Café (176-178 Hennessey Road) in Wan Chai are great for their cheap and cheerful meals. Staples such as macaroni with soup, pineapple bun (sans pineapple), flaky egg tarts and milk tea make for a hearty local breakfast. Nearest station: Wan Chai MTR Exit A4).
Off the beaten track
Aberdeen sampan noodles. The original noodles are cooked on board a sampan and served in a styrofoam bowl which you then proceed to wolf down along the Aberdeen seaside promenade. The boat is irregular (ring +852 91402628) and so the next best thing is to head to 84 Ap Lei Chau Main Street for a flavourful bowl of sampan noodle served with roast duck, red sausage, fish ball, fish cake and lettuce ($40). Nearest station: Lei Tung MTR Exit A1. Tip: While you’re in the area, enjoy views of fishing boats bobbing by the promenade or take the four-minute sampan ferry ride ($2.20) across to Aberdeen.
For silken tau foo fa, soya bean milk and deep fried tofu with fish paste, pop by Kung Wo Bean Curd Factory. 118 Pei Ho Street, Sham Shui Po.
Hot pot is a must in winter and there is no shortage of Korean, Japanese, Sichuan, Thai and Hong Kong hotpots to choose from. Market Hotpot offers 15 soup bases to go with seafood, meat and veggies. 2/F, Dundas Square, 43H Dundas Street, Mong Kok.
By Anita Anandarajah
Anita is a former features writer. She has called Hong Kong home for the past 10 years and loves everything about this vibrant, thriving city. A stay-at-home-mum, she enjoys exploring the city’s streets and walks in the country park.