10 Reasons Why Hong Kong Must Be Added to Your Bucket List

By Assia Hamdi | 18, May, 2020
10 Reasons Why Hong Kong Must Be Added to Your Bucket List

Did you know that Hong Kong is the world's fourth-most densely populated place in the world? With a population of over 7 million, this bustling territory almost never sleeps as there is always something to do that will feed your curiosity. You could witness historical religious monuments, splurge on exclusive local brands from over 10 shopping malls and pleasure your tastebuds with a range of cuisines served at Hong Kong’s wide number of Halal eateries.

So if you’re in the midst of planning your next dream vacation, here are 10 reasons why you should consider Hong Kong.

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1. Visit Hong Kong’s Neighbouring Cities

Image Credit: Kychan on Unsplash; Traveling to Hong Kong’s neighbouring cities is such a breeze with more than one way to get to these cities. Travelers can easily get on a train, a ferry, a bus or even a flight to these cities.

Once you’ve landed in Asia, Hong Kong is definitely an ideal stop to make! As Hong Kong is one of the world’s busiest aviation hubs, this makes it pretty easy to find a direct flight in or out of the destination. Furthermore, as Hong Kong is situated in the Southern district of China, it serves as a perfect layover holiday before you head over to Southeast Asia. 

If you’re looking at a longer stay in Hong Kong, take a trip down to its neighbouring cities – ShenZhen and Macau. These cosmopolitan cities are constantly on the lists of those traveling to Hong Kong since it is so simple to get yourself across the border. Today, one can board a 20 minutes train ride on the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL) or a 45 minutes metro ride on the East Rail Line. While the train is the most popular mode of transport, some may prefer private operated shuttle buses, a ferry ride from Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal to Shekou Cruise Port or a flight up to Shenzhen Airport. 

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2. Ease of Public Transport 

Image Credit: Photo by Chapman Chow on Unsplash

According to an article written by Daniel Szuc, it is estimated that over 90% of the 7.4 million people living in Hong Kong use public transport. This record only proves the efficiency of public transport in Hong Kong. 

When you’re in Hong Kong, the first thing you want to get yourself is the Octopus card. Opting for the weekly or travelers’ passes would save you a ton when you’re traveling on public transport in Hong Kong. If you’re traveling via public transport for only a part of your trip, perhaps you might want to pay as you go. However, getting the passes would mean skipping the queue at the ticketing counter when it gets busy in the train stations. Top up some cash in your Octopus cards and you’ll find yourself using it almost everywhere. This includes the binoculars at Victoria’s Peak, convenience stores and vending machines. 

Whip out your Octopus cards and tap away for their trains, trams, and on the Star Ferry across the Victoria Harbour. At the end of your trip, bring it home as a souvenir or return the Octopus card at the Customer Service Centre at the airport or any MTR station to get a refund of HK$50 and the remaining value.


3. Variety of Halal food options

Feast on the best of Hong Kong's local cuisine when you're in Hong Kong – Dim Sum! Head down to Islamic Centre Canteen when you're in town.

Tip! Make sure to have Dim Sum in the morning. The Hongkongers eat Dim Sum as breakfast so don’t come in the afternoon after all the good food is almost gone!

Put your worry about the availability of Halal food at rest when you’re in Hong Kong! #Alhamdulillah

What we love most about Hong Kong is that there are Muslim-owned and Halal-Certified restaurants serving local cantonese cuisines in every district. Travelers might have to do quite a bit of walking looking for it, but once you got the location right, trust us, it’s so worth it! 

You’ll find a plethora of Halal restaurants serving the Cantonese cuisine, Turkish cuisine, Indian cuisine and Indonesian cuisine. We’ve got three Halal food spots that are essential to visit when you’re in Hong Kong. 

Islamic Center Canteen

As cliche as it sounds, no matter what your itinerary is when you are visiting Hong Kong, it is a must to dine in at Islamic Center Canteen. Located at the 5th floor of the Osman Ramju Sadick Islamic Center, the food here is definitely affordable with Dim Sum dishes starting at HKD13.

Halal Status: Halal-Certified
Address: 5/F, Masjid Ammar and Osman Ramju Sadick Islamic Centre, 40 Oi Kwan Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong Island
Opening Hours: 10am - 9pm

Wai Kee

Wai Kee is another recommended eatery that you should visit when you are in Hong Kong. This is the place for you to get your roasted duck rice fix for HKD38. It will keep you coming back for more.

Halal Status: Muslim-Owned
Address: Stall #5 Bowrington Cooked Food Centre 1/F Bowrington Road Market, 23 Bowrington Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Opening Hours: 10am - 6pm

Ma’s Restaurant

Ma's Restaurant is a restaurant serving Xinjiang cuisine. It will definitely leave you spoilt for choice with its menus. This is also one of the only restaurants where you can taste authentic Halal braised beef brisket noodle (HKD50), and the most recommended side is Veal Goulash (HKD42).

Halal Status: Halal-Certified
Address: Shop A, 21-25 Cheung Sha Wan Road, Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong
Opening Hours: 11.30am - 11pm

You best believe this is just the cherry on top of Hong Kong’s Halal food scene. There are more than 70 Halal restaurants in this city so be sure to plan your itinerary wisely and get a taste of the local cuisines in Hong Kong!


Also Read: Never Go Hungry in Hong Kong With These 25 Halal Food Places

 

4. Keeping Our Prayers On Track

Image Credit: Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash

According to a survey done in 2016, there are approximately 300,000 Muslims living in Hong Kong, making up 4.1% of its population. The Muslims in Hong Kong are of many races such as Chinese, Indonesian and Pakistani, with a vast majority of them being Sunni Muslims. 

Hong Kong has a total of five official mosques, with the largest mosque being Kowloon Mosque  and Islamic Centre, which can accommodate up to 3,500 people. The Kowloon Mosque was founded in 1896, initially built for the Indian Muslim troops of the British army to perform their religious duties. This square mosque consists of 4 minarets, white marble on its facade and flooring, a pink roof and a large dome on top. 

The four other mosques in this territory include Masjid Ammar and Osman Ramju Sadick Islamic Centre, Jamia Mosque, Chai Wan Mosque and Stanley Mosque.

Apart from these mosques, one can find prayer rooms and spaces in major tourist attractions like Hong Kong Disneyland and Oceanpark. 

 

5. Dazzling Lights and Towering Skyscrapers

According to the Guinness World Records, Hong Kong is by far the world’s tallest urban agglomeration, as the total height of all its skyscrapers, exceeding 330 kilometres. With a variety of skyscrapers decorating the harbour, Hong Kong is known for having one of the most impressive skylines. The night-time especially brings out the beautiful side of its skyline as the differentcoloured lights adorn the waterfront of Victoria Peak. 

More so, as of December 2005, Hong Kong broke yet another Guinness World Record for the “Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show”. This 10-minute show is called A Symphony of Lights and begins every night at 8pm. It showcases a dazzling display of visual effects as lasers and flashes illuminate the night sky, accompanied by uplifting music. It’s definitely a show that you don’t want to miss while you’re in Hong Kong!

At the end of the show, you can head off to popular hotspots like Lan Kwai Fong and SoHo for a vibrant night-time experience. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a calmer experience, you may take a night cruise along Victoria Harbour or visit Temple Street Night Market where you can purchase antiques and tea ware as souvenirs for your loved ones back home.

Also Read: 6 Best Boutique Hotels & Hostels to Stay in Hong Kong!

6. This Is Where Street Art Comes Alive

Image Credit: Lysander Yuen on Unsplash

Hong Kong has an array of vibrant street art where you can get your perfect OOTD (Outfit of the Day) shots. It's not hard to find them as they are aptly named Art Lane and features colourful murals painted on old buildings, and encompasses the theme of both art and music.

Also, nestled among one of Hong Kong’s busiest neighbourhoods lies Public Square Street. This mural spot features stairs which are painted with bright yellow, blue and red floral designs - perfect for an Insta-worthy shot. 

Another street art spot worth mentioning is Sing Lei Mahjong Parlour, located in the heart of Temple Street Market. It features striking caricatures of political leaders playing a humorous game of mahjong.

Also Read: According to Hong Kong's Street Photographers, These Are The Best Places to Capture Hong Kong

7. Muslim-Friendly Attractions

Nothing beats a family day out and about in Hong Kong’s best theme parks. Relive your childhood dreams and spend the day at Hong Kong Disneyland. Worrying about Halal food? There are Halal-Certified restaurants and food kiosks in Hong Kong Disneyland. And! Prayer room can be found within the theme park next to the Tahitian Terrace Restaurant (Halal).

In all honesty, you don’t need to be a child to enjoy Hong Kong’s theme parks. There is always something in store for each age group. Hong Kong Disneyland is where you want to be if you’re looking for an enchanting getaway on your trip to Hong Kong. Stay for a night or two in their resort and be surrounded with everything that makes your inner child happy. 

A total fan of thrilling rides? Ocean Park’s forte is definitely just that. The 40-year-old theme park may look old-fashioned on the outside but you definitely don’t want to miss this theme park when you’re in Hong Kong. First of all, this theme park is HUGE. Make a run for their classics like the Hair Raiser, The Flash, The Mine Train and The Dragon. When it’s time, stop by for prayers within the park itself. Simply head to the Guest Relation Office and the staff will assist you to the prayer room. Fuel up at Ocean Park’s Halal-Certified restaurants – Cafe Ocean, Dive Into A Float at Marina World and Panda Cafe Food To Go at Amazing Asian Animals.

Tip! Bring along your prayer garments and pocket sejadahs. You’ll find the Qibla direction marked in the room. You can perform your wudhu in the nearby washrooms. 

In the evening, board the Bauhinia Harbour Cruises and enjoy the spectacular view of the Victoria Harbour. Named after the flower city of Hong Kong, Bauhinia, the Bauhinia Harbour Cruises lets you in on the vessels which has been a part of Hong Kong’s public transportation system. Dine Bauhinia Harbour Cruises’ Halal menu on board or take in the fresh air on the upper deck.

Tip! The Bauhinia Harbour Cruises stops at the North Point and the Hung Hom Pier. For more information, visit www.cruise.com.hk

 

8. Enjoy The Best Of What Nature Has To Offer

Credit: @hannyg_3 on Instagram

Despite its small size, Hong Kong still manages to preserve its natural landscapes. Whether it's stretches of beaches or the mountainous regions, tourists and civilians can enjoy hikes, walks and swimming. The Hong Kong Global Geopark is a large area with unique rock formations offering grand landscapes. 

There is also Kowloon Park for bird watchers, picnics and relaxation. A few beaches include Big Wave Bay Beach, Repulse Bay Beach and Mui Wo and SilverMine Bay Beach. Surrounded by hills, greenery and mountains, the beaches are rich in blue and green natural landscapes.

Take a day out of your itinerary and hike the Dragon’s Back while you’re in Hong Kong. The hike will land you on the beautiful Big Wave Bay. During the hike, you’ll be able to see the panorama view of the city’s coastline. The Dragon’s Back will definitely get your heart pumping but feel free to take it slow and go at your own pace. 

 

9. History and Culture

Image Credit: Photo by Jason Cooper on Unsplash

Can you believe that the first inhabitants settled into Hong Kong during the late Stone Age? That’s almost 9 centuries ago! Today, Hong Kong is filled with plenty of unique treasures, namely its 34-metre tall ‘Big Buddha’ which sits at the Po Lin monastery, and its modern temples like the Wong Tai Sin Temple which serves as a home for three religions - Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. 

Getting Here! Board the MTR Train and alight at Tung Chung Station, Exit B. You’ll find the Citygate Outlet Mall just outside the train station. Walk further ahead toward the Ngong Ping Cable Car Terminal and get on the 25-min cable car ride to Ngong Ping 360. Alternatively, board bus 23 from Tung Chung Station for a 50-min ride to the Ngong Ping Bus Terminus.

Other historical sites worth mentioning are Haw Par Mansions which incorporates both Chinese and Western elements in its architectural style, and Kamikaze Cave which used to be occupied by Japanese forces during World War II. 

Take a trip down to the Hong Kong Museum of History and envision how the early settlers had arrived in Hong Kong in a junk ship. Dig deep and learn about the development and modernization of Hong Kong under the British colony. Don’t miss the Kowloon City Walled Park when you’re in Hong Kong and witness how this city was once known as the most densely populated place on the planet. The city had 35,000 people packed into small apartments. However, keep listening to the stories of those who lived here. Their living conditions may seem bizarre but the people of Kowloon, they were happy. 

10. Saying Yes To Night Markets

Image Credit: Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Lastly, Hong Kong wouldn’t be as joyful and euphoric without the people who call it home. Whether you’re up at 5am watching locals practice Tai Chi or sitting at a food street stall in the evening, you can expect a local who will initiate friendly conversations with you, whether you speak the same language or not.

More so, even if you get lost, the locals will be more than willing to help you find your way. Just be sure to get yourself ready with some Cantonese phrases!

Tip! Here's your Cantonese phrases cheat sheet: 

m.discoverhongkong.com/seasia/muslim-friendly/phrase-sheet.jsp

 

There is so much more to explore in the city of Hong Kong. Hong Kong has grown tremendously over the years. Discover the nook and crannies of Hong Kong and experience a different side of Hong Kong. 

This article is brought to you by Hong Kong Tourism Board.

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Currently a History and Arabic student with a huge ambition and passion for travelling. Inshallah, my hope is to see the beautiful world God has created and share the beauty with you lovely readers.