IMG_2570IMG_2581                          It has been been four years since I last visited Hong Kong. Even though this trip to Hong Kong was more for business than leisure I did find time in my schedule of meetings to explore a bit.

How to get there:

I flew from Cardiff airport with Qatar Airways via Doha ( about 7 hours) and had about enough time to go through customs and do some little shopping  before boarding another flight straight to Hong Kong International. A lot of other airlines fly from most airports around the UK to Hong Kong.

TIP : Once you have landed look out for airport official staff that hands out flyers on how much transportation should cost you to get to your hotel by local transportation system. Taxis are known all over the world for over changing tourists especially if they do not speak the local language. Some drivers even go as far as taking you to wrong places which will cost you more and if you do not pay or challenge them, they threaten you with calling the police. Who wants to be arrested in a foreign country? Certainly no one.

IMG_2575How to travel locally:

After viewing our options of transportation from the flyer they handed us we opted for the Airport Express to get to the centre of Hong Kong. This was not the cheapest option but it was the quickest way since we were tired and wanted to get to our hotel as fast as we can. Other means of getting central or to your hotel is by a bus which can be anything up to HK$110 or a taxi which can be up to HK$280 depending where you are going.

Tip: Email your hotel few days before your journey and ask them what would be the estimated cost and better option to get to their hotel. Or better if they do shuttle bus or door to door services. This was the option we chose for our return costing only HK$150 (not too bad for a shuttle bus with wifi).

But also when you arrive at the airport you can get an Octopus card. This card is very convenient and a safe way to pay for transportation fares in Hong Kong just like you do with the Oyster card in London but with Octopus you can also use it in supermarkets, stores , fast food restaurants, cake shops and many other places . You can top it up pre paid style as you go along to avoid carrying cash or using your bank card.

Where to stay :

We first stayed at Sai Ying Pun District at the Island Pacific Hotel which is part of the . This hotel is nestled in the financial district and overlooking the stunning views of Victoria Harbour.

Screen Shot 2018-12-12 at 09.13.30Screen Shot 2018-12-12 at 09.14.58Screen Shot 2018-12-12 at 09.14.18Screen Shot 2018-12-12 at 09.14.00 There is so much to do within the walking distance of the hotel but the one I enjoyed most was taking the stroll along the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park and the Victoria Harbour (both with free wifi) I will highly recommend staying at this hotel if you are planning a trip to Hong Kong. The service of the staff was also great and were very helpful in everything we asked of them.

Our second hotel was at situated in Wan Chai and a walking distance to TimeSquare Hong Kong.  The hotel was comfortable, clean and pleasant. I would say out of the two hotels I like this one the least because the staff’s services was ok during checking in. In the room they had coffee making facility but house keeping had not left the cups to make tea, the hotel did not have a bar to just relax after an exploring day, breakfast service left me a bit upset. In short there was a lot of small mistakes done by the staff that I feel let them down in terms of service and when you are a traveller and away from home whichever hotel you stay at you want it to feel like home. Unfortunately at The Emporer Hotel I did not feel at home. I felt let down but I did like the beautiful  interiors. Screen Shot 2018-12-12 at 09.39.31

Dining Out:

There is a saying “When in Hong Kong , eat as the Hong Kongers do”. I’ve come to believe that Hong Kong has some of the world’s most exciting street foods. If you are familiar with Asian dishes I’m talking about Dim Sum , Fishballs, noodles and soups just to name a few.

Tip: Sample those dishes especially dim sum and steam buns.

IMG_2599 If your palate fancies something more upscale and fancy I would recommend you try in Tsim Sha Tsui located in One Peking Shopping Arcarde. This is the Italian and Japanese restaurant with breathtaking views of Hong Kong.Screen Shot 2018-12-12 at 10.06.09 Nightlife:

For those who love a bit of dance after dinner I recommend Lan Kwai Fong and Soho. This was my first time in this part of Hong Kong at night. The streets around the area is full of bars, clubs and even corner shops where you can buy a beer or cider with your Octopus card and drink it on the street while listening to the competitive sounds between the bars and pubs while you making your mind up where to spend the rest of your night.

There is so much to do in Hong Kong too like visiting temples, shopping, night markets , cruising the Victoria Harbour. Just do your research on what you would like to do and the cost it will be but also look into other things you can do for free as a tourist. For me I enjoyed seeing and spending time with the locals. Seeing how they live and what is normal to them. So for this Hong Kong trip I visited the poorest area of Sham Shui Po District in Kowloon.IMG_2586IMG_2584IMG_2583IMG_2582IMG_2587IMG_2589IMG_2573 Even though it is the poorest district there is so much to do around there. I mingled with the locals, sampled some local dishes and flavours. As a fashion designer I could not miss a trip down some local fabric shops and bead shops in Yu Chan Street. I even ran out of time taking it all in. The best way to experience the lively local culture is through street markets where you can find all sorts of hidden gems and treasures.IMG_2591IMG_2590

I left Hong Kong feeling I have just scrapped the surface on what it has to offer. And for that reason I owe myself to visit Hong Kong in the near future. This time more prepared to experience all this city famous for  skyscrapers-studded skylines , dim sum IMG_2577and vibrant urban culture has to offer.