6 Hong Kong Hints {that will make you want to book a ticket ASAP}

7 need-to-know tips for visiting hong kong

[trip style = luxury + food + active]

Each time I visit Hong Kong, I’m captivated by its yin-yang magnetism. At once a metropolis counting some of the world’s top hotels and restaurants, and an equatorial escape rimmed by lush hills and sugary beaches, the Pearl of the Orient has an irresistible pull {just ask my passport}.

To take full advantage of its unique tower-meets-tropical lifestyle, I’ve rounded up six Hong Kong hints {aka: trip styled tips} to add some sizzle to your visit. 

Stay ON Victoria Harbour

Where to stay in hong kong Closest Hotel to the Water

In this city of skyscrapers, many hotels offer an outlook, but only one stay can boast about its position perched—quite literally—over Victoria Harbour. With half of the hotel built on stilts, saying the 503-room InterContinental Hong Kong has iconic views is an understatement. From two-thirds of the rooms, as well as most restaurants in the foodie-centric hotel, the vista is 100 percent sea and skyline. Couple this panoramic perspective with in-room smartphones featuring city-wide connectivity {probably my favorite amenity EVER since I hot-spotted off the phone's WiFi while I explored}, 24-hour butler service, WiFi, and poolside tai chi classes with Master William Ng {photo below}, and you may not want to return home once you check-in.

Misty morning tai chi with Master William, a gentle soul I met on one of my previous trips and again in April. Trust me: Book a class with this legend pre-arrival. He will drop more wisdom in five minutes than you could glean in five days at home....

Misty morning tai chi with Master William, a gentle soul I met on one of my previous trips and again in April. Trust me: Book a class with this legend pre-arrival. He will drop more wisdom in five minutes than you could glean in five days at home....

Do Dim Sum

Where to go for dim sum in Hong Kong

When visiting Hong Kong, you’d be at a culinary loss if you didn’t do dim sum. Meaning “to touch the heart,” the small bites were originally created as a snack food for travelers. Today, dim sum is a central part of local culture and family celebrations. Spanning cheap to chic, hundreds of dim sum restaurants are scattered around town, from the once-cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world, Tim Ho Wan, to the gorgeous and local hero-helmed, Yan Toh Heen. Here, Executive Chef Lau Yiu Fai is “the” guy you want folding, frying, and obsessing over your steamed pork and prawn dumplings or Peking duck—and not just because he’s yielded two Michelin stars and five stars by Forbes Travel Guide for the restaurant. Practicing the art of Cantonese cooking in famous Hong Kong kitchens since the age of 14 {and living in Vancouver for half a decade}, Chef proves that with passion and skill you can reach the stars. Stay tuned for more dim sum photos and an ordering guide, because they are too delicious to keep to myself!

Head to the Hills  

Hiking in hong kong

Each time I fly into Hong Kong I’m struck by the greenery and rolling hills. Turns out, the destination's iconic cityscape photos only show a small part of its landscape: Just 25 percent of the metropolis is a concrete jungle, while 40 percent of the surrounding land is dedicated to country parks and nature reserves {some of which include gorgeous sandy beaches}. As a result, hiking is a common local pastime. If you have a friend in town, head to the hills with them; if you don't, contact Sam the Local, a bespoke tour company offering personalized activities by in-the-know residents.

Eat at these Palate-Pleasers

RECH by Alain Ducasse

A number of best-in-class restaurants make their international debuts in Hong Kong. As one of the world’s major landing pads for celeb-status chefs—hello: Nobu, Gordon Ramsay, and Jamie Oliver—two more tastemakers are making their mark.

At night, don’t miss the just-opened (February 2017) Rech by Alain Ducasse, lead by one of the world’s most celebrated chefs with double digit Michelin stars. As the first international outpost of the famed Paris seafood institution, Rech’s ocean-focused cuisine is enhanced by its mouth-watering location perched over Victoria Harbour. Here, the exquisite dining experience epitomizes contemporary gourmet with specialties such as Alain Ducasse’s private-label Champagne; pan-seared sole hand-picked from a small catch of fisherman in France, a whole wheel of Camembert made by the Mons {France's famous cheesemaking family}; and the XL éclair crafted with chocolate from Ducasse’s own confectionary.

Potato Head Hong Kong

If your tastes skew a little more boho, check out Potato Head Hong Kong transplanted from Bali's high-design hotspot, Potato Head Beach Club. Making its urban home in Hong Kong's dynamic Sai Ying Pun neighborhood in 2016, this low-key space combining a coffee bar, shop filled with Bali finds, ‘70s-style audio room, an all-day dining space teeming with tropical greenery, and the Balinese eatery Kaum, makes for a sure-thing escape within the Hong Kong cityscape.

Sip in the Sky

Drinks with a view in Hong Kong
seeva hong kong

With more than 8,000 towers huddled into Hong Kong, the Pearl of the Orient has numerous locations for a sky-high sip. One not-to-miss nest is SEVVA: 13,000 square feet of indoor-outdoor bliss where haute-couture cocktails and cuisine are served to international influencers. Once you reach the 25th-floor entrance, head straight to the wraparound terrace where the city’s hues and heartbeat are on full display. 

See the "Real" Light Bright

Hong Kong Symphony of Lights tips

At 8 p.m. every night Hong Kong’s already sparkling skyline ups itself a notch with a free light show featuring a “cast” of more than 40 buildings. Reflecting over the calm waters of Victoria Harbour, A Symphony of Lights (crowned the “World's Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show” by Guinness World Records) pairs lights and laser beams with music in a 13-minute ode to the city’s spirit. The best part: All you have to do is show up to witness the Pearl of the Orient’s wow-factor.

Other Dispatches in this Series
My Most Beautiful Meal in Hong Kong
Flying Well :: Cathay Pacific's Revolutionary A350
Style Inspiration :: The Pier Business + First Class Lounges in Hong Kong
First Look :: Cathay Pacific's GORGEOUS New Lounge at YVR
Hong Kong :: Instagram Diary
Cathay Pacific Vancouver to Hong Kong

[This article is adapted form a post I wrote in the Expedia Viewfinder Travel Blog. Photos by @TripStyler and InterContinental Hong Kong, taken while exploring Hong Kong in partnership with the hotel, Cathay Pacific (who offers 17 flights weekly between Vancouver and Hong Kong), and on my own.]