Hong Kong has long been one of the world’s great trading centres and it’s multi-cultural heritage, extremes of wealth and poverty, hi-tech and historic make this global cross-roads one of the most exciting places to visit and shop.
Temple Street Night Market
Temple Street has been the setting for countless Hong Kong gangster flicks, due to its close proximity to Mong Kok’s gangland. But it’s also home to perhaps the best street market on the island. Everyone comes here and you can get everything and anything, legal or illegal.
Ladies Night Market
A woman’s dream come true. An entire street is closed at night, and is crammed pack with stalls touting every kind of ladies garment imaginable, at bargain prices. Many clothes are rumoured to have crossed over from the factories in Shenzhen, and are what they call ‘genuine excess stock’.
A great place to get Chinese art and craft, as well as some great factory outlet shopping. If you know where to look, you can find last season’s designer stock at rock bottom prices. Stanley also has a great collection of food stalls, located by the seaside. Join the queue for some of the best Won Ton noodles around.
Lan Kwai Foong
Perhaps the most famous street in Hong Kong, Lan Kwai Foong is filled with trendy clubs and everyone who’s anyone comes here for a great night out. Also home to Melvis, the Cantonese Elvis impersonator. He has been entertaining here for nearly 10 years and is very much part of the furniture.
Gaining ground and very much poised to take over Lan Kwai as the hippest place to be, check out the Nu (a new bar), Dragon-i (the bar that David Beckham and his football team members visited when they visited HK) and Blowfish, a funky Japanese restaurant.
Kowloon Bird Market
Due to the lack of space in Hong Kong small birds are the pets of choice and the Kowloon bird market where people come to buy them, sell them, or just to show of how well theirs sings. Singing birds are big business here, and their value is based primarily on their singing prowess. Fanatics bring their birds down here every morning too fuss over them and talk bird. Good singers change hand for up to $3,000 US while the cages themselves can fetch up to $30,000 US.
If you come to Hong Kong to find a fake or two, or even a well made unknown genuine, catch a train to the Special Economic Zone on Mainland China, that is Shenzen. Shenzen was small town of no consequence until it won the equivalent of the state lottery, and was made a Special Economic Zone. With electrified fences to the north separating it from the mainland and the same to the south keeping it from Hong Kong, it is a perfectly situated middleman. With cheap imports from China and huge spending power from Hong Kong, a powerful market has been created. Prices here are a third of Hong Kong and this attracts a ready stream of people who come to take advantage of this. When you are in Shenzen, don’t forget to haggle.
One of the main draws is to get pampered at one of the many pamper zones, where you can get a one hour foot massage or two hour full body and facial for around $25US dollars.
Hollywood Road antiques
For a glimpse at Hong Kong’s ancient heritage, Hollywood Road on Hong Kong Island is the place to go. They have the best selection of Chinese antiques in the world. There has been a major increase in Chinese Antiques in the world pushing the prices sky high, although they remain a good investment. The most expensive article ever sold was at Sotherbies in New York, where a small Ming dynasty vase went for $5,000,000.
In the heart of Hong Kong’s garment district is a veritable Hong Kong institution, Sam’s Tailor. He’s made clothes for Kings, Queens and Presidents since 1957 and he’s got the photos to prove it, including Pavarotti, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and David Bowie.
Contact: Manu N Melwani (aka Sam)
Chen Mi Ji Furniture
China’s ancient history is being well looked after due to the financial rewards involved but its recent history is not so secure. Chen Mi Ji furniture is one of the only second hand furniture shops in Hong Kong. There is no second hand furniture industry, no flea markets and selling on the streets is illegal, so Hong Kong’s recent heritage is being lost and Chen Mi owner Mike Chan’s 30 year business aims to determined to preserve a piece of kitsch, modern Hong Kong.
Chen Mi Ji Furniture
c/o Mike Chan
Chen Mi Ji furniture
Email: chenmiji *at* netvigator.com
HK is one of Asia’s leading fashion spots and the city has its share of well established designers. Ranee Kok is a 28 year old designer whose work has been sold all over the world, and she has worked with legendary designer, Donna Karan. She is renowned for blending Chinese, Asian and Western styles and incorporating many zips to give her clothes a unique look.
Eating & Drinking:
Perhaps HK’s most famous cuisine, Dim Sum can be sampled almost everywhere on the island.
City Hall is Hong Kong’s premier Dim Sum restaurant, they don’t take reservations, but the turn around is pretty fast. This is how it works: the waiters wheel around trolleys with different dishes on them, you grab any you like the look of, and away you go. It’s better to come with friends because the dishes come in fours, so if you want to sample lots of different flavours, there is going to be a lot of leftovers.
A big pay off of going up the Peak is that you can get the best views of HK island from up there. There’s a perfectly positioned restaurant where you can watch the sun set, if you reserve the right table. Check out the Big Buddha, the world’s largest seated outdoor bronze Buddha, a massive 202 ton figure that looks serenely down on the community and surrounding tea fields. The statue is a major point of pilgrimage for Buddhists.
Happy Valley racetrack
Hong Kong’s number one past time truly attracts people from all walks of life and the season starts from September to June. Gambling is illegal in Hong Kong apart from the lottery and horse racing and the Hong Kongese love to gamble. An average of $6 billion US is wagered in Hong Kong every year on horses, more than the GDP of some African nations, and the highest per capita of anywhere in the world.
Happy Valley is a remnant of Britain’s Imperial influence on Hong Kong. Happy Valley, Hong Kong’s only race course, is an oasis of green in the midst of a high-rise metropolis. The mile circumference track houses some 35,000 avid punters. A huge video screen lets you keep abreast of the action. There are few more exciting things in racing than an evening meeting at Happy Valley, with the green carpet of turf glistening under floodlights, and the noise and bustle of a huge crowd, wagering millions of dollars on each race.
Accommodation, travel & tourist boards
The equivalent of the Raffles Hotel of Singapore, check into the Peninsula, a hotel steeped in tradition which is the first choice for visiting celebrities and heads of states. The Philippe Starck designed restaurant offers fantastic views from their rooms. For over half a century this hotel has been the finest hotel east of Suez and in 1990 to keep up with competition this 30-storey extension was added. After one hundred years of British rule some of their traditions are here to stay, one of these is high tea and the Peninsular is the place to come, it’s incredibly traditional with cream teas and cucumber sandwiches.
The Peninsula Hong Kong
Salisbury Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong, SAR
Tel: (852) 2920 2888
Fax: (852) 2722 4170
Hong Kong is where Bruce Lee first began martial arts training as a Wing Chun student, and is the place where the world’s greatest Kung Fu star died mysteriously in his sleep. At the Wing Chun institute, Sifu Donald, Bruce Lee’s ‘nephew’ (as far as Wing Chun master-disciple relationships go) can teach you the essence of Wing Chun.
If you’re a true Lee afficionado, stay at the Romance Hotel on Cumberland Road, Lee’s ex-residence and the closest you’ll come to a Bruce Lee pilgrimage site. The former spacious interiors filled with Emmanuelle-style wicker chairs and Arco lamps has sadly been dilapidated into a maze of cramped rooms, with some sense of lofi 70s chic – more porn movie than King Fu, though. Lee’s Japanese garden at the front is now a concrete car park, complete with a movable screen to conceal visitors’ licence plates.
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Wing Chun Institute
9th Floor, No.9 Cheong Lok Street
Yaumatei, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Tel : (852) 9132-8162
Fax : (852) 2706-6454
Garden View Hotel
Accommodation in HK is a killer and it is a wonder why the Garden View is not fully booked, all the time. Located on Hong Kong Island, it’s literally 10 minutes away from the Peak tram, the business district and most importantly, the hip districts of Lan Kwai Fong and Soho! Great location, great price. Truly a bargain.
Car Hire: Sunny Liu
This is a car rental company with excellent service, recommended if you want to brave the road or travel outside of the city.
Speeda Hire Car Company Limited
HONG KONG TOURIST BOARD
18 Whitefield Road