I have a few days to explore Hong Kong with a buddy, and neither of us have ever been there. What are the absolutes for a visit if one only has a couple days available (Sept 7-10)? Looking for suggestions on great markets/neighborhoods to visit, as well as bars/restaurant recommendations and just general things to do/see/experience before leaving Hong Kong. Trying to travel somewhat cheaply, so open to hostel recommendations as well.
I'm not sure what your budget is, but I always stay at the Nathan Hotel near Jordan and Yau Ma Tei area. For a hotel Hong Kong at $100-$150/night, it was one of the more reasonable ones that I found in the area. Even if you don't stay there, I would suggest looking for a place in that area, or in Tsim Sha Tsui in the Kowloon area. That's pretty much the heart of Hong Kong. Very centrally located everything, lots of stores and restaurants, tons of action from 5 AM till very late at night, very walkable.
If you need a point of reference to search with, look into places around Kowloon Park, which, by the way, is totally worth a visit! This a huge, gorgeous public park with flamingos, ponds, fish, and great swimming pool.
For nightlife, walk on over to Knutsford Terrace and you'll see a ton of bars for some good barhopping. Prepare to see many travelers and expats there!
For street markets, in the early morning, you can stop by the Goldfish Market and all you'll see are goldfish. Then go to FA Yuen Street Market and Cooked Food Centre to check out the produce market and pick up some fruit. If durian and jackfruit are in season, they'll cut it up for you and put it in a to-go container. If they have mangosteen, definitely pick up a bag of that. During the day, you can pick up some trinkets, souvenirs, and jewelry at the Jade Market. At night you can wander the Ladies' Market. It's just called the Ladies' Market, but it's just a general flea market on steroids. You'll find a lot of trinkets and designer knockoffs here. Fun to walk around and people watch. Then there's Temple Street Night Market close by to it that us Hong Kong folks jokingly call "Men's Market". It's like the Ladies' Market, interjected with a lot of sex toys. It's just kind of there; it's not seedy or anything. I used to walk by it all the time when I was a little kid. It's worth a couple laughs with friends.
Near Tsim Sha Tsui, walk around the Avenue of Stars. Lots of cool things to see there. And from there, take a ferry ride across Victoria Harbour, just because :) The other side is full of fancier hotels and is quieter. There are some nice buffets in the hotels over there, but I mainly just take the ferry for the sake of taking the ferry to see the water. For another gorgeous view of Hong Kong, take a trip up to Victoria Peak.
If you do happen to have time, and you like gambling, or just want to see something new outside of Hong Kong, make your way to Macau. It's full of casinos. Be warned, they're VERY smoky and kind of seedy, so that part of town is not really my thing. There's also the older historic part of town that's more my speed. You can get good Portuguese food there and Portuguese egg tarts, but you can also get that in Hong Kong.
Hope you all have fun, and let me know if you have any other questions!
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Hotel ibis Hong Kong North Point is quite inexpensive with a range of accommodation options. It is across the road from the bus terminus from the airport bus, and next door to the MTR. Make sure you get an Octopus card at the counter between terminal 1 and 2 at the airport. The A11 bus will take you to the terminal. Get off the bus, cross the road and you'll be at the hotel. Bus costs $40HKD, whereas Airport Express train about $150HKD. You can use Octopus card on buses, MTR, trams and Star Ferries-you just scan the card as you go on, so saves a lot of tourist stress!
Stanley Market-markets themselves not so great these days, but a lovely long bus ride, and temples and other things to see there.Allow half a day. Man Mo Temple in Hollywood Road worth a visit-if only for the photographic possibilities.Lots of antique shops in Hollywood Road and nearby Cat Street Galleries has a market, Ladder St just near man Mo is interesting-this area is where World of Suzie Wong movie was filmed. Try to ride the mid-levels escalators-longest escalator system in world, while you're in this area. Macau if you have a whole day-get the ferry-from the ferry terminal hitch a ride on a free casino bus. Peak Tram a must do-ride up on tram, enjoy views and ride down on bus for a change.Light show at night on Victoria Harbour-you can take a boat ride, but get a good spot on Kowloon side of harbour and see it for free.Ride a Star ferry-the way harbour reclamation is going, they may not be around too much longer-good photographics-crew weas blue and white sailor suits. Temple St and Ladies' Market both in Kowloon worth a visit. beware of the touts along Nathan Road In Kowloon-watches, jewellery and tailors-they are persistent and can be annoying. Be firm.
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When you are in Hong Kong, these shouldn't be missed:
Mong Kok is the best places to go for bargain hunting and amazing food, offering a local treats and a glimpse into a different side of Hong Kong culture.
Fa Yuen Street is a street between Boundary Street and Dundas Street in Mong Kok. With over fifty stores selling sport shoes, the street is known as Sport Shoes Street.
Avenue of Stars is a sidewalk attraction where visitors will find plaques emblazoned with the names of famous Hong Kong celebrities.
Symphony of Lights is a daily spectacular and animated light performance in Honng Kong. This treasured community tradition is a "must-see" especially during the holiday season.
Golden Bauhinia Square is an open area in Wan Chai, Hong Kong. It was named after the giant statue of a golden Bauhinia blakeana at the centre of the area.