Travel Guide Hong Kong: What to Pack and Where to Go
As I mentioned here and here, I travel periodically to Asia for work. When I was first assigned to this region as part of my role, I was excited for the opportunity but had no idea what to expect. To my delight, the hospitality, food, culture and beauty in each place I visited was amazing. Though my schedule is usually packed with work meetings when I’m on the road, I’ve had the chance to be shown/discover some great spots. Here are some tips on packing for a trip to Hong Kong – though it’s important to note that you can pack quite similarly for a work trip to any large city with a strong financial services center, such as New York, Chicago, London, San Francisco – and a few favorite ‘me time’ activities!
What to Pack
Hong Kong calls for attire that is sleek, structured and classic, but with modern details. It’s a good place to wear a suit, though I prefer an updated version of the classic suit. Go for cropped suit pants that look great with pumps (or flats) for the day. Pair them with an airy silk blouse and jacket and switch to a colorful shirt and open-toed pumps for night. Style tip: roll up your blazer sleeves for a fresh touch!
Pack a breathable silk dress and you are set for meetings during the day with the suit jacket and for evening with the jacket removed.
Where to Stay
The original Mandarin Oriental is hands-down my favorite hotel. Located in the heart of Central Hong Kong, it provides easy access for all things work and play. The staff is impeccably trained and the hospitality is professional and yet feels authentic. The concierge can help you with anything you need – you should use them as a resource! Some like to stay on the Kolwoon side – there are some nice hotels there for sure and they have great vistas of Central, however cabs don’t always like to take you across the harbor.
If you are looking for a more cost-friendly option, East is a good call and easily accessible by the subway.
What to Do
For quality items with a contemporary but distinctly Asian flair, visit Shanghai Tang. The prices are on the high side, so I generally stick to smaller items – they have great bracelets, candles and home-goods. Shopping is a great way to pass the time as malls are everywhere in Hong Kong. Though I generally don’t spring for the designer labels that surround you, I did pick up this dress on my way to Shanghai Tang’s flagship shop in Central! : )
Crowded as the city can feel, Hong Kong Island is actually about 60% national parks. The hiking, while steep, is incredible. Visiting Victoria Peak is easily one of the don’t-miss activities for Hong Kong. You can hike to the top (took me ½ hour with scenery stops), take the tram or a taxi. Skip the costly extra “top of the rock” option and instead take the Morning Glory trail that gives you views of all sides of the island. There is also shopping and food at the Peak.
Take a morning or afternoon to visit the other side of the island and you will feel almost as though you are transported to another place/time completely. Though there are still sky-scrapers, you will find room to breathe and stunning views of the ocean.
SoHo is the place to go for hipster restaurants and cool boutiques. The neighborhood’s name refers to it’s location – south of Hollywood Road.
Where to Eat
Café Cassuet – Mandarin Oriental
Great spot for a power meeting and one of the best breakfasts I’ve had (order the Chinese breakfast to experience delicious congee and some of the best noodles you’ll ever have). Their lattes are terrific – a welcome change in a place that generally doesn’t have great coffee options yet. This is an all-around solid choice for any low-key meal or snack.
Arriving at the China Club feels like you’ve stepped into a romanticized version of old-time Shanghai. The owner is David Tang – who also founded Shanghai Tang and owns a number of other incredible restaurants in the City. You need to be a “member” for this restaurant – the folks at the Mandarin Oriental can make a reservation for you. Dim Sum at lunch is a fun and tasty.
Incredible high-end Japanese food and sushi. Zuma is a place to see and be seen. And, after many meals filled with (delicious!) noodles and buns, the healthy fare is a welcome change. And the cocktails are wonderful, too.
Two Great Cocktail Spots
Hong Kong is an incredible city. The energy is electric – the feel is elegant and edgy. You can’t help but want to stay out late for drinks at a roof-top bar with views of Victoria Harbor!
The establishment has a similar feel to China Club, but with a more minimalist design. The bar is amazing – the cocktails and snacks hold it on their own, but the terrace is especially lovely. The restaurant downstairs is a great option if you are looking for fine-dining.
The main reason to go to Sevva is the view from the rooftop terrace. With stunning views of Victoria Harbor, this is a special place to watch the sun set and enjoy the city lights!