1st July 1997, a helicopter takes off, bearing away the last British governor, tear-stained amid jubilant fireworks from the mainland. His departure ended 156 years of British colonial rule. Two decades on, much has changed, but a surprising amount remains the same; this Fragrant Harbour retains its own independent legislature based on English common law, it still holds democratic elections, and it is still an economic powerhouse and one of the world's most important urban centres. This Special Administrative Region has, some would argue, been instrumental in providing a blueprint for the future of the entire People's Republic.
- Cantonese & English
THE STAR FERRYActivity
As one of the most iconic excursions of Hong Kong, the Star Ferry is definitely worth the ride over. Ferrying people from either sides of the Victoria Harbour (from either Central or Kowloon’s Tsim Sha Tsui) since the 1880s, the Star Ferry has become a major attraction as it offers the best viewpoint for Hong Kong’s impressive skyline. The ride takes five minutes and is only 0.20 GBP per trip with two decks to choose from – a bargain for seeing one of the world’s most striking manmade landscapes.
- Address: Tsim Sha Tsui
- Phone: +852 2367 7065
- Website: http://www.starferry.com.hk/tc/home
ASIA SOCIETYArchitectural Sight
Sprawled above a lush forested canopy, the Asia Society can be seen as a balcony to the city. The original colonial British military buildings have been maintained to host a variety of art exhibitions as well as a souvenir bookshop. Soak in the views on the marble and glass terraces, tour the featured exhibitions, followed by a meal at Ammo.
- Address: 9 Justice Dr, Admiralty
- Phone: +852 2103 9511
- Website: http://asiasociety.org/hong-kong
Situated away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, Tuve Hotel’s strategic position in the quiet neighbourhood of Tin Hau reflects its philosophy of understated luxury. A thoughtfully designed, 66-room boutique hotel, Tuve champions warm minimalism in its decor with the use of raw materials such as gold-flecked concrete walls and slatted wood bed frames. The property’s most striking feature, however, is its usage of light: The architectural design of its lobby allows the light to spill into the space, creating ethereal bursts of sunrays on the marble flooring.
- Address: 16 Tsing Fung St, Causeway Bay
- Phone: +852 3995 8899
- Website: http://www.tuve.hk
OMOTESANDO KOFFEECoffee Shop
Initially a pop-up coffee shop in Tokyo, this minimalist coffee haven closed the doors of its original Japanese location and opened its first international branch in the heart of a residential complex in Wan Chai. The duplex space still retains its signature cube interiors, and is complemented by a discerning edit of coffee options and custard cakes.
- Address: Shop No. 24-25, G/F., Lee Tung Ave, No. 200 Queen's Rd East, Wanchai
- Phone: ＋852 2601 3323
- Website: http://www.ooo-koffee.com/hongkong.html
With four locations dotted around the island, Elephant Grounds serves a well-rounded menu for the brew and brunch crowd alike. Pair an espresso with an ice cream sandwich, which are handmade in small batches daily.
- Address: 8 Wing Fung St, Wan Chai
- Phone: +852 2253 1313
- Website: http://elephantgrounds.com
Serving Asian burgers – also known as baos – that are as playfully created as its neon signage and American diner interiors, Little Bao serves the likes of towering Szechuan fried chicken bao and lamb tartare with tofu chips. Save room for dessert – it’s everyone’s favourite part of the meal here and incorporates ice cream sandwiched between two fried baos, sweetened with condensed milk.
- Address: 66 Staunton St, Central
- Phone: +852 2194 0202
- Website: http://www.little-bao.com
Although regularly packed like a madhouse with a possible waiting time of up to two hours and a no reservations policy, Yardbird has become a regular haunt for many due to its family-like staff and insanely good take on Japanese cuisine. Founded by Matt Abergel and Lindsay Jang in 2011, it has since established itself as a spot for patrons who enjoy tasty food and getting liquored up on the house sake.
- Address: 33-35 Bridges St, Sheung Wan
- Phone: +852 2547 9273
- Website: http://yardbirdrestaurant.com
Although our appetite normally extends to more than bite size plates, this tapas restaurant is an exception. 22 Ships – named after its location of 22 Ships Street in the Wan Chai district – serves an amalgam of delicious dishes from a mixed menu. The seating arrangement has you sitting either comfortably indoors or out on the kitchen bar that lines the pavement, making for a friendly, relaxed dining experience.
- Address: 22 Ship St, Wan Chai
- Phone: +852 2555 0722
- Website: http://22ships.hk
ONE HARBOUR ROADRestaurant
If the lines at Maxim’s City Hall seem too daunting, head over to One Harbour Road at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong for a family style take on Cantonese cuisine. Floor to ceiling glass windows overlook the iconic city skyline while dim sum – served on mismatched porcelain and steam baskets – vie for your attention.
- Address: 7-8/F, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Rd, Wan Chai
- Phone: +852 2584 7722
- Website: http://hongkong.grand.hyatt.com/en/hotel/dining/OneHarbourRoad.html
VIA TOKYOIce Cream Shop
From matcha to hojicha, this dessert shop specialises in tea-based soft serves for those unbearably hot summer days. Order a cone straight up, or garnish with a selection of fruit, mochi and popped rice. Via Tokyo uses the highest grade matcha from a prestigious Kyoto tea house with over 150 years of experience, but if green tea isn’t to your liking, pop by ‘Reverse Wednesdays’ for hojicha and royal milk tea flavours.
- Address: Shop 1A-1B, G/F, Leishun Court, 106-126 Leighton Rd, Causeway Bay
- Phone: +852 2895 1116
- Website: https://www.instagram.com/viatokyocafe
LATITUDE 22NPorcelain Shop & Studio
If the usual suspects of tourist souvenirs aren’t your thing, hop on the MTR and journey to the end of the Island line to Latitude 22N for a rare studio and shop experience. Pioneered by Jesse Mc Lin and Julie Progin, the cerulean blue and mint studio feels more like an artist’s home than a warehouse. From porcelain pendant lights to noodle bowls, their designs always paying homage to the history of Chinese porcelain but are mindful of the modern home. Ask Jesse for a tour of his work station and purchase one-off experimental pieces that have a lovely human touch to them.
- Address: Unit 16 B, Man Foong Industrial Building, Cheung Lee St, Chai Wan
- Phone: +852 2480 1182
- Website: http://www.latitude22n.com
Tucked away behind the alleys of Wan Chai’s Star Street, Delstore is a hidden gem of menswear and accessories comprising a select range of brands, including Engineered Garments and Nigel Cabourn to Yuketen and more. The interior is artfully constructed to offer more space than what appears from the outside, while the second floor houses either specially branded pop-up spaces or its usual line of accessories. The staff is friendly and the wares are good, which is all you need.
- Address: 3 Schooner St, Wan Chai
- Phone: +852 2528 1770
- Website: http://www.delstore.co/information.php
KAPOKLifestyle & Fashion Shop
Kapok is undoubtedly one of the better boutiques in Hong Kong that carries an array of lifestyle and fashion brands that most of us like to pretend we know. Opening its doors in 2006, the shop’s merchandise range from sought after international labels to a list of niche magazines and even coffee brands – one of the two Kapok brick and mortars doubles as a café. Situated in the peaceful neighbourhood of Star Street, its two locations are a stone’s throw away from each other, so when you’re done with one, you’re able to skip right on down to the next.
- Address: 5 St Francis Yd & 3 Sun St, Wan Chai
- Phone: +852 2549 9254
- Website: http://ka-pok.com
THE PULSEBeach Plaza
For a quick getaway from the city, head south to Repulse Bay. The Pulse is perched on a long strip of beach where residents and tourists alike come to sunbathe, relax, and take pictures of the sea. The shopping complex includes a group of restaurants, cafes, and a yoga/fitness studio.
- Address: 28 Beach Rd
- Phone: +852 2815 8888
- Website: http://thepulse.com.hk
INNOVATION TOWER AT POLYUArchitectural Sight
‘Minimal’ isn’t a word to describe Hong Kong, but the Innovation Tower goes against the grain. Designed by the late Zaha Hadid, the tower rises above the brick-coloured tiles of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. For those who appreciate clean, modern lines of contemporary architecture, the concrete and fluid white walls here are a breath of fresh air from the otherwise dense urban landscape of the city.
- Address: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon
- Phone: N/A
- Website: http://www.sd.polyu.edu.hk/en/j.c.-innovation-tower/visit