Be bowled away by how much the buzzing metropolis has to offer the avid shopper and music and gaming fans this summer/
Mention Hong Kong and one is likely to think of shiny malls, gastronomic feasts and bustling streets.
Indeed, Hong Kong's reputation as a shopping and foodie haven is well deserved. But what is truly delightful is how its various districts each present a different facet of the territory that never sleeps.
SHOP, EAT AND PLAY
What is a vacation without some stellar purchases that are sure to be the envy of your friends and family back home?
Although shopping is a year-long passion for fashion-forward Hong Kongers, the summer is a great time to stop by the city, as it is when major labels release new summer collections.
During July to September, the summer sales generally kick off, and labels start putting together their autumn/winter collections.
All that shopping is sure to make you ravenous. Take your pick from a myriad of trendy cafes, eateries and restaurants to satiate your hunger and fill your social media feed with gorgeous food shots.
Ready to go but not sure where to start? Check out this insider guide on five of Hong Kong's hip and happening neighbourhoods to get clued in on where to go and what to do.
1. Causeway Bay - Unmatched shopping haven
Shop till you drop at this famous district, and visit top restaurants, swanky bars, classy bakeries and cool entertainment venues too. Whether you choose to visit a major shopping mall, posh fashion street or an indie, hole-in-the-wall boutique, you will be spoilt for choice. Make time for these haunts:
Wagamama Playground (Map location: CWB 12)
Founded by local fashion designer Kee Chung and her husband Mike Lee, this home-grown fashion label offers mainly clothes that come in black and are free-sized. These pieces are available in various styles. You can even tailor-make some pieces if you wish.
Address: 29 Haven Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Island
Opening hours: 2pm to 10pm
How to get there: MTR Causeway Bay Station Exit F1, walk for about eight minutes
Skye (Map location: CWB 02)
Enjoy a breathtaking view of Victoria Harbour at this bar and restaurant located on the 27th floor of The Park Lane Hong Kong. Dine on exquisite French cuisine prepared by chef Lee Adams, who has worked at some of the best Michelin-starred restaurants.
Address: 310 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Island
Opening hours: Noon to midnight
How to get there: MTR Causeway Bay Station Exit E, walk for about four minutes
Combo Entertainment (Map location: CWB 09)
Let your hair down and forget your worries at this one-stop shop for fun activities that truly lives up to its name. You can play billiards, darts, car-racing games, footpool, mahjong, board games, Playstation video games, virtual reality games and more here - for a flat entrance fee.
Address: 4/F Ying Kong Mansion, 2-6 Yee Wo Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Island
Opening hours: 11am to 11.45pm
How to get there: MTR Causeway Bay Station Exit F1, walk for about three minutes
2. KWAI CHUNG
Vibrant creative hub
Located in the southwestern part of New Territories, Kwai Chung is populated by a wealth of innovative workshops founded by young entrepreneurs, as well as small but interesting (and often quirky) shops selling a wide range of affordable products. Stop by these fun spots:
Lam's Handmade (Map location: KC 03)
Beauty buffs should check out Lam's, which specialises in a range of natural and eco-friendly handmade skincare products that are suitable for different skin types. Some of their products are made with plants grown using food waste.
Address: Shop 10B, 1/F, Kwai Chung Plaza, 7 Kwai Foo Road, Kwai Chung, New Territories
Opening hours: 1pm to 9.30pm (Closed on Tue)
How to get there: MTR Kwai Fong Station Exit D, walk for about three minutes
1830s Macaron (Map location: KC 05)
Create your very own version of cartoon-themed ice-cream macarons here. All you need to do is choose a macaron in the shape of a cartoon character that you like, and complement that with your favourite ice-cream flavour and toppings.
Address: Shop 2006, 2/F, Kwai Chung Plaza, 7 Kwai Foo Road, Kwai Chung, New Territories
Opening hours: 2pm to 10.30pm
How to get there: MTR Kwai Fong Station Exit D, walk for about three minutes
City Brew (Map location: KC 18)
If you always wanted to make your own craft beer, this is the place for you. Join a four-hour workshop to brew your own beer according to your preferences. Workshops are held in the afternoon on weekends and public holidays in Cantonese and English. Be sure to make a reservation first.
Address: C101, Wah Tat Industrial Centre, 8 Wah Sing Street, Kwai Hing, New Territories
Opening hours: Noon to 9.30pm
How to get there: MTR Kwai Hing Station Exit A, walk for about 11 minutes
Energetic day and night
Offering an eclectic mix of speciality stores, quaint cafes and crowded shopping centres, bustling Mongkok is full of character and a hive of activity 24/7. It is where you can purchase anything from toy models, to a coveted pair of sneakers to old-school memorabilia. Don't miss these hangouts:
Mum's not home (Map location: MK 18)
Take a trip down memory lane in a charming store that doubles up as a cafe. Replete with vintage furnishings and an old-school vibe, it is where you will find locally-made goods as well as those sourced from other countries. Don't forget to try homemade treats like the Secret of Butterfly Pea Tea and Butterfly Pea Lime Cheesecake while you are here.
Address: 1/F, 302 Shanghai Street, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon
Opening hours: 2pm to 7.30pm (Mon and Wed, closed on Tue), 2pm to 8pm (Thu to Sun)
How to get there: MTR Yau Ma Tei Station Exit C, walk for about three minutes.
EAT (Map location: MK 19)
Little has changed in this retro cafe since it was opened more than 60 years ago. Tuck into robust, tasty classics like baked rice with pork chops, as well as red bean and lotus seed ice while admiring little touches like the green window frames and patterned tiles in the cafe's 1950s decor. It is no wonder that local movies are often filmed here.
Address: 63 Temple Street, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon
Opening hours: 9am to 9pm (Closed on Wed)
How to get there: MTR Yau Ma Tei Station Exit C, walk for about eight minutes
Broadway Cinematheque (Map location: MK 17)
If you love film, you can probably spend an entire day here. Special screenings and film festivals are often organised at the cinema. At Kubrick, the bookshop and cafe located next to the cinema, you can browse cinema-related publications and have a cuppa or light meal.
Address: Prosperous Garden, 3 Public Square Street, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon
Opening hours: 11.30am to 10pm
How to get there: MTR Yau Ma Tei Station Exit C, walk for about three minutes
4. OLD TOWN CENTRAL
East meets west
In Old Town Central, you can get a feel of how the past and present, as well as old and new, meld seamlessly in Hong Kong. Explore colonial buildings that attest to Hong Kong's heritage, or spend the day in fascinating neighbourhoods that are chock-full of hip bars, quirky shops and fine restaurants. We have singled out some for you:
Upper Lascar Row (Map location: OTC 03)
Known as Cat Street, this is a treasure trove of antiques and second-hand finds for those who love uncovering unexpected finds. The street gets its name from the term "lascars", or South Asians who once served in the British military. After coming to colonial Hong Kong to work in the police force, lascars started to form a community of their own, which is why the street was so named.
Address: Upper Lascar Row (Cat Street)
How to get there: MTR Sheung Wan Station Exit A2, walk for about 10 minutes.
Little Bao (Map location: OTC 08)
This hip eatery specialises in "bao" burgers, which are fun, unique renditions of dishes from international cuisines. Hot flavours to try include Pork Belly, Szechuan Fried Chicken and Fish Tempura, as well as the vegetarian Sloppy Chan. Those with a sweet tooth can go for the Ice Cream Bao, which comes in different flavours.
Address: G/F, 66 Staunton Street, Central, Hong Kong Island
Opening hours: 6pm to 11pm (Mon to Fri), noon to 4pm and 6pm to 11pm (Sat), noon to 4pm and 6pm to 10pm (Sun)
How to get there: MTR Sheung Wan Station Exit A2, walk for about nine minutes
Street art (Map location: OTC 04)
Treat your senses to a spectacular display of visually arresting street art. Start your walk from Hollywood Road and Tai Ping Shan Street, and keep your eyes peeled for graffiti hidden in nooks and corners, as well as shopfronts, street corners and alley walls.
Address: Central and Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Island
How to get there: MTR Sheung Wan Station Exit A2, walk for about 10 minutes
5. SAI WAN
One of Hong Kong's oldest neighbourhoods, Sai Wan is located at the western part of Hong Kong Island. The district has undergone a transformation of late due to the opening of the MTR West Island Line that connects it to other areas.
Take in the mod hipster feel of its craft beer taprooms and bistros. Keep a lookout for the vibe of old Hong Kong that is still present in some parts of Sai Wan. Check out these must-visits:
Chi Loy Heung Eggrolls (Map location: SW 05)
Well-loved local treats from Hong Kong make the perfect gifts. But do factor in enough time to wait for your turn to be served at this local bakery that often has long queues.
Traditional home-made Chinese confections, like sweet crispies and shortbread, are the order of the day here, as well as star products like the crispy and crunchy eggrolls.
Address: G/F, Fuk Mun Building, 66 Third Street, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong Island
Opening hours: 9am to 7pm (Mon to Sat), 10am to 6pm (Sun)
How to get there: MTR Sai Ying Pun Station Exit B2, walk for about two minutes
Kwan Kee Claypot Rice (Map location: SW 02)
The claypot rice here is not to be missed for good reason. The toppings are cooked along with the rice in claypots. The rice soaks up the toppings' flavours and forms a crispy crust at the bottom of the pot, making each mouthful exceptionally tasty. Popular choices include the chicken and preserved meat, or the beef and egg claypots.
Address: Shop 1, G/F, Wo Yick Mansion, 263 Queen's Road West, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong Island
Opening hours: 11am to 12.30am (Mon to Sat), 6pm to midnight (Sun)
How to get there: MTR Sai Ying Pun Station Exit B1, walk for about three minutes
Sai Wan Swimming Shed (Map location: SW 20)
Once frequented by local swimmers who stored their belongings and changed at the facility in the 60s and 70s, the shed has since gained popularity among shutterbugs who hope to capture picture-perfect shots of the long wooden bridge and stunning sea views in sunset or sunrise.
Address: Near Island West Transfer Station, Victoria Road, Sai Wan, Hong Kong Island
How to get there: MTR Kennedy Town Station Exit B, walk for about 15 minutes
THE HEART OF THE ACTION
After having eaten, shopped and played your fill, what else is there to do in Hong Kong? Plenty, it seems - in the month of August - and especially if you are a fan of music, eSports and food.
Here is a quick rundown of what you can look forward to:
ICBC (Asia) eSports and Music Festival Hong Kong
A festival that integrates music, eSports and food this sizzling summer:
Return of the Legends
A League of Legends* (LOL) International Invitational, with an unprecedented line-up of 20 former pro-players who won major tournaments** and even World Championships, will take centrestage in Hong Kong this summer to take a shot at glory.
With over 16 million followers collectively, the showdown between these legendary players is eagerly anticipated in the eSports field.
Return of the Legends will be live streamed in eight languages - Cantonese, English, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish, Thai and Vietnamese.
SMTOWN Special Stage in Hong Kong [Sold out at time of print]
Tickets for SMTOWN's first show in Hong Kong featuring popular K-pop acts such as SUPER JUNIOR - D&E, SUPER JUNIOR - YESUNG, SHINee, f(x) Luna, EXO, Red Velvet, NCT 127 and NCT DREAM at Hong Kong Coliseum on Aug 5 are sold out at time of print.
Look forward to a first-person experience of eSports games and related activities, like autograph sessions with LOL champion gamers, key opinion leaders (KOLs) and streamers' live studio footage, snapshots with cosplayers, a virtual reality zone, and more.
Several food trucks will be at the festival for you to enjoy great-tasting Hong Kong dishes.
When: Aug 4 to 6 (Fri to Sun)
Where: Hong Kong Coliseum
Timings: Return of the Legends, Aug 4, 10am (Semi-finals: Team Taiwan/Hong Kong/Macau vs Team Europe); Aug 6, 10am (Semi-finals: Team North America vs Team Mainland China); Aug 6, 7pm (Finals and prize presentation)
SMTOWN Special Stage in Hong Kong, Aug 5, 8pm [Sold out at time of print]
Event website: www.emfhk.com
Ticket prices: Return of the Legends (HK$480, HK$280, HK$150, HK$80); Festival Zone (HK$10; at-the-door purchase)
Ticketing website: www.urbtix.hk