A treasure trove of countless unusual and quirky things to do. A minefield of strange smells and even stranger tastes.
A melting pot of cultures, buzzing with life at every turn. A kaleidoscope of neon lights. A city that excites the imagination.
Yes, this is Hong Kong! Here are some ideas for your unique Hong Kong experience that differ from a regular tourist brochure and get you off the beaten track.
Read on to find the top unusual and alternative things to do in Hong Kong
1. Eat The Cutest, The Most Unusual, And Futurist Food
Hong Kong is the dream place for the adventurous foodies. If you like trying new things, you will not want to leave Hong Kong because there is no end to the discovery of amazing and delicious foods.
So, what can you try here?
Hongkongers love their favorite cartoon characters so much that they are ready to eat them. As a result, Hong Kong became a home to dozens of themed cafes and restaurants: Hello Kitty Chinese Cuisine, Snoopy & Charlie Brown Cafe, Pom Pom Purin pop-up cafe, Gudetama Cafe, Ding Dong Restaurant, Moomin Bakery&Cafe, and Kumamoto Cafe, just among others.
In these places, you can eat the cutest dim sum in the world in the shape of Hello Kitty, eat Snoopy made of cheesecake, and drink Moomin latte. If you are a fan of Hello Kitty, check my article about the Hello Kitty tour in Hong Kong, where I write about a dinner at the Hello Kitty Chinese Cuisine restaurant.
Addresses for cute food:
Hello Kitty Chinese Cuisine: Canton Road, 332-338, Kowloon
Charlie Brown Cafe: G/F-1/F Koh Pah Mansion 58-60, Cameron Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Gudetama Cafe: YATA, LG/F, apm Millennium City 5, No.418 Kwun Ton
Moomin Bakery & Cafe: Shop 32, level 3, LCX, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui
To continue your Hong Kong foodie adventure, head to Mongkok area. Popular with young people and famous for its vibrant atmosphere, Mongkok is the place for the most unusual culinary items of this food-obsessed city. It is very crowded in the evening, and you can spend here several hours going from one food stall or little restaurant to another. The choice of food is enormous in Mongkok. If you don’t have much time in Hong Kong, I really recommend exploring this district to feel the vibe of the city and to taste the coolest dishes of Hong Kong cuisine.
You can try here the Century Eggs, Sweet Tofu Pudding, Snake Soup, Bird’s Nest Soup, Chicken testicles, Pig Blood Curd, Sea Slugs, huge mango ice cream with jellies and coconut that is called Hong Kong Style Dessert, and so many more dishes.
(I am almost dying from a crazy craving for Hong Kong food while writing this blog post and looking at the pictures I took there :)
It is great to explore Mongkok with a local who can explain you all these unusual foods and how to eat it. In case you don’t have local contacts, you may check and participate in Mongkok Foodie Tour, Dim Sum Food Tour, or Local Delicacy Adventure Food Tour. These tours are organized by the Hongkongers to make you taste Hong Kong like a local.
You can also try in Hong Kong some futurist kind of food like a rainbow toast or a rainbow drink that changes colors when you drink it.
The unicorn toast contains four different types of cheese that correspond to the different colors: red is tomato, blue is lavender, green is basil, and yellow is just a yellow cheese (Cheddar, Emmental, Gruyere and Mozzarella).
The unicorn drink looks totally chemical, but in fact, it is all natural. It is made of fresh lemon and orange juice, red hibiscus tea, blue butterfly pea tea, and soda. You can enjoy it at the Kala Toast, Shop 6, G/F, Cheong Tai Building, 4 Tsuen Hing Path, Tsuen Wan; daily: 12p.m.– 11.30 p.m.
2. Ride the longest escalator in the world
One of those “ONLY IN HONG KONG” wonders is the longest escalator in the world.
The Central-Mid-Levels escalator was even mentioned in The Guinness Book of World Records and featured on the CNN website as one of the coolest commutes in the world.
It consists of more than 20 escalators and moving walkways, and it is 800 meters long. The escalator links the Central and Western districts of Hong Kong.
The ride is free and takes around 15 minutes.
You may think, “C'MON, this is just an escalator”.
Not only. It became a sort of micro-culture with restaurants, bars, shops, and even rest areas.
The beginning of the escalator system can be accessed from 100 Queens Road Central or the elevated walkway system over Queens Road Central or Cochrane Street.
You can hop on and off along the way. Just keep in mind that in the morning rush hour the escalator runs downhill, then from 10:30 a.m. until midnight it switches direction and runs uphill.
3. Experience Hong Kong through darkness
This interactive exhibition/tour Dialogue in the Dark is an unusual activity that you might not be able to find in your hometown. It offers the opportunity to explore and experience different Hong Kong settings such as a city park, a wet market, a boat cruise, a busy street with cars, and other environments, using only sounds, touch, smells, temperatures, textures, and sensations.
Enveloped in darkness, you will realize that your other senses will be heightened. You will be able to experience a daily routine in a completely new and different dimension. In the dimension of darkness.
This tour lasts 75 minutes and is led by the visually impaired guide. Your only map around this journey will be the voice of your guide. At the end of the tour, you will reach the cafe where you can experience eating and drinking in total darkness. The Dialogue in the Dark’s goal is to increase the public’s awareness of and tolerance for “otherness” and to create jobs for visually impaired. You can book the Dialogue in the Dark tour here.
Address: Shop 215, 2/F, The Household Centre, Nob Hill, 8 King Lai Path, Cheung Sha Wan, Kowloon; TR Mei Foo Station, Exit C1
4. Hike Up a Mountain In The Middle Of The Hong Kong City: Go to a Lion Rock
Hong Kong is an amazing place on the planet, where a crazy metropolis borders with wildlife.
Only in Hong Kong, you can experience in one day all the delights of a big city, shopping, restaurants, busy streets, and then in an hour find yourself in the bosom of nature, where there is not a soul.
One of my favorite spontaneous escape spots from Hong Kong to nature is Lion's Rock. Lion Rock is not often featured in guidebooks. But this off the beaten path attraction is clearly worth the attention of travelers.
From here, you can enjoy an excellent view of the city, albeit from a different angle than what Victoria Peak offers.
Climbing this cliff, you will see the whole Kowloon and Victoria Harbor at your feet. This view will take a bit of a sweat, but it's worth it.
Lion Rock is located north of the tourist areas of Kowloon.
The easiest way to get there is by subway. Climbing the trail up the mountain, you can meet boars and monkeys on your way. Can you imagine the wild animals in the center of Hong Kong?!
The height of the Lion Rock is almost 500 meters above sea level. Not a bad hiking for the city!
Address: Hong Kong, Lion Rock Country Park
Another amazing hiking experience in Hong Kong is Lantau Peak Hike on Lantau Island, the largest and the greenest among Hong Kong islands. There are several hiking trails on Lantau.
The views from the trails are mesmerizing: Hong Kong from above, the bay, and mountains. Along the way, you can stumble upon small monasteries, waterfalls, lakes, dams, and even secret beaches.
You can combine Lantau hiking with visiting the Big Buddha that is also located on Lantau Island.
The most favorable time for trekking is from October to May. It's also possible to go hiking in summer, but in this case, choose shady routes and start your trip at dawn.
5. Try Unique Hong Hong Milk Tea
"Only in Hong Kong thing" and a must-try drink in Hong Kong is Hong Kong-style milk tea.
It is made from strong black tea and sweetened condensed milk and served with ice.
It is the favorite drink of Hong Kongers: they consume 900 million glasses of milk tea a year.
They adore it so much that the Intangible Cultural Heritage Authority from the Hong Kong Department of Culture and Recreation inscribed Hong Kong-style milk tea on the Hong Kong Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2017!
So it can be safely called the hallmark of Hong Kong.
6. Travel Around Hong Kong with Unique Double Decker Trams
Everyone has heard of the bright red London double-decker bus, but what about the Hong Kong double-decker tram?
This type of public transport was one of the first to appear here, in 1904.
So, these unique double-decker trams in Hong Kong don't only look vintage, - they are indeed vintage, with old wooden seats inside.
Moreover, Hong Kong is the only city in the world to own the world's largest double-decker tram fleet (160 carriages).
For those who come to Hong Kong for the first time, I highly recommend starting with a tram trip to explore the city.
Tramlines stretch along the entire island from one end to the other through the most picturesque areas.
They go quite slowly, often stop at traffic lights, so that you have time to see the attractions and take pictures.
Hong Kong trams perform not only a transport function but also became a landmark of the city.
Tourists appreciate the double-decker trams as there is no need to know much about the routes: trams follow almost the same path as the blue metro line. The only difference: you see urban beauties passing by. It's a unique cultural experience in Hong Kong.
7. Eat Michelin Starred Meals in Hong Kong For Under $10
Michelin-starred restaurants are considered the most prestigious in the world, and it usually costs several hundred dollars to go there.
But Hong Kong is the only place in the world with budget Michelin-starred food.
Only in Hong Kong, you can eat refined and authentic food verified by Michelin international experts under $ 10!
So, Tim Ho Wan restaurant in Hong Kong has become the cheapest restaurant in the world with one Michelin star! Come here to taste the most different and unusual dim sums in Hong Kong. It features more than 20 types of dim sum.
As dishes and ingredients are unusual for a western person, you can make your order by choosing pictures of the dishes.
I advise you to order 5-7 types at once - they are cheap and very tasty.
The combination of ambiance and cheapness of the restaurant, spiced with a Michelin star, make Tim Ho Wan a very popular restaurant both with tourists and locals.
Due to the popularity of the restaurant, be prepared to share a table with strangers.
In addition, the Michelin Guide to Hong Kong includes street food stands with very cheap, but incredibly delicious and authentic Hong Kong food.
I highly recommend stopping by Coconut-Soup Prince Edward and trying their tonic soup made with fresh coconut and Durian Land for unusual durian desserts and fresh durians from their own farm.
Thanks for reading!
Enjoy Hong Kong!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hi, nice to meet you! I'm Sasha, a “free spirit” and a world citizen at heart who was born in the country that does not exist: Transnistria. I am on my adventurous journey to discover alternative, quirky, unique and unusual things to do and to visit in cool cities around the world. Join me and try something new! I write in Globish, since English is not my native language, so feel free to correct me or to make fun of me :).
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