Hong Kong is back and better than ever

The restrictions are gone, the bars are buzzing and the food is better than ever. Time to get back to the Honkers.

Of all the Asian cities we missed during the you-know-what period, it’s hard to beat the thought of returning to Hong Kong. Now is the perfect time to do so, as all travel restrictions have been lifted. As in one of the world’s most time-consuming mask mandates, it means you can finally inhale fully.

The contemporary art crowd flocked to Art Basel Hong Kong after the Arctic Monkeys and the Wu-Tang Gang shone at the Clockenflap art and music festival, followed by the triumphant return of the three-day Hong Kong Sevens.

But in the city known as Hong Kong, the excitement never stops.

The Peninsula Hotel is an iconic accommodation in Hong Kong.

spectacular stay

When it’s known as the hotel dame of one of the world’s top hotel cities, you can guarantee that your stay at The Peninsula Hong Kong will be special – if you have the means. Beginning with a shuttle service on arrival in one of 14 Rolls-Royce Phantoms, highlights include mesmerizing views of Hong Kong Island’s legendary skyline, multiple Michelin-starred restaurants and iconic afternoon tea, for the jet-lagged A dream for spa or shopping tired limbs.

The Fullerton Ocean Park is the city’s newest addition to five-star hotels, featuring dazzling views of the South China Sea, stunning guest rooms and suites, ample swimming pools, and entertainment for the whole family. If you want to really immerse yourself in Cantonese culture, Eaton Hong Kong in the vibrant Jordan neighborhood is a local community hub, and their Michelin-starred restaurant Eaton Heen has some of the best-value dim sum in the city.

Big Buddha on Lantau Island.Image: Alamy

must do

Even if you’ve experienced it before, taking the rickety but classic Star Ferry across Victoria Harbor is always worth it, and at HKD 4 for a lower deck seat one way, it’s very affordable.

Also not to be missed is walking or taking the refurbished Peak Tram to Victoria Peak for panoramic views. However, The Sky Tower on arrival is a tourist-heavy place that you can happily miss. Once there, take your time for an easy walk around the summit and back through the forest canopy back to Central.

A ride on the local tram, known as the Ding-Ding Tram, offers one of the best-value sightseeing tours in the world, gently traversing much of Hong Kong Island for $3. Just don’t expect to get anywhere anytime soon.

Another must during the day and evening is to browse the numerous markets for trinkets, knockoff brands, street food and snacks. Head to Sham Shui Po, Temple Street and Stanley for the biggest attractions.

Further afield, the Giant Buddha and its surrounding monasteries on the cloud-shrouded hills, as well as excursions to empty beaches and sleepy fishing villages on outlying islands, are further reminders of Hong Kong’s diversity.

The new M+ museum in West Kowloon, Hong Kong.

New Experience

As a city that is constantly evolving and reinventing itself, Hong Kong also has many new places to experience. The West Kowloon Cultural District is one of the largest cultural districts in the world, covering 40 hectares overlooking Hong Kong Island. A highlight is M+, a global museum that offers an impressive window on 20th and 21st century art, design and architecture in a broad Asian context. If bling is your thing, the Hong Kong Palace Museum’s new exhibition Radiance until 2025 will take your breath away, thanks to more than 200 dazzling gold objects from across China dating back nearly 4,000 years.

You can spend days exploring the area – when you get hungry, the waterfront promenade, with its cafes and restaurants, is popular with locals.

If you want to take a few extra steps a day, a new promenade (or running track) will take you from the Kennedy Town neighborhood in the west of Hong Kong Island all the way to North Point in the east, with scenic stops along the way.

Dine at Man Wah at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong.

Cantonese Classics

you don’t need to look chef You know that Hong Kong is one of the best places in the world to eat. The biggest challenge is deciding where to go and what to try. Your best bet is to start with a Cantonese classic that has stood the test of time.

For siu mei (roasted meat), including goose, duck and delicious caramelized char siew pork, Kamcentre Roast Goose is unbeatable – and it’s just a stone’s throw from the Hong Kong Stadium, home of the Sevens. But you’ll also see glittering birds hanging from steaming windows all over town.

For dim sum fans – who isn’t? – Mandarin Restaurant at the storied Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong offers sophisticated Michelin-starred shows, or for a classic teahouse experience, try Lvyu Teahouse, which dates back to 1933 and retains its Art Deco ambience. Value-for-money dim sum specialist in Mongkok and Instagram-friendly Yum Cha in Central is always busy. Keep in mind that many restaurants with dim sum on the menu stop serving it around 3pm.

If prawn wonton noodles are your bag, then it’s a showdown between Tsim Chai Kee in the heart of Central or Mai’s Noodles with outlets across the city. Sai Kung and Lamma Island can be reached by taxi or boat, but they are two laid-back areas known for their great seafood feasts, perfect for large groups. Often, you can choose your meal from the dozens of sinks along the pier – washed down with a cold Tsingtao beer, naturally.

For a great selection of classic dishes, try BaseHall 2, a new high-end food court in the heart of the CBD that brings together some of the best local eateries under one air-conditioned roof.

Dine at Rex Wine & Grill Hong Kong.

You could eat out three meals a day for a year and still not scratch the surface of Hong Kong’s incredible international dining scene, but there are places guaranteed to be memorable.

There’s no finer Indian food in town than Chaat, and the aromatic splendor of the menu makes you want to order everything. At Roganic in Causeway Bay, British chef Simon Rogan has put together a top team to celebrate local produce in stunning fashion, while Rex Wine & Grill’s Nate Green is the roast master.

Caprice at Four Seasons Hong Kong is one of the best French dining experiences outside of France, where chef Guillaume Galliot works his three Michelin-starred magic. Meanwhile, Petrus at Island Shangri-La Hong Kong seduces you with its Michelin-starred plates of technical prowess and stunning views.

Latin-influenced restaurants Ando and Mono offer exciting Michelin-starred tasting menus by Argentinian and Venezuelan chefs respectively. For modern Koreans, Hansik Goo continues to win rave reviews.

The bar scene is jumping. Try Quality Goods Club, The Diplomat, DarkSide, COA and Terrible Baby.

With Hong Kong breathing a sigh of relief after being closed to tourists for three years, now really is the perfect time to get involved.

The author stayed at the Peninsula Hotel.

The iconic Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong.

Escape routes

reach there: Fly direct from Sydney and Melbourne to Hong Kong with Qantas or Cathay Pacific.

live there: Rooms and suites at The Peninsula Hong Kong start at $1,120 a night and $2,430 a night.

see more: Discover Hong Kong Net

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