hong kong city guide- a travel guide for families

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hong kong city guide-a travel guide for families

Friends- we are beyond thrilled for this latest installment in our Family Travel Guide Series. Not only was our family’s trip to Hong Kong last fall a huge highlight of our year, we had the chance to hang out with our guest blogger, Emily, while we were there. And, y’all, she is one of those girls that you meet and instantly want to be her best friend. We’re so excited that she’s here to share today about her fabulous city-

Hi all! My name is Emily and I blog over at Nap-Time Creations. My blog is mostly about food and sewing, but we live in Hong Kong. I was excited when Kirstin asked me to write up a little Hong Kong travel guide to share with you all. I’ve lived here for 12 years, both my kids were born here and it feels like home. We love this city, so I’m excited to share with you the fun things I love about his place. I’d love for you to come on over to Nap-Time Creations and say hi.

Click on any of these pictures to see some of my latest work.

Womens T-shirt Pattern FREE size xs-xl found on Nap-Time Creations healthy fruit pizza, great treat for kids, healthy birthday cake idea from Nap-Time Creations Raglan shirt dress5 California rolls

Okay…. lets talk about Hong Kong! The pictures in this post range from 2009 to present day, so don’t be confused my the ages of my kids…It was fun to go back through out adventures to put this together.HONG KONG MAIN


Culturally diverse food is one of my favorite parts of living in Hong Kong. It’s also great when you are visiting if you enjoy a variety of food. The local Chinese food is great. We love the local restaurants, street noodle shops and Dim Sum {Chinese breakfast that looks nothing like breakfast!} Some other great food to try while you are here: Thai, Indian, Pizza, and the local street food. I know many of you with kids might find food difficult here but you can always buy a hot dog bun at the bakery {these always make my boys happy}! Having grown up here, my boys eat everything.


Some local Chinese, Thai and Indian Food


indian foodAny local noodle stall will serve up some tasty noodles.


Dim Sum YUM!

dim sum

This picture is of my oldest several years ago.. It’s one of my all time favorite pictures of him.dim sum1

Enjoying a bakery bun.


My bakery favorite – sweet potato bun.


Local food stalls


These waffles from the street are a great treat for kids


Let’s talk about some very affordable things to do in this expensive city. Just Google any of these things for more details and current information. My version is not so many details, but tried and true fun family activities to do while you are in Hong Kong.

Museums: The Heritage Museum in Shatin and the Science Museum in Tsim Sha Tsui {TST} are perfect for kids and not expensive. The Science Museum is closed on Thursday, and the Heritage museum is closed on Tuesdays. The price for adults is under $4 and kids get in for under $2. These both would be great for a rainy afternoon in Hong Kong. All the museums in HK are free on Wed, but with the price so cheap I would not recommend going then, there will be crowds!

TST or Central Promenade: Walk along the harbor on either side and enjoy the great views. Gives kids a place to run off some steam and you still get to see the beautiful skyline. You can watch a free laser light show from these locations at 8 o’clock every night {some nights the commentary is in English, but the music is great any night}

Star Ferry: Take a ride on the Star Ferry from TST to Central for about $.50 and enjoy the view! We’ve been known to ride it there… and back… because the boys love it. You can also take a 1 hour harbor tour from the main ferry pier on the TST side. This tour is a bit more money {and double at night} but gives you a great water side view of the whole HK harbor. If you need a break from walking around and need to sit, this is a fun option.


Bus Tour: Another option for taking a rest for your weary feet is a Bus Tour. There is the Big Bus Co. here in town, but the price is high.. so I’m going to talk about another great option. The Rickshaw Bus Tour. 1 hour tours that leave from the Central Ferry Pier and cost about $7 for the hour. They offer two different tours of the city, and you can do both in an afternoon. They have open top buses and English commentary, we’ve done it many times and love it.

city2 city1


Public Transportation: If you come from a city or town without public transportation, just riding on all the Trains, Buses, Trams, Mini-Buses and Taxis can be fun. These are all affordable options for getting around and have English to help you get around.


HK Zoological Gardens: free admission and filled with plants, birds, animals, and even some primates. Great time for younger ones who like to see animals. This garden is on HK Island.

The Peak: take a bus or the tram up the hill on Hong Kong Island to the Peak. There are plenty of places to grab a bite to eat, take a walk along the 3k trail and then watch the lights of the city come on in the evening. It’s a gorgeous view, but it’s only worth going on clear days. We’ve been there when you can’t see single light through the clouds!



Any Park: Hong Kong is a city of cement, but there is also SO MUCH green, and thousands of parks. My kids love stopping along the way to play at one of the many playgrounds you may see. The Hong Kong Park in central has beautiful landscaping and is a great walk through..

Make sure to take in some of the many markets in town. The Flower Market and Fai Yuen Street Market in Prince Edwards, the Ladies Market in Mong Kok, the fabric markets of Sham Shui Po, and the Temple Street market in Ya Ma Tei are just a few of our favorites. Be prepared to bargain hard in most of these markets. They expect it and you will be surprised at how much less you can pay. I would estimate 50% is a good place to start.




Another type of Market worth seeing is the local wet market. These wet markets are named for the wet floor after the whole building is cleaned each night. The seafood section is especially fun, but these markets are not for those with a weak stomach.

wet market1 wet market wet market3

wet market2

Go to the Beach: Spend an afternoon enjoying one of HKs many free beaches. The sand is great and the water is pretty warm year round. Here’s a photo of my boys on one of our favorite beaches IN FEBRUARY!! Generally we don’t go in the colder months, but it was a warmer day.. I was in a sweatshirt the same day though… So kids love the beach, anytime of year. You can find great beaches on the South Side of HK Island, on Lantau, and in Sai Kung. Some of the best beaches require hiking, but lots do not.


Now for a few options that will require a bit more energy and money-

The new Central Ferris Wheel. What a fun way to see the city. We just rode if for the first time last month and I was impressed by the reasonable price $13 for adults and about $10 for kids. The ride was long {20 min} and we went on a weekday, so didn’t have to wait in line at all.


Looking for a big day trip? Try the Big Buddha and Tai O fishing village. This will be a full day outing, but if you want to see more Chinese culture, this is a great day. Start in Tung Chung and take the Cable Car from there. It’s a great view. You can buy your tickets online here, this will help to avoid the long lines when you go. Do check the maintenance schedule, because it is closed at various times. You can take a bus from Tung Chung if the cable car is closed. Once you get up the mountain, have lunch in the Ngong Ping Village, climb the steps to the big buddha and walk through the monastery. Take bus 21 from Ngong Ping to the Village. Stroll through the fishing village streets {smell the drying fish} and see the great shop displays of fish. You can take a cheap boat ride around too, and maybe even catch a glimpse of the elusive pink dolphins. Catch the bus 11 back to Tung Chung and train back to your hotel.


tai o 2 tai o 3 tai O village

tai O village1

For an expensive but super fun day try one of Hong Kong’s great theme parks {tip, do not go on a weekend or anytime around a local/Chinese holiday – it’s just not worth it}.

Ocean Park: This is a cross between Sea World and Disney with lots of ride, and tons really of animals and sea life. The Panda bears and HUGE aquarium are really spectacular.

Noah’s Ark: A build to scale ark with displays inside and fake animals outside. The focus is mainly environmental and not really spiritual. Would be good for a rainy day as it’s all inside.

noahs ark

Disney: not much needed to describe… it’s just like Disney only everything is a bit smaller. The Castle may look smaller, but the fun is full size and the lines can be reasonable if you hit the right day.


Day Trips:

Here are a few full day trips near HK…

Macau- a 1 hr ferry ride from HK, see old Portuguese architecture, eat Portuguese food and see the amazing House of Dancing Waters show. The casinos there are HUGE and the Venetian is work a walk through.

Shenzhen: You will need a Chinese Visa to cross the border, but you can take the regular train right from HK. Lots of cheap shopping, massages and food.

You can also stay in HK and take a ferry to Lamma or Cheung Chau Island for a day out.

There you go! More than you will ever have time for on a trip through Hong Kong. Please let me know if you have any questions about planning a trip here.

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  1. Thanks so much for having me!! Love this!! I did notice i made a typo in the first paragraph.. should be we live in HK, not love in it.. although that’s true too ;o) Oh and we are planning to come to Saipan next spring break, already looking forward to seeing you guys again ;o)

    1. Haha- living and loving, both.
      And Spring Break in Saipan- YES! That is so fun- seriously can’t wait to hang out with you guys again!

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