Hong Kong First Impressions
Although we now live in Australia, Richard and I are from England and Ireland respectively. Both our families live in Europe so we try to visit as often as we can; taking advantage of the different stop over options is an added bonus!
Note: We have since permanently moved back to sunny Ireland since writing this.
The last time we flew home, we went with a different airline and therefore took an alternate route, and extended our stopover in Hong Kong.
We spent 4 days in this amazing and diverse city and were left wanting more. The city has so much to offer that we didn’t feel we had enough time to explore everything…I can safely say another trip is inevitable! But here are our first impressions of Hong Kong.
Being our first experience of this city, we were interested to learn of its fragmented composition. The city itself is made up of three main parts, Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories, connected by a network of bridges and a subway system.
Kowloon is the largest and most northerly of these islands. It has a huge diversity of culinary and aesthetic delights ranging from designer shops and expensive bars to authentic markets and interesting backstreets.
It is connected to Hong Kong Island by an underground train system (MTR) or via the ferry across Victoria Harbour.
Hong Kong Island is where the original settlers of this region called home. It is now considered the city’s financial and business centre and where you can find an abundance of restaurants, bars and shopping outlets. Pop into the SoHo district to experience the upmarket boutiques, funky bars and decadent restaurants, while a trip to Times Square will certainly satisfy your shopping cravings.
As we generally like to play it safe when we first arrive in a new city, and we hadn’t arranged transport in advance, we were pleasantly surprised to find that Uber was available. We used this service to get to our hotel before we got our bearings and braved the public transport.
Once we were settled in at the hotel, we quickly realised that the best way to get around the city (and from one island to another), was via the subway system (the MTR). We purchased reloadable travel cards at the station and, with a little assistance from the help desk, we had our network maps in hand and were on our way.
There is an initial cost for the travel cards but you get this back on returning your card. The MTR was very easy to use and had a huge number of stations throughout Hong Kong making all regions very accessible.
Tip: It did get VERY busy at rush hour, so if personal space is important to you, perhaps avoid the subway during this time!
We researched accommodation options ourselves with very little knowledge of the city and what the different regions were all about.
We stayed at the incredible Cordis Hotel in Kowloon during our visit.
This hotel was amazing and the services available were faultless. It had a huge swimming pool with wonderful facilities; pool bar, food options, towel provisions, fully equipped shower and dressing rooms, not to mention the plush sun loungers and day beds dotted around the pool.
The onsite spa was something of dreams and had as many beauty items on the menu as it did massages and relaxing treatments…heaven!
We decided to pay for the club lounge inclusion, something we hadn’t done before but will absolutely be doing from now on! Access to the club lounge had many benefits:
- we could avail of the buffet breakfast in the lounge each morning and avoid the queues in the main breakfast room
- each evening the lounge served complimentary tapas style food alongside an open bar
- there was a champagne happy hour before we went out for dinner each night!
- later, the buffet area was turned into a dessert heaven, and complimentary cocktails were served as the perfect night cap
- the lounge was also open ALL DAY and had teas, coffees and soft drinks available as well as light snacks
It was without a doubt, worth the upgrade.
The service we received from the moment we stepped inside this hotel was impeccable. Each member of staff we encountered was extremely helpful and they were always willing to assist in any way they could.
We even had different staff members sit with us as we had our evening drinks and eagerly share their tips and suggestions about the city.
Tip: For any foodies out there, be sure to check out the Michelin star restaurant inside the Cordis Hotel…Ming Court, yum!
The hotel was also connected internally to a gigantic shopping mall with endless shopping, food and entertainment options, giving you more choices than you could possibly need under one roof!
The location of this hotel was ideal for us and perfect for anyone wanting to explore this city. We were only a stone’s throw from the nearest MTR station and a few streets from the Lady’s Markets, which are definitely worth a visit.
As this district of Hong Kong isn’t quite as developed as Hong Kong Island, staying here allowed us experience the authentic vibe of the interesting backstreets and get an insight into the true culture of this area.
Wow, even looking back over these photos makes me want to jump straight on a plane!
Thank you for taking the time to check out our post. We are so excited to be sharing this adventure with you..
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Check back in to hear all about the culinary delights and hidden treasures we experienced on this trip!
We hope to see you again soon.
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Richard and Michelle
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