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Uniquely HK

Feature Story

Best Ways to Travel Like A Local in Hong Kong

Want to experience Hong Kong like a local? Check out our top picks as to how locals eat, ride, relax and play like only Hongkongers do.

Going local is all the rage in leisure travel these days – whether it’s eating at everyday food joints, taking part in local culture and customs, joining the commuter crowd, or enjoying a local pastime, tourists increasingly want to experience genuine local life as part of their travel plan.

For a place as fascinating as Hong Kong, that local experience should clearly be at the top of any visitor’s itinerary. After all, this is a city with a unique and vibrant Eastmeets- West culture, a deep food culture that ranges from abundant street food outlets and cha chaan tengs to the world’s finest restaurants, Rolls Royces and Ferraris contesting road space with taxis, buses, trams and bicycles, and of course old neighbourhoods sideby- side with shiny, imposing skyscrapers. CityLife is pleased to offer a visitor’s guide to how to travel like a local – telling it as only locals can. Enjoy!


EAT Eat like a local – that is a must, and in Hong Kong we are spoilt for choice.

Dim Sum

Eating dim sum with your choice of Chinese tea, whether for breakfast or lunch, is deeply embedded in the city’s food culture. Hong Kong has the best dim sum in the world, so you must try out these delectable delicacies. For a genuine experience, pick any one of the many crowded, noisy, Cantonese restaurants, get a big group together so you can enjoy more dishes, and eat heartily and talk as loudly as you wish – we guarantee you it will be one happy eating experience.

Cha Chaan Tengs

These ubiquitous eating outlets comprise the bulk of the city’s 11,000 plus restaurants that between them serve an amazing array of local food – wonton or fish ball noodles, Cha Siu (BBQ roast pork) with rice, congees of all sorts – you name it, and they are cheap and fast, perfect for a meal on the run.

Seafood Dinner

Hong Kong people love seafood: some families serve fish with their dinner almost daily. A Cantonese seafood dinner by the waterfront where you pick out the live catch to be cooked is a local experience not to be missed. We recommend Sai Kung or Lamma Island, where your meal can follow a delightful day at one of our favourite scenic getaway locations

Afternoon Tea

There are two types of afternoon tea, both worth trying. An afternoon high tea at one of the city’s many fabled hotels, with scones, pastries and savoury bites and your choice of fine teas, is a popular-albeit-pricy local experience. At the other end of the spectrum, many local restaurants offer afternoon tea specials, usually 2 to 5pm, comprising a set meal at a good discount, tea or coffee included – it’s an inexpensive energy top-up ahead of dinner.

Local Desserts

Hong Kong locals have a serious sweet tooth, and local dessert outlets abound – mango pudding, sago cream, cakes of all choices, red bean soup, tofu – it’s all here. Moon Kee Desserts and Hui Lau San are two of the popular chains.


Millions travel on Hong Kong’s fabled public transport system comprising the MTR, buses, trams and ferries. They are safe, clean, cheap and extensive – and the best way to get around like a local.


The beloved “ding ding” travelling along the main streets of Hong Kong Island is a popular attraction, and a staple of local transport, especially for short hops between districts. It’s a wonderfully relaxing way to observe and enjoy the city’s thronging streetscape.


Double-decker bus

The ubiquitous double-decker bus, over 5,000 of which ply the streets of Hong Kong, is another cool way to explore the city, especially those routes that traverse the hills and narrow roads of Hong Kong Island. Take Citybus no. 6 from Stanley to Central or First Bus no. 15 to the Peak for a memorable experience, even before you arrive.


Mid-levels Esscalator System

Every day, thousands of locals commute down and up the Mid-levels Escalator System, described as the world’s longest. Hundreds of shops and restaurants line the route, creating a fascinating urban microsystem of its own. Don’t forget to stand on the right and walk on the left, as locals do.


How do locals pass the time after work, to relax and let off steam? Here’s how you can share in the same pleasures!


Local Parks

For moments of urban respite, a visit to a local park – large or small – is much treasured by locals. Whether it’s the impressive Hong Kong Park or Kowloon Park, or any of the hundreds of small neighbourhood parks where residents gather for a chess match or to practice tai chi, in groups or alone, you are capturing an indelible slice of Hong Kong



Hiking the city’s hundreds of wellmarked trails is a popular local activity, certainly for the physically active. Many of these routes offer stunning vistas and tranquil surroundings, often only minutes away from the heart of the city. And the trails are safe and well kept. As an alternative to the popular Dragon’s Back, the intrepid may want to traverse Sai Kung’s Maclehose Trail Section 2, where fabulous beaches await as their just rewards.

Instagram Spots

Hong Kong people love to take pictures of everything and post them on social media. “Let the camera eat first” is the mantra for foodies, and no interesting scenes or sights go unphotographed. Check out some of the city’s best-known Instagram spots frequented often by locals, which include Instagram Pier on the waterfront in Western District, the Choi Hung Estate with its colourful and geometric building facades, or a wide-angle shot of the harbor and its surrounding skyscrapers from Central Harbourfront or from the waterfront promenade in Tsim Sha Tsui.






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