From historic landmarks dotted around the city to a skyline filled with shiny skyscrapers, to a rich culture which dates back centuries and an abundance of entertainment to keep you busy, Hong Kong boasts just the right mix of chaos and charm. It’s the one thing that’s constant and consistent about the part-peninsula, part-island territory.
In 2017, the city received about 58.5 million visitor arrivals, with total tourism expenditure associated with inbound tourism reaching HKD296.7 billion (US$37.8 billion).
But for first-time travelers, the idea of navigating through Hong Kong can be daunting especially when you’ve no idea what to expect or even where to start. That having said, nothing is more authentic than an exploration on foot in the city’s iconic neighborhoods, which reflect the contrast between old and new, heritage and creativity, and East and West.
If there’s one neighborhood that’s worth visiting, it has to be the pulse of Hong Kong, the bustling Mong Kok.
Said to be the world’s busiest and most densely populated urban district, Mong Kok promises a chock-full of fun to be had. It boasts dazzling shopping malls and sprawling street markets so you can splurge to your heart’s content, and adorable themed cafes as well as a plethora of local and international eateries so you’ll never go hungry.
Be sure to sample curry fish balls, a savory treat that best represents Hong Kong’s street food culture. Golden balls of fish are deep fried in hot bubbling oil then boiled in a thick and spicy curry broth. Best eaten warm, it’s happiness in a bowl which you can leisurely munch on while strolling around Mong Kok.
Then, make your way to Tung Choi Street, where you’ll find the famous Ladies’ Market. But don’t let the name fool you, for the eclectic Ladies’ Market has rows upon rows of stalls selling everything from knock-off clothes to accessories, to leather goods and perfumes, as well as souvenirs such as magnets, tea sets, and chopsticks. There’s something for everyone.
If upping your shoe game is what you desire, visit the Sneaker Street located right next to Ladies’ Market. Here, you’ll find a cluster of sports retailers offering branded sneakers and trainers. You may even be able to score special editions and collector’s items which would otherwise be difficult to find elsewhere in the world.
After you’ve treated yourself to a dose of retail love, it’s time to give your social media feeds some attention too.
Perhaps one of the markets with the cutest names, the Goldfish Market along Tung Choi Street does exactly what it says – it sells goldfish. But it’s not just goldfish.
Trawl through the lanes to discover stores selling puppies, kittens, tortoises, insects, and more. Even if you’re not going to get a pet goldfish right away, it’s well worth visiting as the thousands of water-filled bags of goldfish in striking red, yellow, and orange hanging above the street makes for a fantastic backdrop for your travel-bragging Instagram shots.
And the next one is perhaps one of the biggest highlights of Mong Kok which you shouldn’t miss.
When night falls, layers of advertising boards and hoardings will illuminate the historic Mong Kok streets, flooding the neighborhood with mesmerizing a neon glow. It’s truly a sight to behold as nothing screams “an authentic Hong Kong experience” more than this.
Right in the heart of Mong Kok is the luxurious Royal Plaza Hotel.
Conveniently located above the Mong Kok East MTR Station, which is only 45 minutes by rail from the Hong Kong International Airport, the Royal Plaza Hotel is in the heat of it all and yet the perfect hideaway you can call home during your great Hong Kong escape.
With 699 elegantly appointed rooms of various sizes, incredible facilities, and impeccable service, you’d want to stay in bed just a little longer every morning. Each meticulously decorated room feature a large flat screen TV and large windows overlooking the city. For extra convenience, an electric kettle and a minibar are also included.
For families or couples who require extra comfort, the 350 square feet Plaza Deluxe Family room is perfect. It boasts two plush queen-sized beds which can comfortably accommodate up to four people, an electronic safe, USB charging points, and an LED TV with over 50 channels so you can always just tuck yourself in after a long day and watch a couple of your favorite movies.
You’ll also be pleased to know that when you put up with the Royal Plaza Hotel, you’ll have access to the hotel’s Health Club which includes a sauna, massage services, modern cardio equipment, weight training machines, a 40-meter outdoor swimming pool, a jacuzzi, and a children’s pool.
At the Royal Plaza Hotel, you’ll only have to worry about being spoilt for choice as La Scala will have you appeased. The all-day dining restaurant is known to host one of Hong Kong’s finest hotel buffets, featuring a wide range of international cuisines
If you’re after something a bit more local, Di King Heen serves up contemporary Cantonese cuisine over casual dining or banquet dinners. Whether you’re tucking into plump prawn dumplings or seafood-topped noodles, the restaurant is a great introduction to fine Cantonese fare.
But your Royal Plaza Hotel experience won’t be completed without a Royal Fans membership. Simply register with your e-mail here to enjoy more rewards by unlocking exclusive discounts such as savings up to 30 percent on room rate and a complimentary late check out.
It’s the gift that keeps on giving. Head on over to the hotel’s website to book today.