#YellowtraceTravels to Hong Kong, China, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

 

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” – Robyn Yong

 

It’s been a good year for Team Yellowtrace, partially because we got to travel to the awesome city of Hong Kong, not just once – but twice. You might recall that we took our first trip in June for the unveiling of Cathay Pacific’s First Class Lounge. Less than three months later, we were back on an amazing tour of Swire properties (during which we also got to stay at the magnificent and newly opened Temple House in Chengdu).

No matter how many times I visit, Hong Kong is one of those cities that gets under my skin just a little bit more each time. It is a place I could personally go back to time and time again. Hong Kong is the city of dichotomies. A perfect fusion of many disparate elements – the East and the West, the high and the low, the rich and the poor, the shiny and the derelict, the future and the tradition… This unique mix of contrasts is what gives Hong Kong it’s unique flavour that’s hard to experience anywhere else in the world. Dubbed as the New York of Asia, HK is the perfect destination for people of all ages and interests – the city offers amazing sight seeing, world-class shopping, a vibrant dining scene and plentiful nightlife, brilliant hikes and beautiful beaches. In other words, HK has it covered. If you’ve got money to spend, you’ve come to the right place. If you’re on a budget – no worries, come on down. Although, like anywhere, it really does help if you’ve got a bit of coin, as HK offers the type of blinged-up luxury that’s fun to experience and difficult to come by, at least here in Australia. And if you’re a designer or a developer, particularly in the retail and hospitality sector – Hong Kong is the perfect place for a “study tour” (yep, shopping and eating in the name of research, baby!)

So, why am I telling you all this? Because, sharing is caring. Also – are you sitting down – you really should sit down – because TWO YELLOWTRACERS will get the chance to WIN A TRIP TO HONG KONG very, very soon, courtesy of our friends at Cathay Pacific. I’m so not joking about this, you guys! So you better pay attention, because this post might well become your reference for when you win those flights. Hooray!

Apart from the obvious, the reason I am also incredibly excited about partnering with Cathay Pacific is because of the company’s ethos, which deeply resonates with Team Yellowtrace. Cathay Pacific Airways believes that travelling well is an important part of living well, because when people travel well, the trip can become more memorable and rewarding. This philosophy has been at the heart of everything the airline has done for almost 70 years. It is why Cathay Pacific continually strives to enhance the overall travel experience with exquisite food – in the air and on ground, with beautiful and welcoming lounges, offering passengers more choice and convenience, and taking them where they want to go, when they want.

Given that Cathay Pacific is the official Hong Kong airline, we couldn’t think of anyone else who’d be better placed at sharing essential and practical tips when travelling to this amazing city. Scroll to the bottom to see Cathay’s tips, and while you’re doing that – you can enjoy some of our own not-to-be-missed places and things to do.

 

Related Post: #YellowraceTravels: The Upper House, Hong Kong.

 

Central Hong Kong

PMQ Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtracePMQ Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
PMQ Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtracePMQ Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

With interiors by Neri & Hu and a Michelin star chef, Jason Atherton, at the helm,  Aberdeen St Social is one of those places you’d be silly to miss. The bright and airy two-storey venue has outdoor terraces on both floors and a garden terrace surrounding the property. Upstairs houses a contemporary restaurant inviting an intimate dining experience. Downstairs is a Cocktail Bar & Café, a buzzy all-day space for casual dining inside or on the outdoor patio which spills out to landscaped gardens. Also on the premises is Sweet Social, selling home-made pastries, gelati, chocolates and beverages.
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

PMQ Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Previously a Queen’s College and Police Married Quarters, PMQ is a site with several layers of historical significance. It has recently been revitalised as a hub for creative and design industries with old residential units converted into studios, shops and offices for creative enterprises and lodging for visiting designers.
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

Ho Lee Fook Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Ho Lee Fook Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceHo Lee Fook Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Ho Lee Fook (which translates to “good fortune for your mouth” in Cantonese!) is an effortlessly cool basement restaurant inspired by the spirit of late-night Chinatown in 1960s New York. Chef Jowett Yu, hails from Sydney’s restaurants Mr. Wong and Ms. G’s. And yes, those are mahjong tiles on the bar. Genius!
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

Little Bao Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Little Bao Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceLittle Bao Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Holy crap. If there’s one place you go to, then make sure Little Bao is it. It’s always a street party outside this modern Hong Kong diner, and for a good reason – the food is off the hook amazing and the place is tiny, but super fun. Did someone say deep fried bao with salted caramel ice cream for dessert? So wrong, but oh so right!
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

Maks Noodle Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceMaks Noodle Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Maks Noodle Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceMaks Noodle Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

The Hong Kong wonton noodle is a simple dish: dumplings are made with several prawns held together by a delicate flour wrapper and served with chewy egg noodles in a savoury broth. Be prepared to have to wait for a table at most popular places, especially during lunchtime. But with the Hong Kong-style lunch culture of sit-down-eat-pay-leave-immediately, that steaming bowl of satisfaction is never too long a wait away. There are a few iconic old-school places you can try, but Mak’s Noodles is our pick. Mak’s is the kind of foodie institution that has its own Wikipedia page. The interior is old-school (Asian) nanna style, and wonton sizes are tiny. In the most traditional manner, wontons should fit on a teaspoon, coupled with a bundle of noodles into a rice bowl. Mak’s insists that the small serving size prevents the noodles from sitting in the broth too long and turning soggy. But they charge the market price (HK$30, around $5.5 AUD) for their little bowls. Aside from the main location on Wellington Street in Central, Mak’s has four other branches around Hong Kong.
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

Hong Kong Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Hong Kong Soho, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceHong Kong Soho, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Signage madness and street markets situated up and down the stairs of central and mid-levels is where the local shop – a quintessential HK experience.
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

Hong Kong Taxi, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Ping Pong Gintonería Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtracePing Pong Gintonería Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Nestling in happening Sai Ying Pun, with its spacious warehouse style interior, and hidden hangout vibe, Ping Pong Gintonería is the hipspot for stylish sipsmiths and cocktail casualistas alike. They even serve my favourite gin – Millers. Let the good times pour…
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

Hong Kong Nightlife, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceHong Kong Nightlife, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

There are SO MANY great places to sip on drinks in Hong Kong. The nightlife is rife and the area around Lan Kwai Fong is particularly popular, although not a personal favourite – there are far too many tragic Gweilo people around there for my liking…
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

Hong Kong Central, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Hong Kong Central, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Did someone say shopping? Off the hook world-class shopping of absolutely any variety awaits, with the Lane Crawford department store being one of my personal favourites. OMG – so good!
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

Hong Kong Central, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceHong Kong Central, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Did someone mention the dichotomy of Hong Kong? So many hard working people on the streets next to flashy luxury shops and wealthy folk. The striking contrasts are everywhere, and have managed to pulled me out of my bubble on more than one occasion.
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

Hong Kong Mid Levels, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceHong Kong Mid Levels, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Chôm Chôm kitchen & bar brings Vietnam’s lively Bia Hoi tradition of sipping fresh beer on busy street corners to Peel Street in Hong Kong’s vibrant Soho.
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

Hong Kong Mid Levels, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceHong Kong Mid Levels, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Hong Kong Mid Levels, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceHong Kong Mid Levels, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Hong Kong Mid Levels, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceHong Kong Sheung Wan, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Hong Kong Sheung Wan, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceHong Kong Park, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Left & above – Elegant, exotic and hip, the old neighbourhood of Sheung Wan is an eclectic blend of shopping experiences dominated by traditional Chinese beliefs and businesses. Right: the amazing Hong Kong Park is a large public space next to Cotton Tree Drive in Central. It opened in May 1991, covering an area of 80,000 m2. It’s lush and beautiful, and definitely worth a visit.
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

The Upper House, Hong Kong

The Upper House Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

The Upper House Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
The Upper House is hands down the most amazing place to stay in Hong Kong.
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

The Upper House Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

The Upper House Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Offering unparalleled luxury and panoramic views of Victoria Harbour and the city, The Upper House is centrally located on Hong Kong Island, right on top of Pacific Place. It’s just too good to summarise in a few photos, so we’ve written a separate report about this hotel which can be found here.
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

The Upper House Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceThe Upper House Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Left: Thomas Heatherwick designed Pacific Place shopping centre sits below The Upper House. Right: The Continental restaurant forms part of the Pacific Place complex designed by Heatherwick, with interiors by David Collins Studio. Rather excellent food too, I might add!
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

Mott 32 Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Mott 32 Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceMott 32 Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Mott 32 Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceMott 32 Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Mott 32 is located in the former storage basement of Standard Chartered Bank, with a cathedral-like underground interior designed by award-winning architect Ms Joyce Wang. And although everyone bangs on about the interior, the concept is too heavily themed for my liking. That aside, and for my money, the food is the real hero here. The menu is authentic Cantonese, with a few signature Beijing and Sichuan dishes. The food is seriously to die for all-round and their barbecue pork is simply life changing! Far out!!! If you’re coming to Hong Kong, you HAVE TO eat here.
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

Mrs Pound Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceMrs Pound Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Mrs Pound Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceMrs Pound Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

There’s no shortage of fun and quirky places to eat and drink in Honkers, and Mrs Pound is definitely one of them. Hidden behind a “secret” doorway disguised as an old-school stamp shop, Mrs. Pound blends seamlessly with the Sheung Wan neighbourhood. The entrance is only revealed after a secret switch is activated. Once inside, the interior is eclectic, bordering on tacky, with cosmetic compacts lining the walls to retro gym-style hoops hanging from the ceiling above the bar.
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

Mr & Mrs Fox Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceMr & Mrs Fox Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Located in Quarry Bay, recently opened Mr & Mrs Fox offers a variety of unique dining options across three floors. More to follow in a separate post.
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

Repulse Bay & Stanley

Repulse Bay Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Repulse Bay Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Repulse Bay Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceRepulse Bay Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

The Southern side of Hong Kong Island was for many years on the wrong side of the hills. Today, the southern shore is a strong rival to The Peak as one of Hong Kong’s most exclusive residential areas. Here you will find extravagant homes with spectacular views over the largest sea in the world. Getting to Repulse Bay and Stanley is part of the attraction with some of the best views of the Island as you drive along the coast and in and out of the little bays and villages, as well as rows of modern apartment blocks. Stanley is home to a famous market, although – when we went there (in the morning) it was mostly closed, so I can’t vouch for it’s “awesomeness” although many others rave about it. Repulse bay is the home of a famous beach, Kwun Yam Shrine and the 10-meters tall Tin Hau statue that provide a sharp contrast to the ultra-modern high-rise skyline.
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

The Victoria Peak

The Peak Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

The Peak Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Victoria Peak is one of those love to hate tourist-traps, and for a good reason. If a single image could encapsulate Hong Kong, it would be the panorama from Victoria Peak. This is the city’s most famous vantage point, and highest on Hong Kong Island. The Peak has also been the city’s most exclusive neighbourhood since colonial times. Everything you’ve heard about Hong Kong’s restlessness and energy is dramatically reaffirmed by the breathtaking views from up here.
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

Wanchai

Wan Chai Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Wanchai is situated on the north end of Hong Kong. In this part of town, old buildings coexist with modern architectures, and an authentic flavour (and the smell) of old Hong Kong still remains. Everything happens here – the good and the bad. Wanchai is home to cool restaurants, destination bars, coffee shops, design stores, with a sprinkling of unique fashion shops, designer furniture store and art galleries. It is also home to a red-light district, and an ex-pat party central. Yuck. But anyway, this is one part of town you simply cannot miss when in town.
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

Wan Chai Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
This is the base of my favourite building in Wanchai, which pretty much made me lose my marbles. How incredible is it?
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

Wan Chai Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Stone Nullah Tavern is a classic American bar serving farm to table American food, sporting a pretty cool interior.
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

Wan Chai Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceWan Chai Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Left: Ham & Sherry by Jason Atherton and the 22 Ships team (which is also excellent and just up the road). Right: I ain’t no fan of cigars, but this cigar shop on Ship St is so cool, you have to go inside!
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

Wan Chai Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceWan Chai Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Star Street precinct is one of the most famous, uber-cool parts of Wanchai, complete with a Monocle store. Need I say more? Great to hang out in on weekends.
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

Wan Chai Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceWan Chai Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

The Pawn is a Gweilo trap, and not a place I was personally desperate to visit, but a sudden onset of torrential rain drove us inside. I’m kind of glad, because the drinks were pretty great.
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

Wan Chai Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Wan Chai Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceWan Chai Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

One of the main reasons we love Wanchai is the authentic, old school feel of Hong Kong, including super-cheap-yet-super-yum street food that Husband likes to refer to as “balls on a stick”. How appetising!
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

 

CATHAY PACIFIC HONG KONG TIPS.

1. Do take the Hong Kong Airport Express. It’s an incredibly fast, efficient and inexpensive service. It takes 25 minutes and costs HK$100 ($18 AUD at the time of writing). You check in at one of the city stations, drop your bags off and board the train. It’s that easy.

2. You may think of hotel dining as not the most adventurous thing to do, but in Hong Kong, unlike other parts of the world, many of the five star hotels have exceptional restaurants with one and two Michelin stars. Cathay Pacific has partnered with many of them for menu development over the years. Check out the T’Ang Court at The Langham, Pierre at the Mandarin Oriental and Café Gray Deluxe at The Upper House.

3. Eating in Hong Kong is a joy. There is so much variety from all over the world as well as many regional Chinese cuisines. Yum cha is a “must” – there are many to choose from – but a particularly stylish one is Duddells which shares the same designer of Cathay Pacific’s new lounges – Ilse Crawford. Do make a booking especially if you’re planning a visit at the weekend – their Sunday brunches are very popular. And of course there is the world famous Michelin starred dumping house Tim Ho Wan at Sham Shui Po on Kowloon.

4. The art galleries in Hong Kong are world class. Of course there is the Hong Kong Basel Art Show where galleries from around the world show (taking place each year in late March), but there are also a number of great galleries with homes in Hong Kong including White Cube, Ben Brown and Gagosian.

5. Hong Kong is not all about high rises. Get your walking shoes on and get outdoors. There are some sensational walks (or trail runs if you’re feeling energetic) that provide magnificent views of one of the world’s most spectacular harbours. Check out Dragon’s Back, a wonderful walk along a hilltop ridge on Hong Kong Island. Make sure you take water and money, and if it’s warm, take your bathers. You can end your walk with a swim at Shek-O village or Big Wave Bay Beach, and catch a cab back to your hotel.

6. Everyone talks about shopping in Hong Kong and with good reason. Local department store Lane Crawford is a beautiful spot for high end designer clothing, furniture and homewares, but there is also Harvey Nichols and many others. Check out Dee Poon’s shirt shop PYE for men’s shirts made from the finest cottons that are grown, harvested and spun by them (who also happened to designed the luxurious First Class pyjamas on board Cathay Pacific).

7. Not sure whether to stay on Hong Kong Island or Kowloon? You can’t go wrong – both options are great, but wherever you are look a location close to the MTR. There is a huge variety of hotel accommodation on both sides of the harbour and of course it’s only a few cents to take the Star Ferry across. Many hotels on Kowloon get incredible views of Hong Kong Island including The Peninsula and the world’s tallest hotel, The Ritz Carlton (do check out the bar on the 118th floor) while on the Island, there is the advantage of close proximity to great shopping, nightlife and access to The Peak.

 

Lan Kwai Fong Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Hong Kong Mid Levels, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceHong Kong Mid Levels, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Hong Kong Soho, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Hong Kong Mid Levels, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
So much derelict-ness mixed in with interesting retail and small restaurants and bars. Walk up and down the steep stairs of central and mid levels. Bring your comfy shoes and work those thighs.
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

Hong Kong Mid Level Escalator, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceHong Kong Central, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Man Mo Temple Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Man Mo Temple Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceMan Mo Temple Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Man Mo Temple Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceMan Mo Temple Hong Kong, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Man Mo Temple oldest temple in Hong Kong, located in the mid-levels area. A picturesque tribute to the God of Literature (Man) and the God of War (Mo), both of whom were worshipped by ambitious students looking to succeed in the civil examinations of Imperial China. Major incense action goes on inside the temple, so make sure you prepare your nostrils – all in the name of an authentic experience, right?
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

Related Post: #YellowraceTravels: The Upper House, Hong Kong.

 

This post is proudly brought to you in partnership with Cathay Pacific, who fly to Hong Kong several times each day. For flight information visit cathaypacific.com.au.

 


[All images © Nick Hughes / Yellowtrace.]

 

About The Author

Dana Tomić Hughes
Founder & Editor
Google+

Dana is an award-winning interior designer living in Sydney, Australia. With an unhealthy passion for design, Dana commits to an abnormal amount of daily design research. Regular travel and attendance at premier design events, enables Dana to stay at the forefront of the design world globally. While she is super serious about design, Dana never takes herself - nor design - too seriously. Together with her life and business partner, Dana is Boss Lady at Studio Yellowtrace, specialising in Design Strategy, Creative Direction and Special Projects. The studio takes a highly conceptual and holistic approach to translating brands & ideas into places & experiences.

6 Responses

  1. sean dix

    great article and website!
    my office designed ho lee fook, little bao, and chomchom (as well as yardbird, ronin, carbone, and many other restaurants in HK).
    i’d appreciate it if you would update your article to correct this oversight. thanks a lot, sean dix

    Reply
  2. morethanmorocco

    I love Hong Kong, and reading this makes me want to go back and immerse myself in the amazing culture, the diverse life, the art and creativity and of course the food of Hong Kong. I have just sent this to a friend as we were discussing her trip to Hong Kong in February – I know she will find it useful…. please keep up the amazingly interesting articles.

    Reply
  3. deborah

    I lived in Hong Kong for a couple of years and have hankered after it ever since. Flying back feels like flying home. Thanks for a brilliant post it reignitedthe fire and the pictures stole my heart all over.

    Reply
  4. Nick

    Nice overview – and great photos. But I have to take you up on the repetitive “Gweilos – yuck” attitude. I’ve lived here for over eight years now (from Sydney), in a part of HK that has 18,000 residents – and 40 nationalities. Regardless of what you think of HK’s colonial past, it’s a true multicultural society, and the western influence is part of what has made modern HK what it is. Australia could learn from that.

    Reply

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