Hong Kong on a Budget
Hong Kong is one of the most fabulous cities in the world. It has one of the lowest crime rates, has some of the best shopping centers, and some terrific food. It is a busy metropolis with an excellent transportation system and it even boasts a few bar districts. The thriving banking sector and plenty of multinational businesses ensure a continuous flow of expats, wealthy locals, and high-powered people from all countries. The only drawback to this international hub is the cost. Hong Kong is one of the most expensive cities in the world alongside London, New York, and Tokyo. If you are a traveler on a budget, do not worry, this guide will help you visit Hong Kong without breaking the bank!
Hong Kong at a Glance
Domestic Population: 7.1 Million People
Language: Cantonese and English
Currency: Hong Kong Dollar
Trivia: Hong Kong has the most skyscrapers in the world.
Where to Stay in Hong Kong
Finding a place to stay is one of the most expensive aspects of visiting Hong Kong. Hong Kong is divided into two main areas: the Island side and Kowloon side. Hong Kong Island costs more since it is closer to the major areas of Central, Admiralty, Wan Chai, and Causeway Bay. Kowloon side is much cheaper and a good place to look for hostels and hotels. Tsim Sha Tsui is a good place to stay in Kowloon since it has a lot in the area and it is less expensive. If you want to stay on the island, then look hostels on the edges of the metro like Sheung Wan. You could also look at Kennedy Town.
If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of a big city, then go into nature and find a place to stay on Lamma Island. While this is a ferry ride away, many hostels are extremely cheap on this small island.
What to Eat in Hong Kong
While Hong Kong is home to a whole host of world class restaurants and some of the best chefs in the world, these establishments can really add up. In order to save your wallet, look to smaller street restaurants and local dives. The food is great, quick, and only around $3-$6 for a bowl of noodles. Check to see what restaurants are packed with locals and do not be afraid to squeeze in with complete strangers.
Another tip is to eat later in the day. One of the best meals in Hong Kong is to eat dim sum and a way to avoid the crowds and eat cheaper is to go to dim sum restaurants around 2 PM. The little baskets are half off and you will get a great meal for a great deal.
Finally, you can always buy some cheap fruit from street stalls and have a light lunch and then have a heavier dinner. Also, Chinese fast food restaurants like Maxim’s and Café de Coral are really terrific quality for a great price.
Transportation in Hong Kong
If you are staying in Hong Kong for more than three days, then you should get an Octopus card. These can be purchased at MTR (metro) stations for 150 HKD. 50 HKD is a deposit that you can get back when you trade in the card and 100 HKD is value added to the card. This will allow you to take advantage of the wonderful Hong Kong public transportation system. The MTR is a great value as is the tram (only 2.30 HKD) and the minibuses.
Activities and Sights to See in Hong Kong
There are a variety of activities to do in Hong Kong and many of them can be done for completely free! Every night, all the major skyscrapers of Hong Kong participate in a light show called A Symphony of Lights. A great place to view this without paying anything is to go to Tsim Sha Tsui and stand along the harbor to see the show. You could also go on the Star Ferry for 2.50 HKD on the weekdays and 3.40 HKD and watch the light show from the water at 8 PM.
You can also visit the Avenue of Stars, which offers a lovely view of Hong Kong side and you get to learn about Hong Kong cinematic history. There are also a lot of nature trails all around Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, and even the outlying islands like Lamma Island and Lantau Island. Think about going on a photo tour or a run and enjoy the outdoors in Hong Kong. You could even hike to a hidden beach! You can also visit Victoria Park which is between Tin Hau and Causeway Bay. This is a gorgeous outdoor park with fountains, running trails, and sport fields.
Hong Kong is a great city with a lot to offer. If you are a backpacker or someone who wants to save some money while traveling, then do not worry, it is perfectly possible in Hong Kong. Just take advantage of living like a local by eating in small restaurants and seeing all the natural beauty of the Island and surrounding areas. Also, you could always try to find a hostel that has a kitchen so that you can cook your own meals. Despite the seemingly high price tag of Hong Kong, you can still visit on a budget so make sure to enjoy yourself!
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