Travel Inspiration: Hong Kong With Kids
In a mood for a family getaway unlike any other? We’re happy to be able to share this post with you from MilSpouse Laurie Borrett, author of thepaisleyolive.com. A resident of Okinawa, Japan, Laurie offers her unique insight about traveling with kids — from where to stay, what to see, what to eat along the way and much more. Here is Laurie’s story, in her own words.
After our first trip to Hong Kong, we left feeling as though we had barely scratched the surface on all that this fabulous city has to offer, (read my “Hong Kong Essentials” here). Two years later, on our second trip, we left feeling the same. It is a city you can return to again and again, and never do the same thing twice. Trust me, you will want to return again and again to Hong Kong.
I love staying on Hong Kong Island (versus the Kowloon side). Stay as close to Hong Kong Central as you can for an awesome location. On our first trip we stayed at the Ibis, and on this trip the Courtyard Marriott. I would stay at either hotel again.
Hong Kong is so easy to get around between all the transportation options: taxi service, MTRs, and ferries. In fact, buy an “octopus pass” before you even leave the airport. You can use it on all forms of public transport (including ferry fare). You will need to purchase it with cash.
See & Do
Spend a day at Hong Kong Disneyland. This Disney park is especially great for toddlers. Smaller and significantly cheaper (we paid roughly $130 USD total, for 2 adult tickets) than other Disney parks. This makes it quite manageable in 1 day. We went on a week day, and never waited more than 20 minutes for a ride. Most of our wait time was actually just 5 minutes. Olive loved Disney so much. She was captivated by all of the rides and animations.
Wander through the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens. A great city park, with green spaces for running and a playground. Be sure to stroll through the greenhouse and past the various birds, reptiles, and monkeys/primates completely free. The day that we were there the monkeys were howling and swinging from the vines, it was so much fun to see them interacting.
Take in the rich history and culture of Hong Kong with a stop at Man Mo Temple. This is a gorgeous temple with ornate architecture, vibrant shades of golds & reds, and brimming with incense. Man Mo is located near the hip SOHO district of Hong Kong. Lots of great restaurants, cafes, and shopping options around SOHO. After visiting the temple walk over to this neighborhood to grab a bite to eat.
Rainy weather? No problem! Stop by any of the numerous indoor playrooms scattered throughout the city. We really liked the Haba Store and playroom for our 16 month old. Check out some more indoor playroom options here.
Spend an evening aboard the Star Ferry taking an hour long cruise of Hong Kong’s skyline (aka the symphony of lights). I like that this cruise begins fairly early (7:15pm) and it is just an hour for short attention spans.
Hong Kong is SO much more than a sprawling megaplex. There are beaches and hiking trails just to the east of the city, 200 islands off the coast, and you will not believe that you are just an hour away from the heart of the city. I highly recommend picking a location or 2 and going for a daytrip other than typical Lan Tau or Macau (both of which are great by the way). But take an opportunity to explore beyond the city and off the beaten path.
On our first visit to Hong Kong (without children) we hiked the Dragon’s Back Trail, and afterwards spent an afternoon eating and drinking in the sleepy town of Shek’O Beach. I think older children would love this hike, or it could even be possible to “baby wear” a small infant on this trail. It is only about 3 miles to hike, and not strenuous. Read more about the Dragon’s Back here.
On this trip we chose to visit the seaside village and town, Cheung Chau. We hopped on the fast ferry from Hong Kong Island and arrived at Cheung Chau 30-40 mins later. Cheung Chau has a reputation throughout Hong Kong for it’s incredibly fresh and yummy seafood. They are have a Bun Festival in the spring that is basically a food festival and extremely popular. Wear some comfy shoes and take the easy paved hiking trail just (maybe a mile or 2), which offers breathtaking views of the coast and island. The island has several temples, beaches, and oh my goodness… SO, SO much delish local foods!
Eat & Drink
One of the reasons we chose to stay at the Courtyard Marriott is their incredible rewards system allows us to make use of the executive lounge. If you have the points with Marriott this is an awesome lounge. We loved the hotel’s dim sum. The lounge made it so easy to enjoy breakfast and evening apps & wine with a toddler. They had a great spread with a local flavor.
We may have traded our date nights for evenings in, but we still enjoy experiencing extraordinary dining when we travel. We have found both restaurants and Olive to be much more tolerable if we hit these spots up for lunch instead. Often Olive is asleep in the afternoon and we can have a peaceful lunch together, or if she is fussing it is much less disruptive at lunch than dinner.
We checked out Chilli Fagara, in the SOHO area. It was spicy Szechuan perfection. We loved the food and this experience. Be warned having a penchant for extreme spicy foods is definitely a prerequisite for dining here.
For Laurie’s full story and to see her gorgeous travel photos, go to thepaisleyolive.com/hong-kong-with-kids.
About Laurie Borrett:
Laurie is an ACE certified health coach, yoga instructor, avid runner, recipe creator, travel fanatic, and lover of all things fitness. She and her family currently lives in Okinawa, Japan. A Marine Corps wife and busy mama to daughter Olive Kate, when Laurie is not teaching yoga or blogging, you can find her running along the East China Sea, buying fresh local produce from Okinawan markets, exploring the local cafes, developing recipes, and just loving every second of being a mama.