How To Experience Hong Kong On A Budget
By DeAnna Taylor
Hong Kong is considered to be a special administrative region of China. Luckily, since it’s not apart of mainland China, American citizens are not required to pay for the somewhat pricey visa needed to visit the mainland.
While Hong Kong is the 11th most expensive city in the world, it can be seen and enjoyed on a budget. Here’s how:
Finding the perfect place to stay while in Hong Kong is critical. Hotels are generally expensive around the city. The best bet is to look for an Airbnb first. If you still prefer an actual hotel, The JJ Hotel, is a very nice, inexpensive hotel located in the Wanchai area. This hotel can be booked for as low as $60 per night, depending on the day. This area of Hong Kong is close to the metro system, great restaurants and cafes, as well as markets.
Hong Kong is a big city. While taxis and Uber may get you to certain places fast, the prices can add up. Be mindful of tolls and other hidden fees that the taxis charge, especially ‘after hours.’ A cab ride from the airport into the city can run you upwards of $80 depending on the time of day. The easiest, most efficient, and least expensive option is the subway system. You can purchase the Hong Kong Octopus card at any subway station. This card is used for the metro system, most convenient stores, and even fast food places and cafes. You can load the card up as much as you want. The great thing about it, if you have money remaining on the card you can get it back in cash at the airport when you depart.
Although it’s not considered mainland China, Hong Kong still has Chinese roots. This means that you will have your fair share of street food to choose from. If you are hesitant to try the meat on a stick, the cafes are very inexpensive. Be sure to try an egg tart at one of the local bakeries. They will only set you back about $1.
One of the biggest attractions in Hong Kong is the view from the top of Victoria’s Peak. Most websites will suggest taking a tour or using the cable car to get to the top. However, it’s very easy to get to the top on your own and for a fraction of the cost. You can take a bus from the main bus terminal using your Octopus card that will drive you to the top of the mountain. After a short walk along a very scenic trail, you will find the perfect overlook to snap the perfect photos. If you are solo, there are tons of people running and walking along the trail that’ll be happy to stop and snap your photo if needed.
Another awesome view is from the rooftop of the Wooloomooloo Steakhouse in Wanchai. While it is a steakhouse and brings typical extravagant prices, you can order drinks from the bar to access the rooftop. Grab dinner at a less expensive place then head over to the rooftop at night to see Hong Kong under all of its lights.
It is very easy to navigate around Hong Kong without paying a tour company. Not only does this save money, but it also forces you to pay attention to where you are and truly take in all the city has to offer.
DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel writer. The Charlotte native recently completed one year abroad working as an English teacher in South Korea. Her hobbies include fitness, traveling to new countries, and trying new foods.