Hong Kong Restaurants: Best Local Cuisine

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Like any major cosmopolitan city, Hong Kong has a wealth of diverse restaurants to sate your palate while visiting. In fact, Hong Kong’s dining industry is so diverse that they have one of the world’s highest per capita restaurant ratios! And they’re not limited to Asian fare—from modern fusion restaurants, to traditional dishes, and old stalwarts to newcomers alike, we’ve rounded up what to taste in Hong Kong. With competition fierce, you’ll find incredible restaurants everywhere you look, so read on to find the best.

Check out Bo Innovation in Wan Chai for refined flair

 

Bo Innovation in Wan Chai is an intelligent blend of old and new, fine in sophistication but not-too-serious in the presentation. This makes it a great stop for everyone. Rounding out their dishes with both traditional and newer Chinese cuisines, all are tempered with finesse. Service is also exceptional, and befitting a much stuffier place, but Bo Innovation doesn’t present itself as anything but inviting.

Grab A Kowloon Sensation at Islam Food

In case you’d forgotten how culturally diverse Hong Kong—and indeed, China—can be, you won’t for long as you peruse the endless restaurants that not only boast variety but perfection. Such is the case with Islam Food in Kowloon City, which has fans from all across Hong Kong.

This joint is a top-of-the-line destination with persistently long lines for a table, but Hong Kongers swear by their delicious beef burgers, brisket noodles, and lamb curry. Do yourself a favor, and if you find yourself needing to pass time before your next event, invest in a little wait time.

Dine with discerning foodies at The Chairman in Sheung Wan

The Chairman in Sheung Wan taps Asia’s finest producers for its seasonal produce, which is mostly organic and utilizes no MSG. Their spices and meats are similarly sourced. Although the restaurant has only been open for about a decade, it’s earned  the reputation of being not only one of the best restaurants in Hong Kong, but in all of Asia. Most treasured is its pigeon with chrysanthemum and loongjing tea, a staple from day one.

Taste some of Japan’s finest in Sheung Wan at Yardbird

While you’re in Sheung Wan for The Chairman, don’t pass up on Yardbird, especially if you have a taste for Japanese cuisine. After only seven years in business, Yardbird is a popular destination. The owners and kitchen staff create everything with a discernable passion which is reflected in the level of care applied to every dish, be it oysters or fried cauliflower.

The most popular item here is the yakitori, which is only one of the items that have put them on the map. While the owners have a refined palate which is clear by some of the dishes, such as a liver mousse, that doesn’t mean there isn’t simple comfort food here. Their fried chicken and crispy shallots can be enjoyed by anyone.

Their service is also top of the line, and while they charge a premium for their high-end fare, they do not serve in courses and there’s no service charge. Live a little and splurge on a jewel of Hong Kong.

Must-Visit Attractions In Hong Kong

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There are enough activities to do, things to eat, and places to go in Hong Kong that you can easily lose sight of how beautiful many spots in the city truly are. While you’re traveling amidst the hustle and bustle of the city, don’t forget to stop and admire some wondrous sights. We’ve compiled some unmissable landmarks that should definitely be on your itinerary.

Get a glimpse of the gorgeous landscape

While in the city, it’s easy to forget how beautiful the surrounding landscape is. You can enjoy a lovely activity and view by taking the Ngong Ping Cable Car, which offers you a breathtaking view of the green peak of Lantau and the South China Sea. Once the trip ends, you will be near to the Tian Tan Buddha. At 110 feet tall, it’s one of the largest statues in the world. Nature and culture, both in epic grandeur, on one simple, fun trip.

Visit the temples

Important culturally, the temples are also exhibited in significant beauty. There are many, and you will typically find them colorful, noisy, and full of chaos as locals flow in and out, burning incense. Don’t let the crowds dissuade you. Inside are amazing traditional designs. To begin with, we recommend the Man Mo Temple. This is a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in another culture while also getting an eyeful of beauty, all of it just a daily part of life for many in Hong Kong.

Looking for the neon beauty of nightlife? Try Nathan Road

If you’re the type that finds beauty in the rainbow of Hong Kong’s iconic neon glow, it’s on showcase nowhere better than on Nathan Road. Here, neon flows off of itself, hanging from every available bit of architectural real estate. Likely the most photographed spot in Hong Kong, by amateurs and professionals alike, it not only affords you a dose of urban beauty but it will also provide you with many things to do. Enjoy the retail shops and nightlife, but also take in the pretty parks with their overflowing fauna stretching into the road.

Need a break from the city life? Check out Cheung Po Tsai Pirate Cave

Both something to do and a place full of gorgeous one-of-a-kind sights, the Cheung Po Tsai Pirate Cave is a truly unusual place. Easily overlooked, it will provide you with many memorable things to see. A Chinese pirate from the early 1800s is said to have used the cave as his hideout and hid his treasure buried somewhere inside. No one has ever found it, however.

Full of all the gorgeous locales you’d expect of a cave, it’s a refreshing and relaxing way to get away from the city for a little while, and still, take in some history and fun that you won’t find anywhere else. It’s definitely a place more tourists should check out when looking for something different for their trip. As a bonus, you’ll take a ferry to get there.

Best Things To Do In Hong Kong

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It’s easy to visit Hong Kong and never run out of things to do. The city beckons you every which way with tempting activities. But if you’re looking for something a little off the beaten path of nightlife, top-rated restaurants, and tourist attractions, you’re not alone. No one wants to do only what everyone else is doing, so, we’ve put together some of the items that should be on your to-do list on your next visit.

Visit Ocean Park

Even though Hong Kong has their own version of Disneyland, Ocean Park performs much better commercially and is a superior equivalent. The theme park is not only fun but an educational, highly-interactive mix of rides and sea creature attractions.

You’ll learn about jellyfish, courtesy of a futuristic voyage. There are plenty of roller coasters, gondolas, and all sorts of excitement. If you’re going with kids, you absolutely must visit Ocean Park.

Check out the Symphony of Lights show on the Star Ferry

Hong Kong’s Symphony of Lights show is a sight that must be seen to be believed, and there’s no better way to experience it than on the Star Ferry. Watch Hong Kong’s sky light up with flashes and pulses, beams of light and music, in what looks like a spectacular futuristic display of fireworks on another planet. Interacting with about 50 of Hong Kong’s largest and most already-impressive skyscrapers, the show lasts about 14 minutes, but the experience will leave you amazed much, much longer than that.

While it can be enjoyed from just about anywhere, the Star Ferry is ideal because the guides not only know the best spots to stop but do so deliberately to allow you to take in the wonder.

Have a blast at Happy Valley Racecourse

While this destination is technically a racecourse for horses, it’s really more of a giant festival every Wednesday. Thousands of local Hong Kongers come to Happy Valley Racecourse to enjoy beer, hot dogs, and generally, enjoy themselves. The surrounding skyline provides a beautiful elliptical around the track, and the experience of enjoying a mutual activity with Hong Kong residents is a magical feeling.

Enjoy a little unusual fun with a zombie shoot-out in Tsim Sha Tsui

If you’re looking for something truly different, it doesn’t get any stranger than shooting zombies in a hyperreal environment in Tsim Sha Tsui at Sandbox VR. While it sounds downright bizarre, it’s actually a ton of fun. The concept is this: you enter into an escape room which is augmented by virtual reality, using hardware guns to fight your way with a team through hordes of zombies and escape. (There are other themes available, too.)

Combining Hong Kong’s love for technology, gaming, and the recent craze of escape rooms, it’s a truly different experience, and the world’s first such virtual escape room. For extra fun, try teaming up with Hong Kong residents. There’s nothing better than joining in with locals in an activity that shares the world’s common language—fun!

Best Places To Stay In Hong Kong

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Hong Kong is commonly called the gateway to Asia, and as such, it’s a major cosmopolitan city offering opportunities to find and do just about anything. With that in mind, choosing a place to stay that caters to your unique travel style and expectations. Whether you’re looking for cuisine, fun, convenience, nightlife, or a little of everything, we’ve got you covered.

Yan Yan Guest House is Your Tourist Destination

For tourists, there’s no place better than Central Hong Kong. An attractive locale, it’s also close to some of the most-visited spots, such as Victoria Peak and Lan Kwai Fong. Yan Yan Guest House is within walking distance to downtown Central Hong Kong, where you can indulge in countless shops, bars, cafes, and clubs.

Yan Yan Guest House is a modern hotel with great amenities and reasonably-priced for everything you get. It’s also great for families, with Hong Kong Disneyland only a 20-minute drive away.

 

Get to Know Hong Kong in Wan Chai At Empire Hotel

For those looking to get a better feel for the city life itself, the districts of Wan Chai and Admiralty are ideal. By staying at Empire Hotel Wan Chai, you can enjoy nearby Hong Kong Park and Bauhinia Square, where citizens gather often and watch the lovely Hong Kong sunset. Trains are well connected from this point.

The hotel itself is luxurious, modern, and features all the amenities you expect. But the true value is the location, and a staff well-versed in helping tourists navigate to the nearby Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, and other urban landmarks.

 

Enjoy the diversity of Causeway Bay at the Regal Hong Kong Hotel

For those with the stamina to truly dive into Hong Kong, Causeway Bay is the best location to do so. Boasting a booming retail tech industry, fashion outlets, and countless places for leisure, it’s a bustling and intense area but filled to the brim with experiences.

Get the most from your visit by staying at Regal Hong Kong Hotel, a beautiful, towering sight with a rooftop swimming pool and panoramic views of the city. It is a gorgeous view of Hong Kong, and with complimentary meals, cocktails, and amenities like a fully-equipped gym, you can enjoy the finest of Hong Kong all around.

 

Feeling adventurous? Try backpacking at the Ashoka Hostel

For those who want to tap into the vein of Hong Kong life for an authentic experience, try traveling light and living in a hostel, such as Ashoka Hostel. While it is one of the most popular districts for tourists, Tsim Sha Tsui is a friendly placed full of many things to do, and Silka Far East is right at its center. Combining the budget experience of a hostel with the amenities of a hotel, Silka Far East allows you to travel lightly but comfortably, so you can spend most of your time enjoying the thriving nightlife. Check out landmarks such as the Avenue of Stars.

Air New Zealand Flight Delayed For Two Hours After Passenger Died Midflight

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Its normal to have flight delays due to technical issues or poor time management. A delay caused by someone’s death, however, is almost unheard of.

An Air New Zealand was delayed for two hours after a passenger died midflight. The flight was headed to Auckland from Hong Kong when the crew learned that a passenger, in his 60s, had died. A staff member called for medical assistance over plane’s speakers. There was a doctor on board who assisted the man, who at one point was wearing an oxygen mask. Crew members even used an onboard defibrillator to try and save the diabetic passenger, but their efforts were too late. “He was hunched over—he didn’t look in a good way,” reporter Gerald Hutching said.

RELATED: New Zealand Asks Tourists To Sign Environmental Pledge While Visiting 

The aircraft headed to Cairns, Australia to handle the issue probably but things got a little rocky. No one was around the remove the body from the plane, and the pilot didn’t want passengers to use air bridge, allowing them to see the deceased body. Afterward, the crew mistakenly brought the wrong size steps to the plane, so paramedics were delayed from boarding. They were forced to climb the aircraft from the top of the stairs to get to the passenger.

A spokesperson for the airline did make a statement regarding the medical emergency. “NZ80 (Hong Kong–Auckland) diverted to Cairns on Monday morning when a passenger became unwell shortly after departure,” the statement read. “As you’ll appreciate, due to privacy reasons, we’re unable to share further details about the passenger. After leaving Cairns, the aircraft continued on to Auckland, arriving about two hours after its scheduled arrival time.”

Airport officials said the deceased passenger had forgotten to take his insulin. Most diabetic patients need to take at least two insulin shots a day to balance a good blood sugar level.

Flight Deal: Fly From L.A. To Hong Kong And Maldives For Only $622

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It’s not often that 2-for-1 flight deals come around. However, Hong Kong Airlines is offering one just for you.

Right now, the airline has a special fare that will allow you to travel from Los Angeles to Hong Kong, Hong Kong to the Maldives, and Maldives back to Los Angeles for as low as $622 total. The flights to Hong Kong and the Maldives are direct flights, so you won’t have to worry about crazy layovers anywhere else.

This sale has limited routes from February through May. You can find them using Skyscanner’s search engine, or you can follow the links on Secret Flying.

This flight deal is the perfect option for anyone who was planning on visiting the Maldives. While you will also be able to see Hong Kong, this sale presents an almost 50 percent discount than regular fares to the Maldives.

The pictures that you have seen of the Maldives are exactly what you will be able to see in person. The Indian Ocean has some of the most beautiful water you will ever see in your life. Add in the overwater villas and the privacy of being on a private island, and you’re in for a once in a lifetime experience.

Contrary to popular belief, taking a trip to the Maldives does not have to break the bank once you get there. You can opt to stay in one of the local islands for a fraction of staying on the private islands. You can buy a resort pass that will allow you to experience a private island for a full day.

You can read more about exploring the Maldives on a budget here.

Related: How To Refresh After A Red-Eye Flight

The same idea goes for Hong Kong; it doesn’t have to break the bank. Explore the idea of staying in an Airbnb during your trip. Also, the subway system there is very efficient and easy to follow.

Flight Deal: Fly To Hong Kong Nonstop For Under $500

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This deal is almost too good to be true. Cathay Pacific, an affiliate of American Airlines, has reduced its nonstop flights from the west coast to Hong Kong. Routes can be found for under $500.

This deal is valid for travel from late February through early May. You can use Google Flights or Skyscanner to find dates that work best for you. You can find flights to Hong Kong for less within the same date range. However, they will come with layovers. If you want to avoid playing the waiting game, this deal is perfect for you.

Related: The Road To Healing Can Begin With A Great Escape

Luckily, you don’t need a visa to visit Hong Kong if you have an American passport and plan on staying for less than 90 days. It is not apart of mainland China, so it does not require the same entry and exit stipulations.

Hong Kong is a perfect blend of tech-forward with old school China. While it may seem that the city can be expensive to navigate, you can do Hong Kong on a budget.

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.

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 (a transportation card that can also be used at most fast food places and some markets) 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 excellent photos.

Did we mention that it never really gets cold in Hong Kong? So you can visit whenever without having to bundle up.

Grab this deal fast.

How To Experience Hong Kong On A Budget

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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:

 

Accommodations

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.

 

Transportation

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.

 

Related: China Ousts France As World’s Most Popular Tourist Destination

 

Food

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.

 

Sight-Seeing

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.

Peninsula Hong Kong Hotel Adds Luxury Yacht To Its Fleet Of Cars, Helicopter

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The Peninsula Hong Kong is a sight for sore eyes as one of the city’s most glamorous hotels. Known for hosting some of the world’s most rich and famous and for accommodations that give guests a view of the Victoria Harbour, it would make sense that they add a luxury yacht to their fleet, offering joyrides to its big spender clientele.

 

The new yacht is the latest to Peninsula’s already impressive fleet, the first in Hong Kong to offer several exorbitant modes of transportation. Guests can book chauffeured trips in one of the hotel’s Rolls-Royce Phantoms, or a ride in their customized helicopter. Guests can board The Peninsula Yacht for a sunset cruise around the harbor and get front row seats to the famous Symphony of Lights all while sipping wine and cocktails and munching on the finest cuisine. In Hong Kong, this excursion goes for roughly $1,400 which is only $180 in U.S. currency.

 

Show us a Groupon or a spot on Living Social where you can get that type of bang for your buck.

 

If you don’t want to share with other guests, the yacht can be booked for private functions like family celebrations, cocktail receptions, wedding photo shoots, and onboard massage therapy sessions.

 

There are other countries that offer the same luxuries. Hotels like the Four Seasons, the One&Only Reethi Rah in the Maldives and The Wellesley Hotel in London have yachts for guests to use for a fee. Visiting the Peninsula Hong Kong Hotel this year will be a treat since they are celebrating their 90th anniversary.

Deal Alert: $458 Round-Trip Flights To Hong Kong Are On Sale Now

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Flights to Hong Kong are on sale and you can get seats on major airlines for less than $500 if you know where to look.

We just searched on Google Flights and came across many flights from the US to Hong Kong that could have you in Asia this month or this fall. If you’re in Los Angeles, now is a great time to take advantage of flights that are in the mid 400s on airlines like Hong Kong Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and United for travel in May or August through March 2019.

The deals from the West Coast to Hong Kong don’t stop there. There are also autumn flights from San Francisco starting at $517 on Cathay Pacific, flights starting at $598 from San Diego, and flights from Seattle starting at $537 on Asiana.

RELATED: Flying Cathay Pacific Airways To Asia? Here’s What You Can Expect

Folks on the East Coast are in luck, too! Those in New York and Chicago can score a flight to Hong Kong for $578 on Eva Air, airfare from Dulles is in the low to mid 700s, and if you’re in Boston, be on the lookout for flights that cost around $700.

We also spotted flight deals for Houston, Atlanta, Austin, and nearly every major city we searched for, so there’s a good chance you’ll find a flight deal near you if you live near a major airport. Luckily, you don’t need a visa to visit Hong Kong if you have an American passport and plan on staying for less than 90 days, so to find a flight that works for you, use our sample flight itinerary here.

How To Do The Perfect Layover In Hong Kong

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During my travels from Manila to Chicago, I had a 23-hour layover in Hong Kong courtesy of Cathay Pacific. I thought to myself, “How am I going to pass 23 hours in such a huge city?”

So here’s what I did.

Upon arrival at Hong Kong International Airport, there was a LONG walk to passport control and a long line, but it moved quickly. Be prepared to be disappointed because Hong Kong doesn’t stamp passports anymore.

After cleared passport control, I headed to the information counter to get a train ticket to the city. It costs approximately 115 Hong Kong dollars (about 15 USD) for a same day return ticket. The last train is at around midnight so be mindful of your return to the airport. The train journey is quick and comfortable, and the train is equipped with wifi and power outlets for your convenience. Hong Kong island is the last stop.

RELATED: Singapore In 24 Hours

I arrived in the city at around 1 PM and Immediately after leaving Hong Kong station, I get bombarded by a few locals wanting to take photos with me because they thought I looked like Spike Lee. Apparently in China, being black is like being a celebrity. People want to take photos with you and touch your hair and skin. It’s pretty…..interesting to say the least.

After that ordeal, I went to the harbor and got a ticket for the hop-on, hop-off bus, combined with a ticket for the tram up to Victoria Peak for about 50 USD. The bus itself takes you around the harbor, to various markets to test your bargaining skills, and to the entrance of Victoria Peak. The line for the tram is LONG. Expect wait times of at least 45 mins to an hour, though the ride up is scenic and very steep.

A few steps away is the platform to view the city. The view from up there in AMAZING amd I mean that in every sense of the word, especially if you experience the rare phenomenon of clear skies (it’s rare to get clear skies in Hong Kong from Victoria Peak) like I did. For an additional fee, you can go to the rooftop of a restaurant for a higher view. It’s not worth it because it’s overrun with tourists ruining your photos with selfie sticks.

After spending a few hours taking photos and talking with other black folks I met along the way, I took the tram back to the base so I could go to the harbor for the nightly event known as the Symphony of Lights. The entire skyline turns into a canvas of light, reminiscent of Vivid Sydney in Australia, but this is a nightly thing at 8 PM and lasts about an hour. It’s an amazing sight to behold. You can ride boats along the harbor during the light show, but I opted not to since it’s pretty difficult to get good photos while moving. After the light show, I caught a taxi to Kowloon. The streets of Kowloon are like stock images of Hong Kong that show up in a Google search. Bright lights, street food, fast cars, double-decker buses, and restaurants everywhere you look.

Then it was time to eat! I had geese feet curry with steamed rice (you read that right) from a street food vendor and It was delicious! Before I knew it, it was time to head back to the airport. I caught the train from Kowloon station to the airport so I could shower in the lounge and relax before the 14-hour flight back to Chicago.

At around 5 AM I woke up and proceeded through immigration (I got both boarding passes in Manila since it was on the same ticket). Upon clearing immigration, they gave me my departure slip, which I taped it in my passport to act like a stamp. Six hours later, I boarded my flight to Chicago.

I wish I spent way more time in Hong Kong. That’s all the more reason to go back and stay longer. The city is fun, modern, and full of life.

The Most Popular City In The World Isn’t What You Think It Is

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If you visited Hong Kong in 2016, you were in good company. For the ninth year in a row, Hong Kong took the title as the most popular city for international tourists, with Hong Kong welcoming 26 million visitors according to travel market research firm Euromonitor International’s 2017 Top 100 City Destinations survey. The number is down from the previous year due to tensions with neighboring Beijing, but Hong Kong is expected to only get more popular in the coming years.

Bangkok came in second thanks to a rise in tour groups, while London claimed the third spot pulling in more than 19 million international visitors in just one year. It’s no surprise that New York City was the most popular city in the United States coming in eighth with 12.65 million international tourists, and Miami was the only other American city represented at the top of the list, rounding out the top 20 with 7.8 million international visitors.

RELATED: Love Affair With Hong Kong 

The list of the top 20 destinations for 2016 and the predictions for 2017 can be found below:

Hong Kong: 26.55 million in 2016; 25.7 million expected in 2017 (-3.2% growth).

Bangkok: 21.25 million in 2016; 23.27 expected in 2017 (9.5% growth).

London: 19.19 million in 2016; 19.8 expected in 2017 (3.4% growth).

Singapore: 16.6 million in 2016; 17.6 million expected in 2017 (3.4% growth).

Macau: 15.39 million in 2016; 16.3 million expected in 2017 (5.9% growth).

Dubai: 14.9 million in 2016; 16.57 million expected in 2017 (11.2% growth).

Paris: 14.39 million in 2016; 14.26 million expected in 2017 (-0.9% growth).

New York City: 12.65 million in 2016; 13.1 million expected in 2017 (3.6% growth).

Shenzhen, China: 12.57 million in 2016; 12.96 million expected in 2017 (3.1% growth).

Kuala Lumpur: 12.29 million in 2016; 12.8 million expected in 2017 (4.5% growth).

Phuket, Thailand: 10.6 million in 2016; 12 million expected in 2017 (14% growth).

Rome: 9.4 million in 2016; 9.6 million expected in 2017 (1.8% growth).

Tokyo: 9.27 million in 2016; 9.7 million expected in 2017 (4.8% growth).

Taipei: 9.2 million in 2016; 9.3 million expected in 2017 (1% growth).

Istanbul: 9.17 million in 2016; 8.6 million expected in 2016 (-5.8% growth).

Seoul: 9 million in 2016; 7.66 million expected in 2017 (-14.9% growth).

Guangzhou, China: 8.6 million in 2016; 9 million expected in 2017 (5.3% growth).

Prague: 8.18 million in 2016; 8.5 million expected in 2017 (4.5% growth).

Mecca, Saudi Arabia: 7.96 million in 2016; 8.7 million expected in 2017 (9.8% growth).

Miami, Florida: 7.8 million in 2016; 8 million in 2017 (3.1% growth).

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Love Affair with Hong Kong

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Have you ever been to a city and fallen in love with it immediately? It doesn’t happen to me very often. Most of my favorite places—Paris, London and Montreal, to name a few—started as a slow and steady build. But not Hong Kong. From the moment I arrived, this cosmopolitan city was a dazzling slap in the face.

It was just after 9 p.m. on a Wednesday night when I landed in HK for a few days of solo exploration and adventure. After situating myself with an Octopus card and some Hong Kong dollars, I rode the MTR to the Causeway Bay neighborhood where I would be based during my stay. Moments later, I got my first real glimpse of the city as I dragged my suitcase out of the crowded train and up the even more crowded escalator.

What felt like a combination of New York’s Times Square and London’s Oxford Street greeted me as I emerged from underground. But it’s almost 11 p.m. on a Wednesday, I thought. Shouldn’t these people be at home? And why are so many stores still open? My mind snapped into exhilarated surprise as I looked at the buzzing activity around me. Mild exhaustion gone, I quickly checked in to my hotel, dropped off my luggage and headed right back into the heart of the action.

Simply put: Hong Kong had me at “Hello.” Over the next few days, the infatuation only intensified as I discovered all the things that made my brief love affair with the city so memorable:

Energy
Until my journey to Hong Kong, I had yet to visit a city that rivaled New York when it came to energy. Paris gives you chic, classic beauty while London charms you with its blend of history and modernity but neither place is the pulsating buzz that is New York. Enter Hong Kong, a true competitor in the energy department. It doesn’t hurt that its population is not far behind New York’s and both cities are more condensed than other metropolises, but there’s something else—something you can’t put your finger on but feel it vibrating around you wherever you go. I felt it as soon as I stepped out of the MTR station and knew Hong Kong and I were going to get along just fine.

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Food
From the world’s most inexpensive Michelin-starred dim sum to slurp-worthy noodles and an endless array of global cuisine, the food in Hong Kong is worth the trip alone. The variety and quality of places make it a premiere destination for people of myriad gastronomic tastes. In my three days in the city, I went from diving into mystery meat-filled dumplings (I later found out it was chicken and pork) to munching on Korean Fried Cauliflower at a trendy hotspot. The options were never-ending and always satisfying.

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Views
One of the things that truly sets Hong Kong apart from other global hubs is its scenery. As a pedestrian-friendly city on the water that offers both stunning skyscraper views and gorgeous mountainous hikes, Hong Kong provides the opportunity to immerse yourself in the hustle of the city as well as an escape when you need to get away. You can ride the tram up to Victoria’s Peak and be amazed at the buildings jutting into the clouds or you can take the cable car to the Tian Tan Buddha and look around at serenity. Whatever you’re looking for, here is where you’ll likely find it.

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Art & Fashion
I love to shop, so it was only a matter of time before I descended on the city’s boutiques itching to find something fun and fashion-forward. It wasn’t a hard feat in Hong Kong, as the city is incredibly stylish. Even the schoolchildren seemed to be more put together than those in other places. Beyond the fashion, Hong Kong has become a dominant presence in the art world, as seen in the emerging galleries, eye-catching architecture and recent Asian debut of the world-renowned Art Basel.

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As my affair with Hong Kong came to an end, I looked back at my stay with mixed emotions. After weeks of traveling, I was excited to return to my main love, New York City, but sad to leave a place that had affected me so strongly in such a brief period of time. However, I knew I would be back soon. It’s not often you come upon a place with such energy, amazing food, stunning views and fashionable, creative people. So for now I wait until our next rendezvous, knowing there are more amazing moments ahead.

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