Article by Tai Yuni
Experience the Far East as a native would in Hong Kong, an almost perfect synergy of East and West, and in Shenzhen, where the ‘Made in China’ commercial culture comes to life.
Sevva (Prince’s Building, 10 Chater Road, Central, Hong Kong)
There are amazing views of Hong Kong from this trendy and chic rooftop restaurant and bar.
Shore Restaurant & Bar, Hong Kong (139 Queen’s road, Central, Hong Kong)
Great bar on Queen’s road, another rooftop (there seem to be a lot of those in Hong Kong!) Trendy but warm ambiance with rotunda-like bench seating complete with cozy pillows and ambiance lighting. A popping after-work venue but open till late – it also has a restaurant.
Isola Bar & Grill (IFC Mall, Hong Kong)
This restaurant boasts great views on the harbor from the outdoor terrasse – just make sure you don’t get rained on! The antipasti is highly recommended – they have a great selection, and it’s absolutely delicious. If you have room you can go back for seconds. The décor is tasteful as well.
A nice place to check out if you’re in the mood for Italian. The lobby bar is very open air, the décor is tasteful and trendy like everything else in HK. The food is quite good as well. I’d recommend the rocket and parmesan salad, the lamb for a main course, and the semifreddo for dessert. Mmmh.
Drop Club, Hong Kong
Small but trendy venue with great atmosphere and music with beats you feel in your bones. This is the place to dance.
The Peak, Hong Kong
The peak itself is breathtaking, with amazing views over Hong Kong, although you have to saunter through the maze of souvenir shops and eateries to get there. I’m not saying I wasn’t tempted by all the little kitschy trinkets for sale. A great way to take in all the sites and get your bearings is to take the tour bus (Big Bus Tour Company is very efficient and you can hop on and off at the various locations).
Note: As Hong Kong is considered to be more of a modern city, there are not really many historical sites to see. That does not mean that there isn’t a lot to see regardless!
Hair Corner Limited (9th fl., World Trade Centre, 280 Gloucester Rd.)
Asians know how to pamper. In this tastefully decorated, trendy salon, a haircut entails a shampoo not from a chair but from a bed – such a small touch yet such an ingenious idea, creating the perfect relaxed environment for even the most stressed out working woman.
As an added bonus, if you want your hair and nails done at the same time to get out of the salon faster, they can do that for you as well.
Pure (32 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong)
Pure rivals Equinox as a top luxury gym. Each cardio machine has a DVD player and a library of DVDs that you can choose from, in addition to a television screen. There is a Muay Thai boxing area on top of the traditional weight machines and TRX equipment, and classes. The locker rooms have amenities, a sauna and steam room and a removable shower head. They have several locations in Hong Kong.
CAUSEWAY BAY, HONG KONG
Shopping in Causeway Bay (Island Beverly)
A great mall to get lost in on one (or two) occasions. This is not a typical American style mall but does offer a variety of shops by up and coming designers from China, Japan, Korea and Hong Kong. While a lot of the items are tailored to Asian taste there are quite a few tempting products for the Western eye – you just need to do a bit of digging.
Sa Sa Cosmetic Company Ltd. (10 & 14 Kai Chiu Road, Causeway Bay)
For travel size and fun little cosmetics and beauty products, this is the place to go. They even sell travel size products from Estee Lauder, Biotherm, Lancome, and Shiseido – something I’ve never seen anywhere else! There are several Sa Sa locations throughout Hong Kong.
Ootoya Japanese restaurant & Kaya Korean restaurant (8 Russell St., Causeway Bay, Hong Kong)
If you’re all shopped out and still in Causeway Bay, head to Kaya Korean restaurant or Ootoya Japanese restaurant.
Order the galbi barbecue at Kaya and the tempura-like chicken at Ootoya.
If your eyes happen to be bigger than your stomach you can bring the rest home.
Repulse Bay Beach
A great city sand beach that’s still easily accessible by taxi (taxis are relatively inexpensive in HK). While it can get quite busy on weekends, it’s also a fun atmosphere – with a café if you fancy a burger with fries or refreshments. You can swim in the water as well (shark nets are installed to protect you). While it is not a place to come if you’re looking to book a beach holiday, it suits perfectly if you just want a dose of sun, sand and sea. Tip: Don’t swim outside of the shark nets.
Take the star ferry or the MTR (metro to Mong Kok station) to the ladies market in Kowloon. If you plan on using the MTR a lot, I’d advise getting the Octopus card (like the Oyster in London or the metrocard in NYC). You can even use this card to pay for items in Seven-Eleven. Upon leaving Hong Kong you can get a refund on the remaining balance on your card.
The ladies market is filled with fakes, souvenirs, and little trinkets. To be clear, men are welcome too. Depending on what you’re looking for, you’re sure to come away with a few items. They sell jade jewelery, Buddha paintings, Hong Kong tee-shirts, bags and more bags, shoes (even fake designer shoes), and tons of electronic gear for your iphone, ipad, etc. You could literally buy a different phone cover for every day of the year if you wanted to.
Spring Deer Restaurant, (42 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui) Kowloon – Beijing style
Delicious Peking duck. I went from detesting the taste of duck to loving it. Make a reservation for a table and for a duck (no joke!) Ideally go with someone who speaks Cantonese, as I’m a bit skeptical as to how much English they speak.
Ozone bar, Ritz Carlton, Kowloon
Gorgeous hotel, amazing views from the sky to Hong Kong below. If the Chocolate bar / resto doesn’t tempt you, go to Ozone bar to sip cocktails rooftop under the stars. This is not a place to go if you’re afraid of heights, as floor to ceiling windows abound.
Shopping in Shenzhen (Luohu Commercial)
This mall is a place to get lost in. Clothing, shoes, bags, accessories and tea that you never realized you needed are all in here. You somehow always manage to come away with more than you had bargained for. Stop in the ‘The Whole World Tea Chuang’ for a true Chinese tea experience. It’s hard to say no to teas that have been used since ancient times for good health. Each tea seemingly is good for a certain part of your body, mind and spirit. Also, don’t forget to bring your favorite suit or dress to bring to the tailors here. They can make excellent copies for you at a great price.
Queen Spa (Golden Metropolis Building, Chunfeng Road, Luohu, Shenzhen, China)
This is a spa like you’ve never seen one before. A shuttle bus picks you up from the train station upon arrival in Shenzen and brings you to an overnight spa in which you can get treatments till the early hours of the morning, this is a place to be endlessly pampered. Head, foot, shoulder massages, mani-pedis, body scrubs, waxing, facials, you name it. Did I mention you can watch movies from your lazy-boy chair while you ring a bell for the waiter to come and bring you food and drink? It’s recommended that you go with someone who speaks Mandarin or Cantonese (they tend to speak both in this area), however they usually have some English speaking staff on hand. This is heaven on steroids.
I am here to introduce you to tips and tricks on living the ultimate gyp-set lifestyle. I have been globetrotting since day one (128 cities in 30 countries so far) – and not always with sufficient means to do so – but international travel and living in different countries is my passion. And if a little luxury is thrown in there, all the better. – Tai Yuni.