Hong Kong isn’t the cheapest destination near Singapore but who can resist the authentic dim sum and late night shopping at Mongkok? If you are looking at seeing Hong Kong with a tight wallet, you have come to the right place.
Some of the things we are recommending here may not be new to frequent Hong Kong tourists but you may find one or two things that you have not tried or even heard of. Here goes!
10 budget things to do in Hong Kong that will do this vibrant city justice
1. Have breakfast at a Cha Chaan Teng
Okay, this is a given. You can’t start your day in Hong Kong without a polo bao (pineapple bun) stuffed with a generous slab of butter and a cup of milk tea to wash it all down. Kam Wah Cafe is known to have the best polo bao in Hong Kong so why not go try it yourself?
You can also head to the Australian Dairy Company for some divine scrambled eggs on buttered toast. Their breakfast set that comes with eggs, toasts, macaroni and ham soup, and a coffee would only cost you around HKD40 (S$7). Value for money comfort food. What else can you ask for?
2. Go hiking
A lot of Singaporeans go to Hong Kong to shop, eat, shop, eat, shop, and eat. But if you are looking at getting away from the city for a day, we would recommend you to go hiking. Hong Kong’s Dragon’s Back, Lantau Peak, and many other trails boast stunning views. Walk off all that dim sum you have consumed so that you can get more egg tarts into your system! What’s more, the fresh air is good for you.
3. Soak in the local creative scene at PMQ
PMQ, which was once a Police Married Quarters has been transformed into a local creative venue for arts and design. If you are interested in locally produced or designed products, you can’t miss this place. You will find shops like Goods Of Desire (G.O.D) and my personal favourite eco-friendly bath and body brand, Bathe to Basics.
Lucky visitors might be able to catch pop-up exhibits and flea markets. Even if you are on a budget, you would still have fun browsing and speaking with shopkeepers.
4. Have cheap and good dim sum for lunch
The land of dim sum will not disappoint us hungry souls. Eat to your heart’s content without breaking the bank at DimDimSum Dim Sum, One Dim Sim, Dim Sum Square, and Ding Dim 1962.
5. Indulge in Michelin-recommended Cantonese desserts
Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Looking at Google reviews of Kai Kai 佳佳甜品 (near Jordan MTR station) will make you want to buy a ticket to Hong Kong pronto. Must-trys include their perfect sesame rice dumplings in ginger soup and nourishing stewed papaya dessert.
Another dessert stall to check out is Wah Yuan 華園甜品 (near Lok Fu MTR station). However, they do not have an English menu. If you can’t speak Cantonese or Mandarin, you would have to point at the posters to order.
6. Relax at the beach
Hong Kong has a host of beaches for beach lovers to choose from. Check out Stanley Main Beach along with the famous market just opposite the road or laze at dog-friendly Shek O Back Beach. According to Sassy Hong Kong, Ben’s Back Beach Bar at the latter offers great beers and cocktails for cheap. Head over to their article for a list of top beaches.
7. Spot dolphins at Tai O Fishing Village
I really enjoyed myself when I visited Tai O Fishing Village during my last visit to Hong Kong. Some people nicknamed it “Venice of Hong Kong”. Though I must say it isn’t anywhere near as glamorous as Venice, it is still a charming little village worthy of attention.
With houses built on stilts over water, you can explore on wooden walkways, enjoy a drink at the little cafes or get a seat on a boat to spot pink dolphins at HKD25 per pax.
Here’s how to get to Tai O Fishing Village.
Tip: Avoid buying overpriced dry seafood items at Tai O. Also, as you are likely to transit at Tung Chung MTR station, you can pop by Citygate outlets for some outlet shopping!
8. Immerse yourself in the local culture with free walking tours
We dare say the best way to see a place is to have a local guide. Both Hong Kong Free Walk and The Hong Kong Free Tours offer weekly free and paid tours to help visitors experience Hong Kong from a local perspective.
9. Take photo at insta-worthy locations
If you live your life wanting to impress your Instagram followers (no judgement), then Hong Kong is the place to be for insta-worthy shots. From the colourful Choi Hung Estate and the messy Yik Cheong Building to the rustic Sai Wan Swimming Shed, trust us, you will not run out of charismatic photo backdrops in this dynamic city.
10. Go sneaker crazy at Fa Yuen Street
Not only is Fa Yuen Street (near Mongkok/Prince Edward MTR station) super photogenic, it is also the go-to street for affordable sneakers and sportswear and accessories. Explore the area and shop till you drop at the many shops there selling Nike, Adidas, and the like.
Where to stay
This hipster accommodation promises guests a convenient, clean, and comfortable stay. It is located in the heart of the historical Tsim Sha Tsui district with two locations – Hop Inn on Carnarvon and Hop Inn on Mody, both near MTR stations. A double room costs between HKD 540 – 850 (S$95 – S$150) per night. Find this hotel on Agoda here.
Ukkei Inn is a small but clean accommodation located a stone’s throw away from Yau Ma Tei MTR station. It offers a comfortable no-frills experience at around HKD 400 (S$70) per night for a double room. Find this hotel on Agoda here.
Tip: Check out this page for the latest Agoda.com and other travel promotions with your credit cards.
Get rewarded while you spend in Hong Kong with these cards
Here are our top credit card picks for your Hong Kong holiday:
- OCBC Titanium Rewards Card for clothes, bag and shoe shopping and electronics (4 miles/dollar)
- DBS Altitude Card for your online flight and hotel booking (3 miles/S$1), and overseas transactions (2 miles/S$1)
- BOC Family Card for your dining (10% cashback, S$700 min. spending, S$30 cap a month on dining)