Hipmunk City Love: Travel to Hong Kong on a Budget

This post is part of the Hipmunk #CityLove campaign.

Hong Kong rightly enjoys a reputation as one of the most expensive cities in the world, and the idea of budget-friendly travel in the city seems downright impossible. But if you scrape below the surface of the shiny concrete towers, huge shopping malls, plush hotels, and brand-toting fashionistas, there’s plenty to discover when you travel to Hong Kong on a budget.

Photo by James Ng via Trover.com

Budget Accommodation

If you’re on a serious budget, plan your visit so it doesn’t coincide with national festivals such as Chinese New Year or public holidays when prices are high. If you’re only visiting for a few days, the middle of the week is a better time than weekends when hotel rates are higher. Even if you usually like to be spontaneous about finding a place to stay, Hong Kong might not be the best place to do this because booking in advance does considerably save you some dollars.

Consider one of these affordable hotels in Hong Kong or staying at a guesthouse. The city does have some hostels that cater to backpackers, but guesthouses usually provide more value.  However, guesthouses and hostels can vary drastically in quality and amenities, so do thorough research before you hand them your money.

Eat on the Cheap

If you want to eat on a budget, follow the locals to simple restaurants serving authentic fare and avoid eating at expensive restaurants or those targeting tourists. For a great street food experience, head to the cooked food centers around the city to enjoy delicious noodles, broth, pork buns, hot pots, and the city’s famous dim sums, among other market-style meals.

Affordable City Experiences

Enjoy the fantastic views of the city’s impressive skyline from Victoria Harbor, Hong Kong’s beloved (and free) tourist attraction. Grab some breakfast along the harbor.

Check out the famous A Symphony of Lights, a spectacular display of dancing lights and sound playing on the water and the skyscraper-lined harbor, every evening at 8.00pm.

For a memorable cultural experience, visit traditional Chinese temples such as the Wong Tai Sin Temple, Man Mo Temple, Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery and the Po Lin Temple. These have free admission and their incense-filled courtyards provide a welcome respite from the city.

Where can you better experience a city than in its street markets? Lose yourself among shops and stalls with everything from antiques, snake oils, electronics, jade, traditional music, to clothing. Some markets to visit are the Sneaker Street, Temple Night Market, Stanley Market, and Electronics Street.

Explore the city’s neighborhoods with self-guided tours from one of the city’s recommended Hong Kong Walks. Whether it’s heritage, temples, or architecture that you fancy, there are plenty of trails to choose from.

For a change of scenery from the concrete and glass structures than define the city’s skyline, explore the well-marked, easy to navigate hiking trails. Well-known among these is the Dragon’s Back Trail, which takes you around Hong Kong Island and ends in Shek-O.

Have you visited Hong Kong? What would you add to this list?

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