Name: Leo Xu
-Lots of awesome places to go, definitely do your research
-Victoria Peak, awesome view of the city whether by day or by night
-Avenue of Stars, Tsim Sha Tsui at night is simply fantastic
-Ocean Park: Not your typical amusement park, is a bit of a hybrid between an amusement park and a zoo. If you’re looking for the Hong Kong version of Six Flags, this isn’t it. But it’s still a TON of fun, really neat place. If you’re there during the fall, try to get tickets for the Halloween event/haunted house they always put on. It’s REALLY hard to get tickets; I talked to my roommate (local student) about it quite early in the semester and still couldn’t get tickets. It’s apparently very good though and well worth whatever effort you’ll have to put forth to secure tickets.
Cool local stuff going on during my time there:
-I was very fortunate to be able to go see Phantom of the Opera at the AsiaWorld-Expo when it came to HK during my stay there. Broadway quality for sure, definitely quite the experience. There was also a really cool Hello Kitty 40th Anniversary Carnival that I got to see. It was really awesome (I’m not ashamed to say I’m a fan of cute things). Of course, these sorts of events only happen every once in a while, but keep your eyes peeled. Cool stuff happens ALL THE TIME in HK.
Faith: I was at CUHK for a semester, and they have a chapel on campus with services every Sunday morning. They also have English and Mandarin Chinese translations for anyone who doesn’t know Cantonese (obviously a big plus for foreigners). Don’t expect a tight-knit community though; it is a very large service and lots of people just come for the service and leave right after. Not knowing Cantonese to converse with regular church attendees also puts you at a disadvantage. Overall, a good experience if you want some time with God during your stay in HK. I had friends who went to off campus churches as well; there are very few with English translation though.
Food: Absolutely heavenly. Without a doubt, the best food in the world. Don’t limit yourself only to things that look good. And also don’t limit yourself to strictly Asian cuisine; there is a surprising amount of VERY good European cuisine in HK.
Some personal recommendations:
-Shatin; just go to Shatin. You can literally find ANYTHING you want there. My roommate and I had a 2 week marathon where we ate at a different restaurant in Shatin Mall every night, and all of them were great. Especially if you’re at CUHK which is 2 stops away from Shatin on the MTR, you’re really missing out if you’re eating on campus all the time.
-Go for dim sum whenever possible.
-Treat yourself to a very high end restaurant at least once with your friends; it’s definitely worth it.
-There is a REALLY good snake restaurant in Causeway Bay. It’s called 蛇王二, I believe (translated as Snake King Two). Go eat there! Their snake soup is simply to die for.
Housing: You might get lucky like me and end up with a local student as a roommate. Or you might get put with other international students (which is the norm). Either way, I highly recommend not just hanging out with fellow international students but also getting to know local students living in the same building as you. My local roommate really helped to immerse me in the culture of Hong Kong and also took me around to a bunch of cool places in HK. This is literally a golden opportunity; don’t miss your chance.
Shopping: There are a TON of places to shop in HK (I guess that’s to be expected)
-First place that always comes to mind is Ladies Market; learn to bargain or get swindled!
-Great place that is right next to Ladies Market is Sino Centre, also in Mong Kok. They sell the latest and greatest when it comes to youth and Asian pop culture goods. Anime merchandise, K-pop posters, etc., etc. For me, this was THE place. I spent probably 4 hours just walking around browsing/buying, and the place isn’t even that big.
Transportation & Travel: Octopus Card is life. Love it, hold it, cherish it.
• Victoria Peak (Hong Kong Island): do it at night if able — tram from MTR Central
• Big Buddha (Near airport) do it late during the day if able to come down on the cable cars during sunset (5:45pm) — MTR Tung Chung
• Stanley Bay (Hong Kong Island) — take a bus from MTR Central
• Star Ferry/ Avenue of Stars: only do this at night — MTR Tsim Sha Tsui
• Tung Choi St, Ladies Market (Kowloon, Mong Kok) — MTR Mong Kok
• Stanley Bay (Hong Kong Island) — take a bus from Central
• Temple Street Night Markets — MTR Jordan — also has great food! highly recommend the hot pots here!
• Shenzhen, China — MTR Lo Wu — mall is to the right upon entering China, cheaper than in HK
Food: In general, go on openrice.com. It’s like the Yelp of Hong Kong. Hong Kong has some serious good food and not just Asian food, the Western food there is also top notch. Don’t miss out!
• Sushi One (Kowloon, Mong Kok): half price sushi after 10pm — MTR Mong Kok and MTR Mong Kok East
• Tai Po Market — go right after leaving the MTR Tai Po and right again at the first cross street. The market is a two story building on your left. 2nd floor is packed with truly local restaurants, and in the morning, all the way in the back right you’ll find some of the best and cheapest dim sum you’ll ever find. EXPLORE THIS AREA inside and out!
• Lin Heung Tea House — MTR Sheung Wan — take a cab from MTR. it’s really good.
• Tim Ho Wan (Ya Ma Tei) — cheapest michelin star restaurant in the world, very good!
The new routes seem to never stop! This is some of the best hiking you’ll do in your life!
• Sai Kung National Park: Great for swimming, eating on the oceanfront, hiking deep into the forested mountains, breathtaking views. 45 minutes ride from Sha Tin bus station.
• Hike up to the Big Buddha: This is a very challenging hike with the first 2/3 being mostly stairs. Bring plenty of water and snacks, the whole hike takes around 3 hours.
1. Harry M.
Shop 14, Ground Floor
Far East Mansion, Arcade (Near Sheraton Hotel – Opposite Car Park) 5-6 Middle Road
+852 (2723) 8377
MTR Tsim Sha Tsui — Exit L1 Hermes House. go up the stairs to the right
230 HKD for 1 custom shirt (30 USD). I bought 7, they’re really really nice. you can find a cheaper tailor, but the quality with Harry is very high (his customers are all bankers). I also bought a suit as well.
For 2000 HKD I got a skirt, pants and 2 shirts. Highly recommend this place. He can also embroider your initials into the shirts if you want.
Shanghai Hongguang Professional Tailors (No. 48)
Duocai Buchenge Commercial
English speaking telephone: 13502886906
Storefront telephone: +86-755-8232978
I got some fantastic shirts here for around $30 USD. My friend also got two three-piece suits for almost the same price I got one, two-piece suit in downtown Hong Kong. Go to the commercial shopping center at the Luohu, Shenzen metro stop (in China), take the escalators to top floor, ignore the merchants nagging you all over the place, find the fabric market, and go straight back to vendor #48. Julie will remember Notre Dame students and will likely even give you a deal if you mention “Stephen, JJ, and Nalanda.”
Ornald works with some of the biggest of the financial service guys in Hong Kong. His stuff is a little on the expensive side for some Hong Kong tailors, but I got custom-made suit and a shirt for 340 USD that I could not be happier with. It is perfect, and if you get him early in the morning and he’s not super busy, he will walk educate you on all the style choices and options.
Transportation & Travel: Traveling around Hong Kong is best done through the MTR, their version of a subway.
Cathay Pacific and Dragon Air publish flights they want to fill at the last second leaving from Hong Kong every Tuesday morning at 8am. These are absolute steals if you care less about where and more about the price (AKA all students studying abroad)
HKExpress also has cheap flights but to limited destinations. Sign up for their email and wait for the special deals. One-way trips to Thailand can be had for 80HKD