LIFESTYLE An Unexpected Time in Hong Kong

5 min

Welcome to the series that swerves your stopover into a whole new dimension.

East meets West and glamour collides with grit in Hong Kong, the contemporary urban capital of the South China Sea. As the most densely populated area in the entire world – with the largest number of skyscrapers of any city – it’s a concrete jungle to thrill your inner architect; a natural wonder that’s home to the world’s only pink (you read that right) dolphins; and a post-colonial melting pot of cultures to delight and challenge every one of your senses. There’s a LOT to see and do in Hong Kong, so pace yourself…

Coffee (or complementary medicine) first… 

Start off your epic Hong Kong adventure with a time-travelling coffee at Tai Wo Tang Cafe, a coffee shop in Kowloon City, converted from a traditional Chinese medicine store which first opened in the 1930s. To preserve and celebrate its history as an apothecary, most of the original furnishings and décor – including its iconic gold signage – has been kept intact. You can play it safe with contemporary choices like cold-brew coffee and avocado toast – or get a little bit adventurous and try some Chinese medicine-inspired drinks like ‘vitality’ or ‘dampness-dispelling’ teas.  

  • Tai Wo Tang Cafe – 24號 Nga Tsin Long Rd, Kowloon City, Hong Kong

Curtesy of Tai Wo Tang Cafe

Off to the races… 

Feeling lucky? Head to Happy Valley Racecourse, AKA the Hong Kong Jockey Club, a beloved (and rowdy) betting track where you can enjoy live horse racing and music. Horse racing is a beloved pastime in Hong Kong –in fact, it’s the city’s most popular sport. The atmosphere is exhilarating, betting is feverish, and the horses are exquisite – and if smashing a dishwasher didn’t get your adrenaline racing, the speed and glamour of the Jockey Club is sure to hit the spot. Take your winnings to the waterfront’s IFC Shopping Centre, where you’ll find our very own TAG Heuer boutique – find yourself a stunning chronograph to ensure all future races will be timed to perfection. 

  • Hong Kong Jockey Club – Wong Nai Chung Rd, Happy Valley, Hong Kong
  • TAG Heuer Boutique – Shop 2024, Podium Level 2, IFC Mall, 1 Harbour View St, Central, Hong Kong

Chase the Dragon… 

Ok, some of you may be aware that chasing the dragon has multiple meanings, especially in this part of the world… but we’re not suggesting any illegal highs.  Only natural ones! But this natural wonder will simply take your breath away – begin with a bracing hike along the Dragon’s Back trail, which will take you across mountain ridges, secluded forests, and white sand beaches (surf nerd might wish to take a stop-off here). A major panoramic payoff awaits, as do epic paragliding opportunities. If you’re feeling flush, you might even hire a helicopter to sweep you off your feet – with jaw-dropping views of the skyline, South China Sea, Big Buddha, or the city’s hundreds of outlying islands.

Dragon's back - Photo by Elton Yung on Unsplash

Deep Dive on Dim Sum... 

Once you’ve worked up an appetite jaunting in Hong Kong’s beautiful landscapes and touring Victoria Harbour, make your reservation at Mott 32.  No trip to the city is complete without an epic Dim Sum feast, and few places do Dim Sum like Mott 32.  Traditional recipes are given a contemporary twist with exceptional organic ingredients, for the epitome of modern Chinese dining. Steamed buns, dumplings and rice rolls are a celebration of Hong Kong culture, but you can also expect to be surprised with dishes that unite past and present, east and west. Try siu mai made with soft quail egg, Iberico pork and black truffle, or life-changing taro croquettes made with chicken, prawn and shiitake mushroom and fried to golden perfection. 

  • Mott 32, Standard Chartered Bank Building, 4-4A Des Voeux Rd Central, Central, Hong Kong

Cruise back in time… 

There are a myriad of options when it comes to harbour cruises in Victoria Harbour, but if you’re looking for a truly unusual (not to mention romantic) experience, a trip on traditional Chinese Junk is where it’s at. The stunning red sails of the Aqua Luna are iconic, as it’s one of the last remaining red-sail Chinese junk boats; the boat has been refurbished to take passengers on harbour cruises, and – why not take your happy hour to the open water, and book a spot on Aqua Luna’s sunset cocktail cruise to watch Hong Kong’s famous skyline come alive at night.

Victoria Harbour - Photo by Giuliano Gabella on Unsplash

A cocktail of trendy tipples… 

After a delicious dim sum experience, take a nocturnal tour of Hong Kong’s most decadent dives (although they’re about as far as you can get from a dive-bar).  It’s time to get butterflies in your belly at The Iron Fairies, where a garden of 10,000 butterflies hangs from the ceiling in a decadent bower of beauty (and criminally elegant cocktails).  This den of magic and mystery offers an alluring array of live jazz and blues, tasty bar food and innovative mixology.  Lest you worry that thousands of butterflies might be a bit ‘airy fairy’ for your tastes, rest assured: this bar is anything but simpering. A stunning combination of rugged hand-hewn timber, raw iron, and soft leather interiors paired with casting rooms and furnaces creates a tough-but-tender vibe that’s sure to melt even the steeliest of hearts. 

  • The Iron Fairies LG, 1 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong

This city is a labyrinth of wonders – you could spend a year here and barely scratch the surface. But to ensure your whirlwind tour of these particular gems goes without a hitch, keep yourself on schedule with a trusty TAG Heuer chronograph.  Clock your travel times, horse races, high tides, and dinner reservations to a fraction of a second – and squeeze out every last drop of delight from your Hong Kong adventure.