For all the feng shui and tai chi, Hong Kong isn’t just about traditional pastimes. The massive city is awash in cool bars, amazing attractions, and an all around progressive flair. Often referred to as “the melting pot of Asia,” Hong Kong is a hybrid of Chinese and Western cultures (the city was under British rule until 1997), so the city of 7 million is packed with expats. Some of our favorites are the Brits who run the popular Star Crossed Tattoo & Piercing. The shop frequently hosts guest artists from the States, and artist Julia Wilson often promotes local punk shows. One warning, if you choose to go elsewhere for a tattoo: There are no laws or regulations governing tattoos in Hong Kong, so many shops skip the autoclave and the hygiene.
After getting inked, head to Victoria Harbor, one of the most popular attractions in the city. The harbor is Hong Kong’s main lifeline and offers a stunning view of the skyline, especially at night. For the best view, cross the harbor on a Star Ferry; these antique vessels have been crossing the waters since 1898. Later, visit Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple, a Taoist temple constructed in 1921. The gorgeous grounds include a labyrinth of walkways and bridges, smaller temples, a turtle-filled pond, and a traditional fortune teller. The major shopping districts are along Canton Road and Nathan Roads, areas that thrive during the day as traffic hustles past hundreds of shops, including designer boutiques and local markets selling crafts, knockoff goods, and knickknacks.
At night, make your way to Wyndham Street, a buzzing district packed with bars and restaurants (including the new hotspot Tivo) and wander all the way down to Lan Kwai Fong, a hub of pubs and clubs. Dim Sum is best had at Super Star Seafood restaurant, and the award-winning Wing Lai Yuen noodle shop is so good that there’s a limit of one order per person.
If you need a break from the frantic pace of the city, the InterContinental Hotel offers an outdoor terrace with a heated swimming pool and two hot tubs that overlook the harbor. The modern rooms are stylish and have the best views in the city, with glass thick enough to drown out the noise until you’re ready to hit the streets again.
Star Crosed Tato & Piercing
2/F, 57 Granville Rd.
InterContinenta l Hotel
18 Salisbury Rd.
Wing Lai Yuen
Whampoa Gourmet Place
G/F, 43-55 Wyndham St.