I needed to go to Hong Kong and wanted the family to come along. We have 5 boys and wondered… “Hong Kong with kids? Is that a good idea?” With kids you have to pace yourselves but I’m happy to say, we all had a great time! Here’s how it went down for us…
We arrived in Hong Kong in the evening, to cold temperatures and rain. After arriving at the Royal Park Hotel in Kowloon, we immediately walked next door to the New Town Plaza Mall to buy some kids a warm jacket for the week and pick up some diapers for the baby.
We currently live in a warm weather climate, so our kids have outgrown their cold weather clothes. So I always plan on buying diapers which means I don’t use precious luggage space packing them.
We chose our accommodation largely because of price (cheaper than Wan Chai area) and its proximity to a mall. However most of our activities were in Central, on Hong Kong island so for the price of taxis and the time on the MTR I would have rather spent extra money on hotels in Wan Chai.
However, it is faster to get to Lantau Island from Kowloon area so either way, you’ve got to travel somewhere, at sometime!
This day was entirely reserved for a trip to Ocean Park which is an amusement park/zoo and animal attraction park (discount tickets here). Since it was March it was rainy all week and this day would have been more enjoyable had the weather cooperated.
If you want to spend a week in Hong Kong, I highly advise to go after the spring rains have lifted. Late April, May or June would be lovely.
But also, the park will be busier. As it was, it seemed like we were the only people in the park! Ocean Park is half the price of Disneyland (also in Hong Kong) and since our boys don’t know a lot about Disney, we opted for the cheaper excursion. However, if your kids love Disney, I would advise dropping the money to go. How many times do you get to visit a Disneyland in Asia?!
We had a slight snaffu when packing and forgot our baby stroller! How is that even possible you wonder? I don’t know, but luckily Ocean Park has strollers you can rent for the day that made the park easier to manage. Ocean Park isn’t laid out that great so it took a lot of effort to get from one end of the park to the other. Be prepared to walk and take in all that you can wherever you may be in the park because getting back to a specific place might be tiresome.
Lunch was in the park, which wasn’t great, but dinner was at my kids second favourite burger place in the entire world, Five Guys and Fries. (Can you tell we have lived in Asia for a long time?)
The morning started with donuts and juice at the mall before taking a taxi to explore Kowloon. Here you can walk along the Promenade and check out the statues at Avenue of the Stars.
It’s nice to just take in the harbour and ferries shuttling between Kowloon to Central Hong Kong.
A short walk away is the Space Museum which can be fun if you have a space junkie in your home. Or for kids who prefer science, there is a great interactive museum in the same area but you will need to take a taxi or the West Rail MTR Line to get there. The Space Museum is a walk from the East Tsim Sha Tsui Station and the Science Museum is a short walk from the Hung Hom station on the same line.
For lunch take the Star Ferry to Wan Chai for a fun look at the river and then arrive at Harbour View and eat at Shake Shack. This is probably one of my kids favourite burger places and now its in Asia! No more waiting in line at Madison Square Park in New York City, yippee! We have missed it so much. (You can get discount tickets to Star Ferry Harbour Cruise here).
After lunch take a walk through the Wan Chai Market which is a wholesale, wet market for everyday items like clothes, food, flowers, holiday decor and trinkets. Sometimes it’s fun to see how other countries shop. And since it’s a street market, you can leave anytime. Be sure to stop at Emack & Bolio’s Ice Cream on Lee Tung Avenue for a delicious treat.
That evening, after some rest and relaxation we had dinner at the Spaghetti House which had surprisingly good pizza.
After another easy breakfast morning of donuts (you can opt to pay for the hotel breakfast which is $14 a person).
The first trip out was Man Mo Temple in Wan Chai. It’s a fun place to go to see the large coiled incense and walk around to learn a bit about the Taoist religion.
From here you can walk to the Mid Level Escalators to ride and walk through what is called the “SoHo” of Hong Kong. We walked and window shopped, found yet another Emack & Bolio’s Ice Cream shop.
It was raining a fair amount so we spent some time waiting it out while eating quite tasty and adorable shaped ice cream cones and hot chocolate at Barista by Givres on Shelley Street.
Just a few blocks from the escalators on Wellington Street is Mak’s Noodles where you can have a delicious (non-burger) lunch of noodles and wontons.
In the afternoon we took a taxi to the Parkview walking trail that leads to the Jardine Lookout which is a 1 km easy walk. You can add another 1.6 km into the country park to the upper reservoir and then the exit is another 2.6 km to the road.
Our original plan was to take a ferry to the Kowloon Promenade for dinner and the light show but our kids were tired from walking so we went back to the hotel for some much needed rest.
Note: Travelling with 5 kids in Hong Kong made taxis difficult since there are only 4 and 5 seat taxis so if we drove we had to take two taxis.
After tiring of juice and donuts, we opted for a real sit down breakfast at Brick Lane Deli (in the mall) and then took a taxi out to Lantau Island. (about $250 HKD)
Also, it is very easy to take the local bus which is around the corner from the hotel for a fraction of the price. The hotel can give you the map and information if you want it.
Your regular taxi will drop you at Tung Chung Station where you will find the blue taxi line. The blue taxis service only Lantau Island. We took one to visit the Tian Tan Buddha (Big Buddha). (There is the Ngong Ping cable car that connects from Tung Chung station to Ngong Ping area that I wanted to take but it was closed for maintenance. However, it is normally open and you can get cable car discount tickets here.
It was rainy and foggy as we climbed the hill but it ended up being very enjoyable as there were very few people to contend with and the fog gave the entire place a soft and mysterious vibe.
From the Big Buddha we took yet another taxi to Tai O fishing village to walk the streets. It was such an interesting look into this village. Most of the residents are older as the young people have moved out and their houses are along quaint narrow walkways.
We met some people, visited some temples and had more ice cream. The kids weren’t crazy about the fish smell but it was fascinating to see all the different types they sell. We even saw a large shark skin hanging in a window, which was shocking to us all.
At Tai O you can buy also tickets to tour the village on a boat and go out and hope you get lucky to see the pink dolphins.
Taxi vs Bus
On the way back we opted to take the 21 Bus that rides you back to Tung Chung station. It is a much cheaper option but of course will take longer as it has to make a few stops. It was a bumpy ride but we arrived back safe and sound and we could all travel for a fraction of the price of a taxi. I wanted to try both to see which was easier. The bus was very easy and the price makes it that much better.
Since the kids don’t love fish we waited until we got back to the hotel for dinner. We freshened up and then had our favourite dumplings at Din Tai Fung which was in the basement of our now favourite mall, next door.
This day was all about the travel. We decided to wake up and head straight to the airport which was surprisingly devoid of any good breakfast places. If you are a big breakfast person, plan your flight for later in the day and eat before you go!
If you’re looking for further activities to do with the kids in Hong Kong, check out this blog post from another GlobalWOT who lives in Hong Kong. She lists out things to keep you all entertained, educated, and well fed.