Bruce Lee Statue at Avenue of the Stars

Travel Guide: Visiting Hong Kong on a Budget

View of Hong Kong

(Note: Please be advised that in light of the current Covid-19 pandemic situation globally, always refer to your local authorities for all essential travel updates and restrictions before arranging travel plans to ensure a smooth travel experience.

As an avid traveler and a city girl at heart, Hong Kong is my top destination in the world.

Hong Kong is one of the busiest and the most developed metropolitan hubs in Asia in terms of trade, finance, business and tourism. It consists of the Hong Kong Island, the Kowloon Peninsula, the New Territories and over 200 outlying islands. These areas are connected by sprawling train and bus networks.

Thanks to its highly efficient public transportation system, the city is incredibly easy to navigate and get from one place to another. Hong Kong is also often compared to the city of New York due to its many similarities and overall vibe.

Although officially a part of China, Hong Kong is worlds apart from the rest of the country culturally, economically and politically because of its unique history.

Since then, Hong Kong was a colony of the mighty British Empire, except during World War II, when it was occupied by Japan. Britain maintained its rule of the territory until its handover back to China in 1997.
Today, Hong Kong is a considered a Special Administrative Region of China. It is part of China but with its own economy, currency, and immigration laws. Interestingly, even a mainland Chinese person would need to go through Immigration checks upon entering the region.

The best time to visit this marvelous city is from the months of October to March, which are a good time to tour Hong Kong. The most ideal is from October-December when the temperature is cooler (ranging from 5-15 degrees) with relatively sunny skies.

Here are my top 3 recommended things to do on your visit to Hong Kong:


Avenue of the Stars

Avenue of the Stars

The Avenue of Stars was officially launched in April 2004, along the Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront Promenade. It showcases the prominent personalities of the Hong Kong film industry, having their names, signature, and handprints etched on the stars scattered throughout the promenade’s floor. One of the most celebrated attractions along the promenade is the bronze statue of Bruce Lee, Hong Kong’s martial arts legend.

Bruce Lee Statue at Avenue of the Stars

The Hong Kong’s local version of “walk of fame, the Avenue of Stars is a popular scenic spot along the waterfront of Tsim Sha Tsui, which honors important figures in Hong Kong’s film industry.

Long considered the “Hollywood of the Far East”, Hong Kong has been an important center for film for more than a century, producing iconic movies, as well as actors and actresses who rose to worldwide fame.
If you are a film buff, you may recognize a lot of the names of not only film stars, but also directors and producers.

There are several statues, the most popular being that of Bruce Lee, with not only fists of fury; along with his chiseled abs. Many fans and visitors love to come here to try and recreate the pose of the iconic actor.

Another favorite set of statues are the life-sized ones of a director and a cameraman on set, the boom operator trio, a film camera and a lighting stage crew. They bring nice shots with the incredible skyline of Hong Kong Island in the background.
All along the Avenue of Stars are the handprints of celebrities such as Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Chow Yun Fat, John Woo and Michelle Yeoh (of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon fame) just to name a few.

Apart from seeing the statues & hand-prints of movie stars, Avenue of Stars is also one of the best sites to watch the Symphony of Lights, a nightly spectacle of synchronized lights display with musical accompaniment, featuring 44 of Hong Kong’s skyscrapers — both in Kowloon and Hong Kong sides of Victoria Harbor.

Best of all, visitors can watch the lightshow absolutely for free and enjoy the marvelous city skyline!

Location: Take MTR Train and get off at East Tsim Sha Tsui station. Use Exit J. From here, turn left. It is around a 3-minute walk. If you are coming from Nathan Road or Tsim Sha Tsui Station, you can walk through the pedestrian subway to East Tsim Sha Tsui Station. Follow the signs that lead to Exit J and walk towards the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade

Average cost per person: USD $2-3 per person for metro train roundtrip ticket or you can take the local Star ferry for less than USD $1 (both coming from Central district)


Tim Ho Wan

Tim Ho Wan original store
Credit: Tripadvisor

In the eyes of the visitors, one of the most intriguing attractions in Hong Kong is food. Talking about cuisine, Hong Kong cuisine is famous for its intriguing street food, its distinctive flavor and reasonable prices. Moreover, Hong Kong has many Michelin Star restaurants therefore the city offers vast of food options for locals and visitors alike.

With mixed style of Asian-European cuisine, there are many Michelin Star restaurants in Hong Kong, but of course the price is not cheap at all. However, there are exceptions; that is the restaurant Tim Ho Wan.
The first Tim Ho Wan restaurant was opened a decade ago in Sham Shui Po. At first, the bar had only about 20 seats, but thanks to the dim sum quality, the restaurant has become a popular destination for Hong Kong people and tourists over the years. Thanks to the cheap food and excellent quality, in 2010, the restaurant received a Michelin star and has also entered the cuisine scene in Macau.

If you’re a dim sum lover looking for an authentic Hong Kong meal experience – Tim Ho Wan is the place you should not miss. Gaining the label as the “world’s cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant”, the HK chain were founded by former Four Seasons Hong Kong chefs Mak Kwai Pui and Leung Fai Keung. Tim Ho Wan is known for offering bite-sized Chinese delicacies that rival the quality of some upscale hotel kitchens.

Currently, there are six Tim Ho Wan locations in Hong Kong. The menus are almost similar to one another, with only slight variation. Shops offer about 35 dim sum options categorized by: steamed, deep-fried, rice, congee & snacks, rice noodle rolls and desserts. Popular classics including the shrimp dumplings (har gow) and the delicious barbecue pork buns (char siu bao) are on every menu. It’s worth noting that some dishes are only offered at a particular branch. Prices also differ in every restaurant.

Hong Kong is one of the most expensive destinations in the world. But in here, there is a Michelin Star restaurant where the price is very affordable and when you are traveling to Hong Kong – it’s a must-try. Upon hearing Michelin stars, one would think of the best food but very pricey. However, at a Tim Ho Wan’s restaurant, you can enjoy Michelin standard dishes starting from USD $3.

Tim Ho Wan is considered the Michelin Star restaurant has cheapest price in the world. Specializing in dim sum, what’s more, coming to Tim Ho Wan, you can also enjoy the delicious cakes with affordable prices and you will be in for an authentic local cuisine experience!
What dishes to order? Sticky rice in lotus leaf in traditional style, Steamed Rice Roll,
Steamed Prawn Dumplings & Baked Barbecued Pork Bun Pastry are extremely popular dishes

Location: Tim Ho Wan Restaurant, IFC Mall, Central

Average cost per meal per person: USD $15-20


Temple Street Market

Aerial view of temple street market at night

As a shopping mecca, Hong Kong boasts an extensive selection of shopping destinations, offering a different experience per location making it a shopper’s paradise.
It has something to offer for various types of shoppers — luxury boutiques, outlet stores, wholesale shops, street markets, and night markets. The options seem inexhaustible.

Hong Kong Temple Street Market has a modest area on a long and narrow road but it is still one of the most popular night markets in Hong Kong. The variety and plenty of goods, especially all at cheap prices, is what draws visitors here.

It is also known for its food stalls with many delicacies. The Temple Street Night Market is a very popular tourist attraction known for its variety of products with reasonable prices.

Catering to both tourists and locals, The Temple Street Night Market is Hong Kong’s busiest and liveliest night market, it is noisy and crowded with rows of stalls with all sorts of cheap merchandise, fakes, souvenirs, clothing, electronics as well as open-air food stalls.

Aside from the Night Market, one of the popular shopping destinations in Hong Kong is Mong Kok. The streets are always bustling with activities, especially at night. Old shops and restaurants blend in with the modern ones, giving it a unique characteristic that is so unlike the rest of Hong Kong. Being in Mong Kok is a feast for all the senses. It houses a great number of shops and markets, selling various kinds of items — from clothes to jewelry to cosmetics to electronics; the list goes on.

This is the place to bargain, and bargain hard. You will likely see the same merchandise in several different stalls as you walk from one to the other, so you might want to check out several stands to get a feel for the prices and the types of merchandise. The market is not very big, so you can always go back at your convenience.

The night market officially opens in the afternoon, with most stalls setting up by 6:00 p.m. and shutting down by midnight, it is most lively from 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
TIP: Don’t forget to bargain as most items are overpriced and the hawkers are nice enough to give a discount!

Location: Temple Street runs parallel to Nathan Road, to reach the market, take the MTR to Jordan station, exit A and just follow the signs and you can walk all the way to Mong Kok road for more shopping choices
Average cost per person: USD $1 to unlimited, you can shop to your heart’s content (or budget!)

Final thoughts

Visitors will find everything they could possibly want from a city break at their fingertips. The urban city offers dazzling architecture, fantastic food, excellent shopping and a bustling nightlife.

Hong Kong is an intriguing combination of an ultra-modern and an historic city, blending traditional and modern-day Chinese influences with those of its colonial past.

Hong Kong distinguishes itself from its Chinese city counterparts such as Shanghai and Beijing with its vibrant, multifaceted culture and stunning cityscape. This British-Chinese hybrid astounds visitors with its striking dense skyscrapers and lush landscapes.

Hong Kong is one of the most exciting places on earth and, even after countless visits to other countries, the city remains in my top five places to visit.
From traditional street markets and beautiful temples to the fast-paced, skyscraper-dotted streets, with endless food and drink options; I find the city of Hong Kong one of the most vibrant, eclectic and diverse in the world.

With a lot of research and planning ahead; you can save a lot of money upon your visit.

Keep in mind these are average spending per activity per person on a daily excursion – expect that most of the days you’ll spend more.

While Hong Kong certainly isn’t cheap, but since it’s such a diverse and massive city, there’s something here for every budget and preference!

Embodying the soul of the “east meets west” along with great food and attractions, Hong Kong – the “ Asia’s World City” is truly an ideal destination.
Sure there are a lot of great cities around the world worth exploring. However, whenever I come for a cityscape in Asia, most of the time I choose Hong Kong as a preferred destination or when there is a layover opportunity.

The city never ceases to impress me each visit. I always leave fulfilled and feeling delighted.
There is quite truly no modern metropolis more fascinating and exciting than Hong Kong.

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