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As most of us were forced to spend 2020 locked inside our homes, we are now yearning for new travel experiences and enticing destinations that are still safe enough for us to visit. Being a true cultural melting pot that offers wonderful tourist attractions, stunning natural surroundings, as well as the most incredible skylines, Hong Kong has always been among the all-time favorite places to visit in Asia, but especially in 2021. If this enticing city is on your travel list this year as well, here are some of the most essential Hong Kong travel tips you should know before visiting Hong Kong for the first time:

Hong Kong Travel Tips for First Time Travelers

image: evening over Hong Kong skyline | Hong Kong Travel Tips by popular US international travel blog, The Common Traveler: image of Hong Kong at night.
Photo by Simon Zhu

Be prepared for changing weather

Packing light is recommended for any form of travel, as it allows you to get around more easily and be more flexible, without needing to drag heavy luggage wherever you go. But due to Hong Kong’s often unpredictable weather, it might be a good idea to bring a few more items that will help you stay prepared.

Situated in a humid subtropical climate, Hong Kong often experiences record high temperatures throughout the year, but it can also be hit with long and heavy rains that seemingly come out of nowhere. Considering this fact, it’s always best to pack a foldable umbrella or a lightweight raincoat, in order to be prepared for Hong Kong’s ever-changing weather.

image: street trams in Hong Kong |Hong Kong Travel Tips by popular US international travel blog, The Common Traveler: image of double decker trains in Hong Kong.
Photo by Ekidin

Utilize the local transportation systems

Thankfully, Hong Kong’s transportation system is incredibly fast, efficient, and well-connected, meaning you won’t have much trouble getting around the city. Even as soon as you land, you will be able to find a service called Airport Express that can quickly take you to several areas in the city, although you might want to book a ticket for it in advance to ensure the best experience.

Hong Kong’s metro system is often considered to be the best in the world, so grabbing a local Octopus Card and utilizing the MTR system will undoubtedly be the most affordable, as well as the most effective way to get around. In case the metro is not an option, you can also download the Hong Kong Taxi Cards App for the best taxi experience in the city.

image: Lantau Island Buddha in Hong Kong |Hong Kong Travel Tips by popular US international travel blog, The Common Traveler: image of a Lantau Island Buddha statue.
Photo by Tee 2 Tee

Find the best accommodation options

Like most popular travel destinations, Hong Kong also offers a wide variety of accommodation options, from more affordable AirBnbs to opulent luxury hotels. However, the price shouldn’t be your main deciding factor when searching for a stay in Hong Kong; safe neighborhoods and good public transportation connections are also essential in such a big city.

For that reason, your best option might be comfortable service apartments that offer cozy rooms and private bathrooms, along with communal areas like lounges, laundry rooms, and kitchens, making for the most enjoyable stay. What’s more, these apartments are also situated in prime, well-connected locations, thus being a great choice overall, both for a short- and long-term trip.

Hong Kong Travel Tips by popular US international travel blog, The Common Traveler: image of the Jumbo Floating Restaurant in Hong Kong.
Photo by S.J. Swarts

Indulge in the local delicacies

Whether you’re enjoying Hong Kong as a tourist or simply looking for ways to make your business trip feel like a relaxing vacation, there’s truly no better way to experience the culture and the heritage of this fascinating city than through its absolutely delicious meals. From Kowloon side to Hong Kong Island, there are many places where you can find great local restaurants, including some brilliant Hong Kong Foodie Tours that will satisfy any palate.

But the dishes themselves are the main stars, of course, so make it a point to try out some of the local delicacies. While dim sum might be the most popular meal, and for a very good reason, other dishes like lo mai gai, char siu, and roasted goose also shouldn’t be missed.

image: traditional boat on river in Hong Kong |Hong Kong Travel Tips by popular US international travel blog, The Common Traveler: image of a traditional river boat in Hong Kong.
Photo by Unknown Wong

Don’t forget about the interesting sights

With a few stunning beaches, rare and exotic wildlife at Ocean Park, the charming fishing village of Tai O, as well as beautiful historic temples like Wong Tai Sin and Po Lin monastery where you can see one of the largest Buddha statues in the world, Hong Kong is truly filled with wonderful attractions suited for any type of traveler.

However, the city is also surrounded by absolutely gorgeous, untouched nature, so if you wish to get away from the hustle and bustle and enjoy some quiet time outdoors, a trip to Dragon’s Back or Victoria Peak could also be a wonderful option. In case you’d like to experience the famous Hong Kong skylines, however, hop on the Star Ferry and enjoy a scenic ride across Victoria Harbour.

If Hong Kong is your chosen travel destination this year, utilize the incredible tips mentioned above for the best and most pleasurable holiday, even if it’s your first time visiting this captivating city.

About the author: Mike Johnston is an experienced freelance writer and editor He’s a regular contributor to numerous online publications, where he writes about lifestyle, travel, family life, and green living.

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Do you have any extra Hong Kong travel tips? Let me know in a comment below!

Happy travels!
Annick, The Common Traveler

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Top 5 Tips for First-Time Visitors to Hong Kong: The Common Traveler shares what you need to know for your first visit to Hong Kong. #hongkong #china