How my family and I explored Hong Kong like locals–what we did, where we ate, where we shopped

Hong Kong is my second home. I lived and worked here at one point in my life, and I have been shuttling back and forth for work and leisure ever since. Just now, I’ve been trying to rack my brain to count how many times I’ve visited this vibrant city, but I think it will take me all night because there are just too many trips to count. When I think of Hong Kong, a happy montage of memories come rushing into my brain, and I am immediately put in a good mood. I’ve come to realize that I have all these wonderful moments to remember Hong Kong by, and maybe that’s why I always look forward to coming back. The city is ever-changing, yet whenever I arrive I feel like nothing has changed–it is just as exciting as the first time I visited the place. My heart beats a little faster, and I cant help but smile from ear to ear–you see, I fell in love with Hong Kong a long time ago and that feeling never really went away. It always feels so good to come back, especially now that I am with my little family.

What made this trip different from all the rest? Well, my family and I decided to explore Hong Kong like locals, which means we went a little off the touristy track and sought the places where locals like to dine, shop and spend their downtime. Although, I have to admit, we still revisited our favorite Hong Kong spots (because we just love it), so it was a good mix of new discoveries and old favorites. I shared snippets of our trip on my Instagram stories and posts and I got a barrage of queries about our itinerary. I guess I piqued my followers’ curiosity as I offered a new way of seeing Hong Kong. Also, as more parents choose to travel with their kids I guess they want to know what routes we took and how we managed to see so many places given the limited time we were there.

So, okay, I’ve decided to share with you our travel itinerary! This will help you plan your trip and see the places you wouldn’t normally see. I think this is a great way to get to know the real Hong Kong. I mean, you cant go wrong with trying their local delicacies and traditional restaurants, shopping their homegrown brands and labels, and discovering secret local spots that offer the best backdrop for your photos. Scroll down to read about our latest Hong Kong family adventure.


07:55-10:55 Flight from Manila to Hong Kong

11:30 – Arrive at Hong Kong International Airport

12:00-13:00 – Lunch at Lin Heung Tea House.

It was a treat to dine in one of the oldest tea houses in Hong Kong, as my family and I got to try the most traditional dim sum in town. As I was told, nothing much has changed in this restaurant–they have dim sum carts pushed by staff to make you feel like you are in Olden Hong Kong. The servers have been working there for decades, so they know the restaurant by heart. The only problem you will probably encounter is the language barrier (the servers hardly speak any english). But you can bring out your adventurous side and simply point and try! I did just that and discovered dim sum and desserts I would never have tried if I didn’t select it from the cart. Of course, they also had the more familiar choices like siomai and pork buns. Overall, I was so happy because all my orders were so good! Tip: If you need to ask for water, say: SEOI (pronounced like soy, but “o” is short).

Address: 160-164 Wellington Street, Central

Tel: +852 2544 4556

How to get there: MTR Sheung Wan station Exit E1, walk for about five minutes

14:00 Check in at Hotel. 

You can get settled and checked in first before going out to lunch. We left our luggage in the van, which allowed us to eat first.

15:00-18:00 Old Town Central Tour 

Walk around “Old Town Central”, one of the oldest yet trendiest districts in Hong Kong. It is where East meets Western culture, and where you can find art and design shops and hidden gems.

Be sure to check out:

Pottinger Street (also known as ‘Stone Slab Street’), a short street paved with uneven slabs of cobblestone to facilitate waking up the steep hill. A lot of costume shops featuring a wide selection of costumes, face masks, accessories, jewelry, and wigs for theme parties can be found there. You can shop early for your Halloween costume while you’re there–they have these the whole year round!

The historic neighborhood of Hollywood Road, an ideal area for a relaxing stroll thanks to its old buildings and interesting boutiques. Keep an eye out for tucked away street art and graffiti in some of the streets and alleys that intersect the road–these are perfect for photos. Tip: get yourself a couple of freshly-baked egg tarts from Tai Cheong Bakery–these are delicious!

The Mid-Levels Escalator system, which is the world’s longest outdoor covered escalator system which stretches for over 800-meters and rises 135-meters through the streets of a steep hillside linking these districts of Hong Kong Island.

Staunton and Elgin Streets, which are located in the heart of the SoHo entertainment area. It features a wide variety of restaurants, bars and shops that any foodie will enjoy.

PMQ, or the former Police Married Quarters, has been transformed into a creative industries hub that is home to over a hundred shops. These shops showcase local designer goods, art exhibitions, cafes and many more–seriously, you can spend hours here discovering fashion and home items, jewelry, handmade and special items, and many more. Watch out for exhibits, which are usually held at PMQ; when we went they had an interesting and expansive Chanel exhibit.

PoHo is a laid-back neighborhood that includes Tai Ping Shan street, Po Hing Fong, Square Street, and Pound Lane. It is filled with galleries, boutiques, specialty shops and cafes that line the streets–it is an ideal place to spend a quiet afternoon. Again, watch out for cool graffiti adorning hidden corners of the alleys as these made a cool backdrop for photos.

Upper Lascar Row is a seemingly endless row of antique stores, which offers an eclectic collection of Chinese calligraphy, arts and vintage furniture. This runs parallel to stalls that sell an array of bric-a-brac collectibles, such as Mao Zedong alarm clocks and Bruce Lee posters.

18:00-20:00 Dinner at Chan Kan Kee Chiu Chou Restaurant

Hong Kong is also famous for its Chiu Chou food, and this particular restaurant is one of the oldest Chiu Chow restaurants in Hong Kong. They started out in Sheung Wan more than 50 years ago! You cannot miss their Lou Shui dishes, such as Lou Shui goose (this was soooo good), tofu, flower cold crab and oyster pancake. If you like spicy (and are a bit on the adventurous side), try the salted/cured pickled greens pepper pork stomach soup.

Address: G/F, 11 Queen’s Road West, Sheung Wan

Tel: +852 2858 0033

How to get there: MTR Sheung Wan Station Exit A2, walk for about eight minutes.


08:30-9:30 Breakfast at Lan Fong Yuen

Founded in 1952, this Hong Kong institution is the place to go for milk tea, pork buns and French toast. People come here for the authentic Hong Kong cha chaan teng experience (btw, this means local eatery that serves comfort food at affordable prices). We ordered their “traditional” breakfast, which is instant noodles with luncheon meat and egg on top. It was pretty good!

Address: 2 Gage Street, Central, Hong Kong

Tel: +852 2544 3895

10:00-11:30 Sightseeing at The Peak

Ride The Peak Tram

The Peak Tram is the steepest funicular railway in the world. The journey takes only seven minutes and is a visual experience to remember, as skyscrapers glide past what appear to be impossible angles while the tram makes its ascent. This is a fun family experience for sure!

Address: Mid-Levels, Hong Kong

Tel: +852 2849 0668 (The Peak Tower)

+852 2522 0922 (The peak Tram)

Going around The Peak / Hong Kong Sky Tower

The Peak is the highest point in Hong Kong Island and a must-see for all visitors of the city. You’ll be able to take amazing photographs at the top, with Hong Kong’s skyline as your backdrop. We tried, unfortunately it was too cold that day and our little one couldn’t take the cold wind. You can go around the mall to find new and familiar shopping brands; they also have a good selection of restaurants you can try.

12:00-13:30 Lunch at Dim Sun Icon

This cartoon-themed restaurant features different cartoon characters and mixes these with traditional Hong Kong dim sum to create the cutest food. When we went it featured Garfield and Odie (to commemorate the Chinese New Year’s Year of the Dog). It was so cute and we were able to take plenty of IG stories with Tristan.

14:00-15:00 Quick photoshoot at Sai Wan Swimming Shed

So, in the 1960s and 70s, locals who came to swim in the harbor (yes, people still swim in the harbor today) used this facility for changing clothes and storing belongings. Nowadays, it has become a popular spot for photographers, both amateur and professionals alike. Many come to capture the long wooden bridge, panoramic sea views and stunning twilight. We went down to check it out and it was stunning. That long flight of uneven stairs was worth the walk (we made Tristan walk so our backs wouldn’t break), and we were able to take beautiful family photos. It was very cold and windy when we went so my teeth were chattering haha, but Carlos and Tristan loved it.

15:30-16:30 Shopping at Tai Yuen Street

Located in Wan Chai, this street is also known as “Toy Street”–it is where kids and adults alike could find anything and everything toy related. From limited-edition collectibles to popular low-priced toys, you can find it all here. Tristan went crazy here, but funnily enough, when we made him choose between a huge Takara Tommy parking lot (with elevator and cars) and a tiny green racing car, he choose the green car! He really knows what he wants haha!

17:00-18:00 Stroll along Lee Tung Avenue

The former ‘Wedding Card Street’ has been transformed into a European-style street with plenty of fusion restaurants, open air cafes and specialty shops. We found a place that sells incredible coffee (Omotesando Koffee), all-natural, delicately flavored iced cream that’s scooped into a pretty flower (Givres), and a potato chip brand that carries all the hard-to-find chocolates and snacks, and makes fresh potato chips (Calbee).

Also, just in the Basement of Lee Tung Avenue is Kung Fu Tea House. They sell delicious traditional tea leaves and flowers here, and even show you how to serve it so you get the best taste. No need to cream and sugar (or Stevia for us) when you take their teas.

19:00-20:30 Dinner in Soho, Central

Choose from a wide variety of restaurants near the Mid-Levels Escalators. They have quality food at different prices.


07:30-08:30 Breakfast at hotel.

09:00 Take the Southern Island Line to Ocean Park

There is now an easier way to get to Ocean Park as the MTR has recently opened a line that goes directly to the amusement park. My family and I tried it, and it really was so convenient. From Central, we went down on Causeway Bay then took a connecting line to Ocean Park. So easy!

09:30-15:30 Leisure and amusement at Ocean Park

It was our first time to visit Ocean Park so it was quite an exciting experience for us. We strolled through Hong Kong of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s and visited Aqua City, The Grand Aquarium, The Lagoon, The Rainforest, Pacific Pier, Sea Jelly Spectacular, and Ocean Theater. We really enjoyed, although it was super cold and it rained! When its started pouring, we stayed indoors and checked out the impressive aquariums and different species of sea creatures. Carlos is an avid fan of fish, so he gave us a quick lesson on the different kids of aquatic life. What Tristan really enjoyed though, were the carnival-style games where you can win a stuffed toy. He really tried his best to win, and when he won (he took home a giant ‘chicken’) he didn’t even want the prize, he just wanted to play some more. Oh, and try the food at Neptune’s Restaurant–it is so nice to eat while watching the huge fish swimming across the gigantic aquarium. We ordered steak and salmon, and Tristan got chicken fingers and spaghetti from the kiddie menu.

Address: Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong Island

Tel: +852 3923 2323


16:00-17:10 Discover Hong Kong’s Living History with the TramOramic Tour

I’ve never really appreciated the tram until I rode this tour. It was quite a fascinating sightseeing tour through old Hong Kong. We hopped aboard a 1920s-style open top tram and saw the bustling streets, ultra-modern cityscapes and attractions. I learned that the tramway is a living, evolving connection between Hong Kong’s colorful history and modern culture. And for me, the TramOmatic Tour is one of the top things to do in Hong Kong for anyone who’d love to know more about the city. P.S. Tristan was knocked out the entire time, but I think he really would’ve enjoyed it. Next time!

17:20-18:30 Shopping at Jardine’s Crescent 

It is just a stone’s throw away from the major shopping malls, and it is great because it delivers a completely different shopping experience. It is actually just a narrow alley, but this roadside market is lined with tiny stalls that offer clothing, accessories, household items and handicrafts.

How to get there: MTR Causeway Bay Station Exit F1, walk for about one minute

Shopping at Hysan Place

Hysan Place is a great place to shop–what I like about it is the natural light, lush greenery, high ceilings and open storefronts. And it is right in the heart of Causeway Bay!

Address: Hysan Place, 500 Hennessy Road, East Point, Hong Kong

Tel: +852 2886 7222


19:00-20:30 Dinner at Jaime’s Italian

This authentic Italian restaurant by famous chef Jaime Oliver is so good, and it is very family-friendly. It provides a children’s playgroup and it aims to bring fresh and traditional Italian dishes to Hong Kong. Some of their signature dishes include the Tagliatelle Bolognese, Italian-Spiced Chicken Wings, Steak and Pork Chops. Tip: Make sure to reserve in advance as it can get quite full.

Address: 2/F Soundwill Plaza 2 – Midtown, 1-29 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay

Tel: +852 3958 2222


How to get there: MTR Causeway Bay Station Exit C, walk for about four minutes


08:00-09:00 Breakfast at hotel

10:00-18:00 Leisure, amusement and lunch at Hong Kong Disneyland

The last day was really for Tristan. After taking him on a “local” tour, we decided to spend a day at the happiest place in Hong Kong. It was our third time here, but it never fails to put a smile on our faces. We definitely enjoyed the kiddie rides and the Mickey Mouse shaped food, as well as the Disney parade! We spent the whole day here (we left our luggage in the paid lockers), and went straight to the airport. It was the perfect way to end our amazing Hong Kong family vacation.

I hope you find this itinerary useful! I think its a great way to see the city, especially if you’ve already been to Hong Kong a few times before. We definitely felt more like locals, not tourists as we explored more of what Hong Kong has to offer. Leave a comment below to let me know what you think!

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