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Hong Kong
Photograph: Calvin Sit Nathan Road, Yau Ma Tei

A local’s guide to the best places to eat, drink, and shop in Hong Kong

Soon we'll be able to travel leisurely between Singapore and Hong Kong

By Time Out editors
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After months of playing tourist in our own cities (with a mask on at all times), Singapore's Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung announced the developing agreement of a travel bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong. This would mean that travellers under this arrangement do not have to be quarantined when they arrive in their destination city – but must test negative for Covid-19 prior to the flight. There will also be restrictions on flights – transit passengers cannot board the same plane as travellers going between the two cities. 

When in Hong Kong, there will be no restrictions to travellers' itineraries or on the purpose of their travel but you will have to follow rules and regulations when it comes to wearing a mask at all times and safe-distancing in shops, restaurants and public places of course.  

The situation is still work in progress and no date has been officially announced for when this will happen – but we're hoping for the best outcome. And the possibility of some much-deserved travelling for the end-year holidays. 

To get you inspired for the end of the year, we’ve asked our friends from Time Out Hong Kong to put together an insider’s tip on the best things to do, eat, drink and see in the city. 

RECOMMENDED: Time Out Hong Kong social distancing guide

Where to stay

House 1881
House 1881
Photograph: Courtesy House 1881

Hong Kong offers a lot of great hotels and themed staycations for an excellent weekend rest or an extended stay. Craving for a vacation with a dose of vitamin sea? Check out Hong Kong's guide to the 10 beachside hotels in the city where the main attraction is the beach and picturesque view more than a five-star accommodation.

If your idea of a great vacation is a cool dip in a fancy swimming pool surrounded by luxurious lounges and million-dollar harbour views, then swim away in some of the best scenic hotel pools in Hong Kong. And if you're hankering for an invigorating R&R, these roundup of hotel deals integrate health and wellness into all aspects of your stay.  

For couples visiting the city, click here to check the best romantic hotels in Hong Kong. And if you are looking for places with more than just a little fresh air and great accommodation to offer, book a vacation with a touch of Hong Kong history at these hotels offering a heritage experience and a relaxing retreat

Where to eat

Dim sum
Dim sum
Photograph: Chris Chan

Much like Singapore, Hong Kong is without a doubt one of the top culinary capitals in the world. The city offers a wide variety of cuisines and restaurants, from Michelin-starred fine dining establishment to the local’s favourite cha chaan teng cafes and bakeries, to restaurants that serve the best dim sum and other foods that are truly unique to Hong Kong; be it a classic bowl of wonton noodles, Hong Kong-style milk tea, or even cart noodles. If you want a side of history with your meal, check out the oldest restaurants in Hong Kong too.

Not forgetting that Hong Kong also offers some of the best afternoon tea options outside of England, the city is full of dining options for any time of the day. And when the weather’s good, why not dine alfresco and enjoy the open air at the best restaurants with outdoor seating or head a little further out to these beachside bars and restaurants.

And yes, Hong Kong’s dining scene is exciting – it’s dynamic and perpetually buzzing with new venues and events happening left right and centre. But it can be difficult to keep up, even for a local. But don’t worry, we hear you, and have compiled lists for the best new restaurants and menus that we update regularly to keep you abreast of all the latest and greatest foods in the city to try. Or if you’re having a hard time choosing, aim to go through the most comprehensive list of our best restaurants in Hong Kong, and you’ll be just fine. Happy eating!

Where to drink

The Diplomat
The Diplomat
Photograph: Ashlyn Chiak

Winter is fast approaching, and Hong Kong's top mixologists and sommeliers are shakin' up new and exciting libations for thirsty imbibers. Be sure to check out this regularly updated list of the best happy hour deals, guest bar shifts, and pop-ups in the city. Want to get to know the city one sip at a time? Here's a roundup of some of the best quintessentially Hong Kong cocktails, and where you can find them in the city. And whether you want a fancy cocktail at a speakeasy-style bar, a bottle of biodynamic wine, a hazy IPA at a craft beer joint, a cold fizzy G&T, a dram of IB or NAS whisky, or something else entirely, there is a lot of spots to discover for great drinks in Hong Kong. Our local insiders have put their livers on the line to deliver you a definitive list of the 50 best Hong Kong bars to visit in Hong Kong for 2020

Hong Kong's skyline is legendary. Centred on Victoria Harbour is a nightly festival of neon and LED lights flickering against glass towers and the best spot to experience this is to get a seat at the best rooftop bars that offer some jaw-dropping views of the city. 

There's also been an influx of contemporary cafes in Hong Kong where locals from different parts of the city flock to for a quick caffeine fix. If you're in search of cafes that will not only fulfil your caffeine hit but also satiate your Instagram fix, Hong Kong has everything from hipster spots to hidden gems. This guide will inspire you to visit Hong Kong's ever-growing list of cafes and coffee shop

Where to shop

Cat Street Antique Market
Cat Street Antique Market
Photograph: Shutterstock

For a geographically tiny city, Hong Kong's got an incredible range of shopping malls, boutique stores, and street markets that specialise in everything from cheap electronics, sustainable products, authentic Chinese knick-knacks, and various homegrown products. From the dozens of malls scattered across the city to independent shops tucked away at every corner, there are plenty of shops in Hong Kong to put your coin to work. Whether you’re shopping for vintage streetwear, hottest kicks in town, or looking to get your hands on stylish home decor, readying your feet and your wallets as shopping can be an incredibly exhausting exercise. 

Offering more than just shopping, these hybrid cafe stores allow you to get your caffeine dose while browsing through books, fashionable items, and quirky lifestyle goods. We’ve also compiled a list of of the latest word-of-mouth recommendations and Insta-famous shops that are all tucked away somewhere up in a building or hidden around a quiet corner. Before you head out for some retail therapy, make sure to have some of these essential Hong Kong gadgets to help you survive the city. If you're looking for the latest retail products that launched in the city, check out this regularly updated list of recommendations from the editors of Time Out Hong Kong

Things and places to see

Sheung Luk Stream
Sheung Luk Stream
Photograph: Cindy Ng

Bars, museums, attractions, art galleries and a whole lot of shopping – you name it, it’s in our countdown of the best things to do in HK. We have a comprehensive guide of the best Instagrammable spots in town, the best neighbourhoods to visit – make sure to hit up Sham Shui Po, Time Out's third coolest neighbourhoods in the world for 2020 – and the 50 incredible things to do in Hong Kong

As the city welcomes the festive season, get updated on the latest events happening in town and add a bit of culture to your visit and check out our pick of the best art exhibitions in Hong Kong. The city's weather is getting cooler, so it's also the perfect time to hit the outdoors – well when it's not pouring down with rain – and explore some of the city's secret islands, epic waterfalls, and beautiful hiking trails in Kowloon and on Hong Kong Island. The city also offers off the beaten track experiences that you would never imagine actually exists in Hong Kong. Check out four local villages on the verge of disappearance, the best scenic bus rides in Hong Kong, the most haunting abandoned places in Hong Kong, and surprise yourself with some unexpected adventures

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