From ultra-modern architecture to traditional wet markets, uber luxury to wild mountain trails, Hong Kong is the perfect Instagram city. Everywhere you turn, it seems like there’s something you absolutely have to snap and share. East and West, old and new, glitzy and grimy, chic and cute, the list goes on.

If you’ve travelled to Hong Kong before, you’ve probably already filled your feed with more views from The Peak, rickety trams, and delicate dim sum than you’d care to admit. In which case, it’s probably time to move away from the tourist hotspots, and on to the local gems and the lesser-known sights. Here are a few best-kept secrets that some friends in Hong Kong slipped us.

Bespoke coffee in vintage teacups at Halfway Coffee

halfway coffee custom espresso machine in hong kong halfway coffee custom espresso machine in hong kong

With their custom-designed espresso machine, Halfway Coffee’s brews taste as good as they look! Image credit: Hong Kong Living

Mismatched chairs, exposed concrete and bricks, and their signature coffee in vintage porcelain Chinese tea cups. There’s something innately charming and quirky about the way Halfway Coffee presents itself. Head up to the dusty antique shops of Upper Lascar Row in Sheung Wan (an attraction in Hong Kong that’s worth a visit in itself), and you’ll find it halfway up one of the side alleys, hence the name. It’s as if they just picked a bunch of stuff from their neighbours and set up shop. The result? A mismatching visual experiment that ‘grams perfectly. But don’t just snap and go, you must savour their brews. They are serious about their coffee (their espresso machine is custom-designed), and while you can’t go wrong with classics like a Latte or Flat White, why not be a bit adventurous and give their Rose Latte or Black Sugar Latte a try?

 

Halfway Coffee

Address: 26 Upper Lascar Row, Sheung Wan

Opening hours: 8:00am to 6:00pm daily

半路咖啡

上環摩羅上街26號華冠大廈地鋪

The ‘other’ sunset money-shot at Braemar Hill (寶馬山)

It’s always so satisfying to take an iconic shot with your monopod from a whole different angle and get “Where did you take that from?!?” in the comments section of your social post. So instead of repeating that “sunset cityscape” snap from The Peak again, go for an easy hike up Braemar Hill, or at the locals call it, Red Incense Burner Summit (紅香爐峰) in Hong Kong. There are multiple hidden viewpoints with beautiful views along the way, but you’ll have to veer off the main path and onto offshoot trails to find them. As they say, fortune favours the bold!

 

Red Incense Burner Summit

  • From Admiralty MTR station, take the 24M minibus to Mount Butler Block C & D.
  • Enter “Red Incense Burner Summit” into your map app and follow the trail to the top.
  • To leave, walk down 2 minutes to St. Joan of Arc Secondary School, and take any of a number of buses and minibuses back to the city area.

An Art Nouveau cocktail at Dragonfly

Walk into Dragonfly, and you’ll question whether you’re still in Hong Kong, or have been transported back to early 1900’s New York. Inspired by Art Nouveau artist Louis Comfort Tiffany (of the Tiffany & Co. family), everything you see in this bar has been custom crafted to create a one-of-a-kind experience (and photo op). Finish off your day of exploration by digging into the drinks list, and discover their bartender’s equally eclectic creations. If you want to dive fully into the Art Nouveau theme, their Gilded Age Sazerac (S$22.20) is on point. But if you want something truly original, their Dragon’s Pearls (S$23.90) is cheeky alcoholic bubble milk tea that’s creamy and smooth with just the right notes of jasmine. Add this to your list of bars to visit in Hong Kong when you next travel with your buddies!

 

Dragonfly

Address: Shop 10 – G1, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central

Opening hours: 5pm to midnight daily

Dragonfly

中環荷李活道10號大館10座地下

Geological and archaeological treasures at Tung Ping Chau (東平洲)

Gleaming skyscrapers and roaring traffic? Not in this remote corner of Hong Kong. The island of Tung Ping Chau (not to be confused with the better-known and more accessible Peng Chau) isn’t just a getaway from the city, it’s also a photographer’s wonderland. Here, you will uncover unique (and surprisingly photogenic) geological formations, and a number of ghost villages. Hike through these abandoned hamlets that are fast becoming reclaimed by nature and bring out your inner urban decay aficionado. 

A visit to this place requires a bit of planning; ferries only run on weekends and public holidays, with only one returning ferry at 5:15pm (make sure you don’t miss it). The island is also physically closer to mainland China than the rest of Hong Kong, so your phone might switch to a China network. To avoid that, pre-load your map and turn off your mobile network when you get there, and be sure to carry along a powerbank so you always have enough battery.

 

Tung Ping Chau

From University MTR Station Exit B, take a taxi to Ma Liu Shui Ferry Pier (馬料水).

The ferry (HKD90 ~ S$15.6 return) only runs on weekends and public holidays, with only one or two trips per day, so make sure to check the schedules here.

Revitalised industrial-chic at The Mills (南豐紗廠)

exhibition of local artists’ works at the mills, hong kong exhibition of local artists’ works at the mills, hong kong

The ever-changing exhibitions at The Mills feature works of local artists with a key focus on textiles. Image credit: The Mills 南豐紗廠

There’s never really been a reason for a non-resident like yourself to go to the district of Tsuen Wan, until now. Originally a cotton mill in the 1960’s, The Mills is now an arts and culture hub. As you explore its cavernous industrial aesthetic for some grand photo ops, it’s the abundance of little design details waiting to be discovered that will enchant the avid Instagrammer in you.

Beyond the six artists’ murals by the entrance and its grand industrial-chic aesthetic, it’s filled with hidden gems celebrating local arts and culture. For those thinking about what to do in Hong Kong that gives them a taste of the city’s finest, a visit to The Mills is a must. One of the coolest is Think Of A Style, a little shop that serves as a platform for local artists to showcase and sell their works.

 

The Mills

Address: 45 Pak Tin Par Street, Tsuen Wan (Short walk via covered walkways from Tsuen Wan MTR Station Exit A3 or Tsuen Wan West MTR Station Exit A2)

Opening hours: 10:00am to 10:00pm daily

南豐紗廠

荃灣白田壩街45號南豐紗廠4樓

This is just the start

There are many more charming districts like Choi Hung (彩虹) or Sham Shui Po (深水埗) for you to explore, scenic trails like the Dragon’s Back to hike, and a constant stream of new cafés, bars and shops in Hong Kong that will open your eyes. But most importantly, just explore. You might just  find a new gem to add to this list. And if you’re all about travelling off the beaten path, there are plenty of hidden spots around the world to ignite the wanderlust in you! 

Social distancing restrictions may change from time to time, remember to check with the venues in advance just to be sure and use Hong Kong’s Leave Home Safe app for contact tracing. You should also review the latest travel advisories before your departure to Hong Kong.

 

For more updates on Changi Airport, follow on FacebookInstagramTwitterTelegramTikTok and YouTube. You can also sign up for a Changi Account and have the latest news and articles delivered right into your inbox.

Shop before you fly!

Shop 30 days in advance and up to 12 hours before your flight at the comfort of your own home. Plus, enjoy tax and duty-free prices and online-exclusive offers. Shop now at iShopChangi!

Be rewarded when you shop at Changi!

Leap into a world of exclusive privileges as a Changi Rewards member. Enjoy GST-absorption for your purchases at participating outlets in the public areas of the airport and more. Sign up for the FREE membership here.

WiFi routers, currency exchange, travel insurance, attraction tickets and more!

Specially curated to meet your travelling needs, Changi Recommends offers an extensive range of travel necessities such as WiFi routers, currency exchange, travel insurance and more to help you get ready for your holiday. Shop now at Changi Recommends!

Best time to visit

The best times to visit Hong Kong would be in Spring (March to May) and Autumn (September to November), where the weather is cooler and less humid. 

Currency

The official currency of Hong Kong is the Hong Kong Dollar (HKD)

Book when borders open

You can get to Hong Kong in 3hr 45mins via direct flights from Singapore. Book your flights on Singapore Airlines or Cathay Pacific.