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Going local in Hong Kong

It’s hard to know where to begin with a city as diverse as Hong Kong, but to make your explorations easier, we’re highlighting five of the city’s must-visit neighbourhoods. These neighbourhoods each have their own personalities, but together they represent Hong Kong at its most dynamic. Even if you don’t stray from this itinerary, you’ll still get to experience lively street market shopping, super-cool nightlife venues, and some of Hong Kong’s best tourist sights.

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Kwun Tong

Located just East of the Kowloon Peninsula, the neighbourhood of Kwun Tong is among Hong Kong’s most vibrant enclaves. Formerly an industrial area, Kwun Tong has lately undergone a cultural revival, driven by the artists, designers, and entrepreneurs who flocked to the area for its abundance of space and cheap rents. Now, Kwun Tong offers up everything from rooftop farms and trendy eateries to design workshops and other creative spaces.

A neighbourhood guide to Hong Kong’s Kwun Tong district

Mong Kok

On the western edge of the Kowloon Peninsula, you’ll find Mong Kok: busy, frenetic, and unabashedly dynamic. Shopping is the order of the day in this part of town, and street markets dominate; the bustling Ladies’ Market, beautiful Flower Market, and niche Goldfish Market all call Mong Kok home. Brave the crowds and hit the streets, and after you’ve picked up some treasures, indulge in some street food, too.

A shopping guide to Hong Kong

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Sheung Wan

Sheung Wan, located on Hong Kong Island, is where to go if you want to rub shoulders with the city’s hipster set. It has all the hallmarks of contemporary urban trendiness. Think: buzzing bars and late-night lounges, as well as its street art, third-wave espresso shops, and hidden basement cocktail bars. Though it’s thriving by day, Sheung Wan really comes into its own after dark.

Lan Kwai Fong

Located in the Central area of Hong Kong Island, the petite district of Lan Kwai Fong may only comprise a small collection of streets, but it has quite the reputation. After World War II, the district was known primarily for its hawker centres, but today it’s a favourite expat haunt famous for its vibrant nightlife scene, with close to 100 bars and restaurants crammed into the space of a few blocks.

Tsim Sha Tsui

Few other areas of Hong Kong are as popular as Tsim Sha Tsui. Located on the southern end of the Kowloon Peninsula, just a quick ferry ride from Hong Kong Island, Tsim Sha Tsui is full of cultural attractions, from the Hong Kong Museum of Art and Hong Kong Cultural Centre to Kowloon Park and the Avenue of Stars. From the Tsim Sha Tsui Public Pier, you can also hop on board a red-sailed junk boat for a trip around the Harbour.

Image credits: View of Victoria Harbour from Causeway Bay © Lauren Moore, all other imagery © iStock