Hong Kong for Kids

Hong Kong as we know it is one of the destinations for its entrancing shopping belts and Michelin-Starred Dim Sums. Pity we will not be able to dine at Bo Innovation nor can we shop every nook and corner of Harbour City.  买东西吃东西 is the tagline for travellers without young children.

Besides not being able to bask in Hong Kong as it should be, I cannot mention enough that it has the toughest transportation system for families with young children. There can be 10 exits and entrances to a MTR station but zero elevator to transport strollers from basement to ground level (or vice versa). We flew up in summer at 33 degree celcius. We must be out of our minds to choose Hong Kong for Faye’s first trip out! But, as your family grows and your social life starts to diminish, you will say YES to any travel opportunity with friends.

After becoming a SAHM, my social life is stuck within the virtual world (Facebook, Blog, Instagram and WhatsApp) while my husband’s social life is close to naught. So when we found out that our friends were going to Hong Kong, we booked our tickets the very next hour! Despite the weather, uneven pavements, the transportation obstacle and the invasion of their new unwelcome citizens, we flew to Hong Kong! WooHoo!
I shan’t lie. Traveling with children is a tiring affair. If you usually take four days to a holiday, do add one or two more extra days. Doing so, you will be able to cover more at a less hectic pace. If I had two more days, I would have gone to the night street markets, temples, bird, fish and flower markets and of course yam cha a little more often. 
I am here to to encourage parents who are yearning for a holiday to Hong Kong but have no courage whatsoever. Do note that it will only be enjoyable if you embrace your children as part of your travels and not fault them for getting in your way. These are my personal take-aways from two seperate August trips (2013 and 2014): 
1. Star Ferry

I find the Star Ferry very retro and I love everything in period style. It has been transporting passengers since 1888. When we walked up the steps towards the waiting area, I felt as if I was in the thick of a Hong Kong drama. We stayed near the Star Ferry terminal and it was an easy commute between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. At least in our opinions, it was more enjoyable than the MTR. The cool salty breeze in our hair, the skylines and a very satisfied toddler who shouts “Boat Boat Boat!” when he sees one.

In 2013, the Star Ferry was still pretty much wheel-chair and stroller unfriendly. This year when we returned, they have renovated the terminals to include lifts and ramps. Hooray! Did you know that National Geographic rates the Star Ferry crossing as one of 50 “places of a lifetime”?

How to Get There: 
Choose from 3 piers for the travels”
1) Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry Pier
2) Wan Chai Star Ferry Pier
3) Central Star Ferry Pier

Opening Hours: 
0730 to 2300 hours

Web: 
http://www.starferry.com.hk/en/home

2. MTR


The MTR is just like your metro at home. So what’s the hype? Well, my son loves trains too. So, travelling on an underground railway is a form of attraction to him. Besides, we would really like to experience the hardship of carrying two kids in and out of jam-packed carriages. We want to go local! Breathe and Live Hong Kong! Crowded trains make nice pictures anyways.

There are a list of MTR guide map apps for Android and iPhone. Download one before you go!

3. Tramways

This is one ride we cannot miss. Singapore no longer have buses on the roads that run on electrical wires and tracks. We had to bring Ewan to sit on one and show him the transportation from the past. Real-life lessons are most invaluable. We sat at the bottom level because we were heading towards the Mid-Level Escalators which was only two stops away from where we boarded. Wished we had a bit more time to ride to nowhere on this one.

Do note though that the tramways are available only on Hong Kong Island. You won’t be able to find any in Kowloon.

How to Get There: 
Board at any tram stop in Hong Kong Island

Opening Hours: 
0500 to 0000 hours

Web: 
http://www.hktramways.com/en/index.html

4. Mid-Level Escalators

Starting from Queen’s Road Central’s Central Market is the Central Mid-Level’s Escalator. The Escalator is 800m long and it is the world’s longest outdoor covered escalator. Alright, not only does my son has a fetish for transportation rides, he loves riding on escalators as well. This is the reason why I added this on the list of to-go this year. When we arrived, my husband exclaimed, “Seriously What? You brought us all the way here to take the travelator?” Oh yes I did! It made Ewan really happy. He just want to keep going and going and going but we had to stop him because it goes only one way. Up. You have to walk the stairs to go all the way down!

Now don’t fret. Along the way, you can see the local shops to the mid-levels where the rich reside. The escalator consists of several sub-escalators so you can always stop halfway to have dinner at the many restaurants along the road.

How to Get There: 
MTR Central Exit D2, turn right on Queen’s Road Central and head towards Central Market

Opening Hours: 
6am to 10am, downwards; 10am to 10pm, upwards

5. Ocean Park

Everyone must have forgotten about Ocean Park since Disneyland arrived in Hong Kong. I personally find Ocean Park more suitable for children because it is not necessarily filled with rides like Disneyland which requires a height limit for all. Any 2-year-old who goes to Disneyland would probably be able to enjoy ONLY the carousal and taking pictures with the characters. While at Ocean Park, they can ride the cable cars (Ewan loves the Sentosa cable cars so much that daddy had to make a song for him), watch giant pandas (if you know Ewan, you will know he loves pandas to the moon and back), walk the aquarium (he is learning about the underwater animals and shown great interest in them) and enjoy the animal shows. It is definitely more educational than Disneyland. Sorry Mickey lovers!

If you are going with friends and family, they may be able to babysit your kiddos while you go on the roller coaster. Oh there are funfair games and ferris wheel as well! Well, I’m for Ocean Park any day.

Plan your visit well to coincide with show times and of course your kids’ nap times.

How to Get There: 
Take a cab!
Opening Hours: 
1030 to 1900 hours
Web: 
6. Disneyland

We brought Ewan to Disneyland in 2013. Not a suitable theme park for one year olds especially when he was never introduced to Mickey Mouse prior to that. It was more for his parents who wanted a to relive their childhood again. To be honest, he literally sat only on the carousal.

It is the nearest Disneyland to us and it is beautifully constructed. The chirpy music in the background and the Disney characters make you feel like a child again. Ya! Even if you were 60! Sadly, the tourists that join you in the queue are not the best. To be honest, you might end up getting cheesed off by the Chinese influx. They have no concept of queuing and shouting is their way of speech. I have nothing against my own people (yes, they are Chinese and So Am I) but seriously? Lying their way to cut in line and making such a big fuss just to save 5 minutes? *rolls eyes*

It was no fun getting pushed around. I look forward to the Disneylands in Japan and Los Angeles.

However, if you are still going, I recommend staying at the Disneyland Hotel. You will get to see the characters at breakfast and take your time to explore Disneyland in 2 days rather than pushing your day through in 1.

How to Get There: 
Take the Disneyland MTR line for the thrill! Change to the Disney train from Sunny Bay station.

Opening Hours: 
1000 to 1930 hours

Web: 
http://park.hongkongdisneyland.com/hkdl/en_US/home/home?name=HomePage

7. The Peak


Ooooo The Peak! A must-do! I have always enjoyed the Peak for its scenery, cool weather and touchable flurry clouds. Everything there from the transport up is an attraction. You’ve got the peak tram, Madame Tussauds, shopping (there’s a GOD outlet!), nature walks and a great array of food  (Tai Cheong Bakery for egg tarts too).

Ewan enjoyed running around the open spaces the most. If you find the peak tram too difficult to handle with strollers and younger kids, take a taxi! Hassle-free.

How to Get There: 
Take the Peak Tram at the peak tram lower terminus at Garden Road, walkable from Central MTR

Opening Hours: 
Peak Tram 0700 to 0000 hours

Web: 
http://www.thepeak.com.hk/en/

8. Symphony of Lights

The Symphony of Lights is on nightly at 8pm. It involves more than 40 buildings on both sides of the harbour. The crowd is thick so do go early to land yourself in front-row stands. Stay around a little after the crowd disperse and you may enjoy some great music from buskers.

Alternatively, dine at the Intercontinental Hotel and you’ll enjoy the light show in the comfort of your dining table. No rush, no crowd.

How to Get There: 
Head to Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade from Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station Exit E

Opening Hours: 
2000 hours nightly

Consider these that we didn’t attempt too:
9. Yuen Po Street Bird Garden and Flower Market

In this enchanting corner of Mong Kok, you will find a handful of old men out ‘walking’ their caged songbirds. Stick around long enough and you should see birds being fed squirming caterpillars with chopsticks. It is open every day from 7am in the morning. It is not until later in the day that the Bird Garden becomes more active. Mid afternoon is generally the best time as this is when the songbirds are most active, depending on the time of the year, and the stalls are full of the sounds of their songs. Although the Garden itself doesn’t close until 8PM most stalls have shuttered by 6PM
Adjacent to the garden is the flower market , which theoretically keeps the same hours, but only gets busy after 10am.
10. Night Street Market

This rowdy thoroughfare in central Kowloon starts at Temple Street’s junction with Jordan Road, terminates five blocks north on Kansu Street and looks like every B-movie director’s dream of Chinatown. Hawkers flog everything from bizarre patent medicines to counterfeit watches. It won’t be easy to squeeze past the crowd but still, I find it a larger than life experience for my children. Opens their eyes to what is beyond their comfortable, air-conditioned and safe Singapore. 
12. Ngong Ping 360

Ngong Ping 360 is destined to be one of Hong Kong’s must see tourist attractions on Lantau Island. Ngong Ping Cable Car is a 5.7km cable car journey, travelling between Tung Chung Town Centre and Ngong Ping on Lantau Island. Visitors will enjoy panoramic views of the Hong Kong International Airport, South China Sea, the Tian Tan Buddha Statue, as well as the flora and fauna of North Lantau Country Park.

They have standard or crystal cabins you can choose from. Obviously, I would choose the crystal glass bottom cabins for the experience! The all new Ngong Ping 360 Crystal Cabin is designed to feast your eyes with an astonishing bird’s eye view. Feel the magic of the boundless sea and the rolling grassland slopes right underneath your feet. The new perspective allows you to look at an extraordinarily uncluttered scenery, as if you were flying. Such an amazing experience will undoubtedly spice up your Ngong Ping Cable Car journey.

WAIT UP! ONE BIG TIP! CHECK WITH YOUR HOTEL IF THEY HAVE FREE STROLLER RENTAL AND YOU CAN SAVE LUGGING ONE TO HONG KONG! 
That’s exactly what we did
Our little Travel companions
August 2013 – Ewan at 1 year old
August 2014 – Ewan at 2 years old and Faye at 3 months old
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A stay at home mum, blogging to widen her social life. We want to echo the sound of love through our lives to inspire other mothers alike.
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4 thoughts on “Hong Kong for Kids

  1. Hi May,
    Thank you for the informative post. I will be bringing my parents and my toddler son to HK in May, may i asked if you have any recommendation for hotels? i will be going to the places as suggested in your post as my son loves anything with wheels, i am sure he will be delighted to sit in the tram, bus and etc! hehe.

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  2. Hi Kate! Hotels-wise, I'm not too sure which are the really good ones with kids. We've stayed in Langham TST and Grand Hyatt Wanchai. They are both corporate hotels not very big on kids. But one thing we liked about Langham was they provide free stroller rental! Which means we don't have to lug a stiller with us up the plane. Anyways, check with whichever hotel you are going to book on the stroller rental. They might just have it =) Have fun!

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  3. Hi May, thank you for your reply. Yes, i am considering between Langham TST and Langham place at Mongkok. Both properties provide free stroller rental. For the Langham TST, may i ask how long is the walk from the hotel to TST MTR and the star ferry. I've tried looking online, be it tripadvisor or google map. Some said its just a 5 mins walk to TST Mtr and some said takes at least 10 mins. Because i am bringing seniors along, an extra 5 mins may mean a great deal to them. hehe. Would love to hear your opinion on the accessibility of this hotel. Thanks 🙂

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  4. Hey Kate. I hate it that I am always replying you this late! I've set new comments to be alerted but to no avail. Mmm i”ll work that out again.

    Well, it's really quite near to Star Ferry but a horrible distance to the MTR for Langham TST. I would say 5 minutes walk to Star Ferry yes yes.

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