Living in Singapore we are perfectly placed to springboard into a range of weekend wonders. This weekend we headed to Hong Kong.
There is an entire top "must-see" list, which we've included below, but for bite-sized Hong Kong there is nothing better than to plan your weekend around food:
The hidden gem. You probably wouldn't stumble upon Upper Modern Bistro unless you had take a wrong turn - it's in a quiet back street in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Island. However, what it lacks in location it makes up for in attention to detail, and attention to its customers. As a family with young children we're probably not always the easiest of diners to cater for; someone is allergic to mushrooms, someone is allergic to shellfish, both of which are plentiful on the menu.
However, every care was made to suit our needs. Great charcuterie, super cheeses, lamb cooked to perfection, and a chocolate dessert that kept the children happy. A modern French bistro fused with international flare.
Upper Modern Bistro, 6-14 Upper Station Street, Sheung Wan, www.upper-bistro.com
The rainbow views. Aqua is an Italian and Japanese restaurant on the 29th and 30th floors of One Peking Road with a sense of occasion. It's Chinese sister restaurant occupies the same building. This is the place to see the sun set and watch the rainbow lights and lasers reflect in the Victoria Harbour. Unfortunately the service wasn't great the night we went (our table wasn’t ready, our wine wasn’t delivered until after our main course had been cleared) but there’s a fantastic view. The food is artfully created, with subtle flavours, but don’t expect plates piled high.
Aqua, 29 & 30 Floors, One Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Trendy tapas. Ship Street, in Wan Chai, is a destination that offers a range of culinary delights in the hustle and bustle of a nightlife hub. After a busy day sightseeing we were in need of what the Ham and Sherry had to offer; a cosy nook, a decent glass of Rioja and traditional tapas. Iberian ham, garlic fries and Manchego with quince. What's not to like? The only downside: it's a little place so go early if you don't want to get too cosy, and mind how many tempting dishes you order. It's not cheap eats.
Ham & Sherry, 1-7 Ship Streep, Wan Chai.
Sightseeing: 48 hours in Hong Kong
Friday: Day trip to Stanley on the south side of the island. Wander around the market and boardwalk to Blake Pier. Past Murray House, a forest path winds up the hill through Ma Hang Park. There are some great sea views and secluded beaches to explore, as well as the tiny Pak Tai Temple, built in 1805.
Getting there: Take the Island MTR line all the way to Chai Wan and outside the station take the 16X minibus to Stanley Market. To return pick up the minibus at the America point.
Saturday: Day trip to the island of Lantau, visiting the Big Buddha and the fishing village of Tai O. Take the MTR to Tung Chung. A Holiday 360 tour package includes return cable car to the top of the mountain and Ngong Ping heritage village, coach and guide to Tai O village and boat trip to see stilt houses and pink dolphins. You can buy tickets at the cable car terminus in Tung Chung.
Sunday: Tram to the top of Victoria Peak for a breakfast with a view. Go early to beat the queues. The tram station is in Garden Road, a short walk from Admiralty or Central MTR stations.
Heart of city: Victoria Harbour, linking Kowloon and the island. Take a seat on upper deck of trams to get the best views. Buy a rechargeable Octopus card, which allows you to use most forms of public transport.
Staying longer in Hong Kong?
Things to do:
· Wander around the regentrified area of Wan Chai.
· Museum of Coastal Defence. Half ruined British fortifications at eastern entrance to Victoria Harbour. Built more than 100 years ago it was formerly known as the Lei Yue Mun Fort.
· Cross the harbour between Kowloon and the island. Star Ferry or Aqua Luna, a replicate of a traditional Chinese ship with restaurant.
· Cable car to Ocean Park. A theme park on the south side of the island.
· Hong Kong Park and Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware (10 Cotton Tree Drive) Lock Cha Tea House next door.
· Disneyland: One day ticket HK$450 (35GBP) for adults, HK$320 (25GBP) for children. Hong Kong Disneyland is located on Lantau Island, 20 minutes from Hong Kong International Airport and is a 30-minute MTR (Mass Transit Railway) ride from Central, Hong Kong.
More stories on Hong Kong:
The meaning of travel: sitting still and absorbing life.