As its name implies, this is centre of Hong Kong Island. It's the business and retail district, crammed with skyscrapers and malls, luxury boutiques and swanky hotels. What ever your plans you'll end up passing through here multiple times during your stay.
Lan Kwai Fong (LKF)
The next neighbourhood is Lank Kwai Fong, widely referred to as LKF, is the beating heart of Hong Kong's nightlife. The main streets to head towards are the L shaped D'Aguilar Street and Wyndham Street. These streets are packed with dark bars and loud clubs, all huddled together and stacked on top of each other.
With no laws against drinking on the street in Hong Kong, the party is probably more lively on the streets than indoors. And it's at this moment, as you're lightly moving with the music, shouting to be heard above it, that someone will, undoubtably, introduce you to the pinnacle of Hong Kong's drinking culture. Club 7eleven.
7eleven's scatter the city, and at night they offer the cheapest drinking option. Students and expats looking for a cheap night out affectionately refer dipping out of a club or bar to buy a drink at the store as going to 'Club 7eleven'. There's some local knowledge for you.
SoHo - short for South Hollywood Road, is a stones throw away from LKF. SoHo is the calmer, more sophisticated, cooler LKF.
Hong Kong has an enormous choice when it comes to restaurants, but if you are struggling to think of where to go to eat, go here. SoHo is stuffed full of trendy, cool, independent bars and small edgy restaurants. You could almost eat around the world on these streets, it's packed with both local and foreign restaurants, you'll be able to satisfy any craving.
Some favourites are:
Bep Vietnamese Kitchen
Jashan Indian Cuisine
If you keep walking on from SoHo you'll hit Sheung Wan. Central, LKF, SoHo and Sheung Wan are all in close walking distance. Sheung Wan is a lovely mix of trendy and traditional. If you are walking in the area check out Ko Shing Street, also known as Medicine Street, it’s full of Chinese herbal medicine shops. Just interesting to pop your head in. Man Mo Temple is also here. There are also some little antique shops in the area on Hollywood Road (aka Antique Street) and Upper Lascar Row (aka Cat Street). You can find inexpensive carvings, ornaments, coins and pottery around here.
Wan Chai has been home to Hong Kong's red light district since the 1900's, but as gentrification starts to take hold, the area is being rebranded as a hipster and upmarket centre. During the day you can stroll along the Wan Chai Heritage Trail which takes arounds 2 hours, and is split into two parts, cultural and architectural. Click here for a map of the trail.
But at night Wan Chai transforms, especially on Wednesdays when women drink for free, into a non stop party. Head towards Lockhart Road, and the crossroads of Luard Road and Fenwick Street - the drinks here cost about half the price as those in. If you want to grab a drink with a view, check out Wooloomooloo. Click here for the Website.
Across the water from Hong Kong Island is an area called Kowloon. In places Hong Kong Island can feel sometimes surprisingly Eurocentric, where as Kowloon is more able to escape this.
The easiest way to cross the water is either by taking the MTR (subway/metro/underground) or take the Star Ferry from Victoria Harbour to Tsim Sha Tsui (TST)
Tsim Sha Tsui
TST offers one of the most iconic views of Hong Kong's skyline from Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade and the Avenue of Stars. Without a doubt the best time to visit is 8pm, which is when the nightly Symphony of Lights Show starts, and is well worth a watch.
Hong Kong is also famous for its neon signs that started to pop up after World War Two, which are now slowly starting to disappear. But before they vanish and get replaced by the less atmospheric LED lights, visit Nathan Road which probably has the most overwhelming collection of neon signs.
Also, if you have a craving for Korean food, head to Kimberly Road which is also known as Korea Street.
Mong Kok's densely populated streets, and bright neon signs hanging from every free inch of wall space helped inspire the movie Blade Runner, which in itself is a reason to visit.
But Mong Kok is also the neighbourhood with the majority of Hong Kong's markets.
I have marked all the locations of the markets on the map.