Contrary to popular belief Hong Kong is really quite small, which means you can see a lot in very little time. Sure, it's surrounded by skyscrapers, five-star hotels and the more than seven million people who live there seem rush about everywhere, but by getting out of the airport—even on a short layover—it's quite easy to navigate.
To get the inside track on where to hang, eat and sweat, we looked to the intel of our local insider, Dervla Louli, the managing editor of Sassy Media Group. She knows the Causeway Bay neighbourhood around our newest showroom inside and out. We spent a day tagging along with her to discover our newest 'hood. Over to Dervla...
all images by Thurstan Redding
I start every morning with a cup of coffee and a 7:30am workout session at Crossfit Typhoon in Sai Ying Pun. I’ve gone nearly every morning since it opened in late June, and it is the most effective form of fitness I have found for my body. For my mind, though, a scenic run on Bowen Road is always ideal.
On the weekends, I like to spend time around the bustling district of Causeway Bay. This eclectic former fishing village always swarms with people, and is a hub for some of the best coffee, food and fashion that this city has to offer. Hong Kong’s iconic tram is my favourite form of transport, it's the only double-decker tram system in the world, and I love taking in the views from the top deck. It’s slow, but on the weekends it’s nice to take it easy in this hectic city of lights.
The Coffee Academics offers my cup of choice and the staff, atmosphere and mega breakfast menu there also make it a fave. It also has cool things for sale, you can even customize your own blend of beans, so I tend to pick up a gift or two for the other coffee lovers in my life.
Causeway Bay is home to Times Square, an epicentre of well-known stores and luxury brands. With its well-edited selection of designer threads, Lane Crawford is the go-to department store. You’ll usually find me browsing the shoe section, where from Valentino to Converse, there's something for every style and budget.
Island Beverly Mall is the best-kept secret on the island. Here you'll find tiny shops that sell everything imaginable—from eyeglasses to beauty products and everything in-between—at great prices. Some of my best wardrobe finds have come from this shopping mecca; it’s impossible to leave empty-handed.
I always like to pop into Basheer Design Book, a specialty bookstore, before heading to Midwest Vintage, one of Hong Kong’s first vintage stores. It's also worth checking out new accessories boutique Caty for colourful statement necklaces inspired by the likes of J.Crew, Kate Spade and Michael Kors.
Shopping has a tendency to make me hungry, and thankfully Taiwan’s Michelin Star restaurant, Din Tai Fung, is right around the corner to fill me up with beautifully wrapped dumplings and other Shanghainese delicacies. Peek into the windows to watch the chefs at work; the pan-fried shrimp dumplings and legendary soup-filled xiao long bao are two dishes that I order time and time again.
If you’re craving dessert, check out another Taiwanese import Coffee Alley for amazing waffles and ice-cream combos, perfect for a sweet tooth.
Stroll around Victoria Park and you're bound to spot Tai Chi being practiced by individuals or in organized classes. Keeping active is a large part of Hong Kong life and parks are always full of slow but enthusiastic joggers. (Note to visitors: running styles and outfits tend to vary!)
Sunset is the perfect time to hit a rooftop bar, take in the skyline and watch the city's night lights. I often head to Wooloomooloo Wan Chai for cocktails with friends —the Hennessy is my usual tipple of choice.
At 8pm, take in the Symphony Of Lights laser light show from our rooftop perch. After, I like to head to C’est La B in Tai Hang (Causeway Bay’s sleepier sister district) for delicious cakes from Bonnie Gokson of Ms. B’s Cakery—do try the 'Better Than Sex' chocolate cake.
Yoga is how I wind down from the day. I’m a longtime member of Pure Yoga, which conveniently has branches all over the city. Hot Flow is my class of choice, though I also like the late-night flow taught by Kelsea and Yaya, two American instructors with great energy, which I most definitely need when I find myself in the Wheel Pose in 40-degree heat.
Afterwards I'll grab a Vietnamese salad at MSG-free Noodlemi and chill out with a foot massage at Ten Feet Tall, before taking the Mid-Levels Escalator up the hill to my apartment on Elgin Street in Soho (we have the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world). I live in an old Hong Kong walk-up so the five flights of stairs are my last workout for the day.
I get inspired to write in the evenings and often end up at midnight on my rooftop drinking bottles of water to hit my daily quota. Once my laptop is closed, I get my workout gear ready for the next morning. It’s always difficult to hit snooze when I have my runners waiting for me beside my bed.
WWhat are your must-stops when in Hong Kong? Check out Sassy Hong Kong, the girl's guide to everything in the city.
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