Hong Kong For First Timers: 6 Essential Tips Every Muslim Traveller Needs


Fatehah •  May 11, 2018

The HHWT Team travelled to Hong Kong a few weeks ago and we were surprised to discover how exciting and Muslim-friendly the city is! With an increasing number of prayer facilities and Halal restaurants serving local cuisine, it was really easy to explore Hong Kong. In fact, we loved the local food so much that we’re still dreaming about it now? We travelled around with ease on the public transport system which was not just affordable but also extensive.

Credit: giphy

From must-visit places (yes, nature spots included!) to popular shopping spots, here are some of the tips we know you’d need to explore Hong Kong with as much comfort and ease as we did ?

1. Must-try Halal Local Food

It's no guessing what comes out top on our list of essentials! If you thought you had to bring food from home for your trip, we’re here to prove you totally wrong. There’s so much Halal local food to try here that your tummies will always be full and happy? Here are some of the best ones (HHWT tried and tested!) we’ve rounded up just for you.

P.S. Locals usually stir their chopsticks in a cup of tea before they start eating, so do give it a try!

1a. Wai Kee Duck Rice

Nestled in the upper floors of Bowrington Market, Wai Kee is touted as one of the best duck rice in Hong Kong. Many locals frequent this halal stall and that’s when you know the food here is really good!

If you've never tried duck, there's no doubt that Wai Kee will quickly convert you into a duck lover? The duck skin was brown and juicy, and its meat was so tender and well marinated that it’ll leave you craving for more. In fact, we loved it so much that we ordered another serving!

Oh and make sure you try their soy sauce chicken, wanton noodles and mutton curry rice while you're there! They’re just as yummy?

#HHWT Tip: There's free WiFi at this hawker centre - perfect for uploading these yummy duck pictures on Instagram!

Opening Hours: 10am to 6pm (only take-away orders after 5.30pm)

Address:  Shop 5, Bowrington Road Cooked Food Centre, 1/F, Bowrington Road Market, 21 Bowrington Road, Wan Chai

Directions: MTR Causeway Bay Station, exit A – Times Square. A short 7 min walk to Bowrington Road Market. The food centre is located on the 2nd floor of the Bowrington Road Indoor Market building. Enter via the escalator on the Bowrington Road side of the building.

1b. Islamic Centre Canteen

You can’t visit the land of dim sum without feasting on dim sum (of course?). Located inside Masjid Ammar, Islamic Centre Canteen is the go-to place for the most authentic Halal dim sum in Hong Kong! Savour their wide array of dim sum which is available from 10am to 3pm daily. Our personal favourites are the siew mai and deep fried shrimp wanton? The crisp sound with each bite of the wanton is proof of how it's fried to perfection!

We can assure you that their Cantonese dishes are amazing too! It was our first time trying their dinner menu and we absolutely loved the good mix of spice in their dishes – we especially enjoyed the tofu with salt, garlic and chilli! The fried rice was a tad bland but the tasty dishes were more than enough to complement it.

And if you see a friendly man seated at the counter, in front of the HHWT Sticker, don't forget to say hi to him! He's really friendly and warm, making you feel right at home ?

Opening Hours: 10am to 3pm (dim sum), 6pm to 9pm (only Cantonese dishes)

Address:  5th floor, Osman Ramju Sadick Islamic Centre, 40 Oi Kwan Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Directions: MTR Causeway Bay – Exit A. A 10 min walk to Islamic Centre Canteen

1c. Islam Food

Known for its mouthwatering veal goulash (a juicy dough patty filled with beef), Islam Food serves authentic Xinjiang cuisine and is so popular that it has just opened another outlet! It's a bit hard to get here by public transport but it's worth the trouble? The restaurant was packed with locals and it was so crowded that we had to queue to get in!

We finally understood why this place was popular when we sunk our teeth into the veal goulash which was crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside - the taste was simply indescribable? Word of caution though! The stew inside the goulash is hot so bite into it slowly.

We personally recommend pairing your goulash with some beef dumpling soup. The soup was tasty and the dumplings were full of flavour!

#HHWT Tip: The outlet we visited was a bit small so if you'd like more space to enjoy your food, head to their new and bigger outlet round the corner!

Opening Hours (Main branch): 11.00am to 11.00pm

Address: G/F, No. 1 Lung Kong Rd, Kowloon City, Kowloon - Next to Chow Sang Sang Securities

Opening Hours (New Outlet): 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m

Address: G/F, No. 33-35 Tak Ku Ling Rd, Kowloon City, Kowloon

Directions: Lok Fu MTR Station - Exit B. 17 min walk to Islam Food.

1d. Lee Keung Kee

Many of you have been asking about Muslim-friendly local street food in Hong Kong so we scoured the streets to find you some of the best? The egg waffles at Lee Keung Kee are a hot favourite among the locals and are so good that they are listed on the Michelin Hong Kong Street Food List. We loved how fluffy and chewy the waffles were. Eat it while it's piping hot!

Note: They have many outlets across Hong Kong but we've only confirmed the North Point outlet to be Muslim-friendly.

Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday from 11am, Sunday from 12:30pm

Address: 492 King’s Rd, North Point, Hong Kong

Directions: North Point MTR - Exit B3. Walk to your left down Nathan Rd.

1e. A1 Tofu Company

For those yearning for a sweet treat, head to A1 Tofu Company in Sham Shui Po. It's popular for the soft and velvety smooth texture of its bean curd! There’s a wide variety of flavours to choose from but the locals particularly love the black sesame, horlicks and almond paste?

The best part is that the shop is really easy to find! It's located right outside Sham Shui Po MTR Station (Exit C2).

Address: G/F, 38 Kweilin Street, Sham Shui Po

2. Travelling Around

We bet you noticed how the directions to the halal eateries are all via public transport. And yes, that's how extensive the public transport network in Hong Kong is! You can take the MTR (trains) and buses to almost anywhere. The MTR maps makes it really easy to navigate and we love how frequent the trains are?

#HHWT Tip: Download the MTR Mobile app to plan your trip with the shortest and cheapest route!

2a. Airport Express

From Hong Kong International Airport, take the Airport Express and arrive in the city in less than 24 minutes! The train has designated luggage compartments which are really handy, especially for those with big luggage. We were really impressed at how clean and fast the train was. There's also free WiFi in the train!

A huge bonus is the USB ports in the first and last cars of Airport Express trains. So if your electronic devices need a quick boost, this is perfect for you?

2b. Airport Express Shuttle Bus

For those heading straight to their hotels from the Airport, alight at Kowloon or Hong Kong Station and take the free Airport Express shuttle bus service to your hotel! There are different lines for many hotels in Hong Kong city. Click here to check if your hotel is included in the list and which line you should take.

The buses have a designated luggage compartment too though it was a bit hard to lift the luggage (especially heavy ones!) up the bus steps.

2c. Octopus Card

Once you've settled down, it's time to explore all that Hong Kong has to offer! And the best (and most affordable way) to do this is by taking the public transport. If you're planning to rely on public transport to get around, we recommend getting the Octopus Card instead of the Day Pass as it's more value-for-money. The card can be used on all public transport systems (MTR, bus, trams) so it's really convenient!

You can get the card at any MTR station or at the Airport. Do note that only cash payment is allowed to purchase the card and that there is a $50 deposit that will be refunded when you return the card☺️

#HHWT Tip: If you're planning to return to Hong Kong (which you should?), you might want to keep the card as the refund is valid up to 1000 days!

2d. Taxi

If you do need to take a taxi, it’ll be handy to have the address of your destination in Chinese as local taxi drivers do not speak or understand much English. Ask your hotel staff for help or simply Google it! You'll just have to show the address to the drivers once you’re in the taxi and they would know where to go ?

3. Must-visit Attractions

You're probably wondering - but where do I take all this transport to and what’s there to do in Hong Kong? There's so much to do and see in Hong Kong that even our week-long trip was not enough to cover everything? So here's some of the must-visit attractions in the city!

3a. Hong Kong Disneyland

We believe this renowned attraction needs no introduction! It's a heaven for everyone, and we're not talking only about you Disney fans? The rides vary from kid-friendly ones to the extreme thrillers so you can be assured that there are more than enough rides for you to choose from.

For those who love thrilling rides, the RC Racer and Hyperspace Mountain are definite must-rides! One of our favourite rides was the Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars. Just remember before you board it: expect the unexpected?

If you hate queues, you need to get your FASTPASS tickets which are available for popular rides such as Hyperspace Mountain, Winnie the Pooh and Iron Man Experience. It's free and all you have to do is head to the ticket machine at these rides to get your FASTPASS tickets, and come back at the stipulated time!

#HHWT Tip: Stay connected with Disneyland's free WiFi! Plus if you sign up for the WiFi with your email, you'll receive a 10% discount coupon online to spend at the merchandise stores.

Note: The Disney castle is closed for renovations and the Fireworks show has been replaced (indefinitely) by a Mickey Mouse Projection show.

Opening Hours: Mon to Fri (10.30am to 8pm), Sat and Sun (10.30am to 8.15pm)

Address: Lantau Island, Hong Kong

Directions: Disneyland Resort MTR Station

3b. Ocean Park

Hong Kong's oldest theme park definitely did not look its age. We undermined this theme park as we thought there would be nothing much to do here but we were pleasantly surprised!

The theme park is divided into 2 sections - the waterfront and summit. The most exciting part is getting from one section to another and of course, the cable car ride is the best way to enjoy the gorgeous view of both the park and the breathtaking surrounding scenery?

The cars might sway slightly if the wind is strong but there is a hand pole in the middle of the cable car that you can hold onto. For those who are afraid of heights, you can choose to take the Ocean Express, the park's train.

You'll be amazed at the wide variety of attractions in the Park. For starters, we loved their newest ride which combines Virtual Reality and roller-coasters! The ride may look daunting, but it's actually quite do-able even for those who are not big fans of thrilling rides. What's more interesting is that you won't be able to even see the track during the ride as you'll be wearing the VR headset?

Other than the amusement rides, the animals here are also a must-see. Our personal favourites were the pandas and penguins!

Opening Hours: Mon to Fri (10am to 7pm), Sat and Sun (10am to 9pm)

Address: Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong Island

Directions: MTR Ocean Park Station - Exit B

3c. The Peak

Whether it's night or day, the Peak is the perfect place to take in Hong Kong's gorgeous skyline! And it's not just the destination which is exciting but also the ride up. The tram moves upwards on a 45-degree slope so hold on tight if you did not manage to get a seat!

Credit: Hong Kong Tourism Board

We recommend checking the weather before heading up as Hong Kong does get a bit foggy at times and you'd probably not get the best views.

Opening Hours: Tram - 7am to 12 midnight daily, Sky Terrace - Mon to Fri (10am to 11pm), Sat to Sun and Public Holidays (8am to 11pm)

Address: 33 Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong

3d. Dragon's Back

If you thought Hong Kong was just “another city filled with buildings”, you’d be amazed to know that it’s actually the opposite! This can only mean one thing - plenty of nature spots to explore?

We headed up to Dragon's Back, one of the easier hiking spots (perfect for first-time hikers like us!). You can choose to start from the very bottom of the trek or take Bus 9 up to the 1-hour trek mark. We'd say the hike up was pretty easy though there were some parts which were steep and consisted of rocks instead of steps. But we met many families and even elderly people who were trekking up so it really is do-able!

P.S. Be sure to wear comfy shoes to ease your trek.

It would be wise, however, to check the weather before heading up. We did not manage to enjoy the full beauty of the view as it was really foggy when we reached the top? But the weather was actually ideal for a climb as it was really cooling!

We descended the same way we came up as we had a tight itinerary. But if you do have more time on your hands, we recommend heading the full route to end your trek at Tai Long Wan, a beautiful beach where you can relax and calm your tired muscles.

4. Shopping

If you didn’t know already, Hong Kong is a shopping haven for all types of shoppers? There's plenty of shopping places in this city that would fit your shopping needs, be it budget or upscale. Be sure to safeguard your belongings when you visit the street markets as it can get pretty crowded!

#HHWT Tip: Most stores would require you to pay for a plastic bag so it would save you quite a bit of money to bring your own bag while shopping.

4a. Fa Yuen Street, Mong Kok

Also known as Sneakers Street, Fa Yuen Street is famous for its wide array of sneakers! This is the place to go for the latest sneakers' designs and limited-edition releases from around the world. You can find international brands such as Nike, Adidas and Converse here.

4b. Ladies' Market, Mong Kok

The market might be named 'Ladies Market', but it's not exclusively for the ladies! In fact, the market is populated with many Hong Kong souvenirs so head here if you're looking for something cheap and good for your loved ones back home?

And this is the place to put your bargaining skills to the test. Many of the stall-holders can understand basic English so you can bargain your way to the lowest price. And if that doesn't work, adopt the walk-away tactic. Even if they don't call you back, chances are there are other shops in the area which offer similar products so try bargaining there instead!

4c. Sham Shui Po

For more budget shopping, head to Sham Shui Po. It's made up of some of Hong Kong's best shopping streets. Apliu Street is famous for its electronics, especially mobile phones and accessories. Toys Street is a must-visit to get something for the kids and Yu Chau Street, which has a wide array of wholesale fabrics, is perfect for your Hari Raya outfits!

#HHWT tip: The prices at Sham Shui Po are usually reasonable but you can definitely try your luck bargaining!

4d. Causeway Bay and Harbour City

For those who prefer more upscale shopping, Causeway Bay consists of many malls featuring mid-range and luxury brands. Times Square, the district's largest shopping mall, is right on top of Causeway Bay MTR Station! It has over 230 stores so be prepared to spend quite a bit of time (and money!) here?

Causeway Bay is also home to Hong Kong's largest and most popular Japanese-style department store, SOGO. With 18 floors of retail space, SOGO is known as the one-stop shop for everything you need, from renowned clothing brands to appliances and even home-ware!

For an alternative upscale shopping experience, cross to the other side of Hong Kong and shop at Harbour City. This is Hong Kong's largest mall and consists of Louis Vuitton's largest store in Asia and Chanel’s Asia flagship store!

P.S. If you need a breather from all that shopping, head to the Observation Deck and enjoy a scenic view of Hong Kong from across the water?

5. Prayer Spaces

Now that you're more than halfway through the article, we're pretty sure that you're convinced as to how Muslim-friendly Hong Kong is. But wait, there's more! You don’t have to worry about finding a place to pray as there are plenty of prayer spaces around Hong Kong.

5a. Mosques and Islamic Centres

Masjid Ammar

Apart from prayer spaces, there are many mosques scattered around the prime areas in Hong Kong – making it really convenient to perform your prayers while you explore the city! Masjid Ammar is located near Causeway Bay so you can head there even while you shop! The best part is that you can tuck into some yummy food at the Islamic Centre Canteen in the mosque.

Jamia Mosque

Hong Kong’s first mosque is near to one of the city’s most Instagrammable spots, Old Town Central! Getting to the mosque itself is quite an experience as you can take the world’s longest escalator to reach there. This might be Hong Kong’s oldest mosque here but it was still well maintained☺️ We absolutely loved the Arabic-style arched windows surrounding the prayer space!

5b. Attractions

Hong Kong Disneyland

Located right next to the Halal-certified Explorer's Club Restaurant is a prayer room just for Muslim visitors. The room is shared between both males and females but there are curtains in the wudhu area that you can draw. Speaking of the wudhu area, we absolutely loved how amazing and functional the facility was. It made taking wudhu so much more comfortable!

#HHWT Tip: Do bring your own prayer garments and mats as they are not provided.

Ocean Park

Ocean Park has kindly provided meeting rooms for Muslims guests to do their prayers, with the kiblat direction marked out in the rooms! You don’t have to travel far to access them as there’s a room located at the Waterfront and another at the Summit?

To access the rooms, head to the Guest Relations counter and inform them that you would like to do your prayers. They will then lead you to the room.

5c. Hong Kong International Airport

Yes, there are prayer rooms at the Airport itself - 5, to be exact! The rooms are known as 'Quiet Rooms' and are multi-faith rooms. 3 of them are located in the Restricted Area which are rather far from the check-in area. We had to take a train from the main area to get to one of the prayer rooms but the room was close to our Departure Gate!

#HHWT Tip: There is a wudhu area in the rooms and prayer mats are available for use, but do bring your own prayer garments as they are not provided.

6. Muslim-friendly Accommodations

If you’re looking for Muslim-friendly accommodations in Hong Kong, we’re here to help! Though some of these accommodations do not have in-house Halal food, they are located near Halal eateries making it easy and convenient for Muslim travellers.

6a. Harbour Grand Hong Kong

We stayed at this hotel during our trip to Hong Kong and were really happy with the facilities here! The most interesting part we found about the hotel was their 'menu' of different pillows which you can borrow. We tried the Bamboo Charcoal Kapok Pillow which was said to have a soothing effect?

You don't have to worry about Halal food in the hotel as it has a special Halal-certified menu in one of its restaurants and in-room dining. Some of the food include Tandoori Salmon Fillet (which we adored!) and Roasted Spring Chicken. Do remember to reserve in advance though!

Price: From USD158

Address: 23 Oil St, North Point, Hong Kong

6b. Butterfly on Morrison Boutique Hotel

For a more budget-friendly option, this Boutique Hotel is our top pick! It's cheaper but it certainly does not compromise on quality. We love the full-length windows which boasts a gorgeous view of Hong Kong and the location is supreme.

Credit: Butterfly On Morrison on Facebook

Though the hotel does not have any in-house Halal food, it's located near Causeway Bay so it's convenient to walk to many of the Halal eateries!

Price:From USD73

Address: 35-39 Morrison Hill Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, Hong Kong

6c. Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel

We just had to end the article with the best accommodation in town - the Disneyland Hotel! Its rooms and facilities are Disney-themed and guests will enjoy exclusive perks, including priority access, to Hong Kong Disneyland.

CreditHong Kong Disneyland

The hotel boasts beautiful sea views but our favourite part of the hotel is its wide array of Halal-certified food which is available upon request! There's also a Halal menu for their in-room dining?

Price: From USD266

Address: Magic Rd, Lantau Island, Hong Kong

And there you go! We're sure that you too are now convinced by how amazing and Muslim-friendly Hong Kong is! We truly enjoyed exploring the city and with these tips in hand, there's no reason why Hong Kong should not be at the top of your bucket list this year?

This article was brought to you by Hong Kong Tourism Board.