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Ben’s bargains: How to enjoy Hong Kong without breaking the bank



Despite its reputation for being heavy on the wallet, it is possible to enjoy Hong Kong on a budget

For me, Hong Kong is one of my favourite cities in Asia.

Coming from other nearby countries, it’s impossible not to enjoy the clean, efficient transport infrastructure, the cosmopolitan atmosphere and the wonderful food

The only drawback to the place? It’s not cheap.

As soon as you cross that border from mainland China or fly into to the gleaming airport your wallet will begin to ache.

But this is bound to happen when you fill a city with investment bankers and the global business elite.

But have no fear! It is possible to explore Hong Kong without breaking the bank.

Here are five ways to avoid blowing your budget in this mind-blowing city:

1. Accommodation is a killer. When looking for decent and cheap accommodation head to Tsim Sha Tsui area on the Kowloon side. Once here, make your way straight to Chungking Mansions or one of the hostels nearby. There have by far the cheapest accommodation in Hong Kong. You can expect to pay as little as 120 HKD for a room.

2. Food. Again, Tsim Sha Tsui offers great cheap eats. Thankfully as well, local Hong Kong food is very easy for fussy eaters. Local delicacies include sweet barbecue meats and rice which can be found in hole-in-the-wall stores all over. You’re looking at paying 40 HKD for a meal with rice, veggies and a healthy dollop of delicious pork. One of my other favourites is a place called the “The Australian Dairy Company”, although it has nothing to do with dairy or Australia. This eatery has amazing scrambled eggs with ham, a specialty in Hong Kong. I don’t know what they do to it, but they are by far the best scrambled eggs I have ever had.

3. Drinking. Obviously, any trip to an Asian city is not complete without booze. Hong Kong is infamously expensive for drinking. While I can recommend a drink at the Ritz Carlton which has one of the highest bars in the world, it is way overpriced. Instead, go to your nearest 7-11 (you shouldn’t be more than five metres from one at any time). Buy some cheap beers, about 10 HKD each, then make your way to view the harbour. The area near the walk of the stars is a great place to sit back, relax and booze away the night with an amazing view.

4. The metro. Get yourself an Octopus card. This is one of the greatest inventions since sliced bread and condoms! You will use the metro to get everywhere, it can even take you to the border with China. It is cheap, quick and downright amazing. Your Octopus card is what you will use to take the metro, but can also be used to purchase things nearly everywhere. Top it up and save yourself carrying cash.

5. Duty free is king. If you’re coming from anywhere in Southeast Asia don’t forget to stock up on whatever cigarettes and alcohol you may want.