The Travel Guides Hit Up Hong Kong

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The Travel Guides Hit Up Hong Kong

21st June 2024

The Travel Guides have bid farewell to the USA and are heading to Hong Kong for a total change of pace. Travel Money Oz is along for the ride as the Official Currency Card of Travel Guides.

As a popular stopover city, Hong Kong is busy all year. However, a great time to travel there is around their autumn season from September through to December. At that time, the heat of summer is easing and temps tend to hover in the mid-20s. Just FYI: typhoons can hit Hong Kong anywhere from May right through to November.

The official currency of Hong Kong is the Hong Kong Dollar (HKD) and you can also use your Currency Pass wherever Mastercard is accepted!

Are you up for a Hong Kong adventure? Here’s exactly where the Guides went this week!

Your complete Travel Guides Itinerary for Hong Kong


Stop one: Hong Kong Island

We meet the guides in the bustling city of Hong Kong. More than seven million people call Hong Kong home, which makes it one of the most densely populated cities in the world. While many use Hong Kong as a handy stopover, the Guides have a week to explore.

Kevin and Janetta are the HK experts, having been to the city dozens of times. It’s the destination they’ve been to most outside of Australia. Wondering why? According to Janetta, it has it all – shopping, wine and dining.

To get oriented, Matt and Brett and Karly and Bri hop on the Ding Ding – AKA, the historic Hong Kong Tramways. This fleet of 126 double-decker trams traverse the island, carrying around 200,000 passengers a day.

Hong Kong is packed with ritzy hotels and the Guides are checking into one of the best – The Park Lane in the heart of the buzzing Causeway Bay neighbourhood. It gets the tick of approval from all the Guides. Matt and Brett are particularly impressed by the facilities. Ok, specifically, the automatic toilet with its heated seat. The Boys head up to the 27th floor to check out the hotel’s sky rooftop bar and pay for their local beers with their Travel Money Oz Currency Pass, of course.

From the get-go, the Guides get into a 2000-year-old art form – Lion Dancing. The Hong Kong Dragon & Lion Dancing Festival is held in Hong Kong in January each year and the dancing is often seen at Lunar New Year celebrations. It is said to chase away evil spirits and bring good luck. However, it seems mastering the art form requires a lot of practice. All the Guides struggle to coordinate the head and tail of the lion. On the plus side, Teng says his parents would be extremely proud that he even suited up in the first place.

Next up, the Guides have a chance to see Hong Kong from a new perspective. The Peak Tram is one of the world’s oldest funicular railways and takes sightseers high above Hong Kong island. Once there, you can go up to Sky Terrace 428, a viewing platform that is – spoiler alert – 428m above sea level, to get stunning views of the city. Janetta says it’s breathtaking, but Kev thinks it’s basically a tourist trap.

Back in the bustling city, the Guides set out on a tour of the Causeway Bay district. The tour starts with a Fren Family favourite – afternoon tea. However, this ain’t no Aussie arvo tea. The family’s preferred afternoon tea snacks, party pies and sausage rolls, are nowhere to be seen. Even the tea is made with a twist – it’s poured through pantyhose to ensure it is extra silky. There is a sweet course, however Victoria Fren has a narrow brush with death when she discovers the French toast is filled with peanut butter, which she’s highly allergic to.

The tour continues with a Villain Hitting Ceremony, which is a 1000-year-old tradition. In short, you write down the name of someone specific or just a general group of people who have wronged you and then the paper is beaten to get their negative energy out of your life. There’s much debate amongst the Guides about who to write down and Bri decides to put her ex on the chopping block.

Hong Kong is a culinary hotspot with more than 15,000 restaurants to try in the city. The Guides go to one of the city’s most famous yum cha restaurants – Lin Heung Kui in the Sheung Wan district. It even has the Michelin Guide tick of approval. However, it’s certainly not a relaxed dining experience with Teng describing it as more like a “warzone”. To get a table and get served, you’ve really got to hustle here. Bri points out that it’s nothing like Parramatta Leagues Club yum cha.

All the Guides develop strategies to get their meal. Kevin and Janetta sit next to a local to get some insider tips, while Karly and Bri are ignored in the corner. The Boys and the Fren Family are happy to make some noise to get their food, while Matt’s issue is stopping Brett from getting too many dishes. It turns out to be an unforgettable culinary ¬and cultural experience.

The Guides certainly need fuel for their next activity ¬– dragon boat racing. It’s an ancient Chinese sport but was made famous in Hong Kong in the 70s. If you’re heading to HK, The Stanley International Dragon Boat Championships are held in June each year, so you can see the sport in action. The Fren Family probably won’t sign up for the championships, given they describe themselves as not the sporty types and struggle to even get off the beach. Kev, Dorian and Teng are keener, although the drumming used to pace the strokes seems to hold the most appeal. 


Stop two: Day trip to Lantau Island


Beyond the main city, there are 250+ islands to explore in Hong Kong. The largest of them all is Lantau Island and it’s just half an hour from the city. Lantau is known for its beauty and its Buddha. The Tian Tan Buddha is the largest seated bronze Buddha in the world, but the Fren Family is put off by the stairs up to the statue. For Karly and Bri, however, it’s a trip highlight and is worth the 268 steps to the top.

On the west coast of Lantau lies the fishing village of Tai O, where the houses are built on stilts above the tidal flats. The Guides decide to try the local delicacies with Karly describing the pufferfish as kind of like beef jerky, while Kev, Dorian and Teng tuck into a giant cuttlefish.

The best way to see the village is from the water, so they embark on a boat tour of Tai O with a very enthusiastic guide, Ivan. It’s supposedly known as the “Venice of the East” and Ivan’s singing kind of helps give the tour a Venice gondola vibe. However, it all gets a little too personal when Dorian and Teng and Matt and Brett get a tour of a stranger’s house. Certainly a memorable experience all round.

Tian Tan Buddha: Free entry
360 Lantau Culture & Heritage Insight Tour: From $89 per person

Stop three: Return to Hong Kong city


Back in the city, the Guides go to the tranquil Lai Chi Kok Park to try the ancient martial art of Tai Chi. Their class, led by Master Chow, will help them master the relaxing movements that are popular with HK locals. However, The Boys seem most taken with the silky smooth outfits which are, according to Teng, the most comfortable thing he’s ever worn in his life. Janetta has been doing Tai Chi for years and, while initially sceptical, Kevin is quickly converted.

However, it’s not all calming movements and meditations – there’s a more active element to this class. The fighting portion piques Victoria Fren’s interest and The Boys are thrilled when swords are brought out for the finale.

The trip concludes with the Symphony of Lights light show on Victoria Harbour. Matt and Brett, Bri and Karly and The Boys board the Aqua Luna Cruise to get a great view from the water, while the Fren Family and Kevin and Janetta head to a rooftop bar to admire the show. Mark Fren explains that while they have a beautiful harbour back home in Newcastle, this is right up there.



The Guides have been impressed by the mix of culinary and cultural activities on offer in Hong Kong – even if the Yum Cha experience was a little intense for Karly and Bri. Their scores are in and they’ve rated their Hong Kong experience…

Kevin and Janetta: 4.5/5
Bri and Karly: 3.5/5
The Fren Family: 4/5
Brett and Matt: 5/5
Dorian, Kev and Teng: 4/5

Top Travel Money Oz Tips for Hong Kong

Heading to Hong Kong? Don’t miss these travel money tips:


Win Your Dream Holiday!

Don’t forget, we’re giving away a $20,000 holiday pack! The lucky winner will score a $10,000 Flight Centre gift card and a $10,000 Travel Money Oz Currency Pass. You can find all the details here!

The next episode of Travel Guides airs Sunday at 7pm on Channel Nine and 9Now.


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