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Kowloon vs Hong Kong Island: Where Should You Stay?

Hong Kong provides two distinctly different experiences when comparing its northern hub, Kowloon Island, with the southern spoils of Hong Kong Island. Separated by Kowloon Bay and Victoria Harbour, these two destinations both possess their own alluring sights, experiences and hotels, which suit different types of travelers.

Deciding between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island might be the toughest decision you make for your Hong Kong holiday. Fortunately, we’re here to break down the pros, cons and top experiences for each one. Our friends over at HotelsCombined have also provided an in-depth guide on the most-popular Kowloon and Hong Kong Island hotels.

Top 5 Kowloon Attractions

Hong Kong Space Museum

Top Kowloon Attractions: Hong Kong Space Museum
Top Kowloon Attractions: Hong Kong Space Museum

 Discover the world of astronomy and space science at the Hong Kong Space Museum, home to a state-of-the-art planetarium and a replica of the nose and cockpit section of the Space Shuttle orbiter. Enjoy the interactive exhibits in the Hall of Space Science and Hall of Astronomy before attending an astronomy demonstration.

Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre 

Top Kowloon Attractions: Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre
Top Kowloon Attractions: Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre

Located in Kowloon Park, the Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre is home to a permanent collection of artifacts, models and interactive multimedia that showcases Hong Kong’s cultural heritage. There are also temporary exhibits displayed throughout the center, many of which explore important parts of China’s history, such as the Silk Road trade. 

Avenue of Stars

Top Kowloon Attractions: Avenue of Stars
Top Kowloon Attractions: Avenue of Stars

 Modeled on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Avenue of Stars stretches out alongside the water at Victoria Harbour. Wander down the avenue to see the handprints and names of Asia’s most famous celebrities, including director Woo Fung and actor Jet Li. You can also see the iconic Bruce Lee and Anita Mui statues.

Sky100

Top Kowloon Attractions: Sky100
Top Kowloon Attractions: Sky100

Looking for one of the best views of Hong Kong? Visit the 100th floor of the International Commerce Centre and step out on the Sky100 360-degree observation deck. Sky100 boasts views of Hong Kong Island and Victoria Harbour and is also known for a virtual reality experience, 101st-floor cafe and photo booth. 

Nan Lian Garden

Top Kowloon Attractions: Nan Lian
Top Kowloon Attractions: Nan Lian Garden

The 8.6-acre Nan Lian Garden is a tranquil expanse of Tang dynasty-style greenery, from undulating hills and eye-catching timber buildings to rock gardens and stone water features. Wander over to Spring Hill to see the spring-fed Lotus Pond before admiring the towering Rock and exploring the rooftop plant nursery at the Tang Gallery.

Top 5 Kowloon Neighborhoods

Tsim Sha Tsui

Top Kowloon Neighborhoods: Tsim Tsa Shui
Top Kowloon Neighborhoods: Tsim Tsa Shui

One of Hong Kong’s true shopping and nightlife hubs, Tsim Sha Tsui is a bustling district with international designer stores, hi-tech electronics shops, Bollywood memorabilia and alfresco restaurants. All this can be seen along Nathan Road, while the nearby Canton Road is a haven for luxury shoppers with Hong Kong’s largest mall, Harbour City.

 Victoria Harbour

Top Kowloon Neighborhoods: Victoria Harbour
Top Kowloon Neighborhoods: Victoria Harbour

Victoria Harbour not only contributes a significant stretch of Hong Kong’s world-famous skyline, but it’s also where you’ll find numerous Chinese junk and evening harbor cruises for admiring the glittering cityscapes. Victoria Harbour sets the stage for public shows, including annual fireworks and the renowned Symphony of Lights.

 Mong Kok

Top Kowloon Neighborhoods: Mong Kok
Top Kowloon Neighborhoods: Mong Kok

Kowloon’s busiest shopping district, Mong Kok is a vibrant blend of old and new with retail outlets sitting under giant neon signs and billboards. Shopping enthusiasts flock to this area on a daily basis, flowing between bargain hawker-style street stalls and high-end malls to Western and Japanese fashion stores down Shantung Street.

 Jordan 

Top Kowloon Neighborhoods: Jordan
Top Kowloon Neighborhoods: Jordan

You’ll find a different side of Kowloon within Jordan, where residential high-rises sit alongside street markets and local eateries. Intrepid travelers will love Jordan’s authentic slice of Hong Kong life, from the bustling Jade Market and Kwun Chung Street Market to the karaoke bars and hidden cocktail lounges.

Kwun Tong

Top Kowloon Neighborhoods: Kwun Tong
Top Kowloon Neighborhoods: Kwun Tong

Creativity takes center stage in the enigmatic neighborhood of Kwun Tong, which features unique bars and clubs, quirky cafes and numerous galleries. Don’t miss the inflatable fat suit fun at Alpha Soccer Stadium or the late-night shopping at the APM mall. Need a break from the crowds? Stroll along the revamped Kwun Tong Promenade.

Cons of Staying in Kowloon

  • You’re not as close to Hong Kong’s major attractions on Hong Kong Island
  • Kowloon is dotted with some bland residential areas
  • Expect dense crowds of tourists

Pros of Staying in Kowloon

  • Beautiful views of the sparkling Hong Kong Island skyline across the harbor
  • Superb shopping and entertainment in many of the neighborhoods
  • Kowloon is filled with historic and revered temples

Most Popular Kowloon Hotels

The Ritz Carlton Hong Kong

Most Popular Kowloon Hotels: The Ritz Carlton Hotel Hong Kong
Most Popular Kowloon Hotels: The Ritz Carlton Hotel Hong Kong

The prestigious Ritz Carlton Hong Kong offers panoramic views of Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Island from almost all of its opulent rooms, which feature large windows, contemporary decor and complimentary Wi-Fi. Upgrade to a room with 24-hour Club Lounge access for free afternoon tea and evening cocktails.

Take advantage of the gourmet on-site dining, from the Michelin-starred Tosca to the authentic Cantonese cuisine at Tin Lung Heen. You’ll also have access to signature treatments at the Ritz-Carlton Spa, a state-of-the-art fitness center cocktails and DJs at Ozone and a top-floor infinity pool overlooking Hong Kong.

Star Rating: 5*
Price: HKD 2,441 – HKD 8,803
Guest Rating: 9.9
Address: 1 Austin Road West, Union Square, Hong Kong

Check rates | Official Site 

Hotel ICON

Most Popular Kowloon Hotels: Hotel ICON
Most Popular Kowloon Hotels: Hotel ICON

Positioned in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui, Hotel ICON places you within walking distance from the Hong Kong Science Museum and Avenue of Stars. This stylish and modern hotel features cozy rooms with designer furnishings, Hong Kong vistas and in-room Nespresso machines. Splurge on The Designer Suite by Vivienne Tam for panoramic Victoria Harbour views and Tam’s “China chic” style.

On-site dining includes Cantonese cuisine and harbor views at Above & Beyond, market-style food at The Market and fresh coffee in Green. Work up a sweat in the gym, treat yourself to a massage at Angsana Spa or take a dip in the open-air heated pool.

Star Rating: 5*
Price: HKD 282 – HKD 5,352
Guest Rating: 9.8
Address: 17 Science Museum Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

Check rates | Official Site 

InterContinental Hong Kong

Most Popular Kowloon Hotels: InterContinental Hong Kong
Most Popular Kowloon Hotels: InterContinental Hong Kong

The world-renowned InterContinental Hong Kong features more than 500 luxurious rooms, including one of Asia’s most extravagant Presidential Suites, which boasts a private terrace and Jacuzzi overlooking the harbor. There are also spacious Classic Rooms with Asian interior design, LCD TVs and home entertainment systems. 

Enjoy a range of dining on site, including a re-creation of Rech by Alain Ducasse, one of Paris’ most famous seafood restaurants, and the two-Michelin-starred Yan Toh Heen. Along with a private limousine service and hi-tech business center, InterContinental Hong Kong also offers a prime waterfront location overlooking the Avenue of Stars.

Star Rating: 5*
Price: HKD 1,328 – HKD 12,744
Guest Rating: 9.2
Address: 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

Check rates | Official Site

The Peninsula Hong Kong

Most Popular Kowloon Hotels: The Peninsula Hong Kong
Most Popular Kowloon Hotels: The Peninsula Hong Kong

Known as the “Grande Dame of the Far East,” The Peninsula Hong Kong is a blend of Eastern and Western luxury. Classic grandeur flows throughout this five-star hotel, from the personalized treatments at The Peninsula Spa to the indoor pool overlooking Hong Kong and the distant mountains.

You can settle in your bespoke room with its distinctly opulent design and modern comforts, including the latest audio-visual technology. These rooms range from the Grand Deluxe Room with Kowloon views to the palatial Peninsula Suite with a landscaped terrace, 10-seat dining table, kitchen and TV room. 

Star Rating: 5*
Price: HKD 2,371 – HKD 10,669
Guest Rating: 9.2
Address: Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

Check rates | Official Site

Kowloon Shangri-La 

Most Popular Kowloon Hotels: Kowloon Shangri-la
Most Popular Kowloon Hotels: Kowloon Shangri-la

The prestigious Kowloon Shangri-La occupies a prime position on the Kowloon waterfront, complementing its water views with a range of health and leisure facilities, such as a fully-equipped fitness center, indoor pool, sauna, steam bath, solarium and Jacuzzi. It’s also a culinary melting pot with Italian fare at Angelini, an Asian buffet at Café Kool and international tapas at Tapas Bar.

The rooms and suites at Kowloon Shangri-La are some of the biggest in Hong Kong, known for their contemporary art, marble bathrooms, floor-to-ceiling windows and stylish furnishings. Upgrade to a room or suite with access to the Horizon Club for complimentary buffet breakfast and evening cocktails.

Star Rating: 5*
Price: HKD 1,155 – HKD 5,819
Guest Rating: 9.1
Address: 64 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

Check rates | Official Site

Top 5 Hong Kong Island Attractions

Victoria Peak

Top Hong Kong Island Attractions: Victoria Peak
Top Hong Kong Island Attractions: Victoria Peak

Towering at 1,811-feet tall across the western half of Hong Kong Island, Victoria Peak is a prominent natural attraction with a summit viewing deck offering panoramic city and waterfront views. Ride the scenic Peak Tram to the top to enjoy a variety of fine-dining restaurants surrounding the British-style lawns and pavilions of Victoria Peak Garden.

 Hong Kong Disneyland 

Top Hong Kong Island Attractions: Hong Kong Disneyland
Top Hong Kong Island Attractions: Hong Kong Disneyland

Few places in the world are as happy as Hong Kong Disneyland, where seven distinctly themed lands reveal an array of thrill rides, kid-friendly entertainment, novelty restaurants and daily shows. Get your blood pumping on the Hyperspace Mountain and Iron Man Experience rides before relaxing in Toy Story Land or Fantasyland.

Repulse Bay 

Top Hong Kong Island Attractions: Repulse Bay
Top Hong Kong Island Attractions: Repulse Bay

Venture down to Hong Kong Island’s southern coastline to discover the golden sand and calm waters of Repulse Bay. This upmarket resort area offers a laid-back vibe with sun loungers, waterfront restaurants and a nearby children’s playground. You can also browse local and international shops at The Pulse mall. 

Stanley Market

Top Hong Kong Island Attractions: Stanley Market
Top Hong Kong Island Attractions: Stanley Market

Are you looking for a unique shopping experience? Wander down Stanley Market, a popular retail strip of traditional open-air market stalls selling traditional Chinese clothing, toys, paintings and jewelry for bargain prices. It’s also dotted with cozy restaurants serving Singaporean and Chinese cuisine.

Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens 

Top Hong Kong Island Attractions: Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens
Top Hong Kong Island Attractions: Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens

The Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens first opened in 1871 and today showcases beautiful displays of local and exotic flora and fauna. There are various themed areas, including the Herb Garden and Bamboo Garden. You can also get up close and personal with animals such as golden lion tamarins, giraffes and Malaysian giant turtles.

Top 5 Hong Kong Island Neighborhoods

Causeway Bay 

Top Hong Kong Island Neighborhoods: Causeway Bay

The retail heart of Hong Kong Island, Causeway Bay is blessed with giant shopping malls, high-end boutiques and international designer outlets. You can also find quality bargain goods at local street markets, such as Jardine’s Crescent. Causeway Bay also features the sprawling Victoria Park where you can play soccer, volleyball and basketball.

Wan Chai

Top Hong Kong Island Neighborhoods: Wan Chai
Top Hong Kong Island Neighborhoods: Wan Chai

There’s a reason so many people frequent Wan Chai, one of Hong Kong’s busiest commercial areas. It boasts some of Hong Kong’s best restaurants, bars and traditional architecture. Shop for unique souvenirs in the street markets, hit the rooftop bars or visit the Hong Kong Arts Centre.

Sheung Wan

Top Hong Kong Island Neighborhoods: Sheung Wan
Top Hong Kong Island Neighborhoods: Sheung Wan

Sheung Wan is an eclectic neighborhood known for its hipster appeal, from the trendy boutiques and alfresco cafes to the hole-in-the-wall bars and intimate art galleries. Pick up vintage goods at InBetween, see old medical instruments at the Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences and walk up the rainbow steps on Jervois Street.

Central

Top Hong Kong Island Neighborhoods: Central
Top Hong Kong Island Neighborhoods: Central

Central is Hong Kong Island’s central business district, home to a distinct cosmopolitan vibe that flows from its high-end stores in IFC Mall to its chocolatiers and waterfront restaurants. Central retains its heritage charm in the bustling Graham Street Market, while late-night revelers will love the bars in Lan Kwai Fong. 

Kennedy Town

Top Hong Kong Island Neighborhoods: Kennedy Town
Top Hong Kong Island Neighborhoods: Kennedy Town

Known for its Instagram-worthy shots of Hong Kong’s harbor and Kowloon skyline, Kennedy Town is a peaceful neighborhood with laid-back eateries and an alluring waterfront. Kennedy Town backs onto Lung Fu Shan Country Park, where you can stroll along walking trails past ruins and barbecue areas.

Cons of Staying on Hong Kong Island

  • Hong Kong Island features more tourist sites, so its hotels and restaurants are generally more expensive
  • Expect the main areas of Hong Kong to be busy and compact
  • The view across the water to Kowloon isn’t as picturesque

Pros of Staying on Hong Kong Island

  • Hong Kong Island boasts fascinating historic attractions and neighborhoods with an authentic character and charm
  • Many of Hong Kong’s best restaurants are found on Hong Kong Island
  • You’ll be within close proximity to Hong Kong’s biggest attractions

Most Popular Hong Kong Island Hotels

Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong

Most Popular Hong Kong Island Hotels: Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong
Most Popular Hong Kong Island Hotels: Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong

Located in the heart of Hong Kong Island’s Central district, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong is ideally positioned for shopping in Soho, visiting the Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences or dining on the waterfront. Pamper yourself with a holistic healing treatment at the Spa in Hong Kong or soak up Kowloon views from the infinity pool or whirlpool.

Choose from almost 400 guest rooms and suites at Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, including the opulent Imperial Suite with butler services and Victoria Harbour views. The Deluxe Peak-View Room offers an affordable enclave with hi-tech entertainment and rain shower. You can dine on site at one or both of the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurants.

Star Rating: 5*
Price: HKD 2,658 – HKD 8,919
Guest Rating: 9.9
Address: 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong

Check rates | Official Site 

The Upper House

Most Popular Hong Kong Island Hotels: The Upper House
Most Popular Hong Kong Island Hotels: The Upper House

The architect-designed Upper House offers some of the best suites in Hong Kong. Ranging from the no-fuss Studio 70 and Studio 80 to the cosmopolitan Upper Suite and Penthouse, these accommodations feature limestone baths, rain showers, wine fridges, audio-visual entertainment and complimentary espresso machines.

The Upper House promotes relaxation and sightseeing in equal measure with its yoga classes on The Lawn and complimentary bicycles for exploring. You can also dine on modern European cuisine at Café Gray Deluxe and sip on cocktails at the Café Gray Bar. Right outside you’ll find the Hong Kong Arts Centre, Peak Tram and Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Star Rating: 5*
Price: HKD 2,856 – HKD 16,554
Guest Rating: 9.9
Address: Pacific Palace, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong

Check rates | Official Site 

Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong

Most Popular Hong Kong Island Hotels: Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
Most Popular Hong Kong Island Hotels: Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong

The five-star Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong is renowned for its foodie offerings, particularly the Michelin-starred Yee Tung Heen, Italian-inspired Cammino and ToTT’s and Roof Terrace, which boasts spectacular Victoria Harbour views. Burn all the delicious food off at the 4th-floor fitness center, which boasts sauna and steam rooms, quality exercise equipment and a massage therapy room.

Enjoy the cozy holiday abodes at Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, all of which feature chic decor and heavenly king-size beds. You can upgrade to a Deluxe Harbour View Room for sweeping Victoria Harbour views or opt for the luxurious Excelsior Suite with a four-poster bed, separate living room and gourmet kitchen.

Star Rating: 5*
Price: HKD 1,999 – HKD 6,158
Guest Rating: 9.8
Address: 5 Connaught Road, Central, Hong Kong

Check rates | Official Site 

Grand Hyatt Hong Kong

Most Popular Hong Kong Island Hotels: Grand Hyatt Hong Kong
Most Popular Hong Kong Island Hotels: Grand Hyatt Hong Kong

You can soak up views of Victoria Harbour from most of the guest rooms and suites at Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, which combines contemporary opulence with the latest entertainment technology. The Standard rooms offer affordable and intimate living spaces, while the Suites can cater to romantic getaways with sparkling wine and chocolates on arrival.

Indulge in cooked-to-order steak and a sumptuous glass of red wine at the Grand Hyatt Steakhouse, enjoy classic Italian fare at Grissini or Japanese favorites at Kaetsu. Plateau Spa is the perfect spot for rest and rejuvenation, thanks to its array of award-winning treatments.

Star Rating: 5*
Price: HKD 1,542 – HKD 5,548
Guest Rating: 9.1
Address: 1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Check rates | Official Site 

Island Shangri-La Hotel

Most Popular Hong Kong Island Hotels: Island Shangri-la Hotel
Most Popular Hong Kong Island Hotels: Island Shangri-la Hotel

Expect the classic Shangri-La quality of service and luxury while staying at the five-star Island Shangri-La Hotel. This popular hotel boasts a sun-drenched swimming pool, complimentary yoga classes and massage and beauty services in its on-site spa. It’s also ideally located for shopping and dining in the Central district.

The hotel features more than 550 rooms and suites, which are adorned in Asian and European furnishings and overlook Hong Kong’s city skyline, the Peak or Victoria Harbour. Upgrade to a room with access to the Horizon Club for complimentary breakfast and evening cocktails and a landscaped rooftop garden.

Star Rating: 5*
Price: HKD 1,892 – HKD 6,151
Guest Rating: 9.1
Address: Pacific Place Supreme Court Road, Admiralty, Hong Kong

Check rates | Official Site

 

Which One Will You Choose?

Hong Kong Island or Kowloon? Although it might seem like a tough decision, you really can’t go wrong with either one. Both parts of Hong Kong offer memorable sightseeing and experiences, from cultural enclaves and local markets to international dining and spectacular waterfront areas. They also boast some of Asia’s best hotels in prime sightseeing locations.

So, where will you stay in Hong Kong?

 

 

 
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