1. Ride the world’s longest escalator
They like long things here (see my thoughts on the Ngong Ping cable car in my next post) and the Central-Mid levels escalators are definitely one of the more quirkier things to do when you’re in Hong Kong. Taking 20 minutes to go the whole 800m in length, over 85,000 people take this walkway every day! It’s actually really handy if you want to explore Central, Mid-levels and Soho, or if like us you want to visit the Mo Man temple.
2. Eat dim sum at one of the world’s cheapest Michelin starred restaurants
Tim Ho Wan‘s Michelin starred restaurant chains have taken over the eastern hemisphere with locations in Singapore, Australia, KL and many more locations. But the first restaurant opened its doors in Hong Kong, and for just £10 two of you can have a small lunch and a drink in one of the cheapest Michelin starred restaurants in the world.
We tried 3 dishes but the reviews out there are true – the pork buns were delicious! The cafe/diner is definitely not fancy and the menu isn’t massive but it’s good food with an extra novelty. There’s a few in HK now (see here) so you won’t need to go out of your way either.
3. Spend a Wednesday evening at the Happy Valley racecourse
I was told by many people that this is a must when in Hong Kong, and they were right; this was one of the most enjoyable evenings I had.
Most Wednesday evenings Hong Kong Jockey Club opens up Happy Wednesday to locals and tourists alike for a night of gambling, cheap (for Hong Kong) beer, and a cracking race-side atmosphere. We paid $115 HKD each (approx £11) for a ‘tourist badge‘, which gives access to the nicer seating that’s right opposite the finish line plus entry to the local members betting area. But for $10 HKD (approx £1) you can get a generic public ticket which is a bargain!
I did a bit of researching before we went so here’s a few answers to some questions you might have:
Which ticket should you get at Happy Valley races?
I’d recommend the tourist badge ticket if you’re a couple, want a good view of the racecourse (the seats go up higher), or don’t want to queue for food and drinks, and the cheaper ticket if you’re in a big group, aren’t that fussed about seeing the finish line, and/or are happy to stand (although some seating is available). If you’re happy to pay the higher price I’d suggest splashing out as it allows you entry into the general public area anyway! FYI you need to take your passport for the more expensive ticket, and it’s a slightly stricter dress code (no jeans or trainers).
How do you get to Happy Valley Racecourse and what time should you get there?
It’s really easy to get there: take the MTR to Causeway Bay and then take the short walk to the tram stop. You want one on the green line and should get off at Happy Valley Terminus.
We got there at about 18:30 which was a good time to get a drink and figure out how the betting worked before the first race at 19:15.
How much money do you need at Happy Valley races?
We were quite happy to not bet a huge amount so we took $500 HKD (approx £47) to bet across the 8 races. Drinks in the members area were $47 for beer (Carlsberg) and $40 for a glass (of nice) wine. In the general public area wine was a lot more expensive and beer ranged from $45 (San Miguel was the cheapest) upwards. Food was about $50 HKD for a plate of food.
How to bet at Happy Valley races:
So this took us a little while to figure out, as there’s a lot of screens relating to pool betting. But once I asked someone in the betting area how to place a single bet things became much easier. There’s different betting slips available and you want the one with a blue top (see photo below) which allows you to bet for a horse to win, place and more. You simply mark on the slip which race you’re entering, which number horse you want to bet on, whether you want them to win/place etc and how much you want to bet.