This post was originally published in 2013, but was updated in 2016.
Back when I was a single female (before Josh came along), I wanted to travel, but it was always difficult to find others who could travel with me. If this is the way you feel…don’t feel stuck…just go it alone! Traveling solo can be a wonderful experience, full of personal growth and introspection. Some females are a bit wary of traveling solo, and it’s true that some destinations are more challenging to explore as a solo female, but Hong Kong is not one of those places. Below are 10 reasons why solo travel in Hong Kong is actually pretty awesome, even for women!
1. Is Solo Travel in Hong Kong Safe?
Hong Kong is regarded as one of the safest cities in the world. With low crime rates, well maintained infrastructure & roadways, and well trained police and medical services, you shouldn’t have much to worry about. As a solo female traveler, I never felt scared while moving about the city – even at night. But of course, common sense should always be used and trust your instinct.
2. Great Transportation in Hong Kong
Public transportation in Hong Kong is fantastic. In additional to well maintained sidewalks and even elevated walkways, there are a series of underground trains, above ground trains (countryside), trams, buses, and boats; so you will have no problem getting around. I recommend doing your research in advance by reviewing the maps and schedules so that you are well aware of how to get around and how the process works.
The Octopus card is a great option if you plan to make use of public transportation. Similar to the Oyster card in London (and many other cities), you can purchase and load the card with funds, then use it throughout the city during your trip.
3. Hong Kong Has Some Inexpensive Accommodation Options
As many of you know, I am a fan of budget accommodation – especially if you are traveling solo and don’t have anyone to split the cost with. Hong Kong has wide variety of of accommodation options, from budget to 5 star. The nicer hotels in Hong Kong can get surprisingly expensive, and the rooms will be very small (since space is at a premium).
For my trip I chose to stay in a hostel, the YesInn at Fortress Hill. It was a great hostel and I highly recommend it. The Yesinn was safe, comfortable, and in a great location with easy access to public transportation. Plus, I couldn’t beat the price! I think I paid about $20 USD a night – in the center of the city!
Chungking Mansions Warning…
As a side note, if you are doing research for hostels in Hong Kong, you will likely see a bunch of places that are located in the “Chungking Mansions”…I wouldn’t recommend them! This complex is full of SUPER cheap hostels; however, it is sketchy inside & the some of the building look like they could crumble at any moment. While it is in a very convenient location and dirt cheap to stay there, I’ve heard a lot of not so great experiences, especially females. You can pay just a few dollars more and get a much better experience elsewhere (without the prostitutes and hustlers outside your door).
UPDATE: Now that I’ve traveled to Hong Kong many times (since writing this original post), read more about our recommended Hong Kong Hotels.
4. Experience Hong Kong’s Culture & History
When I travel, I love learning about the culture and history of my destination, especially in an authentic way. I was impressed with the Hong Kong tourism board and their website; it’s one of the best I’ve ever seen. The website is organized well, and has a ton of information about the different parts of Hong Kong, activities, events, etc. So be sure to check it out.
When I first traveled to Hong Kong, they had a Cultural Kaleidoscope program where I could participate in a number of culture activities…for FREE! Some of activities in the program included: A Tea Appreciation Class, Chinese Medicine Class, Chinese Cake Making Class, Cantonese Opera Appreciation Class, Fung Shui class from a Master, and a historic Chinese Junk Boat ride in the harbor; all FREE! I had so much fun taking these classes because they enhanced my experience and I was able to meet and interact with other travelers!
** UPDATE: As of today (2016) I do not see any reference to this Cultural Kaleidoscope program on the Hong Kong tourism website; therefore, I fear it may have been discontinued — which is a mega bummer because I thoroughly loved it!
5. Hong Kong is Full of Zen Moments
Part of the reason I decided to go to Hong Kong by myself was because I needed a break! Things were stressful at home and I really wanted some time to myself. Hong Kong has a number of beautifully manicured parks, so I would break up my day by relaxing in a park or walking through an intricate “zen garden” with water features and sculpted plants.
For a unique experience, be sure to check out the Po Street Bird Garden. People will bring their birds out so that they can chirp with each other, and so people can interact with the birds. It’s a cool experience to see it and listen to the chirping!
Also, each morning I woke up before the sun rose and would go to a nearby park for Tai Chi classes. I had to laugh at all the elderly people who filled the parks doing various forms of exercise, including Tai Chi every morning. But I must admit, it felt amazing…so they are on to something! It was an invigorating way to start each day.
6. Hong Kong For the Physically Active Travelers If you are looking for more physical types of activities and love getting outdoors, then you may be surprised to hear just how many active outdoor opportunities exist in Hong Kong! For example, I took a 30 km bike ride through the Hong Kong rural countryside with Hansen’s Hikes & Rides.
The company also offers other types of biking excursions, as well as many hikes throughout the countryside and up steep mountains! Some of them can be quite strenuous, but provide great scenery and a way to exercise while seeing the landscape.
7. Hong Kong Shopping
While I’m not a huge shopper, Hong Kong provides plenty of opportunities for those who are! There seem to be malls everywhere; however, I found the street markets to be the most interesting. Just like going to any other Chinatown, you can find all kinds of goods at the markets and haggle your way to a good deal. I did end up bringing back some nice scarves and handmade silk pillows. Great souvenirs from the trip!
8. Hong Kong Provides A Taste of Asia, but Westernized
One of the nice things about Hong Kong is the way that it is both Eastern and Western at the same time. If you haven’t traveled much or feel nervous going to Asia by yourself because of the language barrier, then Hong Kong is a perfect place to visit. It’s like dipping your toe in Asia, but not completely leaving the Western world. Because of its British heritage, much of central Hong Kong speaks English and the signs are in English too. This makes it an easy Asian city to explore.
9. You Won’t be Bored in Hong Kong
I planned to spend a week in Hong Kong, and I remember my mother telling me that I would be bored; especially because I was by myself. However, I had the complete opposite experience! I left the hostel before 6 am every day and didn’t return until late at night; just in time to put my exhausted self to sleep!
I was so busy visiting museums, attending classes, going on bike rides, cruising the harbor, exploring temples, doing a bit of shopping at the market, venturing out to rural villages, or taking boat trips out to outlying islands that my 7 days were packed! And I still didn’t get to see it all! Just one of the many reasons for me to return.
10. Relax With a Massage in Hong Kong
If you have ever been to Asia, then you know what I mean. Massages are available all over the city for crazy cheap, tempting you indulge to in some relaxation every day. In fact, there was a great massage facility right in front of the building where my hostel was located. So every night when I returned from an exhausting day of exploring the city, I would make a stop for an hour of reflexology on my tired feet (for a bargain $10 USD). It was a wonderful way to end each day (or a nice break in the middle of the day). Yes, some days I had two massages.
Overall, I would highly recommend visiting Hong Kong – even if you can’t find anyone to go with you, don’t let that stop you! And especially solo female travelers, it’s a really great place to visit. There is so much to do, the infrastructure is great, and the people are wonderful. Happy Travels!
For more information about things to do in Hong Kong & to plan your visit, check out our complete destination guide for Hong Kong!
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Photo Credit: All photos fall under CC 2.0 – Archbob, Unsplash, kladann2, Alberto Carrasco-Casado
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