Thursday, 11 February 2016

Hong Kong: A Family Travel Destination

In November, I journeyed to Hong Kong for a fortnight with my (at the time) 14-month-old daughter, Bridget, and my parents for a fortnight's holiday.

My partner was unable to join due to work commitments and I worried about Bridget coping with the journey, the crowds and what she might eat - I needn't have worried, she had an absolute ball and nothing phased her.

I have a few posts to cover off some of the wonderful places we visited and ate during our stay, but this post is to share some of the fantastically family-friendly places we enjoyed during our stay.

Firstly Hong Kong, like the rest of the world was geared up for Christmas, and so the entire place was decked out with the most lavish decorations and trees I’ve encountered anywhere in the world and these festivities meant some of the shopping centres, especially the 1881 Heritage had a hundred photo opportunities and excited even the most Scrooge-minded person – Bridget absolutely loved it. 

Bridget enjoying Christmas display at Tsing Yi

Equally everywhere we went in terms of tourist attractions and restaurants, people made a real fuss of Bridget too, which was lovely. Highchairs were easily accumulated and she enjoyed a fantastic array of new foods with her favourites being char sui bao, steamed dim sum cake, steamed rice, noodles in all their wonderful guises and weirdly enough, octopus tentacles! 


We stayed on Ma Wan Island, or the modern day name; Park Island so the first place I should mention is Tung Wan Beach. Hong Kong might not strike you as a beach resort, but the beach here is cleaned daily and immaculate and aside from the weekend when the beach becomes busy with residents of the island, during the week it is often completely empty which is idyllic for spending time with your little ones – unusually temperatures were over 80 degrees for our entire stay so this was a happy escape from the heat. This was Bridget's first time on a beach since she began walking, and she was a little nervous of the sand to begin with, but by the second time on the beach she was running around happy as can be. 
Tung Wan Beach, Ma Wan
Bridget at Tung Wan Beach
Enjoying Milk Cake at Tung Wan Beach
If spending the day at Tung Wan Beach you could bring a picnic and the Fusion supermarket is a great place to collect supplies - their fresh baos and baked goods as well as the fruit produce is splendid. If you'd rather leave the catering to the professionals you're spoilt with a parade of beach-front restaurants that are open all week.

We were regulars at Cafe Roma where our favourite dishes were the Wagyu Beef and the Four Cheese Pizzas plus the breakfast smoothies which Bridget loved. We also loved the chocolate fondant too.

Pizza, Cafe Roma, Ma Wan
Smoothie at Cafe Roma, Ma Wan

We also tried the Pattaya Thai Island and the Chinese restaurants along the front of Tung Wan Beach - both offering good, well priced food.

Pattaya Thai Island restaurant, Ma Wan
Hong Kong also has some other great beaches such as Repulse Bay and Cheung Chau. Travelling to Hong Kong, there is literally so much to see and do, so the days spent on Ma Wan were usually when we were completely shattered from walking endlessly for a few days!


A place where dreams are made is a true description of Hong Kong's Disneyland. The magic begins on arrival where everything is Mickey or Minnie themed – Bridget absolutely adores Minnie Mouse so was in her absolute element. Excited children and adults ran around in an excited mode throughout the day at Disneyland and there are tons of rides and attractions throughout the park; but the true wonder was in watching the parade late in the afternoon. I was completely mesmerised by the scenes and my parents just loved seeing Bridget so excited by everything. Children under three enter for free and the price per adult is approximately £50 - worth every penny/dollar. 

Getting into the Disney spirit
At the entrance enjoying the Disney themed gardens
Disney parade
Ocean Park

This theme park, located in Wong Chuk Hang Valley, in the south, is more animal-based – with the most amazing 3-storey aquarium displaying an impressive array of sea life. The park is also home to likes of penguins, seals, dolphins and excitingly a pair of pandas who we got a really close glimpse of. There are tons of rides there too; including a selection suitable for toddlers like Bridget, as well as some more hair-rising thrill-seeking types. Prices per adult at Ocean Park are priced at the equivalent of just under £40 and again, Bridget went free. This is an entire-day out experience – there are fast-food outlets and sit down restaurants throughout the park, a cable car ride takes you from one level up to a more mountainous section which offers fantastic views over Hong Kong and the park is set in a huge space so wear your most comfortable shoes here as you will cover a lot of ground. 

Bridget on a ride with Nan & Grandad at Ocean Park
Panda at Ocean Park
Noah’s Ark

Situated on Ma Wan, this was a great morning spot for our group. Based on the story of the Biblical Ark, there is a giant wooden ark, within which, are tons of educational rooms teaching visitors all about animals, evolution, the story of the ark and the outside grounds contain an impressive array of lifelike, and similarly sized, wooden animals. Bridget really loved running wild in this area and pointing out the different animals. She also enjoyed the play area and role play sections inside – including mocked up kitchens. Noah’s Ark is aimed more at primary school aged children and there is a ton more activity they could get involved in but it’s still worth a visit if your little one is toddler age. Noah’s Ark is priced at around £16 per adult and free for under 3’s and as I mentioned is on Ma Wan, so if you’re travelling in from elsewhere on Hong Kong, plan your day to spend the afternoon on Tung Wan Beach

Bridget at Noah's Ark
Animals at Noah's Ark

Kowloon Park

Based in Tsing Tsa Tsui, Kowloon Park is a great, free national park and, is absolutely huge and runs parallel to Nathan Road but has entrances all around – including Haiphong Road, Austin road and Canton Road so you can enter from a number of directions. The gardens are some of the most picturesque and well kept, with impressive topiary and floral displays all around – and the serenity played a great backdrop for the Tai Chi displays taking place when we visited . A large adventure park had Bridget incredibly excited and was filled with excitable children when we were there. The aviary and bird lake were where Bridget really enjoyed herself – especially her first glimpse of the pink flamingos. Kowloon Park is a great place to spend some quiet time and let the children run off some energy.

Bridget at Bird Lake, Kowloon Park
Hong Kong is a fantastic place to visit for all ages but there really are an absolute wealth of activities to do with little ones here so it should definitely be on your wish list for a fun-filled, adventure-packed family holiday.

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