Tips for visiting Hong Kong on a budget

Known for it’s expensive real estate, designer shopping and fine dining, Hong Kong is one of the most expensive places in the world to stay. 
But don’t let that scare you away! Throughout the 3 years we have lived here, we have discovered a number of cost saving tips so that you can enjoy Hong Kong on a budget.

Eating in Hong Kong on a budget

The food in Hong Kong is some of the best we have ever tasted, but it can also be super expensive depending on where you eat. You can find quality food on the cheap following these tips:

  1. Instead of fine dining, try eating at local Cantonese hole in the wall restaurants or Dai Pai Dongs. You should be able to get a full meal for under $10 USD per person.
  2. If you are after Michelin star restaurants, you can eat at Tim Ho Wan which is the cheapest Michelin star restaurant in the world. Dishes here are under $5USD and very tasty. Tip: try the har gow and the baked BBQ pork buns.
  3. The best app we use to find discount food (all types of cuisine) is called eatigo. What is great about the app, is you can search via cuisine or suburb and it will show you discounts for restaurants based on time. So on an off peak time (say 6pm) you may be able to get up to 50% off your food bill. 
  4. Also when we first moved to Hong Kong, we applied for a super Monday’s card. This card gives 2 for 1 meals on Mondays at participating restaurants and is definitely worth it. It is 88HKD (11USD) and they send you 10 cards which you can share with family and friends.
Eating in Hong Kong on a budget
Dean & Tony (Dean’s dad) eating at a Dai Pai Dong

Drinking in Hong Kong on a budget 

Drinking in Hong Kong can be really expensive as the mark up in bars, restarants and clubs is crazy. Bottles of wine which are $20USD in the shop are priced over $100USD when you go out. Fortunately there are some tricks you can use to keep the cost of drinks down:

  1. Buying alcohol from the super market and having some drinks at home first can be a way to save some dollars.
  2. If you prefer to be out and about while you have a few drinks, you can drink at club 7 which we mentioned in our last blog “Hong Kong after dark” where you can buy alcohol from the 7/11 and stand out in the street and socalise, which is a perfectly acceptable thing to do in Hong Kong.
  3. Brunches in Hong Kong are THE THING TO DO, and usually for a few hundred Hong Kong dollars extra on top of your food you can drink as much as you want over a few hours.
  4. There are also a number of great happy hour deals. These seem to change regularly, but a great article on current deals can be found here 
Drinking in Hong Kong on a budget
Dean enjoying happy hour

Fitness in Hong Kong on a budget

There is no doubt that gyms like Pure Fitness are the best in class. They have state of the art machines, have every single class you could ever imagine wanting to do, and even give you exercise gear to get changed in to. All you need to bring are your shoes. Unfortunately gyms like this do not come cheap, so since leaving my job I have had to look for cheaper alternatives:

  1. Obviously the cheapest and most picturesque thing you can do in Hong Kong is go hiking! It is absolutely our favourite thing to do in Hong Kong as we can enjoy the outdoors, see a new place and get some exercise. What’s great about the hiking in Hong Kong is that it is so accessible and there are countless walks to do.┬áCheck out our videos for a number of places you can hike in Hong Kong.
  2. For those rainy days (or when the summer humidity makes hiking unbearable) a good option is to join one of the gyms provided by the Hong Kong Government sports and Leisure Department. There is usually a gym in each suburb, they aren’t fancy, but they do the trick. If the gym isn’t your thing though you can also hire squash, tennis, basketball courts through them which we have often done and is lots of fun.

Beauty in Hong Kong on a budget

While it is great to splurge on a massage at the Peninsula, most of us can only afford to do this once a year on a special occasion. To enjoy a beauty treatment more than once a year try:

  1. BloomMe. It is your answer to discount beauty treatments. We haven’t personally used the app because we are more into DIY beauty treatments, but our friends have used it and rave about it.
  2. Shops like sassa or mannings have all the things you need for DIY beauty. They usually have great sales where you can pick up face masks and discount nail polish.
  3. But above all, our favourite thing to do is get a free foot massage at one of the local parks. No, some creeper in the park doesn’t come over and offer to massage your feet! At the local parks in Hong Kong they have a stone path which you walk along bare foot. It is really really painful but it is absolutely the best. It hits all the pressure points and you leave feeling relaxed!
Foot massage in Hong Kong
Amanda enjoying a foot massage

Activities in Hong Kong on a budget

Want to visit the big Buddha by cable car, see the pink dolphins or go to an amusement park? Don’t pay full price! Klook and Kkday are the best apps to use to get discounts to popular Hong Kong attractions. These apps even offer discounts on transport to and from the airport, and even to Macau/ other places in China.

See, Hong Kong really can be enjoyed by everyone, not just the super rich!
You’re welcome! And for all of those dollars you save maybe you can visit us and buy us a drink!
Please share any other Hong Kong cost saving tips you have in the comments below.

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