Our managing editor Holly Graham has lived in Hong Kong almost a decade, so is sharing some essential tips for the bar industry ahead of Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2023.

To/from the airport

The Airport Express is the fastest, cheapest way to get to Kowloon and Central from the airport. Just buy your ticket at the machine before entering the station.

Octopus Card

Octopus Cards are used for public transport in Hong Kong (and you can pay for lots of other stuff with them too). There is a tourist feature you can upload to ApplePay, so make sure you download it and top up!


It’s hot. It’s humid. It’s really hot and humid. It will rain, very suddenly sometimes. Pack accordingly. And trust me when I say hot and humid. You think New Orleans in Tales is bad? This probably tops it. 

The escalators 

Most of the bars you’re going to be hitting will be up into the steep slopes of Soho but you needn’t sweat unnecessarily. The world’s largest escalator system starts on Queen’s Road Central and takes you uphill without you having to bust a calf. That said, don’t wear heels. Getting down the slopes (especially in the rain) in unsteady shoes (when drunk) is dicey.

Bar crawls

Most bars, except the few on Kowloon side, are very near each other. Plan your crawl accordingly based on timing and location using our guide to guest shifts here


English is very widely spoken, as well as Cantonese. You shouldn’t experience too much of a language barrier.


Uber works and is reasonably priced, but the local red taxis are much cheaper. However, they only take cash. In general in HK, you won’t really need cash at all but make sure you have a little for taxi rides. Get into the taxi first before telling them where you’re going and have your location on Google maps just in case the driver doesn’t know where it is.

Star Ferry

The Star Ferry is a very cheap and fun way to get between Central and Tsim Sha Tsui and a great way to take in Hong Kong’s iconic skyline.


If you’re not too hungover to exercise, walk/run the Central waterfront or hike Victoria Peak – it should take you around 2hrs at a slow to medium pace in the current heat.


Paracetamol can be bought off the shelf, but Nurofen is over the counter so if you’re in need, go to the pharmacy section of stores like Watsons and Mannings. Also, Pocari Sweat is your electrolyte-laden friend.


Most venues have a 10% service charge but it doesn’t always go to staff. Tips aren’t essential but always encouraged – especially in bars!


Restaurants aren’t exactly cheap here but local food is delicious, safe and much easier on the wallet. Deliveroo and FoodPanda also work if you’re too broken to leave bed.


Hong Kong has some great beaches if you have the time. Just ask any of the HK bartenders – we’ll give you recommendations. 

Open container laws

You can drink on the streets if you want 7/11 roadies. But save room for the cocktails, obvs.


It’s never a great idea to carry your passport around but keep a photo of it on your phone or carry another form of ID. You probably won’t need it, but better to be prepared!


Hong Kong now has a proper airport bar with cocktails, conceptualised by Victoria Chow if your liver is up for one last round before you fly out. Read about the bar, called Intervals, here.