The hustle and bustle of Hong Kong is nearly inescapable. Organized chaos lives along the elevated walkways of Central Hong Kong and the neon-hued streets of Lan Kwai Fong. A moment to oneself seems a rarity, as does avoiding the onslaught of rush hour traffic. On the other side of Hong Kong Island, away from the skyscrapers and malls laced with designer shops, which show no mercy on meager pockets, lies Aberdeen, a town located on the southwest portion of the island. Aberdeen noticeably lacks the glitz of Central Hong Kong, but makes up for its deficiency of glam with pure charm.
Once largely well-known for its fishing villages, Aberdeen attracts tourists from across the globe, looking to dine on local cuisine, take in the sites at Aberdeen Promenade and neighboring islands, and catch an overall break from hectic Central Hong Kong.
Foodies will fall in love with Aberdeen with ease thanks to the quaint mom and pops-style dumpling shops, which sling dough-wrapped treats until the wee hours. While the dumpling may reign supreme in Hong Kong, another foodie favorite lies within the cramped bakeries scattered around Shek Pai Wan Road. That tantalizing treat is the Chinese egg tart. A simple combination of eggs, milk, and sugar, baked in a flaky crust, the egg tart can cost as little as 80 cents (USD), making it far less than any pastry ITP or even OTP.
While hotel accommodations are few and far between in Aberdeen, the town does lay claim to one chain hotel, the Ovolo Aberdeen Harbour. The cushy hotel boasts an affordable price, with a standard room ranging in price from $79 to $155 per night, and offers exceptional perks for guests. In addition to providing your standard continental breakfast, the Ovolo Aberdeen Harbour also treats guests to a complimentary Happy Hour every day. For three hours, guests can make their own cocktail thanks to a full bar, or enjoy a glass of wine or beer while snacking on light appetizers. Splurge on a harbour view room if possible at the Ovolo, the view is well worth it.
Due to Aberdeen’s southerly location, exploring the smaller islands off the coast of Hong Kong is a cinch. Ferries leave directly from Aberdeen Harbour each day and cost a few dollars per one-way ride. A touristy favorite is Lamma Island, which takes about 30 minutes to reach by ferry. Although swift, that 30 minutes gives riders just enough time to take in the emerald waters and majestic rock formations that jut out of the sea. Perfect for a short day trip, Lamma Island features countless shops and several seafood restaurants perfectly located on the water.
A con for some travelers visiting Aberdeen is the absence of the Mass Transit Railway (MTR). The MTR shuttles riders around Northern Hong Kong Island with effortless fluidity, but is nonexistent on the southern portion of the island. Buses run like clockwork in Aberdeen, so the lack of a railway won’t be missed for too long. Bus fares range in price depending on where you’re picked up and where you’re traveling to. Expect to pay less than $1 (USD) for hop-skip-and-a-jump trips to nearly $10 (USD) for long-distance rides. An added perk when hitching a ride on one of the comfy, double-decker buses is the amazing views offered as you travel along the outskirts of Hong Kong Island.
From homey eateries to sea views that are panoramic perfection, Aberdeen undoubtedly serves as a true gem in the Pearl of the Orient.