Places in Singapore that'll make you believe you're in Hong Kong's Tsim Sha Tsui, Victoria Peak & Mongkok

[UPDATED, Oct 16, 2020]: If you have been itching to travel, the recent news that leisure travel to Hong Kong might be a possibility in the foreseeable future would have you rejoicing.

But in the meantime, why not checkout our list of places to visit here in Singapore that allow you to recreate the Hong Kong experience without having to leave our little red dot.  

If you slow down, you might just see the slight similarities between both countries. Maybe it's time to play tourist in your own backyard!

Here's our list of well-known Hong Kong attractions and their local substitutes.

AVENUE OF STARS

TRY: ESPLANADE

Avenue of Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui reopened in early 2019 with a refreshed look, and if you want to recreate a leisurely stroll along the promenade to overlook Hong Kong's skyline, Singapore's waterfront at Esplanade comes pretty close. 

Of course, you will not find handprints and signatures of your favourite stars, but you'll be greeted by the sweeping view of Singapore's skyline. It's exceptionally beautiful in the night.

Though if you're hoping to meet a real Hong Kong star in Singapore, your best bet may be to hang around Yishun where veteran actor Benz Hui lives. 

VICTORIA PEAK

TRY: MOUNT FABER

Hong Kong's Victoria Peak (also know as The Peak) boasts a bird's eye view of the city and is the highest hill on Hong Kong island.

It's a crowd-puller for tourists as well as lovers looking for some quiet time at night, well away from the bustle of the city.

Just like The Peak, Mount Faber in Singapore is a pretty romantic place to impress your date, with its winding drive uphill and beautiful view.  

If you're into the fitspo lifestyle, you can also choose to hike up Mount Faber, which will give you a good twenty- to thirty-minute workout from the Southern Ridges.

MONGKOK

TRY: JURONG POINT

Mongkok is known for its vibrant scene of tantalising street food and bright neon signboards that make it to every Instagram post. It also boasts affordable shopping. 

Trick your mind into thinking you're in Hong Kong when you drop by 'Mongkok' at Jurong Point, touted as Singapore's first Hong Kong-themed shopping and dining street. 

 

To make it look more convincing, catch up over milk tea and cha chaan teng (Hong Kong-style cafe) grub at Legendary Hong Kong Restaurant.

LADIES' MARKET

TRY: CHINATOWN

One of the most popular night markets in Hong Kong is the Ladies' Market at Mongkok. The stalls span across one kilometre, with vendors selling souvenirs, clothes, accessories, trinkets and cosmetics.

The rows of souvenir shops at Chinatown give off the same vibes and is also packed with tourists during the weekends. 

NGONG PING 360

TRY: SINGAPORE CABLE CAR

The Ngong Ping 360 brings you to Lantau Island in Hong Kong, where you can make a day trip to explore the Ngong Ping village, visit the Po Lin Monastery and pay respects to the larger-than-life Tian Tan Buddha.

The Singapore Cable Car at Harbourfront transports you to Sentosa, where you can spend an entire day exploring the various attractions.

Explore the largest and tallest Merlion statue, find Nemo at S.E.A. Aquarium, swim with the dolphins or just chill at the beach.

LAN KWAI FONG

TRY: ANN SIANG HILL

Right smack in Central Hong Kong is the famed Lan Kwai Fong that comes alive when the sun sets. 

Its over-the-top nightlife street is filled with pubs, clubs and drinking spots. 

Ann Siang Hill is dotted with watering holes and speakeasies. It's a slightly toned down version of Lan Kwai Fong, but it's not without its charm.

HONG KONG FOOD

Hong Kong is known as a destination for shopping and un-rivalled food, and for good reason — the roast meats and wanton noodles are unmissable whenever I make a trip there.

Thankfully, in recent years, famous Hong Kong eateries have graced our shores. To complete this list, we've thrown in some Hong Kong restaurants and cafes to check out while enjoying your make-believe Hong Kong trip in Singapore.

MAK'S NOODLE

The famous Hong Kong wanton noodle in Central can be found in The Centrepoint.

Slurp on a comforting bowl of authentic wanton noodle soup, or go for its Beef Brisket Noodles for a more filling meal.

Where: 176 Orchard Rd, #01-63/64, Singapore 238843

TSUI WAH & HONOLULU CAFE

Satisfy your crispy bun with condensed milk, classic Hong Kong dishes and milk tea cravings at Tsui Wah.

The popular cha chaan teng has also just opened its second outlet at Heeren, boasting two storeys where you can stop by to refuel while shopping in Orchard Road. Look out for its new items including the mala prawns.

Another popular Hong Kong cafe known for its flaky egg tarts is Honolulu Cafe, located just a stone's throw away at The Centrepoint. 

Tsui Wah: 

  • 3 River Valley Road Block A, #01-03, Singapore 179020
  • 60 Orchard Road, The Heeren #02-02 Singapore 238855

Honolulu Cafe:

  • #01-33 F/G, The Centrepoint, 176 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238843

TAI CHEONG BAKERY

Dig into delicate and buttery egg tarts at Tai Cheong Bakery that saw snaking lines when it first opened at Holland Village in 2016.

There are other baked goods too at this take-away stall that are worth the mention, such as its bolo buns and chicken pies.

Where: 

  • 31 Lor Liput, Singapore 277742

  • 391 Orchard Road, #B2 Takashimaya Food Hall, Singapore 238872

KAM'S ROAST

One of the highlights of visiting Hong Kong is its melt-in-your-mouth roast meats, and you can get your fill at Kam's Roast here in Singapore.

Apart from the signature pipa duck, it'll be hard to resist their char siew done in two ways. 

Where: 

  • Pacific Plaza, 9 Scotts Road #01-04/05/06/07, Singapore 228210
  • 78 Airport Bouleyard #02-210 Changi Jewel, Singapore 819666

MUI KEE CONGEE

Every now and then, you'll want something warm to comfort your soul and Mui Kee's congee does the job.

The popular congee store in Mongkok made its way into Singaporeans' hearts after its successful pop-up in Botanic Gardens. 

The congee is silky and has a distinctive wok hei flavour in its fish belly congee that you will find hard to resist.

Where: Shaw Centre, 1 Scotts Road, #01-12, Singapore 228208

SYMPHONY OF LIGHTS

[CURRENTLY SUSPENDED] TRY: SPECTRA, MARINA BAY SANDS

You'll want to plan the Symphony of Lights into your itinerary at least once if you're visiting Hong Kong, especially if it's your first time.

The laser light and sound display comes on every day at 8pm and can be viewed from the Avenue of Stars and outside the Golden Bauhinia Square at the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront. The dazzling spectacle involves 42 buildings across the Victoria Harbour on Hong Kong Island.

But fret not, Singapore has Spectra, Marina Bay Sand's (MBS) light and water show, which can be seen at MBS' waterfront and along the Marina Bay waterfront promenade. 

The shows start at 8pm and 9.30pm, with an additional display at 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

And that concludes our list of places you could visit for a little dose of Hong Kong when you need it. Of course nothing comes close to the real deal — here's hoping the dust settles soon so that the tourist hordes can once again descend on the shopping and food paradise. 

melissagoh@asiaone.com