What to Pack for Hong Kong (Dress in Navy Stripes!)
Hong Kong has a rich maritime history. The port city's name in Chinese, Xiang Gang (香港), can mean "Harbor of Incense" or "Port of Perfumes". It's a fascinating metropolis that blends Cantonese culture with British colonial colors. I highly recommend visiting Hong Kong one day if you have a chance. For a list of fun things to do with kids or as a solo traveler, see my top recommendations in this post.
The "Pearl of the Orient" is a financial center with low income taxes and NO sales tax, so it's naturally the shopping central of Asia with a kaleidoscopic retail offering. I used to work in the luxury industry, and I can tell you this insider info: for many luxury brands, Hong Kong is the most important place in the world in terms of sales figures. When in Hong Kong, don't be surprised to see people clad head-to-toe in luxury brands, it's part of the culture. It seems that every lady dresses in Celine, wears Roger Vivier shoes, and carries a Chanel 2.55 bag. And since there is NO sales tax, shopping becomes a highly-justifiable activity when you're in town.
As Hong Kong sits just below the Tropic of Cancer, for most times of the year, the weather would be hot and humid when you visit. Here are the key items that I would pack in the bags when I visit Hong Kong:
1. Light and Casual Dresses
When it's hot and humid, you want light and airy. Why not try a little white and navy-striped number? It's something I have in my Travel Chic Capsule Wardrobe. You're paying homage to the maritime history of Hong Kong (ok that's a stretch), and the added advantage is that should you bump into a typical afternoon thunderstorm, especially during Monsoon season (June to August), the stripes can offset the "transparency" factor of the wet dress. I'd wear dresses in pure cotton, they are breathable and chic, and tend to last better over the years. And if you're going somewhere chic, like having afternoon tea at the Peninsula for example, just throw on some pearls and you're set.
2. Bring a Cardigan
Don't forget to pack a light cardigan (or a crisp white long-sleeve shirt that can double as a cardigan), because as soon as you walk indoors, you'll need an extra layer for the habitually strong air conditioning. Sometimes the difference in temperature on two sides of a glass sliding door can be over 10 degrees Celsius/20 degrees Fahrenheit!
3. Flats for Walking
I'd pack flat shoes because Hong Kong is a highly walking-friendly city, you can zigzag through Central by foot through the maze-like walkway and escalator network. Ballet flats are always great, but when it's hot out, why not wear some lightweight espadrilles? They always make walking feel like a breeze.
4. A Hat for the Sun
The climate of Hong Kong is subtropical, which means that the sun is on turbo mode most times of the year. The ladies in Hong Kong (and in many parts of Asia) are known to walk around town with a full armor of sun hats, sun glasses, and reflective sun umbrellas. They'd do anything to protect their skin from sun damage, and I think they have a point. So pack a hat, you'd be happy not to get sun spots later.
No, sunglasses are not for the style, not for looking chic, they're made for the sun. Yes, even when you go indoors, and even after sunset.
Hope you'd go visit this lovely city where East meets West someday soon. But even if you're not going to Hong Kong, a little dress in navy stripes is always nice to have in the closet, isn't it?
How would you pack for Hong Kong?