Hong Kong For First Timers: 8 Muslim-Friendly Travel Tips to Know

With her stunning skyline, rich culture and amazing food, Hong Kong should be on everyone’s travel bucket list. However, with only 1.6% of the population being Muslim, crossing out Hong Kong on the list might seem unnerving for some Muslim travellers.

Well, you’ll be glad to know that Hong Kong’s tourism board has been stepping up their efforts to make Hong Kong a Muslim-friendly city over the years. There has been a significant increase in halal eateries and praying facilities sprawled across the city.

Ready to make a trip to The Pearl of the Orient? Take note of these eight Muslim-friendly tips that would ensure your next trip to Hong Kong goes smoothly.

1. Book your Airport Express tickets online

Image credit: shankar s. (left), Gavin Anderson (right)
Hong Kong Airport Express
Image credit: Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway

The easiest and fastest way from Hong Kong International Airport is via the Hong Kong Airport Express. The Airport Express line makes stops at popular areas in the city, such as Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. The journey from the airport to Hong Kong station is a mere 24 minutes!

Tickets for the Airport Express are available at the airport, however, there is usually a long line. To avoid the long queues, buy your tickets online instead. You can easily find Airport Express Tickets on trusted third-party travel websites, such as Klook and Viator. You don’t even need to redeem a physical ticket. You can simply head straight to the gates and enter using the QR code sent to you. It doesn’t get any more convenient than that!

2. Get an Octopus card

Hong Kong Octopus Card
Image credit: Hong Kong Tourism Board

Most city-dwellers will be familiar with the concept of the octopus card. Similar to Singapore’s EZ-link card, an Octopus card is a stored-value electronic card. Octopus cards are super versatile and can be used at all MTR stations, Star Ferry, Peak Tram and even shops such as 7-Eleven and McDonald’s. You never need to dig your pockets for coins to pay for MTR tickets anymore. Just scan your Octopus card and go on your way.

There are two types of Octopus cards that are suitable for visitors. The first is the Sold Tourist Octopus card, which is priced at HK$39 (without initial stored value and no required deposit). The Sold Tourist Octopus makes a practical souvenir as it has a cute design and can be used for multiple separate visits to Hong Kong (as long as you don’t deactivate it by getting a refund on the remaining value).

The second type of card is the On-loan Octopus card, which requires a refundable deposit of HK$50, making the card is technically free. However, do take note that there is a handling fee if you return the On-loan Octopus less than 90 days from the date of issue.

Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway
Image credit: Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway

The Octopus cards are readily available at any MTR stations, including the Airport Express station at the Hong Kong International Airport. Similar to the Airport Express tickets, Octopus cards can be purchased in advanced as well on trusted third-party travel websites.

If you’re imagining Hong Kong’s MTR lines to be as complicated looking as Tokyo’s metro lines, you can heave a sigh of relief. Being super easy to understand, the MTR system is completely idiot-proof. The MTR system is also linked up to Google Maps, making it a breeze to get around Hong Kong.

3. Muslim-friendly areas to stay

hong kong
Image credit: johnlsl

With hundreds of hotels all over Hong Kong, choosing your accommodation is one of the most time-consuming parts of any trip planning. If you’re looking for maximum convenience, narrow down your search to the Tsim Sha Tsui or Wan Chai districts. These districts are popular for shopping and teeming with tourist attractions.

One reason why these districts are deemed Muslim-friendly is that two of Hong Kong’s largest mosques are located here; the Kowloon Mosque and Islamic Centre at Tsim Sha Tsui, and the Ammar Mosque and Osman Ramju Sadick Islamic Centre at Wan Chai. Another reason why these are considered Muslim-friendly districts is that halal eateries are aplenty here. It is said that about half of Hong Kong’s halal-certified establishments are concentrated in these two districts!

4. Finding halal food

Hong Kong Dim Sum

Now that you know how to get around and are all settled in your accommodation, time to get your grub on. You will be happy to know that it is not hard to find halal eateries in Hong Kong. Everybody knows that a trip to Hong Kong won’t be complete without eating some dim sum. For the best halal-certified authentic dim sum, go to Islamic Centre Canteen located within Ammar Mosque and Osman Ramju Sadick Islamic Centre. If you want a taste of authentic Hong Kong-style Chinese cuisine, head to either Hung’s Chinese Restaurant or Ma’s Restaurant.

Also read: Halal Food in Hong Kong: 20 Places to Visit When You’re Hungry

5. Places to perform your prayers

Hong Kong mosque
Image credit: Meraj Chhaya

Currently, Hong Kong has six mosques, namely Jamia Mosque, Kowloon Mosque, Ammar Mosque, Stanley Mosque, Chai Wan Mosque and Ibrahim Mosque. Other than these mosques, unbeknown to most travellers, there are quite a number of prayer rooms littered across the city.

There are even prayer rooms available at popular tourist attractions such as the newly opened prayer room at sky100. To use the prayer room, do approach the friendly staff at the Customer Service Counter located on the 100th floor. The prayer room is on the same floor as the Hong Kong Observation Deck of the International Commerce Centre, the tallest building in Hong Kong!

6. Muslim-friendly theme parks

Hong Kong Disneyland
Image credit: Hong Kong Disneyland

In the efforts to make the city more Muslim-friendly for travellers, Hong Kong’s theme parks have included prayer rooms and halal-certified restaurants in their park.

Hong Kong Disneyland

Did you know that Hong Kong Disneyland is the only Disneyland in the world to offer halal-certified food? There are actually two halal-certified restaurants inside the park; Tahitian Terrace in Adventureland and Explorer’s Club Restaurant in Mystic Point. You will be able to enjoy delicious international cuisines at these restaurants such as Korean, Japanese and even Indonesian cuisine. Halal-certified light bites are also offered at the Main Street Market USA.

When it’s time to perform your prayers, head to the prayer room next to Explorer’s Club Restaurant in Mystic Point. Wudhu facilities are available in the prayer room. Sejadahs and telekung are not provided, so do remember to bring your own.

Ocean Park Hong Kong
Image credit: Ocean Park Hong Kong

Ocean Park Hong Kong

There are currently four eateries where you can get halal-certified food from in Ocean Park Hong Kong; Café Ocean, Dive Into A Float (Marine World), Panda Café Food To Go (Amazing Asian Animals) and Popcorn Cart (Aqua City). The dishes offered include Hong Kong delicacies and other Asian dishes such as sweet and sour shrimp, stir-fried noodles with beef fillet, Malaysian Laksa, Hainan chicken rice and Tandoori chicken leg.

When you want to perform your prayers, head to one of the two Guest Relations offices – one located at the main entrance, and the other is near Thrill Mountain at The Summit –  to ask for assistance. The friendly staff will lead you to the prayer room with the Qibla direction marked. Sejadahs and telekung are not provided, so do remember to bring your own. You can perform wudhu in the washrooms nearby beforehand.

7. Different ways to enjoy the Hong Kong skyline

Hong Kong Skyline

If it’s your first time to Hong Kong, you must go up Victoria Peak to take in the beauty of the stunning Hong Kong skyline. The fastest way up to the top is to hop on the iconic Peak Tram. However, the line to buy the tram ticket can be over two hours long during peak travel seasons. One tip is to buy your tickets from trusted third-party travel websites, where you can be fast-tracked to the front of the queue via their special lane. Other ways to the top include taking a taxi or hiking up.

The Peak Tower, which is the Peak Tram Upper Terminus, has free entry with exceptions of the Peak Tower Observation Deck Sky Terrace 428 and Madame Tussauds Museum. There are other free viewing platforms in the area which offer similar impressive views of the city. You can find them in the Peak Galleria and Lion’s Pavilion, which are located nearby the Peak Tower.

Hong Kong Skyline

Other than from the top, you can enjoy Hong Kong’s fantastic skyline from Victoria Harbour on the Kowloon side. Use your Octopus card and hop on the Star Ferry from Hong Kong Island which takes you directly to Victoria Harbour. The ferry ride only takes you 10 minutes. There is no best time to view Hong Kong’s iconic skyline, but my favourite time is definitely in the evening when the colourful building lights illuminate the city.

8. Muslim-friendly Hong Kong International Airport

Hong Kong International Airport
Image credit: Chris Smith

It’s time to head back home, and there you are back at the airport. If you hate airplane food and want to grab a meal before your flight, you can do so at two halal-certified eateries in Hong Kong International Airport. One of them is Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen located at Terminal 1 on level seven, departure level. If you’ve had your fill of Chinese cuisine and fast food, the other halal option is Old Town White Coffee located at Terminal 1 on level six, departure level.

Hong Kong International Airport also provides five non-denominational prayer rooms around the airport; three in the restricted areas and two in the non-restricted areas. In the restricted areas, you can find the prayer rooms near Gate 42, near Gate 501-510 and near Gate 211. You can find more information and all the locations of the prayer rooms here. Wudhu facilities are available in the prayer room. The Qibla direction is also marked. Sejadahs and telekung are not provided, so do remember to bring your own.

Also read: Top 7 Halal Restaurants in Hong Kong for Muslim Travellers

Hong Kong definitely must be commended for making the city an inclusive one, especially for Muslim travellers. To reap the benefits of their efforts, fire up your preferred search engines and start preparing for your trip to Hong Kong now!

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