Hong Kong Island districts - the lowdown on each one

••• Central's Streets. Rory Boland

Whether you’re trying to find the best area to stay, want to know where to find the finest shopping or the cheapest food, our guide to Hong Kong’s districts will point you in the right direction.

Each neighbourhood has a small description and then a link through a complete guide to the district. Below is Hong Kong Island – see page two for Kowloon, the Outlying Islands and New Territories.

Hong Kong Island districts

This is Hong Kong.

Where the colony was founded and where the SAR flourishes, Hong Kong Island is home to the business district, the government and, more importantly for tourists, the best nightlife in town. You’ll also find the top end, Michelin starred western restaurants here and the best of the city’s sights.

Central – The poster child for a thousand images of Hong Kong, Central is the city of skyscrapers. Home to more high rises than anywhere else on the planet, the streets here are flush with wealth – from the big banks to the break the bank shopping malls. It’s also home to most of Hong Kong’s best colonial sights and the wining and dining areas in SoHo and Lan Kwai Fong.

The Peak – Perched above the city, The Peak is an exclusive residential enclave and home to Hong Kong’s very richest. There are a handful of mediocre restaurants and no hotels, but it’s still worth a trip here for the views. From the very top you can peer down onto the city below, the South China Sea and on a clear day see straight across to China.

Causeway Bay - The best shopping district in town. Causeway Bay is packed with malls, mom and pop shops and everything in between. The late night buzz of the crowds and neon lights make this one of the best places to not only shop but soak up the atmosphere. If you want to experience Hong Kong at its night time best, head for Causeway Bay.

Wan Chai – Once Hong Kong’s red light district, the area’s naughty reputation is on the wane. It’s a fantastic place for nightlife and there are a handful of old Hong Kong sights here as well.

Sheung Wan – Parked next to Central, Sheung Wan has historically been one of Hong Kong’s most Chinese neighborhoods. It’s Chinese medicine stalls, dried seafood shops and mom and pop shops gave it a distinct character. Things are changing and under the grip of gentrification you’ll now find flat whites alongside traditional tea and some of the hottest hotels in town.

Sai Ying Pun – Relatively unknown until recently, the arrival of the MTR has seen a resurgent interest in one of Hong Kong’s oldest neighbourhood. As one of the first areas settled in Hong Kong, it has a wealth of fantastic colonial buildings to see, while the neighbourhood Chinese restaurants are well established, well worn and well regarded. Just a few stops from Central, you’ll also find some well-priced hotels in the district.

Aberdeen –  Once a separate fishing village, Aberdeen has almost been swallowed up by the city but it still retains its connection with the sea. The number of boat people in the harbour have dwindled but they remain a powerful echo of Hong Kong’s seafaring past, as does the seafood market held each morning.

Aberdeen is also home to Hong Kong’s famous floating restaurants.

Stanley – The original Hong Kong fishing village has developed into a popular stop on the tourist trail. It’s turned the famous market into the home of tat and filled up the tiny beaches, but Stanley still has a laidback charm. The promenade restaurants and pubs are fantastic and it’s a great way to spend a lazy weekend afternoon.