If you plan to be heading out to Hong Kong in the near future, chances are you’re going to want to have some sort of Hong Kong travel guide book with you.
There are already plenty of China travel guide books and even specific guide books for Beijing travel or Shanghai, but if you will be spending most of your time in and around Hong Kong it’s often better to grab something that is dedicated to the entire region and everything it has to offer.
Fortunately there are quite a few options available and each of them caters to a different type of traveler. Take a look at the list of Top 5 Hong Kong travel guide books below to help you determine which is best for your needs.
Lonely Planet Hong Kong
One of the reasons they’ve become so popular – other than the great content – is that they are one of the few publishers that has decided to offer their guide books both as a physical book and an ebook download. This is the case with their Lonely Planet Hong Kong travel guide, which can be purchased as a physical book and an easy-to-use ebook version. Lonely Planet Hong Kong offers a quick list of the “Top 16” places you’ll probably want to visit, suggested itineraries, and some beautiful color photos to help with the planning..
Here’s what you get with Lonely Planet Hong Kong:
- 384 Detailed Pages: filled with maps, color photos, and more.
- Offline Maps: high-resolution maps for your e-reader or PDF versions for download
- Pull-Out Map: for the print version
- Various Focus: suggestions for traveling with children, taking day trips (including Macau), or short walking tours.
Of course, the Lonely Planet China, one of the best China travel guides, touches on Hong Kong but not with nearly the amount of detail that you get here. If you’ll be in Hong Kong for a day or two, the China guide will do fine. If you plan to be here for a week or more, the city-specific guide is worth the extra money.
DK Eyewitness: Top 10 Hong Kong
DK is well-known for their beautifully photographed and illustrated guides that give readers a much more in-depth look at the places they hope to visit. The DK Top 10 Hong Kong is another addition to the “Top 10” series that does a good job of concisely presenting the best places in Hong Kong without overwhelming the reader with too much detail.
Of course, this means that you’re sacrificing the detail of a book like Lonely Planet for a book that attempts you to guide you to only those places it believes would be most interesting. If your time in the city is limited, the advantage of using the DK Top 10 is that they list out only those places that would be considered a “must-see”.
Another bit of good news is that while not all DK guides are published in ebook format, they have decided to do an ebook version of DK Hong Kong. Here’s what you get with DK Top 10 Hong Kong:
- 160 Pages: full of colorful photos and cutaway illustrations of the most important tourist destinations
- Pull-Out Maps: maps of the metro, city and other places of interest
- Top 10 Lists: top 10 museums, festivals, hotels, bars, and dozens of others
- Idea Guide: they boast 60 great ideas on how to spend a day in Hong Kong
The idea guide with 60 ways to spend a day is another reason that DK is an excellent resource for planning your trip, not just taking it along and winging it.
Pocket Rough Guide: Hong Kong & Macau
Although not as well-known as Lonely Planet or DK, Rough Guide has an impressive library of travel guides, including many for China. The advantage of this Rough Guide is that not only is it available in ebook format, it is also one of the cheapest guides available for Hong Kong.
The “pocket” in the name is deceiving – an indication of its small size rather than a description of how comprehensive the book is. The guide was most recently updated in February 2014, making it one of the most-up-to-date guides on Hong Kong and Macau available. The guide covers everything from itineraries to festivals, museums, festivals, markets and outdoor trips.
To sum up, Pocket Rough Guide Hong Kong & Macau includes:
- 160 Pages: all in “full color” as they advertise
- Pull-Out Map: as well as detailed, zoomable maps for the ebook version
- Detailed Itineraries: these itineraries take all the planning work out of the equation.
If you prefer to have somebody else plan your trip for you but don’t want to pay for a tour guide, the Rough Guide will lay out which days to go where easily.
Fodor’s Hong Kong
Yet another great option for your travels comes in the form of Fodor’s Hong Kong, an excellent guide that separates itself from the competition (namely Lonely Planet) with many additional sections catering to specific travelers. This includes sections titled “Free and Almost Free”, “Cinema Hong Kong”, “Beaches” and “Hong Kong with Kids”.
So basically what Fodor’s attempts to do is provide the same level of beautiful photography and excellent travel information that you’ll get with many of the other guides but then add other enticing value-add components. If any of the sections I listed above speak to you, this book might be the right option for your travel to Hong Kong.
As with all the other guides listed above, Fodor’s offers their Hong Kong guide as an ebook download that gives you the option to carry all this valuable travel information on your journey without taking up space in your luggage.
The Fodor’s Hong Kong Guide includes:
- 320 Pages: full color photos and maps of Hong Kong and Macau
- Color Maps & Illustrations: easy-to-read color regional maps, including an “on-the-go” map
- Trip Planning Tools: including how to travel with kids, where to find free things to do, etc.
This would be a hefty book to carry around, but it really is an excellent option if you’re not convinced that Lonely Planet is the way to go.
National Geographic Traveler: Hong Kong
National Geographic is the final option for the best travel guides to Hong Kong. The advantage of going with National Geographic is their focus on unraveling the historical and cultural context of each place you plan to visit in Hong Kong. The disadvantage is that unlike each of the above 4 travel guides, National Geographic does not offer their guide in a downloadable ebook format.
As expected with any guide, National Geographic provides gorgeous photography of Hong Kong as well as detailed maps that should be able to get you from point A to point B without getting lost. In addition to all the information they provide on places to visit within Hong Kong, there is also a section entirely dedicated to “Off the Beaten Path” excursions you might enjoy.
Another great aspect of the National Geographic Hong Kong guide is the dedicated sections to walking and driving tours, something that everybody should consider doing in a city like this that is so conducive to walking.
The National Geographic Traveler: Hong Kong includes:
- 272 Pages: of full-color photos and maps.
- Maps & Subway Guides: detailed and up-to-date maps
- Off the Beaten Path Excursions: a look at the places other guides might not touch on
- “Travelwise” Section: helpful section that covers the basics of traveling to Hong Kong
This last section has been a huge help to many travelers I know and helps with trip planning, transportation, practical advice and information in case of an emergency. National Geographic is last on this list, but it is still an excellent option for your trip here to Hong Kong.