If someone were to ask me what my favourite city in the world is, it would be a toss up between New York City and Hong Kong. I love New York because it is comfortable, exciting, and filled with energy but there is something about Hong Kong that makes me feel giddy every time the plane touches down. It’s exotic, it’s chaotic, and it’s electrifying. The city is just so big and there are so many things to do in Hong Kong, it can be overwhelming.
I don’t think there is any city skyline that I love more. Sure Shanghai has an eye popping set of buildings but it’s the sheer mass and aesthetic layout of Hong Kong that takes my breath away. While the city is known for nightlife and shopping, there is a lot more things to do in Hong Kong than you would expect. And some of our suggestions may even surprise you.
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There are quiet pockets, chic locations, and old school classic Hong Kong experiences. Whatever you choose to do Hong Kong will give you the excitement you are looking for in a city vacation. So the next time you go to the Far East, make sure to include Hong Kong on your travel itinerary and make sure to try all the things to do in and out of the city that we’ve listed below. Are you ready? Let’s get started.
Things to do in Hong Kong
For a panoramic view of Hong Kong, visit the Sky100. Located on the 100th floor of the International Commerce Centre, in West Kowloon, The Sky100 is the perfect spot to get your bearings and orientation of the city. From here you can see all the districts of Hong Kong, the harbour and the Mountains. Like all world cities, an observation deck is a great place to start. When you are staring out the windows of Hong Kong’s tallest building, you really get a sense of just how huge Hong Kong Really is. For prices and information visit the Sky100 website.
For another high lookout, a trip up the Peak Tram is a must. Opened in 1926, this funicular railway travels 1.4km up to an elevation of 400 metres above the city for a magnificent view of the Hong Kong harbour. You can spend a day exploring its hiking trails and perusing the indoor shopping centre. There’s even a Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum up there. But it’s really all about the view and scene of the Hong Kong Skyline twinkling its lights at sunset. For tickets and hours of operation visit the Peak Tram website
Get around Hong Kong on the Big Bus Hop on Hop off Tour 1-2 days for $77.66 includes ferries between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon and fast track up the Peak Tram and Sky100
Symphony of Lights – Clock Tower Kowloon
After the sun set, make your way to the harbour and watch the world’s largest continuous light show. There are several great ways to watch the Hong Kong Light Show and I suggest a cruise in the harbour as a fabulous way to see the choreographed light display. If you are a photographer, head over to the clock tower and line up with the other tripod carrying artists to photography the spectacle of neon lights and laser beams carefully crafted to music.
10,000 Buddhas Monastery
For a little culture and serenity, visit the 10,000 Buddhas Monastery in Pai Tau Village. The walk up is enough to take your breath away. One because it’s a bit tiring after eating all that amazing Chinese food in the city and two because hundreds of golden Buddhas line the path. Once you reach the top, there are temples and pavilions to explore as well as a nine-story pagoda.
Pick up your Lonely Planet Guide to Hong Kong before you go!
A highlight for me was the turtle pond and the gardens. It was a serene escape from the rest of Hong Kong.
For more things to do in China check out: Why you Should Travel off the Beaten Path in China and check out our 27 Best Travel Tips
Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car
This 25 minute scenic ride up to Ngong Ping village is considered one of the great cable car rides in the world. The cable car is located on Lan Tau Island starts in the village of Tung Chung and ends at the top at Ngong Ping Village. This themed village is kitcshy fun with 5D theatres, multimedia events, shopping, dining and even a martial arts show. When you get to the top grab a Starbucks coffee while you stroll around the village and take in the sights.
Tian Tan Buddha and Po Lin Monastery
Ngong Ping Village is located just five minutes from the Tian Tan Big Buddha and the Po Lin Monastery. The energy changes to a serene setting as one of the world’s largest Buddhas looms overhead while you explore the still working monastery. If you are lucky, you may witness monks chanting their morning prayers. The 40 meter high Buddha statue can be viewed by walking up 262 steps to take in its magnificent size.
Want to learn more about Lantau Island? See Our Hong Kong Day Trip
Insider Tip: Wine and Dine Festival
Each Year There’s the Wine and Dine Festival where wine and spirit makers from around the world come to Hong Kong to show off their best brews. Plan your trip around this event, you will love it!
For a bit of nature, Sai Kong is a great day excursion. Taxis are cheap in Hong Kong and we took a taxi out to Sai Kong where we hopped on a boat to explore the surrounding islands. There are some great hikes along the coast and you can even have your boat driver drop you off to hike back. Sai Kung is great for a boat ride, paddling and hiking and once you’ve worked up your appetite, you must try one of the seafood markets.
Sai Kung is famous for its seafood street where seafood restaurants line the waterfront. There’s even a Michelin Star seafood restaurant in the village if you really want to try something amazing.
Enjoy more China Travel Advice: The Best Things to do in China
Use the Subway
The best way to get around Hong Kong is by using the subway. It’s cheap, it’s efficient and it goes everywhere.
Note: Taxis are very reasonable in Hong Kong as well. Between the Subway and a cab, you can explore the city with ease.
Check out our original visit to see other things to do in Hong Kong if you only have 3 days
Stay at the Mira Hong Kong
We loved our stay at the Mira Hong Kong in Kowloon. It was walking distance from everything located in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui. We were just a short walk from the Harbour City shopping centre and waterfront. They even gave us a cell phone complete with free data, international phone calls and preloaded maps and information on Hong Kong to use during our stay. Everyone gets this when staying at the Mira Hong Kong: Hong Kong’s largest shopping mall. You must visit here for shopping and dining!
Take a Ride on the Star Ferry
If a cruise if too much to splurge on, take a trip on the Star Ferry either to Kowloon (if you are staying downtown) or the other way if you are staying in Kowloon. The Star Ferry is a great way to get back and forth through the Hong Kong harbour and it lets you see the skyline from the water, which is a must.
Traveling to Hong Kong? Check out our China Travel Guide
Hollywood was once the main street of Hong Kong, and today, everything South of Hollywood is where it’s at. Soho (South of Hollywood) is the hot and trendy part of Hong Kong. It’s here that you’ll see the upper class business people flock for after work drinks while dressed in only the best fabrics money can buy. Soho is filled with boutiques, bars and fine dining. If you want to do some shopping, here’s the place to do it. There’s a mix of antique markets with high end fashion and everything in between. What we loved most was just people watching while enjoying an afternoon cocktail.
Ride the World’s Longest Escalator
Soho used to be a run down area where getting around was difficult since it was built on the side of a steep mountain. Since the world’s longest escalator was installed it all changed. Spanning nearly 1km the escalator runs up the side of the mountain connecting all the streets of Soho making it easy to explore. You never have to walk up, only down. Take it all the way to the top and start your walk down to really check out all the little nooks and cranny’s of Hong Kong’s hottest district.
Love our Hong Kong photography? You’ll enjoy our China At Night: A Photo story.
Man Mo Temple
Located in the Soho District is a quiet unassuming temple that should not be missed when visiting Hong Kong. The Man Mo temple is famous for its giant hanging incense where visitors buy red ribbons to leave a wish or a prayer on the end of a giant coil letting the smoke carry their dreams to the Gods above. The Man Mo temple is located on Hollywood Road and pays tribute to the God of Literature and the God of War.
Money tight? Read: 5 Tip to Travel China on a Budget
Tai O Fishing Village
Located on Lantau Island, the Tai O Fishing Village is as close as you’ll ever get to historic Hong Kong. Where once all of Hong Kong lived and operated as this village does, today the fisherman’s way of life is giving way to skyscrapers and big business. Tai O takes you back to a simpler time where people shopped daily for their fresh catch of the day and made traditional meals by hand. It’s a charming village to walk through and you can visit one of the stilt houses to see how village life has remained unchanged for decades.
While in Tai O Village, book boat tour out to spot pink dolphins in the bay. Sightings are not guaranteed, but this is one of the few places where you get a chance to view these rare creatures. Boat tours are short, but affordable and let you see a bit of the coast while searching for these elusive creatures. The dolphins are fast so we didn’t get any photographs, but we did see them…honestly!
Sham Shui Po Food Tour
Food is a way of life in Hong Kong. From fine dining to street stalls, Hong Kong residents take their cuisine very seriously. A great way to learn about Hong Kong food is to take a food tour and there’s no better place to do it than in Shan Shui. Here you’ll try traditional street stalls, shop in the markets and eat in local favourites. Ask all the questions you want and get to know as much as you can. It makes dining out much more enjoyable once you know what to order. Sham Shui is a great district to visit with street markets, old shops and lots of typical Hong Kong apartments. It’s a huge contrast from the downtown district’s modern skyscrapers. Check out Hong Kong Foodie Tours to book your own food tour of Hong Kong.
These are pedestrian-only streets free from traffic and filled with vendors and storefronts. Mong Kok is Hong Kong’s most popular walking street; located on the Kowloon side of the city, it’s famous for the Ladies Market, which is a popular spot to haggle for bargain clothing and souvenirs. Here you will find everything from clothing and knock-off name brands to souvenirs and luxury jewelry. The best time to visit is at night.
Avenue of Stars
Hollywood has their Walk of Fame but Hong Kong has a huge movie industry and their Avenue of Stars is a must visit. Not far from the clock tower in the Kowloon district on the waterfront, the Avenue of Stars showcases several famous Hong Kong film stars. Each person has dipped their hands in cement leaving their prints handprints and signatures into the promenade. Famous hands you will see include Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Michelle Yeoh and more. It’s also a great evening stroll.
While in Hong Kong you may want to visit the mainland and see Macau, Get Your Guide offers day trips from Hong Kong
We could go back to Hong Kong again and again. It truly is a world city. As a matter a fact Hong Kong is Asia’s World City. It’s no wonder there is so much to see and do in Hong Kong, it’s a city that needs to be visited again and again. We’ve barely scratched the surface of all the things to do in Hong Kong and we look forward to going back to tell you more! Have you been to Hong Kong? What did we miss and what should we do on our next visit? Please let us know!
For more information of things to do in Hong Kong check out the Hong Kong Tourism Board’s Website