Hong Kong, a bustling metropolis known for its skyscrapers and crowded streets, offers a plethora of exciting activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy.
From tranquil parks hidden behind busy streets to strenuous hiking trails with breathtaking views, there is something for everyone in this beautiful city.
Whether you’re a food lover, nature enthusiast, or culture seeker, Hong Kong has it all. In this guide, we will explore the 22 best things to do in Hong Kong during your trip.
Getting Around Hong Kong
When visiting Hong Kong, getting around the city is easy thanks to its efficient transportation system. You have several options, including trains, buses, and Uber.
If you’re arriving at the airport, taking the bus is the quickest and cheapest way to reach the city, but only if traffic is light.
The A21 bus will take you to the Kowloon neighborhood for 33 HK$ per person. Another convenient option is the Airport Express train, which departs every 10 minutes and avoids rush hour traffic.
To make your travels even more convenient, it’s recommended to invest in an Octopus Card. This card allows you to load money for public transportation and can be used for all your transportation needs.
You’ll pay a deposit for the card and return it once you leave Hong Kong.
To save time at the airport, you can purchase a pre-loaded Octopus card before your trip and pick it up at the conveniently located desk.
Best Things to Do in Hong Kong for 2023
1. Trek to the Top of Lion Rock
One of the best hikes in Hong Kong, the Lion Rock trail offers a breathtaking view of the city from the top. Starting from Lion Rock Country Park and ending at Lion Rock Community Garden, this three-mile hike takes approximately 2.5 hours.
The trail includes steep sections, so it’s advisable to bring water and take breaks along the way. Once you reach the summit at an altitude of 1,625 feet, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the vibrant city below.
To make the hike more manageable, you can catch a taxi or Uber halfway up the mountain. This will reduce the uphill walking distance, allowing you to enjoy the scenic trail even more.
2. Embark on an Island-Hopping Adventure
Beyond the hustle and bustle of the city, Hong Kong is surrounded by approximately 250 islands, each with its own unique charm.
Take a ferry from Central and explore islands like Lamma, known for its laid-back atmosphere and craft beer shacks. Or venture to Cheung Chau, a haven for hipsters with its temples, hiking trails, and beautiful beaches.
Lantau, the largest island in Hong Kong, is a must-visit. Home to the world’s largest seated bronze Buddha, as well as the renowned Hong Kong Disneyland, Lantau offers a perfect blend of cultural and entertainment experiences.
Embark on an island-hopping adventure and discover the hidden gems that lie just a short ferry ride away from the city.
3. Chow Down on Dim Sum
Hong Kong is renowned for its delicious and affordable dim sum, making it a paradise for food lovers. Dim sum is a traditional Chinese cuisine that consists of bite-sized portions of food served in small steamer baskets or on small plates.
It’s typically enjoyed with tea and is perfect for sharing with friends or family.
Here are a few recommended dim sum spots in Hong Kong:
- Tim Ho Wan – Known as the world’s cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant, Tim Ho Wan serves exceptional dim sum at affordable prices.
- Lin Heung Tea House – This traditional tea house offers a nostalgic dining experience and serves classic dim sum dishes.
- Din Tai Fung – Originally from Taiwan, Din Tai Fung is famous for its xiao long bao, a type of soup dumpling filled with flavorful broth and meat.
These are just a few of the many dim sum restaurants available in Hong Kong. Be sure to carry enough cash, as most dim sum spots do not accept credit cards.
4. Get Spiritual at Wong Tai Sin Temple
Wong Tai Sin Temple is one of Hong Kong’s most famous Taoist temples and a popular destination for both locals and tourists.
Located less than a mile from the end of the Lion’s Peak hike, it’s worth visiting before leaving the area. The temple’s beautiful architecture and vibrant atmosphere provide a unique cultural experience.
Don’t forget to explore the serene gardens at the back of the temple and give the holy statues a gentle rub for good luck before you leave.
5. Relax at Nan Lian Garden
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city by visiting Nan Lian Garden, a tranquil oasis in the heart of Hong Kong.
This meticulously designed garden features perfectly polished stones, cascading waterfalls, bonsai trees, and colorful pagodas. It’s the perfect place to unwind and appreciate the beauty of nature.
While you’re there, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the vegetarian restaurant hidden behind a waterfall. It offers delicious and healthy meals, providing a delightful dining experience in a serene setting.
The garden is open daily from 7 am to 9 pm, and admission is free.
Across the road from Nan Lian Garden, you’ll find the Chi Lin Nunnery. Built-in the 1930s as a retreat for Buddhist nuns, the nunnery showcases remarkable wooden architecture without the use of nails.
Take some time to explore this serene place and admire its intricate craftsmanship.
6. Visit the Clock Tower
Located on the waterfront near the Kowloon Public Pier, the Clock Tower is a beautifully maintained structure with a stunning skyline backdrop.
This iconic landmark is a popular spot for tourists and offers a great view of the Central Hong Kong skyline. Take a stroll around the pier and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere while people-watching.
7. Have a Night at the Races, Hong Kong Style
Join the excitement and immerse yourself in Hong Kong’s vibrant horse racing culture at the Happy Valley Racecourse.
Wednesday nights are race nights, attracting thousands of revelers who gather to watch the horses thunder around the track, place bets, and enjoy the electric atmosphere.
Live music, silly wigs, and plenty of beer add to the excitement of the evening.
Entry to the racecourse costs just HK$10 when using your Octopus card, and even if you’re not into horse racing, the setting itself is remarkable. The oval race track is surrounded by towering apartment blocks, creating a unique and thrilling ambiance.
On non-race days, the racecourse is open to joggers who can use it as a public running track.
8. See the Nightly Skyline Light Show
Every night at 8 pm, the buildings in Central Hong Kong across the river from the Kowloon Public Pier light up the sky, creating a mesmerizing symphony of lights.
The best places to watch the show are near the Clock Tower or along the Avenue of Stars Bridge.
Arrive early to secure a prime spot by the water and enjoy the breathtaking spectacle.
For a unique experience, consider watching the Symphony of Lights show while sailing on a Chinese junk boat. This will provide a memorable perspective of the city’s skyline.
9. Explore Hong Kong Island by Tram
The teetering trams of Hong Kong have been a beloved mode of transport since 1904. These double-decker “ding dings” provide a fun and low-impact way to explore Hong Kong Island.
Hop on an east-bound tram to North Point, and you’ll have the opportunity to experience the bustling Chun Yeung Street Market up close.
As you trundle through the market, you’ll be surrounded by stalls and carts stacked with vibrant produce and fresh seafood.
The tram ride itself offers a unique vantage point from the top deck, allowing you to admire the city’s architecture and immerse yourself in the local atmosphere. It’s a nostalgic journey that shouldn’t be missed.
10. Embark on a Hike up and around Victoria Peak
For breathtaking views of Hong Kong’s skyline and the South China Sea, a hike up and around Victoria Peak is a must. Standing at 552 meters (1811 feet), Victoria Peak is taller than any skyscraper in Hong Kong.
While many visitors choose to ride the Peak Tram to the top, for a more adventurous experience, consider hiking up from Pok Fu Lam Reservoir.
The ascent is relatively gentle, and once you reach the top, you can follow the Ludgard Road loop, a flat and accessible trail that offers panoramic viewpoints of the city.
The hike takes approximately 2.5 hours to complete the 6-kilometer (3.7-mile) route, but the stunning vistas make it all worth it.
Time your hike to reach the peak at sunset for a magical view of the city transitioning from day to night.
11. Shop at Temple Street Night Market
The Temple Street Night Market is the largest in Hong Kong and offers a vibrant and bustling atmosphere. Located in the Kowloon neighborhood, just a block away from the Jordan metro station, the market comes alive in the evening, especially after 9 pm.
You’ll find a wide variety of goods and food stalls, including classic Chinese souvenirs, street food, clothing, electronics, and much more.
Immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of the market, explore the stalls, and indulge in some delicious street food. Remember to bring cash, as most vendors do not accept credit cards.
12. Hike the Dragon’s Back
For nature lovers, hiking the Dragon’s Back is a must-do activity in Hong Kong. This 3.1-mile loop hike offers picturesque views of Junk Bay and Tai Tam Bay.
The trail is steep at times but can be completed in about two hours.
Start your hike with a crowd until you reach the most popular viewpoint at the top. From there, continue along the ridgeline towards Shek O Peak, which stands 930 feet above the ocean.
As you explore this less crowded area, you’ll enjoy the tranquility and stunning scenery.
The trail eventually leads you downhill, where you can choose to head back to the bus stop or continue to Big Wave Beach.
13. Party in Lan Kwai Fong
Adjacent to the Soho neighborhood, Lan Kwai Fong is a popular area for nightlife in Hong Kong. It’s filled with swanky nightclubs and bars that attract trendy locals and ex-pats.
Experience the vibrant atmosphere, sip on delicious cocktails, and dance the night away.
Lan Kwai Fong is particularly lively during weekends and public holidays. Be prepared for crowds and a bustling nightlife scene.
14. Queue Up for Michelin-Starred Roast Goose
While Hong Kong is known for its glamorous fine dining scene, you can still enjoy a scrumptious meal on a budget. Yat Lok and Kam’s Roast Goose are two local diners that specialize in the Cantonese delicacy of roast goose over rice.
Despite their unassuming appearances, both establishments have the prestigious honor of holding a Michelin star, ensuring a truly exceptional dining experience.
If you’re feeling adventurous, opt for the goose leg, which is considered more prized than the breast and offers a rich and succulent flavor.
15. Climb the Steps of the 10,000 Buddhas Monastery
Embark on a spiritual journey by climbing the many steps leading to the 10,000 Buddhas Monastery. As you ascend, you’ll be surrounded by unique gold Buddha statues lining the path.
At the top, you’ll discover an ornate temple adorned with hundreds of smaller Buddha statues. The intricate details and craftsmanship of the temple are truly awe-inspiring.
The monastery is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm, and admission is free. While visiting, be cautious of fake monks asking for alms and mischievous monkeys that may attempt to snatch your belongings.
16. Visit the Tian Tan Buddha
Also known as the Big Buddha, the Tian Tan Buddha is a popular tourist destination in Hong Kong. This massive bronze statue is located on Lantau Island and can be reached via the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car.
The cable car ride itself provides remarkable views of the island. To skip the queue and save money, prebook your cable car ticket with Klook.
Adjacent to the Big Buddha is the Po Lin Monastery, which is worth a visit as well. Both the monastery and the Big Buddha are open from 10 am to 5:30 pm daily.
If you wish to enter the statute, you’ll need to pay an admission fee.
17. Scope the View From Victoria Peak
Victoria Peak is arguably the most popular spot in Hong Kong to watch the sunset. You can reach the top by taking the Peak Tram, a funicular ride that offers stunning views of the city.
At an elevation of over 1,800 feet, Victoria Peak is the highest hill on Hong Kong Island. The observation platforms, restaurants, and mall at the top provide ample opportunities to admire the panoramic view.
To avoid long queues, it’s recommended to purchase a fast pass in advance or use alternative transportation options such as buses or Uber.
Alternatively, you can enjoy the view from the outdoor patio at Wildfire while sipping on a refreshing beer.
18. Take a Ride on the Star Ferry
The Star Ferry is an iconic mode of transportation that connects the Kowloon Peninsula to Hong Kong Island. It offers a convenient and affordable way to enjoy stunning views of both waterfronts.
If you’re departing from the Kowloon Peninsula, sit on the left side of the boat for the best views of the island skyline.
The ferries operate frequently throughout the day, allowing you to hop on and off at your desired destinations. The Star Ferry is a must-do experience for visitors to Hong Kong.
19. Get Nostalgic for Old Hong Kong at Yau Ma Tei
For a taste of old Hong Kong, head to Yau Ma Tei in Kowloon. This neighborhood is steeped in neon lights and nostalgia, offering a glimpse into the city’s rich cultural heritage.
Explore mahjong parlors, martial arts dens, dried seafood sellers, and cleaver shops, immersing yourself in the vibrant local atmosphere.
Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Yau Ma Tei Theatre, the oldest theater in Hong Kong that showcases Cantonese opera.
After a day of exploration, take a break at one of the area’s retro cha chaan tang (teahouses) and if you’re feeling adventurous, join the locals for some old-time karaoke and beers at a neighborhood “singalong parlor.”
20. Explore Kowloon Park
Kowloon Park is a hidden gem in the heart of Hong Kong, offering a unique combination of art, nature, and wildlife. The park features an art walk with large cartoon statues on display, creating a playful and vibrant atmosphere.
As you wander further into the park, you’ll encounter flocks of flamingos roaming around, adding to the park’s charm.
Take your time to explore the park, appreciate the artwork, and capture memorable photos along the way. Kowloon Park is a delightful escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.
That concludes our list of the 18 best things to do in Hong Kong. Whether you’re seeking adventure, culinary delights, cultural experiences, or simply a relaxing getaway, Hong Kong has something for everyone.
Plan your trip, explore the city, and create unforgettable memories in this vibrant metropolis.
21. Marvel at Hong Kong’s Skyline from the Deck of the Star Ferry
One of the best ways to take in the breathtaking beauty of Hong Kong’s skyline is by hopping on the iconic Star Ferry.
This ferry service has been operating for over 142 years and continues to be a popular choice for both commuters and tourists.
For a small fee, you can enjoy a ten-minute ride across Victoria Harbour, offering panoramic views of the city’s towering skyscrapers and lush hills.
If you want to enhance your experience, consider taking the one-hour Harbour Tour voyage offered by Star Ferry.
22. Savor Craft Cocktails in Asia’s Most Creative Bars
Hong Kong’s bar scene is renowned for its creativity and innovation. With several venues ranking in Asia’s 50 Best Bars for 2022, you’ll find an array of unique and flavorful cocktails to indulge in.
Coa, known for its focus on boutique agave and Mexican flavors, and Argo, which uses sustainably sourced ingredients to make a statement about climate change, are just two examples of the city’s trailblazing mixology.
Other notable bars include Quinary, inspired by the Spanish molecular restaurant El Bulli, and The Old Man, which draws inspiration from the legendary writer Ernest Hemingway.
Each of these establishments offers a distinct atmosphere and an opportunity to savor some of the most creative cocktails in Asia.
Where to Stay in Hong Kong
Choosing the right accommodation is crucial for a memorable stay in Hong Kong. Here are two highly recommended hotels that offer exceptional amenities and convenient locations:
1. Kerry Hotel
Offering panoramic views of the waterfront, Kerry Hotel provides a home away from home experience. The spacious rooms are beautifully decorated and equipped with comfortable beds and modern amenities.
The hotel features a stunning pool, jacuzzi, and outstanding rooftop bar with sweeping views of the city. Enjoy the culinary delights offered at the hotel’s restaurants and explore the vibrant neighborhood nearby.
2. Hotel ICON
Hotel ICON is a lavishly decorated hotel that offers spectacular views of Hong Kong. With amenities such as a heated rooftop pool, a relaxing spa, and a state-of-the-art fitness center, you’ll have a luxurious stay.
Each room also comes with a smartphone that provides unlimited data for your convenience.
Indulge in the delicious restaurants available in the hotel and explore the trendy neighborhood surrounding it.
Hong Kong is a city that captivates with its stunning skyline, vibrant culture, and diverse experiences. From marveling at the cityscape from the deck of the Star Ferry to indulging in Michelin-starred roast goose, there are endless opportunities to create unforgettable memories in this bustling metropolis.
Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion, Hong Kong has something to offer every traveler.
So pack your bags, embark on this unique journey, and discover the wonders of Hong Kong for yourself.
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