10 Things To Do In Hong Kong

Compared to Singapore, Hong Kong is often synonymous with a dirty, rowdy and cramped megalopolis that’s extremely easy to get lost in. It’s maze of cheap shopping and street-side food snacks are thronged with locals and tourists alike, almost always succeeding in confusing your exploration.

Fortunately, there are plenty more to enjoy here other than the frenzied shopping of Mong Kok – here are but ten suggestions for you!

Amazing view from the harbor. Photo credit - Steve Webel.

Amazing view from the harbor. Photo credit - Steve Webel.

Tramming through Hong Kong Island

The HK2 narrow double-decker city trams trundling on the north coast of Hong Kong Island are a Hong Kong icon. They are much slower, but the route takes you by various points of interests such as the Western Market, Causeway Bay, Happy Valley and finally ends at Shau Kei Wan. Through the journey, you’ll be able to see the landscape gradually changing from that of a CBD to towards public government housings. Definitely the cheapest sightseeing tours around.

Watching the horse race is great fun and a big local past-time. Photo credit - lecercle.

Watching the horse race is great fun and a big local past-time. Photo credit - lecercle.

A Night Out at the Happy Valley

For those into a bit of gambling or just wanting a great night out, take off the tram at Happy Valley Race Course, another of Hong Kong’s iconic landmark. Horse races are usually held on Wednesday night, but it’s best to check ahead of time. Bring your passport to get a tourist pass for HK100 (roughly US$13) which gives you access to most areas of the course. The atmosphere is great, and there are always side-shows and activities for those less interested in the horses.

Relaxing at Lei King Wan

At the east end of the MTR route is Sai Wan Ho, a quiet coastal side town that plays host to the Hong Kong Film Archive and the Museum of Coastal Defence. Take a walk along the Eastern District Tourist Trail, passing by various temples towards Lei King Wan, or Soho East. There are various waterfront establishment in the area serving a wide array of cuisines, from the cheap to the luxurious, a great place to enjoy a slow, quiet dinner and end the night on a high note!

The promenade by the Avenue of Stars. Photo credit - werty.

The promenade by the Avenue of Stars. Photo credit - werty.

A Symphony of Lights at the Avenue of Stars

Directly within walking distance of the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Station is the Avenue of Stars, Hong Kong’s version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It celebrates icons of Hong Kong cinema from the past century, and the seaside promenade offers fantastic views, day and night. Every night at 8pm, you can also enjoy A Symphony of Lights, a spectacular lights and laser show that is recognized byt the Guinness World Record as the world’s “Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show”. Go on either Monday, Wednesday or Friday, when the show is performed in English.

The Giant Buddha Statue at Lantau Island. Photo credit - Nik.

The Giant Buddha Statue at Lantau Island. Photo credit - Nik.

Exploring Lantau Island

Lantau Island is the biggest of the 230 or so islands belonging to the territory of Hong Kong. Take the MRT to Tung Chung, and make your way towards the Po Lin Monastery through a 30-minutes cable car ride called the Ngong Ping 360. There is a cultural village at Ngong Ping where you can have refreshment and shop for souvenirs, but the main treat is the Giant Buddha statue. This extraordinary statue is 34 metres high, and visitors can climb the 268 steps to reach the platform where the Buddha is seated. For those more adventurous, skip the cable car ride and enjoy the natural hiking trail through the hills.

Bargain Hunting at Tung Chung Factory Outlets

Back from your exploration at the Lantau Island, take a quick stop at Tung Chung MTR Station and explore the CityGate Shopping Mall, Hong Kong 1st outlet mall. There are plenty of outlet factories here, which means cheap, quality bargains you won’t find elsewhere. Unlike the street-side vendors and shops at Mong Kok, the goods here are not fake. It is also significantly less cramped, which means less competition in search for that great bargain.

Stanley Town

Accessible by bus, Stanley Town is a tourist attraction located in the southeastern peninsula of Hong Kong Island. Take a walk through Stanley Market, a large open-air marketplace that is similar to Mong Kok, but minus the throng of crowds. The bargains here are mostly souvenirs such as ornaments, arts and crafts. The main attraction however, is the Stanley Main Street, renowned for its many waterfront establishment offering a variety of foods and refreshments. This area is very popular with both tourists and expats, not unlike Singapore’s Clarke Quay.

Lan Kwai Fong is always crowded every night. Photo credit - strauser.

Lan Kwai Fong is always crowded every night. Photo credit - strauser.

Nightlife at Lan Kwai Fong

A buzzing center of clubs, bars and restaurants, this buzzing estate of trendy establishment is a popular hangout place for the night owls, both locals and tourists. Located smack in the middle of Hong Kong’ Central area, the place is always crowded every night. You can also find various bistros and pubs around the area, serving midnight supper and snacks for bar-goers till late at night.

The Peak Tower at Victoria Peak. Photo credit - jiazi.

The Peak Tower at Victoria Peak. Photo credit - jiazi.

Victoria Peak

Take the extremely steep Peak Tram and head towards Victoria Peak to enjoy a scenic view of Hong Kong. Up at the Peak, there is the Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum and also the recently renovated Peak Tower, housing an array of shops and establishments for your enjoyment. There are also various hiking trails and the Sky Terrace from which you can enjoy the best view in Hong Kong!

Fortune tellers ply their trade at Temple Street. Photo credit - dreistreifen.

Fortune tellers ply their trade at Temple Street. Photo credit - dreistreifen.

Mystic Reading at Temple Street

The Temple Street at night is filled with various fortune tellers who can give you readings for around HK50 to 100. They consists of a varied bunch with differing skills, from reading of tea leaves and palms to Tarot cards and the traditional fortune teller based on your birth date and Chinese zodiac. Some of the more popular ones have queues up to an hour or so, and one stall I saw was fully booked for the rest of the week! I’m pleased to say that my reading was about 75% accurate, and it was right on target on the more important questions!

As you can see, there are plenty to see and do in Hong Kong other than trudging along with thousand others in search for a good bargain. Hong Kong is also a great place to be based in while you explore Macau, and even Shen Zhen.

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31 Comments on "10 Things To Do In Hong Kong"

  1. Mich on Wed, 4th Mar 2009 6:38 am 

    dang, i sure missed out much when i was there!! But then, HK is a renown shopping haven. Can’t help but spent majority of my 5 days expanding the wardrobe! =)

  2. Prairie Dogg on Wed, 4th Mar 2009 6:13 pm 

    Heh, I feel pretty good about this, I’ve been in Hong Kong for about six weeks now and have done (or accompanied friends to) the mystic reading, lan kwai fong, and happy valley. Been to the peak on a separate trip a couple of years ago.

    I’d add to the list: Lamma Island, pleasant walking and OK beaches. The Bookworm Cafe is very nice for organic / vegetarian food lovers. I’d also say a visit to the HK public library and victoria park would be worth it.

  3. Nik on Thu, 5th Mar 2009 11:21 am 

    @Prairie Dogg: Lamma Island! I didn’t have the chance to try that out, but certainly will do next time.

    What do you think about Ocean Park or the HK Disneyland? My local HK friends wanted to take me to Ocean Park but I heard some boring reviews on them and decided to skip them off.

  4. Craig on Fri, 6th Mar 2009 12:28 am 

    We only had a few days in Hong Kong, based just off Nathan Road. I didn’t hear about Lantau Island until after we had left, so it’s something that’s drawing me back.

    The relaxed, natural calm of the light forest surrounding the Peak really intrigued me and I’m sure Lantau Island would have some of the same draw.

  5. Nik on Sat, 7th Mar 2009 4:30 pm 

    @Craig: Lantau Island is definitely a great place for hiking, just the kind of place you would be attracted to I suspect!

    On my way towards the Giant Buddha on the cable car, I saw lots of hiking trails below the car. Too bad I didn’t have the time to explore those trails myself, only had a day to spend there..

  6. Lisa on Thu, 19th Mar 2009 5:01 pm 

    What was teh 25% your fortune teller was wrong about?

  7. Nik on Thu, 19th Mar 2009 5:55 pm 

    @Lisa: He was wrong about my job opportunity, and what I really wanted to do.. ha! :) fun stuff..

    Thanks for the trackback btw, and I noticed you caught my one “shopping” suggestion to do.. I didnt count that as frenzied shopping cause the outlet factory was quite relaxed, a far far contrast to the shopping in Mongkok and Tsim Sha Tsui!

  8. Spot Cool Travel on Fri, 27th Mar 2009 1:35 pm 

    Hong Kong is one of my favorite cities in the world! Glad you pointed out how there’s more (much more) to do there than shop.

  9. Evelyn on Sun, 12th Apr 2009 4:21 pm 

    thanks for the info. =) very beautiful pictures too. Love to surf your website.

  10. Emma on Mon, 27th Apr 2009 6:57 am 

    The beaches! Hong Kong has a whole host of gorgeous beaches. The weather is finally getting better too so they are an absolute must-do whilst in the city.

  11. Nik on Tue, 28th Apr 2009 2:38 am 

    Ah yes, Emma, I heard some great things about the Hong Kong beaches too.. but didn’t have the chance to try any out as I was there in the middle of cool winter/spring breeze..

  12. Fili An on Mon, 20th Jul 2009 1:49 pm 

    That’s a really cool list. Thanks for putting this together.

  13. jonathan harty on Wed, 27th Jan 2010 6:23 pm 

    i am to visit hong kong with my partner in june 2010 for 3 days i would love to know what to c and not to miss in my little time there

  14. jonathan harty on Wed, 27th Jan 2010 6:25 pm 

    meant to say we are both in our 20’s

  15. Grace Wong on Fri, 12th Mar 2010 11:05 am 

    Hi Nik,

    Very impressed with the Hong Kong Article..Very well written. Keep it up..I used Insight to visit Hong Kong, like what you have mentioned, Hong Kong is more than Mok Kok, Tsim Sai Chui..

    Keep Up the Good Work..


  16. Alex on Thu, 29th Apr 2010 8:30 am 

    Hi Nikolas,
    Our office (PT Marein Jakarta Indonesia – 44 people) will be visiting Hong Kong on May 6-9.
    Hope all of us will have “the 10 Things to do in Hong Kong”
    Many thanks and best regards,

  17. jessica on Sat, 1st May 2010 10:32 pm 

    the usual touristise things…

  18. Lilian on Tue, 29th Jun 2010 9:37 am 

    I really enjoyed my previous trip to HK but it was too short for me to visit the outlying islands. Hope to do that the next trip!

  19. Indy on Tue, 3rd Aug 2010 2:46 pm 

    is it good for shopping for guys also?? where at?

  20. Atrib on Wed, 13th Oct 2010 1:06 am 

    I’ve never been there but I have to visit it someday ….

  21. Zac on Tue, 14th Dec 2010 4:53 am 

    Cheung Chau (Long Island) is another great place to visit in Hong Kong …. lovely seafood & relaxing ambience … & nice park on island …

  22. Pink MagaLine on Sat, 19th Feb 2011 2:57 pm 

    Awww.. I am already excited just reading about The Peak and Avenue of Stars. We are going to HK soon. Yaaaay!

  23. Bijuterii Argint on Wed, 25th May 2011 9:49 am 

    nice ideas for visiting!

  24. Winsten on Sat, 11th Jun 2011 8:45 am 

    Hong Kong is a great place to shopping, wine and dine. This is a city that never sleep and you can find activities even after late night. However, the Disneyland was disappointing on my visit there. Personally I will still prefer to holiday in Vietnam as the cost of living is significantly lower and I can strech my dollar more. I have attached a link for you to have a look at some recommendation for budget traveller in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

  25. George on Fri, 15th Jul 2011 6:18 am 

    somebody mentioned on this blog hcmc viet,dont waste your hloiday,promise.

  26. Ringo Starr on Sat, 16th Jul 2011 2:47 am 

    The locals are friendly and love mainlanders and foreigners alike – not! Live there and you’ll find out.

  27. rachel on Fri, 2nd Sep 2011 2:00 pm 

    still many thing you can do,and many nice places to visit in Hongkong, Hongkong suitable for all range age traveler.
    dont forget to yum cha n eat some dim sums.

  28. Amorita Maharaj on Mon, 28th Nov 2011 9:21 pm 

    Wonderful review of things to do and see in Hong Kong!! Am really looking forward to my trip….

  29. Fun60 on Mon, 13th Aug 2012 10:25 pm 

    Thanks for the info. Glad I found your blog as visiting Hong Kong for the first time next month.

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