Throughout my nearly year-long stay in Hong Kong, I have extensively shared various posts highlighting the city's noteworthy attractions and must-visit places. This article provides information on various topics such as exploring Hong Kong, must-visit temples, living as an ex-pat, and cost comparisons between Hong Kong and Melbourne.
As I get ready to leave this amazing city, I'm already looking ahead to my future travel plans (Good morning, Berlin). But before I go, I wanted to create a simplified post highlighting the top attractions in Hong Kong for anyone considering a visit to this vibrant city during their travels.
Hong Kong is a renowned city with a vibrant and illuminated skyline. It is also famous for its stunning mountains, picturesque beaches, and charming bays that seamlessly blend with modern architecture.
If you have a passion for traditional cultures, natural attractions like beaches and mountain hikes, urban excitement, and shopping malls with international dining options, I highly recommend a visit to Hong Kong. You will also have the opportunity to observe and experience local market life.
Hong Kong is a city that caters to a wide range of interests. It stands out for its cleanliness and efficient organization, making it a pleasant place to visit. Additionally, many locals are able to communicate in English, making it easier for tourists to navigate and communicate. It's no surprise that Hong Kong is a highly popular destination in Asia.
If you have a long layover or just a few days to explore, this list will provide you with an overview of the attractions available and assist you in choosing which ones to visit based on your preferences.
1. Avenue of Stars
The Avenue of Stars is a renowned promenade located along Victoria Harbour on the Kowloon Side. Inspired by the famous Los Angeles Walk of Fame, this walkway showcases statues, handprints, and signatures of notable actors, personalities, and movie directors from Hong Kong's vibrant film industry.
2. Hong Kong's skyline and Symphony of lights
Hong Kong's skyline is known for its enchanting beauty, particularly after sunset. Adding to its charm is the world-famous Symphony of Lights show, a captivating 15-minute spectacle of sound and light that has gained international recognition.
According to my Hong Kong guidebook, the Symphony of Lights is recognized as the world's largest sound and light show, holding a Guinness World Record.
If you're visiting Hong Kong, it's highly recommended to take a trip across Victoria Harbour. One of the best ways to do this is by hopping on the Star Ferry cruise, which departs from the public piers in Central, Hong Kong Island and takes you across the bay to Kowloon.
The Star Ferry offers stunning views of both Hong Kong Island and the mainland. The experience is enhanced on clear and pleasant weather days.
4. Peak Tram
When visiting Hong Kong, one of the must-see attractions is The Peak. To reach this famous destination, most visitors opt for The Peak Tram, which is the preferred mode of transportation.
The Peak Tram is located on Hong Kong Island and departs from the Peak Tram Station in Central, which is clearly marked with signs. It takes passengers up the steep mountain to a lookout point.
The Tram ride is a must-try experience that offers breathtaking views of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, and the surrounding islands. It is recommended to plan your visit on a clear day to fully enjoy the stunning vistas, as smoggy days may obscure the views.
Once you reach the top, in addition to the information kiosk and viewing platforms, you will discover a variety of cafes, restaurants, and even a compact shopping mall.
5. Mid-Levels Escalator
The longest-covered escalator in the world is located in this area. It serves to transport pedestrians from the central district up the side of the mountain to a residential and cafe-rich suburb called mid-levels.
During your journey, you will come across a variety of markets, boutiques, shopping areas, local neighbourhoods, and cafes. Keep an eye out for street-level stores to ensure you don't miss any hidden gems.
If you're looking for a comprehensive guide to the modern attractions in Hong Kong, be sure to check out the Hong Kong day planner. It covers the main attractions such as The Peak, Central Area, and the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens.
6. Man Mo Temple
The Man Mo Temples in Hong Kong are dedicated to the God of Literature and the God of War. Among these temples, the one situated in Sheung Wan stands out as the most renowned and one of the oldest. It is highly recommended to pay a visit to this historic temple.
Throughout the day, this bustling temple attracts both locals seeking solace in their daily prayers and tourists eager to experience the vibrant local culture and traditions of Hong Kong. Adorned with intricate designs, golden statues, and hanging ornaments, the temple's beauty is truly captivating.
7. Wong Tai Sin
The Wong Tai Sin Temple was constructed to honour a renowned monk and serves as a place of worship for three major religions: Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. It is popularly recognized as the temple of good fortune, attracting local visitors who come daily to seek blessings and have their fortunes predicted.
In the vicinity of the temple, there is a small alleyway where fortune tellers can be found. It is worth noting that two of these fortune-teller establishments specifically offer services in English. Additionally, within the temple grounds, visitors can enjoy the serene beauty of a well-maintained garden, along with the sight of fountains and ponds filled with vibrant fish and turtles.
If you are interested in learning about the temples and other traditional places to visit in Hong Kong, you can check out this tour that takes you through Wong Tai Sin, Good Wish Garden, Nan Lian Gardens, and the Chi Lin Nunnery.
8. Dragons Back Hike
The Dragon's Back mountain range in Hong Kong is highly recognized and regarded as the premier urban hiking trail in Asia, earning this distinction through its recognition as the Best Urban Hiking Trail in Asia by Time (Asia Ed.).
The trail on Hong Kong Island provides hikers with breathtaking views of the city, including the bays and beaches such as Shek O and Stanley. Shek O is a beachside suburb known for its beautiful coastline, while Stanley is famous for its markets and foreshore promenade. From the trail, hikers can also admire the scenic beauty of the South China Sea.
To find out more about hiking trails in Hong Kong, you can visit Discover Hong Kong, the official government tourism website.
Shopping in Hong Kong
9. Harbour City
Hong Kong is home to several large shopping malls, with Harbour City being the largest among them. Considered one of the largest shopping malls in Asia, Harbour City is a must-visit destination for shoppers.
The mall is home to numerous high-end fashion stores, along with various attractions and restaurants. It may not be the ideal shopping destination for those on a backpacking budget.
10. City Gate Outlet Mall
One of the top destinations for outlet shopping in Hong Kong is the City Gate Outlet Mall, located in Tung Chung, just outside the Tung Chung MRT Station on Lantau Island. This mall is known for its wide selection of outlet stores, making it a popular choice among shoppers.
City Gate Outlet Mall is a comprehensive shopping destination that caters to various needs. It features an extensive selection of designer fashion, sportswear, accessories, children's clothing, and home and beauty stores. Additionally, the mall offers entertainment options, dining establishments, and even a large international supermarket located on the basement floor.
To access a comprehensive directory of stores at City Gate Outlets and find additional information, please visit their official website.
11. Ladies Market
Ladies Market is a spacious market located in Mong Kok (accessible from Mong Kok MRT Station by following the signs). This market offers a wide variety of clothing and footwear options, primarily for ladies and children. However, there are also several stalls selling men's clothing, particularly t-shirts.
In addition to a wide range of accessories like bags, hats, watches, costume jewellery, and scarves, you can also find affordable electronics such as chargers, adapters, batteries, clocks, headphones, and fans. However, it is important to note that most of these electronics have not been tested for safety, so caution should be exercised when using them.
Please note that this place does not offer high-quality or branded items. However, you will come across a variety of imitations, as well as Niknaks and souvenirs that may be of interest to collectors or individuals who prefer to steer clear of them.
12. “Sneaker Street”
Fa Yuen Street, located near Ladies Market, is a popular destination for tourists. Although it is not a traditional market, this street is lined with numerous sporting goods stores, primarily specializing in sneakers.
In Hong Kong, you can find sporting brand clothing and footwear at affordable prices, thanks to numerous sales and discounts. Compared to Australia, purchasing these items in Hong Kong is a more cost-effective option.
The Temple Street Night Market is a vibrant evening market located in Jorden, near Mong Kok. It offers a unique shopping experience, similar to the popular Ladies' Market but with a more intimate and local atmosphere.
The Wan Chai Market, situated on Hong Kong Island directly opposite the Wan Chai MRT Station, is a vibrant destination for shoppers. Here, visitors can discover a diverse selection of merchandise, including clothing, shoes, costume jewellery, candies, snacks, accessories, and traditional Chinese gift stores.
In this particular section of the market, you will find a diverse range of fresh produce stores. These establishments offer an extensive selection of vegetables, fruits, and dried food products, which fill the air with a delightful and enticing aroma. As you explore further, you will also come across stalls that prominently display various animal parts, hanging from hooks along the sidewalk. This description may seem surprising, but it accurately represents the unique offerings found in this specific area of the market.
13. Lan Kwai Fong
When talking about Hong Kong's nightlife, it is impossible not to mention Lan Kwai Fong. Known as the official party district of the city, it is filled with trendy bars, clubs, and cafes. Once the sun sets, this area becomes a vibrant hub of activity. The street itself is quite steep, and the combination of affordable drinks, sheesha, and large crowds can create an exhilarating and bustling atmosphere.
To find out more about Lan Kwai Fong, you can visit the official website of Discover Hong Kong Government.
14. Giant Tian Tan Sitting Buddha
Lantau Island boasts a multitude of attractions, including the renowned Giant Tian Tan Sitting Buddha. Standing at an impressive height of over 34 meters, this iconic statue is perched atop a hill, providing breathtaking views of the majestic mountain ranges that grace the landscape of Lantau Island.
From the Tung Chung MRT Station, there are two convenient transportation options to reach your destination: bus number 23 or the gondola. Both options are located just 100 meters from the station exit.
15. Po Lin Monastery
The Po Lin Monastery, located just a short walk away from the Giant Buddha, offers visitors the opportunity to explore its beautiful gardens and admire the intricate designs found within.
The monastery is a popular destination for locals to engage in their daily prayers. Visitors can often witness the practice of lighting incense sticks and offering fruits and beverages to the gods in the temples. These offerings are placed on tables positioned in front of each statue.
16. Ngong Ping 360
If you're looking for a unique experience, consider riding a glass-bottom gondola up the mountains of Lantau. This scenic ride will take you directly to the impressive Tian Tian Giant Buddha.
The gondola ride begins near Tung Chung MRT Station and offers a breathtaking journey across multiple mountains before reaching Ngong Ping Village.
Located in the heart of the village, a charming pedestrian street awaits visitors with its array of small souvenir shops, boutiques, and a plethora of inviting cafes and restaurants. As you stroll along this street, you will be led towards the awe-inspiring Giant Buddha, a remarkable sight not to be missed.
17. Tai O Fishing Village
Tai O is a picturesque fishing village located on Lantau Island, making it a perfect destination for photographers. To reach Tai O Fishing Village from Ngong Ping Village, simply take a short bus ride on bus number 21, which costs around $17HKD. Once you arrive, you'll be greeted by a charming harbour filled with a traditional seafood market and quaint wooden stilt houses that are built over the water. Don't miss the opportunity to witness the stunning beauty of Tai O Fishing Village during sunset.
If you want to learn more about Lantau Island, you should check out the Lantau Island Hong Kong A-day trip planner. It provides comprehensive information and tips for planning your visit to the island.
Located on Lantau Island, Hong Kong has its very own Disneyland. Although smaller in size compared to other Disneylands worldwide, this amusement park offers a variety of attractions and rides that cater to both children and adults.
Disneyland in Hong Kong provides a resort experience with two distinct hotels. The first is a Hollywood-styled hotel boasting 600 rooms, while the second is a smaller, yet charming, Victorian-styled hotel. To learn more about Hong Kong Disneyland, visit their official website.
18. Things to do on Hongkong Lamma Island
Lamma Island, also known as Pok Liu Chau, is conveniently located just a short ferry ride away from Hong Kong Central Public Piers. Despite its small size, spanning only 7km in length, the island is home to two charming villages.
Upon disembarking from the ferry, one immediately experiences the quaint village atmosphere of Lamma Island. Contrasting with the bustling city life of nearby Hong Kong Island, Lamma Island exudes a romantic and relaxed charm, making it a favourite destination for those seeking a refreshing change of pace. It is undoubtedly one of the top places to visit when exploring Hong Kong.
Lamma Island does not have any cars, and there are strict regulations that prevent the construction of buildings or apartments higher than three stories.
Yung Shue Wan, also known as Banyan Tree Bay, is a charming hippy village located at one end of the island in Hong Kong. This vibrant area is known for its abundance of vegetarian restaurants, tie-died clothing stores, and cosy open-air bars and cafes. Banyan Tree Bay has become a popular destination for western ex-pats seeking an alternative and relaxed lifestyle.
19. Things to do in Hong Kong Cheung Chau Island
Lying just 12 kilometres southwest of Hong Kong Island, this island has become a favourite destination for tourists. Notably, the island is completely car-free, with the exception of a few small ambulance vans. Instead, a vast network of paths and walking trails spans the island, providing an extensive pedestrian-friendly environment for visitors to explore.
When exploring the waterfront and markets of the island, it becomes clear that bikes are the preferred mode of transportation among locals and visitors. The markets and small restaurants in the area boast a wide variety of brands and cuisines, ensuring that there is something to suit every taste.
If you would like to learn more about Cheung Chau, I recommend reading “A day trip exploring Cheung Chau Island.” This article provides detailed information about the island and its attractions.
Day Trip to Macau
Macau is a city that boasts a rich cultural heritage, with a blend of Portuguese-inspired architecture and modern luxury hotels and casinos. Its diversity is evident in the contrasting elements that make up the cityscape, from the traditional buildings to the state-of-the-art establishments that rise above the skyline.
Macau offers a fascinating mix of vibrant nightlife, thrilling gaming experiences, and a rich historical heritage. The city stands out for its intriguing contrast between the dazzling lights and excitement of the casinos and the enchanting charm of its historic centre. With a total of 33 casinos, Macau is a must-visit destination for those who enjoy the thrill of gambling.
The gaming industry in Macau is experiencing significant growth, surpassing the gaming revenues of the Las Vegas Strip in 2007.
Macau is a must-visit destination for those who appreciate culture, history, and architecture. In the historical centre, visitors will be delighted by the vibrant Mediterranean ambience created by the brightly coloured neo-classic style buildings that line the streets and small paved alleyways.
Macau, located just a one-hour ferry ride away from Hong Kong, offers a plethora of attractions and sites to explore. For detailed information on what to see and do in Macau, consider consulting the Macau attractions and travel guide.
If you have visited Hong Kong, what specific market, area, activity, or attraction did you find most enjoyable? Personally, I highly recommend exploring the local fresh fruit markets and paying a visit to Lamma Island.