Top 10 Things to Do in Hong Kong
Hong Kong City Guide
I love Hong Kong. I have been there 5 times and every time I have learned something new about the city or tried a new experience there. There is a lot to do and see and there are many city guides out there but this is my guide to the things I like to experience in this amazing city – Hong Kong. One thing about Hong Kong is that it is easy to get overwhelmed when looking at guide books and travel guides, but in bite size pieces I have outlined the key things to see and do.
Getting To Hong Kong
Getting from Ireland/UK to Hong Kong is a bit of a trek. You can expect about 11-12 hours of a flight. This flight time maybe a bit more of you get routed more northerly or if your flight gets placed into a holding pattern while waiting to land. However, if you are in a holding pattern you will get to see some amazing sights of the boats in the bays around Hong Kong.
There are many airlines which fly to Hong Kong direct. The ones I have used include Cathay Pacific (Cathay is Very Highly Recommended), Qantas (Very Highly Recommended), Virgin Atlantic and British Airways. Other Airlines include Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, Emirates, Swiss amongst others.
I very much recommend spending a bit more and enjoying Premium Economy if available. You will be on the flight quite a while so being comfortable is important. I never do long-haul now without Premium Economy!
Hotels and Staying in Hong Kong
Hotels in Hong Kong are plentiful. Many are 5* luxury hotels which are expensive and plush, such as The Langham and the Grand Hyatt. However, in the past, I have stayed in Ibis and Travelodge hotels which are basic but have all you need to rest during your visit to the city.
My Number 1 Go-To hotel in Hong Kong is always the Novotel Century Hotel which is located near Wan Chai. This hotel is within walking distance of the ferry pier, has access to the Tram system (the Ding Ding) where you can travel to Central for all your major transport needs. The key feature of this hotel which I really enjoy is the amazing Asian Buffet Breakfast. There is also an enjoyable roof-top swimming pool which is a real treat as it is outdoor and you can hear the sounds of the city and watch the aircraft fly overhead at night. Rates at the Novotel Century Hotel start at around €110/£100 low season and about €170/£155 in High Season per night. You will sleep very well here and you will be well fed at breakfast!
Believe it or not, I would prefer to stay here than in one of the plush hotels, purely because of the relaxed atmosphere, the excellent staff, great service, rooftop pool, comfy rooms and that amazing breakfast.
My Top 10 things to do in Hong Kong are listed below but are not really in any preferred order. Therefore, I have placed a ‘MUST DO‘ beside any ones which you really should do on a visit to Hong Kong.
1) Victoria Peak
This is a Must Do attraction on a visit to Hong Kong.
Victoria Peak is a hill overlooking Hong Kong. It is over 550m high, approx 1,800ft. You may also hear this area referred to as ‘The Peak’. This is one of the major tourist attractions in Hong Kong and you have a number of ways to get up here. You can take the Peak Tram which glides up the steep incline, you can take a taxi or bus, or if you feel very energetic you could walk (not recommended).
The Peak Tram is the best way to get here but
It is worth coming here during the day just before sunset to see the view. Then, go get some food in one of the many restaurants. After night falls you have a different nighttime view of Hong Kong. It is a stunning view of an amazing city.
2) Tsim Sha Tsui
Tsim Sha Tsui is mainly known as being a shopping and nightlife district. The reason I include it is because there is so much to see an do along here. Some of the attractions below will require you to come back to this area of Hong Kong. You can get here by ferry if you are on the other side of the bay and it is very cheap, under €1 per trip to do so.
Really this is worthing coming to as an exploration. Visit the Harbour City shopping centre, big enough to suit most shoppers, or take a walk along Nathan Road where you will see major brand names including Canon, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany and more. There are also lots of great local eateries in this area, so a good spot for lunch.
3) Symphony of Lights
This is a Must Do attraction on a visit to Hong Kong.
Normally Victoria Harbour looks wonderful at night, with the many skyscrapers lit up. However, the Symphony of Lights is a multimedia show which sets the harbour ablaze every night. This is one of the world’s most spectacular light shows. The Symphony of Lights has become one of the signature icons for Hong Kong as the buildings and skyscrapers on both sides of the harbour create a visual and sensational multimedia extravaganza.
There are searchlights, lasers, LED screens and lighting working in synchronicity in a nightly showcase which makes the Hong Kong skyline into an experience for the senses. Music is played but in certain areas cannot be heard, but you can get an app which you can use when watching the Symphony of Lights so you can enjoy the music during the light show.
4) The Star Ferry & Ding Ding
Transport in Hong Kong is very good. The MTR is the underground and operates an amazing service which is normally to-the-second. Purchase an MTR Octopus card for the easiest way to get around the underground network.
If you want something more traditional, the Star Ferry runs between points of the harbour. The average cost of a return trip on the ferry is about €0.70c which is
The Ding Ding is the Hong Kong Tram service. It is a tram so you only get it on the streets where you see the tram lines. It’s a very simple service. Get on at the back and disembark at the front where you also pay your fare which is around €0.30c ($2.70HKD). Again, this is a wonderfully traditional way to see the streets of Hong Kong.
5) Ngong Ping – Tian Tan Buddha
This is a Must Do attraction on a visit to Hong Kong and one which any Top 10 Things to Do in Hong Kong cannot fail to list.
The Big Buddha is the common name for the Tian Tan Buddha. This large bronze statue of Buddha Shakyamuni was completed in 1993 and is located at Ngong Ping on Lantau Island. You will find many tour operators who do tours to this location however you will find that your day is very much scheduled
The Ngong Ping 360 experience starts with a cable car ride to the location. You can also get glass-bottomed cable cars if you are brave enough to look downwards. As you come across the hills you can see the
Once at the village you can enjoy tea ceremonies, visit Dim Sum houses, take a guided nature trail and visit the big buddha itself. There is a museum inside or you can explore the surrounding area. You should also visit the Po Lin Monastery while you are here.
The Po Lin Monastery and the Tian Tan Buddha are open to the public between 10 am and 5:30 pm.
6) Kowloon Park
One of the things Hong Kong has a lot of is parks. Kowloon Park has to be my favourite. It was formerly a British Army barracks which was redeveloped in the early 70s. These days the park is about 3 times the size it was back then at about 33 acres. Kowloon Park has everything from duck ponds and aviaries to sports centres and a swimming pool complex.
Why include Kowloon Park in
Well, from time to time in a busy city you might just want to get away from it all and take some (relatively) quiet time. The green areas, birds etc. certainly bring a sense of calm in a very busy city. You will also see in the early morning, people doing Tai Chi, Fan Dancing and even performing Cantonese Opera. I saw some amazing examples of positive ageing when I was there last when I saw 3 gentlemen probably in their late 70s / early 80s doing pull-ups in the park and they then went on to demonstrate to their friends some examples of kung-fu moves – amazing stuff. I thought that I had been lucky to see these men doing Kung-Fu, but many others have reported this on TripAdvisor!
7) Temple Street Night Market
This is a famous market in Hong Kong. Once the evening comes traders lay out their wares and await the thousands who visit this area. The Temple Street Night Market has a wonderful atmosphere with everything from teaware, gadgets, electronics and watches to menswear, antiques and leather goods. The surrounding streets are buzzing with the sound of restaurants serving the very best in street food. Many movies have used this area as a backdrop.
If you want to get to Temple Street Night Market take the MTR to Yau Ma Tei Station, Exit C, turn onto Temple Street at Man Ming Lane or you can take the MTR to MTR Jordan Station using Exit A and turn right onto Jordan Road and then take another right onto Temple Street. (You may need Google Maps as I chose MTR Jordan and ended up traveling the wrong direction from the exit).
8) Chi Lin Nunnery
I visited the Chi Lin Nunnery in 2013 and it is a bit of a hidden gem in Hong Kong. The Chi Lin Nunnery is a large Buddhist temple complex located in Diamond Hill, Kowloon, Hong Kong.Founded in 1934 the Chi Lin Nunnery was a retreat for Buddhist nuns. There are statues of gold and wood all around the area of the main halls and the majority of these temple halls as well as the beautiful Chinese garden in front of the nunnery are open to the public daily, all free of charge.
While you are here you should also visit the Nan Lian Garden which is located opposite the Chi Lin Nunnery.
9) Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple
The Wong Tai Sin Temple is the first Temple I ever visited in Hong Kong back in 2002. It is a Taoist temple dedicated to Wong Tai Sin, or the Great Immortal Wong, and is a famous shrine for those requesting prayers to be answered.
The temple has it’s roots in the early 1900s and the temple itself was only opened to the public in 1956. At that time there was a 10c admission fee. Today the temple is free to walk around and even in early January the crowds throng this area as from 1 to 15 January, whose who had prayers answers return to thank the immortal.
It is a wonderful way to observe and take in the spirit of Hong Kong as people use incense and ask Wong to answer their prayers.
10) Avenue of the Stars
This area along the waterfront celebrates Hong Kong’s movie industry. The Avenue of Stars pays tribute to the many names and actors who helped to make Hong Kong the ‘Hollywood of the East’.
There are many statues along the route with stars like Bruce Lee being a very popular selfie and photo spot.
This area is very popular during the Symphony of Lights extravaganza.
The Top 5 Things to do in Hong HongIf you are short on time and only have resources to see a few things on your trip, this is my Top 5 Things to do or See in Hong Kong
- Ngong Ping / Tian Tan Buddha & Lantau Island
- Victoria Peak in the evening / sunset
- Ride the Star ferry and Ding Ding
- The Symphony of Lights, evening light display
- Visit a Dim Sum House (this is not on the list above but I will add it soon) – this is an eating experience like no other !