What to do in Hong Kong or rather any place really depends on you, the traveler and your travel preferences. However, it being a small city-state gives you so many options close by that you can explore different traveler’s attractions even if you do not have too many days there to spend.
Places to visit in Hong Kong
Sunset at Victoria Peak – Heritage Peak Train Ride
Victoria Peak is one of the most popular places to visit in Hong Kong. I took a bus from the star ferry terminal and reached Victoria Peak. On the way back, I took the heritage Peak train to come back to the base of the hill. I highly recommend that you try both the bus ride and the heritage peak train to visit Victoria Peak. Both the rides are an experience to take.
Read More – Best Hong Kong Souvenirs to Buy
At the Victoria peak, walk the loop that takes you around the hill. You will get stunning views of the Victoria harbor. I suggest you go around sunset, so you can see the harbor in light, during sunset, and after sunset. All three views are different and stunning in their own ways. Please note that Victoria peak is also notorious for its fog, so pray for a clear day before you head there.
Victoria Harbour – Star Ferry Ride
Star Ferry is a normal ferry that the local residents use for their daily commute between the Hong Kong Island and Kowloon Island – the two main landmasses of the region. It is one of the many ways to commute between the two islands – others being the Metro and a road bridge
If you stay on the Hong Kong side, take the ferry around sunset to Kowloon. And watch the symphony of lights that happens every evening and ride back. If you are staying on the Kowloon side take the ferry anytime to visit the main island.
Symphony of Lights
The Symphony of lights is a small 10 minute light and sound show that happens on the skyline of the island around 8 PM. Not the greatest light show that you will ever see, but it is one of those experience that I would definitely put in the things to do in Hong Kong.
I am a museum person. Could not explore all the museums in the city, that I wanted to. You never have enough time to explore all that you want. I explored The Hong Kong Museum of History in detail on the very first day of my trip. This gave me a good perspective of the history of the country and its journey to the present. It is a well-curated museum that lets you do activities like printing take away souvenirs based on Chinese signs.
Wan Chai Walk
Wan Chai is one of the oldest neighborhoods, centered around an ancient temple. Walking through it is like walking through the history of the island. There are boards that guide you through the walk, but we have a detailed post for you to explore it on your own.
Kowloon Walled City Walk
Walk through the remains of an old walled city that was notorious for being the most densely populated place on earth and for many other things. Today, it is a well-manicured garden and a kind of memorial that dark history of the island.
Read More – Kowloon Walled City Walk
Stanley Village Walk
The Stanley Village is that corner of the city that is so unlike of the city. It is nestled between the hills and ocean like the rest of the city but without its skyscrapers and overcrowded spaces. A small market bustles with the creative energy of its traditional as well as modern artisans. I loved both the ride to the Stanley village as well as a walk through it. Check out this video:
Hollywood Street Walk
Walk on the upmarket Hollywood Street that is home to one of the most popular temples dedicated to the God of Literature. I loved the small cafes and street art that I discovered while walking around it.
Read More – Street Art
Despite being the vertical city, it has its own share of gardens. I walked through some of them, especially in the mornings. Some of the gardens you can explore are Victoria Peak Garden, Nan Lian Park, Kowloon Walled City Park, Sung Wong Toi Park, Sha Tin Park, Wan Chai Park.
Fun Things to do
Visit Ocean Park
You need at least one full day to explore the Ocean Park. If you are traveling with kids, this is one of the best things to do. I was traveling alone and I am not too much of a theme park person, but I thoroughly enjoyed my day spent at the ocean park.
Loved all the rides I took, I even enjoyed watching the ones that I did not take. I enjoyed my food sitting next to penguins as they frolicked in the water next to my table. And I enjoyed riding the train up and down, walking in the old world charm of old city recreated here. I had a fun time walking through the aquarium as much as I enjoyed watching the pandas roaming around, seals swimming around or the acrobats perform in the gardens. Visiting the South Pole and feel the freezing cold there surrounded by penguins is total fun.
The whole atmosphere gears you to take part in the activities and somehow brings out the child in you. It is a great place to let go of your stress, the reason many of us take holidays.
An alternate to Ocean Park is to visit Disneyland. It is advisable to stay there for at least one night to explore it well. It is a bit away from the main city. I am yet to explore it, hopefully, there would be another time to explore it.
Shopping is one of the big reasons why tourists love the place. However, if you think it is just shining shopping malls where you can shop, street Markets top my personal list of Best places to visit. You will fall in love with these markets.
Read More – 10 Street Markets to explore
If you are an Indian, you would even enjoy haggling and bargaining with the local vendors. You can get good deals on souvenirs like Jade Jewelry to Electronic goods and everything in between.
Read More – 20 Best Hong Kong Souvenirs to Buy
Try the Mid-Level-Escalators
Believe it or not, the densely populated city on the hillside is connected via escalators that take you up and down the city. One way to look at them is that the city is spread on an incline and these escalators are like vertical roads that take you up and down. I am not aware of any other city that has a public facility to take you up and down. Go, experience them.
Ride the Trams
Not many cities in the world have an active tram network. Trams are slow and they are making way for the faster methods of the commute. The megapolis still has lovely little colorful trams plying back and forth. Since they are slow, I recommend taking them once in a while for short commutes at times. You would experience the region of a different time.
Explore the local food
Being a cosmopolitan city, there is no dearth of the cuisines that you can try. In terms of the price range, you have the street food that you get in busy streets to the best of gourmet options. I am a vegetarian and I was happy to try Dim Sums at a Michelin Star restaurant. No, the Michelin star did not mean it was too expensive. It was easy on the pocket, on the tummy and fun to eat.
Do try their cold milk tea called Nai Cha. You get it everywhere, you can even pick it up to go.
Attend a Festival
Like India, this region also has a string of festivals that it celebrates around the year. Check out Blogger Friend Katy’s Hong Kong Festival Guide. She has listed the major festivals around the year that you can explore. Apart from this, check the local newspapers for smaller festivals that you can attend and enjoy the cultural richness of the region.
Macau is a just a small ferry ride away from the mainland and can be done as a quick day trip. I am yet to do this, so will share details as and when I do it.
Participate in Local Rituals
Chinese being an old civilization has a lot of living traditions that people follow till date. I saw under an overbridge a custom called ‘Petty Person Beating‘ where you can literally get an evil person in your life beaten with shoes. Watch this video to see this with your own eye:
These are the kind of cultural things that you discover when you walk on the streets.
Pro Tip – For walking trails, do not depend on Google Maps. The place is too congested and it can confuse you.