Colorful, loud, and never sleeps; there is no wonder that Hong Kong is one of the most popular destinations in Asia. The city on the Pearl River Delta of China is so big and full of amazing things to do that you can easily get overwhelmed.
Hong Kong is located on a peninsula with numerous offshore islands, and it is divided into three districts: Hong Kong Island in the far south, Kowloon, and the New Territories in the north.
Hong Kong is an incredibly diverse city, and there is always something new to discover. Most tourists visit the typical sights in Hong Kong, such as Victoria Peak or the Big Buddha, but Hong Kong has so much more to offer. Providing you with all the city’s hidden gems, here are our picks of the best things to and places to visit in Hong Kong.
Let’s Go Up High…. Let’s Go to Victoria Peak!
Victoria Peak is one of the absolute touristic highlights in Hong Kong, and a trip to Hong Kong wouldn’t be complete without paying a visit to the Peak. Victoria Peak, with its 552 meters height, is the highest mountain on Hong Kong Island. It is also called Mount Austin or simply “The Peak” by the locals. In Chinese, it is called “Tai Ping Shan,” which means Mountain of Peace.
When malaria spread in Hong Kong in the 19th century, Victoria Peak was a popular refuge for the wealthier. Today, the Peak is not only a major touristic attraction but also the absolute pinnacle of Hong Kong’s real estate market. The real estate around the summit of Victoria Peak reaches unaffordable values.
The Peak is the perfect place to start your trip activities and enjoy a dreamlike view of Hong Kong Island and the harbor, as well as a fresh breeze surrounded by lots of nature. The trip to the Peak is something you definitely don’t want to miss. The best time to visit Victoria Peak is the late afternoon when the city shows itself in the light of the sunset…… It is just marvelous!
How to get to Victoria Peak? The best way to get to Victoria Peak is to take a ride on the Peak Tram. This is an old funicular that has been taking passengers up Victoria Peak since 1888. You’ll have a great view of Hong Kong on your way up as well. You can find the station in the district “Central,” directly at the famous Garden Road.
The tram is the oldest means of transportation in the city and leads up to an extraordinary mountain station: the impressive “Peak Tower,” which was only completed in 1955. The nostalgic-looking tram takes about eight minutes for its journey; the route is 1365 meters long in total and includes three intermediate stations. You are going to enjoy this ride for sure!
While on Victoria Peak, get ready to see an architectural work of art of Hong Kong: the Peak Tower with its observation deck is the famous Hong Kong lookout point. The Hong Kong Peak Tower, which at the height of 379 meters is also the mountain station of the Hong Kong Peak Tram, attracts countless visitors every year.
The Hong Kong Peak Tower is an architectural masterpiece on its own. It stands out with its unconventional and very modern appearance. From below the city, it looks like a giant UFO. The seven-story building has a curved roof and is somewhat reminiscent of an oversized soup bowl. The light-flooded glass atrium is now a popular meeting place for visitors to the mountain.
There is plenty to see and marvel at in and around the tower; on the one hand, there is, of course, the observation deck on the top floor, which offers a simply fantastic view over Hong Kong. This view alone is already worth a visit to the mountain. Also, there is an ultra-modern shopping center up there called “Peak Galleria.”
Shopping fans can stock up on many typical Hong Kong products and, of course, buy a souvenir or two for their loved ones back home. However, the mall is also home to an impressive number of high-priced upscale boutiques, which are a real feast for the eyes with their elegant ambiance and luxurious products.
Those who wish can also take a detour to Madame Tussauds Hong Kong Museum. Madame Tussauds museum in Hong Kong houses nearly one hundred wax figures of international celebrities, about a third of which are Asian personalities who are well-known in the fields of art, culture, sports, and politics. Sixteen stars from Hong Kong itself are also immortalized in this wax museum. Trust us; this alone is one of the best things to do in Hong Kong.
After you feast your eyes on everything on the Hong Kong Peak Tower, we recommend finishing your visit with a meal at one of the many cozy cafes and chic restaurants. At the Peak Tower, there is something for everyone; adventurers will find plenty of activities, and for nature lovers, there is also much to discover!
Oh, Sweet Star Ferry!
The Star Ferry is the old lady of Hong Kong and one of Hong Kong’s nostalgic sights. Since 1888, the sprightly ferry has been taking Hong Kong residents from Kowloon to the bustling neighborhoods of Central and Soho – and vice versa.
Star Ferry is more than just a ferry service connecting Hong Kong Island with Kowloon. A ride on Star Ferry is one of the most sought-after touristic attractions in the mega-city. The view of the fascinating skyline from one of the ships alone is par excellence.
You just have to see it with your own eyes, how the skyline of Hong Kong comes closer and closer, the skyscrapers appear more and more massive, the noise gets more significant, and the lights of the city get brighter. You can’t get more Hong Kong than that. Everyone who visits Hong Kong should definitely make a crossing aboard the Star Ferry to fully enjoy the view of the gigantic metropolis. It is one of the most fun things to do in Hong Kong.
Hike on the Famous Dragon’s Back
One of the most popular activities in Hong Kong, for both the locals and tourists, is a hike on the Dragon’s Back trail. Located on Hong Kong Island, Dragon’s Back is a mountain ridge that goes through the Shek O Peak. The trail is so famous that it was chosen by CNN among its list of the best 23 best trails in the world in 2019.
The most well-known hiking trail in Hong Kong is easily accessible from the city. Also, you don’t need to be a hiking or sports pro as for the first part to the top; you need only about 30 minutes. Trust us, the view from up there is sooooo worth it!
Central Mid-Levels Escalator
The Central Mid-Levels Escalator, or Central Escalator for short, is the longest outdoor covered escalator system globally. The Escalator connects some of Hong Kong’s most beautiful sights, and it is truly something special. The system of 20 escalators, staggered one behind the other, was put into operation in 1993 and is celebrated by the people to this day.
This is because it connects the residential neighborhoods with the business district and takes people directly to work. In the mornings, from 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m., the Escalator runs from the top to the bottom, and from 10:20 a.m. to midnight, it goes back up.
We highly recommend riding up in the afternoon and taking a walk back down to Central on the sidewalk next to the escalators. The view of Hong Kong Island is spectacular!
The trendy Soho district is known for its narrow streets and typical Hong Kong bars, restaurants, boutiques, and antique stores. The district is located at the foot of the Central Mid-Levels Escalator. If you stroll along Hollywood Road, one of the lifelines of the hip district, you will quickly find yourself in the middle of the narrow streets of Soho.
Like everywhere else in the city, you should also explore Hong Kong on foot in Soho; it is just wonderful to stroll through the stores in the area. Around Hollywood Road, there are many antique stores, design stores, and lots of really great art and street art to discover. In the evening, Soho turns into a nightlife district.
Tip: The best overview of Soho and nearby Hong Kong sights is from the Central Mid-Levels Escalator. You could stand there for hours and look down on the lively hustle and bustle, and don’t forget to take some photos; they will turn out great!
Lamma Island is one of the less-known touristic spots in Hong Kong city. The island will blow you away by its casual, multicultural vibe and popular place to live for hipsters and creatives. There are also hiking trails on Lamma Island that are perfect for a day trip. For example, to Hung Shing Yeh Beach or the fishing village of Sok Kwu Wan. While on the island, stop by one of the pleasantly quaint seafood restaurants; you won’t regret it!
Hong Kong Disneyland
That’s right; Hong Kong has its own Disneyland! One of the most famous Hong Kong attractions is Hong Kong Disneyland, which genuinely rivals the original in Paris. Don’t worry; the Hong Kong version is still authentic, even though it is the smallest park of the five Disneylands in the world.
Disneyland Hong Kong is the perfect activity for you and your family as the amusement park is the ideal getaway for the world of Mickey Mouse and Co.
The Western Market in Hong Kong
The Western Market on Hong Kong Island takes up an entire city block. The red brick building with its marble arch over the main entrance and four distinctive corner towers was declared a historic building in 1990, renovated a year later, and reopened as a shopping mall.
Western Market is located on Morrison Street, Queens Road, and Des Voeux Road and is an easy two-minute walk from the Central Mid-Levels Escalator. Western Market is not just an ordinary shopping mall, because unlike many other shopping malls of the same kind, Western Market successfully avoids the constant repetition of the same products in different stores. Each store of the Western Market is distinguished by its uniqueness.
The small stores offer fabrics, clothing, souvenirs, art, and collectibles that are unlike anything you can find in other shopping centers. Here, traditional handicrafts are still being made today. For tourists looking for memorable souvenirs for their loved ones at home, Western Market is exactly what they are looking for. From antique clocks to model cars and stamps, there is something for everyone.
Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade in Hong Kong
Hong Kong Island has, without a doubt, one of the most spectacular skylines in the world, and it is worth a trip for this magnificent sight alone. The best way to enjoy the breathtaking panorama is to take a stroll along the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront, which is about one and a half kilometers long.
Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade is a cape in the south of the Kowloon Peninsula. It offers unobstructed views across to Hong Kong Island from the shore. The popular touristic mile is usually crowded, especially during the evening laser show, but still, no Hong Kong visitor should miss this experience.
Tian Tan Buddha: The Great Buddha
The term “The Big Buddha in Hong Kong” refers to one of the city’s most notable landmarks. The Big Buddha is a statue and part of the Po Lin temple complex located on Lantau, Hong Kong’s largest island. Po Lin means “precious lotus”; the symbol of the lotus is very common in and around the temple complex.
The temple complex itself, built in 1921, is a spacious complex of newer buildings and simple older houses in the back of the ensemble. The complex is often used as a set for television shows and movies, but it is open to tourists and locals alike, and it is expressly inviting. The place is one of the most famous touristic attractions, but it is also of great importance for the locals.
The sculpture of Buddha is located on a mountain and has a height of 22m, or 34m if the pedestal is included. The Buddha is made entirely of bronze and is the largest open-air statue in the world. The podium on which the Buddha sits consists of various chambers, which in turn contains Bodhisattva statues weighing up to 2 tons.
The way up to the Buddha consists of 268 steps, but the climb is worth it, especially to admire the details of the sculpture and to enjoy the great view from the top.
The Big Buddha in Hong Kong and the Po Lin Monastery are easy to reach from Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. The best way is to take the metro (MTR) to the end station Tung Chung on Lantau Island. This takes about 25 minutes from Kowloon.
Avenue of Stars in Hong Kong
Just like Hollywood has its “Walk of Fame,” Hong Kong has its Avenue of Stars. As with the famous role model, the Avenue of Stars in Hong Kong also features the handprints and names of famous personalities from the film and entertainment industries immortalized in stylized stars embedded in the walkway.
There are many stories to tell about the famous artists immortalized on the Avenue of Stars. Every single one of them has had an exciting journey and looks back on a successful career, often characterized by ups and downs, courage, and the indispensable bit of luck. The avenue includes the stars of many well-known people like Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, among many others.
Fabulous Cantonese Cuisine and Street Food on Every Corner.
What could be better than strolling through one of the city’s many markets, soaking up the exotic smells and lively atmosphere? Having a dim sum in the morning, dumplings for lunch, and hearty noodle soup in the evening. And in between, now and then, a matcha latte, iced orange, black tea, or a famous Hong Kong bubble waffle.
Also, there are countless fruit, vegetable, meat, fish, and spice markets scattered throughout the city. In the streets of Hong Kong, the culinary scene is vibrant with so many different tastes. There’s delicious street food, authentic Cantonese cuisine, and upscale restaurants on every corner.
In Hong Kong, you don’t have to dine at fine restaurants to enjoy the most authentic local cuisine. We recommend trying the stalls around the various night markets, like Temple Street in Yau Ma Tei and the Ladies’ Market in Mong Kok on Tung Choi Street.
In Tsim Sha Tsui, Hau Fook Street has several food stalls, and not to forget Mei Lun Street in Central and the alleys of Causeway Bay and Wan Chai are also crowded with food stalls.
As for the restaurants, the owners beam with joy when strangers dare to enter and are incredibly helpful in selecting freshly prepared dishes from the menus. At the restaurants, along with the mouthwatering food, you will have many fun and interesting conversations with other guests and the owners.
Hong Kong by Night
When the sun sinks into the horizon and the night comes, a spectacle of lights, glitter, and glow fills the metropolis of Hong Kong. The view of Hong Kong at night from Victoria Peak or from one of the many hip sky bars is simply breathtaking and a thousand times better than it looks in the countless Hong Kong movies. Down in the streets, the cookshops come to life, and the smell of fresh food spreads everywhere.
From the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront in Kowloon, you can stare for hours at the glittering and glowing skyline of Hong Kong Island and discover many small details. Every day at 8 p.m., the Symphony of Lights, a light and laser show accompanied by music, takes place on both sides of Victoria Harbour…. It is one of the most entertaining shows to witness; make sure not to miss it.
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the metropolis, then Shek O is just the right place for you. In the small fishing village at the southeastern tip of Hong Kong Island, you really feel like you are in another world.
Everything is suddenly very small here: the houses are small, and the streets are more like alleys. The more than 200-year-old village is the exact opposite of the city. There is also a sandy beach here, where locals go swimming, especially on weekends.
If you didn’t pack a bathing suit for your city trip to Hong Kong, that’s not a problem. You can buy everything locally at reasonable prices and also plunge into the floods. Shek O is an excellent destination for a one-day trip to take a break from the full-of-action city and just relax.
Hong Kong is a fantastic and incomparable metropolis; the unique skyline, the street canyons, the green nature, and the superb cuisine will make you want to come back. The city is full of top things to do and amazing places to visit. In Hong Kong, you can be sure that you will have a memorable vacation!