Hong Kong Travel Guide

China  #5 in Best Places to Visit in Asia
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Best Things To Do in Hong Kong

No doubt about it: Hong Kong will surprise you. There's no way to prepare for the awe-inspiring view from Victoria Peak or for the Symphony of the Stars light show from the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade. Against the verdant terrain, glittering skyscrapers have never looked so beautiful. Taking in Hong Kong's atmosphere is half the joy of being here. The other half is equally exciting: With Hong Kong Disneyland, Ocean Park and Happy Valley Racecourse, there are options for every interest.

How we rank Things to Do

Updated September 8, 2017

  • #1
    Things to do in Hong Kong
    View all Photos
    #1 in Hong Kong
    Recreation, Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Recreation, Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Star Ferry is an absolute must when you come to Hong Kong. Think of it as the what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. Transporting guests between the Kowloon Peninsula and Hong Kong Island, this vessel provides the most scenic route through the city. Visitors will be smack dab in the center of the city's famous skyline, providing amazing photo opportunities, especially at night. 

    Recent travelers described the views as priceless, with many saying bearing witness to the city's many towering skyscrapers while floating along the calm waters of the Victoria Harbour took their breath away. Some recommended catching the ferry at 8 p.m. for the Symphony at Lights Show, which is considered to be the world's largest permanent light and sound show. 

  • #2
    Victoria Peak
    View all Photos
    #2 in Hong Kong
    Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Along with the Star Ferry, Victoria Peak, or simply "The Peak," is a must-visit attraction simply for its incredible views. Situated atop the highest point on Hong Kong Island, The Peak is as scenic as lookouts come. Visitors are not only treated to a sea of skyscrapers and the city's beautiful blue waterways, but during the day, can make out the green hills of the distant New Territories. 

    There are are multiple vantage points atop the mountain, including the Peak Tower and the Peak Galleria, with the latter offering access to its observation deck free of charge. There is also the 2-mile-long Peak Circle Walk, which takes you along cliffside paths to the scenic Lugard Road lookout point. There are also dining and shopping options at the Peak Tower and Peak Galleria, as well as the Lions View Point Pavillion.

  • #3
    Street Markets
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    #3 in Hong Kong
    Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Chances are you'll accidentally stumble upon one of these shopping frenzies on a tour of the city. But don't just stop at one. Hong Kong's street markets are diverse, catering to various clienteles with different merchandise. For instance, the Ladies' Market on Tung Choi Street in the Mong Kok neighborhood specializes in (you guessed it) women's clothing and accessories. Plus, each bazaar also has its own ambiance. The best example is the Temple Street Night Market – a traveler favorite. This nocturnal marketplace bursts with activity as vendors hawk clothing, electronics and local food, and culinary accessories from brightly lit stalls. There are even fortune tellers and opera singers. Another bazaar of note is the Stanley Market. Occupying an old fishing village on the southern coast of Hong Kong Island, this marketplace boasts home decor, jewelry and colorful souvenirs. Recent travelers said not to shy away from bargaining, as many were surprised at how low vendors are willing to drop their prices when they feel like you're going to walk away. 

    Each market operates on different hours. Reaching most of them is usually quite easy as they tend to be close to subway stops. For more information, check out the Hong Kong Tourism Board's website.

  • #4
    Happy Valley Racecourse
    View all Photos
    #4 in Hong Kong
    Entertainment and Nightlife, Recreation, Sports
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Entertainment and Nightlife, Recreation, Sports
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Every Wednesday from September to July, thousands of Hong Kong residents flood the stands of the Happy Valley Racecourse. Horse racing is the only legal form of gambling in Hong Kong, making Happy Valley one of the few places where you are allowed to gamble in the city. And many of Hong Kong's citizens take full advantage. Even if you're not into betting, you should visit this local institution simply for the electric atmosphere, not to mention the surrounding city skyline, which sparkles once the sun goes down.

    Much like the locals, recent travelers agreed the Happy Valley Racecourse is must-visit if you're in Hong Kong. Visitors reveled in the attraction's fun atmosphere, cheap admission and to most, surprisingly good food and drink options. Some travelers were quick to note that unlike other racetracks, specifically in the states, attire is very casual, so there's no need to pack any big hats or bow ties for your night at the track.

  • #5
    Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade
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    #5 in Hong Kong
    Entertainment and Nightlife, Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Entertainment and Nightlife, Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    On the edge of the Kowloon Peninsula's popular Tsim Sha Tsui neighborhood, the promenade is the Hong Kong locale for many visitors. Stretching from Hong Kong's colonial-era Clock Tower to Hung Hom, the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade gives you unobstructed views of Hong Kong Island's majestic skyline. During the day, you can watch the boats travel in and out of Victoria Harbour, but travelers recommend making an extra visit at night: From 8 to about 8:20 p.m., the Symphony of the Stars (a sound-and-light show) projects dazzling lights onto the Hong Kong skyline. Day or night, consider taking in the atmosphere at one of the many restaurants and bars located here. 

    Beginning near the Star Ferry Pier, the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade is easily reached via MTR's East Tsim Sha Tsui Station. The shops, bars, restaurants and museums that stand along the promenade, including the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Hong Kong Space Museum and Hong Kong Museum of Art, maintain varied hours of operation. For information about the light show, consult the Hong Kong Tourism Board's website.

  • #6
    Ocean Park
    View all Photos
    #6 in Hong Kong
    Amusement Parks, Recreation
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Amusement Parks, Recreation
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Competing with Hong Kong Disneyland as the top spot to take your family in Hong Kong, Ocean Park pulls out all the stops. Spectacular natural scenery right on the coastline? Check. A diverse zoo that includes pandas and dolphins? Check. An aquarium with sharks and rays? Check. Electrifying roller coasters and carnival games? Check. Next thing you know, Ocean Park is going to have a cable-car ride and an underground funicular…Oh wait, it already does!

    Recent visitors can't get over how many attractions are packed into Ocean Park, with some suggesting to get there as soon as the park opens to take advantage of all that it has to offer. Others say that one day alone isn't enough to see the park in its entirety. Families say it's a sure fire hit with the little ones, and that the older crowd will appreciate the adrenaline-pumping rides available on site. Some lamented the high prices for food, but the majority admit that they couldn't recall a moment when they were bored during their time at Ocean Park.

  • #7
    Nan Lian Garden
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    #7 in Hong Kong
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    If you're looking to rest your feet after a long day of touring, retreat to the Nan Lian Garden. Located in Kowloon, the Nan Lian Garden is a nearly 9-acre public park modeled after the style of the Tang Dynasty, which ruled from A.D. 618 to 907. Along the peaceful pathways, you'll find lotus ponds, manicured trees and gurgling springs, not to mention traditional Chinese timber architecture spread throughout. That, combined with Hong Kong's soaring mountain range as the garden's backdrop, makes for a tranquil place of refuge from the hustle and bustle of the city.

    The garden is currently managed by the Chi Lin Nunnery, whose place of worship is also on-site. The Nunnery is open to the public and free to visit, although photography is prohibited. Recent travelers said it's not uncommon to see people praying, so if you plan on visiting (which you should) be quiet and respectful of their space. Along with the relaxed nature of the park, visitors were also delighted by the teahouse and vegetarian restaurant on-site and recommended staying for a quick bite to further soak up the experience.

  • #8
    Hong Kong Museum of History
    View all Photos
    #8 in Hong Kong
    Museums, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    From prehistoric times to the modern era, the Hong Kong Museum of History squeezes 400 million years of the city's history under one roof. Spanning more than 75,000 square feet, this large complex features a permanent exhibit chronicling Hong Kong's history and has featured temporary exhibits catering to visitors with all types of interests. Past exhibits have covered local food culture, fashion and even public transportation. The museum currently houses more than 90,000 historical objects and materials, so plan to set aside a few hours if you want to tour the entire museum.

    Recent travelers said this attraction is perfect for a rainy day. The museum's collection is vast and incredibly informative, which overwhelmed some, but wowed others. Because it is so big, travelers suggested choosing which exhibits you want to see versus going in order, or else you could really end up being there all day.

  • #9
    Lantau Island
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    #9 in Hong Kong
    Amusement Parks, Beaches, Entertainment and Nightlife, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Amusement Parks, Beaches, Entertainment and Nightlife, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Like Singapore's Sentosa Island, Lantau Island is a tourist's playground. You've got historical sites, amusement parks, sunny beaches and more. Families love Hong Kong Disneyland, while active travelers enjoy traversing the trails that lead up to the scenic Sunset Peak. Those with a penchant for leisure will enjoy a casual stroll along Hong Kong's longest beach, Cheung Sha Beach, while seafood lovers will salivate at the site of fresh fish at Tai O Village market. Even history buffs have their pick of the Big Buddha (it's massive!) and the Po Lin Monastery. Regardless of your interests, you must take a ride on the Nong Ping Cable Cars for a unique bird's-eye view of the island. 

    Recent visitors loved the diverse array of activities available on Lantau Island, although they warned of long lines for the cable cars in particular. Some said those who are afraid of heights might want to skip the attraction, especially since some cars have glass bottoms. According to travelers, many come to Lantau Island to ride the cable cars and see the big Buddha, but others strongly recommended carving out time to visit the traditional fishing village, and if it's sunny, one of the island's beaches.

  • #10
    Hong Kong Disneyland
    View all Photos
    #10 in Hong Kong
    Amusement Parks, Recreation
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Amusement Parks, Recreation
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    "It's a small world after all" has never been more true than at Hong Kong Disneyland. If you've been to either Disneyland or Walt Disney World, you might be disappointed by the relatively small size of this park. The Hong Kong iteration has many of the same attractions as the American parks, such as Space Mountain and Sleeping Beauty's Castle, only they've been scaled down. But that doesn't mean recent visitors didn't enjoy their time at the "happiest place on Earth." As expected, families loved it, but some adults found it to be a waste of time if you don't have any little ones in tow. Much like the other Disney parks, travelers warned of large crowds and complained that the food is overpriced and mediocre.

    Positioned on Lantau Island, Hong Kong Disneyland is easily accessible via the MTR's Disneyland Resort Line. The park welcomes visitors from 10:30 a.m. to 8:15 p.m. every day. Admission costs HK$539 (about $69) for adults and HK$385 (about $49.60) for kids. For more information, consult Hong Kong Disneyland's website.

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