Hong Kong is famous for being this glamorous financial hub and luxury shopping destination. For the longest time, before its Asian neighbors caught up, it was THE place to be if you want to go on an epic food trip and shop until you drop. Even if neighboring countries such as Singapore and Macau have become prime destinations in recent years, Hong Kong still remains a favorite among seasoned travelers and first-time tourists, and this is because, apart from having a wide range of tourist destinations, the price points are flexible in that whether you are a budget traveler or one with some serious money to spend, you will definitely find shops, restaurants, and places to visit.
Night markets and quaint boutiques are nestled comfortably near high-end designer brands, and if you are a savvy shopper, you will take advantage of both for the ultimate high-low fashion expedition. The city has both Michelin-starred and hole-in-the-wall restaurants, as well as street vendors and food stalls hawking hot, freshly-cooked, mouthwatering food – so whether you are craving Hong Kong staples such as noodles with wonton, some tendon in its signature sweet, sticky brown sauce, roast duck over rice or a fancy tasting menu by an up-and-coming chef, you are guaranteed to have a memorable meal.
There’s definitely more to Hong Kong apart from Disneyland, the food, and the shops, and its impressive skyline. The city is always buzzing with life and excitement, offering both locals and tourists something new and unique at every corner. A visit to this city where the influence of ancient Chinese culture is very much apparent rewards you with sweeping views of land and sea, marvellous architecture, picturesque beaches, and traditional fishing villages where life is slower and more idyllic.
Here are the top 10 tourist destinations for your next Hong Kong visit:
1. Victoria Peak
You haven’t seen or experienced Hong Kong to the fullest until you have taken in the skyline from Victoria Peak. This scenic viewpoint allows you to see the skyscrapers, and the surrounding islands, as well as the bustling city in all its glory.
It is best to visit The Peak at nighttime, so you can best enjoy the view of the spectacular skyline lit majestically against the night sky, but there’s no reason you should not visit it during the day, when you can spend some time exploring the park area. The contrast of the lush greenery and the thriving urban center below is always magnificent. To get there, you can take the tram at the Murray Building, which is near the Hilton Hotel. This is THE must-see attraction in all of Hong Kong, one that you should never miss.
2. Hong Kong Star Ferry
The famous star ferry traces its roots back to 1880, making it one of Hong Kong’s most treasured tourist attractions. The best part about it is that it only costs a few dollars to ride and coast the Victoria Harbour, making it a steal. The main route takes you from Tsim Sha Tsui to Central, allowing you to enjoy the majestic views of the green mountains against the imposing towers of the city.
This cruise is ideal for those who want to take a break from the bustling, tight confines of the city, and the wide open spaces and the quiet breeze off the water will definitely recharge you. There is no fixed schedule for the trips, but don’t worry – they leave every few minutes all day long and even later into the evening, so you will definitely have your turn. Taking an evening cruise lets you enjoy the nightly laser show, which features a 360-degree spectacle of laser beams striking the skyscrapers on either side of the harbor. Make sure to get seats in the front or along the rail to maximize your experience.
3. Wong Tai Sin Temple
The Wong Tai Sin Temple is located in Kowloon, with the original structure built in 1920. It is one of the newest and most interesting temples in the city – relatively newer than most of its counterparts, as the old one was replaced with a new building in 1968. The temple was built in honor of the Taoist god Wong Tai Sin, who locals believe to be a healer of illnesses and to bring them good luck in horse-racing.
The temple complex houses several buildings, including the Hall of Three Saints, the Good Wish Garden, and another hall that honors Confucius and all of his 72 disciples. Get a glimpse of your future and converse with the ever-present fortune tellers in the large hall, where you can also find joss sticks and other offerings that you can use during your visit. Keep in mind that it is customary for guests to leave a small donation to aid in the maintenance of the temple’s splendor.
4. Victoria Central Business District
Dubbed as Hong Kong’s Wall Street, the Victoria Central Business District is proof that Hong Kong is one of the greatest international financial hubs in the world. The district is where you will find the tallest skyscrapers rising around you at every turn, with a few colonial buildings here and there.
The Victoria CBD is also where the Zoological and Botanical Gardens are located, as well as the Bank of China skyscraper, one of the tallest buildings in the world and at one point the highest in the city. The CBD is also home to the Man Mo Temple, which is one of the largest and oldest Chinese temples on the island.
5. Old Town Central
If you want to get out of the beaten path, take a guided walk at the Old Town Central. There are five routes to choose from. The Highlights Trip will take you from Possession Street, which offers a taste of older Hong Kong, to Pottinger Street, which locals refer to as the “Stone Slab Street.” In between, you will be able to pass through the well-preserved Man Mo Temple built in mid-1800s, the homeware and jewelry stores on Gough Street, and the police compound Tai Kwun.
You can also explore Old Town’s art scene with Crazy for Art, check out finds in vintage and contemporary stores with Treasure Hunt, go back in time and see Hong Kong’s history from a local’s perspective with Time Traveler, and eat to your heart’s content with Tasting Hong Kong.
Should you decide to do it yourself, start in the heart of Old Town, SoHo. From there, you can mix up the sights and attractions to create your very own family adventure.
6. Tsim Sha Tsui
If you want a real taste of what Hong Kong has to offer, Tsim Sha Tsui is the place to be. It is a shopping and entertainment hub at the southern part of Kowloon, a melting pot of culture and commerce.
The main artery running through the area, Nathan Road, is where you will find lots of great restaurants, boutiques, and vendors selling unique ware. Canton Road is where you can experience a world-class, luxurious experience, thanks to its high end shops and restaurants. Visit the Tsim Sha Tsui Cultural Complex for a dose of culture and to see tourist attractions such as the Hong Kong Space Museum and the Hong Kong Museum of Art.
7. Avenue of Stars
If you ever find yourself in Tsim Sha Tsui, make sure to visit the Avenue of Stars, a walkway lined with stars similar to the Walk of Fame in Hollywood which pays homage to Chinese performers.
It is part of a longer waterfront promenade that is a popular place among locals for walking, jogging, and hanging out, as it is one of the few open spaces in the area. It is also an awesome spot to catch the Symphony of Light show across the harbor in the evenings.
8. Repulse Bay and the Beaches
Unlike Indonesia and the Philippines, Hong Kong may not be known as a prime destination for beach vacations, but it also has pristine beaches that will delight tourists looking for a dose of sun, sand, and sea in between sightseeing. The beach at Repulse Bay is the most popular in the country, with clear blue waters and fine sand. It is home to the Hong Kong Life Saving Society Clubhouse, and the Repulse Bay, which used to be a hotel and currently offers dining and shopping choices for tourists and locals. Other beaches worth exploring include the Big Wave Bay and Shek O Beach, both of which are accessible via public transit for your convenience.
9. Tai O Fishing Village
A far cry from the city that is always busy with activity and filled with crowded markets, shops, and theme parks, Tai O is home to the Tanka people who live a quieter, more traditional life. A visit to the city offers you an experience you won’t find anywhere else in Hong Kong, and gives you a glimpse of how people used to live before it became what it is now.
Marvel at the fisherfolks’ traditional homes that are built on stilts over tidal flats. You can also visit the local markets and sample some of the best and freshest seafood Hong Kong has to offer. If you’re lucky, you can catch a glimpse of the endangered pink dolphin, which sometimes appears in the nearby waters.
10. Temple Street Night Market
The last night market in Hong Kong, the Temple Street Night Market is your go-to place for eclectic goods and traditional street food. Located in Kowloon, you will find everything from electronics, clothes, jade jewelry, and traditional Chinese crafts, among many others.
The place is also famous for the regular performances held outside the Tin Hua Temple, where traditional Cantonese opera is sung by both amateur and professional performers.
11. Happy Valley
This upper-income residential area in Wan Chai District can be reached via minibuses or tram from the Causeway Bay MTR Station. Here, you can visit the Happy Valley Racecourse that has been standing since 1846, find two of the tallest buildings in Hong Kong nicknamed together as The Chopstick (they’re officially known as The Summit and Highcliff), and drop by the Hong Kong Racing Museum.
There are six cemeteries in the area that oddly make up one of its landmarks. There are food shops that offer tasty dishes and stores that sell gifts and trinkets. It is much quieter and more laidback than the neighboring Causeway Bay, especially at night.
12. Causeway Bay
Shop, binge on street food, and cap the day off at Times Square in this busy neighborhood. It’s a place to settle down on your first day or get lost on your last day. The largest public park on Hong Kong Island can be found here, the Victoria Park. If you want to rest your eyes on something green, this is the place to go. Get around the area through the ding-ding, which is what locals call their trams. See the Tin Hau Temple. You can also walk to different sights such as the Noonday Gun and hie off to SOGO, the largest Japanese-style department store in the state.
Down south, you will find a fishing-village-turned-tourist-hotspot called Aberdeen. You need a day and a half to spend in this town — it houses Ocean Park, which needs a separate introduction. The harbor is always a good place to start.
Then move toward the floating village where fishing and boat living are the norm. You can take a ride around the area on a boat that is wide enough to accommodate more than 10 passengers. Near that area, you can get to another boat that will take you to the Jumbo Kingdom, a floating restaurant featuring ancient Chinese imperial palace style and ornaments Book a lunch reservation prior to your arrival, because this place is highly popular among tourists.
14. Ocean Park
If you must visit only one theme park in Hong Kong, Ocean Park is the best choice. It covers a number of activities you can handle in one day, including a stroll through the streets of old Hong Kong, roller coaster rides, a visit to the Grand Aquarium, and a look at rare and exotic wildlife.
It is also the home of the largest aquarium dome in the world, which has thousands of fish from over 400 species, a reef tunnel, as well as sea stars and sea cucumbers. You can also participate in the Giant Panda Adventure or go on fun rides such as the Mine Train, Raging River, and Space Wheel.
Last, but definitely not least, Hong Kong Disneyland is the one thing your kids will surely love without your having to ask them. It is a bit far from the center, but near the airport. Families usually stay in the resort, so they can enjoy the theme park and its amenities without getting pressured to return to their hotel at a certain time.
Its daily capacity is the smallest among Disneyland theme parks around the world, but that does not certainly mean it is less fun. Get a two-day pass if you can to maximize your stay and go through the rides and activities that await at its themed areas: Main Street, U.S.A., Fantasyland, Adventureland, Tomorrowland, Grizzly Gulch, Mystic Point, and Toy Story Land.
With all these places, Hong Kong remains a world-class tourist destination. Come hungry with lots of free luggage space and a sense of adventure, because you are in for a truly memorable experience.
This article is part of our popular series, Place To Go With Kids!