Things to do in Hong Kong

Must-see Hong Kong sights

With a mish-mash of Chinese, Portuguese and British heritage, Hong Kong has a unique identity that’s unrivalled with any other city in the world.

  1. Climb The Peak
  2. Bob along on the Star Ferry
  3. Go back to nature in the New Territories
  4. Taste yum cha at a teahouse
  5. Party hard in Lan Kwai Fong
  6. Bustle along Temple Street Night Market
  7. Be dazzled by Times Square
  8. Visit the Maritime Museum

This is a land of hi-tech infrastructure and bird markets; marvellous wildlife and centuries-old temples; an iconic harbourside and buzzing nightlife, to name just a few. It’s the ultimate East-meets-West spot, and no matter how long your trip to Hong Kong is, chances are you might just wish you could stay an extra night or two...

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1. Climb The Peak

Officially called Victoria Peak, ascending to the top of this wooded hill is probably one of the best things to do in Hong Kong. Hop aboard the Peak Tram, a funicular railway (in operation since 1888) which takes eight minutes to tackle the steep slopes. From here, you can pay extra to access the Sky Terrace, but free views can still be enjoyed from Peak Galleria’s upper terrace. The views are truly unbeatable, spanning down over the high-rises towers of Central and the bustling harbour. If you’re browsing Hong Kong holiday packages, then this is an unmissable addition.

Best for: Unforgettable views.

While you’re there: Visit at night-time for a glittering view.

2. Bob along on the Star Ferry

The Central district is situated on Hong Kong Island’s north shore, and there’s quite an upmarket air - think high-end shops and various banks’ headquarters - but you can still kick back with the likes of Hong Kong Park or Victoria Peak. But it’s the getting here that’s just one of the fun things to do in Hong Kong. The Star Ferry departs from Tsim Sha Tsui every five minutes, taking around seven minutes to cross the busy Victoria Harbour. It provides incredible views along the way, with gleaming glass towers and the green-hilled Victoria Peak. The ferries, painted green and cream and with wooden decks and seats, look pretty vintage set against the contemporary view, but that just adds to its charm.

Best for: Seeing Hong Kong by water.

While you’re there: Daily 6.30am-11.30pm; lower deck $2.20, upper deck £2.70.

3. Go back to nature in the New Territories

If you’re wondering what to do in Hong Kong that involves more greenery and fewer skyscrapers, the New Territories is the perfect choice. It’s a wonderful place to explore the wildlife and nature here: you can take the trails through the likes of Shing Mun or Lion Rock country parks, as well as the saltwater marsh that makes up Hong Kong Wetland Park. There’s also a number of walled clan villages dating back to the late 19th century which provide a fascinating insight into how families used to live in this area.

Best for: Getting stuck into the great outdoors.

While you’re there: Make sure you bring plenty of water with you, and sturdy walking shoes, to comfortably enjoy your time here.

4. Taste yum cha at a teahouse

Yum cha (dim sum) is a classic Cantonese meal that’s becoming almost as popular in the West as it is in the East. Yum cha consists of a selection of dumplings, small soups and special dishes, all served with fragrant tea. The best and most traditional places to try it are at teahouses, such as Lin Heung, Luk Yu or Lock Cha, although you’ll find plenty of other restaurants and street vendors serving cheaper versions.

Best for: Trying classic Cantonese cuisine.

While you’re there: For savoury dim sum, try steamed pork and prawn dumplings; sweet options include coconut jelly and mango pudding.

5. Party hard in Lan Kwai Fong

Although Lan Kwai Fong is just one lane in Central district’s Queen’s Road, the name is now used to refer to all of the entertainment-based streets surrounding it. This is where you need to come to unwind, with long-established nightclubs, German-themed bars and spacious terraces to dance the night away in, or simply sit pretty with a drink and people-watch.

Best for: Late nights with funky beats.

While you’re there: Fringe Club has live music, good beer and a rooftop bar.

6. Bustle along Temple Street Night Market

It is a heavy tourist spot, but Temple Street is well worth exploring, with its fun (albeit cramped) market. You’ll also pass by fortune tellers who rely on their budgies and hear swells of karaoke booming across the street, but the best way to really soak up the atmosphere is by pausing for lunch at one of the many seafood restaurants near Saigon Street.

Best for: Seeing Hong Kong at its most hectic.

While you’re there: At the centre of the square is Tin Hau Temple, named after a Chinese sea goddess.

7. Be dazzled by Times Square

Causeway Bay is a shopper’s paradise, and Times Square (on the corner of Matheson and Russell Streets), is their nirvana. This sixteen-floor shopping mall shows off just how much Hong Kong can stand out with its impressive architecture; the building is home to a cinema, metro access, expensive restaurants, and over 200 shops.

Best for: Shopaholics gone wild.

While you’re there: Take exit A at Causeway Bay metro station.

8. Visit the Maritime Museum

Hong Kong has a vast, interesting history of maritime trade, and the Hong Kong Maritime Museum documents it thoroughly with their well-planned display. There are various models of Chinese craft, like a 2000-year-old tomb, as well as illuminated antique maps, salvaged goods from local shipwrecks and even a bronze cannon used during the Opium Wars in the 19th century.

Best for: learning about Hong Kong’s maritime history.

While you’re there: Head upstairs for clear views across the harbour.

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