Towering skyscrapers, lively streets framed by neon signs, vibrant markets, and captivating shopping spots make Hong Kong a busy metropolis worth visiting at least once. But there’s more. Beyond the city’s hustle and bustle, visitors are happily surprised to find serene temples, lush parks, alluring shrines, and idyllic beaches that both dazzle and inspire.
Filled with things to see and do, Hong Kong is definitely an intriguing destination where visitors are rewarded with whatever they can dream of — spirituality, food, culture, history, nature, you name it!
Tried-and-true activities on offer in Hong Kong include everything from riding the iconic Star Ferry, to marveling at the colossal Big Buddha, feasting on street food, and getting your palm read.
There’s a wide array of experiences available on this vibrant island. So, to make your trip planning easier, we’ve compiled a list of the 16 top things to do in Hong Kong. Have a look below to learn more!
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Top 16 Things To Do on Hong Kong Island
Marvel At The Victoria Harbour While Riding The Star Ferry
The majestic Victoria Harbour is a natural channel separating Hong Kong Island in the south from the Kowloon Peninsula to the north. With a strategic location in the South China Sea, the harbor is one of Hong Kong’s top tourist attractions thanks to its historic significance (it was one of the British Empire’s biggest military and trading ports) and the fact it offers gorgeous panoramic views of Hong Kong.
A prime way of experiencing Victoria Harbor’s beauty is by riding the award-winning Star Ferry, which carries passengers between Tsim Sha Tsui on the Kowloon side, and Central and Wan Chai on Hong Kong island. The 20-min journey will provide you with the most spectacular views of Hong Kong!
You can also take in the beauty of Victoria Harbor from the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade. This alluring promenade starts at the Star Ferry Terminal, where the historic Star Ferry departs from, linking Tsim Sha Tsui with Central Hong Kong. From there, you’ll be able to enjoy the most dramatic views of Hong Kong’s skyline.
Another must-see attractions on the Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront are the Avenue of Stars, famous for harboring a bronze statue of legendary martial artist Bruce Lee.
The Victoria Harbour also hosts a multimedia light show, the “Symphony of Lights”, every night at 8 pm. During this magical spectacle, the iconic buildings from both sides become a canvas for a whimsical display of lightwork and lasers. A breathtaking show that lightens up Hong Kong’s night sky!
Address: Admiralty, Hong Kong
Check Out Hong Kong’s Skyline From The Victoria Peak
Located in the western half of Hong Kong, Victoria Peak (aka Mount Austin) is the highest hill on the island. The mountain has an elevation of 1,811 ft and spoils visitors with the most heart-warming views of the Hong Kong skyline, Victoria Harbour, Lamma Island, and the surrounding islands.
Most of the hill is covered by a large park with lush greenery, and nature trails, making it one of the top outdoor attractions in Hong Kong.
To visit Victoria Peak, visitors can hike uphill from Central or From Aberdeen, or even better, take the historic funicular railway known as the Peak Tram. The tram, which rises about 1,300 feet above sea level, provides passengers with a one-of-a-kind ride — it is so steep that the buildings you pass look like they are leaning on a gradient of between 4 to 25.7 degrees.
Address: Central and Western District, Hong Kong Island
See The Big Buddha On Lantau Island
Often regarded as the “lungs of Hong Kong” thanks to its emerald-green forests, Lantau is the largest of Hong Kong’s outlying islands. This dreamy paradise is located at the mouth of the Pearl River, not far from the Hong Kong Airport, and dazzles visitors with an array of glittering beaches, towering peaks, and quaint fishing villages.
One of the top attractions on the island is Sunset Peak, Hong Kong’s third highest mountain, and a prime place for watching the sunset.
Another must-see landmark in Lantau Island is the Tian Tan Buddha, which rests high up on a hilltop facing the dreamy Po Lin Monastery. Thanks to its colossal size — the statue is 112 ft tall, weighs over 280 short tons, and was constructed from 202 bronze pieces —, the sculpture is also known as “Big Buddha”.
If you’re seeking an immersive cultural experience on Lantau Island, be sure to visit the Tai O Village, which is the oldest fishing village in Hong Kong. Also called the “Venice of Hong Kong”, Tai O is famous for being one of the places where you can see traditional bamboo houses where the Tanka ‘boat-people’ have been residing for more than 200 years. There, be sure to take a boat ride through the waterways to catch a glimpse of the adorable pink dolphins, which can be seen year-round and are famous for their unique color and friendliness.
Discover The State-Of-The-Art Exhibits Of The Hong Kong Space Museum
Set within a unique egg-shaped dome, the Hong Kong Space Museum has two thematic exhibition halls: the Hall of the Cosmos and the Hall of Space Exploration featuring around a hundred exhibits of which about 70% are of interactive design.
The “Hall of the Cosmos”, on the ground floor, allows visitors to discover the Universe from near to far, as well as participate in unique hands-on activities like creating comets with dry ice, and creating an aurora on an Earth model.
On the first floor of the museum, you’ll find the “Hall of Space Exploration”, which depicts the development of space exploration and space technology. There, visitors get the one-of-a-kind chance to enter an upside-down virtual space station to experience the disorientation feeling in the weightless environment and drive themselves by turning a fixed steering wheel to understand the reaction principle in rocket propulsion.
The museum is also home to the “Space Theatre”, a planetarium that features the first OMNIMAX film projector in the eastern hemisphere. Each year, the Museum hosts a Sky Show, which is displayed using the planetarium’s state-of-the-art projection system to create eye-popping spectacles.
Address: 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Recommended Read: The 9 Best Museums in Hong Kong
Take The Kids For A Fun-Filled Day At Hong Kong Disneyland
Whether you’re visiting Hong Kong with your family or simply want to meet your favorite Disney characters, this theme park is a must.
Located in Penny’s Bay, Lantau Island, Hong Kong Disneyland is divided into seven main areas: Main Street, U.S.A., Fantasyland, Adventureland, Tomorrowland, Grizzly Gulch, Mystic Point, and Toy Story Land. Each has its unique set of attractions and exciting rides.
Bucket-list attractions you’ll find at the park include Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars, which is perfect for toddlers, a steel roller coaster in the Grizzly Gulch section, the Hyperspace Mountain, which is a space-themed indoor roller coaster, a Lion King show, and a jungle river cruise.
Address: Disneyland Hong Kong, Penny’s Bay, Lantau Island
Recommended Read: Top 14 Kid-Friendly Attractions in Hong Kong
Explore Century Old Artifacts At The Hong Kong Heritage Museum
Often regarded as one of the best museums in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Heritage is a museum of history, art, and culture. The museum features an ample exhibition area of some 7,500 square meters, which encompasses 5 permanent galleries — the Jin Yong Gallery, the Cantonese Opera Heritage Hall, the T.T. Tsui Gallery of Chinese Art, the Chao Shao-an Gallery, and the Children’s Discovery Gallery. There are also six thematic galleries that host temporary exhibitions showcasing the diverse treasures of Chinese heritage.
While browsing through the museum’s galleries, expect to come across a variety of precious relics, including Tin Hau’s Palanquin, made in 1906, a woman’s embroidered ceremonial robe, and a gilt-copper statue of the Chinese goddess Guanyin.
Address: 1 Man Lam Road, Sha Tin, Hong Kong
Go On A Journey Back On Time At The Hong Kong Museum Of History
Seeking to delve deep into Hong Kong’s history? Then spare some time to explore the Hong Kong Museum of History. The museum preserves the island’s rich historical and cultural heritage through a collection of over 140,000 precious objects divided into three major areas of interest: natural history, ethnography, and local history.
Among the museum’s world-class collection, you’ll find a variety of treasures such as ancient coins, 2,800 rock and mineral specimens, and commercial letters rescued from dustbins, which will take you on a journey back in time. Must-see items in the museum include the timetable of the Kowloon-Canton railway, dating from 1912, an ancient Cantonese opera performer’s dressing table, and beaded bands worn by a woman boat dweller.
Address: 100 Chatham Rd S, Tsim Sha Tsui
Get Your Adrenaline-Fix At Ocean Park
If you need a break from all the sightseeing, spending a fun-filled day in Ocean Park is your best bet. Built around several hills near the South China Sea, this amusement park is loaded with exciting rides that’ll get your heart racing.
One of the most thrilling attractions in Ocean Park is Hair Raiser, a daring coaster that features loops, and plunges while suspending riders above the South China Sea. The park is also home to an oceanarium, a panda village, and a “Gator Marsh”, where visitors can catch get face to face with the critically endangered Chinese alligator.
Address: 180 Wong Chuk Hang Road
Recommended Read: The 5 Best Amusement Parks In Hong Kong
See Remnants Of The Kowloon Walled City At The Kowloon Walled City Park
The Kowloon Walled City was a military stronghold in the 15th century thanks to its coastal location and a Chinese garrison that became an enclave for fugitives and criminal gangs through the 20th century.
In the 1990s, the Kowloon Walled City transformed into a lush park for nearby residents. Visit this idyllic location to escape the city’s bustling streets and take in some fresh air while marveling at bamboo groves, pavilions, flower gardens, and dreamy ponds.
The park still preserves interesting artifacts from the former Kowloon Walled City, including a Qing Dynasty building, making it a prime spot for history buffs!
Address: Kowloon City, Hong Kong
Recommended Read: 9 Must-Visit Historical Attractions in Hong Kong
Learn About The Development Of Railways At The Hong Kong Railway Museum
Located on the site where the old Tai Po Railway station was built in 1913, this museum provides visitors with the chance to learn about the development of the railways and MTR in Hong Kong. The museum, which occupies some 6,500 square meters, includes life-size trains, a traditional steam locomotive, an old 1950s Australia-made diesel-electric engine, and retro passenger coaches.
While most of the museum is outdoors, you’ll also find an exhibition gallery where artifacts, train models, and historical photos are displayed.
Address: 13 Shung Tak Street, Tai Po Market
Take In The Beauty Of The Man Mo Temple
Located on Hollywood Road in Sheung Wan, Man Mo Temple is one of the oldest temples in Hong Kong. It is dedicated to the King Emperor Man and Holy King Emperor Kwan, two deities that were popularly patronized by scholars and students seeking progress in their study or ranking in the civil examinations in the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Built between 1847 and 1862, this dreamy temple is part of a complex that comprises three adjacent blocks: Man Mo Temple, Lit Shing Temple, and Kung So. Man Mo is considered a fine example of Qing dynasty architecture, and was given a Grade 1 status as a historic building in 1994 and officially declared a monument in 2010. Its double-eave, green tiled rooftop, and courtyard layout are a sight to behold!
Address: Man Mo Temple, Hollywood Rd, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Escape The City’s Hustle And Bustle At The Wong Tai Sin Temple
Tucked away from Hong Kong’s hustle and bustle, The Wong Tai Sin Temple is a refuge of peace and serenity. This otherwordly temple is dedicated to Wong Tai Sin, or the Great Immortal Wong, and will captivate your senses with its relaxing smell of burning incense, traditional Chinese architecture with red pillars, bronze zodiac statues, and beautiful ornaments.
The temple’s Taoist architecture reflects the significance and teachings of Taoism, and the buildings contain the five elements in Chinese Fengshui culture — the Bronze Pavilion represents “Metal”, Scripture Hall represents “Wood”, Yuk Yik Fountain represents “Water”, Yue Heung Pavilion represents “Fire” and Earth Wall represents “Earth”.
Address: Hong Kong, Chuk Un, 竹園村二號
Stand In Awe With The Beauty Of Chi Lin Nunnery
The Chi Lin Nunnery is a large Buddhist temple located in Diamond Hill, in east Kowloon. This alluring temple dates to the 1930s as a retreat for Buddhist nuns but was rebuilt in the 1990s in the traditional Tang Dynasty style.
Aside from its spiritual atmosphere that oozes serenity, the temple is also known for its dazzling beauty. It’s the world’s largest hand-made wooden building, and it was constructed based on traditional Chinese architectural techniques. Covering over 360,000 square feet, the Chi Lin Nunnery is beautifully decorated with whimsical statues of the Sakyamuni Buddha, the goddess of mercy Guanyin, and other bodhisattvas, all made from gold, clay, wood, and stone.
Address: Chi Lin Nunnery, 5 Chi Lin Dr, Sheung Yuen Leng, Hong Kong
Get Your Palm Read At The Temple Street Night Market
Night markets in Hong Kong are a tradition that dates back to the early days when the city was a major trading center under the influence of British traders. The only remaining night market on the island is located on Temple Street, a visit to this location is a bucket list experience not only for shopaholics but also foodies and curious explorers.
While meandering through this hectic, colorful, and vibrant market, expect to come across a sea of stalls selling everything from traditional Chinese arts and crafts to semi-precious stones and electronics. The market is also dotted with traditional street-food restaurants where you can feast on local delicacies such as fresh fish, spicy crab, and clay pot rice, to name a few.
Another popular attraction around the Temple Street Night Market is the fortune tellers. While they’re technically not located within the market (you’ll find them close to the Tin Hau Temple Complex), they’re famous among Temple Street’s visitors. Each fortune teller has a small stall with a table and chair, and a variety of methods of fortune telling are used including examination of the hands and Chinese astrology.
Address: Temple St, Jordan, Hong Kong
Go For An Idle Stroll In The Hong Kong Park
Hong Kong Park is a lush oasis in central Hong Kong. Located just a 3-min walk from the Peak Tram, the park encompasses an area of eight hectares filled with century-old trees and colorful blooming flowers, including the famous bombax ceiba, also known as the red cotton tree.
Boasting a glittering artificial lake and a waterfall, the park is also visited by an array of bird species, such as the blue-winged leafbird, the golden pheasant, and the white-crested hornbill, making it a prime spot for bird watching.
Address: 19, Cotton Tree Drive
Recommended Read: A Guide To The Best Shopping In Hong Kong
Go Surfing On Big Wave Bay
Many do not know, but Hong Kong is also home to amazing beaches where visitors can enjoy a variety of activities — from water sports to simply lounging in the sand. One of the most popular is Big Wave Bay or Tai Long Wan, located in the Southern District of Hong Kong, north of the Shek O Village.
Framed by lush green hills, this idyllic beach is famous for its world-class waves, and therefore sought-after by surfers and kitesurfers. The beach boasts a wide expanse of soft golden sand where visitors can lay down and sunbathe while enjoying the refreshing sea breeze.
What is Hong Kong most known for?
Hong Kong is a bustling metropolis known for its luxury shopping spots, majestic skyline, temples, shrines, and monasteries.
What is the best place for viewing the Hong Kong skyline?
Victoria Peak offers the most fantastic views of the Hong Kong skyline and Victoria Harbor.
Are there outdoor attractions in central Hong Kong?
Yes. The Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens, Hong Kong Park, Hong Kong Trail, and Victoria Harbour are some of the best outdoor attractions in central Hong Kong.
What is the best time to visit Hong Kong?
Hong Kong Island is a year-round destination thanks to its subtropical location. Summers, though, can be extremely hot and humid, and during the Spring (in September), it’s typhoon season in the city. So the best time to visit Hong Kong is from October to early December.
What are Hong Kong’s top attractions?
The top attractions in Hong Kong are:
- Victoria Peak (Mount Austin);
- Victoria Harbour;
- Hong Kong Central neighborhood;
- Man Mo Temple;
- Lantau Island;
- The Star Ferry;
- Disneyland Hong Kong;
- Ocean Park.
Is Hong Kong located in mainland China?
Hong Kong is a sovereign territory of the People’s Republic of China. It maintains a high degree of autonomy, hence it’s not considered to be part of mainland China.
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