Dating in Hong Kong is notoriously difficult. That’s why TOHK offers to set you up on your next date and even get you a free meal – sign up here if you want to give it a try, and here’s what to expect.
Regardless of whether you take that route to land a date, use apps or go about it the old fashioned way, rejoice that you’ve got your crush to agree to go out with you and you’re here now, looking for first date ideas. These occasions are high-pressure affairs – screw up and it’s game over. But it’s tough to know what activities are too boring or too intense, too ordinary or too far out, too intimate or too distancing. We’ve sifted through all the best things to do in Hong Kong to find you the dates that are guaranteed to put your desired guy or gal into a total swoon.
RECOMMENDED: Hong Kong has even more options than we’ve covered here – from cheap things to do for those on a budget to numerous scrumptious restaurants where you can wine and dine. Try there if these suggestions don’t take your fancy.
21 great things to do on a first date in Hong Kong
If you’re feeling indecisive about your first date, why not choose a place that accommodates a little of everything? Strokes’ USP is its mini-golf course – a perfect laid back, quirky activity to help you get to know your prospective beau. If golf’s not your thing there are loads of other games you can try from Klask to table tennis. Afterwards, you can grab a drink or a coffee from the bar, or settle down for a healthy meal in the restaurant area – and all under one roof.
Hong Kong may have a rep as a concrete jungle but our city also boasts a myriad of natural wonders. Not up for an exhausting slog to the top of Ma On Shan? Try visiting the Sai Kung Rock Pools (watch our video here to learn how to get there). Getting there is still something of a trek but at least when you reach your destination you can leap in the water and cool off. If you go on a quiet day, it’s quite the secluded spot – ideal for couples.
If you want to keep it cool and casual, grabbing coffee together is a tried and tested date idea. Best place for that in Hong Kong? Tai Wo Tang. Seriously Instragrammable and unique, the café was previously a traditional Chinese medicine shop from the 1930s. Its new incarnation has kept many period details such as the wooden medicine cabinets and iconic gold signage. Fortunately, the coffee isn’t half bad either. Pull up a chair and get chatting with your prospective partner. If Kowloon City is a tad far for you, here are other great coffee shops to consider.
Inject a little quirkiness into your date and glamp in Yuen Long in an aecosphere — a transparent bubble-shaped tent — and fall asleep under the stars. The see-through housing should put your date at ease and show them that you’re not immediately looking to get into their pants. If you’re more of a traditionalist, caravan camping is also available here and comes fully equipped with AC, toilet and television
Lace your skates for this most perfect of ice-breakers. MegaBox is home to Hong Kong’s best ice skating rink – it’s so good it hosts figure skating competitions and Olympic qualifying events. If you’re no pro, all the better. It’s the perfect excuse to hold hands to try and prevent each other from failing over.
Bowling is a classic date idea. Tikitiki Bowling Bar might be more slick, but we reckon Dragon Bowling has more local charm. The chandelier-adorned alley is a neighbourhood favourite in Tseun Wan. With 32 lanes, there’s a consistently buzzing atmosphere and you’re unlikely to be kept waiting long, if at all, for a spot to play.
Since Netflix and chill is likely too forward a way to start things, why not do things the old-fashioned way and go to the cinema instead. Head to the Emperor cinema in Central for the best experience as it has cocktails on tap and gourmet snacks like pulled pork burgers and hotdogs with Japanese togarashi and truffle mustard to enjoy. The screens aren’t huge but that just makes for a more intimate setting.
The perfect social lubricant, drinking is almost a prerequisite on a first date. So why not skip any foreplay and get down to it immediately? A fancy cocktail from one of Hong Kong’s best bars is great and all, but don’t set the bar too high from the get-go. Take a more casual approach and try a flight of craft beers somewhere like Mong Kok’s The Madhouse instead.
If you’re looking for something more creative to do with your date, you can try your hand at painting. Oscary Art in PMQ is one of the best places to try this. It allows you to bring your own booze to help settle any nerves and even has electric barbecue stoves for couples who want to feast while they’re painting.
If you want to reveal the sensitive side to your character by demonstrating that you’re an animal lover, head to Wong Nai Chung Reservoir Park. Ducks congregate in the area around the water, providing perfect cuteness – which you can associate yourself with – as they waddle around snacking up your crumbs. If you require more to make a day of it, various picturesque hikes can be accessed from the area.
Sharing a taste in music is almost essential for any couple. Whatever cool bands your date may have mentioned in your previous small talk, put them to the test in a live setting. The Wanch is a great place to do so. There are regular acoustic sets from 6pm onwards every weekday that showcase a variety of music you can appreciate or diss together. If things seem to be going well, you can even request a romantic number. On that note, here are some upcoming concerts that also make for great first-date ideas.
Not that we’re suggesting you get ahead of yourself with this class, but if you feel you need to impress your date with more than just a cup of coffee and a chat, take things to the next level. Coffee Academics offer a number of educational classes but the bespoke blending one is probably best for beginner java heads. Learn all about how to select the origins of your favoured bean, decide on the blend ratio and what roast profile suits you best. Perfect for the morning after?
There’s nothing better than getting hot and sweaty on a first date, right? So why not do just that with a bike ride through the New Territories. Our rec is to hire a bike in Tai Po, cycle through town towards Tei Mei Tuk and stop off at one of the many outdoor barbecue restaurants that populate the road that way. Once you’re suitably fed, finish up at Plover Cove reservoir for a sea view sunset.
Escape the anxiety-inducing horrors of dinner reservations or theatre tickets and hit up a video game arcade instead. American Pool in Whampoa is one of the best remaining ones in the city. Whether you’re into rhythm games, beat ’em ups, racing simulators or something else entirely, you can find it here. If you want to get in their good books, subtlely let your date win a few games.
On the other hand, if you’re digging the trend for old fashioned board games, skip the arcade and head straight to somewhere like Wheat & Wood. An excellent new board game café in Kennedy Town, the place has a huge range of games, home to everything from Cards Against Humanity and Catan to Saboteur and Tokaido. It’s $90 for two hours’ play, which means it costs less than many cinemas and is way more sociable. Bring some other couples along to help make the mood more relaxed and the conversation easier.
There’s no entry fee for Tai Kwun, the city’s largest urban conservation project, making it the perfect low-stakes activity. There’s loads to do including contemporary art exhibitions, live music, film screenings and plenty of opportunities for cool joint selfies. And if the date doesn’t work out, well, you won’t have spent a cent.
For the kind of date you can only do in Hong Kong, try island hopping. From Central Ferry Pier 5, hop on a boat to Cheung Chau. After trying all the best things to do there, take the ferry to Mui Wo and sample the delights of the Lantau town. Finish up on Peng Chau. Go hiking on Finger Hill – it should take less than an hour – as the sun sets for the perfect finish.
Dating is supposed to be fun, right? So what’s more fun than Hong Kong’s original and most beloved theme park. Start off by visiting Ying Ying and Le Le, the park’s most active giant pandas, then take the cable car (perfect for a little canoodling) to reach the many adrenaline-inducing rollercoaster rides that should get both your hearts racing.
If you’re looking to impress your date with a particularly quirky suggestion, try Speedway Diner, Hong Kong’s first race car-themed American diner slash go-kart venue. The food might not be anything to write home about – although Kowloon City is filled with great restaurants to compensate – but the novelty of the concept should ensure some laughs and a memorable time, one way or another.
There’s nothing better than some laughter for helping you settle into your date. Take the pressure for witty anecdotes and snappy one-liners off of yourself and hand it over to the pros. TakeOut Comedy Club is Asia’s oldest dedicated laugh factory with a solid lineup of regular performers and guest comedians from abroad. If they can’t make your date chuckle, maybe it’s a sign to look elsewhere.
If the mystery of love isn’t enough for your first date, or if he/she is simply a thriller-seeker, head to Ma Wan. Once a thriving fishing town, Hongkongers once flocked to Ma Wan for the seafood. Unfortunately, the construction of a nearby luxury apartment complex saw the relocation of long-term residents. Their old community now lies empty, a ghost town. Abandoned houses, restaurants and other community facilities make for an eerie and unique sight unlike any other in Hong Kong.