Whether you’re a first-time traveller looking for the best Hong Kong hotels or a seasoned vet of Lamma Island and LKF, these are the essential things to see, do, eat and drink while you’re in town. From the most picturesque hiking trails in Hong Kong to the city’s best museums, here’s a comprehensive guide to the very best experiences in our city.
The best things to do in Hong Kong
Get the best views of the iconic Hong Kong skyline along Victoria Habour (we’re talking about that same shot of Hong Kong you see in every Hollywood movie featuring the city) by getting onboard the Star Ferry at the Tsim Sha Tsui terminal and setting sail to Central. This is one of the cheapest ($2.50 on weekdays, $3.40 on weekends) and most pleasant modes of transport in the city. There are 12 boats in the Star Ferry fleet and the crossing only takes seven minutes, so have your camera at the ready.
The historic Peak Tram runs continuously from 7am until midnight and gives passengers plenty of time to gape at the views of the city that fall away below as the trolley heaves itself up the steep incline of Hong Kong's famous mountain. Get on board from the Garden Road terminus in Central and it’s only $45 for a return ticket.
Not only a provider of stunning views of Lantau Island’s natural beauty, the Ngong Ping 360 Skyrail cable car takes you all the way to the gigantic bronze Tian Tan Buddha – the largest outdoor seated Buddha in the world. There’s a choice between a standard cabin ($130) and a crystal cabin ($180), which comes equipped with a glass bottom, allowing visitors a unique bird’s eye view. Not great if you have a fear of heights, though...
Tim Ho Wan is considered one of the best dim sums spots in Hong Kong and this local neighbourhood gem is your chance to dine at one of the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurants in the world. Their most famous dish? The barbecue pork baked bun, otherwise known as char siu bao, are mouthwatering and addictive. There’s not a huge selection available on the menu but none of the dim sum disappoints.
Rummage through the nightly street bazaar for colourful bric-a-brac, watches, fans, electronic gadgets, clothes, sex toys and knock-off paintings – all for brilliant prices after some earnest haggling. Take in some street-side karaoke while you’re at it or sit down with a fortune-teller for a cheeky face and palm reading, though take everything with a grain a salt. Prices vary but some stalls can charge up to $500 for a session.
Party hard with tourists, expats and locals alike in the city’s ground zero for debauchery. Lan Kwai Fong – or as locals like to call it, LKF – is Hong Kong’s most popular nightlife spot and the steep street is just as vital as Victoria Harbour. It comes alive every evening, packed with after-work drinkers and general revellers. With more than 90 restaurants and bars to pick from, check out our list of the best happy hour deals in LKF to ensure the best time.
The hottest ticket in town on a Wednesday night is at Happy Valley Racecourse. If it’s just socialising you’re after, you’ll enjoy hanging out in the beer garden. If you fancy a flutter, there’re ample opportunities at this Hong Kong institution – every Wednesday evening is host to eight races.The hottest ticket in town on a Wednesday night is the Happy Valley Racecourse (link). If it’s just socialising you’re after, you’ll enjoy hanging out in the beer garden, but if you fancy a flutter, there’s ample opportunity at this famous Hong Kong institution – each Wednesday evening hosts eight races.
Ride the ding-ding
Affectionately known as the ding-ding (because rather than have a car horn they have bells that ring), Hong Kong’s trams are a city icon and the method of public transport that best retains an old-school feel. Get on at the back and pay by the driver as you exit at the front. Look out for the new air-conditioned fleet, too!
One of Hong Kong’s biggest and busiest temples, Wong Tai Sin Temple is dedicated to a shepherd boy said to have special healing powers who came to be revered as a demi-god after his death. It’s also a popular place for fortune telling, so swing by and see what the future holds.
There’s no shortage of hiking trails in Hong Kong and The Peak offers one of the best panoramas of the Hong Kong skyline. The Peak Circle Walk makes for a leisurely stroll and you can grab a bite at the historic Peak Outlook or take it up a notch and hike down towards Pok Fu Lam Reservoir. Travellers looking for slightly more challenging hikes should try scaling the popular Dragon’s Back, which overlooks Shek O and Big Wave Bay, or Lantau Island’s Sunset Peak for jaw-dropping views come sundown.
Plan a stay in Hong Kong
In a city as big and as busy as Hong Kong, it can be a daunting task to find the right place to stay to suit both your needs and your budget. We’ve made it easier with our ultimate guide to Hong Kong’s best hotels, from luxury affairs to boutique spaces and hostels.