Free things to do in Hong Kong
Ordinarily, it takes 10 years being on a waiting list and an exorbitant $425,000 (this year’s annual rate) to get into the Hong Kong Country Club. But every Wednesday this July and August even proles can slum it with the well-to-do at the club. The government’s Sport For All programme is making available the club’s sports facilities for select hours of the day every Wednesday. There’s an additional Sprot For All Day on Sunday August 7, which sees the same facilities open with an extra tennis clinic session that non-member guests can sign up to. Guests looking to test the facilities this summer should fill out the form on the County Club website to book their spot. 11am-5pm.
Too hard up for one of the city’s more glamorous museums? Get in touch with Hong Kong’s heritage while paying nada at the Heritage Discovery Centre. Located in scenic Kowloon Park, gain a better understanding of our city’s history though various galleries, a library, activity rooms and colonial structures like the historic Whitfield Barracks.
This dinky museum is in the declared monument that used to be the Tai Po railway station and exhibits artefacts from Hong Kong’s long rail history. There’s also a full-size model of an electric train compartment at the museum and railway tracks to explore.
It's hard to miss the egg-shaped dome on the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront, which makes up part of The Hong Kong Space Museum. Visitors can enjoy documentary screenings under the curved ceiling of the planetarium. Head over to the main museum and discover plenty of action and gadgetry for space and science lovers, completely free of charge.
Find solace in the urban jungle that is Central at one of the world’s oldest botanical gardens and keep your wallet in your pocket while you’re at it. The gardens are filled with more than 1,000 species of plants and guided tours in Cantonese take place from 10.30am to 12.30pm every Sunday, also free of charge.
Francophiles can enjoy French cinematic stylings courtesy of the Alliance Francaise whose own monthly movie night at La Médiathèque in Jordan highlights the best of French cinema. Screenings come with subtitles for non-native speakers. It's a perfect night out for a bit culture and a bit of romance.
It’s not exactly a Broadway or West End show, but just maybe Liar’s League is something more intimate and better. The international live fiction event features actors reading original stories submitted by anyone with a novelist’s itch to scratch. Think the best kind of radio play but live and up close. Both writers and actors are required, so if you’ve got a story to tell or love impersonating the lives of others, start submitting your applications now.
Running out of luck this year? The banyan trees in Lam Tsuen in Fong Ma Po Village might just do the trick for you. Traditionally, villagers would write their wishes on joss paper, tie it to an orange and throw them into the trees. Legend has it that the higher the wish lands, the better the chances are for your wishes to come true. Remember to pick up a lottery ticket on your way home.
Once a thriving fishing town with several thousand residents, Hongkongers once flocked to Ma Wan for the seafood restaurants if offered. Unfortunately, the construction of a gated luxury apartment complex saw the relocation - both voluntary and forced - 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. Hop back in time and see Ma Wan before it too gets redeveloped.
Getting older isn’t always a bad thing. There’s some pretty great perks with it. Everyone’s favourite wax museum Madame Tussauds has brought back its Hong Kong residents birthday promotion until the end of the year. Simply show up with your Hong Kong ID on your birthday, or a week before or after, and enjoy a free entry with plenty of selfies with the stars.
Discover more things to do in Hong Kong
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 roundup of the very best experiences in our city.