Things to do in Hong Kong
This territory, made of multiple islands, returned to China’s possession in 1997 after more than a hundred years of British occupation. Upon its reunification with China, Hong Kong added certain stipulations that provide a unique degree of autonomy. For instance, the official currency remains the Hong Kong dollar (HKD); English and Chinese are the official languages; and the tiny nation has an independent judiciary system. In short, China and Hong Kong observe a “one country, two systems” policy that can have many foreigners scratching their heads. But don’t question it. Just accept it and enjoy everything this territory has to offer.
Hong Kong distinguishes itself from its Chinese brethren like Shanghai and Beijing with its vibrant, multifaceted culture and stunning cityscape. This British-Chinese hybrid astounds visitors with its striking juxtaposition of dense skyscrapers and lush landscapes. From sandy beaches to rugby pitches, there’s more fresh air than most travelers suspect. And, of course, as a world-class metropolis, Hong Kong boasts numerous urban diversions, such as culinary hot spots and museums. After visiting Hong Kong, the only question you might be asking is: “Why didn’t I get here sooner?”
Best Things To Do in Hong Kong
No doubt about it: Hong Kong will surprise you. There’s no way to prepare for the awe-inspiring view from Victoria Peak or for the Symphony of the Stars light show from the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade. Against the verdant terrain, glittering skyscrapers have never looked so beautiful. Taking in Hong Kong’s atmosphere is half the joy of being here. The other half is equally exciting: With Hong Kong Disneyland, Ocean Park and Happy Valley Racecourse, there are options for every interest.
–The Star Ferry: Is an absolute must when you come to Hong Kong. Think of it as the what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. Transporting guests between the Kowloon Peninsula and Hong Kong Island, this vessel provides the most scenic route through the city. Visitors will be smack dab in the center of the city’s famous skyline, providing amazing photo opportunities, especially at night.
-Victoria Peak: Along with the Star Ferry, Victoria Peak, or simply “The Peak,” is a must-visit attraction simply for its incredible views. Situated atop the highest point on Hong Kong Island, The Peak is as scenic as lookouts come. Visitors are not only treated to a sea of skyscrapers and the city’s beautiful blue waterways, but during the day, can make out the green hills of the distant New Territories.
-Street Markets: Chances are you’ll accidentally stumble upon one of these shopping frenzies on a tour of the city. But don’t just stop at one. Hong Kong’s street markets are diverse, catering to various clienteles with different merchandise. For instance, the Ladies’ Market on Tung Choi Street in the Mong Kok neighborhood specializes in (you guessed it) women’s clothing and accessories. Plus, each bazaar also has its own ambiance. The best example is the Temple Street Night Market – a traveler favorite. This nocturnal marketplace bursts with activity as vendors hawk clothing, electronics and local food, and culinary accessories from brightly lit stalls.
-Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade: On the edge of the Kowloon Peninsula’s popular Tsim Sha Tsui neighborhood, the promenade is the Hong Kong locale for many visitors. Stretching from Hong Kong’s colonial-era Clock Tower to Hung Hom, the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade gives you unobstructed views of Hong Kong Island’s majestic skyline. During the day, you can watch the boats travel in and out of Victoria Harbour, but travelers recommend making an extra visit at night: From 8 to about 8:20 p.m., the Symphony of the Stars (a sound-and-light show) projects dazzling lights onto the Hong Kong skyline. Day or night, consider taking in the atmosphere at one of the many restaurants and bars located here.
-Ocean Park: Competing with Hong Kong Disneyland as the top spot to take your family in Hong Kong, Ocean Park pulls out all the stops. Spectacular natural scenery right on the coastline? Check. A diverse zoo that includes pandas and dolphins? Check. An aquarium with sharks and rays? Check. Electrifying roller coasters and carnival games? Check. Next thing you know, Ocean Park is going to have a cable-car ride and an underground funicular…Oh wait, it already does!
-Nan Lian Garden: If you’re looking to rest your feet after a long day of touring, retreat to the Nan Lian Garden. Located in Kowloon, the Nan Lian Garden is a nearly 9-acre public park modeled after the style of the Tang Dynasty, which ruled from A.D. 618 to 907. Along the peaceful pathways, you’ll find lotus ponds, manicured trees and gurgling springs, not to mention traditional Chinese timber architecture spread throughout. That, combined with Hong Kong’s soaring mountain range as the garden’s backdrop, makes for a calm place of refuge from the hustle and bustle of the city.
-Hong Kong Museum of History: From prehistoric times to the modern era, the Hong Kong Museum of History squeezes 400 million years of the city’s history under one roof. Spanning more than 75,000 square feet, this large complex features a permanent exhibit chronicling Hong Kong’s history and has featured temporary exhibits catering to visitors with all types of interests. Past exhibits have covered local food culture, fashion and even public transportation. The museum currently houses more than 90,000 historical objects and materials, so plan to set aside a few hours if you want to tour the entire museum.
–Lantau Island: Like Singapore’s Sentosa Island, Lantau Island is a tourist’s playground. You’ve got historical sites, amusement parks, sunny beaches and more. Those with a penchant for leisure will enjoy a casual stroll along Hong Kong’s longest beach, Cheung Sha Beach, while seafood lovers will salivate at the site of fresh fish at Tai O Village market. Even history buffs have their pick of the Big Buddha (it’s massive!) and the Po Lin Monastery. Regardless of your interests, you must take a ride on the Nong Ping Cable Cars for a unique bird’s-eye view of the island.