Most of us probably have a firm idea of Hong Kong: a global city on the harbor, with the most extended skyscrapers’ landscape in the world. So the question is, what are the fun things to do in Hong Kong?
All top with huge advertising about corporates and financial estate. That is true, however, Hong Kong is not all business. Glitzy and sparkling all day long in downtown neighborhoods, it reveals sandy beaches and urban- real- jungle only a few underground stops away from the crowd.
And, it is a foodie paradise too, or let’s better say Dim Sum heaven for passionate food travelers.
Here is what awaits you in fun things to do in Hong Kong:
The Dragon city- we will go through this later on- is just the perfect mix between urban and green hills, staring and protecting the city from above. Nature and humans come together and create a whole new concrete city experience that once you will visit you will never ever forget.
So, where to start? Here is a list of the best things you should visit during your stay.
1. The basics: a Feng Shui Tour
Energy flows, good luck, and the harmony of Qi (the breath of nature) every detail is taken into consideration when talking about Feng Shui.
The art of Feng Shui- which literally means “water + wind”- is extremely important for Hong Kong’s culture and history. It is a way of understanding and constructs space and the global city is correspondingly shaped to these canons of beauty and well-being.
If you book a tour, don’t forget to say hi and goodbye to the spirit of the Dragon that comes from the hills behind the city every morning to quench its thirst in the Harbour.
2. Get into the culture: watch old Hong Kong movie gems
Like in Bollywood but in Hong Kong, the film industry has a long story in the cultural Chinese scene back in the XX century. Hong Kong Express is on top of the list as well as In the mood for love, both epic classics by the world-know Wong Kar-wai, probably the most famous Hong Kong director.
Goldfish Market – Tung Choi Street North, Mong Kok, Kowloon
Goldfish are the luck-bringing fish par excellence and they are almost prescribed by every Feng Shui guide. People go there to get their daily amount of fortune.
Ladies Market – Tung Choi Street
Close to the one before, this market isn’t all about its name. Extending over one-kilometer, it is the fashion-to-go market with cheap clothing, accessories, and jewelry for all ages and gender. Be aware of the scams, though!
Cat Street – Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan
The market to visit is nearby the central district and it is all about antiques, old paintings, and photographs. Don’t forget to buy Chinese pottery as a souvenir (or a small Buddha, if you feel spiritual).
Temple Street Night Market – Temple Street, Kowloon
Although it is now a very tourist attraction, Temple Street is the largest night market in town and it has to be named in a to-do-market list.
4. Victoria Harbour and the city
Once upon a time, there was a fishermen village. End. The Harbour is one of those things that makes the city so special. Hong Kong means “fragrant harbor”, do not miss the best way to see it.
So, which one? Do what locals do.
Even if you will find so many touristic tours in the bay area, the best way to get on the other harbor side named Kowloon, the so-called “real Chinese area”, is to take the Star Ferry boat.
The Star Ferry was established in 1888. It is easy, cheap, and super charming.
5. Symphony of Lights
Old but Gold. Every night at 8 pm the famous show takes place: lights and sound merge together in a unique and spectacular entertainment.
The multimedia show lasts for 15 minutes and in 2018 has been expanded on ever more buildings.
6. Man Mo Temple the spirit of a place
Man is the God of literature, while Mo the God of war. In the oldest temple of Hong Kong, built-in 1847, locals bring food such as oranges, cookies, and more to worship divinities.
Immerse yourself in the intense perfume of incense and meditate before going back to the razzle-dazzle.
The Man Mo Temple is in Sheung Wan, to better evaluate your spiritual side before a beer in the night.
Do you feel more like a Wild Horse or a Repulse Monkey?
Well, before you should wave your hands like clouds and make a single whip. We are not going crazy but we do think that even on holidays a (small) work-out session is always a good idea, especially if it is in a park and free.
You don’t have to be a guru to join one of the free classes that are available during the year, just check them out on the Leisure and Cultural Services Department website.
Take a small sip of what you will be performed, with names, positions, and advice in everyday Taichi.
8. Horse of my heart, wish me good luck
We already talk about how good luck is a huge issue for people in Hong Kong.
When talking about sports and bets, nothing is like horse racing. Almost every Chinese went to see a race in his life and you could never ever miss it too.
Find all the information at the Jockey Club, probably the best. When it comes to betting, is better to know rules. If you are a beginner (otherwise, step to the next cool thing) read this interesting guide that will spoil you all the tricks to win!
9. Mirror, mirror my folks…
Nowhere like in Hong Kong you will find beliefs and religion so well mixed together.
Fortune tellers are a real thing here. Every temple has its own, or more, they probably won’t speak English but you will find a way to figure what the future has in store for you.
Night Markets are also good places to catch one of these magic practices: Temple Street is usually full of them, sitting all in a row in different spots between the high buildings.
Try to find those who are practicing the “bird method”, where a small bird inside a cage will pick you up a card telling your fortune.
10. Why not having a dazzling Disney experience?
Yes, you will find Disneyland in Hong Kong. Based in Penny’s Bay on Lantau Island, it has been designing and building with Feng Shui constructing rules. Following the success of the 1998 classic animation movie Mulan, the theme park opened in 2005.
All in one: jungle, panoramic view, and spiritual heritage.
In Lantau Island, where the International Airport is based, you will find a 34meters height Buddha, next to the small Ngong Ping village. Tian Tan Buddha finished in 1993, symbolizes the perfect harmony between nature, faith, and people; it is periodically a pilgrimage destination with monks from all over the world visiting the area.
Take the MTR to Lantau and take the Tung Chung exit. Once there, take the Cable Car line and opt for the Crystal Cabin, a glass-floored cabin to be able to look down to the majestic nature of the island.
Wear gym shoes, Buddha’s ways are always full of steps to do!
12.The world in a building, Chunking Mansions in Kowloon
Although someone would avoid you to come here because of its illegal and filthy past, this mono-block building is a melting pot of cultures, food, and people.
The complex has five buildings of 17 story-high each was a few decades ago, lots of immigrants flew here to live a new life and came up opening guesthouses, food stalls, and small shops.
It is a place that has always welcomed every kind of minorities through the decades, a real multicultural building where to discover the world. So, don’t be shy and stroll into Chunking Mansions.
Plus, the best curry in town it’s worth the visit.
13. Riding the longest city escalator on earth
Requesting no much effort – apart from taking pictures and selfies- the Mid-Levels is really all about escalators. Few numbers to better understand 800-metre-long, 20 escalators in a row and it has an elevation of 135 meters (if it doesn’t seem a lot to you, you can always take the stairs).
Not a surprise, it is the longest outdoor and covered escalator system in the world.
Located between Central and Victoria Peak, drop off sometimes and enjoy the small bars before taking another escalator or a relaxing treatment in one of the numerous beauty centers.
Just check for the prices – usually a bit higher here.
14. Reclaiming the hill in an old-fashioned way
The Peak is one of those wow experience you will never forget. As the highest point of view of the Island, there is the best breathtaking view you could ever ask for.
The best way to go up is by the Peak Tram, a historic tramway running from 7 am to midnight every day that will let you enjoy the route through the urban jungle-like landscape.
An easy and beautiful excursion, with a fairy name. The popular urban on the Dragon’s Back hike is the perfect way to escape the city and see a different kind of Hong Kong, made of incredible beaches and crystalline sea.
You can choose between a short and a long way, heading to the different but equally awesome seaside. Logistics and details can be found here.
Everyone is now aware of the immense variety of Chinese quality dishes and Hong Kong was already a real gourmet-trotter capital before the western fever for the East. Hongkongers say they made the Dim Sum internationally cool and yummy, that’s true.
We believe in Dim Sum and crunchy Chinese snacks now. Dim Sum places are now always overcrowded, especially in the Kowloon area where you can taste the best ones.
There are plenty of street food in Hong kong, so just go around, try dishes and find your favorite meal.
16. Michelin-starred Dim Sum
This is massive and democratic. Tim Ho Wan is located in Mong Kok district and it is called a-hole-in-the-wall referring to the extremely small size of the place.
It is the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant. Here size does not really matter, and usually, by the way, the smaller the bar the better the food. Tim Ho Wan is now a name, the business has expanded thanks to its great dumplings.
Address: Shop 72, G/F, Olympian City 2, 18 Hoi Ting Road, Tai Kok Tsui
17. Never enough of these street snacks
Curry fish balls, sweet and sour vegetables, roasted duck skewer, snake soups, and stinky tofu.
When it comes to street food, the city has nothing to fear. Open your mind (try the snake) and be ready the gain weight and happiness.
Hong Kong is the most vertical city in the world, so you won’t probably find any difficulties to reach a cool rooftop and enjoy the view.
However, we recommend one of the highest is the Eye Bar in Kowloon. Just next to the MRT of Tsim Sha Tsui where you will have a really elevated city experience over the Harbour.
Address: 30/F, iSquare, 63 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong
19. Boozy boozy my friend
If you like to party head to Lan Kwai Fong, directly, with no doubt. Both tourists and Hongkongers love this popular area full of bars and clubs.
The list is unbelievable long and it is hard not to find something you like. The district set up its own website regularly updated, you just need to choose the best one for a night out.
Still, we recommend these spots for clubbing
Play Club is certainly a must club destination in Hong Kong. Probably the most stylish club in Lan Kwai Fong, the location and ambiance are WOW with a twist to aesthetic lights and amazing cocktails.
Beat it up!
Contact: +852 6828 8936
Address: On Hing Building, 1 On Hing Terrace, Central, Hong Kong
As they argue for themselves, Dragon-I is the meeting place for “global glitterati”. Hard to say no with this label.
In fact, the club is also a restaurant where to eat fancy Chinese food before dancing. The interior is inspired by traditional homeland décor from red print lanterns, cool sofas, and birdcage. Put your best costume on and get glittered!
Contact: +852 3110 1222
Address: UG/F The Centrium, 60 Wyndham St, Central, Hong Kong
Fans of House music get thrilled! Here is Drop Club, with a high reputation on house music since one of the founders is Hong Kong’s first house music pioneer. Opened in 2000, it is a very well-known club in all of Asia, head in for a good dose of eclectic music.
Contact: +852 2543 8856
Address: 39-43 Hollywood Rd, Central, Hong Kong
The outstanding club made in Hong Kong, Levels. Party-goers will be loving this place with the biggest dance floors in the area and usually big music scene names. Levels it is, in fact, all about different stage and music.
Plus, they divided (and dressed) the ambiance following the rules of Feng Shui: a room is called Liquid, the second is Solid. Nowhere else you will find this.
Contact: +852 2811 1568
Address: 2/F, On Hing Building, 1 On Hing Terrace, Central, Hong Kong
One of the coolest places to go right now is Volar. It has always been on top of the world of clubbing nights, especially in the after hours. They have spectacular lighting systems, seems to be in a luminous spaceship riding the stars.
Contact: +852 2810 1510
Address: Basement, No.38-44 D’Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong, Central, Hong Kong
20. Get suntan, now!
Talking about an island, but what about the beaches? Most of them are easily reachable from the central area, just half an hour away from the chaotic downtown and you get a glimpse of the ocean.
We are talking about the Southern Chinese sea, which has nothing less than other international spots. When you go to Hong Kong, you don’t think to go sunbathing.
On the contrary, the beautiful seaside is waiting for you. Here are some cool beaches on Hong Kong Island, and remember, almost all the beaches have barriers to protect you from shark attacks!
A famous beach, often crowded but considered one of the most beautiful public beaches due to its half-moon shape and the high buildings back watching it.
Location: Repulse Bay, Hong Kong
A sandy beach in the colonial town of Stanley, with special types of equipment for grilling.
Location: Stanley Beach Rd, Stanley, Hong Kong
A golden spot, with bucolic and refreshing green surrounding, perfect to escape the heat in high season and for a quiet retreat. Mostly frequented by local residents, avoid the tourists!
Location: Tai Tam Rd, Stanley, Hong Kong
South Bay Beach
Beach club and family facilities. The not very famous one, but surely a quiet and peaceful place to sunbath.
Location: S Bay Rd, Repulse Bay, Hong Kong
Chung Hom Kok Beach
A small, very small, beach with barbecue and grilling station though. Away from the crowd again, but that’s the point: chose the city for some noise, not the beach.
The list is not complete without sharing you a secret: walk! For miles, lose yourself in the beautiful mess, lights, and people living their life. And always look up to the chaotic but perfectly symmetric buildings around. And you will get that dragon’s spirit we talked about deep in your soul.
Location: Chung Hom Kok Rd, Hong Kong
21. Level up your Insta-Gram
There is no secret here, Hong Kong is full of Instagrammy place. Some have already become very popular, like Chunking Mansions and some others are still a less known location.
If you want to fill your Instagram profile with many cool photos, Hong Kong will be your paradise. Head to Choi Hung metro stop area to find the colorful court.
Newbie in photography? I totally recommend you to join an Instagram photo walk, where you will be able to learn some tricks and new travel mates. We found ours on Airbnb experiences and had a blast.
Where to stay in Hong Kong?
Hong Kong is a major hub for starting your trip around south east Asia, as it offers many cheap flights. We have been in the city many times and did our research and found the best hostels in the city to stay at.
Whether you’re a backpacker looking for a party hostel, or a solo-female-traveller keen to check out Tsim Sha Tsui – we’ve got you covered:
The Mahjong – best hostel in Hong Kong for Female solo-travellers
See, Hong Kong has many fun things to do at night, and during the day. It is a very interesting city, with lot of character. Each area is different so check them out and choose the one you would love to stay at!
Already packing your backpack? I knew it!
Here you have the map with all the mentioned places marked, best hostels included!