Hong Kong is said to have one of the most beautiful skylines in the world. But that’s not all. From breathtaking views at the highest peak to pristine beaches and the bustling city centre, you’ll find an abundance of things to add to your Hong Kong bucket list.
Why is Hong Kong so popular? It’s safe, clean, multicultural, glamorous and it’s a shopper’s paradise. Whether you’re a foodie, looking to immerse yourself in culture, wanting to experience Hong Kong’s nightlife or just take in some good old fashioned sightseeing, the diversity of Hong Kong means that there’s something for everyone in this city.
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Here are 19 things that need to be on your Hong Kong bucket list:
Table of Contents
- 1. Ride the Star Ferry
- 2. Watch the Symphony of Lights
- 3. See the Stars
- 4. Go see the Pink Dolphins
- 5. Take a Tai Chi class
- 6. Be a kid at Disneyland
- 7. Snorkel off Sharp Island
- 8. Take the tram to Victoria Peak
- 9. Hike to Dragons Back
- 10. Shop at Temple Street Night Market
- 11. Eat Dim Sum at the cheapest Michelin Starred Restuarant in the World
- 12. Take the Npong Ping Cable Car
- 13. Ride the longest escalator in the world
- 14. Take a street art walking tour
- 15. Visit Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery
- 16. Take a traditional Hong Kong Junk Boat
- 17. Haggle at the Ladies Market
- 18. Climb to the top of the Big Buddha
- 19. Have a taste of street food
1. Ride the Star Ferry
Operating since the end of the 19th century, the Star Ferry is one of the best ways to take in the stunning Hong Kong skyline. The ferry is used by both locals and tourists, shuttling from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon and back. First timers, be sure to head to the top deck for the best views.
Tip: Get a free Star Ferry ticket when you buy a sightseeing bus tour!
2. Watch the Symphony of Lights
The Symphony of Lights is a spectacular light show with the distinct sound of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. With over 40 buildings illuminated with LED screens, lasers and light beams, this is the largest permanent light and sound show in the world.
Head to the Avenue of Stars on Kowloon or Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai for the best views of the light show. Or for something extra special, and an interrupted view, book a relaxing Chinese Cruise Tour on Victoria Harbour.
3. See the Stars
Not as famous as the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but still a great experience, the Avenue of Stars pays homage to the stars of Hong Kong film. Take a stroll along the 440 metre promenade in Tsim Sha Tsui, stopping to check out the hand prints of celebrities along the way.
4. Go see the Pink Dolphins
Seeing the pink dolphins should be on everyone’s Hong Kong bucket list. Technically white dolphins, when they are in warm climates they need to lose heat through surface blood vessels, thus appearing pink!
Hong Kong Dolphin Watch offer ecological tours every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. They are committed to protecting the sea and educating people about the wonderful Hong Kong Pink Dolphins.
5. Take a Tai Chi class
Tai Chi is a form of exercise and relaxation using fluid movements to keep the balance of Yin and Yang in the body. There’s no better way to start the morning than a sunrise Tai Chi class. While the classes are no longer free, for a small fee, you can join one of the many instructor led classes in parks throughout the city.
6. Be a kid at Disneyland
It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, everyone gets to be a kid at Disneyland. While it may seem on the small side, it makes for an incredibly fun day trip from Hong Kong. The best part is getting to take the Mickey Train from Sunny Bay Station to the resort.
7. Snorkel off Sharp Island
One of the best spots for snorkeling in Hong Kong, you’ll be rewarded with large colonies of coral, fish and sea animals. Afterwards, chill on one of the two beaches on the island, Hap Mun beach or Kiu Tsui beach, or even take a surfing lesson.
8. Take the tram to Victoria Peak
The view of Hong Kong skyline from Victoria Harbour or Kowloon is remarkable, of course, but there is no better view than what you get to see from Victoria Peak. While you can choose to hike up to the peak, or even catch a bus or taxi, the Peak Tram is the most enjoyable way to travel. From the top, enjoy 180 degree views of the skyline, surrounding hills, Victoria Harbor and Kowloon.
9. Hike to Dragons Back
If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city for a day, head off to one of Hong Kong’s most popular hikes, the Dragon’s Back. This scenic hike is 8.5km and takes around 4 hours to complete. The various viewing platforms along the way provide scenic views of lush greenery and Hong Kong’s shoreline. At the end of the trail, you’ll find Big Wave Bay where you can take a dip or chill on the beach.
10. Shop at Temple Street Night Market
One for your Hong Kong shopping bucket list, Temple Street Night Market is one of the highlights of shopping for tourists. You’ll find stalls selling local cuisine, street performers hoping to make a dollar or two and cheap souvenirs to bring home. To get the best bargains, avoid the stalls at the immediate entrance and head for those hidden behind others.
11. Eat Dim Sum at the cheapest Michelin Starred Restuarant in the World
It wouldn’t be a trip to Hong Kong without getting your fix of dim sum. And where better to do this then a hole in the wall Michelin starred restaurant, Tim Ho Wan, which happens to be the cheapest in the world! And by cheap, we mean less than $10 for a full three course meal. But be prepared to have to wait a couple of hours in a queue before you get your dim sum.
12. Take the Npong Ping Cable Car
Located on Lantau Island, the Npong Ping Cable Car leads up to the Big Buddha statue of the Po Lin Monastery. Pay a little extra for a glass bottomed car for even better views on the way up. This is the quickest way to reach the Big Buddha statue.
13. Ride the longest escalator in the world
You’ve surely heard of a hop on hop off bus tour, but what about a hop on hop off escalator! In a city full of hills and steep steps leading up to and between streets, rest your weary feet for a while on the Central–Mid-Levels Escalator, the world’s longest outdoor covered escalator. While it’s not a continuous escalator, its a series of 20 escalators and three movable walkways that allow you to explore areas between the Central District and the Mid Levels neighborhood.
14. Take a street art walking tour
Taking in street art is generally on my bucket list for any city. Wanderlust Walks gives you an in-depth insight into Hong Kong’s street art scene. It’s not always easy to find where the best street art is, so a walking tour is your best opportunity not to miss any of the great street art and even get some background details on the pieces.
15. Visit Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery
This is one of Hong Kong’s most famous Buddhist Temples. So named because it contains more than ten thousand Buddhas. In fact, over 12,000 miniature Buddhas line the walls of the temple. There are 431 steps leading up to the complex, which consists of the monastery, 5 temples, 4 pavillions and a pagoda.
16. Take a traditional Hong Kong Junk Boat
An inexpensive but extremely popular thing to do in Hong Kong is the traditional red sail Chinese Junk Boat. This is a great way to take in the impressive skyline at Victoria Harbour on a sunny day. Evening Junk Boat rides give you the best views of the Symphony of Lights show.
17. Haggle at the Ladies Market
Look no further for souvenir shopping than Hong Kong Ladies Market. This market has been going for around 30 years, yet every day each vendor sets up their stall and takes it down again at night. Don’t let the name fool you, this is not just for the ladies.
18. Climb to the top of the Big Buddha
For those who are a little more on the ambitious side, skip the Npong Ping cable car and trek up to the Tian Tan Buddha, otherwise known as the Big Buddha. The trek takes between 3 and 4 hours and is almost 10km. Enjoy rewarding views of the surrounding landscape from the top.
19. Have a taste of street food
Hong Kong is a city for the foodies. Immerse yourself in local food culture and have a local guide show you the ins and outs of where the locals get the best food. This street food tour takes you through the streets of Kowloon, stopping to taste the local cuisine of eateries and market along the way.
As far as bucket lists go, Hong Kong is an excellent place to start ticking things off yours. It’s the kind of place you can visit year in, year out and never get bored. One minute, you can be in the heart of the city with it’s 7 million residents, and the next out and about within nature.
Hong Kong is by far one of the most diverse cities in the world. So make sure it’s on your bucket list and get planning your next trip.