Top 10 Must-Visit Attractions in Hong Kong
From glittering skyscrapers to villages perched on stilts in the sea, Hong Kong’s diversity makes it a fascinating place to explore. It is a unique destination and there is no way anyone could possibly see everything there is to see in one trip. This is why travelers need to decide exactly what they want to see before taking their trip.
Hong Kong is frequently described as a place where “East meets West”, reflecting the culture’s mix of the territory’s Chinese roots with influences from its time as a British colony. Here are 10 of the best attractions this cosmopolitan city has to offer:
1. Victoria Peak – If a single image could encapsulate Hong Kong, it would be the panorama from Victoria Peak. With some seven million visitors every year, the Peak is a major tourist attraction of Hong Kong. It offers spectacular views of the city and its harbours. The viewing deck also has coin operated telescopes that the visitors can use to enjoy the cityscape. The number of visitors led to the construction of two major leisure and shopping centres, the Peak Tower and the Peak Galleria, situated adjacent to each other.
2. Ocean Park – It is on the southern side of Hong Kong island, and is the park that grew up with many local Hong Kong people. With roller coasters and large aquariums altogether, it is still packed on weekends with families and tourists. The cablecar is an icon, though for those who are scared, there is now a funicular railway underneath the mountain that emulates a submarine dive. For many, the chance to see Hong Kong’s pandas would be a deciding factor. Young adults will be attracted to the wider range (and more adrenalin-pumping nature) of rides.
3. Hong Kong Museum of Art – Located at 10 Salisbury Road, near the Hong Kong Cultural Centre and the Hong Kong Space Museum, in Tsim Sha Tsui, the Hong Kong Museum of Art is open to anyone who wants to take a glimpse of Hong Kong’s culture and history through its large collection of over 14,000 items ranging from calligraphy, paintings, Hong Kong treasure, art objects, antiques, and lithographs. The museum changes its displays regularly. The exhibitions in the museum are mainly of paintings, calligraphy and sculpture from Hong Kong, China and other parts of the world. It has cooperated with other museums as well.
4. Hong Kong Disneyland – It is on Lantau Island, about 12km east of Hong Kong International Airport. Though significantly smaller in size than other Disneyland-style parks elsewhere, the park has undergone an expansion to offer more attractions (including the recent-opened Toy Story Land and Grizzly Gulch). It offers some great attractions and short queues most of the year (except the week of Chinese New Year, Easter, Halloween and Christmas season). It is also considerably cheaper than Tokyo Disneyland, Euro Disneyland or those in the USA – in fact, it’s much cheaper than most theme parks for entry and food.
5. Avenue of the Stars – It is a tribute to Hong Kong’s movie icons and is the territory’s answer to Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. The Avenue of Stars is a free attraction that can be visited any time of the day or night. It’s especially lovely in the evening when it’s illuminated with tons of twinkling lights. The promenade at Tsim Sha Tsui also provides a stunning view of the harbor and is an especially good place from which to watch the nighttime Symphony of Lights, another must-see for visitors to Hong Kong. The Symphony of Lights is the “World’s Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show” by Guinness World Records, has been further expanded to include more than 40 buildings on both sides of Victoria Harbour. Every night starting 8pm.
6. The Markets – Hong Kong has a variety of colourful and busy street and covered markets always popular with visitors as a haunt for bargaining and seeking out cheap goods of all descriptions. Stanley Market is a popular market town on the sunny south side of Hong Kong Island. You will find here an interesting array of little shops selling silk garments, sportswear, art, Chinese costume jewellery and souvenirs. Ladies’ Market (or Ladies’ Street) on Tung Choi Street, Mongkok is also a well-known street market in Hong Kong, where various kinds of products are available for cheap prices (not just for women, as its name suggests). Its northern section includes a market for goldfish, the so-called Goldfish Market. Temple Street Night Market is one of the busiest flea markets at night in the territory. Popular with tourists and locals alike in the evening, the market is sometimes known as Men’s Street as it is very popular for men’s fashion.
7. Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery (Man Fat Tsz) – A Buddhist temple in Sha Tin. There are no resident monks here and is managed by laypersons. The monastery, which occupies over 8 hectares, is made up of two groups of architectural structures at lower and higher levels respectively. There is a pagoda, a hall, two pavilions and a tower in the architectural structure at the lower level. There are four halls in another structure at the higher level. The five halls in the monastery are used to house the statues of Buddhas. The main journey up to the monastery is an attraction itself, as the path is lined on both sides with golden Buddhas, each unique and in different poses.
8. Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple – An explosion of colourful pillars, roofs, lattice work, flowers and incense, this busy temple is a destination for all walks of Hong Kong society. The Wong Tai Sin Temple’s claim to ‘make every wish come true upon request’ might have something to do with its popularity. Most of the visitors come to the temple in search for a spiritual answer via a practice called kau cim. The 18,000-mp Taoist temple is located on the southern side of Lion Rock in the north of Kowloon. It is open from 7:00am to 5:30pm throughout the year, and runs overnight in the Lunar New Year Eve.
9. Sai Kung – Often referred to as the “leisure garden of Hong Kong” the picturesque Sai Kung Peninsula in the north-east New Territories is a complete contrast to urban Hong Kong and represents the best of rural Hong Kong being a natural recreational area with stunning scenery, tiny hamlets, abandoned villages, country parks, hiking trails, lofty peaks, rugged coastline, a national geopark featuring unique spectacular hexagonal rock columns, idyllic beaches, reservoir and a colourful fishing town in a sheltered bay populated by dozens of tiny pristine islands. It includes a collapsed volcano so large that nobody knows where the centre is. Apart from the beautiful natural scenery, historical relics and modern developments, Sai Kung is also famous for the delicious food it provides. Here you can taste seafood and diverse speciality dishes in various restaurants, and the pleasant alfresco atmosphere of many of the restaurants will surely increase your appetite!
10. Lantau Island – Your journey to Hong Kong will not be complete unless you take a cruise around the waters of Lantau Island and watch pink dolphins that only live in this waters. Lantau Island is twice as big as Hong Kong island and is well worth checking out if you want to get away from the bright lights and pollution of the city for a spell. Here you will find open countryside, traditional fishing villages, secluded beaches, monasteries and more. You can hike, camp, fish and mountain bike, amongst other activities. Ngong Ping 360, which consists of a cable car journey and a themed village, is one of the must see attractions on Lantau island.
Hong Kong attracts visitors with its year-round warm weather. However, rain storms and high prices may dissuade some tourists. The time between October to December has the least rainfall, less chance of a typhoon (almost non-existent after October), less humid and more sunshine so it’s probably the best time to visit Hong Kong. June through September are the months to travel to Hong Kong if you want a good bargain. This is Hong Kong’s rainy typhoon season and the weather is hot and humid.