20 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Hong Kong
Whether you've been to Hong Kong before or are making your first trip to the city, you'll be surprised by how different Hong Kong is from what you may have expected. The city was originally a pirate stronghold, a world of narrow alleyways and steep staircases clinging to a rocky bluff, and this scrappy and rather untamed feel is still apparent today.
Nevertheless, with almost 350 years of Chinese history under its belt, Hong Kong is now one of the best places to visit in the world. Explore the territory's fascinating past as well as its more modern shops, restaurants, and hotels in this comprehensive guide to top attractions in Hong Kong.
Victoria Peak (Lam Kiu Ta) is Hong Kong's most prestigious address, with stunning views over Victoria Harbor and the city. Steep paths up the steep ridge provide a route to the summit, which is in fact a hill, not a peak. The summit offers a panoramic view of the city's central business district. Several sights in Hong Kong are accessible by cable car. The Peak's stunning views are not the only attraction; the Peak's lush botanical gardens are home to more than 3,000 species of plants. The floral collection is best in the autumn and winter when the flowering plants show off their best. It's also at its most magical during the colorful Fall Festival in November when it's illuminated by lanterns.
Ocean Park has many unique attractions that include the world's first inverted roller-coaster, the BRC Beast (a 120-meter high inverted roller-coaster, the highest in the world), Jurassic Park and Trekland, a ride simulating the Grand Canyon, a number of traditional Chinese ones, and the modern park attractions including SeaWorld, Treetop Walk, the High Speed Monorail, and the park-wide High Speed Safari. Ocean Park Park is located on Hong Kong Island. It is famous for its huge aquariums and pools, the simulation of the Ocean Park's underwater rainforest, plus the giant pandas at the park's zoo.
Repulse Bay (Hong Kong), on a rocky outcrop of the east side of the Peak, on Lantau Island in Hong Kong, consists of beaches and the sandy shores of green forested mountains. It's one of the most popular attractions in Hong Kong. Its main draw is undoubtedly its proximity to the East Peak. You can easily walk to the popular beaches of Repulse Bay, The Cove (Repulse Bay), Freshwater Bay and The Deep (Repulse Bay). It's a good place to stay and eat, as well, especially The Orchid Garden, a beachfront property by the sea with nice views and spacious rooms.
Po Lin Monastery
Hong Kong's smallest Buddhist temple, Po Lin Monastery (; Pok-lin-ji) is said to have been established in AD 745 by a monk named Huen Tsang. This humble building is located on Sha Tau Kok island in the Western District, off the shore of Hong Kong. The temple is easily accessible by bus or by foot from other areas in the city and is well worth a visit.
Wong Tai Sin Temple
One of the most densely populated areas of Hong Kong, Wong Tai Sin is on the eastern edge of the New Territories, close to the city of Kowloon, where its temples and monasteries can be found. The most notable of these is Wong Tai Sin Temple, located in Hong Kong's Wong Tai Sin District. At night, the brightly colored prayer flags on its many roofs and at its peak cast shadows onto the peaceful grounds. Founded in 1851 by Taoist monks, the temple now houses Hong Kong's largest bronze statue of the goddess Kwan Yin (Guanyin), along with a host of minor Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucian images and scrolls. The church (T.N.T) attached to the temple is of note as well, as it houses a large, unique nine-room chapel. Stylistically it is a mixture of Chinese and Japanese architecture, having been designed in 1870 by two Scottish architects, Alexander Low and James Main.
Victoria Harbour was originally built in the 19th century. However, most of what you see today was constructed between the 1940s and 1960s. Located on the western side of Hong Kong Island, the harbour provides an alternative to hiking up the famous MacLehose Trail, a scenic trail that circles the island, including some 1,200 steps. Hong Kong is known for being one of the world's most densely populated cities, yet it manages to maintain a peaceful feel. While the best way to enjoy Victoria Harbour is from the water, one can also take a tour of the harbour by boat. See the best views by taking the Aqua Tour, which allows visitors to go on a ride that takes in the scenic Victoria Harbour. The best views are to be had from the bay side of the journey, especially during the passage through Victoria Harbour.
Happy Valley Racecourse
It may not be the world's most visited racecourse, but one that can boast of an eye-catching setting is Hong Kong's Happy Valley, which is located in Kowloon on the border of the New Territories, immediately south of the city. For a racing fan, Happy Valley is justifiably famous for having been home to the world's most prestigious horse race, the Hong Kong Vase (Overseas Chinese Year End Cup), since 1949. With its layout based on that of the English Flat, in addition to the usual standards of horse racing, the track is famous for its snake, which was initially designed as a pathway to allow participants to cross the course as they made their way to the betting ring. How to get here? Take the MTR train from Kowloon Station to the Happy Valley Racecourse stop. Most of the hotels in the city centre are within walking distance of the racecourse, while there is also an MTR station at the venue.
Wan Chai is a charming and busy commercial district known for its urban buzz, neon signs and street peddlers, as well as great seafood restaurants, shops and bars. At the time of this writing, part of the newly opened West Kowloon Cultural District is located in Wan Chai. Spanning 3 square km, the area includes museums, art galleries and cultural spaces such as the Hong Kong Museum of Art and the Shatin War Memorial Plaza.
Hong Kong's airport is located on Lantau Island, an 88-square-mile peninsula surrounded by the Pearl River, and the North and East Lantau Islands. With four main stations - Hong Kong International Airport, Chek Lap Kok International Airport, Tai Tam Wai, and Hong Kong Island-Lantau Central - Lantau Island offers visitors an array of options for air travel. There are also several tourist routes for activities such as hiking, cycling, and fishing to explore.
Tsim Sha Tsui
Tsim Sha Tsui has a lively cultural mix that is a true city within a city. The iconic neon-lit skyline and sophisticated air distinguish the neighbourhood, while the location's many deluxe hotels attract the more affluent visitor. Tsim Sha Tsui is best known for its numerous popular attractions. Space and light dominate the cluster of skyscrapers in the MTR subway area, a busy district of shops, restaurants, movie theaters, cinemas, boutiques, public squares, and bars. There are some noteworthy sights in the MTR area. The Canton Gallery is the largest exhibition space in Hong Kong, and the view of the Victoria Harbor waterfront from its outdoor terrace is a feast for the eyes. The Hong Kong Arts Centre has a highly curated permanent collection of modern and contemporary art, with exhibitions of international quality, with the emphasis on Hong Kong artists. The Cloud Nine Tower is the tallest building in the MTR area and the tallest freestanding building in the city. Among the more active urban neighbourhoods, the Peninsula Hotel area offers an intriguing mixture of restaurants, cafés, bistros, brasseries, eateries, shopping and bars. Nearby Harbour Road is the location of Hong Kong's main tourism office.
Walk right into this intriguing place and go into one of the shops where for a modest fee you will receive a guide who will give you an ear-to-ear smile. Hong Kong's foodie culture is a major attraction that has reached tourists from around the world. Here they eat at some of the best restaurants in the city with a friendly and varied multicultural mix. Other worthwhile things to do in Hong Kong include visiting the Jade Market and the peaceful promenade and harbor of Central. The famous symbol of the former colony, the Peak Tram offers panoramic views over the city and is a thrilling experience. Be sure to get your tickets in advance, as the number of visitors has increased to the point of over capacity on some trams.
Hong Kong Museum of Art
As Hong Kong's largest cultural institution, the Hong Kong Museum of Art has over 12,000 pieces, covering painting, sculpture, ceramics, textiles, crafts and antiquities from China, India, Europe, Japan and other parts of Asia. The collections range from the prehistoric to contemporary, with the most notable collections being those of Yue Ming Tang, an art gallery on the site dating from 1918. The museum also has a very interesting Kids' Corner, with educational videos and other hands-on activities that appeal to younger visitors, while the main art galleries display important and representative works from major collections around the world.
Golden Gate Park
The tranquil Lake and Bay Islands Waterfront, one of Hong Kong's newest waterfront parks, is a hotspot for visitors and locals alike. Here, the 9.8 hectare park, dedicated to water features, landscaping, walkways, modernistic sculptures and interpretive historical signs, is home to a leisurely stroll and exercise routine, a playground for kids, a wedding venue, a farmers' market, a small auditorium, children's museum, a splash pad and a restaurant/bar. If you would like to walk among the tallest sea cliffs in Asia, the newly opened Tai Tam Coastal Park has recently been added. The park is dedicated to preserving the lush and unique environment along the South China Sea, with hiking trails and cultural displays.
Kowloon Park is one of Hong Kong's oldest parks, known for its koi fish ponds and beautiful pagoda-shaped temples. It was established in 1883 as part of the Chinese Medicine Hospital, and became a full-fledged park when Hong Kong reverted to the British in 1997. Tourists are usually funneled through the park's new ferry terminal (where they also buy their ferry tickets), and have access to a sea of terraced hills and the different ponds and bridges that crisscross the park. They have the opportunity to catch glimpses of the park's native wildlife and flora in the lower reaches of the park. Among them are ducks, geese, storks and swans, as well as the more shy, migratory birds, including the Siberian Crane, which is usually seen in September and October.
Hong Kong's busy shopping district, Causeway Bay is housed in the Wan Chai District of Hong Kong Island, in the heart of the city's bustling waterfront area. A vast shopping promenade lined with dozens of shops, Causeway Bay is known to locals as a thoroughfare of glitz and sophistication, while to visitors, its unique character is a testimony to the city's status as one of Asia's most vibrant cities. The area is home to hotels like The Regent Hong Kong, while the nearby IFC Mall is Hong Kong's most luxurious. There are also a number of noteworthy museums in the Wan Chai District, including the History Museum and the Museum of Art, which both display a number of important artworks from the region, including the works of painter Cheung Tat Cheung and photographer Cecil Richardson.
Sai Kung, located on Hong Kong's southwest coast, is a nature reserve of 605 square kilometers (231 square miles) that is home to the Hong Kong Wild and the world's largest colony of Grey Swifts. The reserve covers all of the southern coast and parts of northern Kowloon Peninsula. Wild Hong Kong, a marine-protected area, features waters on a level with the tides, making it a good fishing destination, while the nature reserve features hiking trails, a zipline, and a boat ride. Sai Kung is a major birding destination, with as many as 9 species of birds, including 10 globally threatened species. The best time to visit is from May through August, when the winds are stronger and the weather more stable.
Lamma Island (Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong) is a natural peninsula, surrounded by Victoria Harbour on three sides and linked to Hong Kong by a private ferry. Although originally a fishing village, today Lamma Island is a small, quiet island boasting a variety of places to eat, drink, shop, and stay. Set amid this island paradise are some of Hong Kong's oldest buildings, dating back to the late 19th century, and the glittering jewelry stalls along the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui.
Symphony of Lights
Most of Hong Kong's key attractions are located on its mainland side. The best-known, Disneyland Hong Kong and Harbour City, can be reached by MTR rapid transit. All of Hong Kong's main terminals have international airport style shopping malls, and most Hong Kong hotels are located in the New Territories. One of the top sights in Hong Kong is the splendid Victoria Peak. It sits on the territory's highest point and offers beautiful views over the city and the harbor. There are several restaurants, a Post Office, a small museum, as well as a place to get snacks and drinks. Another major Hong Kong attraction is the Cable Car, which can take you from the bottom of the Peak up to Victoria Peak. After you have seen all that Hong Kong has to offer, take the Star Ferry to outlying islands such as Lantau Island. It's an easy, low-cost ride from Hong Kong Island to reach a breath-taking set of scenery of Tai Wan, Yung Shue Wan, and Lok Tsuen Islands. A visit to Hong Kong should include time to savor the specialty food of the place, dumplings. They are usually eaten at one of the handful of cheap Chinese restaurants around the territory. Most Hong Kong hotels offer internet access, and should you need to get online in the evening, many bars offer good internet rates for customers.
Hong Kong Island
Hong Kong Island is one of the most densely populated areas of the world. Hong Kong's sprawl is neatly contained by the cross-island Hong Kong–New Territories Expressway, the ubiquitous sky-scraping skyscrapers, and a perimeter formed by mountains and sea. Most of the city's attractions can be reached by a short drive, but the fascinating Kwun Yam Temple in Hong Kong's West is also near Kowloon, accessed by a long subway ride. Heading north, the Venetian city of Kowloon (mostly modern, but with a few reminders of its former existence) is at the eastern edge of Hong Kong Island, opposite Central, with the famous Nathan Road shopping thoroughfare running along the waterfront. South of the expressway, between Central and the New Territories, there are several places worth visiting, including Lion Rock and Po Lin Monastery. Hong Kong is home to some of the oldest and most impressive Chinese architecture.
Sitting directly above the harbor of Hong Kong's Kowloon peninsula, Ocean Terminal provides magnificent views of the Victoria Harbor and the islands in Hong Kong's South China Sea. This is an especially impressive sight at night, when all that is visible are the harbor lights. Ocean Terminal was constructed in 1987 as a partially open-air exhibition space for Hong Kong's role as host of the Olympics of 1990. Since then, the building has been more or less an open-air museum, although not without its interesting features. As is the case with the Hong Kong Wetland Park, many of Ocean Terminal's structures can only be viewed at night, as they were built before Hong Kong's steep housing market made it profitable to build against the hillside. Most impressive is the dome at the center of the complex, which sports an egg-shaped copper top. There are no permanent residents at Ocean Terminal, although the building can hold up to 11,000 visitors. There are restaurants, shops, and a cinema in the complex.