In this article, we will have a look at some of the most famous Hong Kong tourist spots. Many people think of Hong Kong (HK) as nothing more than a metropolis and banking center. This is undoubtedly true, but there is an awful lot more to the territory!
Did you know that Hong Kong is made up of over 200 islands, many of which are home to deserted beaches, small fishing villages, and lush jungle?! No?! So here are 10 of the best places to visit in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong stretches from the New Territories which border mainland China, to Hong Kong Island in the south, which is where the city itself is located. The whole territory encompasses many mountains, national parks, and green areas making it the perfect place for lovers of the outdoors.
Thanks to Hong Kong’s shared history it is home to some of the finest food in the world. From Michelin-starred restaurants to street food, there is something to suit every wallet and palate!
But before we start our list of best tourist spots in Hong Kong, attractions, and some lesser-known places to visit, it’s important to talk about travel costs. Hong Kong is famous for not being a budget-friendly destination, and well, as much as it is true, there are a lot of places to go in Hong Kong that won’t cost you a fortune. And even better, there are ways to save money while visiting Hong Kong. For those tips read this article: Hong Kong Trip Costs Guide!
Now let’s get back to our list of Hong Kong landmarks and activities you must do when visiting this incredible destination. Each suggestion is packed with information and tips to enjoy the area and interesting spots nearby.
Read this guide carefully and depending on your trip length, or if you are traveling with family or friends, you can visit all the spots and even have loads of fun at Hong Kong Disneyland or go on a Hong Kong-Macau trip.
Top 10 Hong Kong tourist spots
1 – Victoria Harbour and the Star Ferry
Of all the Hong Kong tourist spots, Victoria Harbour is probably the most well-known. This iconic waterway separates the Kowloon Peninsula from HK Island and can be seen from most of the city and beyond.
The Star Ferry crosses the harbor every ten minutes from 06:30 to 23:30 every day (typhoons notwithstanding) and is one of the best ways to see Hong Kong. The crossing takes just eight minutes and the ticket price is 3HKD (that’s less than $0.40)!
This is a pretty busy spot as many city tours start or stop by here. Talking about tours, they are a good way to visit some of the popular tourist attractions and learn about HK’s interesting history. Below are a few options for Hong Kong private tours or group activities.
2 – Victoria Peak
Victoria Peak is the highest point on Hong Kong Island and is the place to go for spectacular views of the city and surrounding nature. There are many walking paths, popular with joggers, that criss-cross the peak and culminate at one of the many panoramic viewpoints.
One of the best ways to get to the peak is to take the Peak Tram; a funicular railway that has been running for over 100 years. As of July 2021, it is currently being upgraded but buses head to the peak from Central Pier every 30 minutes, and it’s also possible to walk/hike up from the city center.
These are the busses to the Victoria Peak you can take:
- NWFB Route No. X15 (Central (Central Ferry Pier No. 6) – The Peak)
- NWFB Route No. 15 (Central (Central Ferry Piers) / Exchange Square – The Peak)
- Hong Kong Island Green Minibus Route No. 1 (Central (Hong Kong Station Public Transport Interchange) – The Peak)
Another option is to buy a ticket for the Hong Kong Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Tour Bus that passes through most of Hong Kong’s major tourist attractions including the Victoria Peak.
Insiders Tip: Don’t pay the fee for the viewing platform within the shopping complex on the peak. There are better panoramic views to be had all around the peak for free on the trails.
One more tip: Before going up, or after visiting the peak, take some time to explore Central Hong Kong and its many iconic landmarks and buildings. Find your way to Hong Kong Park, the famous Hollywood Road, the Lan Kwai Fong dining street, and the Hong Kong Observation Wheel & AIA Vitality Park for a 360-degree view of the entire city.
You can also stretch your walk to Causeway Bay or take public transportation at MTR Hong Kong station there.
3 – Lantau Island
If you want to experience the wilder side of Hong Kong, then head to Lantau, the city’s largest Island. It’s easily reachable from the city center by MTR and ferry (Pier 5, 30 minutes) and makes for a perfect day trip from Hong Kong, a break from the hustle and bustle of the downtown area!
4 – Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car
The Ngong Ping Cable Car travels between Tung Chung near Hong Kong International Airport on the northern coast of Lantau Island to Ngong Ping in the mountains. Ngong Ping is home to two famous Hong Kong attractions, namely the Tian Tan Buddha and Po Lin Monastery, both have a free admission fee.
The cableway stretches 5.7 kilometers across the central Lantau hills and the journey time is 25 minutes. The cable car price varies, a one-way trip costs from 160 HKD and a return costs 235 HKD. There is the option to upgrade to a crystal cable car with a transparent floor!
You can get your Ngong Ping Cable Car ticket in advance here and skip the line, which is smart and handy. Another option is to buy the Lantau Island Pass here which includes the NP 360 Cable car and the Tai O Day Pass. With this ticket, you can enjoy the area from the sky, land and even by boat.
5 – Tian Tan (Big) Buddha
Lantau is home to the famous “Big Buddha”; a giant statue overlooking the bays, islands and jungle of the South China Sea. You can reach the Buddha, and nearby Po Lin Monastery by cable car from Tung Chun (MTR) or by bus from anywhere on the island.
Lantau also has two of the highest peaks in the territory; Lantau Peak (934m) and Sunset Peak (869m). They may not be the biggest mountains in the world, but the hike to the top of each is pretty grueling, especially in the tropical heat, but worth it for the stunning views!
If you are up for an early challenge, climbing the Lantau Peak to watch the sunrise is an unforgettable activity, and definitely, a unique thing to do in Hong Kong. You can book a private hiking adventure here, as going by yourself can be risky if you are not familiar with the area and are not an avid hiker.
If you don’t feel up to one of the peaks, then the hike between Mui Wo/Silver Mine Bay and Discovery Bay is a nice easy trek that takes in some fantastic views and an old monastery.
6 – Tsim Sha Tsui
Tsim Sha Tsui is a bustling district of Kowloon that sits across the harbor from HK Island and is one of the major tourist spots in Hong Kong. Here you can find some of the best shopping, bars and restaurants in the city, as well as cheap and delicious street food!
Walk along Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade and you will pass by the Avenue of Stars to the Bruce Lee statue and take in the incredible views across the harbor. In this area, there are many popular attractions such as the Tsim Sha Tsui Clock Tower, the Hong Kong Cultural Center, the Hong Kong Space Museum, and the city’s Museum of Art.
At night time the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront is the place to be to watch the Symphony of Lights, a permanent light show that brightens up the whole Victoria Harbour.
If you have free time, from Tsim Sha Tsui get a metro or go for a 30 minutes walk to Mong Kok, another interesting area in Kowloon city. Mong Kok is famous for shopping with a wide array of cheap electronics, the Ladies Market, the Flower Market, and Fa Yuen Street with a wide range of sneakers and sports stores. Nearby is the Temple Street Night Market, one of HK’s major attractions.
7 – Cheung Chau Island
Cheung Chau is a tiny island close to Lantau that is the home of a picturesque fishing village and a couple of pleasant sandy beaches. It is definitely one of the most popular Hong Kong places to visit, so try and avoid coming on weekends or during holidays.
That being said, Cheung Chau is definitely worth a visit. It’s one of the best places to take a stroll with an ice cream or dipping into one of the many fresh seafood restaurants along the front.
The island has quite a bohemian feel compared to the rest of the city and should be on the list of any serious sightseer! Boats from Central Pier 5 leave every 30 minutes and the crossing takes under an hour.
8 – The Dragon’s Back
The Dragon’s Back is one of the easier hikes and a favorite Hong Kong tourist spot also favored by locals. After an initial steep ascent, the trail meanders across rolling hills to Shek O Peak with sweeping views over the D’Aguilar Peninsula. The start of the trail is a 30-minute bus ride from the city center.
For those who don’t want to hike on their own, here is a Dragon’s Back hiking tour you can join.
9 – Stanley
Stanley is a small village on the southern tip of HK Island. This is the place to go for water sports such as windsurfing on one of the village’s small sandy beaches. There is a street market and plenty of little restaurants dotted around the peninsula.
Buses from Central Station go back and forth all day and stop by Deep Water Bay and Repulse Bay; both excellent swimming spots!
Another option is the Hong Kong Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Tour Bus I mentioned before. They have 3 hop-on hop-off lines and the Green one passes by Stanley.
10 – MacLehose Trail
The MacLehose Trail is located far from the city in the New Territories and offers some of the best hiking and most idyllic beaches in the whole territory. It’s not super easy to get to, but therein lies the beauty. If you go on a weekday or out of season, you can live out that Robinson Crusoe fantasy on palm-lined white sandy beaches surrounded by lush greenery.
After a day hiking, swimming, or relaxing in pristine nature, head to nearby Sai Kung fishing village for some freshly caught seafood washed down with a crisp glass of wine!
As we are talking about hiking and outdoor activities, it is good to remember that you should always have travel insurance. Especially if you are up to some adventure here and there. Here are three trustworthy and worldwide travel insurances: World Nomads, Safety Wing, and HeyMondo. I suggested you get a quote from all of them and choose the one that suits you best.
Hong Kong Accommodation ideas
There are hotels in Hong Kong for any traveler, for the ones with the most exquisite taste to budget-conscious ones. The truth is that there are so many places to stay in Hong Kong that finding that perfect room can be a daunting task.
That’s why I’m here, to help you book your accommodation in Hong Kong hassle-free. Below there are four great options from 5-star hotels to budget rooms. If you want to see more options go to Rob & Nat’s article about their trip to Hong Kong. In their Hong Kong guide, they share the best hotels in Hong Kong by neighborhood, plus some practical travel tips and local experiences.
HK hotel suggestions:
Luxury – The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong
If you are looking for 5-star service, a central location, and unbeatable views of Victoria Harbour, look no further than The Ritz Carlton Hong Kong. It houses the highest bar in the world on the 118th floor and 5 restaurants, including 2 Michelin Stars.
Mid-Range – Hotel Pravo
A fantastic hotel in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui and a five-minute walk from the Star Ferry.
Budget – The Cove Hostel
Two wonderful, beachfront locations on Lantau Island.
Ultra-Budget – Chungking Mansions
It’s not glamorous, and it’s a little bit seedy, but if you want a cheap bed for the night, Chungking Mansions is where you’ll find it. Don’t expect a window though! Nor space. Note that there are hundreds of small hotels & hostels in Chungking Mansions, here are some with good ratings: Taj Super Deluxe, Premium Lounge, and, Ashoka Hostel.
Also, read this Accommodation Guide for more tips on how to find the best place to stay in Hong Kong and at any other destination worldwide. You will find tips on how to find and book the accommodation that fits your travel plans and budget, no matter how big or small they are.
Best Bars in Hong Kong
We can’t talk about places to go in Hong Kong without mentioning eating & drinking. So here is my pick for the must-visit Hong Kong bars.
Eye Bar, Tsim Sha Tsui
Located on the 30th floor of the iSquare building, this bar and restaurant has some of the best views in the city!
Kowloon Taproom, Tsim Sha Tsui & Wan Chai
The best locally brewed craft beer in Hong Kong! Western and Asian dishes are served.
Hemmingway’s, Discovery Bay
A good selection of drinks and vegan food with great views over the bay.
So, what are you waiting for? With so many great things to do in Hong Kong, there has never been a better time to visit Asia’s world city! These are only 10 of the must-see Hong Kong spots, there are plenty more like museums, Buddhist temples, amusement parks and historical landmarks.
Author: Steve Rohan
Steve Rohan is a writer and travel blogger from England. He has visited over 50 countries to date and spent the last six years living in China and Hong Kong. He writes for the website thetripgoeson.com and has self-published his first book, Siberian Odyssey.