If you’re going to Hong Kong on exchange or visiting for a holiday, you’re probably wondering where to start to get the most out of exploring the city. Here are my top 10 things to do in Hong Kong that I discovered after attending a 4 week cultural exchange at the University of Hong Kong at the start of 2017.
1. Eat your heart out in Mong Kok
Hong Kong has a great range of foods to suit all tastes. Mong Kok in particular has a range of cheap and yummy street foods. I highly recommend trying egg waffles, fish balls, egg tarts and pineapple buns.
2. Get a bird’s eye view of Hong Kong from the Peak
There are a few options to get to the Peak but I recommend catching the tram up. There are a number of shops and restaurants up there, making it easy to spend a few hours taking in the view.
3. Spend a day in Macau
Approximately an hour long boat ride from Hong Kong, Macau offers mix of modern and colonial architecture with a number of big casinos. It can be busy on the weekends so try go on a weekday if you can.
4. Go market crazy
Hong Kong literally sells “everything under the sun” in its many markets. My top picks are the Ladies markets, Goldfish markets, Flower Market Road, Seafood Street markets, Temple Street Night Markets and Cat Street.
5. Hike the Dragon’s Back
If you need some space from the hustle and bustle of the city just head to the Dragon’s Back, located on the south east side of Hong Kong island. An MTR (train) and bus ride will drop you off right at the start of the track which takes around 3.5 hours to hike, including lots of photo opportunities. Make sure to pack a hat, water and sunscreen as the sun can be brutal. The track ends at the small and cute beachside town Big Wave Bay where, if you are feeling up to it, you can have a quick swim in the ocean before travelling back to the city centre.
6. Explore Lantau Island
Hong Kong has many islands to explore and Lantau Island is one of the more popular ones. On Lantau Island you will find Tai O, an old fishing village with many of the houses built on stilts. The island is also home to Tian Tan Buddha, a big Buddha that you can climb up to, Po Lin Monastery, with its brightly coloured and intricate architecture, and Ngong Ping town, known for its shops and restaurants.
7. Ride the world’s longest undercover escalators
Escalators may not seem like much of an attraction, but Hong Kong’s steep terrain is a lot of work on your legs. The Central-Mid-levels escalator and walkway system start near Central and climb 135m up the mountain. While you ride, you can look out over the city and pick out some of the cool restaurants, shops, bars and markets located next to the escalators to explore further on your way back down the mountain.
8. Marvel at the world’s longest running light and sound show
Known as the Symphony of Lights, this 15 minute spectacular is best viewed from the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront and showcases one of the world’s best city skylines. While you’re there I also recommend checking out the glow of the numerous advertising signs in the Mong Kok area.
9. Ride the Ding Dong
For my first day in Hong Kong I rode the Ding Dong (a double decker tram) from start to finish, which gave me a great introduction into the changing neighbourhoods along Hong Kong island and to help get my bearings. The journey from start to finish does take well over an hour, though I recommend getting off at the stops near Causeway Bay, O’Brien Road and Quarry Bay to break the trip up and do some exploring. Don’t worry about the cost of the tram, as it costs the equivalent of 50 cents per ride. Try to score a seat on the top level of the tram right at the front for the best view.
10. Relax in Stanley and Repulse Bay
Forget that you are just a 30 minute bus ride away from the city centre of Hong Kong with a trip to the beautiful beaches at Stanley and Repulse Bay. Markets and nice restaurants make it almost too easy spend a few hours in the area.
The best thing about Hong Kong is that there is no best thing – these are my top tips but you could spend months there and still discover new things to see and do – it is such a vibrant city!
– Tiana Hill (guest blogger)
Tiana Hill is currently in her final year of a Bachelor of Urban and Environmental Planning. She has a love for travel having so far gone on three seperate overseas trips with Griffith University ranging from 2 weeks to 6 months long.
What are your top tips for a Hong Kong adventure? Share in the comments.