Hong Kong is tiny, but the megacity offers a surprisingly wide range of activities for all interests. Whether you’re a traveller just beginning your HK adventure or a seasoned local keen to find something new, check out our list of the most interesting, iconic, and essential things to do in Hong Kong. You’ll never be bored.

Bonus: Check out our guides to the top free things to do on Hong Kong Island and in Kowloon.

Historical places, temples, and shrines

  1. Discover the awe-inspiring Tian Tan Buddha, a cultural and spiritual icon nestled in the lush landscapes of Lantau Island and the world’s largest outdoor seated Buddha.
  2. Enter the incense-filled environs of Man Mo Temple in Sheung Wan. Built in the mid-1800s, this place of worship is dedicated to the gods of literature (‘Man’), holding a writing brush, and of war (‘Mo’), wielding a sword.
Photo by Emily Dickson
  1. Clamber up Pottinger or Stone Slabs Street, a legendary ladder street smack dab in Central.
  2. Count statues at the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery in Sha Tin. The journey to the main temple is an adventure in itself, as you ascend a steep hillside adorned with thousands of golden Buddha statues, each one unique in its pose and expression.
  3. Foretell your future at Wong Tai Sin. Known for its stunning architecture and fortune-telling services, this Taoist temple in Kowloon is a place where locals and visitors seek blessings and guidance. Change your fortune here.
  4. Spend a night or two at a heritage hotel or hostel. From far-flung locations like Tai O to urban hotels with an eye for design, take your pick of accommodations steeped in history.
Photo by Camlux Hospitality Limited

Unique sights, daytrips, and views of Hong Kong

  1. Beeline to Victoria Peak, a lookout that commands unbelievable views of the city. Make sure to review our guide to enjoying the Peak on a budget.
Hong Kong skyline at sunset from Victoria Peak.
  1. Witness the Symphony of Lights, a spectacular multimedia light and sound show that illuminates Hong Kong’s skyline and Victoria Harbour each evening.
  2. Enjoy a cocktail or two at Ozone, one of the world’s highest rooftop bars, offering stunning views from the 118th floor of the Ritz-Carlton.
  3. Soothe your eyes at Sai Wan Swimming Shed, a several decades-old, charming wooden walkway that disappears into the sea. This Instagrammable spot is just a short hike away from Kennedy Town.
Sai Wan swimming shed | Photo by AN
  1. Keep an eye out for Hong Kong’s adorable shop cats. Sentinels of the city’s Traditional Chinese Medicine stores, these felines are a sight to behold. Have your camera handy.
  2. Venture out to Tai O, a remote fishing village famed for stilt houses. Don’t let the label of “Venice of the East” shape your expectations: they are nothing alike!
Aerial view of Tai O fishing village, Lantau, Hong Kong. | Photo by CHUNYIP WONG/E+ via Getty Images
  1. Visit the Ma Wan Park Noah’s Ark, which houses a slightly odd full-size replica of Noah’s Ark, along with a variety of family-friendly attractions and activities.
  2. Trek to Yim Tin Tsai. This remote island was once a thriving salt-producing community, an industry which has since been revived. Explore the abandoned village, salt pans, and charming chapel, and don’t leave without a bottle of the island’s sea salt. You can get here by taking a kaito (a small motorised ferry unique to Hong Kong) from Sai Kung Pier.
  3. Journey to the rustic and rugged Po Toi Island, Hong Kong’s southernmost island. Known for its unique rock formations, ancient carvings, and fresh seafood, this is a daytrip that’s well worth the planning. Ferries depart from Blake Pier, Stanley.
  4. Embark on an adventure to the remote islands of Kat O and Ap Chau. These two tiny islands feel worlds away from the chaos of the CBD. This one’s for the slow travellers.
  5. Traverse deep into the New Territories with a trip to Nam Sang Wai, a protected wetland zone.
Nam Sang Wai | Photo by iStock.com/Vicky Lee Kai Wai
  1. Step back in time and journey to Lai Chi Wo, an ancient walled village in Hong Kong’s New Territories. With its traditional Hakka architecture and lush, pristine surroundings, the tiny village has been revitalised with public art.
  2. Ascend Tai Mo Shan, Hong Kong’s tallest peak. Rising to an impressive elevation of 957 metres (3,140 feet) above sea level, this mountain, located in the Tai Mo Shan Country Park in the New Territories, offers a panoramic view of the city. Check out our guide to other family-friendly hiking trails.
  3. For a chilled out getaway just 30 minutes by ferry from Central, post up at Peng Chau. This sleepy island is home to quirky shops, scenic hikes, and possibly the best shrimp toast in the territory.
  4. Watch a Dragon Boat Race. These thrilling aquatic competitions have been a part of the city’s heritage for centuries, and they continue to captivate locals and visitors alike.
  5. Catch the Tai Hang Fire Dragon Festival. This annual custom takes place during the Mid-Autumn Festival. It features a vibrant dragon made of bamboo sticks and incense, which is set on fire and paraded through the streets of Tai Hang.
Tai Hang Fire Dragon Festival, 2023. | Photo by HK Cheapo

Eating and drinking

  1. Do a Chinese tea tasting. Tea is an essential part of Chinese heritage. There are various tea houses and shops where you can sample a wide array of teas, from delicate oolongs to robust pu-erh. Cheapo favourites include Plantation (from the folks behind the now-closed Teakha) and Mingcha.
  2. Indulge in a scone session at one of the city’s top high tea destinations.
fortnum and mason afternoon tea
Afternoon tea with a view at 181 Fortnum & Mason | Photo by Holly Booth
  1. I scream, you scream, we all scream for… dim sum? Dim sum is an essential Hong Kong food experience. Get stuck into fluffy char siu bao and grow your love of slippery, wobbly textures with ultra-smooth cheung fun. Read our guide to become a dim sum expert.
Dim sum or yumcha is an essential Hong Kong food experience. | Photo by Luke Chan/E+ via Getty Images
  1. Sample Hong Kong’s favourite hot sauce (arguably): Yu Kwen Yick. A harmonious blend of sweet, salty, and spicy flavors, this sauce is incredibly versatile and packs a surprising punch.
  2. Sit with strangers and discover a newfound appreciation for humble ingredients like eggs, butter, and bread at Hong Kong’s many cha chaan teng or teahouses. Don’t forget to sample beverages like milk tea and yeunyeung, a blend of coffee and tea. Hong Kong Cheapo recommends: Australia Dairy Company in Jordan.
cha chaan teng
Interior shot of Hoi On Cafe. Founded in 1952, Hoi On Cafe was one of the oldest cha chaan teng in Hong Kong. | Photo by Hiufu Wong
  1. Dine at a cooked food centre. These local food halls are nestled above the city’s wet markets and specialise in typical Cantonese and Hong Kong-style dishes.
Photo by Gregory Lane
  1. Gorge on siu mei or Hong Kong-style roast meats. Think succulent roast duck and crispy pork belly, laid atop a bed of freshly steamed white rice. Pure bliss!
  2. Try out bamboo or jook-sing noodles, traditional noodles made by bouncing on bamboo poles.
  3. Relish street food. While many cities have moved street food indoors, it’s still possible to find street eats like siu mai, fish balls, egg waffles and more in Hong Kong. Consult our guide to know the best spots.
Photo by Christy Choi
  1. Eat a pineapple bun, with a thick slab of butter sandwiched in between. Consider yourself forewarned: a pineapple bun contains no actual pineapple! The name comes from the crackly appearance. Hong Kong Cheapo recommends: Kam Wah in Mong Kok.
  2. Savour Hong Kong-style French toast: thick, buttery, and sometimes filled with ingredients like peanut butter and satay pork, this is not your average French toast. Hong Kong Cheapo recommends: Shui Kee in Sheung Wan.
A close up of a Hong Kong style French Toast with a butter on top in a cha chaan teng in Cheung Chau. | Photo by Pak Hung Lam/iStockphoto via Getty Images
  1. Book a once-in-a-lifetime meal at the Sea Urchin Breeding Centre, a highly seasonal restaurant dedicated to showcasing local sea urchin. Who says you have to travel to Japan for uni?
  2. Feast on fresh seafood at the seafood village in Lei Yue Mun, where you can select your seafood from tanks and have it prepared to your liking.
  3. Participate in a dying tradition by grabbing a meal at a dai pai dong, al fresco dining done the local way.
Local diners eating at an outdoor dai pai dong. | Photo by zencreation/iStockphoto via Getty Images
  1. Sample global cuisines at Chungking Mansions, a warren of grocery stores, hostels, and restaurants specialising in some lesser known African and Asian cuisines.
  2. Experience langar, a free community meal offered by Sikh temples or gurudwaras around the world. Hong Kong is home to just one Sikh temple, Khalsa Diwan, built in 1901 and located in Wan Chai.
Photo by Gregory Lane
  1. Let loose in Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong’s buzziest entertainment hub. With its cobblestone streets lined with an array of bars, clubs, and restaurants offering diverse cuisines and libations, LKF is renowned for its pulsating nightlife, with live music, DJ sets, and dance floors that cater to a wide range of musical tastes.
  2. Sip on locally made spirits and liqueurs and craft beer. From gin flavoured with dried tangerine peel to handcrafted umeshu, these unique libations express the city’s culinary identity.
  3. Come cooler weather, it’s all about hotpot. Check out our step by step guide to hotpot the right way!

Nature

  1. Take in the ruins of the notorious Kowloon Walled City, an erstwhile urban slum and the inspiration for many a grisly video game! There’s now a lovely park built with traditional Chinese elements here. Accessible via Sung Wong Toi MTR station.
  2. Experience one of the city’s top urban oases, Hong Kong Park. Head to the Museum of Teaware, check out the aviary, or simply stroll around with no destination in mind.
  3. Amble down to Hollywood Road Park, where you’ll find lush greenery, lounging terrapin, and geriatric tai chi. Fun-ish fact: this spot marks the area where the Brits first landed in the territory.
  4. Wander down to Victoria Park in Causeway Bay. Come for the imposing statue of Little Vicky (Queen Victoria), stay for the people-watching and frequent events. From Mid-Autumn Festival illuminations to the Chinese New Year flower stalls, this multi-functional park is a hub of activity.
  1. Escape to the extraordinary Fung Yuen Butterfly Reserve, home to over 200 species of butterflies (and growing). This is a remarkable ecological gem in Hong Kong’s New Territories.
  2. Go bird-watching and appreciate the mangroves at Mai Po, a wetland zone of international importance and a natural jewel located in Hong Kong’s New Territories.
  3. Slow down at the Nan Lian Gardens, a Tang dynasty-styled park complete with a gilded pagoda, water mill, and koi pond. This park also contains Chi Lin, arguably the best vegetarian dim sum spot in Hong Kong.
Golden Pavilion of Perfection in Nan Lian Garden, Hong Kong. | Photo by SeanPavonePhoto/iStock via Getty Images
  1. Walk across a tombolo, a natural bridge made from sediment deposited by sea current. Though Hong Kong has a few of these, the most remarkable one is on Sharp Island, a short kaito ride away from Sai Kung Pier. The tombolo is only revealed during low tide, during which time you can cross it to find your own little island on the other side. Look out for “pineapple bun” rocks, characterised by a unique crackly experience just like the delicious Chinese pastry.
  2. Harvest your very own cultivated-in-Hong Kong pearl, and craft an accessory with it. This unique experience isn’t just for jewellery lovers: bring along the whole family for a fascinating education in HK history and ecology.
  3. Attempt to spot the endangered pink dolphin in Tai O, Lantau Island. These elusive creatures are nearly impossible to glimpse as noise from transport keeps them away, but don’t give up without trying!
  4. Explore the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark. This wild geopark reveals a whole new side of the city.
  5. For more geology, amble down to Ma Shi Chau. See (very) old, colourful rocks and various species of birds at this UNESCO-recognised geoheritage site.
Ma Shi Chau | Photo by AN
  1. Take a hike along Dragon’s Back, easily accessible from the city. Enjoy stunning coastal views.
  2. Admire weird rock formations on Tung Ping Chau, Hong Kong’s easternmost island. This is a haven for nature enthusiasts, offering opportunities for hiking, bird-watching, and snorkeling in the surrounding coral-rich waters.

Taking a ride

  1. Ride the Star Ferry across Victoria Harbour and admire the incredible city skyline. The ferry operates routes from Tsim Sha Tsui to Central and Wan Chai, and vice versa
The iconic Star Ferry in Victoria Harbour. | Photo by CHUNYIP WONG/iStockphoto via Getty Images
  1. Hop on the ding ding, Hong Kong Island’s slow-and-steady tram and an icon of the city. Tour neighbourhoods from Shau Kei Wan to Kennedy Town at a leisurely pace for just HK$3.00 per ride.
  2. Sail off into the sunset on the Aqua Luna, a traditional Chinese junk and the most stylish way to cruise around the harbour.
  1. Embark on a ferry trip down to Cheung Chau, a popular daytrip destination famed for its annual Bun Festival. From picturesque hikes to specialty snacks such as massive fish balls and mango mochi, get away from the city while making very little effort.
  2. Explore Hong Kong’s top attractions at your own pace with the Big Bus Tour. With a choice of routes, you can hop on and off to visit landmarks such as Victoria Peak, Stanley Market, and the Star Ferry, making it an ideal way to sightsee.
  3. Get around using Hong Kong’s notorious minibuses, the most unruly of the city’s many public transport options. But in all seriousness, minibuses can sometimes be the fastest way to get from point A to B. Find route information here.
  4. Take the TramOramic Tour. This one-hour sightseeing journey takes place aboard a unique 1920s-style tram with an open-top upper deck.
  5. Trundle up to Victoria Peak on the new and improved Peak Tram.
Photo by Peak Tram Company Limited
  1. Scale the heights of Central and Mid-Levels using the iconic Mid-Levels Escalators, the world’s longest outdoor covered escalator system, opened in 1993. One of the top free things to do in Central, an otherwise pricey locale.
  2. Island hop in scenic Sai Kung using kaito. These mini ferries allow you to whiz from one gorgeous island to the next at your convenience, and at low prices.
Photo by CHUNYIP WONG/E+ via Getty Images
  1. Ride the cable car from Tung Chung to Ngong Ping. Catch glimpses of the Po Lin Monastery and Big Buddha.
  2. Take a sampan ride and explore Aberdeen’s floating village. Glide through the tranquil waters, passing by an enchanting landscape of fishing junks and houseboats (R.I.P. Jumbo).
  3. Pay a visit to Shenzhen, Hong Kong’s sister city in Guangdong, accessible via train.
  4. Fast-track your journey to Macau with a speedy ferry, car, bus or chopper ride.
One of Macau’s iconic landmarks. | Photo by Sean3810/iStock via Getty Images

Fun, games, and entertainment

  1. Have a ball at Hong Kong’s biggest theme park, Disneyland! With plenty of rides and amazing family-friendly hotels, this is a must-visit especially for Disney fans.
  2. Learn to play the enigmatic and ancient game of mahjong, and get your very own customised tile set at one of Hong Kong’s last few handmade mahjong shops.
  3. Discover the magic of Ocean Park Hong Kong, home to exhilarating rides and marine marvels. Read our guide to make the most of your trip.
Hong Kong Disneyland
Photo by Hong Kong Disneyland
  1. Lounge on one of Hong Kong’s many beautiful beaches.
  2. Attend a music festival. From regional heavyweights like Clockenflap to charity-driven events like Lamma Fun Day, get a taste of local and international music in the S.A.R.
Photo by Kitmin Lee
  1. Catch a horse race at the Happy Valley Racecourse, a world-class racing venue. Whether you’re a horse-racing aficionado or not, it’s worth it to come here just to experience the energy and atmosphere.
  2. Experience the thrill of the Hong Kong Sevens, where rugby takes center stage in a carnival of excitement and camaraderie. Watch as world-class teams compete with lightning speed and precision on the pitch. Join the lively crowd, enjoy the vibrant costumes, and immerse yourself in the high-spirited atmosphere. Get your tickets early!
  3. Peek at mesmerising jellyfish at Cube O Discovery Park. An excellent, family-friendly pick especially on rainy days.

Suggested Activity
Online Japanese lessons for Beginners - only $65/month
Join the WeLearn community and get a month free trial. You can join lessons and events as much as you want for only $65HKD (¥1,100JPY) a month.
  1. Enthrall your senses with a Cantonese Opera show. This cultural treasure deeply rooted in the history of southern China is known for its elaborate costumes, music, and stylized performances. The Xiqu Centre often hosts showcases that break down the art and science of this captivating art form.
  2. Party it up on the Party Tram. Dance and enjoy the city’s vibrant nightlife while taking in the dazzling views.

Shopping

  1. Get yourself a customised umbrella with a lifetime warranty (truly!) from Leung So Kee, a historic umbrella shop with its own Wikipedia page! You’ll want a sturdy umbrella for Hong Kong’s many bad weather days.
  2. Head to the Ladies’ Market, a one-kilometer stretch of stalls vending all sorts of kitschy items to remember your time in Hong Kong. This is cheap souvenirs central.
  3. Polish your bargaining skills at Temple Street Night Market, a great place to purchase affordable souvenirs such as Chinese-style bags and purses, chopstick sets, teapots, t-shirts, magnets and wall hangings. This is a foodie hotspot too, so give our guide a read before you go.
Temple Street Night Market
Temple Street Night Market is the largest night market in Hong Kong | Photo by iStock.com/Rob Atherton
  1. For crafts supplies on a budget, you’ll want to head straight to Sham Shui Po. Home to various streets selling items like buttons, zippers, fabric and more both wholesale and retail, this is the perfect place to stock up before your next big Pinterest project.
  2. Not on the lookout for crafting supplies? No worries! The up-and-coming district of Sham Shui Po is also renowned for the Golden Computer Centre and Arcade, a subterranean, Cheapo-friendly marketplace for all things tech.
  3. Go searching for yesteryear gear at Hong Kong’s various thrift and vintage shops. As one of Asia’s premier shopping meccas, you’ll find an abundance of quirky clothes, jewellery, and more.
Pedestrians walking over a busy crosswalk in Hong Kong. | Photo by Nikada/iStockphoto via Getty Images
  1. If you find yourself in Hong Kong during Lunar New Year, you’ll quickly realise that it’s a time for families to get together and businesses to take a break. However, Lunar New Year markets pop up, boasting a panoply of flowers, food, and novelty items.
  2. While we’re on the topic of traditional markets, don’t miss Kowloon’s goldfish, bird, and flower markets. See our handy guide.
hong kong shopping
Goldfish Market | Photo by Chris Kirkland
  1. Roam around Central Market. The recently renovated market now plays host to a range of boutiques, restaurants, bars, and more.
  2. Stroll through the trendy lanes of Star Street Precinct in Wan Chai, an enclave of boutique shops, charming art galleries, and cozy cafés.
  3. Hong Kong’s events calendar abounds in art events. Attend one for yourself, and grab a piece. Hong Kong Cheapo recommends: Affordable Art Fair, a unique event focused on making art accessible to all.
  4. Where does Hong Kong get its name? Known as the “Fragrant Harbour”, the city was once a major trading port for incense. Purchase handmade incense or even try out some DIY at the Hong Kong Incense Company.
Photo by E-wild/iStock via Getty Images

Treatments

  1. After all that walking you’ll invariably do in Hong Kong, treat yourself to a Shanghai pedicure. A skilled professional will take various knives to your feet, shaving off calluses like slivers of parmesan. Not widely practiced anymore, this is one beauty treatment you’ll want to try in the S.A.R. Hong Kong Cheapo recommends: Happy Foot in Wan Chai.
  2. If you’re suffering from aches and pains (or simply want a thrill), try out acupuncture. As a hub for Traditional Chinese Medicine, Hong Kong is home to plenty of reasonably priced clinics with English-speaking practitioners.

And for anyone with a London or Tokyo trip on the horizon, check our 101 free things to do in London and 101 fun and interesting things to do in Tokyo on our sister sites, London Cheapo and Tokyo Cheapo respectively.

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out the rest of our website. We’re dedicated to making your time in Hong Kong the best it can possibly be.