Top 10 Things To Do In Hong Kong - Recommended By A Local

By Rachel Yu A self-professed Hong Kong foodie who loves exploring the parts of the city most tourists don’t even know exist.

|Edited by Elodi Troskie

For me, Hong Kong is a condensed version of other major Asian cities – pretty small, but it still offers everything you could possibly look for in a city. And my favorite part? The food! Hong Kong is a food paradise, and exploring the vibrant street food scene of Hong Kong is one of the first things I’d recommend to visitors. But we also have incredible places to shop, and for those interested in the culture and history of Hong Kong you can explore the museums, war villages and old parts of the city. If you enjoy the outdoors, you’ll have more than enough options for daytime activities, some of which will also take you a little outside of the city too. It’s something most people like to say about their city, but thanks to its compact size and unique culture, Hong Kong really does have something for every kind of traveler. Here are my top 10 recommendations for the best things to do in Hong Kong.

Explore Hong Kong’s Street Food

There is no better way to kickstart your trip to Hong Kong than by trying local street food dishes. Kwai Chung Plaza, a street food market located in the New Territories region of Hong Kong, is where you’ll find all the local favorites – and a few more unlikely ones! Most visitors head to Mong Kok immediately and miss out on the hidden gem that is Kwai Chung Plaza. A few must eat street food dishes are curry fish balls, siu mai ( a fish-filled floury snack), cheung fun (rolled steamed rice noodle sheets) and fried squid tentacles. A few more uncommon street side snacks you’ll find here are deep-fried ice cream and strawberry cream crepes – the perfect sweet treat. Kwai Chung Plaza is open every day from 10:00 until 22:00.

Try Local Dim Sum

Dim sum is one of my favorite foods in Hong Kong. This Chinese bite-size snack comes in many forms and can be enjoyed at any time of the day. Most commonly it’s served at brunch or tea-time. A few classics are barbequed pork and rice paper rolls. Because it’s such a characteristic food of Hong Kong, you can find good dim sum at most restaurants and cafes. If you’re looking for budget-eats, try One Dim Sum in Prince Edward Street, which is open until 12 AM seven days a week, or Dim Sum Icon on Nathan Rd, which is open from 11:00 to 23:00 seven days a week.  Both are very affordable and popular among locals. There is also Jade Garden is a mid-range (but still very affordable) Chinese restaurant located next to the Star Ferry terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui. Another good recommendation just 8km away is Duddell’s, a Cantonese restaurant in the city center who also have art exhibitions from time to time.

 

 

Visit Mong Kok

Mong Kok is a massive shopping area in Hong Kong and can keep you busy for hours. Don’t be intimidated by the chaos – these bustling streets are a great place to get acquainted with the locals’ way of living in Hong Kong. You can find just about anything in Mong Kok. Clothes, jewelry, cosmetics, electronics, houseware… you name it! There are entire streets dedicated to only one item. And of course, there is no shortage of food stalls. Head to Dundas Street, Soy Street and Yuen Street for the best street food hawkers in the district. There is also plenty of nightlife activities at Mong Kok, like a selection of world-class restaurants and cocktail bars and the nearby Temple Street Night Market, a bustling night make that runs daily from 17:00 to 23:00. Named after the Tin Hau temple located in the center of its main drag, this lively market offers everything from food to electronics and antiques. Remember to bring cash if you want to do some shopping

Have A Beach Day

When you picture Hong Kong, what probably comes to mind are crowded streets, skyscrapers and luxury urban shopping malls. But if you need an escape from the busy city life, a day at the beach is exactly what you need. Hong Kong has more than 700 kilometers of coastline with about 100 beaches and almost 300 surrounding islands to choose from! Perhaps the best-known beach in Hong Kong is Shek O, a laid-back family-friendly beach only 25 minutes away from central Hong Kong. To get there, catch the MTR Island Line to Shau Kei Wan Station exit A3. Then take number 9 bus from nearby Shau Kei Wan Bus Terminus. That said, there is much more to Hong Kong’s beach life than Shek O! Turtle Cove in Tai Tam is a beautiful white sand beach surrounded by greenery and hidden away from the tourist crowds. This beach is pretty much free of crowds and there is very little aside from its sweeping beauty, so just make sure you pack your own food and drinks as there are no vendors or shops nearby. To get there, catch a junk boat from the Aberdeen Waterfront or hop on to the MTR train to Sai Wan Ho, then catch Bus 14. 

See Hong Kong By Ferry

Depending on where you’re from, a ferry ride might be quite an unusual experience for you! Taking a ferry in Hong Kong is not only a convenient and affordable way to get around but is also a unique way to see beautiful harbors. Back in the day, the ferry used to be the only way to travel between Hong Kong and nearby ports like Kowloon and Macau, but it remains a popular tourist activity despite the world-class infrastructure that now connects all these harbors. Hong Kong’s Star Ferry is rated highly by travel companies and publications like National Geographic – well worth trying out! Star Ferry will take you to must-see locations surrounding Hong Kong like Lantau Island, Cheung Chau Island, Lamma Island and Tsim Sha Tsu. You can book your ticket online or you can purchase it at the Harbour/Water Tour ticket counter at the Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry Pier. Just make sure you don't leave it until the last minute because ticket counters stop selling tickets 10 minutes prior to each departure.

Explore Hong Kong By Tram

The historical Hong Kong tram is one of the oldest forms of public transport and remains an integral part of Hong Kong’s transport system after about 130 years of service. There are certainly faster ways of getting around the city, but exploring Hong Kong by tram is a cultural experience like no other, and a great way to immerse yourself in the day-to-day lives of locals who still make use of the tram for commuting to and from work. At less than 3 HK$ per ride, this is a budget-friendly way to sightsee Hong Kong! City tours are available on board of these 1920’s-style open roof trams, taking you to all the must-see attractions in Hong Kong. There are six main routes that run between Kennedy Town and Shau Kei Wan daily, which are operated by Hong Kong Tramway. Just make sure you carry the right amount of cash because there is no change available on board. If you’re wondering what to do in Hong Kong when traveling with kids, this is a great way to keep them entertained. Definitely one of the coolest things to do in Hong Kong.

Visit Tai Kwung

If you don’t know what to do in Hong Kong, a trip to Tai Kwung is always a good bet. Located in Hollywood Road, Tai Kwung is the former Central Police Station of Hong Kong that has now been converted into a shopping destination with lots of cool cultural activities. This is my favorite historic place in Hong Kong! If you only have one or two days in Hong Kong, I definitely recommend putting a few hours aside to explore the museums, art galleries and theatres in Tai Kwung. Open daily from 10 to 23:00, you will find art expos features throughout the week and if you visit during the weekend, you can catch a live music show or theatre performance. There is no admission to enter Tai Kwung, but visitors are encouraged to purchase a Tai Kwung pass to help preserve the heritage of this historic district.

Get The Best City Views From The Peak

Victoria Peak is the highest hill on the island of Hong Kong. This is one of the best spots to visit in Hong Kong! You can spend a whole afternoon strolling along the Peak Circle Walk and enjoying the incredible views from the different lookout points. To get to the top of The Peak, you can take the tram that run from the Peak Tram Lower Terminus. If you plan on spending some time in the area, buy a Peak Tram Sky Pass (HK$99 return or HK$84 single), which will cover your ride back down and get you some discount on many other Peak experiences, like visiting The Peak Galleria- a shopping complex located at Victoria Gap near the summit of Victoria Peak on Hong Kong Island. There are a few restaurants on The Peak – perfect for getting cocktails while watching the sun go down over the city.

Experience Nightlife In Kowloon

Kowloon is a neighborhood in the northern part of Hong Kong. This is the best area to go in Hong Kong at night with its massive shopping scene and diverse arts and entertainment scene. Nathan Road is the major shopping street where you’ll find a multitude of shops and traditional markets selling locally sourced products and all the must eat Chinese street food dishes. Kowloon is home to a number of Hong Kong’s famous cultural attractions like the Hong Kong Museum of Art, the Cultural Centre and the Osage Kwun Tong. Exploring the performance art scene in Kowloon is a must do activity in Hong Kong. Head to Sai Yeung Choi Street, where you can watch music and theatre performances by the street artists who bring this area to life at night.

 

 

Explore New Territories

New Territories is one of the three main districts of Hong Kong – a must visit. I recommend spending at least half a day in this area exploring its wetlands, parks and mountains. New Territories, which you can get to via metro or bus, has many preserved historic and cultural sites as well as beautiful natural landscapes. If you enjoy hiking as much as I do, you’ll love the unspoiled hiking trails and undeveloped beaches here! Also located in this district is the Hong Kong Unesco Global Geopark, a must visit attraction in Hong Kong. You can book a guided tour of the park or explore it by yourself. If you’re interested in learning about the history and heritage of Hong Kong, visit the walled villages of Sha Tau Kok, which lies 11km northeast of Fanling. This 400 hectares of land was sealed off from the rest of Hong Kong in 1951. If that is not your vibe you could also visit the villages of Sheung Shui, Fanling and Yeun Long, where guided tours are available on Sundays.

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