Blessed with an iconic skyline and world-class cuisine, Hong Kong lures travelers in with its stunning terrain, glittering skyscrapers scenic boat rides and bustling markets. A city so full of energy that you’re spoiled for choice in how you spend your days, from shopping and sightseeing to dim sum and Disneyland. Offering a variety of must-see activities, read on to discover our top picks for the best things to do in Hong Kong.
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Admire the view from Victoria Peak
Seeing Hong Kong’s city skyline from Victoria Peak is a must, as the views from the viewing platform are simply stunning. Rising 1,805 feet above sea level, on a clear day you can see Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, Victoria Harbour and Kowloon’s eight mountains. Most travelers take the Peak Tram to reach its summit, as its the world’s steepest funicular railway, while those looking for an adventure can traverse the two-mile-long Peak Circle Walk that winds alongside cliffside paths to Lugard Road lookout.
Ride the Star Ferry
One of Hong Kong highlight attractions, the Star Ferry transports 20 million passengers across the Victoria Harbour each year. Connecting to the Kowloon Peninsula to Hong Kong Island, this iconic vessel provides a scenic way to explore the city, which allows you to admire the glittering skyline on both sides of the water. Go at night for particularly dazzling views of the lit up buildings as you float along the calm waters, or hop on one of the hour-long tours of Victoria Harbour.
Explore the street markets
You’d be amiss if you didn’t spend some time in Hong Kong exploring its vibrant street markets, as these shopping frenzies bursts with activity as vendors display an array of unique goods. The Ladies Market boasts more than 100 stalls selling a variety of bargain clothes and accessories, the Temple Street Night Market sells everything from trinkets and teaware to watches and seafood, while antiques can be picked up at Cat Street and there are also markets that are dedicated to goldfish, flowers, birds and jade.
Watch the Symphony of Lights at Victoria Harbour
While the Victoria Harbour is a dazzling attraction on its own, come evening it is a mesmerizing display of color at the famous Symphony of Lights. This multimedia show is put on every night, which features a soundtrack performed by the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, and has been recognized as one of the world’s most spectacular light shows. Before the show, you can take a stroll along Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade to admire the skyline or visit the Hong Kong Cultural Centre or Hong Kong Space Museum.
Relax in Nan Lian Garden
When you need respite from the city bustle, head to Nan Lian Garden to enjoy the nine-acre oasis that is tucked amongst the skyscrapers. Modeled after the style of the Tang Dynasty, you’ll find traditional Chinese architecture and landscaping alongside peaceful pathways, lotus ponds and manicured trees. The views from here are spectacular where you can gaze at the soaring mountain range as the garden’s backdrop, and when you’ve worked up an appetite visit the on-site vegetarian restaurant or teahouse.
See Big Buddha at Lantau Island
Just west of Hong Kong you’ll find Lantau Island, which is home to Tian Tan Buddha, a 202-ton statue of the deity. Nicknamed “Big Buddha”, travelers flock to the island to see the massive bronze statue in all its glory by soaring across the vast landscapes of North Lantau Country Park on the Ngong Ping 360 gondola. Opposite the famous statue is the Po Lin Monastery, one of the Hong Kong’s most important Buddhist sanctums that have been dubbed “the Buddhist World in the South”.
Visit the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery
Built in the 1950s, the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery actually contains around 12,800 miniature statues that line its walls. You’ll discover 500 life-size golden Buddhas as you climb up the 400 steps to reach the temple, while several halls and pavilions and a nine-story pagoda are a feast for the eyes. Overlooking the lush Sha Tin it is one of the most interesting cultural sites in the city, and is also known as “Man Fat Sze”.
Hike the Dragon’s Back
Get out of the city and stretch your legs with a hike to Dragon’s Back. Those who prefer to stay active will enjoy the 31 miles of scenic pathways along the Hong Kong Trail, as it winds through five country parks on Hong Kong Island. The most popular portion of this trail is Dragon’s Back, where you can reach the peak of Shek O Peak and soak up the 360-degree views of the beautiful South China Sea, countryside, beaches and bays.
See wildlife at Ocean Park Hong Kong
One of the most family-friendly attractions in Hong Kong, Ocean Park blends natural scenery along the coastline with a diverse zoo full of pandas and dolphins and thrilling roller coasters and carnival games. Some of the major attractions include Adventures in Australia with furry koalas, Shark Mystique with over a hundred sharks and Polar Adventure with bobsled rides and penguins. See the world’s first 360-degree water screen at Aqua City and giant pandas in Amazing Asian Animals.
Pick a winning horse at Happy Valley Racecourse
Place your bets at Happy Valley Racecourse from September to July, as this weekly event is filled with thousands of residents and visitors enjoying the lively ambiance. Its one of the only places to gamble in the city, but the buzzing atmosphere is worth a visit even if you’re not trying to hit it big. Visit to get a taste of the local passion for racing and watch as fans are armed with racing guides listen to audio commentary and cheer on their favorites.
Take the entire family to Hong Kong Disneyland
Visit the Happiest Place on Earth at Hong Kong Disneyland, where the entire family will be charmed by the non-stop Disney fun. Get an aerial tour of the Hong Kong Stark tower at the Iron Man Experience, see a gigantic X-wing starfighter at Star Wars: Tomorrowland Takeover, or bring the little ones to meet their favorite Disney Princesses at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and be transformed with princess costumes and souvenir photos.