I spent around four months in the city that never blinks. It was an intense, overwhelming and life changing experience. I didn’t always love the crowds, buildings and lack of nature, but I did find many wonderful activities and get-aways within the city.
These are my top 10 things to do in Hong Kong:
- The Flower Market
Visiting the Mong Kok Flower Market was one of my favourite weekend activities. There was something so calming about being amongst trees, plants and flowers, then returning to my apartment with large blooms of roses, gerberas, sunflowers and peonies.
Located beside the Mong Kok Stadium, the Flower Market is jam packed with street stalls and large air-conditioned stores – perfect for cooling down on humid days. The quaint back streets between the market are also great for cooling down and getting away from the crowds.
Don’t leave without buying a butter, pineapple bun from one of the bakeries on Prince Edward Road before you go (just trust me, they’re amazing!).
Closest MTR station: Prince Edward
2. The Peak
Yes it’s touristy and crowded, but the view is incredible! Really! It’s rare to see such an incredible view of a city, contrasted with the surrounding nature. The best part of all – it’s free!
Don’t leave without walking the 360 walk to get panorama views of the city and surrounding area.
If you’re feeling super energetic and keen to sweat (a lot), The Peak is accessible via a hike from Hatton Road (and other locations). Otherwise you can get there by taxi, bus, or the tram from Garden Road.
3. Big Wave Bay
I don’t love all of Hong Kong’s beaches, if I’m honest. In fact, it’s not uncommon to find rubbish and grime floating on the surface as you swim (nearby Shek O, is a good example!) Big Wave Bay, however, has surprisingly clean water and a refreshingly quiet beach. Like other beaches, there is an area for barbecuing and a number of stores for beach purchases and food.
It’s accessible via Taxi or Bus, and certainly worth the trip.
4. Lamma Island
Lamma Island is the perfect city escape. Its a 30-40 minute ferry ride from Hong Kong Island and yet you could swear you were a long haul flight from any signs of city life. The island is an eclectic mix of fishing boats, seafood restaurants, cute cafes, and tiny stores. To my surprise I even managed to find a completely private beach – it was unthinkable that I was less than an hour from Hong Kong chaos!
The island is small enough to explore by foot, but bicycles are common too.
Ferries to Lamma leave from Aberdeen and the Central Piers.
5. Mui Wo
Mui Wo is a super cute town on Lantau Island. It’s a short ferry ride from the Central Piers and offers another escape from city life. Silver Mine Bay Beach is large, quiet and perfect for a day of relaxing. The town is also great for exploring through quaint grassy pathways, small village like settlements and there’s even a waterfall.
6. The Star Ferry
It’s touristy, slow and slightly inconvenient to get to, but it’s definitely worth the trip – especially in the dark. Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour lights up like a Christmas tree at night and the Star Ferry, or Avenue of Stars are the places to be to see it. If, like me, you get overwhelmed by crowds, this view will remind you why you moved to HK in the first place.
Closest station: Wan Chai (from Hong Kong Island) and East Tsum Sha Tsui (from Kowloon).
7. The Big Buddha and the Po Lin Monastery
Because you can’t go to Hong Kong and not visit the Big Buddha! The Big Buddha, really is a Big Buddha, it’s also free to visit (although the cable car does cost, of course). The nearby Po Lin Monastery is both peaceful and impressive. You can see photos from my visit here.
Nearest MTR station: Tung Chung. Then take the Cable Car, or a bus to the Buddha.
8. Ten Thousand Buddha Monastery
A lesser known monastery, The Ten Thousand Buddha Monastery, is a worthwhile day trip from the city. Covered, in buddhas, as you would expect, the grounds are peaceful, beautiful and offer great views, once you reach the top of a very long series of steps – take water, you’ll need it.
More information for visiting here.
9. Wander Sheung Wan’s Street’s at night
Sheung Wan is a local and interesting area on the Western side of Hong Kong Island. It just so happened that I was lucky enough to find an apartment there. One of my favourite and quick, outings, was wandering the streets of Sheung Wan at night. After around 9pm the streets are refreshingly quiet and slightly cooler than during the day. The dimly lit and often carless streets are very safe (use common sense of course) and interesting to explore. I loved ending a trip by walking down to the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park for a walk along the waterfront.
Nearest MTR Station: Sheung Wan
10. Visit the Ritz-Carlton Lounge & Bar in the ICC Tower
Most people head straight for OZONE atop the ICC Tower, but for a more relaxed, laid back feel, go down a couple of floors to The Lounge & Bar. I spent my final night in the city here, and it was one of my favourite Hong Kong moments. The views of Hong Kong Island are incredible and the chocolate cake is to die for.
Nearest MTR Station: Kowloon
Until next time,
Safe travels xx