The minute I touched down on Hong Kong island, I fell in love with the city. The atmosphere from the backstreet hustle and bustle around the stores, and the calm tranquil ambience of the harbour and surrounding parks, had me hooked from the start. If you’re heading over to the pearl of the South China sea, here are 8 things to do in Hong Kong that I totally recommend.
Victoria Peak was absolutely breathtaking once I got up to the summit. Maybe it was the fact that I accidentally hiked to the peak totally unprepared – I thought it was going to be a casual stroll through the park but oh boy was I wrong. I didn’t even have water, but when I reached the top – hot, sweaty and tired – I couldn’t believe the view stretching out in front of me.
I went to the highest point of Victoria Peak – not the viewing deck of the Sky Terrace, but a natural platform at the end of a walking trail, which I would encourage doing. I must have spent a good 30 minutes up there with no one around. I was able to peacefully take in the views and snap some pictures.
You can either choose to hike up to the view point, passing through Lung Fu Shan Country Park. On the way, you’ll come across joggers, dog walkers and cyclists. The park itself makes you feel as though you’ve left the city and entered a jungle.
Or you can take the famous Peak Tram. The Peak tram is around $99 (HKD) for a return and you’ll be sure to see stunning views of the city as it climbs the mountain.
Hong Kong Beaches
Lamma Island was an unexpected pleasure for me when exploring Hong Kong’s surrounding islands. Boasting a beautiful beach, fishing village and lined with restaurants selling fresh seafood, I contemplated staying on the island for a few days to really absorb the peaceful ambiance. Once you’ve left the boat docked at the pier you’ll find a map of the island listing 9 things to do on your visit.
Hong Kong Skyline
The Hong Kong skyline built along the harbour, and against a mountainous backdrop, was one of the most stunning sights in Hong Kong. On the walk along the harbour you can take in this beautiful scenery.
You can also see the crisp, clear blue water, natives seated along the open steps threading worms onto their fishing rods, and fleets of boats sailing past, carrying either passengers or importing/exporting goods. It’s fascinating to see how a community interacts with a river in the modern age.
Want to experience a path lined with 10,000 unique golden faces along every step up the Po Fook hill in the Sha Tin region of Hong Kong? Ten Thousand Buddha Monastery is a must visit in Hong Kong. I’d never experienced anything like this before, being greeted by a different Buddha in a different position at every step.
After leaving the Sha Tin MTR station and walking through the back roads, cutting through a court yard lined with clean laundry hanging on a washing line, children playing and a small outdoor restaurant serving people, the Ten Thousand Buddha Monastery slowly became visible.
Sitting high up the mountain the red paintwork boldly broke through the surrounding overgrown trees. The walk up to this Monastery isn’t easy, especially if you’ve spend the morning hiking to Victoria Peak like I did.
I was so badly prepared that day it’s laughable and almost embarrassing! But once you get up there you’ll be greeted by a colourful monastery, many smaller places to worship, and if you’re lucky monkeys playing and swinging in the trees.
Temple Street Night Markets
South-East Asia is known for large markets. By visiting the Temple Street Night Market you’ll not only find stalls selling everything from clothing to gadgets, with street food and small bright stores lining the edges, but you’ll also be experiencing Hong Kong’s last ever night market.
Experience the hustle and bustle as people banter for a cheaper price, listen to the vendors shouting after you, and walk away with something truly memorable from your time in Hong Kong. The easiest way to get to the Temple Street Night Markets is to use the MTR and exit at Jordan Street.
Hong Kong Lantau Island
Lantau Island is home to the famous Tian Tan Buddha, also known as The Big Buddha, and the Ngong Ping 360 cable car. I spent an entire day exploring the island and felt like a day just wasn’t enough. There is so much to do on Lantau! If you’re like me and want to stop and take pictures of everything, then I would recommend getting there as early as possible to make the most of the day.
Lantau Island was breathtaking, from the natural wonders that can be seen on route up the mountain on a the cable car, to the impeccable designs and details carved and painted on and in the Monastery. At every turn there was something new.
As well as the Tian Tan Buddha, you’ll be able to walk around the Po Lin Monastery, Tai O village and the Wisdom Path. There are a number of tours you can book when you buy your cable car ticket that will ensure you get to see all parts of the island, or you can go alone and take your time to see whatever interests you.
Hong Kong Ferries
You don’t have to book a cruise to hop on board one of Hong Kong’s many boats. A lot of the ferries leaving from the Central Ferry Pier are for use of the general public, taking everyone to and from the mainland and to the cluster of surrounding islands. I actually used these ferries to go to both Lantau Island and Lamma Island.
Kam Shan Country Park
Known in Hong Kong as Monkey Hill, it’s not just a normal country park. Consisting of 339 hectares, situated in the Sha Tin District, it’s the place to go for those wishing to see Macaque monkeys in their natural habitat swinging through the trees. You may also stumble upon old World War II remains, see native flora, and hear the song of the many birds who call this country park home.
Hong Kong quickly became one of my favourite places. Watching the sunset above my hotel rooftop, the older generation exercising in and around the small parks, and the laughs and chatter of the millennials, I’ll be back to explore more of this city one day.