top places to visit in hong kong

Don’t Miss! Top Places to Visit in Hong Kong

There are so many places to visit in Hong Kong, that planning a trip to Hong Kong can be difficult; especially if you are limited on time.  That’s why we’re here to help!  Overall, deciding what to do in Hong Kong really depends on how much time you have, your vacation budget, and what your top interests are.

So after many trips to Hong Kong, we’ve put together some of our favorite things to do in Hong Kong, as well as some of the top must-see Hong Kong tourist attractions.  We hope that this will help you to plan your trip to one of our most favorite places to visit, Hong Kong, and ensure that you don’t miss out on anything.


“Must See” Places to Visit in Hong Kong

Even though Hong Kong is a relatively small place, planning a trip there can be overwhelming…especially if are trying to pack a lot in.  So let’s first talk about those top rated “must-see” attractions that we really think all visitors should check out during a visit to Hong Kong.  Don’t miss these!

Victoria Harbor

This famous harbor is the hub of busy life in Hong Kong.  Taking a cruise of Victoria Harbor in the day is fairly inexpensive and is a cool way to get great pics of the city.   But why take a normal boat when you can instead take a cruise of the harbor on a Chinese Junk Boat!

At night, you definitely want to return to Victoria Harbor to check out the famous Hong Kong skyline, as well as watching the Symphony of Lights — a FREE Hong Kong light show!  You can view the show all along the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade, or another way to see the light show and get some great pics from all angles is to relax on a night cruise of Victoria Harbor.

josh at victoria harbour hong kong

The Peak Lookout

For the best views over Hong Kong, The Peak is a must visit.  This observatory built up on the mountain above the Central District on Hong Kong Island is one of the most popular of all Hong Kong tourist attractions…but it’s a must.  While it’s possible to get there by taxi or even hiking (we’ve hiked down…not up – it’s brutal!) the most popular way to get to The Peak is by the original funicular car!

Hearkening back to the old days of Hong Kong, riding this old funicular tram is an experience all it’s own…with it’s super steep angle of ascent.  The lines can get long for tickets.  So it’s great if you can get your tickets in advance, especially if they are included in a day Hong Kong tour package – that will give you the most bang for your buck and save you a lot of time!

Views of Hong Kong at night from the top of The Peak lookout.
Views of Hong Kong at night from the top of The Peak lookout.

The Big Buddha on Lantau Island

It’s a shame that many visitors to Hong Kong only stay in the city, when in fact, there are MANY beautiful sights outside the city of Hong Kong.  Many people are surprised to learn just how much beautiful countryside there is in Hong Kong…it’s more than just a big city with skyscrapers!  There are actually many tranquil islands and beaches of Hong Kong that few visitors experience.  And one of the coolest sights to be seen in Hong Kong is actually on Lantau Island, the biggest island in Hong Kong.

Lantau Island

The Big Buddha is located up high in the mountains, overlooking the sea below.  It’s perched up there right by the colorful Po Lin Monastery.  Ngong Ping tourist village is located near the Buddha and monastery.  Here you can find a number of restaurants and shops displaying souvenir crafts and Chinese artwork.  There is also a cable car, for the most extreme views of the area, which connects the high mountain village with the MTR line at Tung Chung.

There’s quite a lot to see on Lantau Island (like the famous stilt fishing village of Tai O), and it’s a bit of a trek from the city center of Hong Kong.  To save yourself time and headaches navigating your way, you might want to consider a day tour of Lantau Island.

Other Top Things to do in Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Big Bus Tour

While we don’t typically do the tourist buses when we travel, we have to admit that we LOVED the Hong Kong Big Bus Tour!  We did this tour last year because even though I had been to Hong Kong before on my own solo journey, Josh had never been.  We were short on time (only visiting Hong Kong for a weekend) and Josh really wanted to see as much as possible.  So the Big Bus tour was a great option!

We actually purchased the 48 hour Deluxe Hong Kong Bus Tour, and it also included some short day cruises, as well as our Peak Tram transportation ticket.  It was a great deal and we had a blast riding around, relaxing with the fresh air and having a bit of audio narration.

Listening to audio tour on Big Bus Tour - Peanuts or Pretzels
Enjoying the nice weather and audio guide as we ride around Hong Kong on the Big Bus Tour!

Visit the Famous Shopping Markets in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is Famous for Shopping.  In fact, there are many Hong Kong shopping markets to explore. Even if you don’t want to buy much, it’s fun to explore these vibrant marketplaces to get a feel for the local culture, and browse some of the unique items.  While street markets are everywhere in Hong Kong, the biggest concentration tends to be on the Kowloon side, especially in the Mong Kong area and nearby.

A great option to save yourself some time trying to find all these different markets (some of them are a bit hidden), and for a unique window into the culture and history behind the markets, you may want to look into a Kowloon Market Walking Tour!  Places like the Gold Fish Market, Flower Market, Ladies Market, and so many others will make for a busy day of exploring.

fruit & flowers
Flower markets in Hong Kong

Food, Culture & History Hong Kong Tours

For travelers interested in Hong Kong’s food, culture, and history, check out some of the specific topic-based day tours.   We’ve found that while you can read about these things in a book, having a guide will really bring it to life for you and give you the chance to ask questions while also chatting with fellow travelers who share your interests.

Hong Kong Food Tour

Food is one of the best ways to connect with a culture! This Hong Kong food tour takes you around some of the most famous streets for food in Hong Kong, allowing you to sample as you go.  Taste the legendary egg tarts, learn how to prepare the famous milk tea, and sample authentic Chinese dim sum!

Actually, Dim Sum is a pretty big topic to tackle.  But if you are mostly interested in Dim Sum, one of the most famous types of foods in Hong Kong, then you may even consider checking out a specific food tour, “the Dim Sum Experience” where you can dine with others and learn all about Cantonese culture, eating traditions…and maybe even learn a bit of Cantonese too!

Kowloon Culture and Life

There are some impressive cultural sights around the Kowloon area of Hong Kong.  We particularly love the Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden!  But with so many hidden places that are tucked away, it’s a good idea to have someone guide you through it, and give you the background history. 

The Nan Lian Gardens in Hong Kong are breathtaking to for a stroll.
The Nan Lian Gardens in Hong Kong are breathtaking to for a stroll.

Hong Kong Tourist Attractions For Those Who Love to Learn!

Learn All About the Art of Feng Shui

Feng Shui is fascinating to me.  I remember during my first visit to Hong Kong I was able to meet with a Feng Shui master for a short hour long class. I still have my notes, and really wished that I had the chance to meet with him longer.  

Home Cooking Class and Wet Market Tour

For me, some of my best memories of traveling have to do with the food.  Just thinking about the unique smells, tastes and textures brings me back to that place.  It’s even better if you an actually learn how to create these dishes back at home because then you can make that nostalgic feeling seem real again!  That’s why we enjoy taking cooking classes when we travel.  This particular home cooking class and wet market tour in Hong Kong takes you through some of the bustling food markets around town, and also teaches you how to prepare 2-3 traditional Chinese dishes!

Hong Kong Market

Hong Kong Attractions for the Outdoor / Adventure Lover

Hike the Famous Dragon’s Back Trail

Many people don’t realize that Hong Kong is actually an outdoor paradise!  They love the outdoors here, and there are so many hiking trails and outdoor activities all over Hong Kong.  One of the most famous hiking trails is the Dragon’s Back trail.  Feel free to hike it on your own, but be prepared…it’s not for the casual hiker – it’s pretty serious.  You may also opt to take a guided hike along the Dragon’s Back Trail too.

Search for the Famous Pink Dolphins

Yes, they are pink.  The Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins are endangered but live off the coast of some of Hong Kong’s islands.  From Tai-O village you can take a conservation pink dolphin tour to teach you about these unique creatures allow you to see them in their natural environment.

Walking Tour of Cheng Chau Island

Hong Kong is actually made up of many islands.  And one of the most popular for weekend getaways from the busy city is Cheng Chau.  Famous for it’s “bun festival” each year, you can explore the island on your own or opt for a guided walking tour of the unique sights around the island.

Sunset over Lantau Island
Heading back after a day on the Islands of Hong Kong!

The Hidden Beaches of Sai Kung & Speed Boat Adventure!

The Sai Kung peninsula is truly a secluded place.  This protected area is quite remote, with no roads leading there…so you will have to hike in or arrive by boat.  The area is home to incredible views of the ocean, beaches, mountains, and waterfalls.  It is helpful to have a guide, especially if you aren’t familiar with the area.

The great thing about taking this hiking tour to Sai Kung is that you can hike in and depart by speed boat – giving you a whole different perspective of the diverse nature in this area…and an exciting adventure!

Popular Day Trips from Hong Kong

Even though there are so many things to do in Hong Kong, you should also consider taking a day trip from Hong Kong to some of these unique and interesting destinations:

Macau Day Trips from Hong Kong

We LOVE Macau!  Honestly, we cannot say enough good things about it.  During our first trip to Macau we were actually surprised at how much there was to do, so much so that we returned less than a month later for a second visit!  Yes, casinos are there…but we learned there is MUCH more to Macau than casinos.  The food in Macau alone is worth the trip!

While we would recommend spending a few days in this former Portuguese territory, we realize that’s it’s just not possible for travelers on a tight schedule.  So for visitors to Hong Kong, we highly recommend taking a day trip to Macau so that you can see and do as much as possible in a short time.  The boat ride from Hong Kong to Macau is short, roughly one hour.  And most travelers don’t need any kind of visa to visit Macau — so it’s really a great day trip experience.

St Pauls Ruins in Macau
St Pauls Ruins in Macau

Visit Shenzhen China from Hong Kong

China is only now becoming a real international tourist destination.  While many travelers are curious about visiting China, it can be overwhelming…especially the process for getting a visa to visit China!  However, if you go on a group tour day trip from Hong Kong to Shenzhen, China then you can get a flavor for China without those headaches.  Shenzhen is actually a booming city just over the border from Hong Kong.

** NOTE:  If you want to visit China from Hong Kong you MUST have a visa OR go on a group tour like this.

Deciding on the Places to Visit in Hong Kong During Your Trip

The biggest problem with planning a trip is deciding which places to visit and things to do in the short amount of time you have (there never seems to be enough).  We hope that these recommendations have helped you get an idea of the things to do in Hong Kong and what types of activities you might be interested in the most.  While many activities can be done on your own, some activities will be more interesting if you go with a day tour and a group…plus, they will save you time and you don’t have to stress about anything.

Lastly, there are some “must see” places to visit in Hong Kong that are much more convenient if you have the ticket ahead of time — like The Peak tram ticket.  With limited time, you definitely don’t want to spend an hour in line.  (Note:  This is also true for the Ngong Ping Cable car on Lantau Island — we were just there 2 weeks ago and the line to buy tickets was an hour long!).

Thanks for reading and have fun planning your trip to Hong Kong!

Resources (Including Sample Itineraries) to Help Plan Your Trip to Hong Kong

visit hong kong travel guide

If you are still trying to plan your trip to Hong Kong, then definitely check out our complete Hong Kong Travel Guide!  Check out the interactive map as well as all of our stories about our favorite things to do in Hong Kong, including activity reviews (in detail), recommended hotels, transportation, and other tips and advice for your visit.

You will also find some sample itineraries for your visit to Hong Kong, as well as templates that you an download and modify to fit your needs.  So definitely check out the Hong Kong Travel Guide!

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