Visiting Hong Kong - the main sights and activities

April 25, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

Travelling around Hong Kong is extremely convenient. With an excellent public transport system, there is no need to consider hiring a car but instead, choose from a variety of local transport options including bus, tram, train (MTR) and taxi. The MTR is particularly convenient and comfortable (all carriages are air conditioned), rapidly covering great distances across Hong Kong. Whichever form of transport you use, it's very useful to have an Octopus card if you are planning on spending a bit of time travelling in Hong Kong. Very similar to the Oyster card in London, you can quickly and efficiently scan your card while using public transport (and can also be used in shops). With most of the main sights being relatively close together, you can really see a lot in a short space of time!

Victoria Peak looking down over Hong KongVictoria Peak looking down over Hong Kong

Victoria Peak

The top sight to see while you are visiting Hong Kong has got to be Victoria Peak. At 552m above sea level, it is the highest point on Hong Kong island and, on the Sky Terrace, you can enjoy fantastic 360 degree panoramic views of Hong Kong, Kowloon Bay, Victoria Harbour and the surrounding islands. While you can get to the Peak via taxi or bus, the best way to travel to the top is by the Peak Tram; one of the oldest funicular railways in the world, providing visitors with a fun ride to the top while offering excellent views. 

I would recommend heading up Victoria Peak in the late afternoon to enjoy both day and night time views. Look out over the iconic buildings of Hong Kong such as the International Commerce Centre (ICC), International Finance Centre (IFC), HSBC building, Central Plaza and the Bank of China Tower. While you're up there, there a number of shops and restaurants to go to as well as a small Madame Tussauds. Here you will find many familiar famous faces alongside big stars from Hong Kong and China. Outside, you will also find various walking trails where you can escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse yourself in tropical forest surrounded by wildlife while enjoying views of Hong Kong at different view points.

Victoria Peak looking down over Hong Kong at nightVictoria Peak looking down over Hong Kong at night

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Lantau Island - the Big Buddha

Head over to Tung Chung and grab a cable car up to Ngong Ping to see one of the most popular attractions in Hong Kong. Alternatively, you can get the bus over if you're not a fan of heights or, you can even hike it if you have more time and are fit and able. The cable car will take you up over lush green mountains giving great views of the islands, Hong Kong airport and Tung Chung Bay. At the top you will arrive at the lovely little village of Ngong Ping where there are a number of shops, restaurants and cafes. After a short 10 minute walk, you will reach the monasteries and, the main attraction, the Tian Tan Buddha statue (the big Buddha). Situated at the top of 268 steps, it sits at about 34 metres high and is said to look down upon the people of Hong Kong. It is free to visit but there is a charge if you would like to go inside to see the exhibits (tickets for this can be purchased at the bottom of the steps so make sure you get them before you make it all the way up to the top)! When you reach the top, you can wander all the way around the Buddha and enjoy fantastic panoramic views of the island and South China Sea.

Big Buddha, Lantau IslandBig Buddha, Lantau Island
At the bottom of the Buddha, you can visit the Po Lin Monastery, one of Hong Kong's most important places of worship for Buddhism. Here you can observe elaborate decorations and various statues of the Buddha, light incense and pay your respects or leave offerings to the Buddha. The Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas is quite impressive and exactly what its name suggests. During your visit, you may also see a number of monks within the grounds who regularly attend this working temple.
Lantau IslandLantau Island Monastery, Lantau IslandMonastery, Lantau Island
Victoria Harbour & the Star Ferry

Heading down to Victoria Harbour and taking the star ferry between Wan Chai and Tsim Sha Tsui really is a must when you visit Hong Kong. This old ferry line has been running since 1888 and, while being very popular with tourists, it is still used as a means of transport for commuters travelling between the mainland and Hong Kong Island. It offers great views of Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong Island and its widely recognised buildings. From Wan Chai after just an approximately 10 minute crossing, you will arrive at Tsim Sha Tsui where you can walk the Avenue of Stars along the waterfront, very similar to the Hollywood walk of fame in Los Angeles, but for Chinese stars. Celebrities featured here include famous martial artists and movie stars such as: Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh. While you're over this side of the water, it is worth popping into the Hong Kong Space Museum if you have the time. Also, if you go on a Wednesday, there is free entry into the museum. It is very interesting and informative with numerous interactive displays and there are also a couple of exhibition halls and a planetarium in addition to the main museum.

Victoria Harbour, Hong KongVictoria Harbour, Hong Kong
Wait around until the evening to watch the city light up before witnessing the spectacular Symphony of Lights display. This light show has taken place every night at 8pm since 2004 and been named the world's largest permanent light and sound show by the Guinness World Records with 42 buildings participating in the show. I highly recommend doing this while enjoying a beer at the INK taproom where you can enjoy the light, refreshing locally brewed beer: Gweilo.

On the other side of the harbour at Wan Chai, you can visit the Wan Chai street market selling a range of items such as clothes and jewellery, electronics, fruit and veg and fresh seafood. Visiting the street markets certainly makes for a much more interesting experience than shopping at a mall. While the majority of products tend to be fake rather than the real deal, you will find that the quality is often pretty good, at least for those prices. For example, we found football shirts being sold for about a £1 each! However, Wan Chai is just a short walk from Causeway Bay which is another great place for shopping and has several malls if you don't fancy shopping in the market.

Victoria Harbour, Hong KongVictoria Harbour, Hong Kong
These places are probably the minimum that you should visit if you are staying in Hong Kong for a few days. However, if you are able to stay for longer, despite the small size of the place, there are plenty of other things to do here and you will certainly find something for everyone so you would be sure to have a fantastic stay here. Keep an eye out for my next blog post which will provide further details and ideas of other things you can see and do in Hong Kong.

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