Hong Kong is a lively and busy metropolis of about 8 million people so if you’re planning on visiting its crowded streets, you might find yourself a bit dumbfounded thinking where to start and how to make the most out of your trip.
It is a compact city but it offers an enormous breadth of memorable sights, historical buildings, great food and exciting activities. To help you get started on your tour of this amazing city, here’s a short guide to exploring Hong Kong.
Things to know before visiting Hong Kong
The best time to visit Hong Kong is from October to early December when you can enjoy sunny but cool and pleasant weather. Make sure you dress in layers as the city never really shuts off its air-conditioning and the climate is quite humid, so you’ll find yourself coming in from the hot streets sweating profusely and entering a restaurant or a store shivering from cold.
Roaming the city
One of the ways to start your exploration of the city is to roam through its street markets, promenades and parks. Start with a walk through Kowloon Park that features a gorgeous Chinese garden, a swimming pool, fitness centre, an aviary, little ponds with ducks and lots of rest areas where you can stop and catch your breath from the oppressive heat.
The street markets in Mong Kok will give you the opportunity to experience first-hand the hectic atmosphere, sounds, sights and smells of Hong Kong. They reveal the true on-the-move essence of the city.
Once you’ve bought all the bargain clothing, accessories and souvenirs at the markets, head to the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade for a waterfront stroll and a breath-taking view of the Hong Kong Island skyline. While you’re there, visit the Avenue of Stars, Hong Kong’s version of the Hollywood “Walk of Fame” and many of great shops, restaurants and traditional Cantonese food stalls where you can haggle your way to some of the greatest street food in the area.
Fun things to do
Hong Kong offers many exciting things to do while you sightsee the city. For instance, you can rent a junk boat and experience a classic sailboat ride around the harbour with your friends only or as a part of a larger group. Or, if you prefer a panoramic land view, the Ngong Ping 360 cable car ride that runs from Tung Chung across the bay will take you all the way to Lantau Island where you can pay a visit to the Po Lin Monastery.
If you love getting to the country through its food and beverages, book a food tour that will take you through some of the 10,000 great restaurants in the area and reveal its hidden jewels. You can opt for anything from private small group tours, Cantonese cuisine tours, street food tours to upscale dining events where you can also taste local craft beer, cocktails and enjoy in the best champagne in Hong Kong.
As far as the nightlife goes, head over to the nightlife central party area of Lan Kwai Fong with its numerous night clubs, bars, shisha and inexpensive drinks. The streets are always full, the nights are wild and good times guaranteed!
Great sights to visit
Hong Kong is a city packed with cultural and historical places that will leave a lasting memory in any visitor. You might want to start with a walk of the Ping Shan Heritage Trail that will take you through the less-visited northern district and past the fascinating ancient sights of the Tang clan – the temples of Che Kung, Man Mo and the Ten Thousand Buddhas, the walled Hakka village of Tsang Tai Uk and the Fu Shin Street Traditional Bazaar.
The Hong Kong Museum of History leads you through the country’s past in order to understand it better by exhibiting the region’s social history, ethnography, archaeology and natural history. It’ll take you between 2 and 4 hours to see everything and if there’s anything left unexplained, head to the Hong Kong Heritage Museum that fills in on the blanks by giving you a look at the artistic culture of the city.
In a city of almost 8 million people, there’s always something to see and fun things to do. You could spend a lifetime exploring Hong Kong’s vibrant markets, beautiful islands, gorgeous sights, fabulous restaurants and wild nightlife, so start with these tips listed here and create your itinerary so you can get to know Hong Kong on your own terms!