Explore The Vibrant Hong Kong Without Breaking Your Budget

Hong Kong may be small, but it certainly packs a punch. Famously known as “The Pearl of the Orient”, it is one of the most vibrant and bustling cities with a perfect blend of history, architecture, and culture. There are endless things to do in Hong Kong; with its incredible array of skyscrapers and wildlife, this destination caters to adventurous foodies, shoppers, and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

Quick Tips:

  • Hong Kong International Airport is one of the busiest airport in Asia with many international flights flying in and out. Due to its strategic location, it is also one of the popular stopover destinations.
  • The local currency is the Hong Kong dollar. Most places accept credit cards. There are a lot of ATM machines around the city, just make sure you’ve enabled international withdrawal or your card has the “Plus” or “Cirrus” logo on the back. US$1 = HK$8
  • The main language spoken is Cantonese, a local dialect. Many locals can at least speak basic English and almost all signs are bilingual.
  • WiFi is available in Hong Kong in most tourist spots, cafes and MTR stations, allowing you to stay connected constantly.
  • Public transportation is efficient, clean and the network is very extensive. One of the first things you have to do when you arrive in Hong Kong is get an Octopus card that works on all public transportation.
  • Accommodations is expensive. Most budget stays are in Wan Chai, Tsim Sha Tsui, Mong Kok and Causeway Bay. These areas are convenient and easy access to public transportation.
  • Hong Kong gets 4 seasons! It is not a year-round tropical country as many people seem to believe. Summers are hot, humid and usually the busiest. The winter months (December to February) can be quite cold. The best time to visit Hong Kong is from March to early June, and mid October to December.

Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade / Avenue of Stars

One of the most beautiful city walks in Hong Kong, Avenue of stars is located at the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade. It is basically like a walk of fame which gives a Hollywood-kinda feeling, and also provide the incredible views of the Hong Kong’s skyline. The 15-minutes “Symphony of Lights” at 8pm daily is the top free things to do in Hong Kong!

Getting there: MTR East Tsim Sha Tsui Station, Exit J; or Tsim Sha Tsui Station, Exit E. Walk towards Salisbury Road then cross at the pedestrian crossing.

Victoria Peak / Lugard Road Lookout

There are tons of gorgeous lookout points in Hong Kong, but this is by far the most popular. Victoria Peak is the highest point on Hong Kong Island where you get awesome views of tropical forests as well as a panorama of the Victoria Harbor and Kowloon. Lugard Road is right next to the Peak Tower and offers a leisurely, mostly-shaded stroll around the Peak. So save your HK$52 (US$7) and head to a less touristy yet equally great viewpoint.

Getting there:

  • Bus: No. 15 from Exchange Square bus terminus, near MTR Hong Kong Station, Exit D
  • Green minibus: No. 1 from public transport interchange at MTR Hong Kong Station, Exit E
  • Peak Tram: Exit J2 of the Central Station and then walk there in 10-15 minutes
  • Foot: About 1-hour walk from Old Peak Road

SoHo District

Over the past few years, street art has really taken off in Hong Kong and there are lots of beautiful pieces scattered around SoHo District. Going on a self-guided street art tour is one of the coolest things to do in Hong Kong. In Central, start at Graham Street and walk along Hollywood Road towards Sheung Wan.

Central Mid-levels Escalator

This Hong Kong’s escalator begins near the Central MTR station and is the longest outdoor escalator system in the world which allows you to skim through cars and foot traffic in Central Hong Kong. At around 800-meters long, it takes about 20 minutes to ride from start to bottom.

Getting there: MTR Central Station and exit from Exit G or D1. Walk along the Pedder Street to the Queen’s Road Central.

Tai Kwun

Tai Kwun is a heritage site that used to be the Central police station, prison and magistracy. It was reopened to the public in May 2018 and became one of the most unique places to visit in Hong Kong. Today, Tai Kwun portrays an amazing intersection between historic and contemporary arts.

Getting there: Exit D1 from MTR Central Station, turn right on Pedder Street and then again at Queen’s Road Central, walk along and then turn left at Pottinger Street up to Hollywood Road.

Man Mo Temple

From the red fringed lanterns to incense spirals on the ceiling, Man Mo Temple is is a picturesque tribute to the God of Literature (Man) and the God of War (Mo).

Getting there: MTR Central Station Exit D2 and turn right to Theatre Lane. Walk along Queen’s Road Central towards The Center. Then take the Central Mid-Levels Escalator to Hollywood Road.

Local Markets

Hong Kong is home to many kinds of markets from day till late night. The popular markets are: Temple street night market (Jordan), Ladies market (Mong Kok), Goldfish Market (Mong Kok), Jade Market (Yau Ma Tei), Fa Yuen “Sneakers” Street (Mong Kok).

Hong Kong University

Established in 1911, the University of Hong Kong (HKU) is the territory’s oldest institute of higher learning. It is ranked 26th among the most respected comprehensive research-led universities in the world.

Snoopy World

Tucked away behind the third floor of the New Town Plaza Shopping Mall is a hidden gem: Snoopy’s World. It is the second Snoopy outdoor playground in the world, and the best of all: FREE admission! Though the park has been there since 2000, it is not high on the “must-visit” list in Hong Kong like Disneyland or Ocean Park. Nevertheless, with less than 4,000-square meters, it is still home to many exciting characters for lovers of Snoopy and friends to have a gala time.

Getting there: Take the East Railway line to Shatin MTR station and take Exit A. Walk through New Town Plaza mall, head out of the glass doors at Level 3.

Nan Lian Garden / Chi Lin Nunnery

Nan Lian Garden sits directly in front of Chi Lin Nunnery and covers 35,000-square meters which is maintained by the Nuns. It is designed in the Tang Dynasty-style with hills, water features, trees, rocks and wooden structures.

Getting there: Exit at C2 at Diamond Hill MTR and follow the signages.

Choi Hung Estate

This colourful condo and basketball court combo is one of the most Instagrammable places in Hong Kong. I recommend getting there as early in the day as possible, as this place gets super busy. It is a lot of fun watching everyone trying to get their shot though with tripods, selfie sticks and photographers laying on the floor for the perfect angle!

Getting there: From Choi Hung MTR Station take Exit C4. Walk into the Estate and turn left which takes you to the car park. The colourful basketball court is on top of the structure.

Sai Wan Swimming Shard

Another popular instagrammable spot in Hong Kong – this place is highly unlikely that you will be on your own at this now infamous sunset spot. For me, I didn’t queue for the pier shot and found another spot.

Getting there: Exit C from Kennedy Town MTR. Walk left along Forbes Street to Cagodan Street. At the intersection turn left onto Victoria Road. Walk 20 minutes along the coastal side of the road and look for green steps leading down to the shed.

Suicide Cliff

Standing at 600-metres high, Suicide Cliff offers panoramic views of bustling Victoria Harbor in one direction and the serene landscape of Sai Kung and Clearwater Bay in the other. The hike starts with a steep incline up the mountain for around an hour before you reach the summit.

Getting there: Exit C1 from Choi Hung MTR. From there, you can either catch a green minibus 1A or you can walk the 30 minutes to the start of the hiking trail. 

Sham Shui Po

A Hong Kong hidden gem, this colourful Kowloon locality is one of the shabbiest of all the districts in Hong Kong and provides a stark contrast to the glamorous Central skyscrapers. Along the way, you’ll discover all the simple pleasures that give Sham Shui Po its distinct charm.

Tai O Fishing Village

Tai O is one of the few remaining fishing village in Hong Kong. It attracts countless visitors who want to escape the bustling city and soak in the village’s idyllic vibe. Weave your way through narrow alleyways to discover the local mom-and-pop style shops selling art, clothing, pour-over coffee, etc.

Getting There: Take MTR to Tung Chung station and change to Bus No. 1

Lamma Island

Lamma Island is the third largest island of Hong Kong and is known for its abundance of nature and scenery giving the island a free-spirited and rustic vibes. The best way to explore Lamma is to go on a walking trail – start from Yung Shue Wan and head towards Hung Shing Ye Beach, after which you continue to walk up the hill and follow signs to Sok Kwu Wan. The 14-kilometres walking trail takes you up and over the island’s mountainous terrain along the coast, giving you beautiful scenery of the coast overlooking the South China Sea.

Getting there: Catch the ferry from Central Pier 4 to both Yung Shue Wan or Pak Kok.

Tian Tan Buddha / Po Lin Monastery

One of the things-to-see that tops the list for Hong Kong is the Tian Tan Buddha. The 34-meters high Big Buddha sits proudly on Lantau Island, sharing the same island with Hong Kong International Airport and Disneyland. Completed in 1993, this Bronze Statue is free to visit, and well worth seeing. If you want to see the Big Buddha up-close, be prepared to climb up 268-steps!

Getting there: MTR Tung Chung Station Exit B, then take Ngong Ping Cable Car; or take New Lantau Bus 23 from Tung Chung Town Center; or by foot

Ride a Ding Ding

Ding Ding is a small tram network that runs for approximately 30-kilometres between Hong Kong Central and Causeway Bay. The tram began operating in 1904, it’s the oldest, cheapest and slowest transport in Hong Kong. With a flat rate of HK$2.60, take this slow ride and watch the bustling streets from the upper deck.

Witness Petty People Beating

In Causeway Bay, the flyover known as Ngo Keng Kiu passes over a three-way junction, making it the ideal “feng shui” spot for dispelling evil. Drop by for a taste of Hong Kong’s ancient traditions alive and surrounded by monuments to modern consumerism in the city’s commercial district.

Getting there: MTR Causeway Bay Station, Exit A. Walk along Canal Road for about five minutes.

Savor Cantonese Cuisine

No trip to Hong Kong would be complete without eating some Dim Sum. Whilst Dim Sum is a meal to be enjoyed at any time, there are many other Cantonese Cuisine you shouldn’t miss as well.

Lastly, if you want to keep a track of all my photos and travels, remember to follow @wanderrsaurus on Instagram!

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Aloha! I'm Bunzy, a curious dreamer who is passionate about roaming around the world getting lost, experiencing new cultures and meeting the locals. My superpower is to be able to sleep anywhere, anyhow!

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