Top Hong Kong Attractions For Everyone
Hong Kong Attractions and Activities can't be summed up in a single article. You would probably need to move to Hong Kong for at least a few months to see them all. I will give you a brief overview instead. You will find only the best of the best described below. Use them to plan your trip or leverage your choices when traveling this area.
Hong Kong Ocean Park
This is one of the places I recommend as the top attraction. Not my favorite, but many of my friends gave it a great feedback. This park is located in Wong Chuk Hang and Nam Long Shan in the Southern District. One of the largest Ocean Parks in the world is considered to be one of the biggest amusement areas in SE Asia. Continue reading about Hong Kong Ocean Park and many other Hong Kong attractions.
There are nearly 40 sites, games and rides that will cut a day from your visit only for this one Hong Kong Attraction. Many will agree it's worth it.
This park generates more than 6m visitors annually. It has 15 mini theme parks. Covers 870k sq meters and is cut by a large mountain in the central area. There is 1.5km+ cable car system that connects the two main areas – The Summit (Headland) and The Waterfront (Lowland). In addition to this cable car system there is a shuttle bus network as well as Ocean Express Train.
Amusement rides (as far as I remember) include two roller coasters and maybe 15 or so smaller rides, Hot Air Baloon Ride, Reverse Bungee… Ten – ish animal exhibits – Panda, Jelly Fish, Chinese Sturgeon Aquarium in addition to four floor aquarium with several thousand fish on display. You'll see Whales and Dolphins, shows – four at the time of my visit – Sea Lions, Whiskers (Wai Wai) the mascot, is just adorable, and there was an educational bird show featuring birds of prey including eagles, falcons and turkey vultures, along with many other species of birds in the Bird Theatre – not to miss! All in all a descent place if you are interested in either marine life or carnival rides.
One of the things happening there these days is in The Waterfront – it will feature a brand new area, Aqua City, due to open in late 2010. With the Grand Aquarium in the central area, this is largest and newest aquarium in SE Asia. This massive attraction will house 5k fish from 400 species, and contain the world’s biggest aquarium viewing dome. Also at the Waterfront will be Symbio!, the world’s first 360° water screen augmented by water, fire and intelligent lighting effects.
This is a full size replica of the Biblical vessel that "saved life on earth from extinction during the Big Flood". It actually hosts full size animal sculptures! Not just an exhibit as there are amazing (visually) multimedia presentations of this story. In addition to that, there is a number of Christian educational activities and things to do ranging from games like adventure rope course to smaller exhibits and stories as you walk around. A relaxing afternoon will be enough. You can catch a Ferry from Central to get here.
There are eight main areas. Ark Expo features Multi-media presentations, 180 degree Great Flood Theatre, Ark models Collection from around the world, Meteorite Exhibit, Microscopic Animal Kingdom presentation, there is also 4D Theatre showing the Amazing Power of Nature and the Challenges our Planet is facing. Arc Garden gives you a chance to wander through the Hand Crafted Sculptures of Wonderful, Rare, and Endangered Animals; discover the Hidden Character Traits of the Animal Kingdom, stroll through a Wonderland of Waterfalls and Ponds, find ways to "Love the Animals" and discover Reasons to "Love Planet Earth". Adventure Land is part of the Ma Wan Park Noah's Ark. It is on the waterfront location overlooking the Tsing Ma Bridge and tranquil surroundings. Well, you got the picture. The list goes on. Maybe around 100 things to do in this place alone.
One Hong Kong Attraction to consider visiting for sure. Especially if you are with kids. And not the cool kid kind – if your son is checking out girls or your daughter polishing her nails they are too old for this probably. Check out their website.
For great photos of Hong Kong Skyline, Kowloon and Victoria Harbor from above go to Victoria Peak. Want to spice it up – go there at night! I took some of my best pics there. It's not only an elevated point in the city though. There is also Hong Kong's Madame Tussauds with wax effigies of celebrities. Don't miss the Sky Terrace! – another great viewing spot. With some seven million visitors every year, the Peak is a major tourist attraction of Hong Kong. For residents it's a posh part of the town. You could get to the top by the taxi or bus, but to make this visit complete take the Peak Tram from Central. Sporty type? Walk up the steep Old Peak Road from near Zoological and Botanical Garden.
A tour of this area could look something like this: 5+ hour tour of HK Island's attractions. Panorama of Victoria Peak, Picturesque Repulse Bay, Aberdeen's floating community, shopping at Stanley Market and watching craftsmen at work in a fancy jewelry factory.
Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Garden
One of the places you will definitely like if you are into nature; flora and fauna kingdom in the heart of this concrete jungle! I absolutely loved this one! It's under the Victoria Peak (North). Get here by MTR, taxi or take a bus from Central (3B, 12, 13), Admiralty (12A, 12M, 40M, 40P, 40), Causeway Bay (23A, 23B), North Point (23) or Lok Fu (103). Read about it and check out pictures here. One of the places you won't regret visiting!
Hong Kong Disneyland
One of the the most popular Hong Kong Attractions is definitely Hong Kong Disneyland. It's been written so much about this that I wasn't sure if I should include it here. Let me just say I wasn't impressed. We might have different tastes though.
Hong Kong's Disney Empire is set on Lantau Island. It covers some 1.5 sq km. Maybe 2km from Discovery Bay this park is on the North Eastern part of the island. It's marked in Hong Kong MTR map.
There was only one theme park when I was there (2009) – Hong Kong Disneyland. An interesting fact is that it was build according to feng shui best practices.
Maps are available in English, French, Japanese in addition to standard Cantonese and Mandarin. All the staff you will contact with speak English well.
The park consists of four classic themed lands, which are Main Street, U.S.A., Adventureland, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. In 2014, Hong Kong Disneyland will include a total of seven themed lands with the addition of Grizzly Trail, Mystic Point and Toy Story Land, which were announced for the expansion of Hong Kong Disneyland. The first new themed land is expected to open in late 2011.
Main Street, U.S.A. - Hong Kong Disneyland's Main Street, U.S.A. has a living day Disney on Parade and an exciting firework Disney in the Stars at night.
Adventureland - Hong Kong Disneyland's Adventureland is the biggest among all Disney parks and features a large island area home to Tarzan's Treehouse, which is circled by the Jungle Cruise, much like the Rivers of America in most Magic Kingdom–style parks' Frontierland area. It is also home to the "Festival of the Lion King" show.
Fantasyland - Hong Kong Disneyland features Sleeping Beauty Castle, as well as the Fantasy Gardens where costumed Disney characters can be met.
Tomorrowland - Like the newer generations of the American Tomorrowlands, Hong Kong's version features an emphasis on metallic trim, with lots of blue and purple hues. Since the opening of the park, some unique attractions have been added into the Hong Kong's Tomorrowland, such as a newer version of Autopia, UFO Zone and Stitch Encounter.
There are all the standard Disney features really – Disney on Parade, High School Musical (live), Disney in the Stars, Muppet Mobile Lab, Mickey's Water Works, and all the other stuff you can imagine with all the blows and whistles…
Another thing many people found interesting is that they are taking fingerprints from anyone older than 10 at the gate. This is necessary to link the ticket with the person using it. They are taking only a sample of your fingerprint, not enough to be used as identity proof. Don't worry about it, it's a common practice around the world, not only at Disney's joints.
I would leave a day if going to this park. Out of all Hong Kong attractions this one requires the most time. It's outside the city and on a busy day you will be there at least for 7-10 hours.
Madame Tussauds Hong Kong
Part of the renowned chain of wax museums founded by Marie Tussaud of France, this extraordinary museum is located at the Peak Tower on Hong Kong Island in Hong Kong. It is the first and one of the only two permanent Madame Tussauds museums in Asia, the other being the Shanghai branch. It houses nearly 100 wax figures of internationally known personalities, with Asian figures taking up more than a third of the total, of which sixteen were Hong Kongers. The wax figures are featured in a range of themed settings such as Hong Kong Glamour, Music Icons, Historical and National Heroes, The Champions and World Premiere. You'll see everyone you heard about and many more personalities in stunning poses. Read more on this Wiki Page.
Hong Kong Museums
Hong Kong History, Art, Science and Space Museums are four Hong Kong Attractions. These are just a few of the museums on offer in this city. All set in Kowloon Park area (Tsim Sha Tsui) and close to each other. I have visited all of them and have no regrets. Something you might consider if you have time for it. Your children will love it and you might find it amusing as well. It's cheap and very educational activity that offers great value to it's visitors – highly recommended! See a list of all museums in Hong Kong here.
Hong Kong Beaches
Hong Kong has a long coastline that is full of twists and turns with many bays and beaches. Many of them are well sheltered by mountains nearby, as Hong Kong is a mountainous place. As a result, large waves seldom appear at the bays, making them suitable for swimming.
However, with the increasing development and urbanisation of Hong Kong, water quality has worsened resulting in the closure of several beaches previously suitable for swimming. These include Approach Beach, Ting Kau Beach, Anglers' Beach, Gemini Beaches, Hoi Mei Wan Beach, Casam Beach and Lido Beach in Tsuen Wan.
The majority of beaches suitable for swimming in Hong Kong are managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, and are officially referred to as gazetted beaches. A number of other beaches are privately owned or not gazetted, but are nonetheless publicly accessible.
A word of caution here. Although many of the pictures you will see are neat and resemble a dreamy coastal paradise, most of the beaches are seriously hit with water pollution. This is something you could expect on the Chinese sea due the fact that the industry and freight transport are booming in the region in addition to the population that lives here. HK Government is trying it's best to warn and work on this. No whining and ranting – you have been warned! More info: Wiki Article | HKOutdoors.com Article about some of the beaches.
Especially if you settle here or just stay longer in warm period you will be tempted to take a dive and try these beaches. If you don't expect Maldives here you'll be fine. I have enjoyed many of them and my favorite is Upper Cheun Sha Beach on Lantau Island.
Avenue Of Stars
Located along the Victoria Harbor in Kowloon, Tsim Sha Tsui area, this venue is somewhat similar to Hollywood Walk Of Fame and it's dedicated to well known Hong Kong Cinema and Film Industry.
It's some 500m long walking area where you can see statues, inscriptions and plaques with autographs and hand prints of Kong Kong movie stars. As you walk around you'll see the mesmerizing night image across Victoria Harbor. This area is also famous for light show called Symphony of Lights. You'll have a prime spot for this event if you happen to be here in the evening. This is the world's largest permanent light and sound show, according to Guinness Book of World Records.
The Avenue of Stars as well as many restaurants are is included in numerous tours of Hong Kong. If I was choosing one for myself I would go with Hong Kong Harbor Night Cruise and Dinner at Revolving 66 Restaurant. Stylish night experience without compromise.
Ngong Ping 360
Ngong Ping 360 connects Tung Chung and the north coast of Lantau to central Hong Kong by the Tung Chung rail line and the Ngong Ping area in the hills above. This is home to the Po Lin Monastery and the Tian Tan Buddha, both already significant tourist attractions. Prior to Ngong Ping 360's opening, the only access was via a mountain road and bus service.
The Ngong Ping 360 is a tourism project on Lantau Island. It was previously known as Tung Chung Cable Car Project. It consists of the Ngong Ping Cable Car, a gondola lift formerly known as the Ngong Ping 360 Skyrail, and the Ngong Ping Village, a retail and entertainment centre adjacent to the cable car's upper station.
Ngong Ping Cable Car is a 5.7 km long bi-cable gondola lift system linking between Tung Chung (where it connects the MTR Tung Chung station) and Ngong Ping (where the Po Lin Monastery and Tian Tan Buddha are located). Between the two terminals at Tung Chung and Ngong Ping, the lift system runs across the southern shore of the Hong Kong International Airport island and Nei Lak Shan, with eight towers including the stations. Five of the towers are located within the country park.
The cable car journey offers a 25 minute aerial alternative to the current one-hour journey by Tung Chung Road, allowing visitors to glide across Tung Chung Bay and up to Lantau Island towards Ngong Ping Plateau.
The cableway starts at the Tung Chung Terminal, runs across Tung Chung Bay to an angle station on Airport Island, where it turns through about 60 degrees before returning across Tung Chung Bay. It then runs up the Lantau North Country Park to another angle station near Nei Lak Shan, before finally descending to the Ngong Ping Terminal.
During the 25 minute journey of this Hong Kong Attraction, travellers can see panoramic views over the North Lantau Country Park, the South China Sea, Hong Kong International Airport, the Tung Chung valley, Ngong Ping Plateau and surrounding terrain and waterways. As visitors approach Ngong Ping, they can see The Big Buddha and the Po Lin Monastery.
Take advantage of Lantau Island and Giant Buddha Day Trip Tour. This 8 hour tour gives you all you might need to be safe and comfortable taking a fairly challenging trip outside of Hong Kong. Tour guide, entrance fees, hotel pickup, vegetarian lunch and more.
Lantau Island is twice as big as Hong Kong island and is well worth checking out if you want to get away from the bright lights and pollution of the city for a spell. Here you will find open countryside, traditional fishing villages, secluded beaches, monasteries and more. You can hike, camp, fish and mountain bike, amongst other activities.
In the waters just off Tung Chung on Lantau Island you'll find Chinese White Dolphins . These are naturally pink and live in the wild, but their status is currently threatened. You can take a boat trip with Hong Kong Dolphinwatch to see them jumping and playing.
The Sai Kung peninsula is also a worthwhile place to visit. Its mountainous terrain and spectacular coastal scenery make this a special place. If you like challenging routes, try going to Sharp Peak (Nam She Tsim in Cantonese). Sharp Peak is famous for its steep slope with a height of more than 400m. The view from the top is fantastic. For a more relaxed route, try to walk along Section 2 of Maclehose Trail.
These are just of the few things most people like when visiting this marvelous city. If you ask me I'm more into nightlife and shopping. In my opinion the best Hong Kong Attractions are Wan Chai and Mong Kok as whole districts. I love the cheer in Wan Chai Bars and haggling in Mong Kok. You'll find a bit different suggestions below.
Tung Choi Street
Probably the most famous street in Hong Kong. This day and night market and shopping heaven is often referred as The Ladies Market. It's a street situated between Boundary Street and Dundas Street in Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong.
Various kinds of products are available cheap (not just for women, as its name suggests) – from clothes through cheap jewelry and all the way to electronics, souvenirs and cosmetics. Feel free to haggle and don't expect to be cheated. Overcharging is disgraceful thing for most Hong Kong residents (you'll see a very different picture on Mainland China markets).
Its northern section, also somewhat well-known, features a market selling goldfish and is called Goldfish Street or Goldfish Market.
Soho is an entertainment zone located in Central and bordering Sheung Wan, within Central. The name is derived from its location: South of Hollywood Road, and it arguably extends up to and including Robinson Road.
The area now consists of restaurants, bars, nightclubs, art galleries and antique stores of Staunton Street and Elgin Street. It's one of the must-see nightlife spots. Hong Kong taxi drivers usually regard "Soho" to mean either Staunton Street or Elgin Street.
Buildings in this area are a mix of commercial/residential, with the commercial businesses on the lower floors, and residential above the First Floors. Around the same time the Mid Levels Escalator was built, a few foreigners started to move into the area, taking up both commercial premises and renting flats. At the time the flats were cheaper than other expat areas in Hong Kong, and only a few minutes' walk from the business district. It's an expensive housing area now.
The TakeOut Comedy Club Hong Kong is a venue for stand-up comedy and improvisational comedy located at 34 Elgin Street, basement, Central, Hong Kong. It's the first fulltime comedy club in Asia. The club fosters local English and Cantonese-speaking talent and has hosted well-known comedians from around the world, including Tim Jones, Ted Alexandro, Bob Slayer, Al Ducharme, Tom Cotter and Paul Ogata. Give it a shot, this place is incredibly fun and something very different in the sea of travel Attractions in Hong Kong.
Lan Kwai Fong
Lan Kwai Fong is a small square of streets in Central, Hong Kong. The area was dedicated to hawkers before the Second World War, but underwent a renaissance in the mid 1980s. It is now a popular expatriate haunt in Hong Kong for drinking, clubbing and dining. The street Lan Kwai Fong is an L-shape with two ends joining with D'Aguilar Street. Both streets turn 90 degrees to form a rectangle. From the west side of the rectangle, Wo On Lane and Wing Wah Lane extend to host several more spots for drinks and food. The area arguably extends to Wellington Street and Wyndham Street, through to the Hong Kong Fringe Club. It is also home to a small number of art galleries.The crowds during special occasions such as Halloween or New Year's Eve put the place at a literal standstill with the large numbers. Police control is guaranteed, to manage the crowds.
Lockhart Road and Wan Chai District
When my company gave me an apartment here in 2007 I was devastated. I've expected the worst after reading about it online. Once I settled and met people in the area it turned to be one of the best places I have visited. The personalities and characters you will meet here are found in very few places around the globe. It's such a mellow place with fine grain of everything really. I find it hard to explain, you'll have to give it a shot to understand. Just seat yourself in one of the cult bars like China Old Hand or any other in the vicinity and have a lager. You'll see the night taking care of the rest. One of those spontaneous magical places if you ask me…
Lockhart Road is a road spanning the whole length of Wan Chai from east to west on the Hong Kong Island of Hong Kong. It begins at Arsenal Street in the west and ends in East Point Road in East Point.
Before I wrap it up
This page is getting lengthy. I'll give you a final suggestion here and finish with more resources below.
Hotels in Hong Kong can be pricey and the only way to make a good decision in my experience is to compare hundreds of them and filter your results. Use the link below if you still need accommodation in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Attractions – Resources
Further down you'll find rehashed compilation of places and thing to do I found on Wikipedia and Wikitravel. I have included only the ones I consider being a good suggestion when it comes to Hong Kong Attractions:
I hope this gave you a good overview of what's out there. Many of these Hong Kong Attractions are well worth visiting. I've lived there for nearly a year and haven't seen them all. Not because I didn't want to or couldn't, but simply because I know that I'll be back one day. I love this city and often hop for a weekend from China. Hope you have enough time to see at least some.
Images: WikiMedia Commons