Top 10 Things to Do in Hong Kong

Hong Kong has a population of 7.1 million people and 50,000 things to do. There’s no limit to how long a list of recommendations can get, but we've narrowed it down to 10 must-see sights.
By: Michael Strickland
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Go Stargazing

Get an amazing skyline view from the Star Ferry, which takes you to the Kowloon Peninsula. When you debark, walk the Avenue of Stars promenade, a harborside walkway modeled after Hollywood?s Walk of Fame that honors Hong Kong?s cinematic stars. Bonus: Stay after dark to watch the Symphony of Lights, a music and laser light show that plays in Victoria Harbor every night at 8 o?clock (weather permitting).

Climb the Dragon's Back

A nature hike may seem out of place in one of Asia?s densest urban centers, but some 40 percent of Hong Kong is set aside as protected parkland. Within this open space, you?ll find Dragon?s Back Trail, often called one of the best urban walks in the world. Along undulating hills, you?ll get stunning views of the island and surrounding South China Sea. Less than an hour via train or bus from central Hong Kong, you can easily do this excursion in half a day.

Say Hi to Mickey

The last thing you might think to do in Hong Kong is visit an outpost of American culture, but Hong Kong Disneyland, on Lantau Island, features several ?lands? you won?t find in any other Disney theme park. In Toy Story Land, you?ll shrink down to the size of a toy and wander through bamboo meant to represent blades of grass. In Grizzly Gulch, reminiscent of Disneyland?s Frontierland, you can explore an abandoned mining town overrun by bears. And Victorian-era Mystic Point is home to Mystic Manor, an enchanted mansion in which everything inside it has come alive.

Dine in a Floating Restaurant

If you really want to say you?ve ?done? Hong Kong, you must enter the Jumbo Kingdom. Located in the middle of Aberdeen Harbor and reached by a free shuttle boat, the attraction includes both Jumbo and Tai Pak Floating Restaurants, longtime icons of Hong Kong?s dining scene. You might not have your best meal in Hong Kong at this tourist mecca, but skipping the city?s famous floating restaurants is like visiting New York and not eating a hot dog.

Find Serenity

Smack dab in the midst of high-rise apartment buildings, you?ll find nearly 9 acres of solitude in Nan Lian Garden. Lotus ponds, scented trees and banyan groves cover this public park, landscaped according to strict regulations. Connected to the garden, you?ll encounter Chi Lin Nunnery, a temple complex whose dark wood and stone contrast with the steel and cement of the city surrounding it.

Dive in the Ocean (Park)

Disney may have the greater brand recognition, but Hong Kong?s Ocean Park gets more visitors. Covering 226 acres, the park offers something for everyone: 4 different roller coasters and other thrill rides, a 650-foot observation tower, the world?s largest aquarium dome, a walk-through rainforest, and all manner of animals from giant pandas and killer whales to walruses and monkeys.

Go Island Hopping

Visitors who fly into Hong Kong arrive via Lantau Island, site of Hong Kong International Airport. Most continue on to the city proper, but Lantau offers many reasons to hop back over for some sightseeing. One of the biggest?literally?is the Tian Tan Buddha, or ?Big Buddha,? an 85-foot bronze statue at the Po Lin Monastery. Getting there is part of the adventure: the 3.5-mile-long Ngong Ping Cable Car ride ascends from Tung Chung Bay up the side of the mountain, offering more stunning views of the islands and sea.

Visit the Peak

Whether you go to check it off your list or to get your bearings before exploring the city, head straight to the top of Victoria Peak when you arrive so you don?t leave without doing it. Like looking down on Rio from Corcovado or gazing down into the Grand Canyon, it?s one of the world?s most jaw-dropping views. A funicular train takes you to ?the Peak,? where you can explore nature trails, tourist attractions and, of course, a spectacular view of Victoria Harbor and Hong Kong?s countless skyscrapers.

See the Skyline

The skyscraper-studded skyline is arguably Hong Kong?s most iconic feature. To see it from the water, go the uber-traditional route and climb aboard an authentic, red-sailed Chinese junk boat. The Duk Ling, operated by the Hong Kong Tourism Board, sets sail multiple times a week. Or go straight up to the 118th floor of the Ritz-Carlton and stare at the city from the OZONE bar, reputed to be the highest watering hole in Asia.

Explore the Markets

Shopping is near the top of any list of things to do in Hong Kong. To get a uniquely local shopping experience, seek out one of the city?s many street markets. If you simply wander, you?re likely to stumble upon one, but the Temple Street Night Market is one of the best. You?ll find everything from menswear and electronics to opera singers and fortune tellers. Other markets worth a visit are the Ladies? Market on Tung Choi Street and Stanley Market on the south side of Hong Kong Island.

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