When you visit Hong Kong you quickly realise this small island state has it all. Mountains, beaches, city life, fashion sense and mouth-watering food. So here are the top 20 Hong Kong tourist places in a neat little Hong Kong tourist guide you absolutely must check out. And don’t forget to check out my tips for a Hong Kong trip for first-timers.
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Best Time to Visit Hong Kong
I visited Hong Kong for three days in June and it was absolutely sweltering and the humidity was almost worse than the heat. Hong Kong has subtropical climate that is influenced by the monsoon. This means, that the winters are pleasantly mild, but the summers hot and wet/humid.
To make the most out of your Hong Kong vacation, plan your Hong Kong trip between October and early December. If you can, avoid travelling from April to June. That being said, Hong Kong is always a great idea.
If you’re curious, you can read my travel diary entry about my Hong Kong travels.
How to Get Around Hong Kong
If you need a transfer from Hong Kong airport straight to your hotel, skip the changing of metro lines and just arrange a direct ride. They are really inexpensive and save time.
If you are lucky, you can snatch one of the special deals for under $10! Check availability here*. (If you feel fancy and are travelling in company, you can even rent a private Tesla transfer from the airport*.)
Alternatively, you can also opt for the Express train from the airport to the city if you want the best of both worlds (public transport but speedy). Don’t get overwhelmed by the options at the airport, book your transfer before your trip here* so you just have to show your ticket.
Generally speaking, you can reach the majority of places easily thanks to the extensive, easy to understand, fast, clean and affordable metro system. I am not exaggerating when I say I was blown away by the HK metro system.
There are local buses operating too if you want to reach places that are a little bit further out, such as Stanley or Lantau Island and the Tian Tan Buddha.
The absolute cheapest way to travel around central Hong Kong is by tram. It’s more of a historical and rather touristy thing than getting around quickly.
The doppeldecker trams are quite slow and their network isn’t extensive. But it’s definitely a unique HK experience. Unlimited tram ride passes can be bought online here*.
Last but not least, there are plenty of ferries and boat rides available around the harbour. Also, you can plan a day trip to Macau* or take the Junk Boat over to Stanley. Check ticket and date availability here*.
Here are some travel tips for a Macau trip in case you’re curious.
Top 20 Hong Kong Attractions
Wong Tai Sin
The main Hong Kong points of interest naturally include plenty a temple and shrine. Still, the most impressive one that should go on your Hong Kong to do list is Wong Tai Sin.
So, take the MTR and ride up a few stations, light some incense and shake the sticks to get your fortune told and watch as other templegoers are deeply engaged in prayers with a respective deity. To increase your inner peace, meditate in the zen garden or just take in the beauty of symmetry.
The most outstanding view of Hong Kong city and by far one of the best things to do in Hong Kong is Victoria Peak without a doubt. If you don’t mind a challenging hike in a tropical climate, you can hike up. Or you can take the Peak Tram.
It is extremely fast and steep and almost feels like a (straight) rollercoaster. Totally worth the price. Insider tips: You can skip the line with an online ticket*.
From high up in the clouds you can take in the busy city with a peaceful mind and see its overall beauty. Did you know that Tai Chi principles were heavily at work when it came to its skyline?
The views are great no matter if day or night, but at night there’s something special going on. Every evening, a light show illuminates the skyline and makes the lights on the skyscrapers dance.
Hong Kong possibly has the longest connected escalator since it directly leads from the city centre up the hill to Soho.
While you are drifting by the busy passersby and gaze down upon small streets, you should already try to locate the famous bar street Lan Kwai Fong. If you ask yourself where to go in Hong Kong to experience nightlife, this is it!
Ngong Ping Village
The whole of Lantau island is a must when you want to explore Hong Kong scenic spots. It is indescribably beautiful. But the main Hong Kong attraction is up on the mountain, around Ngong Ping Village. Get up the mountain with an adventurous bus ride (don’t look out and down if you have vertigo).
If you rather prefer a scenic and less nerve wracking way to get up to the Tian Tan Buddha, try the 360° experience. There are three different types of cabins depending on whether you want a ride exclusively to yourself, a glass floor or just want the regular experience.
Lines can be crazy, so better get your ticket super easy online and then you can just waltz right past everyone. (Get your VIP treatment here*.)
I arrived at 8am and it was like a ghost town (including mysterious fog). The only life were the stray dogs that were still half asleep and harmless. Oh, and don’t be surprised to see feral cows in the jungle (like I was in the most embarrassing way). They are harmless, too.
Po Lin Monastery
Don’t forget to admire the temple grounds after taking a short walk through the jungle and around the Ngong Ping Village. Just know that there are quite a lot of stray dogs and cows around, but they are quite harmless. Just don’t touch them.
(Here’s a confession, I was super scared of them when I arrived and hid in an old shed. Quite embarrassing, really.I wrote about it in my travel book with lots of other silly travel stories from my many trips.)
Po Lin Monastery was founded in 1906 and is a Buddhist monastery founded by three Chinese monks. It’s original name was The Big Hut (大茅蓬). A very special thing about the monastery is its Grand Hall of Ten Thousand Buddha. Best visit early in the morning when the tourists don’t crowd the space.
Tian Tan Buddha
One of the biggest Buddha statues in the world is on top of the mountains in Lantau, right next to Po Lin monastery. It is made of bronze and measures 34 metres (112 ft) in height. It weighs over 250 metric tons (280 short tons), too!
You can get to it for free. All you have to do is climb quite a lot of stone stairs. It is worth it though because the views are great. Also, up here, you can really see the mastery and art of The Big Buddha.
It symbolises harmony between man and nature and sits atop an altar. The smaller bronze statues surorunding it represent the Six Perfections : generosity, morality, patience, zeal, meditation, and wisdom, all of which are necessary for enlightenment.
This little fishing village is absolutely charming and can be accessed by local bus. Stroll around its old streets and dine in one of the restaurants for fresh catches of the day.
You can also take a boat tour around the shores to spot white dolphins and discover “Asia’s Little Venice”. Only then can you really see how many of the wooden houses in Tai O are actually on stilts.
The easiest way to see all the main attractions on Lantau Island is by tour. Not gonna lie, trying to maneuvre my way through public bus schedules and up and down the mountain proveda bit tricky.
Also, you might get stuck after sunset as no taxis are driving but you’re still in Tai O. (Happened to my dorm mates.) This tour* I found combines everything nicely.
Man Mo Temple
Are you currently learning for a big exam or otherwise need academic help for yourself or others? The Man Mo temple (Chinese: 文武廟) complex is just the spot!
You can light an incense while kneeling on the little stool and pray for whatever you wish. Or you can have your fortune told by rattling the metal box with fortune sticks in it until it comes out and you can buy the Chinese description.
When you ask a local Hong Kong guide, a Hong Kong attraction that is popular among locals but not so well known among foreign tourists is Stanley Beach. Do not only go for a beach stroll but visit the excellent market and many shopping facilities as well.
Stanley is one of the oldest villages in Hong Kong has remained its very distinct charm. If you happen to be around when the Dragon Boat Festival in June are on, I highly recommend attending those.
You can easily reach Stanley via bus from the city centre. It is a very scenic ride, but can be a little bumpy, if you ask me. Still, totally worth it!
One of the most iconic things to do and behold during a Hong Kong visit is the Junk Boat in Victoria Harbour. You can’t miss the vintage cruisers with their bright red sails. But did you know you can sail on them?
Get your ticket for an evening cruise especially to really enjoy the best views over Hong Kong. Check if they’re available* during your travel time in advance so all spots aren’t already taken.
If you are a serious travel souvenir shopper, then this market is a Hong Kong must see! Head over to Kowloon for daily bits, souvenirs and pretty things, I’d say you need to stop by the famous Ladies Market. You can get cute luggage tags, toys, leather notebooks, funny outfits, jewellery and more.
There are quite a few travel souvenirs worth buying here. And it is all super affordable and fun to explore even without the intention to buy anything. It is open daily between 10:30 am and 10:30 pm.
Kowloon can be hectic and overwhelming. (It certainly was for me.) So don’t shy away from looking to join a small group tour with a knowledgable local guide to help you get your footing and help you find the best places. The coolest souvenirs. And generally learn about the darker side of Hong Kong (i.e. overpopulation). Reserve your spot here*.
It might be one of the oddest mentions among Hong Kong top attractions, but the trams are iconic. If you want to save money when you are out to disover Hong Kong but still get to see most of it and in a typical way, opt for the old colourful trams.
They are by far the cheapest way to get around, albeit rather slowly. They only operate in the city centre
but that’s fine for a day exploration and it’s definitely one of the must dos!
Ok, so you might be more into the electronics and super deals on laptops, smartphones and camera gear? Then Mong Kok and its many stores are a great place to find just what you’re looking for. It might look intimidating at first, but it is a good area and people speak English.
Enter the three storey high Computer Centre. Oh, and check your custom allowances in advance to be on the safe side and not buy too much. After all, shopping is one of the most sought after things to do in Hong Kong island, so you might as well make the most of it.
Avenue of Stars
Hong Kong’s Avenue of Stars is very touristy. But if just like you cannot miss the Hollywood Boulevard while in LA, you cannot miss out on the Avenue of Stars when you visit Hong Kong. Kick butt alongside Bruce Lee and take a seat in a metal director’s chair.
I didn’t know most of the Asian stars but the walk opposite the famous skyline is amazing either way. The best time to visit is during sunset when you can watch the daylight fade and the neon lights turn up at Victoria Harbour.
Hong Kong Disneyland
There is so much to see and love in this hong kong tourist attractions list already but if you are a major Disney nerd (like I am!), you gotta visit Hong Kong Disneyland. Granted, I’ve only been to Tokyo Disneyland so far but I hear while the various Disneylands are very similar across the world, they’re not the same.
Better see for yourself. (And do they ever get old? Nope!) There are various types of tickets you can buy. Wanna spend one or two days? To just skip the adulting altogether, get the one day Magic Tour and transfer sorted for you.
With that you can explore all 7 themed lands. These are: Adventureland, Main Street U.S.A., Grizzly Gulch, Mystic Point, Toy Story Land, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland.
Reserve a seat in the air conditioned transfer for your prefered date in advance here* and start getting excited!
Hong Kong Cultural Centre
Hong Kong is full of culture – not just food and architecture wise. You can catch world renowned artists at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui. It easily stands out and you can walk up to it from the Promenade.
Fun fact: It now stands where formerly the Kowloon Station of the Kowloon-Canton Railway was located. A historic Clock Tower stands right next to it.
Since it’s a multipurpose performance facility, you can expect grand concerts, theatre performances and various exhibitions take place throughout the year. Check the current schedule to see what’s up during your visit.
Upper Lascar Road
Your little Hong Kong tour needs to include this street as it is perfect for stumbling upon authentic, Asian souvenirs and antiquities. Just around the corner is Stone Slabs Street, which is made of original granite stone steps. That is a rarity in Hong Kong.
A big bonus is that Upper Lascar Road makes for great photos and is one of the most photogenic places in Hong Kong.
Seriously, fashionistas, this is your shopping haven during a visit in Hong Kong. If you wanted to explore every store and boutique, you might spend a whole day here unless you are not into shopping (or on a limited budget).
In that case, you may skip it. If you don’t, it is easily reached by bus, tram or underground and very central and you should stay until it is dark to see Causeway Bay in its many lights.
This park is a fabulous oasis in the middle of the busy city lined by concrete skyrise buildings. Sit in the shade, watch the tranquil water or join the crowd for free early morning feng shui session. If you ask me this is one of the best places to visit in Hong Kong when you need a mini break from sightseeing.
While Macau isn’t technically part of Hong Kong, it makes for a great day trip from Hong Kong in itself. It is an autonomous region and offers amazing cultural highlights. If you are short on time, it’s best to not just go with a regular ferry but to have a guided tour set up for you.
You’ll have a very special experience if you snatch a seat at a tour with included lunch at the famous Macau Tower. (Check if tickets are still available here*.)
Other Macau attractions worth seeing (and included in local tours) are St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church, Na Tcha Temple, St. Dominic’s Church and Senado Square. To end a pretty spectacular day, head to Sands Macau, the first Vegas style casino in Macau.
More Hong Kong Travel Tips
Where Best to Experience Hong Kong?
Especially if you just arrived and feel overwhelmed by choice (very likely), this is helpful to get your footing. There is so much more and just strolling through the different regions is a great way to experience the city if you aren’t pressed for time.
In case you only have a short layover like I had but no local friends with the coolest insider tips, it’s always great to book a small group tour with a local guide. (Like this one here*.)
This way, you will not be alone and you will have an expert at your side who knows exactly where to go and what the interesting pieces of information for each place are.
I was fine walking with a regular printout map but you can also download offline maps with travel apps. Whatever you do, I am sure you will enjoy Hong Kong as much as I did!
If you like to print out the tips without it looking weird (you know, when you click “Print to PDF” it just doesn’t do it visually, you can get the free PDF from here. Feel free to share the link with your friends as well.)
Where to Stay in Hong Kong
For a great view over the Hong Kong harbour and basically one of the best place in Hong Kong to be, check into Ibis Hong Kong Central & Sheung Wan*. To stay close to the Botanical Garden and tram up on Victoria Peak, look into mini hotel Central*.
If you really want to treat yourself to a luxurious stay with topnotch design, magnificent balcony views and outside of the city centre, then you really should consider Hyatt Regency Hong Kong, Sha Tin*. If you decide on staying here, make it into its own mini trip to fully explore the surrounding nature.
Alternatively, to stay near shopping paradise Causeway Bay, book a room at Metropark Hotel Causeway Bay Hong Kong* or Cosmo Hotel Hong Kong*. Right in the heart of the busy Hong Kong city centre, Mong Kok is another great spot of Hong Kong hotels. Try Metropark Hotel Mongkok*.
If you are travelling on a shoe string budget, double check the reviews for hostel stays. Hong Kong doesn’t offer the most glamorous hostel stays. If you want to rough it a little though, you could stay at the YHA* in the middle of Lantau island’s forests on top of the mountain next to the famous Po Lin monastery.
What to Pack for Your Hong Kong Holidays
For a Hong Kong trip, you can leave your sweaters at home. Instead, pack for mild weather and warm days. Avoid synthetic fabrics and opt for airy, natural clothes instead because it will be humid and warm, especially in summer.
However, be aware of the Arctic blasts from the excessive air conditioning inside buildings and malls. Having a light cardigan* or jacket on you works wonders!
I noticed that sundresses* and simple pumps* or ballerina flats* are ruling the Hong Kong street fashion. But above all, don’t forget to pack sunscreen* and sunglasses*. And have blotting paper or tissues* available to get rid of excessive sweat, like the locals do.
Keep in mind that Hong Kong is a bit more conservative, so don’t show too much skin even on burning hot days.
And if after your Hong Kong getaway, you simply cannot live without Hong Kong, why not go hard on the souvenirs? You could decorate your home with unique coasters* (I love mix and matching different ones from my travels) and beautiful photography prints*.