Hong Kong is known the world over as a glamorous financial hub, and a choice city for luxury shopping. But this city-state is steeped in culture and history, and has a lot more to offer than mouth-watering dim sum and an impressive skyline. Around every corner is something new and unique, whether it’s an ancient temple or a shop selling the latest electronic gadget. As a Special Administrative Region of China, Hong Kong presents an interesting study in the influences of ancient Chinese culture as well as its own attitudes and history.
Best Time to Visit
If you are planning a Travel to Hong Kong then the best time to visit is from October to early December, when the weather is sunny, cool, and pleasant.
Top Places to Visit in Hong Kong
1. Tian Tan Buddha
Hong Kong is home to the world’s largest outdoor seated Buddha statue, the Tian Tan Buddha. You’ll have to climb 260 stairs to get a close-up view of the statue, but it is worth the trek. Thousands of pilgrims visit the Buddha on his birthday in late April or early May each year. This 34-meter-high “Big Buddha” sits atop Lantau Island’s Po Lin monastery, which was a fairly secluded place until the statue was built in 1993.Hong Kong’s only tea plantations can be found to the south of the monastery, and the beautiful Shek Pik reservoir is also on Lantau Island.
2. Repulse Bay and the Beaches
The beach at Repulse Bay is the most popular in the country, and a day spent here is complemented with the luxury and style typical of Hong Kong itself. Visitors are treated to a look at traditional Chinese architecture at the Hong Kong Life Saving Society clubhouse, while The Repulse Bay shows off its colonial influences. The latter reflects its past as a high-end hotel, but today offers great dining and shopping selections.
3. Ocean Park
As theme parks go, this one covers all the thrills you can handle in a day – a walk through old Hong Kong, roller coasters, a Grand Aquarium, and a look at rare and exotic wildlife. Ocean Park boasts the largest aquarium dome in the world, spanning 5.5 meters in diameter. The aquarium experience includes a look at thousands of fish from 400 species, a Reef Tunnel, and a chance to get hands-on with sea stars and sea cucumbers. Above the sea, guests can partake in a Giant Panda Adventure, where they’ll see giant pandas, red pandas, and the endangered Chinese Giant Salamander. There are also special programs focused on the North and South Poles. Fun rides include the Mine Train, Raging River, and Space Wheel.
4. Temple Street Night Market
Another must-visit in Kowloon, the Temple Street Night Market is the last night market in Hong Kong. This is the place to go for eclectic foods, goods, and characters. Vendors sell everything from electronics and clothes to jade jewelry and traditional Chinese crafts. When you need a break from shopping, you can sit with a fortune teller or hear traditional Cantonese opera sung outside the Tin Hua Temple, where performers range from amateur to professional level and treat guests to the country’s musical culture.
5. Dragon’s Back Hike
If you’ve had enough of the tight confines of Hong Kong and are ready for a little exercise, try escaping to the Dragon’s Back Hike. This popular trail offers spectacular views out over the ocean, Big Wave Bay, Mount Collinson, Stanley, and Shek O. It’s a pleasant change from the buzz of the big city to hear birdsong, the sound of small waterfalls, and the leaves rattling in the ocean breeze. The hike is relatively easy but be sure to start at Section 8 (bus stop To Tei Wan). From here, the walk takes you up a short distance and then is predominantly downhill with rolling sections to Big Wave Bay. At this location, you can catch a taxi or mini bus to Shek O. Both areas are fantastic swimming spots, with beautiful beaches, and Shek O has a variety of restaurants serving good food. Don’t forget to bring plenty of water and your bathing suit and towel. A swim to cool down followed by a fruit smoothie or ice cream at the end of the hike is heavenly.
6. Victoria Peak
You haven’t seen Hong Kong until you’ve taken in the skyline from Victoria Peak. Ride the tram to the top of this scenic viewpoint to see the skyscrapers, bustling city, and surrounding islands. Spend an hour or two wandering around the park area, taking in the lush greenery contrasted with the thriving urban center below. Evening is a great time to visit The Peak, as the area is known, when you can see the spectacular skyline lit against the night sky. If there is one must-see attraction in all of Hong Kong, this one is it.
7. Wong Tai Sin Temple
The Wong Tai Sin Temple is one of the newest in Hong Kong and also one of the most interesting. Located in Kowloon, the original temple was a private structure built in 1920. It was later replaced with a newer building in 1968, which is what visitors see today. The temple was built to honor the Taoist god Wong Tai Sin, whom locals regard as the bringer of good luck in horse-racing and a healer of illnesses. A festival is held at the temple in Wong Tai Sin’s name each fall. The temple complex is made up of several buildings, including the Hall of Three Saints, the Good Wish Garden, and another hall dedicated to Confucius and his 72 disciples. Expect to see fortune-tellers in the large hall, as well as joss sticks and other offerings that visitors can use. It is customary for guests to leave a small donation toward the temple’s maintenance.
Other must-see sights in Hong Kong include the Hong Kong Disneyland, the beautiful Chi Lin Buddhist Nunnery, the Hong Kong Museum of History, the Ngong Ping Plateau, the Hong Kong Museum of Art and Avenue of Stars.