There’s an endless list of things to see and do and eat in Hong Kong. Seriously. Tons.
You could easily spend a full week or two in Hong Kong and still have plenty left on your bucket list, but most of the visitors I know who pass through only have 3 or 4 days.
Peter and I have several friends and family traveling through our home city this summer on their way to or from our wedding so it was about time that I shared my favorite activities that we always recommend to our visitors and guests.
In no particular order…
1. The Peak
No one will be surprised to see a visit to Victoria Peak on a Hong Kong travel list, but this spot is must for visitors. On a clear day, the views are spectacular.
2. Temple Street Night Market
Peter and I love to take guests here for dinner and to peruse the seemingly never ending market stalls. Our usual restaurant of choice is Temple Street Spice Crabs and we go often with friends even when we don’t have visitors in town.
These green beans in XO sauce are a must, but we have a full list of items on the menu that we order regularly so feel free to e-mail me if you want the insider secrets 😉
3. Hiking to Tai Long Wan in Sai Kung
Hong Kong is known for its urban jungle, but less than an hour outside of the city center, you’ll find yourself surrounded by lush greenery, sandy beaches, and blue waters. The hike is challenging, but worth it. Once you arrive at your destination you’ll find a beautiful beach and a local restaurant to grab a bite before hiking back (there’s also a boat that takes you back to Sai Kung village– ask the restaurant if you want to book a spot).
The beach is also a popular camping spot and the restaurant on site also rents out tents and equipment if you’re looking to stay overnight.
4. Drinks at Cafe Grey
I could (and will!) do a whole separate post on my favorite bars in Hong Kong, but I had to slip in one of the lushest spots to grab a cocktail and enjoy a view of the city. From the second you walk in to The Upper House hotel, you know you’re going to have a special evening. The hotel and Cafe Grey are beautiful and share an amazing view.
Book a table by the window and sip an Earl Grey Martini.
5. A Ride on the Star Ferry
The Star Ferry is probably Peter’s favorite mode of transportation in Hong Kong and one we don’t use nearly as often as he’d like. Hop on and let it take you across Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor for a unique view of both the Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon skylines.
6. Dim Sum at Lin Heung Tea House
Another must-try while in Hong Kong and another topic deserving of its own blog post, but amongst the dozens of dim sum restaurants you’ll encounter in Hong Kong one very special place stands out.
Lin Heung Tea House started serving dim sum in the 1920s and today still serves authentic Cantonese dishes. They take the time to hand make and serve many traditional dim sum dishes that other restaurants have long given up on.
For non-Cantonese speakers, you’ll have to do some pantomiming (or recruit a Cantonese speaking friend) and the waiters may be a bit intimidating, but it is an experience not to miss.
7. Wander through the Wet Market
Whenever I travel to a new city I love to stroll through the local food markets and see what interesting/yummy things I can find. In Hong Kong we call the outdoor markets where you find fresh produce, meat and fish–wet markets.
You’ll find wet markets all over Hong Kong, but the historic Graham Street wet market in Central is Hong Kong’s oldest continuously-operating wet market. Sadly much of the market has closed with more of it set to be closed to make room for the private development that surrounds it, but I still do a lot of my daily shopping here.
Take a walk through the same market Queen Elizabeth II once paid a visit to before its gone!
8. Chung King Mansions
While its reputation for cheap guesthouses, mobile phones, and watches, may not scream “must see,” a visit to Chung King Mansions gives you a very different look at life in Hong Kong. The traders, shop owners, and visitors range from Muslim traders to asylum seekers, and workers from Africa and South Asia. This combination makes for fascinating shop stalls and cheap, authentic eats from all over the world.
9. Lamma Island Seafood Dinner
Hop on a boat from Central or Tsim Sha Tsui to Lamma Island, one of Hong Kong’s outlying islands, for a fresh seafood dinner. One of the most popular restaurants is Rainbow Seafood Restaurant (if you make a reservation ahead of time, the restaurant will provide a private boat to take you over), but there are several restaurants along Lamma’s Sok Kwu Wan Pier.
Each restaurant will have sprawling outdoor tables and large fish tanks full of seafood for you to select before specifying how you’d like it cooked.
10. Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery
A Buddhist monastery in Sha Tin in Hong Kong’s New Territories, the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery consists of 5 temples, 4 pavilions, and 1 pagoda with thousands of different golden Buddha statues lining the walkways and buildings.
A very different experience of Hong Kong than the fast-paced city and much less crowded than visiting the Big Buddha.