Hong Kong Feature
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Free Things to Do in Hong Kong
It's easy to spend money in the big city: shopping, entrance fees, food, shows, late-night cocktails. But if you'd like to put your wallet away for a while, here are some of our favorite options.
Visitors are free to browse antiques and art works by Asian prodigies at private galleries in Central, SoHo, and Sheung Wan. Kowloon Park's winding Sculpture Walk features 20 works—including an Eduardo Paolozzi—against a leafy backdrop. And be sure to keep your eyes open at the malls, most notably Harbour City and Times Square, where you'll see Hong Kong's version of public art.
See our feathered friends up close and personal without leaving town—either at the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden in Kowloon or at the Edward Youde Aviary in the heart of Hong Kong Park.
Victoria Harbour's Symphony of Lights is performed every evening at 8 to a crowd of mesmerized visitors and proud residents. Music and narration blast through low-fi outdoor speakers as 44 skyscrapers are synchronized to light up on cue. Watch from the waterfront promenade in Tsim Sha Tsui, Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai, or the InterContinental Hotel's lobby lounge.
The tourist board runs free classes on feng shui, kung fu, Cantonese opera, and Chinese tea appreciation. If you prefer a more immersive experience, a tai chi master will guide you through the moves at the Sculpture Court, just outside the Hong Kong Museum of Art, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning at 8. Contact the HKTB (2508-1234) for details.
Inner peace is priceless, and though it's customary to make a small donation, all of Hong Kong's temples are free. So is the peaceful Chi Lin Nunnery in Kowloon, as well as the Big Buddha and Wisdom Path on Lantau Island, although you have to pay to get there first.
Visit the Hong Kong Heritage Museum in Sha Tin on a Wednesday, when admission is free of charge for the whole family. This expertly curated museum chronicles Hong Kong's changing face, from scattered fishing and farming communities to booming towns. The Hong Kong Museum of Art, Museum of History, Museum of Coastal Defence, Science Museum, Space Museum, and Dr. Sun Yat-sen Museum also offer free admission on Wednesday.
It doesn't cost a cent to ride up to the Bank of China's 43rd-floor observation deck, or to visit the Hong Kong Monetary Authority on the 55th floor of the International Finance Centre, for fabulous harbor views over to Kowloon. Get the reverse vista from the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront promenade. For a glorious panoramic bay view of Victoria Park, visit the 5th and 6th floors of the main library in Causeway Bay.
In town, you can take in colonial architecture during an hour-long stroll through Western between the University of Hong Kong and Western Market. Or try walking across Central through buildings linked by covered pedestrian passages. You can also head for the hills and hike along the Dragon's Back or up to Lion Rock.
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