Top Things to Do in Hong Kong
The longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world covers half a mile of moving stairs, walkways, and passageways from the business hub of Central to the residential heights of Mid-Levels. Step off a few flights up from Central in SoHo or on Hollywood Road for gallery hopping, eating out, or pub crawling.
At 1,810 feet above sea level, the peak is Hong Kong Island's highest hill above the harbor. Buy a ticket for the 125-year-old Peak Tram, take in the postcard views, pop into the Police Museum, then take a scenic nature walk or bus ride back down to Central.
Mong Kok Markets
Flowers, birds, goldfish, turtles, and jade by day; clothes, sneakers, toys, and knickknacks by night. And there's always food around Temple Street. Visit the stronghold of the Triads (secret-society gangs) on Nathan Road, or wander down Sai Yeung Street, which is full of snacks, buskers, and touts.
Kowloon Walled City Park
Exempted from British rule and abandoned by the Chinese following their treaty in 1842, the Walled City grew into a lawless, labyrinthine slum occupied by Triads, gambling houses, brothels, and disease. In 1995 it was resurrected as a peaceful and expansive Qing Dynasty–style garden. The documentary photos and restored South Gate remnants exhibit how far the park has come.
Tian Tan Buddha
The Ngong Ping 360 cable-car ride can take you only so far. The true path to divine ascension is by way of 268 steps leading up to the 275-ton Tian Tan Buddha (the Big Buddha), which sits on a hill next to the Po Lin Buddhist Monastery. Nearby is the Wisdom Path, a beautiful walk that offers splendid views.
Dragon's Back Trail
This hiking trail across the southeast end of Hong Kong Island will give you a whole new perspective of Hong Kong, though you don't need to be an athlete to walk the undulating ridge.
There’s no better way to see the city than from the water, so taking a cruise on Victoria Harbour is on every first-timer’s itinerary. The city skyline looks incredibly modern, especially when surrounded by the more distant mountains. For the full treatment, take a ride in a traditional junk.
This popular theme park has exciting rides as well as up-close access to some of the world’s most fascinating animals. The park is best known for its marine-life exhibits, the grand aquarium, and the spectacular dolphin shows. Make sure to pay a visit to the giant panda habitat, too.
Wong Tai Sin Temple
One of the busiest religious shrines in the city, Wong Tai Sin Temple is perpetually packed with dedicated worshippers looking to have their prayers answered or their fortunes read. The complex itself is a stunning structure that houses the teachings of Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. The temple can get crazily crowded during major Chinese festivities, so check the lunar calendar before you go if you want to avoid the madness.
Chi Lin Nunnery
A tranquil oasis in the middle of residential Diamond Hill, the nunnery and surrounding garden are built in the Tang Dynasty style and feature Buddhist treasures and relics. Every object in the garden—from the stones to the plants—has been placed according to specific traditional rules. A well-regarded vegetarian restaurant and teahouse is also located in the park.