Top 10 FREE Things to Do in Hong Kong
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In the world’s most expensive city for expats, with the world’s most expensive real estate market, this is the last place you’d think of for having free activities. But actually, free things to do in Hong Kong are everywhere!
Let me introduce 10 of the more unique and memorable free things to do in Hong Kong to you.
10 Delightfully Chaotic Free Things to Do in Hong Kong
Hiking to Hang Out With Monkeys
Kam Shan Country Park is the easiest way to see wild macaques in Hong Kong. And at the same time, you can enjoy one of the many hiking trails the city has to offer.
Wild animals and hiking aren’t what most people think of when Hong Kong comes to mind, but the reality is, this metropolis is never too far from a hiking trail filled with wildlife.
Hong Kong is made up of 60% uphill mountainous terrain. A lot of that being undeveloped and preserved as nature parks and wildlife reserves. Urban areas account for less than 10% of Hong Kong’s land use! You could be anywhere in the city and reach a hiking trail within 30 minutes.
TIP: Don’t feed the macaques. They can bite and steal things.
Visit the Temple Street Night Market
Walk through this famous market located in Kowloon. Enjoy the sights and sounds of all the vendors. You’ll find all types of hawker stalls selling everything from mass-produced t-shirts to antiques.
Additionally, you can see the city’s hotspot for fortune tellers of various practices. They gather and set up shop here, with a few being rather famous among locals for being quite accurate. Find them congregate near the Tin Hau temple, where the street got its name from.
Wander and explore the nearby areas to find other tents set up for Chinese Opera singing. It’s a window to old Hong Kong when Briton still occupied the place.
Gaze at the Skyline
The Hong Kong skyline is definitely unique and hard to beat. Residential apartment blocks easily go up to 30 – 40 storeys high, and office towers go even higher.
But tall buildings alone aren’t special, every city has tall buildings. It’s the density of the buildings in Hong Kong that make this skyline unique. After travelling all around Europe, Asia and North America. I can honestly say I have yet to find a city that is so densely packed both horizontally and vertically.
There really aren’t many cities in the world that can beat Hong Kong’s one of a kind city landscape. Take it all in at the TST harbour front to view the skyline facing Hong Kong island. Or head up to the rooftop of IFC mall to get a great view of the harbour facing Kowloon.
TIP: If you’re okay with spending a few dollars, take a ferry from either side and go across to see the harbour at night. You won’t regret it.
Be in Awe of The Big Buddha
The largest outside bronze Buddha statue in the world is located in Lantau Island, near the international airport.
Regardless of your faith, no one should miss out on the opportunity to visit this awe-inspiring monument near a real Buddhist monastery. You have to climb the 268 steps to reach the base at which the Buddha rests, but once there you can take in the views and beauty of the nearby scenery.
Go on a Heritage Trail
Talking about old Hong Kong, explore the history by taking a heritage trail. There are 6 trails to choose from that take you on a historical journey.
I personally recommend the Ping Shan Trail, because it’s the most historically significant of the six trails. You’ll be introduced to the Tang Clan, one of the largest clans present in New Territories. They’re also one of the earliest settlers in modern Hong Kong before the establishment of the government.
Most Hong Kong locals can find family links back to mainland China within 3 generations, but the Tang Clan have to go back more than 30 generations to find themselves back to mainland China. With over 900 years of history in Hong Kong, the Tang Clan introduced on this trail are direct descendants to royalty from the Song dynasty.
Relax on the Beach at Repulse Bay
Hong Kong doesn’t just have mountains, it also has a lot of islands and beaches. Beautiful beaches that can be reached by a scenic hike. But, if hiking for a few hours isn’t your thing then going to Repulse Bay should be your beach of choice.
It’s a relatively big beach for Hong Kong and it’s arguably the most famous one in the city. Popular with locals and travellers alike, this beach is a frequent filming spot for the local TV shows whenever a beach scene is needed.
Fascinating Hong Kong History Museum
If the weather isn’t too great for the heritage trail, then soak some history indoors.
The History Museum has a permanent free exhibition for anyone to enjoy. It’s a great afternoon activity with a lot of photo opportunities. Right across the History Museum is the Science Museum, which is a great place for young kids or for the young at heart
TIP: Beat the school kids by going during the weekdays.
Vibrant West Kowloon Waterfront
West Kowloon is an open space used for festivals and cultural events in the city. They hold both paid and free workshops, exhibitions and events regularly.
You can check their calendar to find out what’s on while you’re here.
Or, you can just head over to the public space and enjoy the promenade, views and grass. It’s a great picnic area in the city.
Poetry at Peel Street
I’ll admit, Hong Kong’s art scene isn’t as big as you would think for a metropolis city, but there are budding underground art scenes in the city.
From heavy metal to jazz and everything in between. A great free hang out for you and your friends is the weekly open mic poetry night at the Peel street.
Explore One of the More Unique Public Housing Units
Okay, so this isn’t a very obvious tourist attraction. But for all the architect fanatics or anyone with an Instagram account, you’ll want to head over to either Choi Hong Estate, Montane Mansion, Lai Tak Tsuen and Oi Man Plaza.
All these residential public housing units are a photographers dream come true. Ever seen a cool photo depicting Hong Kong’s cramped living conditions? It’s probably from one of these locations.
Make it a seriously full (and cheap) day activity and hit all the spots in one day!
This is nowhere near a full list of cool free things to do in Hong Kong, but I’m hoping the above 10 has something for everyone to choose from.
Winnie MD is a location independent entrepreneur based in Hong Kong. She’s been semi-nomadic since birth, spreading her childhood over 6 locations. Now as an adult, she’s taken her wanderlust to the next level and documents her pursuit of the ideal lifestyle on her blog. The blog covers all areas vital to her lifestyle design, Travel, Self-help, Finance and Retirement.
If you want more activities, check out this guide on other things to do in Hong Kong.
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