Hong Kong in 15 stops: A journey through the city of contrasts

Explore the vibrant Hong Kong with our travel guide! From the impressive skyline of Victoria Harbour to the bustling markets of Mong Kok, immerse yourself in the dynamic energy of this Asian metropolis. Discover the harmonious mix of traditional temples and modern architecture, taste the diverse cuisine, and experience the unique interplay of East and West. Our Hong Kong guide offers essential tips for an unforgettable stay, from the historic tram ride to the serene escape on Lantau Island. Be enchanted by the allure of Hong Kong and plan your perfect trip to this city of contrasts.

Victoria Peak and the peak tram

Victoria Peak is one of the highest points in Hong Kong. From here you have a beautiful view of the entire city. Both Hong Kong Island and Kowloon are clearly visible, and Victoria Harbor can also be seen. A wonderful place to enjoy the skyline and skyscrapers. To reach the top of Victoria Peak, it’s best to take the Peak Tram. This is an old tram that is pulled up the entire way by cables from Garden Road. The wait time for the tram can sometimes be quite long due to the crowds, even though a tram departs every 10 to 15 minutes.

Once at the top of Victoria Peak, at 396 meters high, you can visit the Peak Tower. In this stylish and modern building, you’ll find restaurants, shops, and entertainment. On top of the Peak Tower, you can find the Sky Terrace 428, a platform that offers panoramic views of the entire city. From here, on a clear day, you can also take the most beautiful photos. This rooftop terrace is located at, as the name suggests, 428 meters high, making it the highest vantage point in the city.

Costs: for both the peak tram and the sky terrace, you need to buy a ticket. For a round trip on the peak tram, including access to the sky terrace, you'll pay 99 HKD per person. For children and seniors, this is 47 HKD.

Hong Kong - skyline
Hong Kong - peak tram

Lantau Island

Not high skyscrapers, but beautiful nature and culture prevail here. Lantau Island is home to several iconic attractions, including the Tian Tan Buddha, the Po Lin Monastery, the fishing village of Tai O, the Ngong Ping 360 cable car, and the opportunity to go on a pink dolphin tour. We took a day trip to the island to experience all of these attractions, and we were amazed by the beauty and diversity of Lantau Island. We were so impressed that we decided to write a separate article about Lantau Island and all of its attractions.

Cost: A single ride in a standard cabin costs 160 HKD per person, and for a round trip, you'll pay 235 HKD. There are discounts available for children and seniors.

Hong Kong - roze dolfijn
Hong Kong - Tian Tan Buddha

Ten thousand Buddhas

The Ten Thousand Buddhas Temple certainly lives up to its name. As you ascend the long staircase through the lush greenery, you’ll pass by 10,000 golden Buddha statues. What’s remarkable is that no two Buddhas are alike. The path to the temple at the top has a total of 400 steps but is worth every step. The monastery covers a whopping eight hectares and features a nine-story pagoda, a main temple, and two pavilions. Along the staircase leading up to the main temple, you’ll encounter only male Buddhas, but as you continue upward, you’ll find only female statues, sometimes even holding babies in their arms.

The monastery is only a five-minute walk from Sha Tin MTR station and admission is free.

Hong Kong - 10.000 buddha's
Hong Kong - 10.000 buddha's

Ocean Park

This is one of our personal favorites in Hong Kong. We even bought a pass that gave us access for six months. Ocean Park is a combination of an amusement park, aquarium, and zoo located in the southern part of Hong Kong Island.

The park is divided into two sections, located on either side of a mountain: The Waterfront and The Summit. To get from one side to the other, you can take a cable car. This cable car offers a stunning view of large parts of Hong Kong. If you don’t like the cable car, there’s also a train that goes through the mountain. Additionally, the park is divided into different themed areas and features giant pandas, sharks, penguins, and thrilling roller coasters, among other attractions.

One of our favorite attractions is the roller coaster Mine Train, during the roller coaster ride you have the most beautiful views over Hong Kong, an experience that we have not experienced anywhere else.

Cost: 1-day admission costs HKD 498 per person, and for children under 12 it is only HKD 249.

Hong Kong - Oceanpark
Hong Kong - Oceanpark

Avenue of Stars

Taking a stroll along the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade is definitely a must-do in Hong Kong. From this promenade, you have a fantastic view of the skyline of Hong Kong Island filled with skyscrapers. Here you will also find the Avenue of Stars, which is comparable to the Walk of Fame in Hollywood. The Avenue of Stars pays tribute to great film heroes such as Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee.

There is another very special attraction that should not be missed in Hong Kong, and that is The Symphony of Light. A light and sound show that can be admired every evening at 8:00 pm from the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade. During this show, the skyline of Hong Kong Island, which is always beautifully lit in the evening, becomes the backdrop for a real spectacle! This show is known as one of the most spectacular light shows in the world.

During the Christmas period, the entire skyline is extravagantly decorated with beautiful Christmas lights and decorations. Like everything else, this is also done on a grand scale!

Hong Kong - skyline
Hong Kong - skyline
Hong Kong

Horse racing in Happy Valley

A completely different but incredibly fun activity to do in Hong Kong is attending horse races. Among the residents of Hong Kong, horse racing is very popular, as it is the only form of gambling allowed in Hong Kong. An evening at Happy Valley Racecourse mainly consists of enthusiastic gambling, loud cheering, and lots of beer. And all this with the skyscrapers in the background, as this racecourse is located in the middle of the city. The racing season lasts from September to June and usually takes place on Wednesday evenings. Placing a bet on one of the horses can start from as little as 10 HKD and adds a bit of excitement to the experience!

Cost: access to the racetrack is only HKD 10 per person.

Hong Kong - paardenrace
Hong Kong - paardenrace

Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden

The Chi Lin Nunnery is an active Buddhist nunnery in the style of the Tang dynasty, located in Diamond Hill. The monastery is entirely built of wood, even without the use of metal nails, which gives it an elegant atmosphere. The nunnery consists of several temples, a primary school, and a secondary school.

Adjacent to the monastery is the Nan Lian Garden. This is a public garden full of greenery and large ponds, also in the style of the Tang dynasty. The garden is a whopping 3.5 hectares in size, making it the ideal place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

Hong Kong - Chi Lin Nunnery
Hong Kong - Nan Lian Garden
Hong Kong - Chi Lin Nunnery

Sky 100 Observation Deck

On the 100th floor of the International Commerce Centre, the tallest building in Hong Kong, you’ll find the Sky100 observation deck. Here, you’ll find the most beautiful panoramic views of the city at a height of 393 meters. With a lightning-fast elevator, you’ll shoot up to the hundredth floor, making the surroundings seem even more minuscule.

When you’re here just before sunset, you’ll have the best experience. You can experience Hong Kong in daylight, with the buildings stretching as far as you can see. And as the sun sets, the beautiful colors of the illuminated skyline appear.

Cost: A standard ticket costs 188 HKD per person, and 128 HKD for children and seniors. When you book online, you get a small discount.

Hong Kong - Sky100
Hong Kong - Sky100

Star Ferry and Dukling

Hong Kong Island and Kowloon are separated by Victoria Harbour, creating two beautiful skylines. To travel from one side to the other, there are several options. The MTR goes under the water, and there is a bridge for cars, taxis, and buses. However, the most enjoyable option is to take the Star Ferry. Ferries depart from both sides and take about ten minutes to cross. The cost is only a few HKD.

Another fun way to explore Hong Kong from the water is by taking a ride on a traditional Chinese boat, the Dukling. These beautiful boats have become an icon of the city. A tip is to take a ride on this traditional boat during the Symphony of Lights.

Hong Kong - Dukling
Hong Kong - skyline

Nathan Road and Temple Street Night Market

During a visit to Nathan Road in the Mong Kok area, you’ll be amazed by the hustle and bustle. There are large signs and shops everywhere, and it’s always hectic. Nathan Road is mainly known for its many shops, restaurants, and shopping opportunities. The fact that it’s a very long street is also evident from the fact that there are five different metro stations on the street.

Near Nathan Road, you’ll also find Temple Street Night Market, which is open daily from 4:00 PM. This lively market mainly offers souvenirs and cheap (fake) electronics. In addition to shops with many items, you’ll also find many food stalls. It’s one of the best places to eat street food in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong
Hong Kong

Beaches in Hong Kong

In addition to the tall skyscrapers and beautiful green nature, Hong Kong also has some beautiful beaches that are definitely worth a visit. One of the most popular beaches is Repulse Bay Beach. This beautiful white beach is lined with a number of futuristic buildings, including the famous apartment complex with a hole in the middle to make it Feng Shui. Another popular beach is Big Wave Beach in Shek O. This beach is located on the east coast of Hong Kong and is characterized by its high waves, making it a real surf spot.

Hong Kong - Big Wave Beach

Temples in Hong Kong

You can find them everywhere in Hong Kong, in all sorts of different places and in all sorts of different sizes, shapes, and forms; temples. This is because Buddhism has an important place in the lives of the Chinese. In these temples, there is always a certain peace. The beautiful buildings and incense smells make you forget for a moment that you are in the middle of a busy metropolis.

Two of the most beautiful temples we have visited are the Wong Tai Sin temple and the Man Mo temple.

Hong Kong
Hong Kong

Nature and hiking in Hong Kong

Despite the city’s reputation for its hustle and bustle and futuristic skyscrapers, Hong Kong is largely made up of nature. It would be a shame to stay only in the city center during a visit to Hong Kong. There are many beautiful hiking trails and viewpoints just outside the city or on the other islands. The Dragons Back hike and Lion Head Rock are fantastic routes. The hiking trail to Tai Long Wan Beach is also really worth it. Along the way, there are beautiful views before you arrive at Tai Long Wan Beach from where you can take a boat back to Sai Kung.

Hong Kong
Hong Kong

Bird Garden and Goldfish Market

It’s a unique experience; the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden. In this small park, there are dozens of market stalls full of birds in cages. The sound of the birds is intense, but the experience is very unique.

In addition, Hong Kong also has the Goldfish Market in the center of Mong Kok. This looks like a large pet store on the street, but unfortunately, this is not very animal-friendly. In these shops, hundreds of small fish swim in large illuminated tanks, or they hang in much too small plastic bags on a wall. In the extension of this Goldfish market, there are many more pet shops with, among other things, dogs and cats. A strange experience for tourists but very normal for the people who live in Hong Kong. We visited these markets out of cultural interest, but did not support them by consciously not making any purchases.

Hong Kong - Goldfish market
Hong Kong - bird market

Visiting Macau

Macau, like Hong Kong, is a special administrative region of China. From Hong Kong you can be in Macau by boat in about an hour. There is a lot to discover here, such as the beautiful sights where the Portuguese atmosphere can still be experienced in the old town, but also the impressive casinos that certainly match those found in Las Vegas. Curious about all there is to do in Macau? Then read our ultimate travel guide to Macau.