The Ultimate Things To Do in Hong Kong

“A New York minute is a Hong Kong second” is a saying you’ll hear from expats who live in this thrilling, idiosyncratic city of 7 million residents, and it’s not hard to see why. Hong Kong teems with energy from the moment you arrive, and it never lets up. Shopping is on the list, as are dim sum, sightseeing, and the latest, hippest crop of restaurants and bars. Landmarks and skylines need to be photographed, there are countless street markets to explore or get lost in, and ferries and boat rides are waiting. Needless to say, it’s impossible to do everything, but there are some experiences that simply shouldn’t be missed. Whether you’re visiting Hong Kong for the first time or the tenth, here are Many things you absolutely can’t miss.

See the View From Victoria Peak

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If there’s only one thing you must do inHong Kong, it’s to take in the famous view from Victoria Peak, arguably the city’s most famous attraction. Rising 1,805 feet above sea level, the summit affords breathtaking views of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, Victoria Harbour, and, on very clear days, Kowloon’s eight mountains. There are several ways to reach the top, but the classic method is a seven-minute ride on the Peak Tram, the world’s steepest funicular railway. There’s an ongoing argument about whether the view is better during the day or at night—see both if you have the time and decide for yourself.

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Eat Dim Sum at Tim Ho Wan

the ultimate things to do in hong kong The Ultimate Things To Do in Hong Kong Dim Sum

Translated literally, dim sum means “touch your heart,” but it refers to a family-style meal consisting of dumplings and other dishes served in steamer baskets or on small plates. Dim sum originated as a morning or early afternoon meal, but today you can have it any time of day. And there’s no better place in the world to enjoy it than Hong Kong. While some restaurants serve dim sum from pushed carts and others allow guests to order from a menu, you can expect a similar roster of options including har gow (steamed shrimp dumplings), char siu baau (barbecued pork buns), spare ribs, turnip cakes, and much more.

There are “countless places” where you can order dim sum, but your best bet is to head directly to Tim Ho Wan, known as the cheapest Michelin–starred restaurant in the world (there are twelve locations in Hong Kong, but only the North Point, Sham Sui Po, and Tai Kwok Tsui locations are on Michelin’s list). For an old-school dim sum experience, try Luk Yu Tea House  for nouveau dim sum made with high-end international ingredients, try Mott32.

Charter a Junk Boat With Castelo Concepts

A popular weekend activity for locals is to escape the city center by renting a “junk,” a term which used to apply to Chinese fishing boats but now refers to any motorized water vessel designed for leisure. But just because you’re a visitor doesn’t mean you can’t partake in this tradition. Castelo Concepts offers seven-hour rides,

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, for up to fourteen adults (approximately $1,260), while Traway’s eight-hour charters are less than half that price (their website is in Chinese, but if you call them, you can arrange something in English). Another option is to consult with your hotel concierge for the best rates. No matter what, riding a junk is a wonderful way to enjoy the water and see some places off the beaten path.

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Hit the Ladies’ Market, the Temple Street Night Market, and All the Other Street Markets

Just about anything you could ever want to buy can be found in Hong Kong’s lively street markets. Ladies’ Market, home to more than 100 stalls selling clothing and accessories, and the Temple Street Night Market, where you can find everything from noodles to watches, are the most famous.

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, Cat Street is known for antiques, Apliu Street Market is the place for electronics, and Fa Yuen Street is known as Sneakers Street. There are also dedicated markets for flowers, goldfish, birds, jade, kitchenware, and more.

Gaze Upon the Big Buddha

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West of the city center lies the mountainous terrain of Lantau Island, home of the Tian Tan Buddha, a 202-ton statue of the deity. Commonly referred to as the “Big Buddha,” the massive bronze statue is the main attraction here, but there are some other touristy attractions nearby that you can skip. The best way to get to the Big Buddha is to hop on the Ngong Ping 360 gondola, which offers impressive views of North Lantau Country Park, Hong Kong International Airport, the South China Sea, and the surrounding countryside.

Hike the Dragon’s Back

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Hong Kong is often regarded as a city of skyscrapers and shopping malls, but it offers remarkable hiking options for active locals and visitors. Stretching for 31 miles, the Hong Kong Trailcuts through five country parks on Hong Kong Island, the most popular portion of which is known as the Dragon’s Back. The highlight of this hike is reaching Shek O Peak, from where you can enjoy 360-degree views of beaches, bays, verdant countryside, waterfront communities, and the South China Sea. The shortest version of this hike can be completed in less than two hours, though you could extend it to six hours if you wanted to start from Happy Valley and make your way south.

.Place Your Bets at Happy Valley Racecourse

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Aside from the summer months, when there are no horse races, Happy Valley Racecourse is the place to be in Hong Kong on a Wednesday night. Popular with both expats and locals, this weekly event feels more like a party than a sporting event; sure, people come to gamble, but it’s more about the scene than anything else. Some weeks offer themed nights, like Oktoberfest or Carnival, and the crowd dresses accordingly.

Relax in Hong Kong Park and Victoria Park

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Hong Kongers like to “escape to beaches”, small islands, and the countryside to unwind, but that doesn’t mean there’s no green space in the city center for visitors to enjoy. Offering respite from the frenetic streets of Central, Hong Kong Park offers a sprawling mix of rock gardens and leafy pathways, making it a popular place for locals to practice tai chi or read in a secluded spot. On the edge of Causeway Bay, beautifully landscaped Victoria Park is the largest urban green space on Hong Kong Island, and it has recreational facilities for soccer, basketball, swimming, lawn bowling, and tennis. Perhaps the prettiest escape in the city is Nan Lian Garden, a 35,000-square-meter retreat designed in Tang Dynasty style, with traditional Chinese architecture and landscaping. All three parks are easily accessible via public transportation.

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