Top 10 things to do in Hong Kong for First-Time Visitors
Are you ready for an unforgettable experience in one of the most vibrant cities in the world? Hong Kong is a city that has something for everyone – from breathtaking sights to delicious traditional Chinese cuisine. For first-time visitors, this city’s sheer scale and diversity can be overwhelming. To help you determine how to make the most of your visit, I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 best things to do in Hong Kong. From exploring bustling markets to enjoying spectacular views from Victoria Peak, you won’t want to miss these highlights as you explore this captivating city.
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Table of Contents
Visit Victoria Peak
Victoria Peak is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Hong Kong. Located just west of Central, this stunning mountain offers breathtaking views that will leave you speechless. From its summit, you can take in the beauty of Victoria Harbour and the city skyline, with its iconic skyscrapers, lit up against the night sky. On a clear day, you can even catch a glimpse of nearby islands.
Taking the Peak Tram to get to the top is an experience – it’s been running for over 130 years and is one of the oldest railways in Asia. As you ascend, you’ll be able to watch as Hong Kong’s dazzling cityscape comes into view. Don’t forget to look for some interesting landmarks like St John’s Cathedral and Government House along the way!
Once you reach the peak, there’s plenty to do and explore – from checking out some of Hong Kong’s most impressive public sculptures to taking a stroll around Lugard Road or visiting Madame Tussauds wax museum. On your way back down, make sure to stop at Victoria Peak Garden or go shopping at The Peak Tower, where you’ll find a range of restaurants, shops and galleries.
For those looking for something more adrenaline-fuelled, plenty of thrilling activities are available on Victoria Peak, from star-gazing tours to abseiling and paragliding; visitors can have an unforgettable experience unlike any other. Plus, if you want to stay longer and soak up all that Hong Kong has to offer, why not book yourself into one of the luxurious hotels at the peak?
Ride the Star Ferry
When in Hong Kong, one of the best things you can do is hop on a Star Ferry and enjoy the incredible views of the city. With its affordable prices, taking a ride on this historic ferry is one of the top things to do in Hong Kong; check out the Star Ferry timetable and pricelist to plan your trip.
The Star Ferry has been around for over a century, and its history dates back even further than that. As you float along the waters, keep your eyes peeled for some of Hong Kong’s iconic landmarks. Take panoramic photos of the Bank of China Tower or visit Kowloon Park, where you can stroll through lush gardens and ponds. You may even catch glimpses of local wildlife, like birds and monkeys! If that wasn’t enough, keep an eye out for any celebrity sightings during your trip!
As if that wasn’t exciting enough, there are plenty more activities to enjoy riding this historic ferry. Stop off at one of Hong Kong’s many islands for beachfront fun or explore temples and shrines that dot the harbourside. Plenty of great places nearby to shop and eat – from trendy boutiques to street food stalls serving authenticity.
Try Dim Sum
If you’re looking for a truly unique experience while visiting Hong Kong, then trying dim sum should be on your list of things to do! Not only is it a culinary adventure you won’t find anywhere else in the world, but it also offers an exciting and delicious way to explore the city.
Dim sum is a traditional Chinese dish of small steamed or fried dumplings filled with various ingredients such as seafood, meat, vegetables, or even sweet desserts. The best part about dim sum is that there are so many options! Whether you want something savoury or sweet, there’s sure to be something that tantalizes your taste buds.
When you visit one of Hong Kong’s restaurants offering dim sum, you may also be offered congee — a rice porridge — often served with fried dough sticks or other accompaniments.
If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you may struggle in Hong Kong, especially as the menu is only in Chinese in many places. However, vegetarian Dim Sum is possible, especially in the more tourist areas of Hong Kong, where you have a better chance of finding a readable menu or friendly service. However, help is at hand! There are many food tours in Hong Kong that can help you enjoy all the culinary delights this country has to offer.
Explore the Markets
Exploring the markets of Hong Kong is a treat for any traveller. From traditional Chinese handicrafts to luxurious goods, the markets of this vibrant city offer something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to pick up a souvenir or just curious to explore the many offerings, there are plenty of things to do in Hong Kong’s bustling markets.
One of the most popular markets is the Ladies’ Market. This vibrant street market offers everything from apparel and accessories to trinkets and toys – perfect for bargain hunters! It is a great place to grab unique items and a spot for people-watching.
Another must place to visit in Hong Kong is its famous night markets. These vibrant spots come alive after dark with vendors selling clothes, jewellery and souvenirs at discounted prices. Temple Street Night Market is one of the most popular spots that offer live music performances and seafood restaurants right next door!
The Flower Market also makes for a fascinating visit – even if you don’t buy anything! The colourful displays will captivate anyone – young or old – with their stunning array of fresh flowers.
If you’d like to see it all, consider a private market tour of Hong Kong so that you don’t miss a bargain.
Visit the Big Buddha
Anyone looking to experience some of the best things to do in Hong Kong must take a cable car up to visit the Big Buddha. This iconic city symbol stood tall at an impressive 34 metres and was constructed in 1993 for religious education and spiritual culture. Visitors can take a cable car from Ngong Ping village or Tung Chung station and enjoy breathtaking views on the way up.
Once you reach your destination, you will be met with stunning views of the Chinese countryside and Lantau Island and a wealth of cultural iconography that includes traditional temples, pagodas, and monuments. You can explore not only the Big Buddha itself but also Po Lin Monastery, where you can find an array of delightful vegetarian dishes such as shiitake mushrooms in black bean sauce.
The Big Buddha is made entirely of bronze, giving off a shimmering aura throughout its exterior walls. Inside is a magnificent display of intricate sculptures depicting Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and other gods like Kuan Yin, known for their power to grant good fortune and prosperity. As you wander through these structures, take in some breathtaking views over Ngong Ping village below – it’s truly awe-inspiring! You’ll easily see why this is one of the best Hong Kong attractions.
Once your visit is complete, why not stroll around Ngong Ping village to get a feel for local life? You’ll find plenty of souvenir shops where you can pick up some unique mementoes from your trip or grab something delicious from one of the many traditional tea houses dotted around.
Walk Along the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade
The Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade is one of the best Hong Kong attractions, full of exciting things to do. Stretching from Hung Hom to the Star Ferry Pier in Tsim Sha Tsui, this stunning waterfront promenade offers breathtaking views of Victoria Harbour and Kowloon.
Take a leisurely walk along the harbourfront and explore many of Hong Kong attractions. The Avenue of Stars celebrates some of Hong Kong’s most iconic films, while the Clock Tower is an instantly recognizable symbol of Hong Kong culture. You can also visit several museums, including the Maritime Museum and History Museum, and participate in events such as free concerts and festivals throughout the year.
Experience unique shopping opportunities by exploring nearby shops and stores, or take a break at one of the many cafes and restaurants that line the promenade. You can also hop on one of Hong Kong’s famous ferries and explore other areas, such as Lamma Island or Lantau Island. Plenty more activities are available nearby, such as kayaking, sailing trips, boat rides around Victoria Harbour, or even swimming when it’s warm enough!
Visit the Wong Tai Sin Temple
The Wong Tai Sin Temple in Hong Kong is one of the city’s most beloved and visited attractions. Located in the Kowloon district, it is a popular destination for locals and tourists seeking to experience traditional Chinese culture and spirituality. The temple has been around since 1921, when it was built to honour Wong Tai Sin, a Chinese deity from Guangdong province.
Visiting the Wong Tai Sin Temple is an incredible experience that will bring you closer to Chinese culture and beliefs. Inside, you can find several shrines dedicated to various gods and goddesses with offerings of incense sticks and flowers for luck. Additionally, statues of animals, such as turtles and dragons, are believed to bring good fortune if rubbed or touched.
One of the highlights of this temple is its beautiful architecture. Its red walls, gold details, impressive columns and elaborate roofs. You can also enjoy a peaceful walk through the garden surrounding the temple, where many ponds are filled with fish and pavilions decorated with ancient Chinese symbols such as lotus flowers and other auspicious symbols.
Wong Tai Sin Temple also offers a range of activities for visitors, such as fortune-telling rituals that involve burning joss sticks at specific times or praying at certain altars for good luck. Nearby you can also find souvenir shops where you can buy traditional items like charms, coins or amulets that supposedly bring luck or prosperity when worn or carried around in your pocket.
The best time to visit Wong Tai Sin Temple is during its annual festival in late September or early October. Hundreds celebrate this important event with parades, music performances and traditional ceremonies like firewalking across hot coals. Whether you’re looking for spiritual enlightenment or want an interesting day out exploring one of Hong Kong’s top attractions – make sure not to miss a visit to Wong Tai Sin Temple!
Hong Kong is a shopper’s paradise, with endless opportunities to find unique and stylish items worldwide. From traditional Chinese markets to modern shopping malls and high-end designer boutiques, Hong Kong offers something for everyone. The vibrant streets of Kowloon are full of street vendors selling everything from electronics and luxury goods to cheap souvenirs, while the more upscale areas of Central and Causeway Bay boast some of the most exclusive shopping opportunities in the world.
If retail therapy is what you’re after, hit Causeway Bay’s Times Square mall, where you’ll find all the latest international brands like Zara, H&M, Uniqlo and Apple Store. It’s also home to great restaurants and cafes, so take a break between stores!
For a more luxurious shopping experience, head to Tsim Sha Tsui’s Harbour City Mall, where you’ll find designer labels like Prada, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and more housed in an elegant Art Deco building. Or, if you want to splurge on something special, travel up Victoria Peak for an unforgettable view – plus plenty of chic boutiques offering exclusive designer pieces.
No matter your budget or style preference, there are plenty of options for shopping places to visit in Hong Kong.
Take a Cruise on the Aqua Luna
When it comes to the best things to do in Hong Kong, a cruise on Aqua Luna is an experience not to be missed. This one-of-a-kind journey takes passengers across Victoria Harbour and allows them to admire the beautiful skyline of this vibrant city from a unique perspective.
Aside from its spectacular views, Aqua Luna offers a variety of activities that make every cruise an exciting adventure. When the sun goes down, it’s time to relax and enjoy the music that floats along with soft melodies in the air. The onboard bar serves drinks and snacks, making sure you don’t miss any moment of your excursion. It also has comfortable seating areas for those sitting back and taking in their surroundings.
If you prefer something more interactive, there are plenty of options available! From day cruises that include dragon boat racing and sightseeing stops at some of Hong Kong’s most iconic attractions to night cruises with live DJs providing entertainment, there is something for everyone onboard this sleek vessel. Participate in Tai Chi classes with experienced instructors or fun games such as Mahjong for a truly memorable experience.
Take a Day Trip to Macau
If you’re looking for a great day trip from Hong Kong, then Macau is the perfect destination. From casinos and nightlife to historical sites and temples, there’s something for everyone in this small city.
When you arrive in Macau, the first thing you should do is explore some of its most famous attractions. Take a stroll on the cobbled streets of Senado Square and admire the stunningly beautiful architecture of St Paul’s Cathedral. Also, visit A-Ma Temple – one of Macau’s oldest temples – where you can learn about the city’s fascinating history and traditions.
For those who enjoy gaming, head to one of Macau’s renowned casinos, The Venetian or City of Dreams. Here, you can try your luck at blackjack, baccarat, roulette and more. And if gambling isn’t your cup of tea, no worries – plenty of other activities to enjoy!
Take a break from all the hustle and bustle with a relaxing boat ride along Nam Van Lake, or take a cable car ride up Penha Hill for breathtaking views across the city. If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, why not go ziplining over Coloane Island? Or why not rent a kayak or paddleboard to explore Taipa Village?
No matter what activity takes you fancy while visiting Macau, make sure to add it to your list of things to do in Hong Kong!
Things to do in Hong Kong in Summary
Hong Kong is a city that never sleeps, with something new and exciting to discover around every corner. Exploring Hong Kong as a first-time visitor is an exciting experience! There is something for everyone, from the vibrant nightlife to the beautiful culture. I hope the top 10 things to do in Hong Kong have given you some inspiration for your holiday; let the adventure begin!
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