Cheap Sightseeing in and Around Hong Kong

Victoria Peak Tram in Hong Kong
marco wong / Getty Images

Is Hong Kong cheap or expensive? This list of cheap Hong Kong sightseeing is intended to show that this region can be light on the pocket, but still surprisingly heavy on enjoyment.

Although you won't need to take out a bank loan to enjoy these sights and activities, they are in many cases still Hong Kong's best: combining cheap Hong Kong sightseeing with quality Hong Kong experiences.

Take in Views of Victoria Harbour

There’s a reason that Victoria Harbour figures in most tourist images of Hong Kong: it’s a pretty scenic body of water, particularly when seen against the forest of skyscrapers on the Hong Kong Island side. Visitors to Hong Kong can try a series of inexpensive activities on the body of water that separates Hong Kong Island from Kowloon.

Cross over on Star Ferry. What better way to enjoy the water of Hong Kong Harbour than floating on it. The Star Ferry is a Hong Kong icon and has been plying the route between Tsim Sha Tsui and Central for over 100 years. Rides across the harbor take around 10 minutes, during which time you can watch the water and the skyline unfold before you.

You can pay for your trip using your Octopus card; each trip one-way costs HKD2.20 (US$ 0.30) on weekdays and HKD3.10 (US$ 0.40) on weekends and holidays.

Avenue of Stars, Night View
 courtesy of Hong Kong Tourism Board

Watch the Symphony of Lights. Every evening, the Symphony of Lights plays out over Central’s skyscrapers, unfolding the world’s largest ongoing light and sound show against Victoria Harbour.

It’s a must-see for the Hong Kong traveler: a carefully crafted and choreographed 14-minute laser and light extravaganza that uses 46 of Hong Kong’s most iconic skyscrapers and buildings as a backdrop.

Bet on the Horses at Happy Valley

Hong Kong horseracing is arguably the most exciting in the world. With a nominal HK$10 entrance fee, minimum bets as low as HK$10, spectators inches away from trackside, and regularly packed crowds, the experience is one not to be missed.

Hong Kong has two racecourses; one at Happy Valley in the city; and one in at Sha Tin in the New Territories. The racecourse at Happy Valley is a hands-down world-beater; regular Wednesday night races are conducted against the backdrop of a circular wall of skyscrapers, making the place feel like the Coliseum.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club has information about upcoming races.

T. T. Tsui Gallery of Chinese Art
Chong Fat / CC BY-SA 3.0

Explore the Museums for Free on Wednesday

Hong Kong has a host of top-class museums, although the entrance fee to them is minimal, usually no more than HK$20, Wednesday is completely free. One museum that frequently earns star reviews is the Hong Kong Heritage museum.

For a more extensive list of historical exhibits to visit, read our top five Hong Kong museums list.

Take a Tram Ride along Hong Kong Island

Riding the tram on Hong Kong Island is one of the best deals you'll get in the city; it's also a great way to sightsee. In operation since 1902, the trams are virtually unchanged since they hit the streets.

The trams meander along a well-worn route through the northern coast of Hong Kong Island, stopping roughly every 300m. For just two dollars you can cross the whole of Hong Kong Island and see almost the whole city in the process.

Take the tram from North Point to Kennedy Town, which will take you roughly 1hr, and take you through Central, Admiralty as well as some more 'local' areas.

Trekker admiring Central's skyscrapers
Martin Puddy/Getty Images

Explore the Outdoors

Get away from Central’s high-rises to see Hong Kong at its wildest. You don’t have to spend a fortune—or go a long distance—to escape the urban sprawl and get in touch with your wild side.

Hong Kong’s hiking trails can be easily accessible by bus or MTR—challenging paths past dense greenery and breathtaking views of the seas and forests nearby. You’ll find trails for all levels of ambition and physical fitness; start with this list of top Hong Kong trekking trails.

Hong Kong’s bike paths, especially those in the New Territories, have been scrupulously laid out by city planners next to their planned estates, winding past parks, rivers and seaside esplanades. To find out how to rent bikes and get started, read our how-to on renting and riding a bike in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s beaches are perfect for visitors who come in Hong Kong’s summer months: equipped with world-class leisure facilities and relatively accessible using Hong Kong’s transportation system, a visit to a Hong Kong beach is an essential part of a budget trip. Read more about Hong Kong’s beaches.

Visit a Temple

Quintessentially Hong Kong, and free to boot—the city's temples are a must visit. The various temples around the territory are all dedicated to various gods from various religions such as Buddhism and Taoism and vary from massive complexes to tiny, 'shoulder to shoulder' rooms.

All temples are ornately decorated and fantastically colorful; they have none of the stuffiness of traditional churches and are usually buzzing with life - and with people on special holidays. Feel free to wander in to any of the temples and have a look around.

Consult our list of Hong Kong temples for a more comprehensive overview of holy sites to visit in the area. 

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