Looking for the best Hong Kong tourist attractions? Don’t know where to spend your time in town? Look no further. We’ve picked Hong Kong’s 20 best tourist attractions. This includes both Hong Kong's biggest and best sights, as well as some of the city's overlooked points of interest. Tick all of these attractions and festivals off your itinerary and you’ll have seen a whole lot of what this city has to offer.
See the Skyscraper Skyline
It’s what the tourists come for, and it never disappoints—smog allowing. Hong Kong has more skyscrapers than anywhere else in the world, and most of them are crammed onto the north shore of Hong Kong Island. The result is photography gold. This breathtaking gang of high rises is best viewed from the Avenue of Star in Tsim Sha Tsui. Come at night when you can see the buildings at their dazzling best.
You don’t need to a gambler to have fun at Happy Valley. This grand race course, bounded by a wall of skyscrapers in the heart of the city, makes for an exciting setting when lit up for the night time races. The horses are cheered on by a vocal crowd of thousands fuelled by cheap San Miguel and bad hotdogs. Unmissable.
Hong Kong’s premium theme park—which is quite some boast when your rival is Hong Kong Disneyland—Ocean Park has been offering thrills and spills to the people of Hong Kong for nearly forty years, and it has never been better. From the pandas and incredible jellyfish spectacular to the 4G inverted loops of the Hair Raiser rollercoaster, Ocean Park’s mix of animals and action-packed rides is a winning combination.
Admire the Historic LegCo Building
The Hong Kong government is dedicated to knocking down just about anything that’s more than 20 years old. LegCo has survived because it’s where the government sat for most of the last hundred years and is now the Court of Final Appeal. The building is in grand British colonial style with sturdy granite columns and gilded verandas; a powerful statement by the men in mustaches that once ran the city.
Follow the Ping Shan Heritage Trail
Few people venture outside of Hong Kong’s urban jungle, yet Hong Kong’s green lungs, the New Territories, are one of the few places you can find some local history. Home to Hong Kong’s walled villages, these fenced in settlements were founded by migrating family clans and many still celebrate their traditional heritage, both in their buildings and clothing and in lifestyle. Along the Ping Shan heritage trail, which winds through some centuries old villages, you’ll find examples of traditional Chinese architecture in the ancestral halls, temples, and pagodas.
While the Temple Street night market is probably Hong Kong’s best individual market, the combination of several markets all packed into one area makes Mongkok the place for bargain hunters. The flagship show is the Ladies Market, which mostly focuses on ladies clothes, souvenirs, and knock-offs from across the border in Shenzhen—Gucco handbags, anyone? Better is the Goldfish Market, effectively a street side zoo, and best of all is the Bird Market, where you can watch owners parade their birds around in gilded cages.
Dai Pai Dongs are street side food stalls—plus a couple of benches. Featuring basic, but delicious noodle and rice dishes, usually a great line in seafood and if you’re lucky, cold beers they’re the perfect place to fill up on a quick and tasty dinner. The government has clamped down on Dai Pai Dongs in recent years because it doesn’t chime in with their effort to make Hong Kong a squeaky clean city, but their scarcity has only added to the attraction.
It’s hard to pick a single Hong Kong temple. So many of them are impressive for their own reasons, but the nine-story pagoda and nearly 12,000 miniature Buddha statues make the 10,000 Buddha’s temple in the New Territories worth the trip.
Hong Kong sometimes feels like the home of the jaw-dropping view, so it’s a confirmation of just how impressive the views are from the Ngong Ping Cable Car that it regularly makes lists such as this. Running between the town on Tung Chung and the themed village of Ngong Ping halfway up a Lantau mountain it affords beautiful views over the South China Sea and onto the lush greenery of Lantau Island.
Take a Quick Trip to Macau
Yes, technically speaking it's not in Hong Kong, but at just an hour away by ferry and with a visa-free visit for most tourists, anyone in Hong Kong for more than a few days should spend the time to see the Portuguese heritage and spinning roulette wheels of Macau.
Eat Michelin-Starred Dim Sum at Tim Ho Wan
If you want to dine on some of the world's best food without blowing the bank, you're in the right city. One of Hong Kong's most popular restaurants in the cheap-and-cheerful Tim Ho Wan, famous for their barbecue pork baked bun (char siu bao). It holds the distinction of the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world.
Ride One of Hong Kong's "Ding-Dings"
While they sound like a children's toy, Hong Kong's trams are a trademark of the city—and a valuable method of public transportation. While some newer cars have been updated with air-conditioned, riding a ding-ding (called as such because of the noise they make) is a classically old-school way to get around Hong Kong.
Hike to "the Peak"
Hong Kong might not seem like a likely destination for outdoor adventurers, but if you're desperate to spend some time outside, you're in luck. The city has no shortage of great hiking trails and one, in particular, The Peak, offers one of the best panoramas of the Hong Kong skyline. At the top, you can eat the historic Peak Outlook or hike down towards Pok Fu Lam Reservoir.
Visit the "Venice of Hong Kong"
Even though Hong Kong seems to run at a mile a minute, there's one small pocket of the city where you can step back into another era. On Lantau Island's Tai O Fishing Village you'll find traditional houses made of bamboo, built over the water. The market is full of dried seafood offerings and traditional snacks.
Celebrate Chinese New Year
There are few better times to visit Hong Kong than during Chinese New Year. While the whole city will feel festive, you absolutely cannot skip the firework celebration over Victoria Harbour. This 30-minute long extravaganza showcases awe-inspiring fireworks, among the biggest and brightest anywhere. While you can fight crowds of tourists along the waterfront for a prime viewing spot, the pro move is to make a dinner reservation at one of the many hotels along the harbor.
Have a Cocktail at the World's Highest Bar
How does a cocktail on the 118th floor sound? Ozone, part of Hong Kong's impressive Ritz-Carlton hotel, claims to be the highest bar in the world—and we believe them! Drinks are classic and well-made, but the view is among the best you'll find in the city.
Visit the Dragon Boat Festival
One of Hong Kong's most fun events, this Chinese festival celebration usually takes place in May or June (it's timed to the lunar calendar). At the Dragon Boat Festival, teams from around the world race their colorfully-kitted dragon boats throughout Victoria Harbour and Stanley. It's one big giant outdoor party and a perfect prep for some beach time.
Eat at a Multi-Million Dollar Floating Restaurant
Dinner at Jumbo Floating Restaurant is another "only in Hong Kong" activity. Aptly-named, the restaurant cost millions of dollars to building and resembles an ancient Chinese palace. Celebrities and local politicians dine there, feasting on well-prepared seafood and dim sum.
"Monkey Around" at Kam Shan Country Park
Nearly 2,000 monkeys run wild at Kam Shan Country Park, also known as Monkey Hill. Monkeys hang out by the road, on nearby beaches, and of course, in the trees. A visit here is fun and unique to Hong Kong, but remember not to feed the monkeys as it can make them aggressive.
Shop at the Upscale Festival Walk
Hong Kong has no shortage of great shopping, but after you've hit up the local markets, you owe it to yourself to visit a traditionally-impressive Hong Kong mall. Festival Walk, packed with more than 200 retail shops and restaurants, should be tops on your list. There's a skating rink on the top floor, a movie theater, and easy connections to the city's light-rail systems.