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10 Great Things to Do in Hong Kong for Free

I like variety—so I love travelling, exploring and writing fiction and non-fiction on a daily basis.

Hong Kong sunset

Hong Kong sunset

A tourist can easily spend a week in Hong Kong (and a small fortune) to enjoy all the delights the area has to offer. From Disneyland to Ocean Park, there is a lot you can fill your time with. However, this article shows some of the greatest attractions Hong Kong has to offer which are totally free. When we visited Hong Kong we took full advantage of these great things to do in this fantastic city.

1. Aberdeen

Not to be confused with the Scottish city, this was once a small fishing village renowned for pirates and smugglers, and fishing remains the way of life for many of the residents. You can watch sampans and junks weave throughout the busy harbour and if you wish to splash out, dine at the enormous Jumbo Floating Restaurant anchored in the harbour.

Big Buddha

Big Buddha

2. Big Buddha

One of Hong Kong’s ‘must sees’ is the Big Buddha on Lantau Island, a symbol of stability for Hong Kong, peace on earth and the long-term prosperity of China. The Big Buddha (also known as the Tian Tan Buddha) towers over the majestic landscape.

The Buddha is surrounded by six smaller statues known as “The Offering of the Six Devas”, these figures are all offering gifts which symbolize the necessities required to enter nirvana.

The statue—standing a towering 112 feet tall and weighing 250 metric tons—was the world’s tallest (seated) Buddha until 2000. Sitting as it does atop Mount Muk Yue, it can be seen from miles around. To reach the Buddha visitors have to ascend 268 steps, so bear this in mind if you visit with small children or you have difficulty climbing Despite the stairs, the view from the top is worth all the effort, offering fantastic views of the South China Sea and the outlying islands.

10-great-things-to-do-in-hong-kong-for-free

3. Symphony of Lights

Impressive as Hong Kong’s skyline is by night, the introduction of the Symphony of Lights raised the bar significantly. The 18-minute sound and light show utilises the outside of 44 buildings along the waterfront of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. This stunning display takes place every evening at 8 pm (with narration in English on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays). The best view is from Tsim Sha Tsui.

4. The Avenue of Stars

Staying in Tsim Sha Tsui, The Avenue of Stars offers a similar experience to the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the US. The Hong Kong version basically focuses on the movers and shakers of the Hong Kong film industry and this is the permanent public monument to honour them. It is located right along the Victoria harbour front in Tsim Sha Tsui, where visitors can take a walk along the avenue and rub shoulders with Hong Kong’s famous movie icons.

A short journey that covers a hundred years of the Hong Kong cinema industry in a mere 440-metre stroll. Among the 107 plaques honouring the celebrities, scriptwriters and directors, you will find popular names like Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and John Woo. New handprints on the avenue of stars include the winners of the Hong Kong film awards and you’ll even find these on wooden handrails with QR codes. You can scan it with your phone and learn more about the superstars!

Bruce Lee on the Avenue of Stars

Bruce Lee on the Avenue of Stars

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5. Temples

There are many beautiful temples in Hong Kong which are generally open to the public, and there is much Chinese culture to discover and enjoy by visiting a few of them. If you are short on time, then maybe one of the following temples will be worth a visit. If you have more time, why not visit them all?

The Ma Moo temple, built at the beginning of the British Colonial period on Hollywood Road, is certainly worth a visit. There is also the Wong Tai Sin temple in Kowloon. This Taoist temple is famous for the many prayers answered, via a practice called 'kau chim'. The temple itself is typical of Chinese-style architecture with grand pillars and multi-coloured carvings.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

6. Hong Kong Museums

There are over 20 museums in Hong Kong focusing on a large variety of topics from art and film, to science and transportation. Many of these museums offer free admissions on Wednesdays.

One of the best to visit is the Hong Kong Museum of History as it provides a complete overview of Hong Kong's past up to the present day. Tt is also easy to get to, being at a central location. If you're travelling with young children, the science museums or space museum are really great and both are also located in the tourist district.

7. Hit The Beach

It's not something that most people immediately associate with Hong Kong, but there are plenty of beaches nearby and you can have a great time enjoying these summer hotspots and getting away from the bustle of the city. From the beach, you can watch windsurfers or if you are lucky, catch a Dragon Boat race, or just simply soak up the sun and go for a paddle. One of the nicest beaches can be found at Repulse Bay.

10-great-things-to-do-in-hong-kong-for-free

8. Take a Hike

On your first visit to Hong Kong, you might also be surprised at how hilly the city is. Hong Kong is surrounded by mountains, hills and peaks and throughout this diverse landscape, there are many popular hiking trails. One of the more popular hiking trails is The Dragon’s Back which offers fantastic views of the southeast corner of Hong Kong island. Hiking this takes around 3 hours and it covers about 8.5 km of trails, and is generally manageable for the novice hiker.

9. Go Green

There are many green areas in Hong Kong and a sprinkling of beautiful parks set amongst the countless skyscrapers. All are free to enter, so if the traffic starts to get on your nerves and you need some green space to rejuvenate in, then this is where you should head. Two of the most popular parks are Hong Kong Park and the Zoological and Botanical Garden on Hong Kong island. Further afield, you can pop over to Kowloon Park where can even find some resident flamingos.

The obligatory selfie on 'The Peak'

The obligatory selfie on 'The Peak'

10. Visit Victoria Peak

And, finally, no visit to Hong Kong would be complete without a visit to Victoria Peak (or simply 'The Peak' as it is known locally). This famous landmark offers the classic Hong Kong panorama that has adored a million selfies. Near the summit, at 396 m, you’ll find the entertainment and viewing complex called Peak Tower where you can snap that perfect souvenir photograph from the 360-degree observation deck. On a clear day, you can even make out the outlying islands on the South China Sea. Although the peak is free, getting to it will incur a cost unless you are very, very fit and fancy a 2 to 3 hour, very steep hike. My advice, take the funicular tram (takes 10 minutes and is way more fun).

Hong Kong

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Jerry Cornelius

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