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The most beautiful sights in Hong Kong and our travel tips

Hong Kong is an amazing city! Hong Kong is huge and loud. Hong Kong is hectic, but also has many relaxed and green corners. But above all, Hong Kong is full of sights. Hong Kong can quickly overwhelm you as a visitor with its various districts and islands.

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What must-see sights in Hong Kong? How do you get there? And which sights can you possibly even save?

We all asked ourselves these questions and therefore wrote this detailed guide to Hong Kong's sights.

We'll show you all the highlights of the city sorted by district and tell you how to get to each sight.

At the end of the article we give you our travel tips for Hong Kong.

For easy navigation, you are welcome to use our table of contents or you can simply read our guide from cover to cover.

Read all of our articles on Hong Kong

Orientation in Hong Kong: the neighborhoods

Before we dive into the individual sights and highlights, let's take a quick look at the map. This is definitely helpful to get a first orientation in this huge metropolis.

Hong Kong is divided into three major districts: Kowloon in the north and Hong Kong Island in the south are the most important parts of the city where travelers will spend most of their time. They are connected by ferries, several bridges and the metro.

The third district of Hong Kong is called New Territories and comprises the land area north of Kowloon, as well as much of the islands of Hong Kong. This includes B. Lantau Island in the southwest of Hong Kong, where there are also some interesting sights.

Hong Kong Island landmarks

Hong Kong Island has the most tourist attractions in Hong Kong, so let's start right away.

Victoria Peak

Victoria Peak is definitely one of the top highlights in Hong Kong and hardly a tourist misses the great view of the skyline from the 552 meter high hill on Hong Kong Island.

As beautiful as the view is, the peak is unfortunately also overcrowded. It is most relaxed in the early morning, and it is busiest around sunset.

Then the view is most impressive, because you can take photos in the subdued evening light and a little later photos of the illuminated skyline.

There is a viewing platform on Victoria Peak that can be visited for 50 HKD (5.50 euros). The view up there is really very good, but it is also packed there. Everyone really wants to take their selfie here.

If you go a little further to the right in front of the building, you will find similarly good viewpoints that cost nothing and are less crowded.

Directions to Victoria Peak

Many visitors take the Peak Tram, which opened in 1888, to the summit. The waiting times for the famous funicular are often an hour or more, which is why we would not recommend the trip.

It's not that spectacular, because especially in many European cities, such as B. Lisbon or Budapest, there are similar railways.

You can pay for the ride on the Peak Tram with the Octopus Card, which we highly recommend. Because you can queue up to get on straight away and don't have to queue at the ticket counter beforehand.

The return trip costs 45 HKD (approx. 5 euros) or one-way 32 HKD (3.50 euros). You can find all information about the Octopus Card below in the section on public transport.

It is definitely faster by taxi for the equivalent of around 5-6 euros to the summit or for around 1 euro with bus lines 15 and 15 B (not 15 C, it only goes to the lower station of the Peak Tram!).

Also on the way down there is queuing again. We therefore recommend walking down the well-signposted Old Peak Road. The walk takes about 20 minutes and there are still some beautiful views.

Central Mid-Levels Escalator

The Central Mid-Levels Escalator is a system of numerous escalators that covers an altitude of 135 meters over a length of 800 meters and connects the Central and Mid-Levels districts with each other.

It is considered to be the longest covered external escalator system in the world. Between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. the escalator goes from top to bottom and after a changeover time of around 20 minutes it goes from 10:20 a.m. to midnight from bottom to top.

The entire journey takes around 20 minutes, but it is always worth getting out of the car and exploring the surrounding streets.

Soho: The trendy district on Hong Kong Island

The Soho district extends around the Central Mid-Levels Escalator and we really liked it. Here we could stroll through the streets for hours.

There are great designer shops, junk and antiques, great restaurants and always impressive street art. In the evening the district becomes a nightlife district. It's not cheap here, of course, but it's very international and trendy.

If you love to stroll through antique shops, you should definitely stop by Hollywood Street and Cat Street.

Extra knowledge: Why is the street called Cat Street? In the 1920s, a market for second-hand goods was established there, but later stolen goods were also sold there. The stolen goods were called "rat goods" and the people who sold them were called cats. This is how the name of the street came about! Exciting, isn't it?

Man Mo temple

The Man Mo Temple is the oldest and, for us, the most beautiful temple in Hong Kong. The temple, built in 1847, is an oasis of calm between all the skyscrapers.

Unfortunately, the air you breathe is not the best, as hundreds of coils of incense are burned in the temple. It doesn't smell that good, but it looks amazing.

The Man Mo Temple is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Attractions in Kowloon

Kowloon is often referred to as the old Hong Kong and in fact there are some areas where time seems to have stood still, while a few streets away glittering shopping malls invite you to shop.

Symphony of Lights

The Symphony of Lights takes place punctually at 8:00 p.m. every evening. The houses of the skyline on Hong Kong Island are animated with a light show and the whole thing is accompanied by music.

From the opposite side in Kowloon you can watch the hustle and bustle and listen to the music. The most popular place for this is the harbor promenade in Tsim Sha Tsui. If you're watching from another location, you can also listen to the associated music on FM 103.4 or by calling 35-665-665.

You shouldn't expect too much from the light show, though. Many visitors come to the Symphony of Lights with huge expectations and are disappointed that it is not that spectacular after all. The skyline at night is definitely a great photo opportunity, with or without a light show.

Tsim Sha Tsui skyline at night

Boat trip between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island

A boat trip between the two most famous districts of Hong Kong is an absolute must. The cheapest way is to take the ferry, which only costs about 30 cents. The ferries run regularly in both directions and the journey takes about 10 minutes.

If you want to be out on the water a little longer, you can take a 90-minute round trip on a very photogenic Chinese junk. The trip costs around 35 euros including drinks on board. You can book the trip online here.

Avenue of Stars

Hong Kong is the Hollywood of Asia and just like Los Angeles there is also a Walk of Fame here. It's called the Avenue of Stars and is dedicated to film stars from Asia. You can see stars, handprints and some statues of stars like Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan.

However, the Avenue of Stars is still closed for renovation work until the beginning of 2019.

Kowloon Park

Kowloon Park is a huge green area in the middle of the skyscrapers of Kowloon and a nice oasis of calm to take a deep breath.

Hong Kong is surprisingly green in general. Again and again we have discovered small parks and green spaces that we would not have expected.

Markets in Kowloon

Kowloon is a paradise especially for shopping fans. While the big fashion chains have their shops along Nathan Road, the real market life takes place in the smaller streets of Kowloon.

Whole streets here have adjusted to certain goods. At the so-called Ladies Market there are mainly clothes and cosmetics, at the Flower Market there are flowers, at the Sneakers Market shoes and at the Temple Street Night Market mainly souvenirs for tourists.

Here you will find an overview of the various markets and shopping streets:

  • Ladies Market - Tung Choi Street - clothes, cosmetics, accessories.
  • Temple Street Night Market - Temple Street - souvenirs and all kinds of cheap stuff from China.
  • Goldfish Market - Tung Choi Street North - Fish and other animals.
  • Flower Market - Flower Market Road - flowers.
  • Jade Market - Kansu Street / Battery Street - jade jewelry and lucky charms.
  • Sneakers Street - Fa Yuen Street - shoes.
  • Electronics Street - Apliu Street - all kinds of electrical appliances.

Landmarks on Lantau Island

Lantau Island is the largest of Hong Kong's islands and is home to a number of major attractions. The international airport of Hong Kong is also located on a small offshore and artificially enlarged island in front of Lantau Island.

Big Buddha | Tian Tan Buddha

The Tian Tan Buddha, often simply referred to as the Big Buddha, is the most important sight on Lantau and one of the highlights in Hong Kong.

The 34 meter high bronze statue is one of the largest of its kind. It is located on a small hill that can be climbed via a total of 286 steps.

At the foot of the hill is the Po Lin monastery, which is also very worth seeing.

Access to the Buddha and the monastery is free. You only have to pay something if you want to see the exhibition inside the statue.

The Buddha can be viewed daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Directions to the Big Buddha

You should plan a lot of time for the trip to the Buddha, because the journey is relatively long. First you have to go to Lantau Island, where you can take the metro (Tung Chung stop) or various bus routes.

From there you can either take the cable car or take the much cheaper bus. From Tung Chung subway station, bus line 23 takes you up to the Buddha in about 45 minutes.

You will find detailed information about the cable car in the next but one section, as this is a sight in itself.

Wisdom Path

We really liked the Wisdom Path. Only about 15 minutes on foot from the great Buddha, significantly fewer visitors get lost there.

There are 38 large wooden steles engraved with Chinese characters along the Path of Wisdom. They represent one of the most important prayers of Buddhists and Confucians.

We have walked all the way down the path, but we are not sure whether we have found the wisdom.

Ngong Ping 360 Degree Cable Car

Probably the most beautiful way to get to the great Buddha is by taking the Ngong Ping cable car. In just under 20 minutes, the cable car takes you up high and you can catch beautiful views of the countryside and the Hong Kong airport.

Since the Ngong Ping cable car is one of the absolute tourist highlights in Hong Kong, the crowd here is also very large.

Our tip: You should definitely buy tickets beforehand via the Ngong Ping website. You save 10% on the ticket price and can skip the line at the ticket counter.

Nevertheless, you have to queue for the second line to get on the cable car. We stood there for a good half an hour.

You can choose between normal cabins and so-called Crystal Cabins, which have a glass floor. We definitely recommend the Crystal Cabins as the ride is really something special. Incidentally, this is also easy to do with a fear of heights.

In our opinion, the cable car is not an absolute must, but it is nice. If you just want to see the Buddha, it is of course much cheaper and probably faster to take the bus.

Hong Kong Disneyland

We haven't been to Disneyland ourselves, but of course an article on Hong Kong's sights shouldn't be missing.

The park is the smallest of the 5 Disneylands in the world, but still welcomes almost 8 million visitors a year.

Our tip: It's best to buy tickets online beforehand: Disney Land Hong Kong Tickets. That saves queuing at the ticket counter and is also cheaper.

Attractions in the New Territories

The New Territories north of Kowloon have hardly any sights to offer. Mainly residential areas are located here. A highlight in Hong Kong can still be found there.

10,000 Buddhas Monastery

The 10,000 Buddhas Monastery is for sure one of the most extraordinary sights in Hong Kong.

There are many, many stairs up, which are lined with very unconventional Buddha statues. Every figure is really different here. Some have very funny expressions and poses on them.

At the top there are various temple halls with thousands of small Buddha images. Unfortunately, it is forbidden to take photos in the buildings, which is why we can only show you photos of the Buddha statues on the stairs.

The temple is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and there is no entry fee.

Hiking in Hong Kong

To be honest, we didn't associate Hong Kong with hiking, but we learned better than that. Hong Kong is very mountainous, which is why the few flat spots are very narrow and high.

Around it there are a lot of green and undeveloped areas, in which there are some great hiking routes. In our opinion, you don't have to go hiking in Hong Kong if you are only there for a few days. But for a second or third visit it is a great change.

Dragon’s Back: A hike on the Dragon’s Back

We went on a hike on the Dragon's Ridge. The tour is one of the most popular hiking trails in Hong Kong and offers some great views.

When you've had enough of the hustle and bustle in the streets of Hong Kong, a hike over the Dragon's Ridge is just the right treatment for you.

It's amazing how quickly you can escape the city and suddenly find yourself in nature. The hike to the Dragon’s Back is not particularly demanding.

It takes about 30 minutes to climb the Dragon's Ridge and then about 1.5 hours to walk up the hiking trail.

Once at the top, there are excellent views. On the one hand, the skyscrapers of the nearby city gleam repeatedly between the green hills.

The other side offers great views of the sea and the surrounding fishing villages.

Approach to the back of the dragon

With the metro you first go to Shau Kei Wan. There it goes on with a shared taxi. The shared taxis are a little hard to find. The best thing to do is ask yourself on site.

Alternatively, you can take bus number 9 towards Shek O and get off at To Tei Wan, Shek O Road. The hiking trail itself is well signposted, so you can't actually get lost.

We visited the Dragon’s Back as part of a guided hike. Our hiking enthusiast has lived in Hong Kong for many years and was able to tell us a lot about life in the metropolis during the tour.

We highly recommend this tour. You can book the hike to the dragon's back here: Hike to the dragon's back.

More walking routes in Hong Kong

The Dragon’s Back is for sure the most popular hiking trail in Hong Kong, but of course there are a whole lot more of it.

An exciting route leads over the MacLehose Trail. The hiking trail is approximately 100 kilometers long and leads through the New Territories.

Here there are numerous possibilities for day tours far away from the tourist crowds.

 

Sarah gives an insight into the landscape on her blog Rapunzel wants out: Hiking in Hong Kong: The MacLehose Trail.

A nice day trip also takes you to Lamma Island in the south of Hong Kong.

The small island invites you to take a long walk away from the big city and is also known for its excellent seafood restaurants.

Shaoshi shows you what there is to discover on Lamma Island on her blog: Lamma Island - Hong Kong's little paradise island.

Tours and walking tours of Hong Kong

Hong Kong is easy to explore on your own. At first glance, the city seems a bit overwhelming, but after a short time we found our way around very well.

Nevertheless, Hong Kong is one of the cities where it is worth taking a closer look behind the scenes. That's why we can highly recommend a guided tour.

There are many exciting tours through Hong Kong - from classic city tours to very special themed tours and we would like to present a selection to you here.

Classic Hong Kong city tours

Hong Kong Heritage Tour: This classic, small-group walking tour is a great introduction to Hong Kong. The German-speaking city guide shows you some of the most important sights in Hong Kong in a good three hours.

TramOramic Tour: The one-hour trip on the double-decker tram with the top open is also a good introduction to Hong Kong Island and at just under 11 euros it is also very cheap.

Individual tour through Hong Kong: On this tour you have an English-speaking guide for a full day all to yourself. We like such individual tours best, because this way you can influence the focus of the tour and discover the city much more intensively than on a group tour.

Special Hong Kong city tours

Private Kowloon Markets Tour: This private, English-speaking tour explores some of the most exciting markets in Kowloon. You will get a lot of inside information about the markets and get a nice look behind the scenes.

Hong Kong Food Tours:Hong Kong is a paradise for those with a sweet tooth. On a food tour you will discover the cuisine of Hong Kong and try different specialties in several restaurants.

Our tip: We did the Sham Shui Po Foodie Tour and tried some very tasty things there. We can only warmly recommend the tour, as you not only learn about the country's cuisine, but also a whole lot about the life of the people in Hong Kong. Another very popular tour is the street food tour, which combines cuisine with culture.

Hong Kong travel tips

In this section, we'll give you a few more important travel tips for Hong Kong.

How to get to the city center from Hong Kong Airport

Hong Kong Airport is located in the southwest on a barrier island off Lantau Island. There are several options to get to the city from Hong Kong Airport.

The fastest way is with the Airport Express. The train runs every 10 to 12 minutes and takes you to Hong Kong Station on Hong Kong Island in 34 minutes or to Kowloon Station in 29 minutes. It costs 115 HKD (approx. 13 euros) to Hong Kong Station or 105 HKD to Kowloon Station.

Depending on where your accommodation is located, it may be cheaper to take the bus from the airport to the city. A total of almost 40 lines run from the airport.

In terms of price, they are cheaper than the Airport Express and it can also be the best alternative in terms of time, as you can get directly to your hotel without having to change trains. You can find an overview of all lines here. As a rule, you will receive information from your hotel about which bus is the right one for you.

Taxis are also waiting for arriving travelers in front of the terminal. The red taxis will take you to Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. A trip to Kowloon costs about 250 to 300 HKF (approx. 30 euros), to Hong Kong Island it is 350 to 400 HKD (approx. 40 euros).

The most convenient way to travel is with a private transfer. A driver will wait for you with a sign at the airport and then take you straight to your hotel. This luxury costs around 50 euros and can be booked online here.

Public transportation in Hong Kong

The public transport network in Hong Kong is very well developed. There is not a corner of the city that at least some bus doesn't go to.

Buses are the most common form of transport in Hong Kong. The large double-decker buses based on the London model are omnipresent in the city.

There are also minibuses that use less frequented routes. The double-decker trams that chug through the streets of Hong Kong Island are of course a real eye-catcher.

It's a bit more modern underground. A total of 7 subway lines connect the most important places in Hong Kong. The subway is called MTR in Hong Kong.

This is what the double-decker trams look like in Hong Kong!

Octopus Card

Buses and trains are extremely cheap in Hong Kong. The journeys are paid for with the Octopus Card, a rechargeable credit card that is simply held up to the card reader before and / or after boarding.

In principle, it is also possible to buy a single ticket for each trip or to pay for it in the tram or bus. But that is much more cumbersome.

You can get the Octopus Card directly at the airport and at all MTR service points. The card costs 150 HKD, of which 100 HKD is credit and 50 HKD is a deposit.

You can top up the Octopus cards at machines in all underground stations. It's worth charging a little more straight away so that you don't have to go to the machine as often. You will get back the remaining balance and deposit if you hand in the card again at the end.

The Octopus Card can also be used to pay in many small supermarkets, at vending machines and at some sights (e.g. the vantage point on Victoria Peak).

Hong Kong public transport costs & prices

There are fixed prices on buses, which are described at the bus stop. Most trips cost the equivalent of between € 0.50 and € 1.

Our most expensive trip cost just under 2 euros and took us to Lantau Island in just 40 minutes. In buses you pay when you get on by holding the Octopus Card to the reader at the front of the driver.

The trams are even cheaper. A trip only costs a fixed price of 2.30 HKD (approx. 0.25 euros), no matter how long you travel. In the trams you get on at the back and off at the front and only hold the Octopus Card to the reader when you get off.

In the metro, the Octopus Card must be shown at the barriers both when entering and when leaving the subway station. Depending on how long the journey was, a different price will be deducted from the card when you leave. Most of the trips cost us around 1 euro. It only gets more expensive for very long journeys.

The ferry rides are also very cheap and rarely cost more than the equivalent of 50 cents. At some ferry stations you pay before boarding the ferry, at others only afterwards. Apparently there is no uniform regulation.

Taxi driving in Hong Kong

Taking a taxi in Hong Kong is also very cheap and sometimes even faster than using public transport, especially if you have to change trains more often.

The starting price in taxis is HKD 24 (approx. € 2.70) and includes the first 2 kilometers.

Each additional kilometer costs 8.50 HKD (just under 1 Euro), from a fare of 83.50 HKD only 6 HKD. You will be billed in steps of 200 meters.

Luggage that is carried in the trunk costs 6 HKD (0.70 euros) each. Overall, we can highly recommend taking a taxi in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong hotels

The most popular places to stay are the Central districts on Hong Kong Island and Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon. Hotel prices are generally very high in Hong Kong.

We have written an in-depth article about which neighborhood is best to stay and which hotels we recommend.

To our article Hong Kong hotel tips

The best travel guide for Hong Kong

If you prefer a printed travel guide to Hong Kong, we recommend Lonely Planet Hong Kong. The travel guide was published in mid-2017 and is packed with information on more than 400 pages.

If you like it a little more compact, the Marco Polo Hong Kong, also published in 2017, with 156 pages is well advised.

More Hong Kong sights?
With this article we have given you an overview of the Hong Kong highlights and most popular sights of the city.

If you want to dive deeper into the city and are also looking for sights outside of the mainstream, then check out our article 10 real insider tips for Hong Kong.

What is your favorite attraction in Hong Kong? Is there a sight missing from our article that we absolutely have to introduce? When are you going to Hong Kong or have you even been there? We look forward to your comment.