HONG KONG

Things to do

Things to do in Hong Kong


Exploring

Ride the tram between Kennedy Town and Shau Kei Wan. The journey takes around 80 minutes and costs $2.30. The Hong Kong Tramways run between the West and East of Hong Kong Island. Starting from the old district Kennedy Town, you can see the residential areas, followed by the Chinese herbal medicine and dried seafood wholesalers in Sai Ying Pun - Sheung Wan. Then the tram goes in the famous Central district with high rise commercial buildings and banks. Wan Chai and Causeway Bay are the districts popular with shoppers and are always crowded with people at all times. Travelling further east are North Point and Shau Kei Wan areas, which are of completely different styles from that in Central and Causeway Bay.


Music

Hong Kong is one of the main centres of Chinese pop culture with a huge and vibrant entertainment industry, and is home to many famous singers and actors such as Jackie Chan, Andy Lau, Wong Ka Kui (Beyond), Tony Leung Chiu-Wai and locally Eason Chan, just to name a few. In addition to the locals, any foreign bands touring Asia are pretty much guaranteed to perform in Hong Kong, and concerts by famous singers are often a sell out affair.

Indie events

Cantopop is by far the most popular genre in Hong Kong and receives an immense amount of support from the media. Independent musicians and are often harassed and evicted from their rehearsal rooms and concert venues by the government because they are forced to illegally rent warehouse spaces due to unaffordable rents. A few small venues are open for indie shows, such as Hidden Agenda and The Wanch.


Beaches

You are never far from the sea in Hong Kong and going to a good beach is only a bus-ride away. However, if you want a really good beach, then it is worth making the effort to travel, possibly on foot, and seek out the beaches of the New Territories. With more than 200 outlying islands, as well as an extensive coastline that is jam-packed with impressive bays and beaches, you will surely come across some good looking beaches to while the whole day away. Hong Kong's urban beaches are usually well maintained and have services such as showers and changing rooms. Where beaches are managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, shark nets and life guards are present. Dogs and smoking are not permitted on these beaches.

The best beaches to use include:

Repulse Bay is a large urban beach on the south side of Hong Kong island. It has recently had money spent on its facilities and will appeal to those who have young children.

Middle Bay is popular with gay people and is a 20 minute walk from the crowds at Repulse Bay. Middle Bay has lifeguards, showers, changing rooms, shark nets and a decent cafe serving drinks and snacks.

Shek O is a beach popular with many young Hong Kong people. It is away from the bustle of the city but is well served by restaurants and has a good bus service from the north side of the island. The Thai restaurant close to the beach is worth a try.

Big Wave Bay This beach is smaller than others on Hong Kong Island but still has good services which include a number of small cafes close to the beach. Big Wave Bay, as the name suggests, has the sort of waves that appeal to surfers. From Big Wave Bay it is possible to take the coastal footpath to Chai Wan where you can find the MTR and buses. The walk to Chai Wan is about one hour, or more if you are not used to the steep climb up the mountain.

Hung Shing Yeh Beach is highly regarded as the most popular beach and is located on Lamma Island. This beach is Grade 1 and shows off powdery, fine sand as well as clear water. This beach is well-appointed by means of changing facilities, a barbecue area, and a refreshment kiosk. To arrive at this beach, take the ferryboat from Central Pier to Yung Shue Wan. Expect to walk around 20 minutes from the ferry terminal to the beach (buses and taxis are not an option on Lamma).


Swimming pools

In addition to pools in many hotels, there are several public swimming pools scattered across the territory. Entrance costs $19 on weekends/$17 on weekdays for adults and $9 on weekends/$8 on weekdays for children, usually only payable by Octopus Card or by coins. Swimming pools are child-friendly with shallow pools and fountains. All swimming pool complexes are well maintained and offer swimming lanes, hot showers, lockers ($5 coin deposit or padlock required), both family and same-sex changing rooms (limited privacy), and most have swimming clubs for serious swimmers. Swimmers are expected to provide their own towels and toiletries.

Most pools open at 06:30 and close at 22:00. They generally close for lunch around 12:00-13:00 and then again from 17:00-18:00.

  • Kowloon Park Swimming Pool Complex (Tsim Sha Tsui MTR exit A1) is centrally located and offers visitors a wide range of services and includes an indoors Olympic-sized pool, a slightly smaller training pool, a diving pool, and a leisure pool for younger swimmers. During the summer months, the indoor pools are air-conditioned, whilst in winter the water is heated. During the summer season, there are four outdoor leisure pools to meet the needs of all ages. In summer, the pool is popular with teenagers but all age-groups make good use of the pools. A limited number of sun loungers are available.

Sailing

You can rent out a Junk Boat for a sailing trip with your family and friends. A typical junk boat can accommodate more than 30 people and can be rented for the day to take you on a tour of your choice. Sai Kung is a popular spot for the trip to start and you can sail to nearby beaches for a more secluded time. A cheaper alternative is to hire a much smaller water taxi (水道) to take you to where you want to go.


Hiking and camping

Hiking is the best kept secret in Hong Kong, it is a great way to appreciate Hong Kong's beautiful landscapes that include mountains, beaches and breathtaking cityscapes. The starting points for many hiking trails are accessible by bus or taxi. Hiking is highly recommended for active travellers who want to escape the modern urban world.

Hiking in Hong Kong can be strenuous because of the steep trails, and during the summer months, mosquitos and the hot, humid, weather combine to make even the easiest trek a workout. It is highly recommended that you wear suitable clothes, and bring plenty of water and mosquito repellent. It is fairly unlikely that you will have a close encounter with venomous snakes, although they are present in most rural areas. Most local people choose the winter months to undertake the more demanding hiking trails. If you are not especially fit you might plan your route so that you take a bus or taxi to the highest point of the trail and then walk downhill.

Campsites in Hong Kong are plentiful and free of charge. Most are located within the country parks and range from basic sites serviced with only with a drop-toilet, to those that provide campers with modern toilet blocks with cold showers. Some sites have running water and sinks for washing dishes. A few campsites have places to buy drinking water and food, whilst many are serenely remote. Weekends and public holidays are predictably busy, especially in the more accessible places close to roads. Many Hong Kong people like to camp in large groups, talk loudly and stay awake until very late, so if you are noise sensitive try to find a remote campsite or learn to keep your temper.

There are four major trails in the Hong Kong SAR:

  • Lantau Trail on Lantau.
  • Hong Kong Trail on Hong Kong Island.
  • Maclehose Trail through the New Territories. Oxfam organises an annual charity hike of this 100 km trail every November. Winning teams finish in around 11–12 hours but average people take 30–36 hours to finish the whole trail, which starts from the eastern end of the New Territories (Sai Kung) to the western end (Tuen Mun).
  • Wilson Trail starting on Hong Kong Island and finishing in the New Territories.

Hong Kong has some exceptional rural landscapes but visitor impact is an issue. Please respect the countryside by taking your litter home with you. Avoid using litter bins in remote areas as these are not emptied on a regular basis and your litter may be strewn around by hungry animals.

Hong Kong Outdoors and Journey to Hong Kong are packed with information on hiking and camping, and other great things to do and places to go in the wilderness areas of Hong Kong.


Gambling

Regulated gambling is legal in Hong Kong:

  • Horse racing is the most popular and is further detailed above.
  • Football betting is legal only at branches of the Hong Kong Jockey Club. Betting on other sports is prohibited.
  • Lottery is also legal only at branches of the Hong Kong Jockey Club.Marksix is a popular game costing $10 per bet. You pick 6 of 49 numbers, and the lottery result will be announced on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and weekends that don't have horse racing scheduled.
  • Mahjong (麻雀 ma jeuk) also forms an integral part of Hong Kong gambling culture, although it is often informal and difficult for foreigners to get involved with. Mahjong has a strong influence on Hong Kong pop culture, with a history of songs and films based on a mahjong theme. The game played in Hong Kong is the Cantonese version, which differs in rules and scoring from the Japanese version or the versions played in other parts of China. Mahjong parlours are plentiful, although hard to find, in Hong Kong. They also have many unwritten rules that visitors may find hard to understand.

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