Although I don’t live in Hong Kong anymore, I just can’t help myself from talking and thinking about this awesome city all the time. Especially since I honestly didn’t have much time to update you guys on what I was up to, since I was super busy all the time. So you can definitely expect tons of Hong Kong posts in the future.
Normally people associate Hong Kong with skyscrapers, amazing (and expensive) cuisine, shopping, and nightlife. This was also the case for me. But during my four months in Hong Kong, I quickly realized that the city has so much more to offer than any other city in the world. And you don’t have to be a millionaire in order to have a good time in Hong Kong. So here’s my top 8 budget friendly things to do in Hong Kong.
The StarFerry and the Harbour front
A must for anyone visiting Hong Kong is to take a ride with the Star Ferry from Central Pier on Hong Kong Island to Tsim Sha Tsui. The price is only 2 HKD, and it’ll give you a beautiful view of the harbour, plus you’ll arrive to another attraction, the Avenue of Stars, which is pretty much like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but only with stars from Hong Kong, including Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee.
Take a ride with the Peak Tram
Another must do in Hong Kong, is to take the Peak Tram up the peak (40 HKD for a return ticket). Along with riding with an almost vertical pram, you’ll also arrive at the highest point on Hong Kong Island, which offers you beautiful views of the city. I would recommend arriving there around 4-5 in the afternoon to see the city transform as the sun sets.
Visit one of the many beaches
Believe it or not, but there are actually numerous beaches to visit around Hong Kong. Most expats prefer the ones on Hong Kong Island, such as Big Wave Beach or Repulse Bay. However, since these are mostly very crowded, they also tend to get very dirty. Therefor, I prefer going to one of the Islands around Hong Kong, such as Cheung Chau, where you can find the most beautiful, clean and quiet beaches around.
I’ve already told y’all about Dragon’s Back, but it really deserves yet another post. One of the main reasons that I chose to spend a semester in Hong Kong, is the fact that only a few minutes drive from the city centre, you’ll find the most amazing hikes and views. My favorite has to be Dragon’s Back on the Island, but the New Territories and the outlying islands also offers some quite extraordinary hikes. In the New Territories, I can definitely recommend that you visit Golden Hill (also known as the Monkey Mountain), or Sai Kung Country Park, where you not only can go hiking, but also kayaking, snorkelling and several other activities are popular in the area.
Tai O and pink dolphin spotting
Tai O is a little fishing village on Lantau Island, which is quite a popular place for tourists to visits. The village is built un a bunch of small piles in the water, and is because of this also named the Venice of the East. The village is very rural, and but if you’re a seafood lover, you’ll find various local delicacies to indulge in, from egg waffles, giant fish balls, squid, food cooked with the Tai O shrimp paste, or dried fish from the markets. Tai O is also known for being the village from where you can see the almost extinct Chinese Pink Dolphin. When arriving in Tai O, you’ll be able to catch a boat from the pier for only 20 HKD, but only for a very short trip, and you might not be lucky enough to see the dolphins. I took the boat one day, and was lucky enough to see three of them. If you got more time on your hand,s and want to be guaranteed to see the dolphins, I would recommend the more expensive, but also more dolphin friendly option with Hong Kong Dolphin Watch.
If you’re on the hunt for some souvenirs to bring back home, you should definitely stop by one of the many street markets. Even if you’re not planning on buying anything. My favorite pic for some cheap Chinese souvenirs is definitely Cat Street, which runs parallel with Hollywood Road on the Island. Here you’ll find anything from beads, ceramics, mahjong, funny posters, chopsticks, sculptures, anything really. Even antiquities. If you’re more into getting some cheap clothes, bags, watches, and random stuff, then you should stop buy the Ladies Market or Temple Street Market in Mong Kok, or Sham Shui Po, which is actually even cheaper than the markets in Mong Kok. Apart from that, I can definitely also recommend that you stop by the Flower Market, Birds Garden, and the many wet markets in Hong Kong to explore some more local markets.
Hong Kong also has several temples that are worth checking out. The Man Mo Temple on Hollywood Road is without doubt the most popular one for tourists, as it’s super close to the centre, but I would definitely also recommend that you stop by the Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden near the Diamond Hill MTR station. First of all, it is way less crowded than Man Mo, and there are so many beautiful buildings and plants to see in the garden, and if you get hungry, you can grab a bite from the vegetarian restaurant in the garden.
My favorite Wednesday activity after work, is to go with my friends to the Happy Valley Racecourse for some Horse racing. The entrance is only 10 HKD, and then of course it’s up to you if you want to make a bet. In my opinion, you don’t really have to. I never did, but I still had so much fun every time. The racecourse is not open during summer, and I would recommend that you go there as late in the fall as possible. I went in September and October, and the heat was almost unbearable. But still worth a visit, if you wanna try out something different from Lan Kwai Fong (the party street in Hong Kong).