Hong Kong on the Cheap: 25+ Low Cost and Free Things to do in Hong Kong

Whether you are visiting for a short time or are a long term resident, this huge list of low cost and free things to do Hong Kong will help you stretch your budget and discover new and different places and activities.

This list covers a huge range of options, both outdoors (parks, hikes, markets, etc) and indoors (galleries, shops and historical sites), and gives pointers to activities and destinations that are fun and relaxed, educational, cultural, and much more.

Some you may have heard about but others are little-known (and a couple are secret..shhh). So, on to the list!

 

Victoria Peak

Don’t miss this star attraction in Hong Kong, Victoria Peak, especially if you only have limited time. Heading up to this highest point of Hong Kong island with a 552 meter elevation, on a bright and clear day will allow you to enjoy awesome views of the world-famous Victoria Harbor, Hong Kong’s urban landscape, and the stunning Hong Kong skyline. In the evening, you get to enjoy cool air while being dazzled by the city lights.

You don’t have to spend any money if you choose to reach the peak

Victoria Peak View

through one of the three popular hiking trails that wind their way to the top (see below). But if you don’t feel like hiking, you can choose various modes of transportation that can take you there. The most popular and the recommended one is the Peak Tram, a 1350 meter long peak tram line. Said to be the first funicular railway in Asia, the 125-year-old tram is a fun eight-minute ride up with a steep ascent of 30°.

At the peak, there is a multi-level complex with entertainment, shops, and dining options called the Peak Tower. It is not an authentic old world experience as with many city restaurants but it’s an experience all the same. The Peak Tower also houses Madame Tussaud’s Museum which has the wax figures of celebrities and famous people. Here is your chance to have a selfie with Jackie Chan or Jet Li.

More importantly, The Peak Tower has a 360° observation deck called SkyTerrace 428 which lets visitors not only view the tall skyscrapers in eye-opening density while the sapphire blue Victoria Harbour glitters in the distance, but on a clear day also see the outlying islands scattered on the South China Sea. There is a cost of entry here so instead you can go to the nearby Peak Galleria Mall whose observation deck is free-entry.

Getting There: Via Peak Tram Lower Terminus: from MTR Central Station take J2 exit and cross Queen’s Road towards Garden Road. Pass the Bank of China Tower on your left and look for signs. Via mini-bus: Take bus 15 or 15C from various places in Central (or you can get a cab)

 

Hong Kong Park PondHong Kong Park

Located in Central (Hong Kong’s hectic business district), Hong Kong Park is a wonderful and well-designed urban sanctuary that offers rest and relaxation right in the heart of the concrete jungle. It is quite enjoyable to take a leisurely walk or lunchtime picnic among the beautiful flora and trees. There are great vistas with the stunning Hong Kong skyscrapers in the background as well as quiet and secluded corners.

Whether traveling alone or with a family or group, spending time with the koi and turtles that fill the lily ponds is a great diversion from the busy city. However, make sure to visit the aviary which houses more than 80 species of colorful birds, including some rare and exotic ones. If bird-watching is something you enjoy (or want to try) then take a free, guided bird-watching tour led by the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society and sponsored by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.

There is a small stadium, Olympic Square, that hosts free, public exhibitions, puppet shows, band concerts and other live performances. And museum lovers can visit the Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware. The Flagstaff House was built in 1846 and is the oldest remaining colonial building in Hong Kong. If you are interested in learning more about tea, see our article on tea in Hong Kong, past and present.

Getting There: 19 Cotton Tree Drive, Central – MTR Admiralty Station C1 exit

 

AJ Hiking View

Happy Hong Kong Hiking

If you do choose to make the healthy walk up to The Peak, most trails start in Central. The most commonly used ones are The Morning Trail, Old Peak Road Trail and The Green Trail. The Morning Trail and Old Peak Road Trail are both paved paths that starts near HKU via Hatton Road.

Bus number 13 from City Hall and various other spots in Central terminates at Hatton Road / Kotewell Road. For Old Peak Road Trail head towards The Peak Tram Lower Terminus at Garden Road (see above) where you start; the trail follows the stairs beside the tram tracks.

There are so many more hiking options in Hong Kong, beyond just those trails that lead up to Victoria Peak. We have a great article dedicated to easy Hong Kong hikes and outdoor fun. It’s a great way to stay healthy and on budget!

 

PMQ and galleries on Hollywood Road 

PMQ is a large gallery complex at the epicenter of the Hong Kong art district and is the site of numerous festivals throughout the year, including the internationally renowned Art Basel. The surrounding Old Town Central neighborhood is home to murals and rows of galleries and antique shops. So whether you like traditional art, modern illustrations, comic books, street art, or authentic Chinese and Asian antiques, this is a must-see part of Hong Kong.PMQ Gallery Hollywood Road

Start at the PMQ, formerly a government building called the Police Married Quarters, which now houses works by promising young Hong Kong and Chinese artists and designers as well as artsy shops and small restaurants. It is fairly easy to explore with stairs and lift access to the building’s different levels. Afterwards, see the various art galleries and antique shops on Hollywood Road to gain more insight into Hong Kong’s creative scene. Those who decide to do their art tour in the afternoon might even find some galleries offering them a complimentary glass of wine or champagne while they browse the collections.

Getting There: 35 Aberdeen Street, Central and surrounding area

 

Hong Kong Harbour Runners

This isn’t actually a location of interest. Instead, the Hong Kong Harbour Runners is a social and community-based group which connects people through exploring Hong Kong’s landscape while running. This is certainly an interesting way to explore the city as you see a new side of Hong Kong while also burning calories. Since the group runs together you also get to meet new friends (which is one of the best parts of visiting a new place).

The Harbour Runners meet up every Wednesday at 7:45 PM in different locations and you simply have to show up at the starting point to join. They neither require registration nor fees for joining. Stay tuned on their Facebook page or other social media pages to know where their designated starting point for the week is. Each run is about 5 miles long with the pace varying from 5 – 7 minutes per kilometer. So you don’t find it a hassle to run with your belongings, they also have a GoGo van for bag drop and later pickup.

Outdoor-City-Yoga

Free Yoga in Hong Kong

If you don’t feel like running you can instead get a fit body and mind, and try to find your inner peace by joining one of the many free Hong Kong yoga groups. These groups are often volunteers or teachers offering intro classes at Hong Kong’s different outdoor spaces. An active and diverse group that supports different styles and meets in various locations is the HK Outdoor Yoga group.

Another large, well-established group is the Andiappan Yoga Community. Another option for visitors to Hong Kong is to attend one of the weekly Sahaja Yoga Meditation meetups. Because no Asanas (exercises) and no mats or special clothing are required, it’s an ideal yoga option for travelers. Whichever you choose, you can exercise your body and mind among the Hong Kong yoga community even if you can’t touch your toes.

Check out my post on some of the fun Hong Kong outdoor activities that anyone can enjoy at no or very low cost, whether tourists just passing through or long-time Hong Kong residents.

 

Hong Kong Free Movies

Hong Kong has a rich film history and it is where stars such as Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and Maggie Chang all got their start. Are you a fan? Or do you simply want to see authentic Hong Kong films? The best place to enjoy free local films from traditional Cantonese dramas to kung fu movies is in the Hong Kong Film Archive in the neighborhood of Sai Wan Ho.

Entering the four-story space of the Hong Kong Film archive is absolutely free. So you can enjoy regular screenings in its 125-seat cinema as well as exhibitions at no cost. They also bring in new directors to promote just-released works. They also offer matinees, retrospective series, seminars, and anniversary exhibitions.

Another way to catch a free movie in Hong Kong, a French film in this case, is by checking out the Alliance Française Ciné-club. Every month the organization hosts a free French film complete with English subtitles, along with many other cultural events.

 

AJ Tobing-Cycling-Hong-KongBicycling at Sha Tin & Tai Po Waterfront Park

The Sha Tin Park is a neatly maintained park where local families, couples and individuals spend their free time. As it is an easy walk from the Sha Tin MTR station, you can spend an afternoon here to enjoy its playgrounds, picnic spots, themed flower gardens and more. You can fly a kite too but what is better is cycling along its traffic-free bike path.

If you don’t have a bike with you which most likely is the case for most travelers, bikes can be rented for as low as HK$60 per day at one of the shops near the station. You can also rent from the Good Bike Shop which has a selection of quality bikes.

Check your bike before you cycle off. Go for a little test ride and make sure your seat is comfortable and the tires, pedals and gears are all OK. There are many paved bicycle paths in the area so it’s safe for all ages but riders of all levels come here so be careful and considerate of others.

You can cycle around the area or you follow the designated bike path towards Tai Po Waterfront Park. This lets you ride along the scenic coastline of Tolo Harbour and pass by Shing Mun River, Hong Kong Science Park, and Pak Shek Cok Reservoir until you reach Tai Po Waterfront Park. There you can return your bike at the kiosk. But if you still have energy, you can ride further to Tai Mei Tuk for a view of a beautiful lake near Plover Cove Reservoir’s main dam.

Getting There: Take the Tsuen Wan (red) line to Mongkok, transfer on to the Kwun Tong (green) line to Kowloon Tong then change to the East Rail line at Kowloon Tong and get off at Sha Tin Station. From Sha Tin station take exit for “New Town Plaza” and follow signs for Sha Tin Town Hall. Once there, go towards the water and you’ll find Sha Tin Park. Follow the signs for the bike shops down to the waterfront, near the Northern Playground.

Good Luck Bike Shop (goodluckbike [at] yahoo.com.hk) has two locations which are the following with contact details:

Shatin Park Bike Kiosk No.2 Tel: 2606 6878 and Tai Po Waterfront Park Bike Kiosk No.2 Tel: 6605 9978 

 

Hong Kong Museums

Whether art, science, history, or even Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the founding father of the Republic of China, Hong Kong’s museums cover a lot of ground. Below are just a few of the exceptional range of choices the city offers. If you visit on Wednesdays you will get free access!

  • Hong Kong Heritage Museum exhibits the city’s cultural past in a fascinating way.
  • Dr. Sun Yat-sen Museum documents life of this important figure, especially the times that intersected with Hong Kong’s history.
  • Hong Kong Science Museum will please adults and children alike, and will help educate them in a fun way.
  • Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence exhibits weapons, maps, and uniforms; the main highlight is the 100-year-old Lei Yue Mun Fort. (closed for renovations until 2020)Hong Kong Museum of Art
  • Hong Kong Museum of Art has a notable collection of more than 16,000 art objects which include Chinese treasures, antiques, paintings of historical significance, and more. Different thematic exhibitions from local and overseas are held here for the promotion of art to the general public. (set to reopen November 2019 following major renovations)

Most of Hong Kong’s other museums offer complimentary entry to general exhibitions and some even provide free guided tours of the museum. Even on days other than Wednesday, admission fees on Hong Kong museums are extremely reasonable starting just HK$10 for standard entry.

Meanwhile, the smaller more niche museums are always free. Some interesting ones include Hong Kong railway museum and the Hong Kong racing museum. For a real cultural gold mine, check out the Hong Kong Museum of history and discover the rich background of the city.

NOTE: If you go to Macau check out the Dr. Sun Yat Sen memorial house. It’s free and a good addition to a local tour or day trip.

 

Beach Life in the Big City

As Hong Kong has great coastlines, it’s hard to avoid its many sandy beaches. If you have time to unwind a visit to the beach is a great free option. Below is a short list of our favorite beaches which are easily accessible via Metro, cab or ferry.

AJ Lamma Island Hung Shing Yeh BeachShek O, which means the “rocky bay,” is the chilled out surfer spot of Hong Kong and is popular with local windsurfers. Close to the Dragon’s Back hiking trail, it is a haven for foodies too. Choose a restaurant where you enjoy fresh local seafood with great ocean views or have some Thai food.

Trio Beach is easy to get to when you’re in Sai Kung. It is a gorgeous beach hidden in plain sight and is always worth a visit.

Hung Shing Yeh Beach on Lamma Island is great for sunbathing and picnicking, but also offers a full package of activities on Lamma Island. Some argue that Lo So Shing Beach is a nicer  beach but it is more remote and often deserted. See more about Lamma Island in the next section on Hong Kong Natural Attractions.

Pui O Beach, located on the southern side of Lantau Island, is one of the remote beaches in the area. So it is great to visit and have a swim.

Repulse Bay is one of the most beautiful beaches in Hong Kong with its crescent-shaped stretch of sand with banyan trees offering shade. It is also a go-to place for oceanfront dining and there is the Longevity Bridge nearby which, when you supposedly cross it, adds three days to your life.

 

Government House of Hong Kong

Government House of Hong Kong

Located on Upper Albert Road in Central, the Government House is a colonial building and was the British governors’ official residence.  In all, 25 former govenors of Hong Kong lived here and hosted VIP guests and royals. It was built between 1851 and 1855 so beautiful views of the harbor could be enjoyed here in the past. What changed was the obstruction of Hong Kong’s skyscrapers.

In 2005, the Government House reverted to its original role of housing heads of the state. It is currently the home and office of Hong Kong’s chief executive. You may see the structure for free from a distance especially when you join the Hong Kong Free Walk, a free walking tour that works on a tips-only basis. The starting point the tour is at Hang Seng Bank Headquarter Tower and is held every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Make a reservation with them to let them know you’re coming.

If you want to enjoy its exteriors up close as well as the grounds with a lovely garden, you can visit it when it is open to the public. It only occurs twice a year and detailed information about it is broadcasted by the media one week in advance. One of the times it is open to the public is during springtime whereby the Azaleas blossom. Tickets are issued for visiting it are not free but income derived from it are donated to charity.

 

Symphony of Lights

The Symphony of Lights is a multimedia show consisting of lights, laser, and sounds that takes place in Victoria Harbour. In all, 42 Hong Kong buildings and two attractions become illuminated with different colored interactive lights and are a visual feast for spectators. With the lights dancing to the music exclusively composed by the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, it happens at 8 PM each night.

Insider tip: While you can see the Symphony of Lights from most spots around the harbor, the TST waterfront provides the best vantage point. Another bet for best views is the Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai. Both AJ at Hong Kong Symphony of Lights locations mentioned play the accompanying music but you may also listen to the music and narration by calling 35665665 toll-free.

Another option you may see it from is the top of  IFC mall (International Finance Center). It has a public rooftop with sweeping views of the harbor that is great day or night. If you become hungry, there are a variety of restaurants. Save money by getting snacks and refreshments from a convenience store inside the mall beforehand.

If you have a budget, you can also watch the light show from a Harbor junk boat, with its traditional triangular red sails.

Aside from the Symphony of lights, the iconic international commerce Center puts on a light show of its own from 7:45 PM and then again at 9 PM that bookends the citywide light show. It even won a Guinness world record for “largest lights and sound show on a single building.”

Those who visit Hong Kong during Christmas, New Year or Chinese New Year may enjoy The Hong Kong Pulse Light Festival which is an annual event organized by the Hong Kong tourism board. This includes a 3D Pulse Light Show that plays on the wall of the Hong Kong Clock Tower and the Hong Kong Cultural Center.

 

Walking and Window Shopping

This seems like an obvious thing to do in Hong Kong but your time is valuable so here are my favorite streets and places where you can wander and do window shopping.

  • As mentioned earlier, PMQ is where young designers and artists showcase and sell their works. The stores and workshops are small but what is being sold isn’t exactly cheap. Despite it, it is really interesting to browse what they offer.
  • Gough Street is you will find a mix of local and international trendy boutiques scattered amongst hip cafés and traditional ‘cha chaan teng’ diners.
  • Tai Ping Shan Street may be the oldest neighborhood but after gentrification, it has become both traditional and trendy. The street and its surrounding area is home to independent boutiques, funky accessory stores, and wonderful tea shops.
  • Starstreet Precinct in Wan Chai has evolved into a fashionable neighborhood in its own right and has boutique shops with the coolest fashion, home design stores, and even galleries

High-end fashion can be found all over the city if that’s your desire. A few places to browse is the Landmark which has the most luxurious shops and has products with the most expensive price tags. Pacific Place Mall is another good choice, especially when it’s hot outside. It is a huge mall with many luxurious stores.

 

Western MarketHong Kong Western Market building

It is a wonderful feature of Hong Kong that every area and neighborhood through the SAR has a large, multi-function community center. If you walk around for any amount of time you will recognize these large facilities housing fresh produce, meat and local cooked food merchants. These buildings often have sports and other facilities as well, and serve the needs of local Hong Kong residents. One of the oldest such buildings in Hong Kong is Western Market.

The market itself first began in 1844 but the current Western Market building was built in 1906. It is a wonderful example of the Queen Anne Revival achitectural style of the Edwardian period and was, thankfully, was declared a historical landmark and restored in the 1990s. Today it houses a variety of businesses, mostly fabric merchants but also a collectibles shop, a florist, a bakery and very nice and relaxed cafe. Stop by for a rest and refresh during your gallery tour or shopping outing.

Getting there: Western Market is located at 323 Des Voeux Road Central, next the current Sheung Wan Municipal Services Building.

 

Ladies Market

Hong Kong is also known for street markets. What better way to experience it than to visit its most popular street market, the Ladies Market, which has been operating for over three decades already. The market’s name is attributed to the wide selection of goods geared towards women of all ages. But, the 1000 m long market certainly offers more than women’s bargain clothing, shoes, bags, and accessories. Here you can also buy souvenirs, the usual “I love Hong Kong” t-shirts, home furnishings, cosmetics, and even men’s apparel.

Hong Kong Ladies Market at NightAll the goods sold in this government licensed street market that is set up from scratch each and every day don’t have a fixed price or a price tag. The price depends on what is hollered by the seller to catch your attention or what he types on his calculator after approaching him. You may be caught off guard with the seller’s overpricing but this is because you are expected to bargain.

Such is a good way for you to practice your haggling skills. My rule of thumb for Ladies Market (and the nearby Night Market) is to start the offer at 75% off their offer price. Yes…a 75% discount from their price. I will then move up from there and, ideally, end at around 60% off the original sticker price. I like a bargain! 😉

Another scenario is perhaps you’ll find it a branded good cheaply priced. In most cases, it is a knock-off or copies of branded goods. It is up to you to assess whether it is of good quality and it is worth your money.

Even if you simply walk through the Ladies Market and not buy anything, the local ambiance it offers is truly an experience of its own. It is noisy and crowded but its liveliness and business make it appealing. Additionally, you get to see how the Hong Kong residents shop.

The best time to go around here is 2 PM to 10 PM when most merchants are actively selling. Consider also going in the afternoon and having dinner at one of the local restaurants that pepper the area around the market. Or better yet, satisfy your grumbling tummy from one of the street-side food stalls.

Getting There: take the MTR to Mongkok station, and use exit E2 or D3

 

Po Lin Monastery AJ With Little Big Buddha

Officially named as Po Lin Monastery in 1924,  “Po Lin” mean “Precious Lotus” which is a flower in Buddhism that symbolizes purity. The monastery is a complex with impressive halls in a prominent architectural layout that enshrine Buddhas and important relics. Thus, it is a very significant sanctum for Buddhists in Hong Kong. The place of worship is also home to devout monks who prepare and serve vegetarian meals which can be purchased by visitors.

Po Lin Monastery is often visited alongside the Big Buddha, or formally known as Tian Tan Buddha statue. The statue, which is made of bronze and measures more than 100 feet high, is seated in the mythical cross-legged repose thereby making it remarkable especially up close.

Although this is free, you will have to set aside a budget for your transportation to Lantau Island where both Po Lin Monastery and the Big Buddha are located. Once at the site, however, it is possible to spend a whole day there and enjoy the beautiful architecture, interesting statuary, scenic vistas and quiet trails. You may also make some new, four-legged friends as there are numerous cows and dogs that wander the area and mingle with visitors.

 

Hong Kong’s Historic Temples

A trip to Hong Kong will not be complete without a visit to at least one of the ancient temples, most of which are devoted to Confucianism and Buddhism or the Taoist gods.

Hong Kong Chi Lin Nunnery GardenOn Kowloon City, don’t miss the Hau Way Wong Temple. Built during the Qing dynasty around 1730, it is a declared monument as it has an impressive collection of historical relics. Another temple to visit in the area is the Chi Lin Nunnery which is a Buddhist complex which was built in the 1930s and then rebuilt in 1998 using only interlocking wood beams (and not a single nail was used) to mimic the Tang dynasty’s style. It also has high ceilings and gold details for its features.

The adjacent Nan Lian Garden is also built in the Tang dynasty style and offers a rare sense of tranquility with its garden whose landscape is carefully maintained. While this is a great place to relax during a hectic city outing, in case you become hungry, this is a good place to visit too. This is because Chi Lin Vegetarian, a Chinese Buddhist eatery, can be found here specifically behind a waterfall. Their vegetarian food is regarded as delicious and tasty.

On the other hand, in Hong Kong’s Hollywood road, you must visit Man Mo temple. This beautiful temple, which has vibrant green roof tiles and an invading smell of incense draws you inside, is declared as a national monument. So it is a special treat to wander through it and take in its atmosphere. Built in 1847, it  is also one of Hong Kong’s oldest temples. The place of worship is devoted to the god of literature (‘Man’). Therefore, you will often see teenagers and college students praying for good scores on upcoming exams. The other god to which this temple is dedicated to is the god of war (‘Mo’). I hope no one is praying to him! It is easy to include visiting this temple on your itinerary because it is right in the heart of the art district mentioned above.

 

Hong Kong Natural Attractions

Hong Kong’s total area is almost 70% unspoiled mountains and countryside. So there is still a lot of truly natural places where you can enjoy gorgeous vistas on foot or by cycling and even picnicking. Other than the cost of transportation, these beautiful places are all free and within easy reach of downtown Hong Kong.

Lamma Island

AJ Lamma Island Waterside Dining

Lamma Island is the most accessible of our three suggested back-to-nature outings. Both the two and a half mile Family Trail and the Ling Kok Shan Hiking Trail are easy hikes. The island doesn’t just offer nature hikes and history, but a variety of other experiences from cafes and crafts in the laid-back fishing villages, to inviting beaches for sunbathing and swimming, and delicious (and inexpensive) seafood restaurants. And all of it can be enjoyed in a single day. Look for a full post on all the great things to do on Lamma Island in the near future that that will offer details on the Kamikaze Cave, frogs and turtles, and a special tip on the ferry service.

Tai Mo Shan Country Park

Tai Mo Shan is Hong Kong’s tallest mountain, reaching 957 meters high. As such, the climb up is a far more serious undertaking; as such it did not make our list of easy Hong Kong hiking trails.  Furthermore, the peak and surrounding park get the highest rainfall and the lowest temperatures in Hong Kong. However, for those that make the trip the views are amazing. It also is where you will find the 35-meter high Long Falls, Hong Kong’s highest waterfalls.

Getting There:

Nature lovers will enjoy the 100+ species of birds and butterflies that call the park home. Be warned that there is also other wildlife, including a large variety of snakes. Adventurous types have many hiking trails available to them in Tai Mo Shan Country Park. See the AFCD Tai Mo Shan page for more details.

Getting There: Take bus 51 from Tsuen Wan and get off at Tsuen Kam Country Park Management Centre

Hong Kong Geopark Basalt IslandHigh Island at Hong Kong Geopark

One of the best sites among the Hong Kong Geopark special locations is High Island. Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark is comprised of various natural areas around Hong Kong that showcase important geological themes of igneous rocks and sedimentary rocks. These 12 geological sites are a rock enthusiast’s dream. High Island displays some stunning angular patterns, almost as if it were sculpted by hand. Getting to some of the Geopark sites is not easy or quick, but the beauty of nature awaits those that make the trip.

Getting There: Take bus 94 at Sai Kung Market or 96R at Diamond Hill MTR station (service on weekends and public holidays only). Get off after Pak Tam Chung and walk along Tai Mong Tsai Road to the junction ahead. Turn into Man Yee Road of Sai Kung on the right and walk on for about nine kilometers to the High Island Reservoir East Dam, the starting point of High Island Geo Trail.

For those who are only in Hong Kong for a stopover or a few days, you might consider just visiting some of the urban parks and gardens suggested above.

 

Bonus!! More Cheap Thrills…

The following low cost options are not 100% free but are so cheap and fun that we couldn’t leave them off the list!

 

Hong Kong Tramways (Ding Ding)

These historic and iconic trams affectionately called by the locals as “Ding Ding” is over 100 years old but it is still part of the city’s mass transit system. What makes it more interesting is that it is the world’s largest tram fleet that is still in operation. Riding it is an amazing experience and is actually an affordable way to explore the city. At less than HK$2.6 per way, you can actually access some of the free experiences we’ve mentioned earlier.

 

Minibus Rides To Beautiful ViewsHong Kong Mini Bus AJ

Wherever you are in Hong Kong City, you’ll surely encounter a minibus with a carrying capacity of 19 people. They serves various small routes to sometimes intersting places that trains can’t reach. Most people who ride this are locals cost no more than five or HK$10.

Some minibusses have specific routes that offer amazing views. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Bus #314 (Sunday only) from Siu Sui Wan via Tai Tam reservoir to Stanley.
  • Bus #14 (weekdays only) from Sai Wan Ho along the train tracks to Stanley.
  • Bus #6 around the southern Bays.

 

Hong Kong Secret Spots

Some not so secret routes actually lead to secret spots. Below are a few places, which will only cost you some time and an MTR fare, which many tourist books don’t mention.

Tai Tong Organic Ecopark

There are still farms in Hong Kong and Tai Tong Organic Ecopark, formerly known as Lychee Valley, lets you experience a wide range of farming activities. This includes strawberry and lychee picking, horse riding, fishing, BBQ, and even agricultural workshops. It costs HK$30 for single park entry and you pay for certain activities that you want to experience. The address is at 11 Tai Tong Shan Road, Yuen Long and you may call (852) 2470 2201 for more details.

Getting There: Get out at Long Ping MTR station. Ride the no. K66 bus to Tai Tong, alight at Tai Tong Shan Road and follow the signs to the Tai Tong Organic Ecopark.

Victoria Peak Garden

The Peak is obviously not a secret to anyone. The Victoria Peak Garden, however, is located on a lesser-traveled section. This is because it used to be part of the Governor of Hong Kong’s Summer residence but is now open to all, including our furry friends – a rarity in Hong Kong. The garden comes complete with streams and plenty of shade that is perfect for a picnic. Dotting the place as well are gorgeous pergolas and pavilions dotted around (cue the #nofilter hashtag!).

Getting There: On the Peak, go up Victoria Gap Road until you reach the top.

Un Chau Estate Flower Tunnel

This fully public ‘secret garden’ is a tunnel covered in vibrant Bougainvillea. So during springtime, its ceiling is filled with pink leaves while tiny white flowers bloom from the vines that snake over the walkway. Visitors walking through the tunnel will be enchanted with the fairytale-like experience it offers. As the flowers only show up during spring which is between March and April, being able to experience it with full bloom makes it special.

Getting There: Take exit C2 at the Cheung Sha Wan MTR station and you’ll get out directly at the Un Chau Estate. The flower tunnel is right at the estate’s entrance so you won’t miss it.

 

Karaoke Dining

AJ Live Karaoke Hong KongLive Band Karaoke (With an Audience Too!)

Alwin and David run the amazing Hong Kong Music Lovers meetup group. They personally lead the band and welcome any style and level of ability, which is good because I’m not a great singer but I love to sing! There is no cost to perform a song (maximum 2 as it gets busy). Since the meetup is hosted by local restaurants, you can support the fun by having dinner, or at least a snack and a beverage. You can sing live in Hong Kong most Mondays and Thursdays!

  • Open Mic at KonFusion Cafe most Mondays from 8PM
    Shop B, G/F, Lai Yan Lau, 42-56 Queens Road West, Sheung Wan
  • Open Mic Jam Night @ The Aftermath most Thursdays from 8PM
    Sunny Building, Lower ground floor, 57-59 Wyndham St, Central

Karaoke Lunch Buffet

OK, I wouldn’t normally suggest Hong Kong visitors spend their precious touring time in a room with no windows. But if you love karaoke, you will, at least, want to know where you can go for it. Hong Kong has a variety of options from traditional karaoke rooms to public karaoke held in bars and cafes. I prefer the usual karaoke wherein we get a room so I, my friends, and/or family can just let our inner diva run wild.

I like Neway Karaoke Box, in Wan Chai. The rooms are clean with no stench from cigarette smoke, unlike other karaoke places. The equipment is good and they have a wide selection of nice songs which include both new and old English, Korean, Japanese, and, of course, Chinese songs. Some of my favorite songs are not available but it is perfectly all right as their service is great via their prompt and courteous staff.

Another great thing about Neway Karaoke Box is that they offer lunch and dinner meals. Their special K-lunch offer goes as low as HK$95 per person with 1 glass of soft drink and 1 set lunch per person. As for their weekend Night Owl Hour dinner, it costs HK$209 per person with all you can eat buffet, 2 glasses of soft drinks, and all you can sing until 5:30 AM. The buffet, during my visit, has a good selection of chicken wings, hot and sour soup, stir-fried vegetables, noodles, steamed scallops, and even vegetarian options.

Getting There: Basement 2 Novotel Century, 238 Jaffe Rd, Wan Chai, Hong Kong

 

Holiday FestivalsLee Tung Avenue Spring Lantern Festival Hong Kong AJ

If you are lucky you may find yourself in Hong Kong during certain local festivals. This can add a wonderful dimension to the visit but expect your travel costs to increase as it is peak season.

A few of my favorite celebrations and/or festivals include the following:

  • Hungry Ghost Festival is usually celebrated on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month which usually falls either in July or August in Western calendar. Although it sounds a bit scary, it is a traditional festival where people perform special ceremonies such as offering food to avoid the wrath of hungry, unhappy ghosts.
  • The Mid-Autumn Festival follows the Hungry Ghost Festival, and is celebrated on the following 15th day of the lunar month. It is one of the most important festivals of the year where people give out moon cakes to each other. Aside from that, fire dragon dances and lantern exhibitions can be enjoyed. This festival is one of my favorites because seeing families with little kids carrying their custom made lanterns in the evening is heartwarming.
  • Chinese New Year, which falls on either January or February depending on the lunar calendar, is the mother of all holidays and is the liveliest festival. In Hong Kong, decorative holiday lights are put up before Christmas and stay up until Chinese New Year. There is also a long list of events that will surely delight anyone.
  • Spring Lantern Festival or Chinese Lantern Festival occurs on the 15th day of the first lunar month, usually February or March. The holiday is sometimes referred to as Chinese Valentines Day since couples spend time together (following the family-oriented New Years holiday) and, in the past, singles would sometimes engage in matchmaking activities.
  • Speaking of other holidays, I can’t leave out Halloween, October 31. It is a Western holiday, associated with the autumn equinox, but it is especially fun in Hong Kong. You must visit the Lan Kwai Fong (LKF) area to see the many people both locals and Westerners dressed up in their scary costumes if you happen to be in Hong Kong around this time.

 

That’s it for now! But this massive guide to free and low-cost and fun things to do in Hong Kong is definitely a work in progress. As time goes on and I get time to explore more fun and fabulous activities in HK I will keep this list growing and expanding.

If you would like to add new or different activities to the guide please reach out and contact me. I love to learn and share! Thank you!