Despite the relative expensiveness of Hong Kong, there are plenty of cheap or free things to do in Hong Kong. In fact, taking a long walk around the city with no particular destination in mind often led to beautiful parks and gardens, and even a free zoo and aviary. Many of the city's sightseeing attractions are free, and getting to them via a taxi or the metro is very affordable.
Getting Around Hong Kong
Between the MRT metro and incredibly cheap local taxis, Hong Kong is can be traversed very easily and affordably. There are also many walkways and paths throughout the city, so it is easy to traverse by foot. Perhaps the biggest initial challenge is getting from the Hong Kong International Airport to the city center (Central) since they are located about 25 miles apart.
The quickest cheapest way to get into Hong Kong from the airport is to take the Airport Express train. It leaves directly from inside the airport and connects to Hong Kong's larger metro station layout. It's about $100 Hong Kong dollars ($12 USD) for a one-way ticket, and trains run every 10 minutes. Another option is to catch a taxi from the airport to your final destination, which can cost $200-300 Hong Kong dollars ($25-39 USD).
9 Things to Do in Hong Kong
- Ride the world's longest elevator
- Party on a Friday night at Lan Kwai Fong
- Eat your heart out in SoHo
- Take a ride on the Hong Kong Observation Wheel
- Photograph Hong Kong's skyline at Victoria park
- See the birds at Edward Youde Aviary
- Take a day trip to Kowloon
- Escape to the beach at Repulse Bay
- Go for a hike
1) Ride the world's longest outdoor escalator
Spanning 2,600 feet at an elevation of 443 feet from top to bottom, the Central-Mid-Levels escalator in Hong Kong is the world's longest outdoor covered escalator. It was constructed in 1993 with the intent of helping commuters get around the city. Today it is also a tourist attraction and a practical solution for traversing some of the incredibly steep hills.
2) Party on a Friday night at Lan Kwai Fong
Hong Kong's loud party zone is Lan Kwai Fong. Located in the heart of the Central Business District, Lan Kwai Fong's roads are blocked off and locals and tourists alike emerge to party the night away. The busiest nights by far are Friday and Saturday. Featuring cobble-stoned streets, the area is full of trendy restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, surrounded by the city's nearby skyscrapers. While bars will charge quite a bit for cocktails and booze, it's perfectly acceptable to get cheap drinks at 7-Eleven and drink in the streets. In fact, that's probably one of the cheapest and easiest ways to socialize and really experience the full party scene at Lan Kwai Fong.
3) Eat your heart out in Soho
Located next to Lan Kwai Fong, Soho is the main entertainment district of Hong Kong, featuring an array of hip and diverse eateries and bars, all contained within colonial architecture. It's also the hipster area of town, full of Western food and drink options including craft beer from Oregon! Curious about other foodie hotspots in town? Check out the Hong Kong Food Guide for ideas and recommendations.
4) Take a ride on the Hong Kong Observation Wheel
A very distinct marker on the harborfront is the flashy ferris wheel. Fun to take photos of and a ride as well if you're willing to shell out for the ticket.
Hike up by foot for free, or pay to get up quicker via tram. Go up for sunset and stick around until around 7:00 pm to see the city come alive with the nightly light show. Word of caution: if the weather is overly foggy, hold off and visit on a clear day. The whole point of Victoria Peak is to enjoy the expansive city view, so a foggy day will be a waste.
6) See the birds at Edward Youde Aviary
Nestled in the south corner of Hong Kong Park, is a large 32,000 square foot walk-through aviary. Free to the public, the aviary houses 600 birds that are indigenous to Southeast Asia, Indonesia, and New Guinea. Named after one of the city's late governors, Edward Youde Aviary is considered the largest aviary in Southeast Asia.
Located on the peninsula north of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon is one of the most densely populated places in the world. However, compared to Soho and the rest of "downtown" Hong Kong, Kowloon feels less chaotic and much more livable. Two key areas of Kowloon include the budget hotel district of Tsim Sha Tsui and the shopping markets of Mong Kok.
8) Escape to the beach at Repulse Bay
Hop aboard a public bus or take a taxi about 30 minutes south of downtown Hong Kong and you'll find yourself in a cluster of urban beaches. This urban retreat features modern shopping malls and dining facilities. There are also outdoor recreation areas including a designated swim areas and even an outdoor golf course.
9) Go for a hike
While Hong Kong is indeed a crazy concrete jungle, it also has its fair share of nature hikes. One of the most scenic and relatively easy hikes begins at Parkview and ends at Wilson Trail Stage One. It's an incredibly scenic hike with stunning views of Hong Kong and Repulse Bay. Unfortunately, the weather was foggy on the day of our hike, so we did not get a clear view. To get to Parkview, take bus 6 or 61 from Exchange Square Terminus in Central to Wong Nai Chung Gap. Or you can simply take a taxi directly to Parkview.
Share your favorite things to do in Hong Kong in the comments below!