10 Free Things to Do in Hong Kong

Lanterns hang in the Hong Kong night market.
Lanterns hang in the Hong Kong night market.

Hong Kong is an autonomous Chinese territory and an immensely popular tourist destination with about 27.8 million tourists visiting the territory. The territory boasts a rich cultural heritage as well as a pristine climate, and an abundant natural beauty. Although tourists are willing to pay to experience the beautiful city, there are several hidden gems in Hong Kong where visitors are granted free access.

10. Visit a temple

The Golden Pavillion Temple in Nan Lian Garden, Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is one of the most diverse places in the world in terms of religion and culture with the territory dotted with churches, mosques, and temples. The temples located in the city are popular with visitors who want to admire ancient Chinese architecture. Some of the temples include the Chi Lin Nunnery, the Po Lin Monastery, and the Fung Ying Seen Koon among others.

9. A Symphony of Lights

The Symphony of Lights in Hong Kong.

A trip to Hong Kong is not complete without experiencing the daily Symphony of Lights. The Symphony of Lights is a light and sound show organized by the Hong Kong Tourism Board. The grand spectacle has been staged at 8:00 PM every night ever since its inception on January 17th, 2004. The show is segmented into five themes: Awakening, Energy, Heritage, Partnership, and Celebration. There are several viewing points to enjoy the visual show, but the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront offers the best viewing location in the city. The Symphony of Lights is also an important feature during the annual countdown to the New Year.

8. Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens

The Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens.

The Hong Kong Zoological and Botanic Gardens occupy 5.6 hectares of the slopes of Victoria Peak, Hong Kong. The gardens were established in 1864 making them among the oldest in the world. The Hong Kong Zoological and Botanic Gardens hosts many varieties of plants and animals including some rare species of plants such as the Yunnan camellia and the dawn redwood. Visitors can access the park without paying any tickets, making the park an ideal spot to unwind and meditate.

7. Avenue of stars

The Avenue of Stars celebrates stars of the Hong Kong film industry.

The Avenue of Stars is an open area located in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong and dotted with replicas and handprints of many celebrities of Hong Kong ancestry. The Avenue of Stars is a popular attraction where visitors get to gain knowledge on Hong Kong’s entertainment industry and its most famous stars. The Avenue of Stars was opened in April 2004 and was seen as an adaptation of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Some of the statues on display include that of the greatest martial artist ever, Bruce Lee. Unfortunately, the Avenue of Stars is temporarily closed for renovations but will reopen in 2018.

6. Lamma Island

Lamma Island, Hong Kong.

Of the many islands in Hong Kong, Lamma Island is one of the least developed and is the third largest is size with an area of 5.23 square miles. Lamma Island is a popular tourist destination with visitors trooping to experience its beautiful, untouched natural beauty. The island offers some of the cheapest accommodation facilities in Hong Kong and is host to several traditional festivals where visitors can learn about the island’s history. One of the popular festivals is the Tin Hau Festival held by the local fishing community. The island is also famous for its many seafood restaurants which serve some of the most delicious authentic Chinese cuisines in Hong Kong.

5. Take a hike

Hiking is a popular activity in Hong Kong.

While most people believe Hong Kong is restricted to the city, the urban area (Hong Kong metropolis) accounts for only 25% of the total land area with over 40% of the remainder being comprised of country parks and reserves. The hilly terrain of the city’s outskirts provides excellent trails for hikes where one is rewarded with panoramic views of the harbor and the surrounding islands. One of these trails is the famed Maclehose Trail which is the longest in the territory and offers great views of the beach as well the South China Sea.

4. Explore the night markets

Street food offerings in a Hong Kong night market.

The best way to experience authentic Hong Kong is to shop at one of the several night markets located in the city. The night markets are street markets full of local commodities and souvenirs which come at relatively low prices. One of the best places to get this experience is the busiest night market, the Temple Street Night Market. The lively market is filled with traders trying to market their wares including local cuisines, clothing, and souvenirs.

3. Kowloon Walled City Park

Kowloon Walled City Park.

Another historical site that visitors frequent while in Hong Kong is the Kowloon Walled City Park located on the Kowloon Peninsula. Kowloon Walled City Park’s history is traced back to the 16th century and has been used for several purposes over the centuries. However, in the late 20th century, the site was run down and was full of criminal activities until 1995 when the Chinese government rehabilitated the site, resettled existing residents and established a beautiful park. The Kowloon Walled City Park is open daily for visitors from 6:30 AM to 11:00 PM.

2. Relax on a beach

A public beach in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s irregular coastline and over 200 tiny islands host many picturesque beaches, with some being private beaches with restricted access. However, there are about 40 public beaches with facilities rivaling those at private beaches. Some of these public beaches include Stanley Beach, which is popular for fans of water-sports and surfing. The beach also hosts the annual Dragon Boat Competition. St. Stephen’s Beach is another public beach which is less crowded and offers the perfect setting for family based activities such as a sandcastle building.

1. Visit a Museum on a Wednesday

The Hong Kong Museum of Art - free on Wednesdays.

Hong Kong may be tiny, but it is rich in history with historical artifacts stored in numerous museums all over the territory. While these museums require visitors to purchase tickets, several of them have free admissions on Wednesdays. The famous Hong Kong Museum of History has thousands of items on display, representing many years of traditional Chinese culture. Another notable museum offering free entry on Wednesdays is the Hong Kong Space Museum which focuses on astronomy and has exhibits showing the many milestones achieved in space science.


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