by Sydney Stonner
Many tourist attractions in Hong Kong, such as the local amusement parks, aren’t cheap; and the city is full of designer clothes and luxury goods. But, there are quite a few things to do in this Asian metropolis that are free and fun.
- Hong Kong Park
Located in Central, this park is truly a green oasis nestled among the skyscrapers of the financial district. It is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of sightseeing and relax. One of the highlights is the large aviary where visitors can walk amongst a variety of colorful, talkative birds. Check out the Flagstaff House Museum of Teaware, too.
- A Symphony of Lights
This laser light show occurs nightly in Hong Kong and can be viewed from vantage points on either side of Victoria Harbor. From the waterfront in either Wan Chai or Tsim Sha Tsui, you can see searchlights and laser beams dance across the skyscrapers in time to music. The display is a bit cheesy, but the harbor views on a clear night are spectacular.
You wouldn’t think a city as densely populated as Hong Kong would have many opportunities for hiking, but you would be wrong. There are trails all over Hong Kong Island, the New Territories and even the outlying islands. Some of the hikes can be quite strenuous due to many steep inclines, but others are less of a workout; and, they all provide magnificent views of the city, the beach or the countryside.
- A Day at the Beach
Being a city of islands, Hong Kong has miles of shoreline and thus, beaches. They vary in terms of sand quality and location; but practically all public beaches have changing facilities and restrooms, and are accessible by public transport. Some of the most famous are at Stanley, Repulse Bay, Discovery Bay and Clearwater Bay.
- Man Mo Temple
Located on Hollywood Road in Sheung Wan, this is probably Hong Kong’s most-visited temple. The temple was built in the mid-1800s and is dedicated to the gods of literature and martial arts.
- A Magnificent View
There are many skyscrapers in Hong Kong, and the views from such heights are truly breathtaking. Some places with great vistas charge admission or the price of a drink at the bar, but there are two observation decks that are free. In Central, both the Bank of China Tower, 43rd floor, and Two IFC, 55th floor, have viewing platforms open to the public.
- Classical Music
To showcase its magnificent, handmade pipe organ, the Hong Kong Cultural Center hosts free public concerts in the main concert hall, which is located in Tsim Sha Tsui. These are typically held on Saturday afternoons and feature various guest performers. If you need a break from sightseeing, relax and enjoy the resonating sounds of the pipe organ.
- The Avenue of Stars
Also located in Tsim Sha Tsui is Hong Kong’s answer to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Tourists can walk along the promenade — which is also a great location to view site #2 — and see the commemorative stars for many Hong Kong celebrities. The most recognizable name to Westerners is, of course, actor Jackie Chan.
- The Peak
The Peak is one of Hong Kong’s most famous attractions, a must-see for any tourist. At the top, there are restaurants, shopping areas and a ticketed viewing platform. However, there is also the fairly flat, paved Peak Circle Walk. This trail provides views of all sides of Hong Kong Island and puts visitors at eye-level with the higher floors of many tall buildings.
- 10000 Buddhas Monastery
Located in Sha Tin in the New Territories, the 10000 Buddhas Monastery no longer has monks in residence, but the temple complex is well-maintained and very picturesque. The winding path up to the main temple is lined with statues of buddhas of all shapes and sizes, and at the top there are even more, including a room whose walls are filled with shelves bearing small buddha statues.