We often get the question how much to spend on sightseeing or if it is expensive to travel and do all the sightseeing in Hong Kong. To answer these kinds of questions is certainly not easy, because it really depends on your own expectations, habits, preferences and spending budgets. But we would like to share some of our sightseeing insights which are free or doesn’t cost too much and are fun to do.
Unlike other cities, the great part of Hong Kong is many attractions of Hong Kong are free/very low price of entrance fee. No matter the famous Victoria Harbor, Star Avenue or the horse racing, you only need to spend very little money to enjoy a great stay in Hong Kong.
1. Enjoying the pretty view of Victoria Harbor (free)
Victoria Harbor is a must-go attraction in Hong Kong, from where you can enjoy the pretty harbor view and skyscrapers along it. No matter you watch Victoria Harbor from Tsim Sha Tsui side or Hong Kong Island side, the views are both great and it’s completely for free. In old times, visitors used to enjoy Victoria Harbor from TST side because on Hong Kong Island there were more famous skyscrapers. But recent years, more and more skyscrpers such as International Commerce Center (ICC), The One are built up in Kowloon side, thus you can enjoy different stunning views from both side.
How to Get to Victoria Harbour:
Take the MTR to East Tsim Sha Tsui station (TST side) or to Wan Chai station (Island side). You also can take the star ferry to Central/Wan Chai/TST ferry piers. Victoria Harbor is very close to these MTR stations and ferry piers.
2. Watching the World’s largest sound and light show (free)
If you already arrived at Victoria Harbor in either TST or Wan Chai, don’t miss the free laser show [Symphony of Lights]. It is awarded by the Guinness Book of Records as the “World Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show”. It starts 8:00pm every night and lasts around 15 minutes with beautiful composed music.
How to Get to Symphony of Lights:
Take the MTR to East Tsim Sha Tsui station (TST side) or to Wan Chai station (Island side). You also can take the star ferry to Central/Wan Chai/TST ferry piers. The best places of watching the show are the TST waterfront between the Avenue of Stars and the Hong Kong Cultural Center as well as the promenade in front of Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, where you can listen to the show’s music.
3. Looking for your favorite celebrities (free)
Hong Kong Avenue of Stars is a 440m long promenade in Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront. It has over 100 plagues of celebrities, opera-stars, scriptwriters and directors of Hong Kong movies where visitors can take a troll and enjoy the over 100 years of Hong Kong cinematic history for free.
How to Get to Avenue of Stars:
Take the MTR to East Tsim Sha Tsui station or the Star Ferry to Tsim Sha Tsui ferry pier.
4. Iconic Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center and Gold Bauhinia Square (free)
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center is another famous landmark in Hong Kong and can be easily spotted from the Victoria Harbor front. Its special architectural design and easily let visitors associated with the Opera in Sydney. It is well-known by the world not only because every year there are countless business fairs held here, but here is also where the handover ceremony of Hong Kong from Britain back to P.R.China was held in 1997.
If you have chance, you can take a look of the official Flag Raising Ceremony which is held every morning 7:50am-8:03am on Gold Bauhinia Square and operated by the Hong Kong Police Force.
How to Get to Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center and Gold Bauhinia Square:
Take the MTR or Star Ferry to Wan Chai station/ferry pier.
5. Visiting horse racing in Sha Tin Racecouse or Happy Valley Racecourse (HK$ 10)
If you come to visit Hong Kong, then you definitely should experience the famous horse racing. Hong Kong has two horse racecourses: Sha Tin and Happy Valley. Both are very convenient to reach by MTR. Imagining being sitting among thousands of crazy horse racing fans and your senses blur under the dazzling lights of Hong Kong’s skyscrapers, it will be a very unique memory of your Hong Kong trip. Admission fee to enter the racecourse is for the moment HK$ 10 and you can stay a whole day inside if you would like to.
How to Get to Racecourses:
The best way to get to the racecourses is by MTR. Take the MTR to either Sha Tin Racecourse station or Causeway Bay station (Happy Valley racecourse). After you get off at Causeway Bay, you can either go to Happy Valley racecourse on foot (about 15 min walk) or take the tram to the last station “Happy Valley”.
6. Viewing the Victoria Harbor from the Peak Galleria (free)
The Peak is a must-go attraction in Hong Kong, from where you can have a stunning view of Hong Kong Island, Victoria Harbor and all the skyscrapers along the harbor. The Peak Tram ticket for adult is about HK$ 40 for round trip. Or either you can choose to take Bus 15 (single trip about HK$ 10) or minibus No.1 (single trip about HK$ 8 ) to get up to the peak. The highest point of the peak is the Sky Terrace 428 where unfortunately is not for free to going up. But you also can go to the top floor of Peak Galleria (opposite Peak Tower) where is open for free.
How to Get to Peak Galleria:
Take the MTR or Star Ferry to Central station/ferry pier and transfer to either buses or Peak Tram.
7. Visiting Hong Kong traditional Chinese Temples (free)
Although Hong Kong is a modern metropolitan city and the center of world’s finance and business, walking on the street, you still will be amazed how much Hong Kong protects the Chinese tradition and tolerates different religions. You cannot believe how many temples Hong Kong still have. All the temples are free of entrance fee and the most famous temples we recommend are: Wong Tai Sin Temple, Man Mo Temple, Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery, Tin Hau Temple as well as Po Lin Temple.
8. Travelling back through time – visiting Hong Kong museums (free on Wednesday)
Hong Kong museums have more than 20 museums and covers a large variety of topics including history, art, film, medical science, space, police, transportation, costal defense and so on. Most of these museums are free admission on Wednesday. Although they are not as famous as those in Berlin, London or New York, some still have a very nice exhibition and are worthwhile to have a further look, especially if you are interested in Chinese history and culture. If your time is limited, we recommend you Hong Kong Museum of History, Hong Kong Space Museum and Hong Kong Science Museum (especially if you have kids).
9. Experiencing real local atmosphere in street markets (free)
Visiting Hong Kong street markets is a great way to dive into the bustling atmosphere of urban Hong Kong life and experience part of Hong Kong’s culture. Besides, you will find small shops and stalls selling everything from clothes, antique, flower, electronics, jade to hand-made accessories, toy, underwear there. The most famous street markets are Ladies Market, Sneaker Street, Temple Night Market, Stanley Market and Electronics Street. Since most the street markets are close to each other (except Stanley Market), you can easily arrange a day and have a tour around them.
10. Snoopy’s World (free)
For all of you who are already on a shopping trip in New Town Plaza shopping mall and also a fan of Snoopy, this little theme park [Snoopy’s World] might be worthwhile to take a look. As the first on of its kind opened in Asia, Snoopy’s World has six small zones of amusements and more than 60 cute figures of Snoopy and his friends, such as Lucy, Charlie Brown and Woodstock.
How to Get to Snoopy’s World:
No matter where you stay in Hong Kong during your trip, just try to take the East Railway to Sha Tin station and take Exit A. Walk through the New Town Plaza shopping mall and you will see already the Snoopy’s World. Just follow the signs in the shopping mall.
Besides all the attractions mentioned above, you also can enjoy a beach day for free in the famous Repulse Bay, or take a look of the Noon Day Gun ceremony, or either have a walk in the Lan Kwai Fong area at night.
Saving Money on Transportation:
1. Taking the Star Ferry to cross Victoria Harbor (about HK$ 2.2 per ride)
Star Ferry is not only a transportation tool , but also the historic icon of Hong Kong. Serving on Victoria Harbor for more than130 years, taking the Star Ferry to Victoria Harbor has been a must-do for visitors. The National Geographic Traveler named the ferry crossing Victoria Harbor as one of 50 places of a life time. You can enjoy a pleasant trip with both a great view and a great value.
2. Taking “Ding Ding” Tram around Hong Kong Island (about HK$ 2.3 per ride)
Similar with Star Ferry, Hong Kong Tram is another famous historic icon and must-try in Hong Kong. The tram is operated by Hong Kong Tramways Ltd. Since 1904 and is severing 6 routes around Hong Kong Island. All the trams are double-deck and we recommend you to take the upper deck. You won’t regret to take this journey and experience a real Hong Kongnese’s life.
3. Travelling with MTR
The fee for MTR depends on the distance you travel, but it is one of the most convenient, comfortable and economic public transportation in Hong Kong. It will take you to most of the famous attractions and areas and you hardly need to take taxi or rent a car.
Taking care of your stomach:
The best way of saving money and experience local life is to try different snacks and food on the street. Hong Kong has many famous street food which costs you a little money but you have opportunity to try many traditional Hong Kong style food. Besides, our article [How to Save Money on Food] is talking about different situation of saving money on food in Hong Kong.