30 Things To Do Before You Leave Hong Kong
1. Watch Chinese Opera
You may have seen those elaborately dressed actor-singers with overly done face paintings. That’s what I mean. I think this is the epitome of Chinese entertainment and a reason for gathering of families and friends. The standard opera is based on folklore, legends, and historical incidents from the past. One of the popular landmarks of Cantonese opera in Hong Kong is the Sunbeam Theatre.
2. Climb atop ifc 2 and see the Victoria Harbour and beyond
Go to ifc in Central and get a view of Hong Kong from the 88th floor.
3. Take a helicopter ride overlooking Hong Kong
If you think the aerial view from your 747 jet to Hong Kong airport is just so small, consider hiring a helicopter tour. Heliservices Hong Kong charges from HK$6,000 per 15 minutes to HK$18,000 for an hour touring the whole territory.
4. Take the harbour cruise
This harbor cruise experience will enhance your view of the Victoria Harbour, which can be done via HK$2.20 ride from Wan Chai or Central to Tsim Sha Tsui or vice versa. Hong Kong Tourism Board provides more information on a variety of cruises (morning, afternoon, evening, sunset).
5. Go to the Peak by bus, the Peak Tram and hiking
Bus 15 costs less than HK$10 from Central (bus stop is near the ifc 2 and Outlying Islands Ferry Terminal) and enables you to take a view of Happy Valley as well as the expensive homes alongside the Peak area via Stubbs Road that snakes through to the backdoors of The Peak.
The Peak Tram is usually where tourists go and why not, it’s still affordable at HK$20 for one way and HK$30 return tickets via the steep inclines from the station located at Murray Building in Garden Road. From Star Ferry, take the 15C bus where you can ride the open air top deck, the only one of its kind in Hong Kong.
Hiking is obviously the one that takes most time, but it’s also healthy and costs nothing but a bottled water. This is a good choice during spring or autumn as
winters can be cold and summers are scorching hot (plus the mosquito infestation). I usually take the Pok Fu Lam Country Park Trail.
6. Have high tea at The Peninsula
This is rather expensive but also popular in Hong Kong. It’s not just sipping tea but it usually consists of cold meats, eggs and/or fish, cakes and sandwiches. Peninsula Hotel’s Spring Moon is one of the best in Hong Kong.
7. Join the Cheung Chau Bun festivities
The bun snatching event is a popular activity during the Cheung Chau Bun festival held at the island of Cheung Chau.
8. Witness the Chinese New Year fireworks at Tamar Site
Chinese New Year is celebrated within the mid-January to mid-February, brave the crowds and the chilly evening air to witness an extravagant display
of fireworks that drape the Victoria Harbour with a variety of colors and shapes. Join the oohs and aahs of the excited crowd.
9. Climb the stairs leading to the Big Buddha
It’s not just big Buddha, it’s BIG Buddha. It requires 268 steps to reach the Buddha through a series of steps. Visitors may then travel to and from and Buddha via the following bus routes: Mui Wo to/from Ngong Ping — NLB No. 2 and Tung Chung to/from Ngong Ping — NLB No. 23
10. Tell the time using Central Plaza
Strange but it actually works. Look at the top spire of Central Plaza in Wan Chai (it’s the tallest building in Hong Kong before ifc2 was erected).
Known as Lightime, it describes its operation as:
It consists of four (spandrel) neon bands, each representing 15 minutes, that change colour on the quarter hour, progressing through the hour, according to a six-hour colour cycle. I still have to figure it out myself so we can go there together.
11. Try some dose of Chinese medicine
Only when you are sick and see no complications to try. Chinese medicine is a regulated profession in Hong Kong protected by ordinance and has an updated list of accredited practitioners.
12. Drink the local Chinese tonic tea
These are usually found on streets of Wan Chai, Causeway Bay or just about everywhere in Hong Kong (photo). Unlike its cousin, the teabags, this
specially concocted tonic tea drink has better preventative powers against several diseases. Obviously, this is a better alternative to
coffee or cola drinks. You pay a few dollars (typically HK$4 to HK$7) for a gulp. Can be served hot or cold.
13. Learn tai chi for FREE
In a land of expensive vices and hobbies, learning tai chi is supposed to be no different. But thanks to Hong Kong Tourism Board, at least one
professional free tai chi lesson is conducted here. There are two venues to choose from: Tsim Sha Tsui (Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Exit E, take pedestrian tunnel ahead and follow the signs to the Avenue) at 8am-9am (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday &Friday) and The Peak’s Viewing Terrace (Central MTR Exit A, take bus 15 from Exchange Square bus terminus up the twisting roads to the Peak, follow signage to the Peak Tower) at 9am-10am (Saturday). Call +852 2508 1234 for enquiries.
If you can’t find time to both venues, tai chi practitioners are plenty in parks, notably Hong Kong Park in Admiralty, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai and in Victoria Park in Causeway Bay. I am not sure if it’s an offense to mimic an action without prior notification. 🙁
14. Watch the Dragon Boat races during the Tuen Ng festival. Better yet, join one of the participating dragon boat teams
Tuen Ng Festival is also known as Dragon Boat Festival which is celebrated sometime in June. Although it’s usually very hot and humid at this time
of the year, it is just the traditional beginning of the summer season. Races are held in Stanley and Shatin. There are dragon boat organizations that promote the development of the sport. Every year, several teams from different countries compete in the competitions.
15. Go high (literally) to the Mid-Levels using the world’s longest covered outdoor escalator
Follow the trail of this magnificent structure as you are tempted to terminate the journey by an array of bars andrestaurants that sprout along the
16. Be a kid again and join the rides at Ocean Park and Hong Kong Disneyland
Hong Kong Disneyland is the smallest Disneyland in the world but who cares if it’s already sufficient enough to bring back the memories as a kid
who is fond of riding roller coasters and pose with your favorite cartoon characters?
Ocean Park is themed after sea creatures with some affection towards preserving endangered species such as the two latest residents, giant pandas Le Le and Ying Ying who maintain a blog!
17. Bet on Mark Six for twenty dollars at one of HK Jockey Clubs betting stations
Enjoy the frenzy and excitement of sharing the chance to win millions with other bettors. I haven’t tried Mark Six betting ever, believe it or
not, but I do recommend this one. No ideas on which numbers to bet? Try the random number generator. Do this only if you don’t suspect you’re a habitual offender. Maybe I suspect I am.
18. Take the Maclehose Trail for hiking and making a stop at Hong Kong’s tallest peak
If you are into extreme hiking adventure and all trails in Hong Kong island are patsies, brace yourself for this 100 kilometer long trail.
19. Take a milder hiking route at Dragon’s Back or Battery Path in Hong Kong island
OK, you’re fairly new to the hiking adventure and want to take the milder road conditions. The English Centre of Hong Kong U has a list of Hong Kong island hiking trails to choose from.
20. Witness the Noon Day Gun being fired at midday in Causeway Bay
The tradition seems to have originated over an incident in the 1860s when Jardines, who had their main godowns and offices at East Point, had their private militia fire a gun salute to welcome the tai pans arrival by sea. The Royal Navy thought that such a salute should be reserved only for government officials or senior officers of the armed services. In penance, Jardines has been required to fire a gun at noon ever since, to serve as a time signal.
To watch the event, people must make their way to the enclosure – the easiest way to get there is to take the tunnel under the road from the basement car park in The Excelsior hotel – ask at reception if you cannot find it as the direction signs look poorly designed.
21. Test your bargaining power and negotiating skills at Mong Kok
Ladies Market and Temple Street is haven for bargain hunters who go home with sometimes unwanted items at unbelievable prices. Brave the crowds,
avoid the pickpockets and test your negotiating and acting skills.
22. Do snorkelling, waterskiing, sailing, kayaking, windsurfing or go
fishing on any of Hong Kong’s 30 beaches around Stanley and Sai Kung
Unless you fear getting more tanned or fear the UV rays, this is the place to enjoy summer in Hong Kong. Never mind the humidity, you’re getting soaked anyway. 12HK has a information on Hong Kong’s fine beaches.
23. Go to the Happy Valley or Shatin racecourses and scream to exhort your favorite horses to win
Same as #17 but go there for the fun of it and not mainly to win. Visit Hong Kong Jockey Club website for more info.
24. Experience Hong Kong’s nature side by visiting Mai Po marshes, Wetland Park and numerous country parks
Go away from polluted places I recommended earlier and instead head to Hong Kong’s parks to do bird watching, observing the flora and fauna on your own or friends or loved ones.
25. Watch the orchestra at City Hall or shows at the Space Museum
I am fond of the orchestra so I highly recommend to watch the live performance more than just listening to CDs. I’ved watched SAR Philharmonic Orchestra but the more popular ones are Hong Kong Philharmonic, Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra and Hong Kong Sinfonietta.
26. Enjoy fresh seafood served at Lamma and Cheung Chau islands’ specialty restaurants
Lamma has been known for a long time to be a good source of delectable dishes that’s really fresh. A familiar hiking mishap I took a few years ago leads to a famous restaurant that offers relief to tired wanderers of the island.
27. Spend time for a yum cha or eating out with a local Chinese family
Chinese people are probably more reserved than you think. You have to have a Chinese friend for a long time who is able to introduce his/her family
to you and eventually invite you to join them for a supposed family affair like yum cha. As I can’t order in Cantonese, it was a nice idea too. But you don’t have to join a Chinese family to enjoy yum cha though.
28. Ride the sampan/junk Duk Ling
Duk Ling is a famous junk that has been an icon of Hong Kong on postcards, symbols and other visual representations of Hong Kong. I guess more
foreign tourists take the ride more than the locals. Have a look at Duk Ling’s website for more info.
29. Ride the tram from one end at Kennedy Town to the other end at Shau Kei Wan
Have a ride and explore the typical busy Hong Kong lifestyle all in the comforts (or otherwise) of a mobile viewing platform. From end to end
it takes roughly an hour, plus the waiting and transfer times. I did it before and I had a few observations.
30. Join the crowd root for a team and scream at Hong Kong Sevens
Hong Kong Sevens happens around March/April where the summer feeling starts to creep in.
Tickets aren’t hard to find but can be prized way up. Perhaps you’d get more than what you paid for. Animated audience in colorful and hilarious costumes
attract the press photographers and simple bloggers. Just be careful with the beer and acting. It could land you at the headlines of HK
Magazine or at AsiaXpat.
SO far that’s what I got for you folks. If you have any feedbacks or would like to add more or correct entries, feel free to contact me.