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Bucket list destination:

Last updated: 19 June, 2023
Expert travel writer: Lee Cobaj

Asia’s most cosmopolitan city dazzles like no other, with its pretty puzzle of mountains and harbour, malls and markets, high-rises, temples and trams.

The landscape constantly amazes, while the pace of life is relentlessly exciting day and night – Hong Kong doesn’t so much tick boxes as fill them out in technicolour.

Superb food and shopping are two of Hong Kong’s main draws, but don’t come expecting the bargains of yesteryear from the city’s famous markets.

However, Hong Kong’s million-dollar harbourside views won’t cost you a bean, and the five-minute hop across Victoria Harbour on the iconic Star Ferry is the perfect introduction to the city.

Orientation

Hong Kong can be split into four parts: Hong Kong Island, which is the seat of government and business; Kowloon, which is more commercial; the New Territories, mainly made up of dormitory towns; and the Outer Islands. Visitors generally base themselves on Hong Kong Island or Kowloon.

While for most people Hong Kong conjures up images of neon high-rises around a glittering harbour, some 40 per cent of this Special Administrative Region (SAR) is designated country park.

Tours, tickets & transfers

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this destination, plus helpful tickets and transfers

Big Bus Hong Kong Open Top Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour

Hong Kong SAR

Big Bus Hong Kong Open Top Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour
See Hong Kong’s highlights on this hop-on hop-off tour! Hop off at any of the sightseeing spots to explore attractions on the bus. Visit Man Mo Temple, Stanley Market, Aberdeen, the Hong Kong Cultural Centre and more.

Price: H342

Min age: 3

Rating 4.01 / 5 [920 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Half-Day Private Custom Tour of Hong Kong

Hong Kong SAR

Half-Day Private Custom Tour of Hong Kong
Private Half Day (5 hours) Customized Walking Tours combine Hong Kong’s must see sights with hidden gems. Morning, afternoon and evening start times available.  Our ethos is ‘like-a-local’. This is a culturally immersive walking tour, meaning that you will travel around Hong Kong on foot and using the excellent public transport system….like a local! Throughout the tour you will learn about Hong Kong’s culture, customs, history and local way of life. Feeling hungry? We’ll get you eating like a local too! Your tour is flexible and will be paced to your speed and requirements.    Ideal for people with limited time, or those who want a comprehensive overview of Hong Kong prior to exploring further on their own. Simply indicate your interests and enjoy an itinerary specific to you. Available in English, French, Cantonese & Mandarin Chinese. All private guides are native speakers.

Price: H1,760

Min age: 0

Rating 4.99 / 5 [144 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Full-Day Private Customized Walking Tour of Hong Kong

Hong Kong SAR

Full-Day Private Customized Walking Tour of Hong Kong
Private Full Day Customized Walking Tours with a private tour guide are 8 hours long and combine Hong Kong’s must see sights with hidden gems and back streets.  Our ethos is ‘like-a-local’. This is a culturally immersive walking tour, meaning that you will travel around Hong Kong on foot and using the excellent public transport system….like a local! Throughout the tour you will learn about Hong Kong’s culture, customs, history and local way of life. Feeling hungry? We’ll get you eating like a local too! Your tour is flexible and will be paced to your speed and requirements.   Ideal for people with limited time, or those who want a comprehensive overview of Hong Kong prior to exploring further on their own. Simply indicate your interests after booking and enjoy an itinerary specific to you.  Available in English, French, and Cantonese & Mandarin Chinese. All guides are native speakers.

Price: H2,340

Min age: 0

Rating 4.98 / 5 [94 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo

Highlights & Hidden Gems With Locals: Best of Hong Kong Private Tour

Hong Kong SAR

Highlights & Hidden Gems With Locals: Best of Hong Kong Private Tour
This is not just another city tour; this is the best of Hong Kong from a unique perspective! Get to know Hong Kong on a city tour that gives you the perfect overview, with city highlights, hidden gems, storytelling, and a local treat - this tour has it all! Forget about big touristy groups and the crowds; it's time to see Hong Kong at its best but from the eyes of a local. Check out main landmarks like Man Mo Temple, Western Market, Pottinger Street and uncover hidden gems and city secrets with the help of a knowledgeable local guide. And the cherry on top, a local treat is included. Withlocals Highlights & Hidden Gems Private City Tour™ is one of Withlocals' signature tours available in major cities worldwide. We work with passionate local guides who earn a fair fee. We support local economies by only offering local produce and prevent over-tourism with only small non-intrusive groups.

Price: €84

Min age: 0

Rating 4.82 / 5 [58 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Hong Kong One Day Tour with a Local: 100% Personalized & Private

Hong Kong SAR

Hong Kong One Day Tour with a Local: 100% Personalized & Private
Your local insider will lead you on the best conceivable route through Hong Kong, from the tip of Victoria Peak to the churning shoreline of Kowloon City, introducing you to secluded gems and unique flavors and scenes along the way, like Dragon’s Back, a surreal urban hike. Where gleaming skyscrapers juxtapose against the mountainous Victoria Peak, you could explore Central and see the city’s incongruous contrasts for yourself. Traditional Chinese junk boats glide past futuristic tower blocks in Victoria Harbor, or perhaps head further east to neighboring areas like Sheung Wan, a working-class district that shelters rich traditions. You could explore a mainland district like Kowloon, where Asian influences permeate architecture and cuisine, while the New Territories further north remain far more rural. Your host will show you Hong Kong at its best, from rustic communities and hamlets like Sham Shui Po to the neon light show observed from Victoria Harbor every single night.

Price: £128

Min age: 0

Rating 4.80 / 5 [31 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Travel advice

When to go

Visitors will swelter in summer, but that’s better than the cloying humidity, grey skies and general gloom of March and April. Then again, if you’re just here to eat and shop, the air-con is always on. Lunar New Year is now a major public celebration, with fireworks, fierce crowds and high hotel prices.

Weather-wise, September and October are the best months to come, but avoid the mainland holiday in the first week of October (Golden Week) at all costs, when thousands of tourists from the north pour into Hong Kong.

Getting there and away

The international airport at Chek Lap Kok is rightly hailed as one of the world’s most efficient. It is linked by express train to Kowloon and Central, and journey time is 25 minutes; shuttle buses link the express stations with major hotels. Taxis are readily available at the airport, and cheap airport buses connect the airport with the main destinations in the SAR. However, be warned – both can be subject to serious traffic jams.

Getting around

Much of Hong Kong is connected by the swift, inexpensive and air-conditioned Mass Transit Railway, which is complemented by an extensive public bus network. Cheap, plentiful taxis fill in the gaps. A free 800-metre outdoor escalator climbs the hill between Central Market and Mid Levels. Ferries run to Macau and other Pearl River Delta cities.

Hong Kong’s main outer islands (Lantau, Cheung Chau, Lamm, Peng Chau) are also reachable by a ferry that’s both practical and picturesque.

Where to stay

Most hotels are on Hong Kong Island (Central/Wanchai/Causeway Bay) or on the Kowloon peninsula. Central should be first choice, for its proximity to transport links, shopping, bars and sights. Wanchai is a little wilder (but handy for the Convention Centre), while Causeway Bay is good for shopping.

In Kowloon, the waterfront hotels command superb views, but somewhere like Mong Kok provides the full-on metropolitan experience. With the exception of Sha Tin, the airport and the Disneyland hotels, staying elsewhere is a bit too close to exile.

Where to eat or drink

Central hosts three contiguous entertainment zones – Lan Kwai Fong, SoHo (South of Hollywood Road) and NoHo (North of Hollywood Road) – each hosting a plethora of excellent restaurants, bars and clubs. The streets fill with al fresco drinkers most nights of the week.

Wanchai’s bars are a tad more risqué and attract a younger, more raucous crowd. For sensational seafood dinners, head out to picturesque Lamma and Cheung Chau islands; they also make for a fun expedition.

Where to shop

For designer labels on Hong Kong Island head to the malls in Central (ifc, Landmark) or Admiralty (Pacific Place). In Kowloon, traditional shopping areas like Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok now face competition from upscale new mega-mall Elements. For bargain hunting, tasteful and tacky souvenirs and clothing factory over-runs, head to Stanley Market. Temple Street Night Market is a tourist trap – but great fun. Don’t forget to haggle.

Hong Kong is known for jade and antiques, but fakes are a problem so always take expert advice on expensive purchases.