Hong Kong combines the quirky and authentic like nowhere else on earth. Here’s a guide to some incredibly beautiful and unusual things to do in Hong Kong.
Cool and Unusual Things to do in Hong Kong
Hong Kong glitters at the edge of China, the perfect arrival point for first time explorers of this fascinating country – and continent beyond.
The shiny harbour with its slippery fish stalls and floating sail boats. The sky high rises and intermingling soundtrack of voices, shouts and more than a million songs.
I’ve visited the city many times, as a couple and alone, and like any great city, there is absolutely no shortage of unusual things to do.
Sometimes you need to look a little harder. Sometimes, they’re as easy as opening your eyes.
So, here are my suggestions on how to add an extra slice of adventure to a trip to this bewildering city.
Without further ado, here’s our collection of unusual things to do while you’re in Hong Kong.
Disclosure: If you book or buy through any of the links on this page, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. We would only ever recommend things we’d use ourselves, obviously. Otherwise, what’s the point?!
- See also our suggestions for your China bucket list.
Getting Off The Beaten Track in Hong Kong
Unusually Active: Hike the Dragon’s Back
For all its blitz and bling factor, Hong Kong has one of the greatest urban hiking tracks in the world. Once named the ‘best urban hike’ in Asia by TIME magazine, the Dragon’s Back reveals smoke, fire, drama and the divine.
Well, OK: mist, clear green paths, the sight of the South China Sea, Stanley and more. You can drop in and out of the sections and cheat to catch a bus home but to do the whole hike, leave yourself a whole day – and take food and water with you.
Unusually Historic: the World’s Oldest Surviving Teapot
Once the residence and office of the commander of the British Forces in Hong Kong, Flagstaff House now houses a different segment of history. As a branch of the Hong Kong Museum of Art, it displays a collection of antique Chinese teaware behind the white painted facade of colonial Hong Kong. This includes the world’s oldest known surviving teapot.
Revive Cantonese Tea Traditions
After looking at the things, it’s time for a taste as the Lock Cha Tea House next door. Sat at the heart of Admiralty, its carved wooden screens, blue-spattered porcelain and faded wall calligraphy Lok Cha brings authentic Cantonese tea traditions back to life.
I went for the floral Nanyan spring tieguanyin with a serving of glutinous rice balls but you can also tuck in to platefuls of vegetarian dim sum too. For extra inspiration, test out the blossom fairy craft and triple happiness craft teas on the menu. You’ll be a new person by the time you leave!
Unusually High: See Hong Kong from the Sky
Up on the 49th floor at Cafe Gray Deluxe, sip martinis and watch the taxis zip between ice-lit skyscrapers far, far below. Dining is even better, here, and it’s a cultural necessity to check out the white chocolate pannacotta with a cranberry compote. Ahem.
It’s easy to forget you came here to eat when you can spend hours sipping martinis and watching taxis zip between the ice-lit skyscrapers far, far below.
That would be a mistake, though, since masterchef Gray Kunz’s approach to the menu has made the food here into a Hong Kong institution. I loved the baked Alaskan halibut “en papillote” not to mention the white chocolate pannacotta with a cranberry compote. And can I mention again? The view of the city is spectacular.
Unusually Chilled: the Beach with the Buffalo
On Lantau Island at the mouth of the Pearl River, the buffalo come to sleep. Twilight drifts over the neon lights, the gleaming spires and the synthetic shopping malls elsewhere in Hong Kong. But in this part, at least, twilight signals a change of pace.
A string of fairy lights sums up the illumination on the beach, where wild buffalo scuff the sand and settle down as the light fades for a snooze with an oceanfront view. And when that view looks like this, you can hardly blame them, can you?
Unusually Short: Hop on a Boat to Mui Wo
Hong Kong isn’t all about tall skyscrapers y’know! Catch the ferry to Mui Wo to see the city’s other side. Stroll past the rows and rows of bicycles to reach the open air “food court” on the waterfront and then keep on going to reach the fishing villages on stilts.
Boats painted in peeling blue, red and canary yellow bob among ladders and balconies laden with house plants and hanging charms.
Smoke drifts from temples, innards hang from markets and older men roll dice on tables in the time honoured tradition of simply enjoying the afternoon.
It’s a great day trip away from all the high rises.
Unusual Aviation: Visit the Cathay Pacific Village
For a visual stroll back in time, see how the Cathay Pacific uniforms change in tandem with the development of air travel. Through posters, cockpits, and specially constructed exhibits, the Cathay Village shines an interesting spotlight on how the development of aircraft, and airlines, has changed the way we work, live, love and play.
It’s tricky to get into, however – you’ll need to arrange an appointment in advance.
Unusually Cartoonish: Kowloon Park
An easy detour from Harbour City and the Star Ferry Port, Kowloon Park in Tsim Sha Tsui offers a contradictory urban experience: tranquil Chinese gardens with lotus ponds – and a larger than life “Avenue of Comic Stars.”
Apparently the first of its kind in the world, it’s slightly disconcerting to see locals reading on park benches while colossal, striped bulbous Hong Kong film stars loom overhead.
Uber Cool Michelin Stars: Cuisine at the Mira Hotel
For traditional Cantonese staples given the Michelin-starred treatment, head to Cuisine Cuisine within the uber-cool Mira Hotel.
Decorated in deep emerald green instead of the more usual gold-trimmed red, Chef Yu serves dishes like crab meat with minced shrimp balls and black truffles topped with caviar and served in a pumpkin soup.
It’s a place to focus on the food rather than the surroundings, and with things like chilled champagne jelly, that’s not such a bad thing.
More Unusual and Offbeat Ideas for Things to do in Hong Kong
All those unusual things to do in Hong Kong we talked about above? Well, I’d tested all of them out. Now, though, let me introduce you to some quirky, offbeat and occasionally crazy things to do on Hong Kong island that I haven’t personally checked out – yet. But I have been gathering in depth recommendations from people in the know.
Visit the UNESCO Global GeoPark
Talk about a name for a park! Not the shy, retiring kind, the UNESCO Global GeoPark Hong Kong covers 150 square kilometres across the eastern and northeastern New Territories in Hong Kong.
It includes the striking hexagonal rock columns in Sai Kung and a visitor centre that aims to bring travellers up to speed with around 140 million years of geological history. You can travel there independently, via MTR and bus or join one of many day tours to the park.
Glamp in a Bubble
Turns out that the word aecosphere is a fancy term for a transparent,bubble shaped tent. Go glamping in Yuen Long at Mingle Farm to watch the stars overhead at night.
Say goodbye to stresses and cares by, erm, smashing things up in Kwun Tong. Yes, that’s right, apparently you can part with good money at the Ikari Area to smash up old appliances like washing machines and TV screens with a baseball bat.
Visit a Ghost Town
For a city so cramped for space and eager to build reclaimed land, one of the most unusual things to do involves visiting the ghost towns on the outlying islands. Ma Wan Ghost Town is probably the most famous, with shops and houses lying empty after residents were forced out to make way for new luxury accommodation that has yet to arrive. Take the bus from Tsing Ma MTR Station or catch a direct boat from Central Ferry Pier 2.
Discover the Beauty of Hong Kong’s Aqua Luna Junk
Hop on board the Aqua Luna Junk for a unique and picturesque cruise around Victoria Harbour. The iconic red-sailed Chinese junk boat is steeped in culture and history dating back to the Song Dynasty.
Today, it offers tourists a luxurious experience while enjoying some of the most spectacular nighttime views of Hong Kong’s skyline. Famous for its romantic proposals, birthdays, and corporate events, the Aqua Luna is definitely a must-visit when in Hong Kong.
You can catch it at Central Pier 9 or Tsim Sha Tsui Pier 1.
Have Fun at one of Hong Kong’s Spectacular Festivals
Join in the fun and experience Hong Kong’s culture by attending one of their spectacular festivals. From the Dragon Boat Festival in June to the Mid-Autumn Festival in September, immerse yourself in traditional food, music, and performances.
Witness the dazzling fireworks display during the Chinese New Year and the colourful displays at the Lantern Festival.
Each festival holds special significance, and it’s so much fun to join in with locals. We had a New Year’s Eve in Hong Kong that I’ll never forget.
Experience Wan Chai Like a Local
Explore the bustling neighbourhood of Wan Chai like a local by visiting its wet market and sampling some of the best egg tarts, pineapple buns, and dim sum in town. Stop by the Pak Tai Temple, dedicated to the Taoist god of the sea, and witness the traditional lion dance, or take a stroll through Blue House, a preserved historic building, and learn about the culture and history of this fascinating neighbourhood.
Take the Cable Car to Ngong Ping
Take a 25-minute cable car ride to Ngong Ping for a wonderful view of Lantau Island’s natural beauty. The main highlight is the the giant Tian Tan Buddha statue and Po Lin, a Buddhist monastery with intricate architecture and colourful gardens. But these are not exactly unusual or alternative things to do in Hong Kong.
The twist comes in taking part in tea tasting and calligraphy workshops. Or trying vegetarian cuisine at the monastery’s restaurant.
You can catch the cable car at Tung Chung Cable Car Terminal, which is accessible via MTR Tung Chung Station.
Head to Lan Kwai Fong for Nightlife
From rooftop bars to chic nightclubs and crowded night markets, the city truly comes alive at night. You can start by exploring the popular Lan Kwai Fong district, which is famous for its clubs, bars, and restaurants. For a more sophisticated experience, head to Soho or Tsim Sha Tsui.
A great way to explore the nightlife scene is by walking or taking the MTR.
Ponder Literature and War at Man Mo Temple
Man Mo Temple was built in 1847 and is dedicated to the gods of literature and war. Its architectural design is stunning, with detailed carvings and multicoloured interior decorations. You’ll find large incense coils hanging from the ceiling, filling the air with fragrant smoke.
The temple is located on Hollywood Road in Sheung Wan and is easily accessible by bus or MTR.
Witness Hong Kong’s Dazzling Symphony of Lights Cruise
The Symphony of Lights is a spectacular light and laser show that illuminates Hong Kong’s skyline every night. The best way to experience this dazzling show is by taking a cruise along Victoria Harbour. The cruise offers stunning views of the city’s landmarks, including the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre and the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade. You can book tickets for the cruise online or at the Tsim Sha Tsui Ferry Terminal.
Again, it’s not technically the most subversive of Hong Kong activities but it is one of those unique things to do in Hong Kong.
See Horse Races at the Happy Valley Racecourse
For an exciting night out, head to the Happy Valley Racecourse and experience the thrill of horse racing. This racecourse is one of the most popular in the world and has been hosting races since 1846. The atmosphere is electric, with locals and tourists gathering to place their bets and enjoy the excitement. The races take place on Wednesdays during the racing season, which runs from September to July.
Escape the Hustle and Bustle of the City at Sai Kung
Sai Kung is a beautiful coastal town that’s perfect for nature lovers. It’s known for its stunning beaches, hiking trails, and seafood restaurants. One of the most popular activities in Sai Kung is taking a boat ride on the outlying islands. You’ll sail through clear waters, passing by secluded coves, lush forests, and rocky cliffs. The town is located in the northeastern part of the New Territories and can be reached by bus or taxi from the MTR station.
Visit the Islands of Cheung Chau or Lamma Island
Cheung Chau and Lamma Island are two picturesque island getaways within easy reach of Hong Kong.
Cheung Chau, known as the “dumbbell island” due to its shape, offers a charming fishing village with beautiful beaches and seafood restaurants.
Lamma Island features scenic hiking trails, traditional fishing villages, and a laid-back vibe. Both islands have a rich cultural history, with Cheung Chau famous for its annual Bun Festival and Lamma Island known for its hippy vibes and the “Lamma Hilton,” a popular seafood restaurant. To get there, take a ferry from Central Pier.
Unleash Your Inner Child at Hong Kong Disneyland
One of Disneyland’s most magical amusement parks is in Hong Kong, and it features no less than seven themed lands, including Adventureland, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland. Visitors can enjoy thrilling rides, shows, parades, and meet-and-greets with beloved Disney characters. With an engaging history that began in 2005, this park is famous for being the smallest Disneyland in the world, yet still packed with attractions. The park is easily accessible via MTR to Sunny Bay Station and then a transfer to the Disneyland Resort Line.
Cross the Harbour on the Iconic Star Ferry
This ferry has been carrying passengers between Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula since 1888, providing stunning harbour views day and night. The history of the Star Ferry stretches back over a century, and it’s famous for being a cheap, reliable form of transportation that links the two sides of the city. Legend has it that the Star Ferry is one of the best places to see the city’s neon lights. Now, it’s not technically an unusual thing to do in Hong Kong because so many visitors do it. But it is a unique thing to do in Hong Kong.
To get there, take the MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui or Central Station.
Shop for Surprises at Sham Shui Po
Sham Shui Po is the perfect place for anyone who wants to experience Hong Kong’s local culture. The area is famous for its street markets, where you can find everything from vintage clothing to traditional Chinese medicines.
But there’s more to Sham Shui Po than just shopping.
You can also find delicious street food, ancient temples, and beautiful street art.
To get there, take the MTR to Sham Shui Po station.
Find Peace in Nan Lian Garden
This oasis of tranquillity is a traditional Chinese garden that features bonsai trees, waterfalls, and beautiful pavilions. The garden is designed to promote harmony between humans and nature, and it’s a great place to unwind after a long day of sightseeing. Nan Lian Garden is located in Diamond Hill, Kowloon, and can be reached by taking public transport to Diamond Hill station.
Enjoy Authentic Cantonese Opera Performances
Get a glimpse into Hong Kong’s rich cultural heritage with a Cantonese opera performance. This traditional art form dates back to the 16th century and is known for its elaborate costumes, makeup, and music. Performances are held at the Sunbeam Theatre in North Point and the Ko Shan Theatre in Hung Hom. It’s best to book tickets in advance, as performances tend to sell out quickly.
Study at the Museum of History
The Hong Kong Museum of History is a must-visit for anyone interested in the city’s fascinating history. The museum’s exhibits cover everything from prehistoric times to the present day and include artefacts such as ancient pottery, traditional costumes, and old photographs. The museum is located in Tsim Sha Tsui and can be reached by taking the MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui station.
Explore the Beauty of Hong Kong Wetland Park
This lovely park is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including migratory birds, butterflies, and dragonflies. There are also several walking trails and boardwalks where you can explore the wetlands up close and spend a peaceful afternoon in the middle of nature.
Hike to Spectacular Views of Hong Kong’s Skyline
If you want to skip the more crowded Dragon’s Back Trail and still see Hong Kong’s iconic skyline, hike to its highest point, Victoria Peak. Also known as “The Peak,” this mountain offers panoramic views of the city and the South China Sea. The hike takes approximately 1-2 hours and is suitable for all levels of hikers. At the top, you’ll find a viewing platform, restaurants, and shops.
Step Back in Time at Kowloon Walled City Park
This park is built on the site of the former Kowloon Walled City, which was once a densely populated area notorious for its crime and poverty. Today, the park offers a tranquil oasis with a beautiful Chinese garden, a lotus pond, and a pavilion. It also features relics of the original city, including the Yamen (Magistrate’s Office) and the Eight Diagrams Pavilion. To get there, take the MTR to Lok Fu Station and follow the signs.
Discover the Wonders of Space at Hong Kong Space Museum
With a variety of exhibitions, including a planetarium, an Omnimax theatre, and interactive displays, the Hong Kong Space Museum should make it on your Hong Kong Itinerary. It offers excellent info about astronomy, space exploration, and the history of space travel and is usually a big hit among kids. The museum is located in Tsim Sha Tsui and is easily accessible from the MTR.
Admire the Beauty of Hong Kong’s Street Art Scene
Central Hong Kong and Yuen Long and Sheung Wan neighbourhoods are known for their street art, as well as the industrial areas of Kwun Tong and Wong Chuk Hang. Some of the most famous street art pieces include the colourful murals by French artist Invader and the works of Belgian artist Caratoes. To explore the street art scene, take a walking tour or simply wander around the city streets.
Visit Tai O Fishing Village for a Glimpse of Traditional Life
Tai O Fishing Village is a unique corner of Hong Kong that offers a glimpse into the locals’ daily life. Located on Lantau Island, it is home to the Tanka people, who have built houses on over-the-water stilts. The village is famous for its stilt houses, and you can take a boat tour to view them up close. You can also try local seafood delicacies and learn about the village’s fishing heritage. To get there, take the MTR to Tung Chung Station, then take bus 11 or 23.
Shop ‘Til You Drop at the Ladies Market on Tung Choi Street
Filled with stalls selling clothing, accessories, and souvenirs, the Ladies Market is a great place to find bargains. It opens in the afternoon and stays open until late at night. Its history dates back to the 20th century when street hawkers began selling goods to earn a living. Today, it’s a bustling shopping district that’s easily accessible from the MTR Mong Kok Station.
Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery: A Spiritual Haven
Located in Sha Tin, the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery is a spiritual haven. The monastery features nearly 13,000 miniature Buddha statues lining the walls of a steep hillside. It was built in the 1950s by Yuet Kai, who wished to promote Buddhism and provide a space for meditation. Visitors can climb the stairs and see the many Buddhas along the way, as well as enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. To get there, take the MTR to Sha Tin Station, then walk towards Pai Tau Village.
Visit the Famous Po Lin Monastery for a Spiritual Experience
The Po Lin Monastery is one of the most beautiful Buddhist monasteries in Hong Kong. It’s located on Lantau Island and is home to the Big Buddha, a 34-meter-tall bronze statue. Visitors can climb the stairs to see the Buddha up close and also explore the Monastery’s halls filled with beautiful statues, carvings, and paintings. The monastery also serves delicious vegetarian meals. To get there, take the MTR to Tung Chung Station and then take the Ngong Ping Cable Car.
Discover the Eerie Ma Wan Ghost Town on Lantau Island
Ma Wan Ghost Town is an eerie abandoned village on Lantau Island. The village was once home to fishermen, but after a government buyout in 2011, it became a ghost town. The village is famous for its abandoned buildings, which have been left to decay. Some say it’s haunted by the ghosts of those who once lived there. Visitors can take a ferry from Central Pier 2 to Park Island, then walk to the village. It’s a unique place to visit, just be respectful of the village’s history.
How to Visit Hong Kong
Hong Kong International Airport, also known as Chek Lap Kok, connects as a hub to the rest of the world. It is a vast, modern, slick space with regular connecting shuttle trains into the city centre. You can even check in and drop your bags at one of the MTR stations and travel luggage free from there.
Take note that if you plant to transit in Hong Kong then you may need a transit visa. Check your requirements based on your own nationality and be ready for this. And then, enjoy your chance to explore Hong Kong.