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9 fascinating facts to learn about at Hong Kong’s museums

Nine fascinating facts to learn about at Hong Kong’s museums

Ever wondered how many skyscrapers there are in Hong Kong, or if any wild animals lived in the city before it became a concrete jungle? You can find all these answers and more at the city’s many museums. Dedicated to everything from the history of Hong Kong to its correctional services, these institutions are treasure troves brimming with fun and fascinating knowledge. If you’re looking to learn more about Hong Kong, here are nine amazing facts to get you started.

The Hong Kong Museum of History

Hong Kong used to be a fishing village

The aptly named Hong Kong Story exhibition at   The Hong Kong Museum of History Get me there {{title}} Address {{address}} Website {{website}} More info is one of the best ways to explore the city’s transformation from a humble fishing port to the mega metropolis that it is today. In a gallery dedicated to local folk culture, you’ll find replicas of fishing junks and boat dwellers’ homes, and also learn about traditions and ceremonies that date back to this part of Hong Kong’s past. The exhibition covers two floors and more than 400 million years of history so you can also explore other chapters of Hong Kong’s development while you’re here.

The Hong Kong Heritage Museum

It popularised kung fu

If you want to learn about how Hong Kong turned traditional Chinese martial arts into a pop-culture phenomenon, be sure to visit The Hong Kong Heritage Museum Get me there {{title}} Address {{address}} Website {{website}} More info . The museum has a permanent exhibition dedicated to the works of Dr Louis Cha. Under the pen name of Jin Yong, Cha became one of the greatest martial-arts novelists of all time and his works have gone on to inspire everything from TV shows and movies to video games and comic books. Of course, we can’t talk about kung fu’s impact on pop culture without also mentioning Bruce Lee. Running until July 2020, the museum’s special Bruce Lee exhibition features more than 600 display items — including photos, personal letters and film memorabilia — that celebrate the life and works of the Enter the Dragon star.  

Hong Kong Correctional Services Museum

Its criminal justice system focuses on rehabilitation

Caning was once seen as a fitting punishment to a crime. As rehabilitation became more of the focus of Hong Kong’s penal system, this sort of corporal punishment was banned following the repeal of an ordinance in 1990. If you’re interested to see how the city’s approach to crime and punishment has evolved over more than 170 years, visit the Hong Kong Correctional Services Museum Get me there {{title}} Address {{address}} Website {{website}} More info , where you’ll find more than 600 exhibits, including mock gallows and prison cells.

Heritage of Mei Ho House

Almost half the city lives in public housing

Given Hong Kong’s often sky-high property prices, public housing is essential in ensuring that all families can find a place to call home. Today, close to half of Hong Kong’s population relies on this government-subsidised programme, which was started after a devastating fire broke out in 1953. The fire destroyed thousands of homes in Shek Kip Mei, leading to the construction of a 29-block estate to resettle the victims. The last remaining block has since been converted into a youth hostel and the Heritage of Mei Ho House museum. Featuring historic photographs, replica homes and other exhibits, the museum chronicles the development of Hong Kong’s public housing system from the 50s to the 70s.

Police Museum

Wild tigers once roamed the city

Hong Kong wasn’t always a concrete jungle. Wild animals once prowled the city, the most exotic of which was the South China Tiger, which is now considered to be critically endangered. One of the most infamous sightings occurred more than 100 years ago in the New Territories, where a tiger killed two police officers before it was fatally shot by another constable. The head of the wild cat was mounted at the former Central Police Station for six decades but can now be viewed at the Police Museum Get me there {{title}} Address {{address}} Website {{website}} More info on The Peak.

Hong Kong Maritime Museum

It is home to one of the busiest shipping ports in the world

With a name that literally means ‘fragrant harbour’ in Chinese, Hong Kong’s identity is very much tied to its iconic port. Blessed with naturally sheltered deep waters, the city became an ideal berthing spot for ships importing and exporting goods all across the globe. Hong Kong developed into one of the busiest ports in the world during the colonial era and continues to rank among the most important hubs for international trade even to this day. To better understand how the city’s maritime heritage affected its economy, culture and general development, head to the Hong Kong Maritime Museum Get me there {{title}} Address {{address}} Website {{website}} More info , where you’ll find everything from models of ancient merchant ships to a real-time viewing gallery of Victoria Harbour.

City Gallery

It’s one of the tallest cities in the world

The sky’s the limit in Hong Kong. Despite being a relatively small territory, it boasts more than 300 buildings that are over 150m in height — a record that soars over the likes of New York, Shanghai and Dubai. Hong Kong’s growth as one of the tallest cities in the world has much to do with its incredible urban planning, which you can explore in great depth at City Gallery Get me there {{title}} Address {{address}} Website {{website}} More info . The gallery is currently undergoing renovation work but the first and second floors are still open to the public. Featuring a plethora of interactive exhibits, including models of skyscrapers and the underground system, it delves into some of the greatest feats of the city’s urban and infrastructural development and also offers glimpses into future plans for Hong Kong. 

Law Uk Folk Museum

The city has a strong Hakka heritage

Hakka people were among some of the earliest inhabitants of Hong Kong. Many arrived from the mainland as early as the 1600s, bringing with them their language, cooking and other cultural practices. While many Hakka settlements have since been abandoned, you can still find vestiges of their culture around the city. To learn more about this ethnic group, check out the Law Uk Folk Museum . A former village house, it now houses relics and replicas that give insight into the Hakka way of living.

The Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre

Its hybrid cultural heritage informed much of its architecture

Hong Kong saw the rise of many Victorian-style buildings after it came under British rule in the mid-1800s. However, many of these structures were also adapted to the local climate and resources. You can see this cross-cultural architectural aesthetic first-hand at The Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre Get me there {{title}} Address {{address}} Website {{website}} More info . Formerly a part of the British Army’s Whitfield Barracks, the revitalised building has kept much of its original East-meets-West features, including the Chinese tiled roofs and its colonnaded verandas.

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