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8 off-the-beaten-path things to do in Hong Kong

  • Written by Expat Living
Man Mo Temple on Hollywood Road

We love taking the Peak Tram and riding the Star Ferry in Hong Kong, and we tell any newcomers or guests not to miss them too; but we also like to recommend some less obvious sights and experiences. From quaint old villages to bustling city streets, follow our insider’s guide to making the most of Hong Kong!

Expansive lawn near Hong Kong Palace Museum

1. Picnic in the West Kowloon Cultural District

You’ve probably heard of the West Kowloon Cultural District by now — it’s home to some of Hong Kong’s newest and hottest art venues, museums and cultural landmarks, such as the Hong Kong Palace Museum, M+, Freespace, Art Park and Xiqu Centre. But did you know it’s also one of the best places to take in the stunning views of Victoria Harbour? After spending the morning immersed in art, history and culture, take a refreshing stroll along the waterside promenade; or better yet, pack a picnic basket to enjoy on one of the harbour-facing lawns — it’s a relaxing experience, and the sunsets here are unbeatable! 

2. Walk Hollywood Road

Built in the 1840s, this one-kilometre thoroughfare has long been a Hong Kong hotspot for antiques and trinkets. Today, you can still find those — and much more! Starting from the Sheung Wan end, you first pass Hollywood Road Park before arriving at Man Mo Temple. This place of worship is a declared monument and a serene break from the busy streets. Further along, you can ride the Central Mid-Levels Escalator, the world’s longest outdoor covered escalator system. At the eastern end of Hollywood Road, a former police station compound has been transformed into the Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts. Don’t miss the eye-catching murals in various sections of the road, too.

3. See Tai Ping Shan Street

Tai Ping Shan Street was one of the city’s first Chinese settlements; today, it’s a very modern slice of urban bohemia. The street is full of fascinating shops offering everything from art, books and trinkets to superb coffee and traditional teas, as well as corners of interest for history buffs and culture vultures. For a break from all the browsing, visit the quiet Pak Sing Ancestral Hall, or sit beneath the trees at Blake Park and watch basketballers play on the courts. You can tie in Tai Ping Shan Street with your walk along nearby Hollywood Road.

Kowloon Walled City Park is home to traditional Chinese gates and pavilions

4. Visit Kowloon Walled City Park and ‘Little Thailand’

Previously a military garrison, the Kowloon Walled City used to be a notorious cluster of chaotic high-rise buildings in the 20th century. It was demolished in the early 1990s, and today a beautifully peaceful park occupies the space. You can enjoy nature-themed walks through its gardens and around its ponds, observing traditional architecture in the Chinese-style gates and pavilions — one in the form of an old pleasure boat — and glimpsing historical remains. Hungry after your stroll? Just to the south of the park is ‘Little Thailand’, a neighbourhood populated by Thai-Chinese families, where you’ll find delicious Thai food along Nam Kok Road and South Wall Road.

The New Territories Cycle Network is a 60 km cycling track across the New Territories in Hong Kong

5. Ride a bike in the New Territories

Cycling enthusiasts will be pleased about the recent completion of a 60 km cycling track across the New Territories. There are some incredibly scenic stretches along the way, one highlight being the Tai Mei Tuk section in the east. It takes you through a fishing village to the wonderfully green Plover Cove Country Park and the shores of Hong Kong’s largest reservoir by area. The New Territories Cycle Network has regular pitstops along the route, including kiosks where you can hire bikes (and kids’ equipment for a family ride), plus other facilities for a great day out.

Mongkok offers a mix of upmarket malls and street markets

6. Shop like a local in Mongkok

Hong Kong is justifiably famous as a shopping destination, with different districts offering their own retail therapy highlights. On the Kowloon side, Mongkok is a must-visit for its quirky mix of upmarket malls featuring big-name labels and interesting local brands, plus street markets — don’t miss the famous Ladies’ Market, for example — and a hub for finding electronic gear and gadgets. You’ll brush shoulders with locals going about their business here, which gives it an authentic, energetic vibe.

Explore Hong Kong’s country parks

7. Hike in a country park

With 24 country parks in the city, it’s super easy to access Hong Kong’s great outdoors as nature and greenery are right on the doorstep. If you’re a keen walker, there are four key trails to tackle: the MacLehose, Wilson, Lantau and Hong Kong Trails. Ranging from 50 to 100 km long, they’re all divided into smaller sections that can be tackled independently. They also offer some amazing scenery — you’ll feel like the city is a million miles away! The MacLehose Trail is a particular highlight, crossing through eight country parks and including Tai Mo Shan (Hong Kong’s highest peak) and the spectacular rock formations of the UNESCO Global Geopark at High Island Reservoir.

La Chi Wo is a traditional Hakka village in Hong Kong

8. Explore a traditional village

For a step back in time, a visit to one of Hong Kong’s old walled villages is a fascinating experience. Lai Chi Wo, for example, is a 300-year-old Hakka village in the New Territories that has been recognised by UNESCO for the work done in conserving its cultural heritage. Located in a wooded area overlooking the sea, the village consists of more than 200 homes that are configured according to centuries-old principles of geomancy. It’s a great spot for gaining insight into Hakka history, while enjoying the surrounding nature (the best scene is on the 1.2 km nature walk from the village). Elsewhere in Hong Kong, Tsang Tai Uk in Sha Tin is another prime example of a traditional Hakka walled village, and well worth a visit.


Planning your first trip to Hong Kong? Here are 10 things every visitor must experience in Hong Kong.

Information in this article is subject to change without advance notice. Please contact the relevant product or service providers for enquiries.

The Hong Kong Tourism Board disclaims any liability as to the quality or fitness for purpose of third party products and services; and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy, adequacy or reliability of any information contained herein.

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