The itinerary I crafted up in my head was fairly ambitious. With just a few short days in a dynamic city, I was surprised how much I managed to see! So, which Hong Kong hot spots did I check off the list?
Here are my favorite free things to do in Hong Kong…
Man Mo Temple
Man Mo Temple translates to Wen Wu Temple in Cantonese. A temple for worshipping Man Tai, literature god, and Mo Tai, martial god. I came across the Man Mo Temple on the way to brunch at Grassroots Pantry. This temple was built in the early 1800’s and is located on Hollywood Road. It’s quite small inside but a beautiful temple, as are all of the ones I’ve been to.
Hiking Victoria Peak
I can’t say it enough, skip the tram ride (at least on the way up) and take the hike up Victoria Peak. You do not want to miss the views and mother nature’s beauty. Victoria Peak, or The Peak as some locals refer to it, is the highest mountain in Hong Kong and dare I say, it’s probably one of Hong Kong’s most popular attractions.
It felt like I was back in Florida with 90% humidity but luckily the weather was overcast and no rain! Trekking up the steep mountain we lost our way a few times as it’s not clearly marked but we took this time to enjoy the magical jungle.
What better way to navigate Hong Kong’s steep hills than on the world’s largest outdoor escalator?! Running through the popular SoHo district filled with the trendiest of bars to the most delicious hole in the wall restaurants, the Central-Mid-Level Escalator provides crossroad exits making it convenient to hop on and off while catching a glimpse of the city below.
- Temple Street Night Market
Temple Street is a street located on Kowloon Island. It’s one of the busiest night flea markets selling cheap merchandise and food. Products range from cell phone chargers, sports attire, designer items, and souvenirs. Like any market in Asia, prices can always be negotiated with a little bargaining.
Ten Thousand Buddha Monastery
Oh My Buddha! 10,000 Buddha’s to be exact. This was one of the most beautiful temples I’ve ever been to and my favorite attraction in Hong Kong (so far) which is why I thought it deserved a little more attention. Read more about the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery here.
Nan Lian Garden
Nan Lian Garden is a bit of a trek to get to being that it’s located in urban Kowloon. Walking up I was even more confused as it sits across from a multi-level shopping plaza. There were packs of Chinese girls taking selfies at the entrance. Their background? A rock; which turned out to be the least appealing backdrop out of all of the garden.
Initially, I thought, this is a bit touristy for my liking but I figured we could wander through quickly since we’d already made the trek here.
I was instantly surprised how quickly the noise from the outside city faded with the strategically placed trees and buildings to block out the sounds. Surrounding high-rise buildings provide a contrasting backdrop to the beautiful garden which offers a tranquil and serene setting.
The garden represents the Tang dynasty and encompasses the four main elements of a traditional Chinese garden. Each water element, stone, tree, and structure are landscaped after specific rules. Designed with a one-way circular route to take you through the best views of the garden and reduce the chaos that can sometimes come with people going in every direction. Coming around the second corner, this was my first view at The Pavilion of Absolute Perfection.
Perfect name, right?
With over 8 acres of koi ponds, terraces, and pagodas, it just got better from here.
Mongkok is the busiest district in the world. The streets are lined with stalls of vendors selling everything imaginable. It’s not hard to guess what’s available when the names of the streets are quite literal. The famous Sneaker Street, Ladies Market, Goldfish Street, Photocopy Street, and Red Light District are located here.
Everywhere from the sidewalks, stairs, alleys, and sides of buildings offer a little slice of the growing art scene within Hong Kong.
These free attractions in Hong Kong helped me justify spending (too much) money on…well, food of course. Being one of the most expensive cities in the world, it’s no surprise that there are a few not so free things to do in Hong Kong which you can check out here!