A guide for what to do in Hong Kong on any budget. From a $1 night at the races to a $40 foot massage this is a must read before travel to Hong Kong!
I’m in love with Hong Kong. Everything from its towering architecture to its amazing food scene makes it a delight for the senses.
This is a guide for what to do in Hong Kong aside from my favorite thing – eating. If you’re looking for information about where to eat in Hong Kong, you should definitely check out my Hong Kong Food Guide.
Read on for what to do in Hong Kong!
What to Do in Hong Kong
Explore Hong Kong’s Rainbow Apartment Building
It’s hard to believe Choi Hung Estate in Hong Kong is real. The pastel rainbow paint scheme on the building is the stuff photographers’ dreams are made of. Open since 1963, the estate is actually one of the oldest in Hong Kong. It’s home to more than 43,000 people – which is more than a small city!
Bonus points if you bring a basketball as a prop. Double bonus points if you snag a picture of yourself looking like a pineapple emoji:
Just remember that your Instagrammable moment is taking place is someone’s home! Be respectful of the residents of Choi Hung Estate and the locals who are enjoying the playground in the courtyard.
Choi Hung Estate
Wong Tai Sin District
Kowloon, Hong Kong
More from Choi Hung Estate in Hong Kong:
Boat Cruise of Victoria Harbor Hong Kong
There are a million ways to explore Victoria Harbor, from chartering a private yacht to hopping a ride on one of Hong Kong’s famous junk boats. If you’re looking for the ‘real’ junk boat experience, The Dukling (Holy Duck) is one of the originals that sank and has been restored for tours. It costs about $40 USD for a 45 minute ride.
Duk Ling Junk Boat Rides
Pier No.3 Tsim Sha Tsui Kowloon
Pier No.9 Central Hong Kong Island
Ferry to See Lei Yue Mun Houseboats
One of the most memorable experiences we had was visiting the small fishing village of Lei Yue Mun on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong. A handful of people still live on fishing boats and it’s surreal to see the boats dwarfed by the Hong Kong skyline in the background. It’s really easy and inexpensive to get to the area on the Coral Sea Ferry leaving from Sai Wan Ho.
While you’re there make sure you visit the Lei Yue Mun Fish Market where you can pick out fresh fish and have them cooked at one of the market’s restaurants. There’s more information on that in my Hong Kong Food Guide.
LEI YUE MUN FISH MARKET
Southeast of Youtang
Kwun Tong District
CORAL SEA FERRY SERVICE TO LEI YUE MUN
Tai Hong Street
Sai Wan Ho, Hong Kong
+852 2368 8885
Visit Montane Mansion aka the Monster Building from the Transformers
Montane Mansion and Yik Cheong Estate in Quarry Bay, Hong Kong have become recognizable sites ever since their feature in the Transformers movie and on several popular Instagram accounts. I felt so small looking up at the towering apartments with their grungy rainbow paint scheme.
As with Choi Hung Estate, remember that your Instagrammable moment is taking place is someone’s home! Be respectful of the residents of Choi Hung Estate and the locals who are enjoying the playground in the courtyard.
Montane Mansion & Yik Cheong Estate Hong Kong
1028 King’s Road
Quarry Bay, Hong Kong
More photos from Montane Mansion Hong Kong:
Hong Kong Horse Racing in Happy Valley
If you’re in Hong Kong on a Wednesday, spend a night at the races at Hong Kong’s Happy Valley Racecourse. Throngs of people come to enjoy racing. You’ll find a mix of people from serious betters glued to TV screens to casual visitors mainly there to drink and have a good time. It’s definitely a favorite pastime of expats having a night out with friends.
At 10 Hong Kong dollars (About $1.25 USD) for ground level admission, it’s one of the cheapest things to do in Hong Kong. The real money comes from betting – it’s not unusual for the Hong Kong Jockey Club to bring in $17 million USD per race. In exchange, the jockey club gives the Hong Kong government 72.5 cents on every dollar of its winnings in taxes.
It’s hard to believe it, because the building is very new, but the racecourse has been open since 1845! The Happy Valley racecourse stands hold over 50,000 people and the towering apartment buildings in the background provide yet another example of the skyward growth of the city.
To the delight of the crowd, a horse escaped right before one of the races the night we visited. He made several riderless laps around the course before he was herded into a coral by one of the racers.
I have to admit, I had mixed feelings about watching animals perform for the entertainment of humans. I tried to find more about treatment of the racehorses online but the little I came across talked about how the horses are treated like royalty with spa therapies and acupuncture. If you have another (evidence-based) point of view I’d love to hear about it.
Happy Valley Racecourse
Happy Valley, Hong Kong
More photos from visiting Happy Valley Racecourse:
Indulge in a Hong Kong Foot Massage
You have to have at least one foot massage while you’re in Hong Kong.
If you’re looking for bougie, then Ten Feet Tall is the place to go. It has very Westernized Instagrammable details and a more spa like experience. They even have a fresh juice menu. Western comfort comes with a price though. It’s at least $40 USD for a foot massage and prices for full body massages were similar to US prices.
Our favorite massage experience was Relax City in Central Hong Kong, despite our reservations about finding it via workers aggressively hand out flyers to unsuspecting tourists on Wellington Street. Our masseurs were friendly and engaging. Mine found pressure points in my feet that made me want to cry while they were pressing on it but made me feel light as a feather once I stood up. It was a painful and magical experience at the same time.
The massages typically include a foot soak so don’t worry about walking around Hong Kong all day before you get one.
Relax City Food Massage
8/F Jade Center
98-102 Wellington Street
Central, Hong Kong
Ten Feet Tall Massage
20th & 21st Floors
139 Queen’s Road
Central / Hong Kong
Man Mo Temple on Hollywood Road
Everyone we talked to said that Man Mo Temple is the best one to visit in Hong Kong. The temple is a tribute to the Gods of Literature (Man) and War (Mo). Giant incense coils hang from the ceiling and prayer ribbons gently sway in the breeze. Stepping off of busy Hollywood Road it’s a welcome relief from the hustle of Hong Kong.
If you’re looking to get good photos, I would go right when they open as it will be less crowded and there is less incense smoke. Entry if free and you can buy incense for a small fee. There is no official dress code or restrictions on what you can wear.
Man Mo Temple
124-126 Hollywood Road
Tai Ping Shan, Hong Kong
More photos from visiting Man Mo Temple:
Yue Po Chai Curios Store Hong Kong
While you’re visiting Man Mo Temple, there’s a very cute photo opportunity across the street at Yue Po Chai Curios Store. The best to snap a photo actually comes before the store opens when the window is covered by a metal gate.
Yue Po Chai Antique Company Hong Kong
132-134 Hollywood Road
Tai Ping Shan, Hong Kong
+852 2540 4374
Ride the Longest Escalator in the World in Hong Kong
Enjoy public transportation at its finest by riding Hong Kong’s famous outdoor escalator. It is the longest outdoor covered escalator in the world running 800 meters. Thousands of people take the escalator to go to work each day, which also means the escalator is lined with great restaurants and businesses to check out. Exploring the way down from Central to Mid Levels is a great way to spend a day.
The escalator runs downhill from the Mid Level flats to Central where all the office buildings are in the morning and switches directions at 10:30 am to start bringing people home. If you want to go in the opposite direction you’ll have to take the stairs that are next to the escalator.
Central-Mid Levels Escalator Hong Kong
Runs from 44 Elgin to 100 Queens Road Central
Enjoy the Hong Kong Skyline at Night
You may have heard about Hong Kong’s famous symphony of lights show. Each night at 8:00 p.m., the Hong Kong skyline is lit up with laser lights beaming from the top of around 40 of its skyscrapers. In my opinion, the show was underwhelming and not worth seeing.
That being said, the Hong Kong skyline itself is absolutely stunning, with all the buildings lit up and many neon light signs. The best views were right near the famous Hong Kong ferris wheel (observation wheel) on the same side as the lights. Across the harbor it was too far away to really enjoy how magnificent they are.
Hong Kong Observation Wheel
33 Man Kwong Street
Central, Hong Kong
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