It’s common knowledge in the travel world that visiting Hong Kong requires deep pockets. Known for being a cosmopolitan center and a cultural hotspot, Hong Kong also has a higher cost than its neighboring countries. Looking for a decent hotel or hostel to live in during your stay will already have you shell out a big chunk of your budget.
But despite the costly accommodations, it’s still completely possible to enjoy Hong Kong without spending a fortune. Instead of going to expensive attractions like Hong Kong Disneyland, you can opt to enjoy free experiences scattered around the area that are just as memorable.
Here are 10 experiences that you can enjoy when you’re in Hong Kong, free of charge.
Watch the Symphony of Lights from the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront.
Hong Kong is famous for its towering city skyline, and every night, the skyline comes alive with the Symphony of Lights. This lights-and-sounds show beautifully embraces the city’s glass-and-steel skyscrapers, and it has done so every day since it first lit up in 2004.
The Symphony of Lights is best enjoyed from the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, where the sea and the sky perfectly frame the blazing lights. You can also opt to view the show from the Avenue of Stars or sightseeing ferries in Victoria Harbour. The Symphony of Lights is displayed every night, so there’s no excuse not to visit this spectacle.
Go gallery hopping at Hollywood Road.
This stretch of road from the Central and Sheung Wan districts has slowly become the center of the arts scene in Hong Kong. The street is littered with several art galleries across different genres, from photographic art of the La Galerie Paris to edgy, conceptual art of the Aishonanzuka. Every visit to Hollywood Road must include a dose of gallery hopping.
Window shop for artisanal goods at the PMQ.
There’s no place to visit in Hong Kong for all things arts and craftsy than the PMQ. This mixed-use venue is lined with cute cafes, small bookshops, pop-up shops, and boutiques that are sure to satisfy your design cravings.
If you’re looking to buy one-of-a-kind souvenirs or simply appreciate the rich art culture in Hong Kong, go and explore the PMQ. It’s not called the Creative Heart of Hong Kong for nothing.
Explore the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery.
The journey up the mountain to the Ten Thousands Buddhas Monastery is already an attraction itself. Walking more than 400 steps uphill, you will be welcomed each step by life-sized gold Buddha statues, all unique from one another. And at the monastery, you can appreciate the sublime Buddhist temples, pavilions, and the multitude of Buddhas all around the area (despite its name, there are actually around 13,000 Buddha statues in the monastery).
Take a stroll in Victoria Peak Garden.
In your visits to Victoria Peak, make a stop at Peak Garden, a vast, green open space perfect for picnics and quiet strolls. The garden’s winding paths lead through a maze of shrubs, trees, and Victorian garden fittings like gazebos and stone pillars. At its viewing platform, you also get to relish the magnificent panoramic views of Hong Kong island.
Be awed by the majestic Chil Lin Nunnery.
The Chil Lin Nunnery and the adjacent Nan Lian Garden are must-visits that you should include in your Hong Kong itinerary. Both of these attractions are commemorations of Tang Dynasty architecture, showcasing the harmony of mankind and nature. Every stone, tree, and water element in the Nunnery is meticulously landscaped, leaving a tranquil air for visitors to enjoy.
Experience Hong Kong nightlife at Mong Kok.
When the sun goes down, the neon signages go up at Mong Kok, one of the busiest shopping and cultural districts in Hong Kong. If you want to taste the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong, Mong Kok is the way to go.
Here you can buy souvenirs and other trinkets at night markets, find cheap eats at different food stalls, or enjoy a craft beer at a dive bar. If you don’t want to spend a cent, you can always go for window shopping or a simple stroll. There’s always something new and exciting happening in Mong Kok.
Revisit (or forget) the past in Kowloon Walled City Park.
Aside from being the majestic and peaceful park that it is now, the Kowloon Walled City Park is perhaps more popular for what it used to be. What once was a military stronghold and rundown walled district, the Kowloon Walled City Park, has since been transformed into a garden-type park with architecture from the Qing dynasty.
Only a few artifacts from its rich history are left preserved in the park, but this fusion of different eras is something you can only experience at the Kowloon Walled City Park.
Tour the city museums like the Hong Kong Museum of Art.
Block after block in the Tsim Sha Tsui district are museums for different fields of interest – from heritage, science, and even outer space! – so there will be something that suits your fancy. One of our favorites is the Hong Kong Museum of Art located at the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade. With an art collection of over 17,000 items and regular changes of art displays, it’s guaranteed to be a feast for the eyes.
Admission to the permanent collection is always free, and special collections are opened for free every Wednesday.
Relax with birdwatching at the Edward Youde Aviary.
If you’re the type of traveler who prefers passive and peaceful activities in their itinerary, then make sure to include birdwatching at the Edward Youde Aviary. The enclosed aviary found at the southern corner of Hong Kong Park is fully covered by natural vegetation. It’s also adorned with small pools and waterfalls, making for a serene getaway from the metro’s bustle.
At the Edward Youde Aviary, you can walk through the tree canopy with the raised walkway, where you can watch all of the birds through an immersive and close-up experience.
Which of these experiences are you most excited to visit in Hong Kong? Do you know of any other Hong Kong attractions that you can enjoy for free? Share them with us below!