Now that borders are starting to open and the tourism industry is slowly recovering, have you thought of updating your travel bucket list? ICYDK, there are visa-free countries just around Asia where you can start ticking things off of your travel goals this year, and Hong Kong is one of them!
Visiting Hong Kong is a must for every tourist. In fact, if you’re only starting to explore and travel, Hong Kong should be at the top of your list. If your goal is to experience amazing food and culture, then it has to be Hong Kong, right? But first, here’s a quick run-through of things you need to prepare before your trip:
- Recognized proof of vaccination
- Negative RT-PCR test result
- Mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival at Hong Kong (7 days for fully vaccinated tourists)
For a complete breakdown of the list of requirements and things to remember, you may refer to this page.
Apart from the scenic views and popular tourist destinations, there are many different reasons why you should visit the country. In this article, we’ll be talking about some of the most unique things to do in Hong Kong that you’ve probably never thought of before.
1. Visit the Kowloon Walled City Park
Address: Kowloon Walled City Park, Carpenter Road Park, Kowloon City
Opening hours: Monday-Sunday, 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Very much like Intramuros in Manila, the Kowloon Walled City is one of the most enthralling chapters in Hong Kong history. The walled city became a lawless enclave, almost like a sanctuary, for people who couldn’t afford to pay high rent during the 1950s to 1970s. It was easy to set up a business here, with little to no regulations. The Kowloon Walled City functioned as an independent ecosystem within the borders of Hong Kong until it had to be demolished in 1994.
2. Watch the sun set at Sai Wan Swimming Shed
Address: Victoria Road, Mount Davis, Hong Kong Island
Opening hours: Free to access 24/7, but best time to visit is around sunrise or sunset
The Sai Wan Swimming Shed is the last swimming shed that’s still accessible and in service in Hong Kong. This used to be a simple bamboo hut changing room, which became popular around the 20th century. But now, the Sai Wan Swimming Shed is infamous among older people who come for a morning swim or photography enthusiasts that like to catch the beautiful sunset around the area.
3. Walk around Lugard Road
Address: Lugard Road, Victoria Peak, Hong Kong
Opening hours: Free to access 24/7
If you’re after beautiful views and skyscrapers, Lugar Road is the best place to be! Skip the long lines and hoards of people at the Peak Tower and take a long walk at the Lugard Road instead. This is located right next to the Peak Tower and offers a more shady and breezy stroll. Whether you come in the morning, afternoon, or at night, Lugard Road will leave you amazed and in awe of the unobstructed, beautiful panoramic views of Hong Kong.
4. Spend a peaceful day at Victoria Peak Garden
Address: Mount Austin Road, The Peak, Hong Kong
Opening hours: Open 24 hours
Although not a secret to Hongkongers, Victoria Peak Garden is located in the lesser-travelled section of the country, which is why not many people frequent this place. But this is a true hidden gem in Hong Kong. If you’re after a place where you can slow down, rewind, and refresh your mind for a bit, this is the perfect spot for you. Victoria Peak Garden is an idyllic place for a picnic where you’re free to spend the day off the grid.
5. Enjoy an order of dimsum at Duen Kee Tea House
Address: 57-58 Chuen Lung Estate, Route Twisk, Tsuen Wan
Opening hours: 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Tai Mo Shan, the tallest mountain in Hong Kong, is home to the best dimsum place. Duen Kee Tea House is a family-run and self-serve restaurant in the high mountains of Tai Mo Shan. Enjoy a hearty meal of Hong Kong cuisine like spring rolls, har gow, siu mai, and cheung fun. After all, there really is no best way to spend a vacation in a different country than eating ‘til your heart’s (and tummy’s!) content.
6. Learn more about Hong Kong culture at Tai Kwun
Address: 10 Hollywood Rd, Central, Hong Kong
Opening hours: 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
What once was the central police station compound and prison is now home to Hong Kong’s center for heritage arts. At Tai Kwun, you will definitely learn a lot ranging from Hong Kong culture to contemporary and performing arts. At Tai Kwun, visitors are immersed in Hong Kong’s history and culture through thematic exhibitions and interactive public programs. The buildings have been revitalized but also preserved, so visitors can get a glimpse of what it was like during the mid-1800s.
7. Spend an entire day at the Game Centre
Address: 1 Jubilee Street, Central
Opening hours: Sunday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Attention Stranger Things fans: This is what your retro horror sci-fi dreams are made of! Enjoy a day of playing retro arcade games at the Game Centre, where you will find old and new arcade machines that you can play ‘til late at night. The place is eerily quiet, with only the buzzing sound of the machines serving as a backdrop. You can get your game card from the ticket window, top it up in the machine, and you’re good to go! Make sure to check out the Bishi Bashi and Maimai games while you’re at it!
8. Hike up to the Ap Lei Pai Tide Pool
Address: Mount Johnson Lighthouse, Ap Lei Pai, Hong Kong
Opening hours: Open 24 hours, but advisable to visit during the day
Hidden gem, you say? The Ap Lei Pai Tide Pool is truly a “hidden” gem. You have to soldier through a very challenging hike on Hong Kong Island before you witness the beauty of this gem.
A lot of tourists stop right after reaching the sand bar near Mount Johnson Lighthouse, but if you’re in for a challenge, about 100 meters to the right of the lighthouse is home to the Lei Pai tide pool. Here, you get to explore a deeper side of Hong Kong. Go on a cliff jump into the depth of the tide pool for that once-in-a-lifetime experience. Brave through and experience boating by taking a sampan to Aberdeen Pier, or you can also head back the same way you came.
So, are you ready to update your Hong Kong travel bucket list with these hidden gems?
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