Hong Kong, my first country to visit and one of my dream destination because of Disneyland. A country that can be an expensive to visit but can also be relatively inexpensive experience if you do it right. Good, delicious and affordable foods can be found everywhere. Even accommodation can be affordable when you opt to stay in vacation rentals or hostel versus the traditional hotels. Activities and tourist spots can range from being extremely expensive such as going to Disneyland to absolutely free by walking and relaxing around the Avenue of the Stars.
On my first visit to Hong Kong, I went to all those pocket breaking spots such as Disneyland, Ocean Park, riding cable park to Ngong Ping, and a lot more. But during my second visit, I chose to look for free or if not free, cheap and affordable things that I can do while in the city. Below, I listed my top 5 free things to do in Hong Kong that I took advantage while in the city. And I enjoy without breaking my pocket.
1 AVENUE OF THE STARS
Avenue of Stars, the most visited attraction in Hong Kong is located along the Victoria Harbour waterfront in Tsim Sha Tsui (TST). It is the Hollywood version of Walk of Fame that is 400 meters long and celebrates many Chinese film notorieties.
NOTE: Avenue of Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui is currently closed for repair and improvement works, and it’s expected to be completed by the end of 2018. In the meantime, a selection of the Avenue of Stars exhibits is displayed at Garden of Stars and Starry Gallery. Please refer to the official website of Avenue of Stars for details, here.
HOW TO GET TO AVENUE OF STARS:
- From MTR East Tsim Sha Tsui Station, take the lift next to Exit P1 and choose the “PD” floor. You can also use the staircase or the escalator adjacent to Tsim Sha Tsui East (Mody Road) bus terminus; or
- from MTR East Tsim Sha Tsui Station Exit J, it directly connects to Starry Gallery.
Riding ferry across TST to Central is a must when visiting Hong Kong for the first time…Click To Tweet
2 BE ENTERTAINED BY THE SYMPHONY OF LIGHTS (THE WORLD’S LARGEST PERMANENT LIGHT AND SOUND SHOW
Get back to the Avenue of Stars at 8 PM or go there late and wait until 8 PM for Symphony of Lights show where 40 buildings in the Hong Kong skyline come alive in a flourish of colored lights and laser beams that synchronized to the music. No worries, English narration accompanies the show.
TIME: The show starts at 8 PM daily and lasts for about 13 minutes.
HOW TO GET TO THE VANTAGE POINT TO WATCH THE SYMPHONY OF LIGHTS:
- Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade outside the Hong Kong Cultural Centre: from MTR East Tsim Sha Tsui Station, Exit L6. Just follow the signs and walk for around five minutes; and
- Golden Bauhinia Square: from MTR Wan Chai Station, Exit A5. Just follow the signs, take the sky bridge to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre then head to the Golden Bauhinia Square; and
- Lastly, my favorite vantage point for viewing the show is from a boat on the harbour.
3 VISIT A TEMPLE OR A GARDEN
Just pay a few dollars for transportation, Tian Tan Buddha and Po Lin Monastery are great free attractions. It is located in Lantau Island where you can take cable car (the most expensive) or public bus (cheaper). The outdoor seated bronze Tian Tan Buddha at 34 meters in height is reputedly the tallest of its kind in the world.
You can also visit Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden located in Diamond Hill.
HOW TO GET TO TIAN TAN BUDDHA & PO LIN MONASTERY:
- From MTR Tung Chung Station Exit B, then take Ngong Ping Cable Car (the most expensive way to get to Ngong Ping). Travel time takes around 25 minutes. Then walk for about 8 – 10 minutes to the monastery; or,
- from MTR Tung Chung Station Exit B, then take New Lantao Bus 23 from the Tung Chung Town Centre bus terminal (the cheapest way to get to Ngong Ping). Travel time takes around 45 minutes. Then walk for about 8 – 10 minutes to the monastery; or,
- You can catch a ferry from Central Pier 6 to Mui Wo and take New Lantao Bus 2 to Ngong Ping Village, which takes around 40 minutes.
HOW TO GET TO CHI LIN NUNNERY & NAN LIAN GARDEN:
- From MTR Diamond Hill Station Exit C2, follow the signs and walk for around five minutes.
4 SHOP AT THE LADIES MARKET IN MONGKOK
The ladies market is located at Tung Choi Street in Mongkok. It was one of my most visited places on my 11 days in Hong Kong because it was just 5 minutes walk from my hostel. It has over 100 stalls of bargain clothing, accessories, souvenirs and more. Don’t be shy and show off your haggling skills.
HOW TO GET TO THE LADIES MARKET:
- From MTR Mong Kok Station, Exit E2. Walk along Nelson Street for two blocks; or
- You can take bus 1, 1A, 2, 6 or 9 from Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry Pier and get off at Nelson Street.
5 GO ON MUSEUM HOPPING ON WEDNESDAYS (FREE PASS FOR MOST MUSEUM IN HONG KONG
Most museums in Hong Kong are free to visit during Wednesday. So if you’re going to visit Hong Kong, make sure to plan your itinerary with Wednesday as museum hopping tour. My top four must-visit museums in Hong Kong would be:
Hong Kong Heritage Museum’s time tunnel displays chart the development of Hong Kong from its days as an imperial era fishing village. It is also the biggest museum in Hong Kong.
HOW TO GET TO HONG KONG HERITAGE MUSEUM:
- From MTR Che Kung Temple Station Exit A. Walk for about 5 – 8 minutes along the footbridge until you reach the museum.
Hong Kong Science Museum – a surefire fun and excitement for kids, this museum has 500 exhibits that are hands-on. It means you can literally play around with a broad spectrum of cool topics, including robotics, virtual reality, and transportation.
HOW TO GET TO HONG KONG SCIENCE MUSEUM:
- From MTR Tsim Sha Tsui Station, Exit B2 and walk along Cameron Road towards Tsim Sha Tsui East for about 18 minutes; or,
- From MTR Jordan Station, Exit D and walk along Austin Road towards Tsim Sha Tsui East for about 20 minutes; or,
- From MTR East Tsim Sha Tsui Station, Exit P2 and walk along Chatham Road South for about 10 minutes.
Hong Kong Museum of History – if you want to know more about Hong Kong history, this museum is a must visit. This museum has made enormous efforts in studying, collecting, processing and exhibiting countless objects which are related to the archaeology, history, ethnography and natural histories of Hong Kong and South China.
HOW TO GET TO HONG KONG MUSEUM OF HISTORY:
- From MTR Tsim Sha Tsui Station, Exit B2 and walk along Cameron Road towards Tsim Sha Tsui East for about 20 minutes; or
- From MTR Jordan Station, Exit D and walk along Austin Road towards Tsim Sha Tsui East for about 20 minutes; or
- From MTR East Tsim Sha Tsui Station, Exit P2 and walk along the Chatham Road South for about 10 minutes.
Hong Kong Museum of Art is a must-see museum for art and history buff.
HOW TO GET TO HONG KONG MUSEUM OF ART:
- From MTR East Tsim Sha Tsui Station, Exit L6 or J; or
- From MTR Tsim Sha Tsui Station, Exit E; or
- You can also take the Star Ferry from Central or Wan Chai to Tsim Sha Tsui and walk to the museum for about 10 minutes.
NOTE: Hong Kong Museum of Art is currently closed for a major renovation and expansion project, and is expected to reopen in 2018 or 2019.
BONUS: TAKE THE OLD TRAM RIDE OR DING DING TRAM (ALMOST FREE!)
Known as Ding Ding trams to the locals, it has been traversing Hong Kong’s busy street since 1904 and is the earliest and older form of transportation in the metropolis. It runs between the east and west along the northern coast of Hong Kong Island. It’s best to ride during the evening to watch all the night lights and activities on the street. Although it’s not totally free, it is cheap at US$0.25.
Did you already visit Hong Kong? What are the free or cheap things you did? Share your experience or thoughts in the comment section below. I’d love to hear about it!
This post might be helpful when you’re planning your Hong Kong trip. Hover the image on the left and pin it for later!
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