Hong Kong is undoubtedly one of the most vibrant cities in the world. Many are surprised to learn that it consists of 260 islands, and more than seven million people call it home, many of whom are expats. Of course, the majority of these expats are working on the main Hong Kong Island, so at weekends look for new and different places to go to unwind and relax in preparation for the coming week.
As a general rule, most expats enjoy an excellent standard of living so they can afford to enjoy some of the pleasures that Hong Kong has to offer. While many of the places are viewed as tourist destinations, they are also enjoyed by locals and foreigners alike. For many, they will have children of school age, and younger children may enjoy some of the many activities that target this age group. However, Hong Kong is somewhere that everyone can enjoy, so here are a few of our suggestions for places to visit.
- Tai Long Wan Beach
Although beaches are not necessarily the first thing you would associate with Hong Kong, it has numerous stunning beaches such as Big Wave Bay and Repulse Bay, but they can often be overcrowded. If you prefer something a little quieter, we suggest paying a visit to Tai Long Wan in Sai Kung. It can be reached by car or boat and comprises of four beaches but only one, Ham Tin, has any facilities and these would be described as “basic”. Take plenty of food and water, and you will have a fantastic time!
- Disneyland – Hong Kong
Disneyland needs no explanation regarding what it offers, and the Magic Kingdom in Hong Kong opened in 2005. It is located on Lantau Island and was expanded in 2020, meaning more attractions and rides for kids and big kids! It is a place that can be enjoyed by families again and again. It is perfect for expats, locals and tourists, but unsurprisingly, it can get jam-packed, particularly at weekends and public holidays.
- Victoria Peak
Victoria Peak is one of the most famous landmarks in Hong Kong, and for good reason as it offers unrivalled views across the islands. The Peak Tram is the best way to reach the summit, and pre-purchasing tickets will help you beat the long queues. You can also get there by car, bus or taxi but the more athletic may enjoy the Morning Trail, which we would recommend starting in the morning to avoid some of the heat.
- Lamma Island
Lamma Island is around 20 minutes from Hong Kong Island by ferry and is an excellent place just to get away from it all. It is famed for its relaxed way of life and superb seafood restaurants, but it has much more to offer. You can visit the small shops, walk through the winding streets or visit the pristine beaches. It will give you the opportunity to spend some family time as well as enjoy island life which is a far cry from living amongst the hustle and bustle of the city.
- Golden Bauhinia Square
Golden Bauhinia Square is another of Hong Kong’s famous landmarks and is situated on the Kowloon side of the harbour on the Wan Chai waterfront. The site was where the former British territory was formally handed back to China in 1997. The region still holds Special Administrative Status, and the perpetually blooming flower is a symbol of the change.
- Star Ferry
If you have time on your hands and want to take in the views of Hong Kong Harbour, then the famous Star Ferry is an absolute must and something you should try at least once! The ferry has been running since 1880, and the crossing takes around 10 minutes, depending on the weather conditions. We would recommend taking the ferry from Central around sunset or 8pm, as this will allow you the opportunity to witness A Symphony of Lights, a spectacular sound and light display.
- Man Mo Temple
Hong Kong has literally hundreds of temples, but Man Mo offers something different. From the outside, it looks nothing unusual, but once you get inside, you will be amazed by the interior design. It is located on Hollywood Road in Sheung Wan and is built in honour of Man Cheong, the god of literature, and Mo Tai, the god of war. Many students find the temple their sanctuary when preparing for exams, believing it will bring them luck. As this is a temple, it is important to be respectful, but feel free to take photos.
- Nathan Road
Nathan Road is more commonly known as the Golden Mile, although it stretches for around two. It is viewed very much as Kowloon’s spine running from Tsim Sha Tsui to Sham Shui Po. It is an area that is always packed with people and is full of shopping malls, restaurants, eateries and temples. For those who prefer high-end shopping, Canton Road is nearby.
- Happy Valley Racecourse
Gambling has always formed an integral part of life in Hong Kong and, indeed, has several racecourses, but Happy Valley is the most legendary. Opened by the British in 1845, races are held every Wednesday during the season. However, the evening offers far more than just racing with live music, copious amounts of alcohol and plenty of betting! It has a party atmosphere but is not a child friendly environment.
- The Peninsula Hotel for Afternoon Tea
If you want to treat yourself and a loved one once in a while, Afternoon Tea at the Peninsula Hotel is one of the best ways. The hotel is situated in Tsim Sha Tsui and is one of Hong Kong’s most famous hotels dating back to the colonial era. The Classic Afternoon Tea is served daily in the lobby, where you will be treated to a live string band. It is a popular haunt for the rich and famous, but you can enjoy the cucumber sandwiches, scones and clotted cream and savour the whole experience.