During my brief trip to Hong Kong I was lucky enough to be able to see many aspects of Hong Kong through many different view points. My favourite 8 are below in reverse order, some of which are actually free so there’s no excuse to miss out!
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8. Choose a room with a view when booking your hotel
When you book your hotel room, especially if it’s online, there is usually a ‘comments’ section where you can write a few requests. Make sure you add in ‘high floor’ or ‘good view’ where possible! Or work out from the hotel’s review photos where the best rooms are and request those. I was lucky enough during my stay in Hong Kong to move rooms up to the 27th floor of the Island Pacific Hotel. It had some renovation going on – one little complaint and my friend and I were moved up to one of the twin executive suits! Extra room and stunning views out of two sides of the harbour.
7. Get a real taste of life in Hong Kong on foot
If you visit Hong Kong, you’ll no doubt find yourself walking a fair bit around the streets to get from A to B. Because of its density, everything in Hong Kong is very close together so walking simply makes sense. You also cannot fail to see some amazing sights at the same time, even if it is just an alley full of feral cats being fed by a local, the local plant life and a glimpse into Hong Kong life after hours.
6. Walk up to the Big Buddha, Lantau Island
I highly recommend that you make time to visit Lantau Island and make your way up to the monastery and then see the Big Buddha. I managed to fit this in by arranging my final night in Hong Kong on Lantau Island as it’s right near to the airport that I’d be needing. I chose the Novotel based on the great reviews, and was blessed with room that overlooked the cable cars that take you up to see the Big Buddha! Perfect!
When you get to the ticket office, you can choose what type of cable car you ride in. We chose the Crystal Cabin – a great decision unless you suffer from vertigo! But I absolutely LOVED it! You could see for miles around (yes, including down below the cabin!) and with such a long journey through very green hills, the views were breathtaking.
5. Enjoy the surroundings of the Hong Kong Convention Centre, Hong Kong Island
The Convention Centre gives you several unique views of Hong Kong. Firstly, all around the Centre there are chances to snap iconic photos of Central, the Star Ferry and even behind the Centre of the infamous Bank of China – a building that makes Hong Kong’s skyline instantly recognisable.
Inside the Convention Centre you have the chance to view the scenes of the Handover back in 1997. It also hosts many important events throughout the year and the building is impressive in itself just to wander around and admire the architecture and resident sculptures and displays.
4. Take an Open Top Bus Tour
Yes, I know it’s so ‘touristy’, but honestly you can get a great view of the entire of Hong Kong this way, and fast. You can get on and off as you please and gain a little bit of background knowledge to the landmarks and many cultures. The company I used was the Big Bus Company which actually runs in many cities around the world, but there are many different companies to choose from.
Luckily, they provide you with headphones and a super-trendy, waterproof poncho if you decide to be a die hard tourist and sit on the top deck regardless of the weather! But jokes aside, if you’re short on time in Hong Kong and want to see as much as you can like I did, the buses are a great way to achieve that.
3. The Harbour Front
One of my favourite places to view the skyline of Hong Kong, both at night and during the day, was simply along the harbour front. During the day I managed to find somewhere called Deck n’ Beer a short stroll away from the Avenue of Stars. It does drinks and has seating just inside if it rains – oh, and the piña coladas are superb!
The whole area along the harbour front there is walkable, however. It’s also a great vantage point to view the Symphony of Lights which is a must-see! Here you will experience a show of lights and sounds, along with some commentary. Each of the main buildings in view are given a little introduction and a chance to strut their stuff with their illuminations – very impressive! It is slightly cheesy, but regardless of this, it’s worth it to see the huge buildings synchronise such massive collections of lights with each other.
2. Star Ferry
It has been said many times before, but this has to be one of the cheapest and best value for money cruises in the world! It costs around HK$2.20 for the cheapest ticket between Wanchai and Tsim Sha Tsui and you can choose between the upper and lower deck to sit. The Star Ferries themselves are old and so like stepping back in time, and it’s a treat to be able to see the skyline of Hong Kong from such a great vantage point. Actually, the terminals themselves tend to have bars and restaurants in that overlook the harbour with great views too!
1. Victoria Peak, Hong Kong Island
Lastly, but most importantly, you must venture up Victoria Peak if you get a chance! You can walk up, but for those who aren’t so brave, there’s a tram that takes people up the 30 degree slopes. The views are spectacular from the tram, let alone from the peak itself! As you might expect from such a developed city as Hong Kong, there is an entire shopping centre complete with restaurants that cater for almost all palates, along with photographers ready to snap you to capture the moment.
Don’t be put off by bad weather; I went up when it was actually quite a humid day with mist pouring down the slopes which is quite typical of the Hong Kong climate. This actually added to the dramatic scenery below and created a unique experience with skyscrapers disappearing into the smokey atmosphere above. It wasn’t cold either; it was like being inside a dry ice cloud! It’s fun spotting the landmarks below, but also keep an eye out for the eagles that soar in and amongst the buildings! They add to the majestic landscape of Hong Kong beyond the skyscrapers.