5 Things You Must Do in Hong Kong

Jessica Peterson

Hong Kong is not the kind of city you visit without an agenda. Even if that agenda is as simple as sightseeing and shopping, you need a reference point to navigate the bustling city streets and crowded alleys. Fortunately, Hong Kong’s metro (MRT) is one of the best and cheapest in the world. Just purchase an Octopus card for multi-rides and map out your destination before you get packed like sardines into a subway car in this cosmopolitan city of 7 million.

Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car

Hong Kong cable car

Whether your destination is the Big Buddha or you just want to take in the fog-laden scenery, riding in a glass gondola is a spectacular visual treat. The cable car links rural Ngong Ping with urban Tung Chung. Pay extra to ride in the glass-bottom ‘crystal’ cabin to see fishermen waist-deep in the bay as you cross. Book on the Ngong Ping 360 website to get 10% off.

Big Buddha

Big-Buddha-600px

The Tian Tan Buddha is the world’s largest outdoor bronze Buddha and is surrounded by acres of landscaped walkways, temples, and picturesque arches and statues. There are also shops and restaurants to catch your breath if you were adventurous enough to climb the 268 steps to get the statue. The Buddha is best reached via the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car. View the Big Buddha website.

Symphony of Lights Laser Show

Hong Kong Avenue of the Stars

The world’s largest permanent laser show is projected from atop 40 skyscrapers. The laser show may not be the most modern (Singapore gets the prize for that), but watching the colorful wooden boats ply Victoria Harbour is a unique sight too. Avenue of the Stars is one of the best vantage points for viewing the nightly Symphony of Lights laser show. Get there well before 8 p.m. to secure a front row view on the crowded avenue. Move farther down the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade to avoid maudlin karaoke-style musical performances pre-show. Visit the Symphony of Lights website.

Star Ferry

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For a panoramic view of one of the world’s most famous skylines, hop on board the Star Ferry. Transversing the Victoria Harbour in 15 minutes, it’s the best way to take in both the dramatic mountains and the skyscrapers lining the Kowloon and Hong Kong islands. And for only $2.50, you might as well ride the Ferry a couple times to give your aching feet a respite from all the pavement pounding. For a truly dramatic vista, catch the Ferry during the nightly Symphony of Lights laser show at 8 p.m. Be aware that there is a more expensive harbour tour sold at the ticket office just below the entry to the Star Ferry. Continue up the stairs past this booth to purchase the less expensive, shorter ferry ride. Visit the Star Ferry website.

Hong Kong Markets

Kam Fat Food Market

No visit to Hong Kong is complete without shopping and Hong Kong food markets are some of the most unique in the world. Oddities (at least to Westerners) abound — from exotic fruits to strange dried seafood, so a stroll through the market is at the least a photo opp. Many markets open as early as 5 a.m., and are also a great place to pick up a hot, fried lunch on-the-go. Don’t be afraid to haggle!

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