Hong Kong is undoubtedly one of the most expensive cities in the world. Luxury hotels, world-class Michelin restaurants and designer boutiques can be found throughout the islands and mainland. However, there are numerous things to do in Hong Kong that are free or extremely cheap. Whether you enjoy being surrounded by nature or cultural shows, discover some of the best free things to do in Hong Kong.
1. Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery
Hong Kong has some extraordinarily beautiful Buddhist temples for guests to visit for free but the Temple at the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery certainly stands out from the rest. It is located in the New Territories, on a hillside overlooking the beautiful town of Sha Tin. Thousands of Buddhas gaze lovingly at you as you make your way up to the main temple and a nine story pavilion, which offers the perfect photo spot.
2. Ride the Escalator
It may sound strange to hear that one of Hong Kong’s most beloved attractions is an escalator ride but it’s true. It is a series of 20 escalators, along with several moving sidewalks, that cross from the Central to Midlevels West districts. The entire escalator system spans 2,600 feet, and takes you on a fascinating journey through the hilly streets of Hong Kong.
3. Visit the zoo
Head up to the beautiful heights of Victoria Peak and discover the hidden delights of the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens. A wide variety of animals call it home, including orangutans, Chinese alligators, flamingos, white-faced saki, lemurs, tamarins and monkeys to name but a few. And of course, the majestic Giant Panda. The zoo’s gardens house over 1000 species of plants, including a fascinating Herb Garden and interesting Greenhouse full of exotic plants. The best thing for visitors is that admission is completely free!
4. Temple Street Night Market
Every evening, market traders set up their stalls along Temple Street. The lights swaying in the night breeze illuminate a vast array of different items up for sale, including electronics, porcelain, jewelry and antiques. Even if you don’t buy anything, there are usually several street performers providing free entertainment to onlookers
5. Hiking in the New Territories
Hong Kong may be considered an urban jungle, but half of its territory is actually covered by mountains. Head to the New Territories to Tai Po Kau where you can experience the best of Hong Kong’s nature in all its beauty. The sub-tropical forests are home to a wide range of flora and fauna and there are a number of trails created for visitors to take in some peace and serenity away from the hustle and bustle of the City.
6. Hong Kong Cultural Centre
The Hong Kong Cultural Centre, situated near Victoria Harbour, offers visitors the chance to take in some culture and musical shows. Tickets are given out on a first come first served basis.
7. Free view of the city
Vistas of Hong Kong’s glittering skyline have filled visitors’ imaginations long before they have left their home countries. The Bank of China Tower has an observation deck on the 43rd floor where the views of Victoria Harbor are guaranteed to take your breath away.
8. Wednesday Museum Day
Hong Kong is considered a city of culture and this is certainly apparent when you see the amount of museums the City has to offer. The best part is that if you visit certain museums or galleries on a Wednesday, admission is free. The Hong Kong Museum of Art holds a vast collection of stunning traditional artwork. For those interested in all things outer space, the Hong Kong Space Museum is perfect for all ages.
9. Learn local customs
One of the best things about traveling abroad is that it gives you the chance to explore different cultures and traditions. Hong Kong holds a Cultural Kaleidoscope Program where visitors can learn all sorts of things about Chinese culture, from Kung Fu, the art of traditional tea serving, architecture and history. Most classes are held at the weekend.
10. Symphony of Lights
No visit to Hong Kong is complete without watching the beautiful Symphony of Lights show. Each evening at 8pm, a dazzling performance of lasers and lights illuminate the night sky. Head over to Tsim Sha Tsui for outstanding views and an English version of the accompanying soundtrack.