Hong Kong | 14 Sightseeing Highlights for First Timers

One of Asia´s most fascinating cities and exciting every single time, Hong Kong. Join me on some of my favourite excursions and visit a selection of my personal sightseeing hotspots which will make your stay definitely a most memorable one. Experience a megalopolis, that is so much more than skyscrapers and shopping.

Man Mo Temple

This beautiful small temple is located in the busy neighbourhood of Sheung Wan, close to the Central District in the Mid-Levels of Hong Kong Island. Man Mo was built in 1847 and is the oldest temple in all Hong Kong. Man Mo temples are places of gathering for people who pray for success for examinations or to settle disputes. While being nestled in-between the city´s major highrise jungle, the atmosphere inside is peaceful and quiet and full of ancient spirits.

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Star Ferry

One thing that I enjoy most while in Hong Kong is riding the Star Ferry. No matter if it is simply to cross over from HK Island to Kowloon or even if only getting from Wan Chai to Central. Before I use the metro, I always prefer the boat. The service is cheap, reliable and offers the best views of both sides of Victoria Harbour. It is particularly romantic during sunsets!

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The Peak

The Peak is a must for everyone who comes the very first time to Hong Kong. No matter what time of day you chose to visit, the view from up here on clear days is breathtaking, spectacular and extraordinary. But there is a way more exciting way to get up here than by the overpriced Peak Tram: By bus! Take No 15 and prepare for a breathtaking experience from the upper deck for only 9,80 HK-Dollars. Final stop is right underneath the shopping center with the viewing platform on top. After you made your way outside the bus station, follow the small road to the left of the building along the abyss and make your way onto the little trail on the right. After 10 to 20 minutes walking, you will be rewarded with several outstanding outlooks! And the best: This view comes absolutely for free!

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Tian Tan Buddha

This huge bronze statue towers majestically above the hills on Lantau Island and is a symbol of harmony between humans, nature and religion. This is a great excursion for half a day as you can combine it with a visit to the adjacent Po Lin Monastery. It can be easily reached with the metro (Tung Chung station) and then either by bus (No 23 to Ngong Ping) or by the Ngong Ping 360 cable car. The cable car ride offers panoramic views of the surroundings and a fantastic vista on Hong Kong´s busy Chek Lap Kok airport. There are several shops and restaurants on the way to Tian Tan Buddha and if you are keen, you may even pet one of the holy cows that stand on the side of the road.

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Po Lin Monastery

The monastery is called the Buddhist Kingdom of the South and is an international religious hideaway. It is the largest in Hong Kong and was established in 1906 by three Zen Masters. Apart from the beautifully crafted shrines and halls, Po Lin offers a nicely setup Tea Garden. It is a great place to lighten up some incents or to buy one of the handmade wooden bracelets that are only sold on the monastery´s premises. It lies right next to the Tian Tan Buddha in walking distance.

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Lamma Island

This is a great full day excursion if you are looking to escape a bit from the loud and lively atmosphere of Hong Kong. Lamma Island lies approximately 45 minutes by boat from Central Pier and is the third largest of the islands around the city. Its natural beauty and scenery invite for beaching, cycling and hiking. Most of the ships from Central Pier depart to/from Yung Shue Wan (Banyan Bay), the largest settlement on Lamma. A picturesque (yet quite strenuous) trail over the hills lead from here to Sok Kwu Wan, a fishing village with lots of great seafood restaurants. Lamma is well-known for the superior quality and freshness of its seafood. So a lunch on the island is a definite must-do while visiting.

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Rooftop Sundowner

No visit to Hong Kong without a sundowner and an impeccable skyline view! While the Rooftopguide has several amazing ideas to try out, one of my personal favourites is SEVVA. I really like the elegant yet laid-back atmosphere of this indoor/outdoor restaurant and bar with delicious cocktails and nibbles while chatting through the sunset. A classic yet maybe not the hippest bar to call in anymore is Felix atop the luxurious Peninsula Hotel in Kowloon. This was my first bar in Hong Kong long, long time ago and I still enjoy paying visit once in a while to cheer to the good ole days.

© tamme wichmann

Harbour Cruise

It might be one of the more touristy things to do while exploring Asia´s World city, but a sunset harbour cruise on a typical Chinese junk can be quite a romantic experience. Watching the nightly light show from underneath the illuminated, red glowing sails while sipping on a cocktail is an experience you should try for once! Operators are Aqualuna or the Dukling.

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Chi Lin Nunnery

This Buddhist temple was erected in 1934 and is completely made of Cypress wood, without the use of any nails. Special Chinese architectural techniques hold the largest hand-made wooden building in the world together and make it an architectural highlight in Kowloon. The temple lies in close proximity to Diamond Hill metro station and is easily accessible by foot. Inside the Nunnery are several, impressive golden statues and beautifully crafted halls.

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Nan Lian Gardens

This secret hideaway from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong cuts through Diamond Hill’s myriad of high-rise apartments. Nan Lian Garden is a public park built in the style of the Tang dynasty. Its scenic garden is meticulously landscaped over an area of 3.5 hectares, in which every hill, rock, body of water, plant and timber structure has been placed according to specific rules and methods. It lies just outside the Diamond Hill metro station and is a wonderful spot to visit when longing for a little peace and quiet, not speaking of the almost surreal views with all these towering highrises framing around.

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Hong Kong by Night

No matter what part of town you decide to stroll through when the night has fallen, Hong Kong is spectacular everywhere. Hustle and bustle, neon lights, lively street scenes or night markets. They all turn the city into a huge disco wonderland. My favourite places to enjoy this scenery are Kowloon, Wan Chai, SoHo and the area between the metro stations Wan Chai and Causeway Bay. For those party animals amongst you, Lan Kwai Fong is Hong Kong´s main nightlife district, I personally prefer the less touristy SoHo district if I decide to go out though. Another thing that you need to check out for the atmosphere (and maybe one or two kitschy souvenirs) is the Temple Street Night Market in Kowloon.

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Picnic with a View

Hong Kong is in constant change. You will not see the city not working on expansion at any time that you may visit. One addition to HK Island that I particularly like is the rather new Central and Western District Promenade between Wan Chai and the Central Harbourfront Event Space. This is a popular meeting point for students and everyone working close-by during the day as you may picnic on the lawn, enjoy a sun bath or simply listen to one of the street musicians playing on the sidewalks.

Windowshopping in SoHo

One of my favourite areas to spend the afternoon at is SoHo. This area just above the Central Mid-Levels Escalator on Hong Kong island bursts with antique stores and little shops, bars, restaurants and cafés. This is the place to be if you enjoy diving into the rich Chinese culture of furnitures, craftmanship and arts. Walk up tiny staircases with hundreds of small stands selling colorful things, watch the locals buy their food on street markets and enjoy an authentic insight into what life in one of the world´s most energetic cities is like. It is one of these neighbourhoods where you will discover behind every corner something awesome!

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Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade

I love hanging around here on sunny days, watching the people pass by or taking photos of each other in front of the marvelous skyline of Hong Kong island. There is always something going on, so it never gets boring. It is also a great spot to enjoy a small bite since there are tons of food places around and you can take a well deserved break here from shopping.

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I could go on and on with ideas on what to go explore in and around Hong Kong, but I really need to keep some of them for future posts :). I do hope though, that I was able to introduce some of the many different faces of Hong Kong to you and that your wanderlust got sparked. If you happen to try any of these suggestions, please feel free to share your experience here with me. I am also always happy to hear ideas for future visits from your side or any feedback that you would like to provide! Thank you, peeps, and safe travels!






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