By: Elle Kwan
Hong Kong is famously expensive but there are plenty of fun, unique things to do for free on days you don’t want to splurge. From temples to beaches – you would be surprised at what a ‘concrete jungle’ of a city has to offer outside of the skyscrapers.
Monkeys galore swing from branches at Hong Kong Zoo, where you can also view flamingos, a large commanding orang-utan and tranquil orchid gardens. Find the quiet spot at the top of Central’s Upper Albert Road.
IFC Mall’s landscaped rooftop provides one of the city’s few free public seating spots, making it perfect if you bring a coffee and book or plan a city picnic with the kids. The sight of ferries chugging across the harbour never gets old.
Take in a Temple
A quick trip to a temple is instantly transporting. Man Mo in Sheung Wan is worth wandering, while the Wong Tai Sin temple with its statues of the zodiac animals, clouds of incense, and soothsayers is payment enough for the longer trip.
Roam a Park
Take an escalator from Pacific Place mall up to an unexpected oasis. Hong Kong Park contains fountains, an aviary and a children’s playground. Or escape Causeway Bay’s crowds at Victoria Park, where going early will get you a glimpse of local Tai Chi groups. Playground spaces and a rock park keep kids entertained.
Brush Up On Art
Galleries along Hollywood Road are an ideal first art stop but you can also head to the JCCAC artist colony in Shep Kip Mei, where about 140 artists have studios. Open from 10-10pm daily.
Get to a Market
Central’s Graham Street Market bustles with fruit, vegetable, nuts and tofu sellers, as well as butchers where cuts of meat are strung from stalls, and fishmongers whose livestock flip from tanks, providing much to ogle.
Take a Hike
About three quarters of Hong Kong’s land space is Country Park so getting into green space is surprisingly easy. Central’s Morning Trail is a great first introduction. The paved stroll takes you up to The Galleria at the top of the Peak, with gorgeous city views to boot. Stroll in the Kong has a whole range of other tried and tested routes.
See the Light Show
Hong Kong’s iconic skyline takes on a new glow as buildings each side of the harbour beam lights across the water. The Symphony of Lights spectacle takes place at Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront every night at 8pm.
Soak up the Sand
Hong Kong has too many beaches to count, but all provide days of free fun. White sand at Repulse Bay is accessible and expansive; Big Wave Bay attracts surfers and camping bays at Pui-O allows you to wake to the sound of rolling waves.
Hop on a Tram
Ok… not free but almost. Hop on at Western Market and view the city with new eyes as the tram trundles through Wan Chai and Causeway Bay. It’s just HK$2.30 to experience this piece of iconic local culture, not much for an outing guaranteed to please little ones.
We’ve got a lot more recommendations and suggestions over on our Things To Do page!
Images courtesy of the Hong Kong Tourism Board – discoverhongkong.com