One of the world’s most iconic skylines, a historic harbour and storied past all come together to culminate in the island city of Hong Kong – a classic travel destination for those who visit. Here, you’ll find the intersection of British and Chinese rule, wide-stretching beaches, majestic mountains and cutting-edge architecture all at the forefront. This busy metropolis is more than just a big city; it’s a must-see that offers a surprising collection of charms that will keep you coming back for more. After more than half a dozen visits, I’ve gathered a list of the best and most beautiful places in Hong Kong for your next trip to the “Pearl of the Orient”…
Victoria Peak – the best and most popular place to visit in Hong Kong
Setting foot on top of The Peak, otherwise known as Victoria Peak, is the perfect introduction to Hong Kong’s world-famous bedazzling skyline. With an elevation of 554 m, this is easily Hong Kong’s tallest hill.
Best enjoyed by going up a tram that takes you from ground level all the way to the top of the hill, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a visitor that wouldn’t be completely swept away by the breathtaking sight in front of them. Whether you visit in the day time or under the moonlight, the panorama from The Peak is one you won’t be able to forget anytime soon.
Lantau Island – a famously stunning place in Hong Kong to visit
Get acquainted with the spiritual side of Hong Kong by taking a day trip out to Lantau Island – a small, isolated island boasting some of Hong Kong’s most tranquil scenery. It’s here that you’ll take a cable car, passing through the island’s soaring mountains over great heights. Once you’re on the island, be sure to visit religious sites such as the imposing Tian Tian Buddha, colourful Po Lin Monastery, and serene Wisdom Path.
The Monster Building is a residential complex featuring the Yick Fat, Fook Cheong, Yick Cheong, Montane Mansion and Oceanic Mansion Buildings. Built in the 1960s, this is one of Hong Kong’s most famous buildings. Its charm comes from the building’s resemblance to a Transformers-like monster of some kind. As you stand in the centre of all the colourful buildings showcasing different hues, it’s hard not to be impressed with how beautiful the building really is.
For more information on how to find the Monster Building, click here.
Easily one of the best places to visit in Hong Kong. This is where Hong Kong’s lush greenery, pretty beaches, and impressive mountains all intertwine in this short and enjoyable hike to the top of Dragon’s Back. Having earned its name from the shape of the islands resembling a dragon’s back, this peak is an amazing spot to raise your heartbeat just a little. Your effort will be rewarded by the picturesque vista on top of Dragon’s Back – featuring undulating green hills and an uninterrupted view of Hong Kong’s coastline.
For an authentic view of Hong Kong’s multi-layered, striking skyline, this is where you need to go. Shaped Like a lion’s head, the Lion Rock hike is another classic Hong Kong hike that will take you through to an incredible view of Hong Kong. On top of its peak, you’ll be able to see both the Hong Kong side and Kowloon side of the island in all its glory. With an elevation of 495 m above sea level, Hong Kong’s lofty buildings will look like small Lego pieces from up there.
Who said Hong Kong was all about the city? Lamma Island, also known as Y Island or Pok Liu Chau, provides an idyllic day trip opportunity for those looking to find some peace, away from all the traffic and noise.
Widely loved for its chilled out, hipster vibe, this free-spirited island features chic cafés, cute craft stores and indie boutique shops, as well as some of Hong Kong’s best island scenery. Almost resembling Thailand’s Koh Samui or Malaysia’s Tioman Island, Lamma Island is an excellent choice for a quick getaway.
Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery – a unique and beautiful place to explore in Hong Kong
This underrated gem has been impressing visitors in recent years with its bright red colours, gold-painted statues and 9-storey pagoda. Photogenic from every angle, the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery was built in the 1950s and features several temples, pavilions and Buddha statues, of which will accompany you every step of the way as you climb up 430 steps to reach the temple complex.
The monastery is undoubtedly one of Hong Kong’s most decorated religious sites, and is worth a visit even if it’s just to marvel at the cultural architecture on display.
Nan Lian Garden and Chi Lin Nunnery
Similar to Kyoto’s iconic golden temple, Kinkaku-ji, the Nan Lian Garden features a gold-painted pavilion in the middle of a pristine Chinese classical garden. Boasting an area of over 3.5 hectares, the gardens were designed according to Tang Dynasty standards, and includes rolling hills, water ornaments, orange bridges and other ornate wooden structures.
Peace in the city can also be found at the nearby Chi Lin Nunnery, only a few minutes’ walk away from the Nan Lian Garden. The Chi Lin Nunnery is an expansive Buddhist temple complex built in 1934, and is an important monastery in Hong Kong. Both structures are key examples of beautiful, traditional Hong Kong architecture.
Kowloon Walled City Park
Just as interesting as it is aesthetically pleasing, Kowloon Walled City Park is an inner-city oasis that features an extremely well-kept garden, picturesque pavilion, and quiet pond.
Until the late 1980s, the Kowloon Walled city was a dense collection of buildings that became a centre for crime and debauchery in Hong Kong. Those buildings have since been demolished and replaced by the city park. Although some 41,000 residents had lived in the walled city at its peak, the park that stands in its place now offers a peaceful respite from Hong Kong’s hustle and bustle.
Choi Hung Estate Basketball Court
Originally built as part of a public housing estate, the Choi Hung Estate Basketball Court has gained significant fame on social media for its playful, colourful setting. Featuring the colours of the rainbow, the Choi Hung Estate Basketball Court provides a visual treat for architecture connoisseurs. Today, it stands as one of Hong Kong’s most well-known buildings and most loved photography spots.
Sai Wan Swimming Shed
Back in the 1990s, several swimming sheds were built along Hong Kong’s coastline. These swimming sheds presented opportunities for locals to enjoy their time out in the open sea. Today, the Sai Wan Swimming Shed is the only active swimming shed left in the city. With steps down to the water, visitors can enjoy open-air swimming in a gorgeous setting.
In recent years, the Sai Wan Swimming Shed has become particularly popular online as a place to take visually striking sunset shots.
Symphony of Lights
More than just a destination, Hong Kong’s Symphony of Lights is a light show extravaganza. Known as the world’s largest permanent light and sound show according to the Guinness World Records, this free, spectacular light show starts at 8:00pm every day and runs for approximately 15 minutes, dazzling audiences with its colourful array of beaming lights.
Jockey Club Innovation Tower
The Jockey Club Innovation Tower has been attracting attention from all around the world since 2013 due to its cutting-edge, contemporary design. Conceptualised by Pritzker prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid, the Innovation Tower is one of Hong Kong’s most unique and distinguishable buildings.
Hong Kong’s beaches
Relaxing in an urban jungle becomes entirely possible with Hong Kong’s sprawling beaches. It’s not every day that you’ll get to relax on a beach surrounded by tall mountains and even taller skyscrapers, but in Hong Kong, that’s exactly what you get to do.
Centrally located and never too far away from the action, Hong Kong’s best beaches boast the ideal combination of blue water, soft sand and plenty of dining options for when you’re done with your time in the sun. Some beaches you should definitely check out include Repulse Bay, Shek O Beach and Big Wave Bay.
Sheung Luk Stream
Hong Kong isn’t particularly known for its waterfalls, but the Sheung Luk Stream is a worthy exception. A hike up and down craggy rocks will take you to two refreshing waterfalls, which trickles down into a pool of cool, emerald green water. One of Hong Kong’s most unique natural attractions, the Sheung Luk Stream’s beauty is clear for everyone to see.
As you can see from all the stunning places on this list, Hong Kong is a destination filled with beautiful places. Whether it be the glitz and glamour of the city, peace, and tranquillity of its temples or expansive beaches – there’s always something for you in Hong Kong.
The best and most beautiful places to visit in Hong Kong was written by our guest blogger. Fred E. from Beyond the Bay. Avid writer, hiking enthusiast, daydreaming lyricist and perennial traveller with chronic wanderlust. Fred is a lawyer who traded writing contracts for crafting travel guides and itineraries. Having been featured on several travel websites and with a hotel management background under his belt, he’s now dedicated to running his travel blog, Beyond The Bay, which focuses on making travel easier for those on a busy schedule. When he’s not blogging, you can probably find him chilling on a tropical beach or writing a song – or both!
You can connect with Fred by following these links:
Beyond The Bay Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/beyond.the.bay/
Fred’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/asherxtravel/