Hong Kong’s contrasting landscape of cloud-reaching mountains, endless towers, and rich forestry makes it an incredible sight in itself, though alongside this it also offers numerous visual wonders from intricately ornamented temples to bustling marketplaces. Here’s my pick of what to see in Hong Kong.
The Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery
Admittedly, the name of this attraction isn’t entirely accurate, though not for the reason you’d expect. The Ten Thousand Buddha Monastery isn’t actually a monastery as no monks live there, however, almost unbelievably it does host over ten thousand Buddha statues. The path to the Monastery alone is lined with around 500 hand-painted and individually modelled golden Buddha’s, while the walls of the temple at its peak is lined with almost 13,000 miniature Gold ceramic Buddha statues, each with a different pose and expression. This is an almost surreal attraction that is definitely worth making the effort to see.
Mong Kok’s Street Performers
Every weekend in Sai Yeung Choi Street, in the busy district of Mong Kok, some of Hong Kong’s hardest workers take to the street to perform for whoever is willing to watch. Often seeking to make money to fund their stay in one of the world’s most expensive cities, these entertainers put on various performances from football free-styling, Michael Jackson impersonations and singing while balancing dogs on their shoulders. You have to see it to believe it.
The View from Victoria Peak
Victoria Peak is the point from where the most iconic view of Hong Kong is captured from. You can get to the top of this 554m mountain either by taking a ride on the Peak Tram, boarding at Admiralty Station, or by doing the Victoria Peak Loop hiking trail that will provide you with an easy route both up and down. The peak provides an incredible view at both night and day, but be sure to check the weather before visiting as fog can affect the visibility of the skyline.
Outdoor Fruit and Vegetable Markets
Scattered throughout the urban areas of the city, Hong Kong’s outdoor fruit and vegetable markets add a bright splash of colour to the concrete landscape. The markets allow locals and tourists alike to pick up fresh produce, spanning for the familiar to the unknown, as well as fresh flowers and dried foods. The most famous of these markets is on Reclamation Street in Yau Ma Tei.
Tai O Fishing Village
The Tai O Fishing Village is well known for its composition of houses raised on stilts above the area’s large waterways. Home to the Tanka people, a community of fishermen who make their living by supplying fresh seafood to the wider Hong Kong population, a visit to the village is a unique and captivating experience and provides many incredible photo opportunities.
Brands including Guci, Praada, and Dolcie & Gabana can all be found in Mong Kok’s famous ‘Ladies Market’, however as you may notice from the spelling, these brands aren’t quite the same as what you’d expect to see on a high fashion runway. The seemingly endless market that opens from late afternoon to the early morning provides an ever-evolving supply of counterfeit and duplicated goods as well as souvenirs, gifts, and gadgets. While the name of it might seem quite specific, there’s something for everyone here.
Indoor Wet Markets
Like their outdoor counterparts, Hong Kong’s indoor markets also offer fresh foods however the term ‘wet market’ tends to refer to a place selling fresh seafood and meat. Throughout the city these markets exist in the form of multi-story buildings, specializing in a different type of food on each floor. Expect to see small schools of live fish in water tanks on ice, cages of live frogs, and rows and rows of chopped meats.
Big Buddha and the Po Lin Monastery
The Tian Tan Buddha, also known as Big Buddha was constructed in 1993 and been a top attraction in Hong Kong ever since. The bronze statue is of Buddha Shakyamuni and is located on Lantau Island. Minutes away from the Buddha is Po Lin Monastery, which is home to many a devout monk with whom you may have the opportunity to share lunch with at a nearby vegetarian canteen. Get here by the Ngong Ping aerial tramway, hike, or take a public bus.
Temples throughout the City
Tucked between its urban architecture, Hong Kong’s streets maintain many traditional Taoist temples. Exploring these places of worship provides a great opportunity to learn more about the traditions and culture of the region. The most famous of the temples in Hong Kong is the Man Mo Temple in Sheung Wan that sits beneath contrasting high-rise towers.