1. Hong Kong Beaches
From Shek O to Deep Water Bay… But our recommended Hong Kong beach getaway would be Stanley beach.
Here’s why: the day to Stanley beach starts with a scenic bus trip via the coastal road from Repulse Bay and ends with a stopover at Stanley’s market for cheap children’s clothes. Stanley market is a tourist attraction in itself.
When sand castling and waves gets predictable, there is the nearby Hong Kong Correctional Services Museum that comes complete with mock gallows and cells.
2. Free Entry to Museums on Wednesdays
There are plenty of museums in Hong Kong: from the Hong Kong Museum of History to the Art to the Heritage to Space and Science museum. What we like are the Hong Kong Racing Museum (horse racing – what else!) and the newly-opened Astro Park where we can star gaze for free year around (and throw a BBQ party at the nearby Chong Hong Water Sports Centre).
3. Tsing Ma Bridge
It’s the same bridge we cross to and from the airport, but few of us really stop to appreciate this iconic, 7th longest suspension bridge in the World that is a tourist attraction in itself. Paranomic views of the bridge and an exhibition of the bridge construction are available at the Lantau Link Visitor Centre and Viewing Platform. Free admission. If you are up to it, the viewing platform is opened till late for night views on Saturdays and public holidays.
4. Symphony of Lights, Victoria’s Harbour
Guinness Record for World’s Largest Light and Sound show. The best views for us are on Tsim Sha Tsui’s waterfront, eastwards from the iconic Star Ferry towards the Avenue of the Stars and the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Free activity, 8pm nightly.
5. Hong Kong Cultural Centre
Free events and performances at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre (and other venues). For instance, on 9 October 2011, there will be a free performance by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra performing at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Check out this website: http://www.lcsd.gov.hk for the latest offerings – the ideal day out in this location would be to combine activity #5 with #4.
6. The Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden
Admission free. Lotus pond gardens and courtyards aside, the tranquil Chi Lin Nunnery and the elegant Nan Lian Garden are great introductions to the architectural style of the Tang Dynasty with Feng Shui elements and Chinese rock/water features. Only natural materials and no nails were used in the construction. Food options available for the hungry ones.
7. Aberdeen Harbour
Take a ride in a historic junk boat from Aberdeen, home to two tourist attractions – the Jumbo and Tai Pak floating restaurants. The junk boat shuttle service is free, and you are not obliged to eat at the restaurants, although we often end up doing so.
8. Snoopy’s World, Sha Tin
Snoopy’s World in New Town Plaza Shopping Mall, Sha Tin. Entrance is free (but you pay for certain rides or show receipts for expenses from the mall). It’s not exactly a top tourist attraction in Hong Kong, but life size Charlie Brown and the Yellow School Bus make a great break for parents with toddlers without breaking the bank.
9. Central-Mid-Levels Escalator – “Dihn Tai”
It’s the world’s longest covered escalator and takes you from Hollywood Road (Central Police Station) through SoHo to Conduit Road in the Mid Levels – 中環至半山自動扶梯. From 6am to 10am it moves in the downward direction only, and from 1015am to 12 midnight it moves in the opposite (upward) direction. From Conduit Road, it is a short walk to tourist attraction #10 (HK Zoo). Free, but some walking / standing involved for the family.
10. Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens
Popular tourist attraction for the family. This zoo might be small, but I have not met a child who would pass on the chance to watch animals kept in such close proximity.
Finally, here’s a couple of recommendations on shopping in Hong Kong: