Hong Kong's Best Free Activities: Things Every Budget-Conscious Visitor Should Do

With a little planning, it would be more than easy to spend the best part of a day in Hong Kong without spending a cent, assuming you have a big breakfast and take a bottle of water along with you. A stroll along the harbor front in either Tsim Sha Tsui or Central won't cost a penny. Assuming it's a Wednesday, admission to the Hong Kong Museum of History is free all day long. If you are keen to avoid shelling out for bus fares, a hike up to Victoria Peak or the Po Lin monastery will lead to two of Hong Kong's most popular attractions – and they're free too. Of course, the goods on show in Hong Kong's street markets aren't free, but there's no charge for wandering about these incredibly photogenic locales. And why not wind up your day by taking in the magnificent sound and light show that is the Symphony of Lights, which illuminates the harbor and surrounding skyscrapers in a fitting finale. All in all, there is plenty to attract the budget traveler in Hong Kong, and a few days spent in the city won't necessarily break the bank.

Tsim Sha Tsui

The 44-meter-tall red-brick structure is one of the most historic buildings in fast-growing Hong Kong. Although visitors can't access the building nowadays, it's a mandatory pit stop for tourists en route from the Star Ferry terminal to Tsim...  Read More

Hong Kong Museum of History
Photo courtesy of Museum of History

Chinese history has taken dramatic twists and turns over the past three millenia, and this museum offers detailed exhibits that take you through every aspect of the country's development. Beginning in Neolithic times and running right up to...  Read More

Hong Kong Park
Photo courtesy of Hong Kong Tourism Board

This small, but well-designed park offers a welcome break from the concrete and glass buildings that are surrounding it. Built into the side of a small hill, top attractions include an aviary with a large selection of exotic birds, and a...  Read More

Tsim Sha Tsui
Chung King Mansions
Photo courtesy of Hong Kong Tourism Board

Situated on the "Golden Mile" of Nathan Road (the southern-most mile of the thoroughfare until it reaches harbor-side Salisbury Road), Chung King Mansions is an alternative landmark to witness the city's extending heritage as a colony and...  Read More

Symphony of Lights

The 15-minute light and sound show is the top free activity in Hong Kong. Every night at 8pm, spectacular decoration lights, laser lights and digital fireworks shoot out from 45 buildings along the Victoria Harbour on both the Hong Kong Island...  Read More

Stanley Market
Photo courtesy of Hong Kong Tourism Board

Stanley is possibly Hong Kong's best-known market. And with good reason. It's part of a community set by the sea, with plenty of restaurants and cafes so you can pause for refreshment. The goods on sale are fabulously varied, and the traders...  Read More

Lantau Island
Po Lin Monastery
Photo courtesy of Hong Kong Tourism Board

Po Lin translates to "precious lotus," and this monastery is one of the most famous of Hong Kong's numerous attractions. In addition to being one of the most opulent and grandest temples in the country, this is also home to the famous "Big...  Read More

This fishing town is where the Hong Kongers retreat for swimming, kayaking and some of the city's best seafood. The center of the town is a 1,000-meter quay lined with endless seafood stalls. Each of them looks like a mini aquarium as the boss...  Read More

Taking up three blocks of Tung Choi Street every night, this enclave of more than 100 stalls represents the epitome of Asia's market culture: a bit crowded, a lot noisy but totally stimulating. Rather than what its name suggests, the...  Read More

Victoria Peak

The 552-meter mountain has that classic Hong Kong view. Near the summit at 396 meters there is an entertainment and viewing complex called Peak Tower where travelers can snap that perfect souvenir photo. In the foreground, a forest of...  Read More


Meet Ed Peters

Ed Peters has been based in Asia for much of his life.