Below, I am going to outline all of the sights we visited while on our trip to Hong Kong. Prior to a trip, I try to get an idea of all the sights that I am interested in visiting. Then, I look up their location and see what is close together. While I don’t plan out every day, I try to maximize time by grouping things together.
1. Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastary: This was our first stop in Hong Kong. Take the subway to Sha Tin Exit B. There are gold buddhas everywhere along your pathway to the top. Keep in mind there are some 400 steps along the way. The ascent is gradual, so the workout is not too strenuous. At the top, there are beautiful views and many sights to explore. Take your time walking around and make sure you don’t miss anything! Since I have never been to Asia before, I loved the monastery. It is what I imagined seeing in Hong Kong. While there were definitely tourists, it wasn’t overly crowded. This was great and made taking photos easier.
2. Sha Tin Park and Subway Exit: A walk through Sha Tin park is worthwhile on your way back to the subway. All of the parks in Hong Kong are beautiful. They are peaceful and quiet. It is hard to imagine you are in the middle of a huge city! At the subway, Sha Tin, there is a large mall as well. See my shopping post for all of the malls we visited.
3. Nan Lian Garden: This was my favorite park/garden that we visited. It is relaxing and serene. There is a small store with souvenirs here as well as a restaurant underneath the waterfall in the park. It looked like a fantastic place to enjoy a late lunch. Within this garden itself, there are so many beautiful photo opportunities. My husband has been to Hong Kong four times previously, and this is one of his favorite places.
4. Chi Lin Nunnery: Chi Lin Nunnery is directly adjacent to the Nan Lian Garden. One fantastic detail is that not a single nail was utilized to build the nunnery. It is incredible to witness considering this dates back to 1934.
5. Wong Tai Sin Temple: This is just a short subway stop away from the sights above. Our first day, we made this our final stop. It was very crowded with many people praying and burning incense. All of the sights above including this one are free. We spent a short time here in the main courtyard and then exploring the adjacent garden area.
Day One we visited all of the above five sites. We took our time wandering at each stop and did not feel rushed. By the end of the day, we were exhausted and ready to return to the hotel and relax.
6. Hong Kong Park: We started our next morning early with a stroll through Hong Kong Park. The park opens at 6am and like the other parks in Hong Kong is gorgeous and very well kept. It was directly adjacent to our hotel, so thus perfect for a stroll through at the beginning of the day.
7. Victoria Peak: I was extremely excited about visiting Victoria Peak having seen it in so many photos and on tv. My husband warned me that the Victoria Peak Tram that takes you to the top develops very long lines. We walked directly from Hong Kong Park to the tram line. It was slightly overcast when we arrived around 8 something in the morning. Fortunately, the line was very short, so we decided to jump on the tram. We were very lucky in the fact that the sky was clear by the time we reached the top and walked out to the lookout point. We did not pay extra for other observation areas. I felt this was not necessary, and we were able to take fantastic photos from the top. There was a crowd, but it was easy to wait your turn to stand for some breathtaking views. This is something I would recommend at the start of the day. By the time we were leaving, it was becoming significantly more crowded. Once we took the tram to the bottom, the line forming was already around the corner. Bottom line … get an early start!
8. Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens: This is another sight that you can go through relatively quickly or spend more time and linger. It is also free. The animals that you will see here are primarily monkeys and birds. There are many plant species as well.
9. Statue Square: We stopped here specifically for Statue Square. However, I think that one does not need to stop just for this. Easily, we could have combined this with having dinner at Mott 32, which is just across the street, or our visit to the Landmark Mandarian Oriental Spa. If you are seeking something nearby, stop by Statue Square. Otherwise, for me, this was not a must see.
10. Mong Kok Ladies Market: Once you find this “row,” you can walk seemingly forever looking at one vendor after the other. You will start to see things repeating themselves whether it be tea sets, purses, clothing, paintings, phone cases, etc. Haggling is the rule here. If you don’t like the price, move on. I tried to have a set price in mind that I would pay. Personally, my suggestion would be to offer 40-50% of the stated price. I did one full walk through before thinking about what I wanted to purchase. These are knick knacks and souvenirs. Not high quality goods. Vendors do have other counterfeit items “hidden” that are available. I did not feel that the quality of these items was up to par like goods that you may see easily in New York. So, I would say the Ladies Market is not the place to purchase counterfeit items. We visited the market around 2pm and some vendors were still setting up. Do not make this your first stop of the day.
11. Temple Street Night Market: I don’t have much to say about this because we visited around 3pm, and the market was not really set up yet. Ahead of time, I read that it opens around 2pm, but I did not find this to be the case. It appeared very similar to the Ladies Market. If you are interested, make sure this is a stop you make in the evening.
12. Kansu Street Jade Market: Prior to arriving in Hong Kong, I thought it would be nice to possibly bring back some jade jewelry. I went to the Kansu Street Jade Market with high hopes. However, it did not turn out to be what I expected. In the end, I left empty handed and irritated. The vendors will drive you completely insane and charge way too much for something you can’t even be certain is real. In my opinion, skip this.