If you are in Hong Kong without too much cash in your pocket, no worries, this cool city offers a lot for every budget. There are plenty of free or inexpensive things you can do. Just follow our tips and you will have an awesome and cheap holiday.
2. As HK is one of the most densely populated places on Earth, the city is slightly overcrowded. The motto of its architecture is: the higher the better. And the funny thing is that not only the buildings are high, even the walking paths have two levels at several parts of the city. And my absolute favourite street phenomenon is the Mid-Levels escalator system in the hillside of Hong Kong island, which is the longest covered escalator system in the whole world – 800 m long. Such a fun place, and completely free to try. 🙂
4. If you are in town during the week (which is actually the best thing you can do as even public transport fees are higher at the weekend!), check out some of HK’s famous museums on a Wednesday. You can visit almost all of them free of charge on Wednesdays. (a list of the free museums here)
5. HK has several famous markets, most of them on Kowloon island, eg. Ladies’ Market, Temple Street Market,etc. They are free to visit any days of the week. Don’t go there too early though! Around 6-7 pm is the best time to go, and afterwards you can enjoy the vibrant nightlife of the area (Mong Kok).
6. If you are on Kowloon island, don’t miss the daily multimedia (lights and sound) show ‘Symphony of Lights’ at Victoria Harbour. It includes 40 buildings on both sides of the harbour but it is definitely more spectacular standing on the Kowloon side and having a view on the iconic skyline of Hong Kong Island. Standing there I just couldn’t believe that it is not movie I was watching. And all this for free.
7. Seeing the city from the harbour is a must while in Hong Kong. The most cost effective way is if you buy a ticket for a regular ferry that simply crosses the harbour between Kowloon and Hong Kong Islands. The trip only takes 8 minutes but it is very cheap accordingly. (Price: 0,22 € / HK$ 2,20)
8. If you are ready to give out more that 50 Euro cents, you can also take a ferry to another island and that way see some nature as well. I was surprised to see the beautiful landscape on Lantau island, where we visited the Giant Buddha at the Po Lin Monastery, which is the biggest bronze Buddha statue in a sitting position in the world. Visiting it doesn’t cost a penny if you skip the museum on the top and the vegetarian meal in the restaurant next to the monastery. The only thing you need to pay for is the ferry and the bus; both are really cheap. For about 10 € you can try the island’s famous cable car, too. I am sure it is really spectacular, but even if you skip it, you will enjoy your excursion a lot!
9. What I definitely wouldn’t skip no matter how touristic it is or how long you need to line up is the peak tram. The Peak Tramway is a funicular railway in Hong Kong (it’s been operating since 1888), which carries its passengers to the upper levels of the city and all the way up to the Victoria Peak, which provides the best view on the city and the harbour. But even just the trip itself – it doesn’t take longer than 10-12 minutes – is an exciting experience; it goes upwards sooo steep! A return ticket costs HK $ 40, which is about 4 €. If you want to go up to the 360 degrees view point, you should pay twice as much. It is probably worth paying more if you plan to take stunning photos from up there, but otherwise I don’t think it is necessary.
10. The oldest and cheapest way of getting around HK Island is the tram. They are really old-school double-deckers: loud, no real windows, no aircon. Travelling in them feels like time-travelling: back to the beginning of the 20th century. It is really worth the HK $ 2,30 (flat rate) they cost. Don’t miss the experience!
+1: I call this tip +1 because it is only relevant for girls. (Sorry guys!) If you feel like checking out the party scene of the city, do it on a Thursday night and visit the Mamoz skybar, where there is Ladies’ Night every Thursday. It means until 9 pm you can have as many Cosmopolitans or Sangrias as you want, and all for free. Of course, it is polite to order some food as well, but considering the amount of free drinks you can have, spending some euros on food should be alright. Table reservation is necessary as it is always full on Thursday!
As you can see there are plenty of things you can do in HK even if you are not exactly a millionaire. So stop worrying about your limited financial resources and just start enjoying this incredible city!