Top Free Things to Do in Hong Kong
Spending time in Hong Kong? Got more time than money? We have your back. There are tons of cool things to do in the SAR that don’t cost a thing. Here, we go beyond your standard Symphony of the Lights and Big Buddha trips to cover the best free activities Hong Kong has to offer.
Man Mo Temple
Courtesy of WikicommonsThe historic Man Mo Temple on Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan is definitely worth pencilling in. Dedicated to the gods of literature (Man Tai) and war (Mo Tai), this temple was originally built back in 1847 – so it’s safe to say it’s pretty much older than everything else in the trendy district combined (and it also doesn’t cost anything, unlike, well, the other places on the street). The complex is especially popular around Chinese New Year as well as just before public examinations, when students flock to worship the gods in the hopes of attaining good grades. Our tip for visitors? Put your cameras away while inside the temple.
Kowloon Walled City Park
Courtesy of Discover HKYou’ve no doubt seen photos of the former Kowloon Walled City, originally a military outpost built by the Qing government of Imperial China that in modern times became a crime-ridden, largely lawless settlement for many years. It was demolished in the early 1990s, and in its place, a park was built. Many historical features remain, like the South Gate and the Walled City’s yamen structure, featuring columns and walls with tiled roofs that marked the entrance to the settlement. The park is open to the public free of charge seven days a week.
Kam Shan Country Park
The beautiful Kam Shan Country Park in Sha Tin features picturesque hiking trails and fresh air (a rarity in Hong Kong), but the best part is its abundance of wild monkeys, who roam the grounds with abandon. It’s hard to imagine such a scene in a concrete jungle like Hong Kong, and if you love everything nature has to offer, you should stop by. Be aware that under Hong Kong law, hunting or “willingly disturbing” wild animals can land you a fine of HK$100,000 and a year in prison.
Hong Kong Monetary Authority Information Centre
Courtesy of KremdelakrembIf you think it’s strange for us to tell you to go to an information centre, hear us out. The rooftop garden at IFC is free to the public (see below), though did you know that the Hong Kong Monetary Authority – located on the 55th floor of the same building – has an observation deck that has an even better view? Alongside an exhibition detailing the history of banking in Hong Kong, alongside an unobstructed view of the harbour and beyond.
And of course, admission is free.
The Pawn. Courtesy of hkyantoyanLand is at a premium in Hong Kong, so you might be surprised to know that there are actually plenty of public spaces around the city that are free and open to all, due to a law allocating a percentage of space for public use in some commercial buildings in the city. The IFC rooftop, located on 4/F at the mall, features restaurants and bars – but you’ll find all tables and chairs outside these establishments with a label indicating that they’re free to use by anyone. It’s the same with the deck just by Pier 7 Cafe and Bar at Central Piers; the rooftop at historic The Pawn in Wan Chai; and even the space just outside legendary nightclub Dragon-i on Wyndham Street.
Museums on Tuesdays
Courtesy of triotriotioPublic museums in Hong Kong normally cost HK$10 to enter, but on Tuesdays, most of them are free. Hey, every dollar counts, right? These include the Heritage Museum, the Museum of History, and the Science Museum, just to name a few. Check this page for a comprehensive list of admission fees and opening hours.
Andrea Lo is a freelance journalist and translator based in Hong Kong. After cutting her teeth in the industry as a staff writer at a lifestyle magazine, she embraced the freelance life in 2015 and hasn’t looked back. She spends her time exploring the best of Hong Kong’s dining and nightlife scene, trialling new fitness trends, and travelling to exotic locales – all in the name of “research”.