By traveling with locals in Hong Kong, we discovered Hong Kong hidden gems that we know true travelers want to experience. These are adventures that those who are “in the know” love in Hong Kong. Our top picks for things to see, do and eat were recommended by Hong Kong locals and are a great addition to any itinerary. We know, because we did them in Hong Kong and filmed them for our PBS TV series.
#1 Biking the New Territories
Head away from the skyscrapers into the residential New Territories for a cycling tour with Mountain Biking Asia. A walled city, Hong Kong greenery, intriguing temples and historic sites are just some of the sights you’ll see. On our tour, we biked to Nam Sheng Wai , which is where avid cyclists from Hong Kong like to exercise. It’s also a popular spot for wedding photographers and those seeking to take in Hong Kong greenery.
While many walled cities have been turned into tourist attractions, on this biking adventure, you can visit a walled city where locals truly live- the Kam Tin Walled City. This adventure in general is non-touristy, including the final stop where we enjoyed dim sum with the locals.
#2 Gallery Hop
Hong Kong’s art scene has never been stronger, especially in the world of contemporary art. Whether you’re a collector or culture buff, taking an organized gallery tour or creating your own is a fun way to spend the afternoon. Many galleries are located in Central or just nearby, so put on comfortable shoes and get hopping. For an organized tour, which is a great idea to hear about the art scene from passionate locals, try Accidental Art.
#3 Neighborhood Exploration
From hip cafes to unique places to shop, Hong Kong has some new cool neighborhoods on the rise. Soak in the vibes in PoHo, centered around Blake Garden. This up and coming neighborhood is where old and new Hong Kong collide and you can always find something unexpected to enlighten your day. From yoga studios to a rare traditional letterpress print shop to made from scratch baked goods at Po’s Atelier, this is one cool neighborhood. To make the most out of your adventure, consider taking a guided walk with Walk In Hong Kong. Our guide, who we also filmed, was Paul Chan, who we recommend.
#4 Hong Kong Trail
Hiking trails are not the first thing that come to mind when you think about Hong Kong, but the Hong Kong Trail, at a little over 30 miles in length, has some knockout places to soak in nature. Don’t miss the Dragon’s Back Trail, where stunning coastal views are just some of your exercise rewards. A short commute from busy Hong Kong East, the trail offers up spectacular views of Shek O, Tai Long Wan, Stanley, Tai Tam, and the South China Sea. Walk Hong Kong offers guided day hikes.
#5 Sai Kung
Spend the day in Sai Kung soaking in the sun, seafood and all that Hong Kong’s back garden has to offer. Start out at sea, exploring Hong Kong’s Global Geopark. Designated by UNESCO as an area of great geological significance, you’ll want to have your camera ready to photograph the spectacular formations and the variety of islands that dot the sparkling sea. Enjoy lunch on Seafood Street, one of the top places for fresh seafood in Hong Kong and where you can pick what looks tasty right from the tanks. We ate at multiple Michelin-starred Sing Kee.
#6 Tai O
To learn more about Hong Kong’s history with seafood, head to the western edge of Lantau Island to Tai O, which has been called the Venice of Hong Kong. Home to one of the last remaining large communities of stilt homes in Hong Kong, generations have resided in this historic fishing village. Make sure to taste Tai O culinary specialties, including shrimp paste and local sweets and if you need a break, the Tai O Heritage Hotel will transport you back in time with modern flair.
#7 Big Buddha
While on Lantau Island, you have to visit the iconic Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery. A fun way to get to the Big Buddha is by taking the scenic, 25 minute Ngong Ping 360 cable car, whose crystal cabins allow travelers to see just how green Lantau Island is, as well as an alternative route up to the Big Buddha, hiking trails. Spend some time at the top marveling at this feat of engineering and special pilgrimage site for people from all over the world.