What is Hong Kong famous for?
In a nutshell, Hong Kong is famous for attractions such as Causeway Bay, The Peak, and Hong Kong Disneyland. A city where skyscrapers meet centuries-old temples, Hong Kong is also known for its night markets filled with delights like dim sum and egg waffles.
But there’s so much more to this vibrant city.
A cosmopolitan city, Hong Kong is famous for being a global melting pot, a place where both eastern and western cultures co-exist. And it is a favorite destination among first-time and seasoned travelers alike.
This comprehensive list compiles all the must-sees, must-tries, and must-haves in Hong Kong — eye-catching landmarks, exciting and educational theme parks, signature Cantonese dishes, and quirky shopping routes. Plus more facts about Hong Kong!
Hong Kong is famous for its iconic landmarks
With its skyscrapers and historic temples, Hong Kong is a multi-faceted city that easily blends the old with the new.
It’s packed with amazing sceneries that can be viewed from various angles, unique landmarks with rich histories, and sightseeing spots that will take your breath away.
Trying to fit everything in one trip can be exhausting so here’s a list of handpicked attractions that must not be missed.
1. The Peak
Hong Kong is famous for The Peak, also called Victoria Peak, the highest hill on Hong Kong Island. The summit is occupied by a radio telecommunications facility and is closed to the public but the public parks, shopping centers, and viewing deck attract about seven million visitors annually.
It’s not hard to see why. At 552 meters high, it gives stunning panoramic views of both Central and Kowloon across Victoria Harbour. Daytime gives you gorgeous views of towering skyscrapers of the city center, green mountains, and shimmering blue waters, while nighttime gives you dazzling displays of glittering neon lights.
You can take a bus or a taxi to the top but the most popular way of getting up to The Peak is via the century-old Peak Tram, the funicular railway that brings passengers from Central.
Location: The Peak, Central, Hong Kong
2. sky100 Hong Kong Observation Deck
Want to see the best views of Hong Kong from another vantage point? Lucky you, Hong Kong is famous for its skyscrapers.
The International Commerce Center (ICC) is the tallest building in Hong Kong. Here, you’ll find the sky100 Hong Kong Observation Deck, the only indoor observation deck in Hong Kong that offers 360-degree unobstructed views of the harbor and Hong Kong Island skyline.
Location: 100/F, International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon, Hong Kong
3. Star Ferry and Victoria Harbour
Hong Kong is famous for its harbor views so when you’ve had enough of the bird’s eye views from either The Peak or sky100, hop aboard the Star Ferry to get front-row dual-harbor views.
Founded in 1888 as the Kowloon Ferry Company, the Star Ferry carries thousands of passengers daily. The journey from shore to shore takes less than 10 minutes and a ride costs less than HK$4, making it the fastest and cheapest way to travel between Tsim Sha Tsui and Central or Wan Chai.
Don’t let the journey’s length or cost fool you; this ferry trip is leisurely and scenic, with expansive views of Central and Kowloon skylines. At nighttime, you’ll be treated to views of towering buildings and shimmering lights.
Location: Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
4. Avenue of Stars and Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade
Another famous Hong Kong landmark, the Avenue of Stars at the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade pays homage to the Hong Kong film industry and its stars, with over 100 handprints and sculptures.
Hong Kong is famous for being the cradle of kung fu legends so make sure to strike a pose with Bruce Lee’s iconic statue and find handprints of Jackie Chan and Jet Li.
The waterfront promenade is also one of the best spots to marvel at Hong Kong’s wonderful skyline. From 8pm onwards, the site attracts crowds as the Symphony of Lights starts lighting up the skies.
Location: Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
5. Tian Tian Buddha a.k.a. the Big Buddha
Tian Tian Buddha, better known as the Big Buddha, is one of Hong Kong’s most recognizable landmarks and the most iconic attraction of Lantau Island.
At 34 meters (112 feet) high above the Po Lin Monastery, it is one of the world’s tallest statues of a seated Buddha. It weighs over 250 metric tons and was constructed from 202 bronze pieces.
Enthroned on a giant lotus on top of a 3-level base platform, the Buddha can be reached through a 268-step route so be prepared for a moderate hike. The statue was built to symbolize the harmonious relationship between man and nature, people and religion.
Location: Po Lin Monastery, Ngong Ping Plateau, Tung Chung Town, Lantau Island, Hong Kong
6. Man Mo Temple
Hong Kong is also famous for its temples.
Built in 1847, Man Mo Temple is one of Hong Kong’s oldest Taoist temples. The temple is dedicated to two gods: Man Cheong, the god of literature; and Mo Tai, the god of war. These deities were worshipped by scholars and students who took civil service examinations in the Ming and Qing dynasties.
During British rule, this temple also served as a local dispute court during moments of tension between the British colonizers and the Chinese population.
This well-preserved temple was graded as a Grade I historic building in 1993.
Location: 124-126 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
7. Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery
The Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery is a misnomer. This magnificent temple in the New Territories is technically not a monastery because no monks live here, and it houses far more than 10,000 Buddhas.
There are 430 steps leading up to the hill, lined up with life-sized golden Buddha statues, each holding a unique pose and expression. Further up the hill is the main complex (also known as Man Fat Sze), where another 12,000 golden statues will greet you.
At the hill’s highest point, you’ll find a reclining stone Buddha above a koi pond and a waterfall cascading behind a tall statue of the Gautama.
Location: 221 Pai Tau Village, Sha Tin, Hong Kong
8. Dragon’s Back Hike
The skyscrapers, the glistening neon lights, and the bustling city center are all part and parcel of a Hong Kong getaway. But did you know that Hong Kong is famous for mountains and hiking trails?
Dragon’s Back is the most most popular hiking trail in Hong Kong because it is easy to access, easy to complete, and gives magnificent views of the great outdoors. It is the last leg (section 8) and the most scenic part of the Hong Kong Trail.
The hike starts at Shek O Road, taking you to the Shek O Peak, and to the Dragon’s Back Hike Viewing Point, a great spot to view Tai Tam Bay. The 8.5 kilometer-long trail takes anywhere between 2 to 4 hours to complete, depending on your fitness level.
Location: Shek-O Country Park, Hong Kong
Hong Kong is known for its amusement parks and museums
Up for thrilling rides and exotic wildlife? Or does learning about history, culture, and even space fascinate you more?
Whether you’re a kid or kid-at-heart eager for an exciting time, or a museum junkie looking to learn more about Hong Kong’s history, you will not be disappointed.
Here are famous amusement parks and museums that should be part of your Hong Kong itinerary.
9. Hong Kong Disneyland
Perched on reclaimed land in Penny’s Bay, Lantau Island, Hong Kong Disneyland is one of only three Disney theme parks in Asia. It opened in September 2005, and is more compact compared to its Asian and Western counterparts, but still packs exciting rides and fun attractions where you can unleash your inner child.
Divided into seven lands (Main Street USA, Fantasyland, Toy Story Land, Tomorrowland, Adventureland, Grizzly Gulch, and Mystic Point), Hong Kong Disneyland promises adventures, classic stories straight from beloved Disney animations, and exhilarating rides.
A lot of the attractions are geared towards younger kids, with family-friendly rides like the Cinderella Carousel; It’s A Small World, and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
The heart-stopping ride, Hyperspace Mountain, is a crowd favorite. Also not to be missed are the daily Main Street parade and the nightly Disney in the Stars fireworks show.
Location: Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, Penny’s Bay, Lantau Island, Hong Kong
10. Ocean Park Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s original amusement park (and arguably the most popular one) is a cross between a theme park and a marine park zoo.
Opened in 1977, twenty-eight years before Disneyland came to town, it sits over a mountain in the southern district of Hong Kong. Covering an area of 91.5 hectares (226 acres), the park is divided into two halves: Waterland (lowland) and Summit (headland), with a 1.5-kilometer cable car system and the Ocean Express funicular railway linking the two.
It’s so vast that it’s hard to cover the whole park in just one day. It’s well worth trying though.
Ocean Park doesn’t shy away from suspenseful rides — it has four rollercoasters! The Rapids is equally thrilling.
For amazing animal exhibits, check out the Grand Aquarium, which features the world’s largest aquarium dome and holds around 5,000 fishes from over 400 species. The Amazing Asian Animals that houses two rare giant pandas (Ying Ying and Le Le), as well as rare red pandas, are also not to be missed.
Location: 180 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen, Hong Kong
11. Madame Tussauds Hong Kong
Hong Kong is famous for hosting the first Madame Tussauds in Asia.
Established in 2000, Madame Tussauds Hong Kong is part of the wax museum chain founded by French wax sculptor Marie Tussaud. It houses over 100 wax figures of internationally known personalities, a third of which are Asian stars.
The wax figures are featured in themed interactive exhibits such as Hong Kong Glamour, K-wave Zone, Music Icons, Kung Fu Zone, and The Champions, among others.
Feel free to strike a pose with life-like wax figures of Jackie Chan, Andy Lau, Bruce Lee, Michelle Yeoh, Princess Diana, David Beckham, Brad Pitt, Barack Obama, Queen Elizabeth II, Tiger Woods, The Beatles, and even Marie Tussaud herself.
Location: Shop P101, 128 Peak Road, Peak Tower, The Peak, Hong Kong
12. Hong Kong Museum of History
Hong Kong is famous for being Asia’s world city, a social and economic force. Ever wonder what life was like before all the globalization and technological advancements that shaped modern Hong Kong?
Here at the Hong Kong Museum of History, you can travel through time and see a history lesson like no other.
Hong Kong’s rich history and cultural heritage are well documented in this museum. A mind-blowing 400 million years’ worth of history is available for exploration here.
The main attraction is a permanent display called the Hong Kong Story, which consists of eight impressive galleries that take you on a fascinating journey from pre-historic Hong Kong to the Opium Wars to the Japanese occupation to British rule to the 1997 handover to China.
Location: 100 Chatham Road South, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
13. Hong Kong Space Museum
After engrossing yourself with Hong Kong’s stories from the past, why not take a trip into the future?
The Hong Kong Space Museum is the city’s first planetarium, letting space and science enthusiasts explore virtual galaxies on a surfboard, experience space flight, and witness space technology and gadgetry in action.
It’s easy to spot this museum on the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront because of its enormous egg-shaped dome (that also earned the nickname “pineapple bun”).
This astronomy and space science museum opened in 1980 and currently features two permanent exhibitions — the “Hall of Cosmos” and “Hall of Space Exploration.”
Location: 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Hong Kong is famous for gastronomic delights
Famished after all the exploration and sightseeing? You’re in luck because Hong Kong is a paradise for food lovers.
From street food to budget eats to Michelin-starred meals, this city offers around 15,000 restaurants — one of the highest densities of restaurants in the world.
The wide array of choices will spoil you but it can also be a bit overwhelming for the uninitiated. To help you trim down your choices, here’s a list of must-try famous foods in Hong Kong and where to find them.
14. Dim sum
What’s a Hong Kong trip without dim sum?
This Cantonese classic is one of, if not the most, famous foods in Hong Kong. Traditionally served in bamboo steamer baskets, must-try dim sums include har gao (shrimp dumplings), char siu bao (roast pork buns), siu mai (pork dumplings), xiao long bao (meat or seafood dumplings with broth inside), and wu gok (taro dumplings).
It is common to eat these bite-sized dishes with tea, following a Cantonese tradition called yum cha (literally “drink tea”), which is why dim sum is often served at teahouses.
15. Siu mei (roasted meat)
Hong Kong is famous for roasted meat or siu mei.
Hong Kong-style roasted meat is a staple in Cantonese cuisine. These succulent, juicy meats are roasted to perfection and served with special spices and sauces, over steaming hot rice and a side of veggies.
Typical varieties include char siu (barbecued pork), siu ngo (roasted goose), siu app (roasted duck), siu yuk (roasted pork belly), and si yao gai (soy sauce chicken).
You can easily spot a siu mei restaurant by their displays of large meat slices and even whole chickens and ducks hanging by the storefront.
16. Beef Brisket Noodles
Visiting Hong Kong in winter? A steaming bowl of tender braised brisket chunks with springy or chewy noodles drenched in flavourful beef bone broth would be perfect.
But even on regular days, beef brisket noodles spiced up with a variety of Chinese herbs and spices should not be missed when in Hong Kong.
17. Claypot rice
Like other neighboring Asian countries, Hong Kong is famous for its rice meals.
Another winter comfort food, claypot rice or bao zai fan is Chinese-style rice cooked (or scorched) and served in, you guessed it, a clay pot topped with a variety of cured meat like chicken, pork, duck, Chinese sausage and vegetables.
The pots are slow-cooked over a gas or charcoal stove, letting savory juices from the meats drip on the rice while a layer of crunchy, charred rice is formed at the bottom of the pot.
Mixed together and splashed with a sauce mixture of soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, and pepper, this dish is truly worth indulging in.
18. Pineapple Bun
Locally known as bor lor bao, a pineapple bun is sweet, fluffy, crumbly pastry commonly served in bakeries and cha chaan tengs (teahouses).
Despite the name, the bun contains no pineapple. What it has instead is a golden brown, crusty top that resembles a pineapple, hence the name.
The pastry is so ubiquitous and iconic that in 2014, the Hong Kong government listed the bun as one of 480 items in the city’s “living cultural heritage.”
One bite of this Hong Kong staple and you’ll understand why it’s so loved by locals and tourists alike. It’s firm on the outside, sweet and crunchy, while soft on the inside.
Other variants include pineapple buns with a slab of butter on the inside, and pineapple buns filled with shredded coconut, custard cream, or red bean paste.
19. Egg Waffles
Made from a batter of egg, wheat flour, evaporated milk, and sugar, egg waffle, or gai daan jai in Cantonese, is one of the famous street snacks in Hong Kong. You’ll immediately recognize the sweet eggy smell as you wander the city streets.
Egg waffles are crisp on one side and soft on the other. A piece can have around 20 to 35 small round balls which can be torn from the waffle, making it ideal for sharing.
Usually served hot and eaten plain, modern stalls serve flavored variants like matcha egg waffles, chocolate egg waffles, and sometimes even topped with scoops of ice cream.
20. Egg Tarts
Hong Kong is famous for dan ta, or egg tarts, buttery, crisp, and flaky tart shells with silky smooth egg custard filling.
Originally invented in Lisbon, Portugal, egg tarts were adopted in Guangzhou and spread to Hong Kong and Macau. The Hong Kong and Macau versions were altered though, notably lighter than the original Portuguese egg tarts.
Hong Kong is known as shoppers’ paradise
You’ve explored your way through Hong Kong’s dazzling sights and attractions, and you’ve taken your taste buds on a delicious tour. Now, it’s time to cap off your trip with retail therapy.
With streets dotted with boutiques, retail outlets, malls, this shopping mecca gives you a variety of options for different budgets, whether you’re looking to reward yourself or share souvenirs with friends and family back home.
Here are the famous shopping spots in Hong Kong to get your money’s worth.
21. Temple Street Night Market
Hong Kong is famous for its markets and Temple Street Night Market is a favorite both among tourists and locals. As its name suggests, this famous night market is situated in Temple Street in Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon.
When the sun goes down, more than a hundred stalls pop up in this 600-meter street, and tourists start flocking to buy various goods at relatively low prices including clothes, embroidered Chinese jackets, shoes, socks, bags, watches, and electronic gadgets.
Standard souvenir items like handicrafts, tea sets, chopsticks, those ubiquitous I love H.K. shirts, and even antiques are present. Knock-offs are aplenty, and most of the goods are of the same designs and quality so your goal is to find the best bargains.
Location: Temple Street, Kowloon, Hong Kong
22. Mongkok Ladies Market
Probably the most famous street market in Hong Kong, Ladies Market in Tung Choi Street, Mongkok is a great destination for bargain hunters. Ladies Market got its name for selling mainly feminine goods in the past but it’s no longer the case.
With more than 100 stores, you can score great deals on just about anything — shoes, watches, clothing, bags, cosmetics, toys, housewares, Chinese teas, trinkets, and souvenirs.
The place is notorious for counterfeits of branded apparel and bags, which you’ll easily recognize based on the cheap prices. But these bargains are also what keep people drawn to this market. It gets even cheaper if you buy in bulk.
It’s also near Fa Yuen Street (sneaker street) so you can complete your OOTD by squeezing both markets in one trip.
Location: Tung Choi Street, Mongkok, Hong Kong
23. Causeway Bay
If global designer brands and luxury stores are what you’re after, there’s probably no better place than Causeway Bay. This pulsing retail heart of Hong Kong is a maze of swanky malls, high-end department stores, hip boutiques, and even street markets.
For big international brands, the best shopping malls to visit are SOGO, Hong Kong’s biggest department store that’s spread out over thirteen floors; Times Square, one of the biggest malls in Hong Kong that houses over 200 specialty stores ranging from luxury to mid-range products; Lee Garden One and Two, a pair of relatively small, high-end malls that house many luxury stores; and Fashion Walk, a shopping complex spanning four streets and featuring well-known brands such as Alexander McQueen and Armani, as well as local fashion designers.
Luxury brands like Chanel, Gucci, and Cartier also have stand-alone shops. For bargain-priced goods, head to Jardine’s Bazaar and Jardine’s Crescent.
Location: Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
24. Hollywood Road
One of the oldest streets in Hong Kong, Hollywood Road is where eastern and western cultures collide.
Don’t be fooled by the name; unlike the Avenue of Stars, this street has nothing to do with Hollywood. Hollywood Road was put up early in 1844, way before the more famous Hollywood in California was settled. It is said that holly shrubs were growing in the area when the road was constructed, thus the name.
Art savvy shoppers and antique lovers will surely enjoy hunting for artworks, artifacts, and ancient treasures while strolling along the mural-laden neighborhood. The road is lined with art, design, and photo galleries, mostly featuring contemporary Chinese art from legendary and world-class artists like the late Wu Guangzhong, Fernando Botero, Zao Wou-ki, and Karin Weber.
Location: Hollywood Road, Central / Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
More things Hong Kong is famous for
You now know more about Hong Kong’s famous attractions and must-try foods. You even know where you can buy souvenirs to bring home.
But those are not just what Hong Kong is known for. Here are other things that make this city unique.
25. Tycoons and entrepreneur spirit
A major financial center and a haven for entrepreneurs, Hong Kong is famous for its “can do” entrepreneurial spirit. In a stunning display of rapid economic growth, the number of Hong Kong start-ups more than doubled between 2015 and 2020.
Thanks to this entrepreneurial spirit, Hong Kong ranks 6th in the list of countries with the most number of billionaires. The city has 71 billionaires as of March 2021, and 11 of them are in Forbes’ Top 200 World’s Billionaire List.
Hong Kong’s richest man is Li Ka-shing, one of the most influential businessmen in Asia and is the 43rd richest man in the world.
26. Central—Mid-Levels Escalator
Hong Kong is famous for the world’s longest covered escalator, the 800-meter long Central—Mid-Levels Escalator.
Rising 135 meters high, the escalator system is actually a series of 20 escalators and three inclined moving walkways (travelators), connected by footbridges, and with 14 entrances and exits. Opened in 1993, the system linked the Central and Mid-Levels districts on Hong Kong Island.
To ride the complete length of the Central—Mid-Levels Escalator, one way takes about twenty minutes. Not only is it a convenient mode of transportation; it’s also lined with restaurants, bars, and shops.
27. 260+ islands
Hong Kong is famous for its iconic skyline and urban wonders. But you’re gravely missing out if you think that’s all there is to Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is home to over 260 islands. This translates to countless lush hills, breathtaking beaches, dramatic rock formations, glorious mountain peaks – the other side of the concrete jungle.
Lantau Island and Lamma Island are a couple of popular islands. Also worth checking out are the quaint Peng Chau, the rugged Tung Lung Chau, and picturesque Cheung Chau Island.
28. Coffin homes
Hong Kong’s ‘coffin homes’ are the dark side to the property boom in wealthy and expensive Hong Kong.
Coffin homes, also known as coffin cubicles, are bedspace residences, partitioned and so cramped and suffocating like a coffin. Some are so tiny that its residents can’t even stretch their legs fully.
Hong Kong is one of the most expensive housing markets in the world. Skyrocketing costs led low-income people, including the elderly, drug addicts, and low-skilled or unskilled laborers, to live in these low-rent, tightly-packed boxes.
About 200,000 people live in coffin homes, mostly concentrated in older districts like Sham Shui Po, Mong Kok, To Kwa Wan, and Tai Kok Tsui.
29. Public transportation
Hong Kong is famous for its uber-efficient and sophisticated public transport network.
Although small and crowded, you can travel cheap and fast in Hong Kong. Its subway system, the Hong Kong MTR, is one of the world’s most modern subway systems. It also has an extensive bus system with many routes that can take you just about anywhere in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Island trams, taxis, ferries, and car rental companies – you name it, Hong Kong’s got it. What’s more, nearly all public transport accepts the Octopus Card, a reloadable payment card that can also be used in convenience stores, vending machines, and other stores.
30. Low tax rates
Hong Kong is a tax haven.
The current tax rate for corporations is 16.5% and 15% for unincorporated businesses. For individuals, tax rates range from 2% to 17%. And unlike many countries, there are no capital gains tax, no value-added tax or sales tax, no withholding tax on dividends and interest or collection of social security benefits.
Thanks to its low tax rates, some of the lowest in the world, Hong Kong is one of the preferred locations for most entrepreneurs and businesses.
Armed with this extensive list, you have the answer to your question: what is Hong Kong known for? You’re now more than ready to take that trip to the endlessly fascinating destination that is Hong Kong.