You are not likely to see these activities in your guidebook but they are worth your time.
1. Take a ride on a Star Ferry
Though there are now tunnels that connect the two sides of Victoria Harbour, many locals still use the Star Ferry vessels, a city mainstay since 1898, because of their reliability and efficiency. This is the most beautiful way to quickly commute across the world-renowned harbor and travel between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. The best time to climb aboard is during the nightly Symphony of Lights laser show: At 8pm, skyscrapers on both sides of the water light up with laser beams, colored lights, and searchlights. Music is broadcast from both sides of the harbor and a refreshment is usually served.
2. Go on a sunset cruise on the Aqua Luna
The stunning red sails of the Aqua Luna are iconic and clearly visible every night as it sails up and down Victoria Harbour. It’s one of the last remaining red-sail Chinese junk boats and has been refurbished to take passengers on short harbour cruises. If you feel like taking your happy hour to the open water, book a spot on Aqua Luna’s sunset cocktail cruise to watch Hong Kong’s famous skyline come alive at night.
3. Check out Soho street arts
Over the past few years, street art has really taken off in Hong Kong and there are lots of beautiful pieces scattered around Soho, a neighborhood just above the CBD. You can easily spend an afternoon walking around and stumbling upon funky and colorful street art. Start at Graham Street and walk along Hollywood Road towards Sheung Wan, make sure you explore all the different side streets: honestly the fun is in wandering around and spotting the pieces on your own!
4. Climb to the Big Buddha
Tian Tan Buddha, also known as the infamous ‘Big Buddha’, stands watch by one of Hong Kong’s most important Buddhist sanctums, the Po Lin Monastery. Those who brave the 268 steps to reach it are rewarded with both sea and mountain views. While they’re up there, visitors can walk through the monastery’s colorful formal flower garden and refuel with a vegetarian meal at the monastery’s restaurant. Opt to take the cable car and pay a little extra for the glass bottom…trust us, the thrill is worth it. Reach it on Lantau Island by taking the MTR to Tung Chung station (exit B), then taking a 25-minute ride to the island on the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car.
5. Explore PMQ
PMQ is a complex in Soho that has become a creative hub for local designers and funky brands and products. PMQ stands for “Police Married Quarters” as it used to house married junior police officers before being emptied in the year 2000. It sat there until it was revitalized as a heritage site and was opened to the public in 2014. It is now home to about 100 different design galleries, shops, exhibits and boutiques with an emphasis on homegrown designers and brands. It’s a great place to pick up unique gifts and check out cool storefronts – the complex is always hustling and bustling over the weekends with pop-up exhibits and workshops, so even if you don’t buy anything, you never leave empty-handed.