On a recent trip to Hong Kong, we decided to spend half our time on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong and the other half on Hong Kong Island. There are a ton of things to do in Kowloon and it made sense to spend at least 2 nights in Kowloon before heading over to Hong Kong Island. When planning out your Hong Kong itinerary make sure to spend some time in Kowloon and here’s why!
Things To Do In Kowloon
$1 USD = $8 HK
Eat Dim Sum At Tim Ho Wan
Dim Sum in Hong Kong is a must and some of the best Dim Sum in Hong Kong is at Tim Ho Wan it’s even earned a Michelin star. It’s often referred to as the world’s cheapest Michelin-star restaurant. Food in Hong Kong can be very pricey, but Dim Sum is always super affordable and tasty. There are several Tim Ho Wan locations throughout Hong Kong, thankfully the original location was on the Kowloon side only short a taxi ride from our hotel The Luxe Manor. Read Trip Advisor reviews here.
We suggest this Dim Sum tour it’s only $26, you’ll get stuffed of the best Dim Sum in Hong Kong and the local guide will give you local tips on other great Dim Sum restaurants in Hong Kong.
Hike Lion Rock Peak
The best view of Hong Kong requires a workout and some sweat but the views are so worth it. Lion’s rock is one of the most recognizable natural landmarks in Hong Kong and stands at 1,600 feet above the ground. Once at the top of the peak of Lion’s Rock, you’ll be looking over all of Hong Kong, no view will compare. The hike took us 2.5 hours round trip (from the start of the trail) but most guidebooks say 4 hours as they say to start hiking from the MTR station. We highly suggest taking a taxi from Diamond Hill MTR station to the start of the trail, it costs us $30HK each way. The path is quite easy to hike, we saw people of all ages hiking some with canes, some with dogs, and even several children under the age of 5. Make sure to bring enough water, the Hong Kong heat is no joke.
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Take The Star Ferry
The #2 thing to do in Hong Kong (according to many guidebooks) and it only costs $2.50HK! The best way to get from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island or vice versa is on the Star Ferry. Our favorite time of the day to ride the Star ferry at night, love seeing the Hong Kong skyline from the ferry. The Star Ferry runs every day 7:20 am -10:50 pm from Tsim Sha Tsui to Wanchai every 8-20 minutes, depends on the time of day. The last ferry from Wanchai to Tsim Shai Tsui is at 11:00 pm.
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Hello Kitty Cafe
Dim Sum with a twist! Head to the Hello Kitty Cafe for one of the cutest things to do in Kowloon. Don’t expect Tim Ho Wan flavors, the dim sum at the Hello Kitty Cafe is pretty good but it’s the presentation that makes it amazing. Head here for a quick snack, read trip advisor reviews here.
Hong Kong Skyline
One of our absolute favorite things to do in Kowloon is to see the Hong Kong island skyline. No other city’s skyline compares to Hong Kong. The skyline can be seen throughout Kowloon but the best views of the Hong Kong skyline are at the Victoria Harbour. If you are looking for a cheap way to spend a few hours in the evening in Kowloon, grab a bottle of wine or some beers and snacks and head to the harbour and enjoy the views.
Consider taking a cruise in Victora Harbour at night for one of the best views of Hong Kong’s skyline. We’d suggest this $25 Aqua Luna evening cruise in Victoria Harbour. This 45-minute cruise is totally worth it and it comes with a cocktail, which makes it totally worth considering drinks in Hong Kong aren’t cheap.
Note: The 2nd level viewing platform closes at 11:00 pm, so get your pictures before then, they will actually kick you out, trust us.
Address: See Map
Victoria Harbour is amazing night and day but it really shines at night. The best place to view the skyline is on the Kowloon side at the Victoria Harbour. Stop at a 7-11 grab a snack and a few drinks for one of the cheap things to do in Hong Kong. Hong Kong has been listed as the world’s worst city for light pollution, therefore the Hong Kong lights will start to go out at around 11 p.m.
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Hong Kong Light Show – Symphony of Lights
Every night at 8 p.m. head to Victoria Harbour for the Symphony of Lights show. Over 40 buildings on both sides of the harbour light up for the show. Colored lights, laser beams are synchronized to music putting on one heck of a free show. The show has been named the ‘World’s Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show’ by Guinness World Records. Head to the Hong Kong cultural center on the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront to hear the music. The light show lasts 13 minutes so a quick and free thing to do in Kowloon.
To ensure a good viewing spot get on the Aqua Luna Symphony of Lights cruise for only $38 which includes a drink.
Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple
The best temple in Kowloon is the Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple, which is home to three religions: Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. The temple is super easy to get to via the MTR, its just steps outside the Wong Tai Sin MTR station.
Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden
In the middle of the bustling city is a gorgeous public garden. Take a stroll through the nunnery and garden and you’ll forget you’re in the middle of Hong Kong. The Chi Lin Nunnery includes lotus ponds, a large temple with some amazing wooden architecture, and several Buddhist statues.
There are tons of markets in Hong Kong but these are the must-see Kowloon markets. Most of them you can just walk from one another to the other.
A goldfish market sounds strange, doesn’t it??? But those in to Feng Shui believe goldfish are more than cute creatures but a great addition to their homes that can bring good luck. Who doesn’t love goldfish? The goldfish market in Kowloon sells not only goldfish but several other types of fish, tropical fish, live corals, and even some reptiles too. Bags of goldfish are literally clothes pinned up to doors for sale, but make sure you wander into some of the saltwater fish shops the price tags will leave you in shock.
Temple Street Night Market
After watching the Hong Kong light show Symphony of lights head to the Temple Street night market, the best night market in Kowloon. This market has all the usual goods: selfie sticks, watches, hats, antiques, etc. but what makes it different is the fortune tellers and opera singers. If you’re on a budget the market is a great place to get a cheap dinner in Hong Kong.
Address: Temple Street, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon
Get lost in the ladies market, there are over 100 stalls in this 1km stretch of vendors. As the name suggests there will be ladies clothing & accessories but also the typical souvenirs. Bring your ‘A’ game of haggling skills, remember everything in the market is negotiable.
Drink At Worlds Highest Bar
Head up to the 118th floor of the Ritz-Carlton hotel to Ozone, the world’s tallest bar at 1,588 feet above the ground. Go up for one drink during sunset or during the Hong Kong light show, try and get a seat by the windows looking out to the harbour. I say 1 drink because the cheapest thing on the menu is a soda for $95 HK, we each ordered a cocktail at $200HK.
Address: 118th Floor, The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong | International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Road West, Hong Kong
Hotels In Kowloon
Picking the right Kowloon hotel is very important and tricky at the same time. There are 815 Hong Kong hotels on Agoda.com. First list out all the things to do in Kowloon that is a must and chose a hotel that is easily accessible to most of your Kowloon points of interest or an MTR station. When looking at hotels in Hong Kong you will notice very quickly they aren’t cheap and space is limited in Hong Kong. Rooms can be very very tiny, so make sure to read all the details about a hotel before booking.
There are also hundreds of Hong Kong Airbnb listings that are a fraction of the prices than Hong Kong hotels. Not only will it be cheaper to stay in an Airbnb but you can also save money by renting an entire apartment you’ll have a kitchen to make a meal or two.
Airbnb first-timers, if you sign up through my referral link you get $40 credit when you book your first trip! –>> sign up here!
We stayed at The Luxe Manor which was located in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsu and only a few minutes walk to the MTR, which easily connected us to all the things to do in Hong Kong. Our room was huge for Hong Kong standards, with fun boutique style rooms, huge bathroom, and a big free breakfast buffet. One of the most popular cheap places to stay in Hong Kong is the Chungking Mansions rooms are as small as 43 square feet, just think about that…well that’s what $30 a night in Hong Kong will get you.
Best Places To Stay In Hong Kong
We spent half our time in Kowloon hotels and the other half in Hong Kong Island hotels. We recommend the following hotels in Hong Kong as we personally stayed there:
- Budget Prices: Central Mini Hotel | Agoda | Booking.com |TripAdvisor Reviews
- Midrange Prices Hotel Jen | Agoda | Booking.com |TripAdvisor Reviews
- Luxury Hotel: Hotel Pottinger | Agoda | Booking.com |TripAdvisor Reviews
- Boutique Hotel: The Luxe Manor | Agoda | Booking.com |TripAdvisor Reviews
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Have you traveled to Kowloon? What are your favorite things to do in Kowloon?
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