Top 10 things to do in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is the ultimate urban playground where skyscrapers gleam, night markets hustle, and the cuisine is as diverse and interesting as the population. While it's known as a city of non-stop action and vibrant energy, it also has serene natural attractions that you simply weren't expecting.

Check out our recommendations for an all-round Hong Kong experience that embraces both the known and the unknown.

1. Eat dim sum

When in Hong Kong, eat dim sum until you burst. Three of the best dim sum restaurants are Tim Ho Wan, which has a Michelin star (and affordable prices!); Lin Heung Tea House, an icon that's been doing dim sum since 1926; and Maxim's Palace, where dim sum dishes come with a grand interior with chandeliers and marble floors

2. Call into Kowloon Cultural District

West Kowloon Cultural District in the heart of Hong Kong is a wonderful place to get a slice of Hong Kong culture, from contemporary art exhibitions to live music performances and outdoor festivals. Explore the iconic M+ Museum, stroll through the landscaped gardens or enjoy a show at the Xiqu Centre.

3. Visit Lantau Island to see the Big Buddha

For a day of discovery, catch the Ngong Ping 360 cable car on Lantau Island. The glass bubbles you travel in deliver panoramic views of the island's mountainous scenery. At the peak, a five-minute walk takes you to the base of the Big Buddha - a cultural marvel that draws pilgrims from all over Asia. Then there's only 268 steps to the top - the perfect travel fitness workout.

4. Have a highball in a high place

Sipping a gin and tonic at Ozone in Hong Kong is an unforgettable experience. The panoramic view of the city from the 118th floor is awe-inspiring and the gin menu is inspired. One delicious option is to enjoy a Gin and Tonic Flight, which lets you sample different gins paired with different tonics.

5. Take a hike on the Dragon's Back

One of the best half-day hikes in Hong Kong is the Dragon's Back trail. Named after the undulating ridge that resembles the back of a dragon, it offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, coastline and the South China Sea. It starts from Shek O Road, near the To Tei Wan bus stop, and ends at Big Wave Bay Beach. The trail is just over 8km long and takes around three hours to complete.

6. Have fun at a theme park

Thrill-seekers will be drawn to Ocean Park, where you can scream your way around the rides before catching your breath in the world-class aquarium. Or devote a day to Disneyland Hong Kong, which has classic Disney attractions like It's a Small World and the Mad Hatter Tea Cups, as well as unique rides like the Iron Man Experience and Mystic Manor. If you prefer your fun at a slower speed, bob across Victoria Harbour on a traditional junk boat. With their pirate-like appearance, these weathered looking vessels are a charming way to see the cityscape.

7. Catch the Symphony of Lights

Whether it's by chance or eager planning, you'll probably have the fortune of seeing Hong Kong's Symphony of Lights one evening. The vibrant display will widen your eyes, as colourful skyscraper lights dance to the rhythm of the city. For a clear view, book a harbour boat cruise to catch the show at 8pm - it's on every evening.

8. Ride the world's longest outdoor escalator

Central Mid-level Escalator runs for around 800m and rises over 135m in elevation, from Queen's Road Central up to Conduit Road. Built to ease traffic congestion, it's made of 20 escalators and three inclined moving walkways. The system runs downhill early to mid-morning, to help commuters, then uphill from 10:30am until midnight. Conveniently, the ride goes through a historic district to the Soho dining and nightlife hub.

9. Have a day at the races

The Hong Kong Jockey Club is world-renowned for its horse racing events, which take place at two state-of-the-art tracks: Happy Valley and Sha Tin. The atmosphere is electric, with thousands of fans cheering on their favourite horses. Betting is legal and encouraged, adding to the excitement. Between races, you can enjoy delicious food and drinks at the trackside restaurants and bars.

10. Sail to Hong Kong's secret islands

Sailing around Hong Kong's secret islands on a day trip is one of the most unexpected things you can do for some downtime in the city. Leaving from Aberdeen and Sai Kung, your voyage can include the uninhabited island of Tung Lung Chau and the secluded beaches of Po Toi Island, where you can swim, snorkel and soak up the sun. Other islands worth visiting include the rugged coastline of Sharp Island and the tranquil waters of Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park.

Keep exploring Hong Kong