Inspiration Destinations Hong Kong 6 Surprising Things to Do in Hong Kong 

6 Surprising Things to Do in Hong Kong 

City view of Hong Kong, where you can do these 6 surprising things.

Already ticked-off the tourist trails? Discover the beachy islands, heritage buildings and family-friendly outings this dynamic city has hidden past the harbour.

A lifetime in Hong Kong might not be enough to unveil all its hidden treasures. From nearby tropical beach escapes to indoor roller-skating arenas, a mountain of abandoned deities, and paddling across Victoria Harbour, this eclectic and vibrant city has plenty to discover beyond Disneyland and the Peak Tram. Read on to discover Hong Kong's less-trodden destinations and offbeat activities that will take you beyond the brochure. 

Tai Kwun: former prison-turned-gallery  

Earning an UNESCO Award of Excellence for cultural heritage conservation, Tai Kwun is considered Hong Kong’s heritage heart. Formerly a police station and prison, this century-old collection of colonial-era blocks now hosts a wealth of rotating art exhibits, performances and historical tours. Guests can peruse the 16 lovingly restored buildings, including the former Victoria Prison and Central Magistracy, as well as the two newly built JC buildings. Permanent installations include artefacts and stories from the former prison and past programs span from book fairs to independent films, surrealist sculpture work and artist spotlights. 

Lamma Island: a tropical escape just 30 minutes by ferry 

Hung Shing Yeh beach, one of 6 surprising things to do in Hong Kong.
Hung Shing Yeh beach.

Lamma Island, just a 30-minute ferry from Central, is a far departure from the city’s hustle and bustle. Famous for its bohemian atmosphere, indie boutiques and boatload of beaches, urbanites can spend valuable chill time on hiking trails along the coast, exploring WWII-era caves, or heading to Lamma Fisherfolk’s Village to learn about the island’s maritime history. Or, you can spend lazy days lounging on the gentle curve of Hung Shing Yeh Beach, barbecue sizzling away, enjoying some quiet time away from the city lights.  

Pedal boating: glide along the Wanchai Waterfront on Victoria Harbour  

Victoria Harbour is a must-do on any Hong Kong itinerary and a paddle along its banks is one of the best ways to get an intimate view of the sights. Head to the Wanchai Harborfront to find a flock of white and yellow duck paddle boats. From here you can waddle the waters at your own speed while taking in Victoria Harborside vistas.  

Bun’s 2020: Hong Kong’s largest indoor roller-skating rink 

With 20,000 feet of rolling room, Bun’s 2020 is a skater's dream. Located in Quarry Bay, this 80’s themed roller-rink is Hong Kong’s largest and makes for some unconventional family fun. Veteran skaters and beginners alike can meet under the disco ball for hours of skating before fueling up with food and drinks at the kiosk. First-timers can also opt for a skating crash course or private classes to hone their skills.

‘Little Salt Pan’ Island (Yim Tin Tsai): the city’s last remaining salt farm  

'Little Salt Pan’ Island (Yim Tin Tsai), one of 6 surprising things to do in Hong Kong.
Yim Tin Tsai.

This historic island just off the Sai Kung pier is Hong Kong’s last salt farm. The indigenous Hakka people have kept the traditional methods of salt farming alive for history-buffs to explore, having been recognised by UNESCO for their conservation efforts. The remaining farms and cultural centres provide an authentic look into this important part of Hong Kong’s industrial history – walks along the island also bear insight into the way of life for locals during its peak in the late 19th century.  

A Sky Full of Gods and Buddhas: a hillside full of religious statues 

At the foothills of Wah Fu Estate’s Waterfall Bay lies a thousand-strong collection of preloved religious statues. Locals believe that bad fortune comes to those who throw away a statue of a deity, so for over 30 years, Mr Wong Wing-Pong has anointed himself the custodian of this hillside ‘retirement home for the gods.’ This marvel is worth the descent alone, but the stunning banyan trees and views of the South China Sea from Waterfall Bay are an equal blessing.  

Looking for more inspiration? Uncover Hong Kong’s best drinking dens and beautiful bars with our guide to The Best 10 Bars in Hong Kong for 2023 

About Sofia Calvert
Travel and lifestyle writer → born in Australia, raised in Asia and the South Pacific. Loves craft cocktails and long walks to the hotel pool.

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