Hong Kong on a budget: How to still enjoy this amazing city as a backpacker!

Hong Kong has been high on the list for many years, but being half the world away and famously costing a fortune to visit has put us off in the past. But being in the region after travelling through China for a month we had the perfect opportunity to pass through and see this wonderful city without breaking the bank! Hong Kong despite being an expensive place in general terms is actually packed full of things to do for free or very cheap and unlike China they don’t charge for absolutely everything!! Here is a run down of the best Hong Kong attractions: places to visit in Hong Kong on a budget!

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Places to visit in Hong Kong on a budget!

Take the tram up to Victoria Peak for unforgettable views

Heading up to the summit of this famous peak might not strike you as a budget friendly thing to do. We thought that it might just be one of those things you have to do and were prepared to spend a little on it. However arriving at the old peak tram station we were pleasantly surprised to discover a round trip would set up back around £4 each…bargain! For us this is the top of our Hong Kong attractions list!

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Photobombed by the overly serious guy behind us!

Trundling up the steep tracks of the Manchester made tram you can feel the history of this place, how the industry of the United Kingdom came over here and created this meeting place of world. Many before have made this extraordinary trip to the cities most famous mountain and I imagine non of them left disappointed! We decided to forgo the extra £4 each to go right to the platform and instead enjoyed the same views from just below!! This has to be one of the best places to visit in Hong Kong on a budget!

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Sail across Victoria Harbour on the famous Star Ferry

Yet another must do in Hong Kong and thankfully one of the cheapest things you can do in the city. The star ferry has been taking people over from Kowloon to Hong Kong island for 1888 and is an institution of the city. The Short ferry ride is a delightful way to mingle with locals and see the harbour from sea level. Cruising across the waters towards the impressive skyscrapers of Downtown Hong Kong island. For only HK$2.50 / HK $2 (on the way back), which works out to be around £0.50 for the round trip you really can’t complain! Yet another must of the best Hong Kong attractions and probably the best value places to visit in Hong Kong on a budget!

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Go hiking along the Dragon’s back Ridge

Hong Kong might be famous for its skyline, flashing lights, crowds and craziness but many people don’t realise much of the territory is mountainous rural terrain. Heading out of the city for a day can provide the perfect antidote to the chaos of Kowloon and the business oriented downtown area. One of the best hikes on offer is the Dragon’s Back ridge which traverses several peaks over a 4 hour journey. Despite the dramatic height in which you find yourself the hike itself is actually quite easy and a pleasant day out in the hills. Whether you pick this one or many of the other hikes getting out into the mountains is a must do on our Hong Kong attractions list!

The cost of the hike itself is free but you have to take both the ferry to HK island (HK$2.50), The metro to Shau Kei Wan (HK$9 ) then a mini bus to Shek O (for HK$8). These prices are for each way. For each of us it cost HK$38.50, which is about £4.00! 

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Hang out at the beach!

Hong Kong is also full of beaches, head out onto the islands and you have your choice of amazing beaches to visit. From secluded areas to more popular ones with cafes, life guards and changing rooms you can take your pick. We decided to  head down to “Big Wave Bay” which  was conveniently at the end of our Dragon’s back hike. Here you can wander around a little surfers village and completely forget that you are in Hong Kong, its quite surreal. The waves here are also pretty good and surf boards and wetsuits can be hired out for a great price all year round! Not often the first thing that comes to mind with Hong Kong attractions but most definitely one of the best! I mean, handing out at the beach all day, that has to top the places to visit in Hong Kong on a budget!

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Step back in time at the Man Mo temple

One of the oldest buildings in the city this temple pre-dates everything around it and is a slice of pre-colonial Hong Kong. This intoxicating temple is full to the brim with burning incense, more than I have ever seen in such a small space! Dating back to 1847 the building is now listed and protected and offers an oasis of tranquility in the sea of modernity that is Hong Kong. The temple is free to visit and even incense sticks here are free to burn with just a small suggested donation… but with the number that were already burning your eyes will be watering without adding any more!! Paying nothing for such a beautiful and historic place has to be one of the most value places to visit in Hong Kong on a budget!

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Stroll around the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade at night

The Tsim Sha Tsui promenade offers a walkway along the harbour and across to Hong Kong island and the famous skyline of this wonderful city. At night this area comes (even more) alive with the skyline beautifully lit up and reflecting in the waters it overlooks. Each night at 8pm there is also a light show, this is when the city really does feel like a theme park, but standing here with the lights and sounds really makes you feel at the heart of something special! Just around here you will also find the statue of Bruce Lee…and all for free! It was standing here with our big bags as we searched around for our hostel when, even exhausted and hungry, we completely fell in love with Hong Kong!

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Explore the chaotic markets

Hong Kong has some crazy markets and most of them come to life at night. The famous night markets are a place in which you can sample amazing and cheap food from all over Asia as well as bartering hard for pretty much anything you could ever imagine! Electronics, art, souvenirs and all sorts of weird and wacky bits and bats will keep you entertained for hours even if you don’t buy anything! Head over to the Temple Street Night Markets for some of the best in the city!

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Walk around the old district of Hong Kong and take in the unique culture

Hong Kong on the surface might appear to be a modern bustling city made up of glass sky scrapers and air conditioned malls. But look a little further and you can find the “Old Hong Kong”, the bamboo scaffolding, maze like “mansions” and fascinating mixture of Chinese and British culture. Being from the UK we found this really quite strange and welcoming  at the same time, but really loved the city because of how unique this made it. We also discovered some world class graffiti and great little shops in these areas. But the best thing to do in Hong Kong for sure is to just explore on foot and get lost in the chaos!

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We’ll be back!

We will be back to Hong Kong for sure, we totally fell in love and have even been talking about living there for a while!

Have you visited Hong Kong, what are your must do Hong Kong attractions?

See more from this country:

HONG KONG

See more from our backpacking adventures:

ASIA LEG

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Nicola Hilditch-Short

Nic is one half of the Roaming Renegades, a passionate traveller, climber, adventurer, photographer and artist who has a B.A in Fine Art and M.A in Design & Art Direction.
  • Lauren Craving Sunshine

    I had no idea there were beaches like that in Hong Kong! I think any city you can find cheap things to do as long as you look beyond the usual tourist traps.

    • Yes that is true, it really surprised us in an expensive city how much there is to do for cheap!

  • Lara Dunning

    These are some great budget-friendly options. I’d be up for the tram, hike, and ferry!

  • Adelheid Sudibyo

    I’ve been to Hong Kong for a few days. It was really nice there, but it was expensive. I couldn’t stay much longer. I really wished I knew about your tips. I will do these things if I go back!

    • Yes it is very expensive, that is the only thing we didn’t like to be honest. But there is a lot to do for cheap too if you look carefully!

  • Oh wow, I never thought about hiking! All great suggestions. I love Hong Kong. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Lauren @BonVoyageLauren

    Hong Kong on a budget?! That’s possible! You guys are awesome, always love your tips. Hong Kong is definitely on my list so I’m bookmarking for the future. Happy travels 🙂