Top Ten Things to Do in Hong Kong with Kids
We’ve spent quite a bit of time in Hong Kong by now – it’s actually a great place to visit with kids — and yet I’ve barely written about it. So, in the spirit of public service, here are my top picks for things to do in Hong Kong with kids.
Go to Ocean Park
In a stunning location, spread over cliffs and beaches, with rides stretching out over the water, Ocean Park is one of my favourite theme parks EVAH. There’s high-adrenaline action for all ages – epic coasters, a mine train that soars down over the sea, a stellar log flume – as well as animals, acrobats and mini-rides for the littlies, making this my number one pick for things for kids to do in Hong Kong. Families with very young children might want to opt for Disneyland instead.
Take a Ferry Across the Harbour
Hong Kong’s high tech, highlit harbourfront is wonderful, and a harbour tour is the best way for adults and children alike get to grips with Hong Kong’s complicated, multi-island geography. You can book traditional junk cruises if you like, but it’s much cheaper just to pay a couple of bucks to take the ferry to where you’re headed.
Head to the Science Museum
Hong Kong’s Science Museum is absolutely fantastic for kids, and it will be hard to drag even adults out of the optical illusion playground in the basement. Interactivity runs throughout all the displays – whether that’s manning an old telephone switchboard or getting a handle on physics – there are excellent workshops, and it’s a place that repays multiple visits (ideally on a weekly Museum Pass).
Go to the Space Museum
Space-obsessed kids and science geeks of all ages will LOVE the Hong Kong Space Museum, in an iconic building on the waterfront. Things for kids to do include piloting a moon lander, riding a gyroscopic astronaut training machine, and a welter of great simulations.
Feed Your Face!
Hong Kong’s multicultural heritage makes the city a foodie playground. Hong Kong style dim sum is a must; it’s hard to go wrong with curries in the grimy chaos of Mirador and Chungking Mansions. Or splash out on an extravagant seafood hotel buffet, pick from the massive, international selection at any of the malls, or investigate Michelin-starred cuisine at any one of a welter of high-end eateries.
Be a Mall-Rat
One of the joys of urban Asia are the fantastic, enormous, high-tech malls, and Hong Kong does malls even better than Singapore. CityPlaza is a popular choice for families; we like Elements, an enormous blingy affair that offers an ice rink, gaming, a multiplex cinema and stunning architecture.
Grab a Bit of History
Hong Kong is a great city for museums, and the Hong Kong Museum of History is a must-visit. From enormous dioramas of prehistoric Hong Kong through to replica junks, models of traditional lifestyles, colonial era photography and exhibits on the Opium Wars and World War II, there are things for kids of all ages here.
Ride the Peak Tram
It’s hard not to love a funicular. But do wait for one of Hong Kong’s rare clear days before taking the kids on the tram up to the Peak. The 125-year-old funicular railway runs all the way to the highest point in Hong Kong, it’s one of the classic things to do with kids in Hong Kong, and the views can be absolutely stellar.
See the Giant Buddha
The giant seated Buddha at Po Lin, on Lantau Island, stands an impressive 34 metres tall, all in bronze, and is a magnet for pilgrims. He’s at his most dazzling at night, but pretty impressive during the day, and the monastery has a vegetarian restaurant to boot.
Catch Some Art
Conveniently pocket-sized, the Hong Kong Museum of Art provides a lovely walkthrough of Chinese art through the ages, from calligraphy and painting through to contemporary Chinese art from both the mainland and Hong Kong. It’s a great introduction for older children.
Where to Stay?
We love the buzz and crazy of Hong Kong’s commercial district, TST (Tsim Sha Tsui). The Regal Kowloon, in the heart of TST, a few metres from the harbourfront and museums, checks a lot of boxes: rooms sized for families come in at under $100 on Agoda.com. The spiffy YMCA Salisbury has a waterfront location that’s hard to beat, and family rooms with multiple bed options, but gets booked up aeons in advance and is, IMO, overpriced.
If you’ve won the lottery, then the landmark Peninsula Hotel is absolutely the place to stay. Budget accommodation in Hong Kong is uniformly cramped and often windowless: we like the Kung Fu Garden Hostel because the kung fu studio and the balcony provide a rare and welcome sense of space, and the HK$200 room price is hard to beat.
Image credit: Tian Tan Buddha, Lantau Island, Hong Kong by Jon.