When traveling to a place, it’s almost always imperative not to miss out on key sights, or you might as well have never gone. Could you say you’ve been to Paris without having seen the Eiffel Tower? to San Francisco without a photo backdropped by the Golden Gate Bridge? to Bolivia without a mirroring image upon the Salt Flats?
We suppose you could, but it’s hardly convincing, even to yourself (admit it).
Should you be stopping by Hong Kong – and for the first time, especially – here are iconic attractions that just have to make it on your checklist (and tips on the cheapest tickets too):
Roller coasters and water slides, massive aquariums and little zoo enclosures, cable car rides and dolphin shows: this iconic Hong Kong theme park has been around 37 years and counting, with little signs of slowing in both growth and surprises. Exciting, entertaining and unfailingly educational, Ocean Park Hong Kong is a place for both children and grown-ups, a go-to during birthdays (fun fact: residents enjoy free entry on their special day), the summer, and any occasions to celebrate. Block off a day or two for this theme park with family or friends, and get to know the festive destination many Hong Kong locals grew up loving.
**Updated ticket prices for 2016**
Regular Ocean Park HK Admission: HKD345 (Adult) / HKD193 (Child, age 3-11)
Disneyland Hong Kong
Not to be missed in any destination is its local Disneyland, and Hong Kong’s is no exception. At home in its own MTR station, Sunny Bay, the Hong Kong theme park is all you would expect from the happiest place on earth: castles and fireworks, kid-friendly rides and shows, and cameo appearances by timeless Disney characters – Mickey and Minnie! – as well as new ones. Be sure to schedule your day around the shows you want to catch, and stick around for the end-of-day parade iconic of every magical Disney trip.
Regular HK Disneyland Admission: HKD539 (Adult) / HKD385 (Child, age 3-11)
There are two surefire ways to see stars in Hong Kong: head to Hong Kong Space Museum Astropark in the faraway countryside of Sai Kung, or head up to the Peak and into Madame Tussauds’ Wax Museum. Stars abound there, we promise: from renowned footballer David Beckham and President Barack Obama, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and icon Audrey Hepburn, to actor Daniel Wu and – yes – Hello Kitty. It’s the closest you’ll get to the stars, you’ve got to admit; not to mention the dozen photo souvenirs to prove it!
Regular Madame Tussauds HK Admission: HKD255 (Adult) / HKD185 (Child, age 3-11/senior, 65+)
Avenue of Stars
Located at the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, the Avenue of Stars is just one of many reasons to make a stop at the area. With star plaques and statues to honor leaders and pioneers of the city’s film industry, the Avenue is something of a modern cultural attraction. The main event, however, would have to be the Hong Kong Island skyline, which most would recognize as a picture-perfect scene off a postcard. How best to enjoy it: walk the entire harbor stretch, from Tsim Sha Tsui Ferry Pier to Hung Hom, and marvel in the views and fresh air of the Victoria Harbour.
Hong Kong has one of the world’s most beautiful skylines, and perhaps the only one that can be viewed from multiple corners with equal grandeur. One such corner is The Peak, with its expansive, awe-inspiring look at the Hong Kong cityscape. Board a Peak Tram – itself a quintessential Hong Kong experience – and head up to the highest, 360-degree viewing deck in the city, Sky Terrace 428, perched at 428 meters above sea level. The views are breathtaking both day and night, so you could go when best suits your itinerary – the only way you’ll miss out is not to go at all!
Ngong Ping 360
Lantau’s ‘Big Buddha’ statue has become more accessible with the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car, best known for its scenic glass-bottom rides en route to the island. The 25-minute journey offers enthralling views of Hong Kong’s greener, more natural side, with undulating mountains and sky all around the capsule. Once in Ngong Ping village, roam the quaint and quiet town as you walk toward the Tian Tan Buddha, also the world’s tallest, outdoor statue of a seated Buddha.
Regular Crystal Cabin, One-Way Tickets: HKD180 (Adult) / HKD125 (Child, age 3-11)
iVenture Discount Card
You can visit most of the above attractions for a cheaper price and with enhanced convenience using the iVenture Sightseeing Pass. Receive up to a 50% discount on popular Hong Kong attractions including Ocean Park, the Peak Tram, sky100 Observation Deck, Ngong Ping 360, Madame Tussauds, Noah’s Ark, the Star Ferry and many more! The card comes with easy reference guides that map out what to do and see in Hong Kong, as well as access to big savings and other special offers. What’s more, the iVenture card is cash-free so you can easily swipe your card to entry into popular Hong Kong attractions without having to line up for tickets. Buy yours here!