Looking for some day trips from Hong Kong that don’t involve too much hassle? Then you’ve come to the right place!
Contrary to popular belief, Hong Kong is more than just a city with hundreds of towering skyscrapers. In reality, it is made up of more than 200 islands, country parks, hiking trails, beaches and waterfalls…most of them located no more than an hour away from the CBD!
Not venturing off the beaten track and only seeing the most popular attractions is one of the biggest travel mistakes you can make in Hong Kong.
If you’re looking to add even more things to do to your Hong Kong itinerary and truly want to get off the beaten track, read on for 12 fantastic Hong Kong day trips that don’t involve too much hassle and travel time! But first, a quick refresher on basic Hong Kong travel tips!
Quick tips for visiting Hong Kong
✈️ To get into Hong Kong you’ll need to fly into Hong Kong International Airport. A cab from the airport to the city costs approximately HK$350-450 and typically takes less than 45 minutes/1 hour from door-to-door, or you can pre-book your private airport pick up or drop off here.
However, the best way to get to and from the airport is via the Airport Express train. Tickets can be purchased at the station and the train stops in Tsing Yi, Kowloon and Hong Kong Island – it takes just 24 minutes from end to end! Want 20% off your Airport Express ticket? Buy your ticket ahead of time online here! Once you’ve purchased your ticket online, you can use the QR code that they send you to swipe through the special gates equipped with the QR reader.
🛂 Most visitors to Hong Kong do not require a visa for entry. See here for more details.
💱 The local currency is the Hong Kong dollar. Most places accept Visa or Mastercard, and I’d say 40-50% of places will also accept American Express. There are tons of ATM machines around Hong Kong, just make sure you’ve enabled international withdrawal or your card has the “Plus” or “Cirrus” logo on the back.
🎟️ You pretty much never have to pay full price for admissions tickets in Hong Kong as most tour operators, car charters, spas and major attractions are listed on Klook. Just click here and search for places you want to go, and book online for discounted entry or head on over here to read more about how to use Klook to book travel experiences.
📱 Buy a local SIM card. The easiest way to do that is via Klook – you can get a 7 day Hong Kong tourist SIM card and pick it up from the airport on arrival.
🚗 Getting around Hong Kong is easy. Public transportation is efficient, cheap and clean, and the network is very extensive. Taxis are cheap as well if you are in a hurry.
One of the first things you have to do when you arrive in Hong Kong is get an Octopus card. It is a stored value card that works on all public transportation (but not in taxis). You can purchase your tourist Octopus card in advance here – pick it up from the airport when you arrive, and it comes with HK$50 already pre-loaded.
🌤️ Weather in Hong Kong: Hong Kong gets four fairly distinct seasons, and is not a year-round tropical country as many people seem to believe. Summers are sweltering hot and it actually gets fairly cold during the winter months (December to February). The best time to visit Hong Kong for milder weather is from March to early June, and September to November (but avoid the 1st week of May and 1st week of October as the city can get busy during China’s “Golden Week” holidays). Hong Kong weather between July and September can be unpredictable – it is not uncommon for the city to be hit by multiple typhoons during the summer season.
👚 What to wear in Hong Kong: In general, there are no strict dress codes in Hong Kong; however, Hong Kong can still be considered relatively conservative compared to some major Western cities. You should be prepared for stares (from both men and women) if you wear revealing clothing.
During the summer, it can be hot and humid so bring loose fitting, breathable clothing. However, most indoor places blast the air conditioning so it can be freezing cold – you’ll want to have a thin cardigan, sweater or scarf on hand.
During the winter months, it rarely falls below 8-10 degrees Celsius (46-50 Fahrenheit) but because of the humidity it can feel much chillier. If you are visiting from mid-December to mid-March it would be prudent to bring a warm scarf and a thick coat or down jacket.
🌐 Language in Hong Kong: The main language spoken in Hong Kong is Cantonese, a local dialect. Many people speak English (or at least basic English), and almost all signs are bilingual.
🗓️ Wondering how many days to spend in Hong Kong? For a first time visitor looking to visit the top attractions in Hong Kong I would recommend spending no fewer than 3-4 days in the city. If you plan on embarking on any Hong Kong day trips or exploring the city off the beaten track, plan to set aside anywhere from 5-10 days for your Hong Kong itinerary.
🛏️ Booking hotels in Hong Kong: Most visitors opt to book hotels on Hong Kong island or on Kowloon side. Look into hotels in Wan Chai, Central, Soho, Sheung Wan and Causeway Bay for maximum convenience!
There are some fantastic boutique hotels in Hong Kong: I’m a fan of The Fleming (a boutique hotel in Wan Chai which features Hong Kong-inspired design and décor); The Hari (a sophisticated hotel with functional, stylish rooms); Little Tai Hang (a modern, cozy hotel in a quiet neighborhood on the edge of Causeway Bay; Tuve (an industrial-chic boutique hotel in Causeway Bay); Ovolo Central (a funky homegrown hotel in the heart of Central); as well as The Murray (a luxury heritage hotel between Central and Admiralty, within walking distance of Hong Kong Park).
For a full list of things to know before your trip to Hong Kong, head on over here!
1. Cheung Chau Island
Cheung Chau is an easy 30-minute ferry ride away from Hong Kong island and is one of the most popular Hong Kong day trips.
Rich in pirate tales, the island is a quiet escape where fishing boats bob in the harbour and seafood restaurants with traditional checkered tablecloths line the promenade.
Head here to check out one of the easy hiking trails, visit a third-wave coffee shop, sip on a huge watermelon slushie, try your hand at windsurfing and stand up paddleboarding, or simply lie on the long sandy beach.
The ferry to Cheung Chau leaves from Central Pier 5 and the journey takes about 30 minutes if you hop on a fast ferry, and an hour if you get on a slow one. The ferry schedule is available here.
2. Sharp Island
Sharp Island is a fantastic day trip from Hong Kong for geology fans as it is located within Hong Kong’s UNESCO Global Geopark and home to geological spectacles created 140 million years ago.
During low tide, you can walk across the tombolo, but make sure you check the tidal levels as you might end up stranded on the other side if the tide rises!
To get there head to Sai Kung ferry pier from Diamond Hill MTR station. Bus 92 will take you to Sai Kung Town, and there are plenty of ferry operators who travel to Sharp Island; the ride takes about 15-20 minutes.
Wondering where to stay in Hong Kong? You may want to check out TUVE (a small industrial-chic boutique hotel just next to Causeway Bay), Little Tai Hang (a boutique hotel and serviced apartment complex tucked away from the hustle and bustle) or The Fleming (featuring Hong Kong-inspired décor and design in Wan Chai). For even more options click here to book accommodation in Hong Kong.
3. Lamma Island
Lamma Island is home for many Hong Kongers who don’t live on Hong Kong island and is laid-back with a village-feel to it. There are many hiking trails, small beaches and restaurants if you’re looking for a chill weekend spot. Don’t miss out on the tofu dessert on the way over to the power station! More Lamma tips and recommendations here.
The ferries to Lamma leave from pier 4 in Central – you can either head to the main pier at Yung Shue Wan or to the smaller pier at Sok Kwu Wan.
4. Tai Long Wan / Sheung Luk Stream
This is probably my favorite Hong Kong day trip destination for when the weather is warm and sunny. Tai Long Wan means “big wave bay” in Cantonese and this idyllic coastline in Sai Kung occasionally offers some swell for beginner to intermediate surfers.
Most of the time, it is a calm sand-bottom bay that offers a string of pristine beaches (Sai Wan, Ham Tin, Tai Wan and Tung Wan), clean powder-white sand and some small restaurants and shops. You can grab lunch at these restaurants or even rent kayaks, SUP boards or surf boards. Some people even camp overnight!
You can easily travel between beaches on foot – the walk between Sai Wan and Ham Tin beaches is paved and will take you anywhere from 30-45 minutes, just be prepared for a huge incline followed by a breezy downhill stroll.
The path between Ham Tin beach and Tai Wan beach is much shorter and unpaved – the walk will take no more than 10-15 minutes. If you venture even further east then the walk to Tung Wan will take you another 20-30 minutes on foot from Tai Wan beach.
But one of the best parts is the Sheung Luk Stream consecutive pools – one of the most accessible waterfalls in Hong Kong. Tucked away in the jungle behind Tai Long Sai Wan, Sheung Luk Stream is best visited after Hong Kong has experienced rain in the second half of the year.
The water is more likely to be clear/turquoise during this time with running streams. You can jump from the top but I would very much advise against it, as the water levels vary throughout the year and many accidents have happened here.
To get to Tai Long Wan you have a few options. Take the MTR to Diamond Hill or Choi Hung and then either 1) hop in a taxi to go to “Sai Wan Ting” followed by a 45-minute to 1 hour flat hike to the beach (take the path on the right from the pavilion), or 2) hop on bus 92 to Sai Kung Town followed by a small speedboat to Tai Long Wan’s Sai Wan Beach or Ham Tin Beach. Expect to pay HK$150-170 per person, each way. The speedboats mostly run on weekends and public holidays, every hour until about 7 PM in the evening.
To get to Sheung Luk Stream follow the paved path that runs along the backside of Sai Wan beach – keep an eye out for little ribbons tied on trees and bushes marking the way. When you get to a small concrete bridge don’t cross it, instead keep left and go through the jungle. There are no trash bins here so remember to take your rubbish with you when you leave!
Looking for a convenient place to stay in Hong Kong with easy access to the subway system? Look into hotels in Wan Chai, Central, Soho, Sheung Wan and Causeway Bay – click here to book accommodation in Hong Kong!
You may want to check out Ovolo Central (a boutique hotel right above Lan Kwai Fong with a view over Tai Kwun), The Hari (a sophisticated luxury hotel steps away from Wan Chai MTR station) or The Figo (a budget-friendly quirky boutique hotel located between Sai Ying Pun and Sheung Wan).
5. Twin Peaks hike
The challenging Twin Peaks hike (AKA Wilson Trail) will take you from Park View to Stanley and is one of the best Hong Kong day trips for active travelers.
There are some seriously steep sections where you walk uphill for what feels like forever, but once you get to the bottom after 2-3 hours you’ll end up in Stanley where you can grab a beer and some lunch.
To get to the starting point hop in a taxi and ask the driver to take you to “Yeung Ming San Zong”. More details here.
Like Hong Kong, Macau was handed back over to China in the late 1990s and was once a Portuguese colony. Today, it is home to dozens of casinos and is known as the “Vegas of the East”.
It is an easy 1 hour ferry ride away from Hong Kong and you can either stop by for the day or spend a night at one of the hotels, which makes it one of the best weekend getaways from Hong Kong (especially if you don’t feel like hopping on a plane).
During your Macau day trip, don’t skip the ruins of St. Paul’s Church, Senado Square, Mount Fortress or even bungee jump off Macau Tower.
You can get to the Macau ferry terminal by heading to Sheung Wan MTR exit D, and ferries run every hour or so to either Taipa (where most of the newer hotels including the Venetian and City of Dreams are located), or Macau Outer Harbor which is where the historic centre is located.
Getting between the two is easy – there are shuttles or you can hop in a taxi. Click here to get approx. 25% off your Hong Kong to Macau Outer Harbor tickets or click here for your Hong Kong to Taipa ferry tickets! Read more about the best things to do in Macau here.
Remember: Macau is a “Special Administrative Region” which means you will need to bring your passport/travel documents if you are traveling to Macau from Hong Kong.
7. Infinity Pool / Tai O
Tai O is Hong Kong’s “Venice” as the fishing village is on stilts! It is a popular Lantau Island day trip destination and is small, but has managed to maintain its charm with mountains in the back and the ocean in front.
If you are visiting the Big Buddha, then it is a short bus or taxi ride away. The market is filled with dried seafood and other knick knacks, and there are plenty of cha chaan teng (diners) where you can grab lunch.
To get to the infinity pool head towards the pier and cross the bridge on the left. Keep walking for another hour or so and you’ll find yourself at the picturesque Man Cheung Po Infinity Pool.
You can read the hiking directions here, but make sure you do not go swimming in the pool as it supplies fresh water for the neighboring villages.
Ready to book your trip to Hong Kong? Click here for more accommodation options.
Here are some personal tried-and-tested recommendations: I’m a fan of The Fleming (a Hong Kong-inspired boutique hotel in Wan Chai), Little Tai Hang (a modern boutique hotel-slash-aparthotel on the fringe of Causeway Bay) and The Hari (a classy Wan Chai boutique hotel with a fantastic Italian and Japanese restaurant).
8. Suicide Cliff
Another popular hiking trail, Suicide Cliff is named for its dramatic plunging cliffs. The entire trek will take you just over 2.5-3 hours, and offers panoramic views, but make sure you don’t venture too close to the edge as it is dangerous and accidents have happened here!
9. The Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery
The Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery is a Buddhist temple complex located in Sha Tin. If you’re looking for a unique place to visit in Hong Kong and want a cultural travel experience, head to this monastery to visit the temple and one-of-a-kind golden statues (some of which are downright creepy). Plan to spend an hour or so at this temple.
You’ll need to walk 400-or so steps to get up to the temple, but it’s surrounded by jungle (and monkeys) which is downright lovely on a hot day. Because it’s one of the lesser-known Hong Kong day trips it tends to be free of crowds!
10. Dragon’s Back
Probably the most popular of all the hiking trails in Hong Kong, Dragon’s Back is a beginner friendly hike in Hong Kong that offers beautiful views without the struggle. Most of the trail is exposed so you’ll want to bring a hat, water and sunscreen.
It should only take you 2-3 hours to get to the end of the trail at Big Wave Bay beach in Shek O (not to be confused with Tai Long Wan in Sai Kung).
The best time of year to do this hike is during the autumn months, when it is still sunny but much less humid and stuffy.
You might also like: The best easy hiking trails in Hong Kong
11. Shek O Beach and Back Beach
Shek O Village is only 45 minutes away from the CBD but feels like a whole other world. The village is chock full of colourful little houses and buildings, quirky eateries and offers two beaches – the main beach and the dog-friendly back beach.
If you’re looking for a relaxed Hong Kong beach day then head to Shek O Beach or South Bay (instead of Repulse Bay Beach which can get extremely crowded).
You can also venture over to the neighboring Big Wave Bay beach and village, a firm favorite among surfers.
12. Dolphin watching around Lantau
Wildlife lovers will appreciate the rare opportunity to see pink dolphins around Hong Kong. Going on a pink dolphin watching tour is one of the most unique things to do in Hong Kong, but make sure you choose a responsible operator that doesn’t further endanger the wellbeing and survival of these creatures.
Ready to book your trip to Hong Kong? Click here for more accommodation options!
I’m a fan of The Fleming, a Hong Kong-inspired boutique hotel in Wan Chai; Little Tai Hang, a modern boutique hotel on the fringe of Causeway Bay in a peaceful enclave called Tai Hang; and Ovolo Central, a boutique hotel in the urban heart of the city. For an upscale luxury option head to The Murray for stylish furnishings in a heritage building. Here are some other tried-and-tested boutique hotels in Hong Kong for a unique city stay.
I hope this guide to Hong Kong day trips gives you plenty of ideas for how to get out and about in the city, and that you are able to discover different facets of what Hong Kong has to offer.
Headed to Hong Kong? You might also find these helpful:
- Traveling to Hong Kong for the first time? Here are 11 things you should know about Hong Kong before your trip!
- Read this article for even more unusual and off-the-beaten-track things to do in Hong Kong
- Here are some important dos and don’ts in Hong Kong to know
- Foodies will love the culinary scene in Hong Kong. Here are some of my favorite places to eat in Hong Kong
- Still not sure where to stay? These are some tried-and-tested boutique hotels in Hong Kong that you’ll love
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