Hong Kong: Great value for the family abounds in glitzy metropolis

Under five hours from Singapore by air, Hong Kong offers more than high-end shopping malls and theme parks for families looking for adventure, even for those on a shoestring budget.

Hong Kong offers more than high-end shopping malls and theme parks for families looking for adventure. PHOTO: HONG KONG TOURISM BOARD
Affectionately called “ding ding” trams, take a seat on the upper deck for a sightseeing tour of areas like Happy Valley, Wan Chai and Causeway Bay. PHOTO: HONG KONG TOURISM BOARD
Families can take the tram or a leisurely stroll along Peak Circle Walk up to The Peak for breath-taking panoramic views of Victoria Harbour. PHOTO: HONG KONG TOURISM BOARD

We'll let you in on a few secrets to a spectacular budget holiday in the Pearl of the Orient.

Bigger bang for buck

Visiting some of the most interesting places in Hong Kong doesn't have to cost you anything. There's lots to do in the city that is absolutely free - whether you're a history buff, nature lover, or just want to soak in the sights and sounds of this spectacular city.

To market, to market

Besides the multi-label and glitzy shopping malls, traditional markets are still an integral part of Hong Kong life. For example, there is the Mong Kok Goldfish Market, where hundreds of colourful goldfish and aquatic creatures line the walls, a sight that will fascinate both little - and big - kids alike.

Nearby, there is Temple Street Market, Hong Kong's iconic night market that draws visitors seeking to have their fortunes told, or who are hungry for a late night snack. The market also has regular Cantonese Opera performances, giving you a taste of the city's rich cultural heritage.

Light extravaganza

Since 2004, crowds have gathered at the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront and Golden Bauhinia Square Promenade in Wanchai every night to take in the Symphony of Lights, where over 40 key buildings around Victoria Harbour are lit by laser beams, coloured lights and searchlights during the performance, in sync to a lively soundtrack that reflects the vibrancy of Hong Kong.

  • Spend smart

    Be smart with how you spend with our money-saving tips.

  • Transport know-how

    Hong Kong's MTR subway system is easily one of the world's best - it is extremely convenient and very affordable. Get a Tourist Day Pass, which comes with unlimited MTR rides for the day, at just HK$55 (approximately S$9.95) for adults and HK$25 (approximately S$4.50) for children.

    If you need to get between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island, the Star Ferry is an alternative to the MTR, especially peak hours. Costing just HK$2.50 (approximately S$0.45) for adults and HK$1.50 (approximately S$0.27) for kids, it's almost like taking a river cruise round the iconic Victoria Harbour!

    A visit to Hong Kong isn't complete without a tram ride. Affectionately called "ding ding" trams, take a seat on the upper deck for a sightseeing tour of areas like Happy Valley, Wan Chai and Causeway Bay. We reckon everyone in the family will be enthralled by the experience.

  • Treats for the taste buds

    Hong Kong is a foodie's paradise whether you're five or fifty, and you don't even have to spend a fortune.

    Street food is a big part of Hong Kong culture and the renowned Michelin Guide acknowledges that. The culinary giant has added another 23 eateries serving everything from noodles to buns to their recommendation list this year. These eateries join the ranks of Tim Ho Wan, known as the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant, well loved by local and overseas visitors.

    There are also cha chaan tengs like Tsui Wah and Wing Hop Sing, all offering simple but satisfying fare at wallet-friendly prices. Don't forget to order a yin yeung - a mixture of coffee and tea with milk that was invented in the city.

Steeped in culture

Buddhism and Taoism are the two biggest religions in Hong Kong, so it's no surprise that many temples and monasteries dot the island.

Apart from the iconic Wong Tai Sin Temple, and the Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery, don't miss out on the wishing trees at Lam Tsuen in Tai Po where in the past, joss paper was thrown into the tree branches by believers to have their wishes granted.

These days, making a wish is simpler - just tie joss paper on designated wooden racks. Participate in this meaningful activity with the family, wishing for good results for the children, success in careers for mums and dads, and good health for the grandparents.

Take a hike

Hiking is becoming a popular pastime in Hong Kong, thanks to over 300 kilometres of hiking trails all around the island that are suitable for all levels of ability.

A great family-friendly hike is the Dragon's Back Ridge in Chai Wan - an easy walk with few inclines, it brings you up to the picturesque Shek O Peak. Or the Peak Circle Walk where families can take a leisurely stroll along cliff-side 100-year old plank roads and stroller-friendly shady paths up to The Peak for breath-taking panoramic views of Victoria Harbour.

Wonderful Wednesdays

Museums are a great way to experience Hong Kong's history, art and culture, and the best day to visit is on Wednesday, when admission to many museums is free!

The Hong Kong Heritage Museum seeks to preserve Hong Kong's diverse cultures with six permanent galleries; the Hong Kong Museum of History, where visitors can learn about the city's colourful history from over 400 million years ago to the metropolis it is today.

For kids who dream of being space explorers, a trip to the newly-renovated Hong Kong Space Museum will be like a day in paradise, thanks to the many astronomy exhibits, digital planetarium projector and Omnimax shows.

Sweet Deals

Expedia is offering some amazing deals to Hong Kong - check out the sales page here for some of the most wallet-friendly fares in town, and book your flight to Asia's World City today!

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