Hong Kong is a vibrant, exciting city that has so much to offer visitors, it's difficult to resist dropping everything and flying off this very minute. If you're worried about missing out on Hong Kong's highlights, here's some help to make the best of a visit to Hong Kong with your family, even if you're strapped for time.
Thrills and spills
Theme parks have a variety of activities that could keep everyone in the family entertained for a whole day and more. At Ocean Park, visitors can interact with koalas, or watch Ying Ying and Le Le, the Park's resident giant pandas, lounge around in their bamboo forest home. Thrill-seekers will love the extreme rides, and the multimedia extravaganza night show Symbio - featuring fire, water, pyrotechnics and animation - is definitely a crowd favourite.
For Disney Fans, you can't go wrong with Hong Kong Disneyland where crowd-favourites Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, and Buzz Lightyear will awaken the kid in you, whether you're 5, 10, or 50 years old. The park celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2016, with exciting new shows, activities and merchandise for everyone in the family. There's the new Fairy Tale Forest, a whimsical Garden with living storybooks of all Disney's classic tales, and the new Mickey and the Wondrous Book show where you follow Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Olaf on an epic adventure. There's also a nightly Disney in the Stars fireworks show, complete with a new castle projection show featuring all your favorite characters.
Make the best of your trip to Hong Kong with these time-saving tips.
Stay near an MTR station
Minimise commuting time by staying near an MTR station - this is the easiest way to get around Hong Kong, especially for families who may not be able to fit into one taxi or car. While there are a number of MTR lines, staying along the Tsuen Wan and Island lines is the most convenient as most of the popular tourist attractions can be found along these lines.
Avoid travelling during peak hours
While taking the train is a great idea, do plan your commute around the off-peak hours to avoid the squeeze and stress of crowded stations. Start the day extra early with a morning activity like watching seniors as they practise taichi in the park, or heading to a church like the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception for the dawn mass. That way, you can also grab breakfast before the locals start their work day.
Get an Octopus Card
Don't waste time queueing to buy MTR tickets for every journey. Get the Tourist Day Pass, which gives you unlimited MTR travel for the day. There's also the Tourist Octopus Card - a reloadable card that you can top-up and use to pay for the MTR, buses, ferries, and even at convenience stores and supermarkets to save you time when you're on the move. It also saves you the trouble of scrambling to make sure you have small change to pay for transport fares. They are available at most convenience stores and MTR stations.
Buy tickets online
Avoid long lines at attractions by buying your tickets online. Many attractions allow you to pre-purchase entrance tickets online - just print them out for fast-track entry into the attraction for the whole family. You could also ask your hotel concierge to arrange the tickets for you.
Experience a blend of past and present
PMQ was once the campus of Queen's College that educated business tycoons, and then the Police Married Quarters that housed police officers in the 1950s. Revitalised in 2009, the building has been transformed into a hub with local designer boutiques studios, and shops that stock unique homeware. For something more interactive, mum can attend a jewellery-making or Japanese ikebana floral arrangement workshop, while dad and kids whip up a feast at a cooking class!
Scale The Peak
The Peak stands at the highest point of Hong Kong Island, and provides an unfettered view of the city's spectacular cityscape. The best way to begin the journey is to take the Peak Tram, which has been in operation since 1888, bringing visitors up slopes to the summit. Up on The Peak, you can visit The Peak Galleria's observation deck to watch scenes from the bustling Victoria Harbour unfold at a distance.
Go cafe hopping - HK style
No matter which part of Hong Kong you're in, you won't be very far from a Hong Kong cafe, or a cha chaan teng. A quintessential part of local food culture, these earthy cafes serve everything from snacks like French toast and bolo buns, to simple meals of instant noodles or macaroni topped with luncheon meat or grilled chicken - we guarantee you'll find something to satisfy the tastebuds of even the pickiest eater in your family. Wash your meal down with a silky yin yeung (a mix of coffee and tea with milk) or the classic milk tea.
Get a bird's-eye view
Lantau Island's Big Buddha is one of Hong Kong's most iconic landmarks, and getting there via the Ngong Ping cable car allows visitors to have another unique experience. Choosing the Crystal Cabin, with its clear glass bottom, provides a whole new vantage point that the kids will be thrilled with, thanks to the blue waters and lush greenery right under their feet.
Don't forget to look out the window of your cable car to take in breathtaking scenes of the surrounding land and sea - the views are one of the best in Hong Kong. And when you're at Ngong Ping Village, take the opportunity to visit the iconic Big Buddha or gather words of wisdom along the Wisdom Path, which has 38 wooden steles adorned with verses from the Heart Sutra.
Arts in our everyday life
All through March, during the Hong Kong Arts Month, you will be treated to a variety of arts related activities around the city. Enjoy the vibrant local arts scene during your daily commute or rediscover street art hiding in plain sight around the city centre of Hong Kong. Affectionately known as "art tube" near Entrance/Exit J of MTR Central Station - this mini art gallery showcases works exploring art and the cultural heritage of Hong Kong.
The latest exhibition "Art @MTR" features 13 sets of art pieces created by resident artists from the Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre. Also head up to the SoHo area, where you can explore and capture colourful street art found on the walls along Hollywood Road and explore 25 flights of imaginative stair paintings across PMQ called "Hong Kong on Steps".