What can you do for free as a tourist in Hong Kong? Is that even possible in this world’s most expensive city? How much you need to spend on sightseeing or is it expensive to travel and do all the sightseeing?

Hong Kong is such a place where you can easily spend a fortune within a blink but also get a deep insight of the city with very little cost. It all depends on your own expectations, habits, preferences, budget and spending behaviours.

To my opinion, Hong Kong is very affordable and budget-friendly when it comes to sightseeing. The most popular highlights, such as Victoria Harbour, Victoria Peak, Street Markets, temples, museums, are all free of charge. Many other attractions have a very low ticket price or entrance fee.

No matter you are backpacking, planning a family vacation or even having a business trip, there are plenty of places to see and things to do in Hong Kong without spending a fortune. Here are some of the budget-friendly travel tips and top 22 things to do for free in Hong Kong.

Top Free Things to Do in Hong Kong for Budget Travelling

Amazing Free Things to Do in Hong Kong for Budget Travelling

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Hong Kong has lots to offer even if you don’t plan to spend much. No matter if you like history, culture, arts, architecture, nature, photography, nightlife or fun thrilling action, there is something for everyone. In fact, no matter you are budget traveller or not, the following attractions are important and need to be added in the itinerary.

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Free Amazing day views from Victoria Peak Hong Kong

Victoria Peak offers spectacular views over the city

Victoria Peak, or locally referred to as “The Peak”, ranks undoubtedly number one on the list of must-see attractions. If one says Hong Kong’s best attraction is her skyline, then Victoria Peak is one of the best places to enjoy the view.

Even if you have no clue of what to do or just have a few hours in the city, enjoying the spectacular views of the city, its harbours and surrounding islands from The Peak should not be missed. Like the tourists say “if you haven’t been up to The Peak, you haven’t been to Hong Kong”.

The Day View of Hong Kong from Victoria Peak

The Day View from Victoria Peak

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There are plenty of ways for getting up to Victoria Peak with various cost, by Peak Tram, by bus, by taxi or even hiking

  • Free option: Hiking up to the Peak takes around 2 to 3 hours throughout 3.8km steep slopes. Check out more details of hiking route.

  • Economical option: Bus 15 is the most economic option to The Peak, which costs around HK$ 10 for the 45-min ride on the winding roads.

  • The Peak Tram on Victoria Peak Hong KongUpgrade option: Peak Tram is the most popular way for most tourists. Being the oldest public transport system in Hong Kong, The Peak Tram brings passengers to the Peak within 10 minutes along with great views.

    However, be prepared for the long waiting line of Peak Tram. Try to avoid weekends and holidays if possible. Otherwise, it’s better to get there earlier in the morning or thigh lace up heels.

Read more about Victoria Peak
how to get to the Victoria Peak, what else you can do on the Peak

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Amazing free Day View of Victoria Harbour Hong Kong

Day View of Victoria Harbour

Victoria Harbour is the icon of Hong Kong and the top of must-go attractions, from where you can enjoy the pretty harbour view, the amazing skyline, highly concentrated skyscrapers and the giant cruise ships passing by.

No matter you love the IFC 2, Bank of China Tower or HSBC Building on Hong Kong Island, or the ICC and the ONE on Kowloon side, both sides nowadays have many fabled landmark buildings standing. Coming here at day or night are both great.

Besides, the nightly “A Symphony of Lights” along Victoria Harbour is another free highlight for many tourists.

Free spectacular night views of Victoria Harbour Hong Kong

Night View of Victoria Harbour

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The views of Victoria Harbour can be enjoyed from the harbourfront of both Kowloon and Hong Kong Island or on board of ferries or boats on the harbour.

  • Free option: Walking along the Victoria Harbour promenade is for free. The best places are the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront, new Avenue of Stars, Tamar Park, Central waterfront as well as Golden Bauhinia Square.

  • Star Ferry in Tsim Sha Tsui Pier Hong KongEconomical option: Enjoying Victoria Harbour on a ferry ride with views from both sides is definitely a must-do. Star Ferry is not only the historic public transportation, but also a cheap and relaxed way to enjoy Victoria Harbour on board. The ferry ride costs less than HK$ 4 for a 10 to 15 minute journey.

  • Upgrade option: Victoria Harbour Tours offered by various operators give you a longer trip on the harbour covering further areas that Star Ferry will not reach within the 10-minute ride.

    Aqua Luna Harbour Tour on Victoria Harbour Hong KongNo matter sailing on one of iconic traditional junk boats, historical Star Ferry, or the luxury Yacht boats, it will undoubtedly be your unforgettable memory.

    The prices of Harbour Tours vary due to the vessel type, tour time (day or night), duration (45min to 3 hours), including dinner or not , etc. Prices start from HK$ 140 to several hundreds HKD. Discounts are available for online booking.

Read more about Victoria Harbour
Best ways to enjoy Victoria Harbour and how to get there.

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Free visit of Man Mo Temple

Man Mo Temple on Hollywood Road

Despite the long history between Britain and Hong Kong, you will be amazed at how much Chinese culture and traditional religions you can still find here. All the temples and monasteries are free for entry and welcome every visitor.

Amongst all the temples, the top three most-visited by tourists (also easily manageable) are:

  • Wong Tai Sin Temple in Wong Tai Sin (Kowloon):
    Wong Tai Sin Temple in Kowloon is famous for its wish-come-true legend. The temple itself has very Chinese-style architectures with grand red pillars, multi-colored carvings as well as yellow latticework.

  • Man Mo Temple in Sheung Wan;
    Man Mo Temple is a small temple on Hollywood Road built at the very beginning of the British colonial time. The two gods Man and Mo are perfectly representing the balance and harmony of Taoism.

  • Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island:
    Po Lin Monastery is Hong Kong’s biggest Buddhist temple. Together with Tian Tan Buddha, they are one of the top 10 tourist destinations.

Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island

Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island

Read more about traditional temples in Hong Kong
which temples worth paying a visit?.

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Street Market in Hong Kong

Hunt and bargain at a street market

Representing hustle and bustle culture, thigh lace up heels has been featured in many Hollywood movies. Visiting Street Market and the nearby areas is a great way to dive into Hong Kong’s urban life.

There are various street markets in different locations, carrying from clothes, antiques, flowers, gold fish, electronics, jade to hand-made accessories, toys to fresh vegetables and fruits. For tourists, the most popular street markets are:

  • Ladies Market in Mongkok (Kowloon):
    Ladies Market is well known for inexpensive bargain-priced clothes, accessories, bags, souvenirs and many more. Despite its name, Ladies Market carries more than ladies’ items.

  • Temple Street Night Market in Jordan (Kowloon):
    Temple Street Night Market opens everyday from late afternoon till midnight as a great example of Hong Kong’s night life style. Besides various stalls, you can also find street food, local Dai Pai Dong and fortune tellers on Temple Street.

  • Stanley Market in Stanley:
    Stanley Market is on the south of Hong Kong Island outside city center. To my opinion, it’s a market specifically focused on the shopping demands of Western tourists. Since Stanley is famous for its beach scenery, lots of visitors will also take a look at Stanley Market on route.

Stalls on Ladies Market Hong Kong

Stalls on Ladies Market

Since most the street markets are close to each other (except Stanley Market), you can easily arrange a day and have a tour around them.

Read more about Street Markets
Which market is interesting to go?.

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Take a ride on Hong Kong Ding Ding Tram

Colourful Ding Ding Tram

Hong Kong Tram, or locally refers as to “Ding Ding”, is not only a historic icon and must-do but also the oldest and cheapest transportation in Hong Kong. Sitting on Ding Ding for a ride is on my favourite things to do in HK. Even just for two or three stops and for a few minutes, your trip to Hong Kong will be complete.

All the trams are double-decker and make sure to take the upper deck to better views. If you would like to feel the history, HK Tramways also offers a special sightseeing tram tour – the TramOramic Tour – on the iconic 1920s tram, with audio narration on board.

Enjoy cheap sightseeing trip on Hong Kong Ding Ding Tram

Hop on one of the many trams

Read more about Ding Ding Tram
All you need to know about how to take Ding Ding.

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Cheap crossing of Victoria Harbour with Hong Kong's Star Ferry

The iconic Star Ferry crossing Victoria Harbour

Star Ferry is not only a transportation tool serving on Victoria Harbour for 130 years, but also a historic icon of this city. Take the Star Ferry to cross Victoria Harbour is definitely a must-do. You can enjoy the skylines of both sides of the harbour for only HK$ 2.2.

Star Ferries in Victoria Harbour Hong Kong

Star Ferries in Victoria Harbour

If you feel the 10-minute ride on Star Ferry is too short, the Victoria Harbour Tours offer longer boat experience to other places that the Star Ferry ride does not cover.

Read more about Star Ferry
All you need to know about how to take Star Ferry.

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thigh lace up heels“, also referring as the laser show, is a nightly multimedia spectacle with light, laser and sound taking place along Victoria Harbour.

This former “World Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show” of Guinness World Records starts at evening 8:00pm. About 40 key buildings and skyscrapers on both sides of Victoria Harbour will start to dance with lights on and off. The 10-minute interactive light show paired with musical effects bans thousands of visitors every single night in Hong Kong.

Enjoy the free A Symphony of Lights show in Hong Kong

A Symphony of Lights, Sound and Laser Show

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The best ways to enjoy the light show are either staying along and close to the Victoria Harbour or having a harbour tour and enjoying the views of both sides at the same time.

  • Free option: Enjoying the laser show is free along Victoria Harbour. The best two locations are Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront and Golden Bauhinia Square, where the speakers are installed and you can enjoy the laser show along with the synchronised music.

  • Upgrade option: Many visitors choose to watch the light show from harbour tours with the chance of views from both sides of Victoria Harbour.

Read more about A Symphony of Lights
where are the best locations for the laser show.

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Enjoy free Jacky Chan's plaques on the new Avenue of Stars

Jacky Chan’s plaques

Avenue of Stars is a must-go place for all the fans of Hong Kong movies, music and TV soap operas. Similar to Hollywood Walk of Fame, over 100 plagues and hand imprints of local celebrities, opera-stars, scriptwriters and directors are along the TST waterfront, including the famous Jacky Chan, Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh.

Statue of Bruce Lee on the new Avenue of Stars

Statue of Bruce Lee on the new Avenue of Stars

Statues of all-time favourite superstars Bruce Lee, Anita Mui and cute local cartoon character MCDull turn to the most popular selfie spots for visitors. They are await at the beginning of Avenue of Stars in East Tsim Sha Tsui end.

More hand imprints are displayed in the adjacent “Garden of Stars“. Come and enjoy over 100 years of Hong Kong cinematic history with an amazing background of Victoria Harbour for free.

Read more about Avenue of Stars
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Visit Big Buddha on Lantau Island Hong Kong

Tian Tan Buddha on Lantau Island

Located on the peak of Mount Muk Yue on Lantau Island, the Tian Tan Buddha (aka Big Buddha or Giant Buddha) along with the adjacent Po Lin Monastery is one of the most visited attractions in Hong Kong. Visiting Big Buddha and monastery is completely for free.

Visit Big Buddha on Lantau Island Hong Kong

Tian Tan Buddha on Lantau Island

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There are plenty of ways climbing up to Big Buddha, varying from time, cost and experience. No matter which way you choose, you need to get to Tung Chung Town Center first.

  • Free option: Hiking up to Big Buddha through Ngong Ping 360 Rescue Trail. The 7km trail takes around 3 to 4 hours for the experienced hikers.

  • Economical option: New Lantao Bus No.23 from Tung Chung Terminus to Ngong Ping takes around 50 minutes on the winding roads. The bus ride costs HK$ 11 on weekdays and HK$ 19 on weekends.

  • Ngong Ping Cable Car on Lantau IslandUpgrade option: Lots of visitors choose Ngong Ping Cable Car, the longest bi-cable ropeway in Asia, to Big Buddha, not only because it is the fastest way (30-min ride), but also for the spectacular panoramic views of the mountain and ocean on ride.

    Similar to Peak Tram, the best way to avoid crowds is to get there earlier or get a fast pass or discounted ticket combo.

Read more about Tian Tan Buddha
How to get to Tian Tan Buddha, insider tips, ticket discounts.

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Free admission to the Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware

Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware

Hong Kong has more than 20 museums, some of which are free for entry while others charge a minimal fee. They cover a large variety and interest of topics, from history, art, film, medical science, space, police/firefighters to transportation, coastal defence and so on. Many of these museums offer free admission on Wednesday.

Free admission to the Hong Kong Museum of History

Entrance of Museum of History

Due to the space issues, most of the museums are not as large as those in other big metropolitan cities like Berlin, London or New York. If you would like to pick one to visit, I would recommend Hong Kong Museum of History over others for its complete overview about Hong Kong’s past and today, culture and tradition as well as its convenient location.

In case you travel with children, Science Museums and Space Museum are mainly designed for kids. Bot of them are also located in the major tourist district.

Read more about museums in Hong Kong
which museums should you visit?.

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Besides being the world famous cosmopolitan city, very few know that Hong Kong has over 75% of land as the countryside. The spectacular green nature is only a short distance away from the commercial district. No matter you enjoy great hikes, Geopark, marshes, lush mountains or beach and ocean, Hong Kong has all.

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Best free beaches in Hong Kong

Head to a beach

Hardly anybody associate this big metropolitan city with beaches. But yes, Hong Kong has many beaches and you can enjoy a very good time there. Some are hotspots for windsurfing or dragon boat races while others you can swim or simply get your summer tan.

Check out the review on Hong Kong’s best beaches before heading out. So, what are you waiting for. Get your swim gear, sun lotion and towels ready and enjoy a fun day.

The Beach of Repulse Bay

The Beach of Repulse Bay

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Lantau Trail and Lantau Peak on Lantau Island

Take a hike and embrace the nature (Lantau Trail)

When visiting Hong Kong for the first time, you will be surprised how hilly the city is. Hong Kong is surrounded by many mountains, peaks and hills. The most three popular hiking trails are:

  • Dragon’s Back:
    Dragon’s Back is a ridge offering spectacular views of the southeast of Hong Kong Island. This scenic route has been named as “Best Urban Hike in Aisa” by Time Magazine. It belongs to Stage 8 of Hong Kong Trail. The overall hiking takes around 3 hours covering the 8.5 km trails. It is manageable for novice hikers.

  • Lantau Trail and Lantau Peak:
    Lantau Trail is one of the most popular and third longest hiking trails in Hong Kong. The 70km footpath is divided into 12 stages, covering from west to east of Lantau Island and crossing Lantau Peak.
    As Hong Kong’s second highest peak, Lantau Peak is 934 meters above sea level, making it a bit difficult for even experienced hikers. But it doesn’t stop those who would like to view the spectacular sunrise from peak.

  • Lion Rock and Amah Rock:
    Lion Rock is a mountain between Kowloon Tong and Tai Wai. From the trail, you can enjoy most of the Kowloon Peninsula, including the skyline as well as the populated urban areas.
    Besides, Lion Rock has witnessed the dramatic transformation of Hong Kong and is representing the hardworking spirit of Hongkongese. HongKongese love to refer themselves as the descendant beneath Lion Rock.

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Cheung Chau Island Hong Kong

Explore Cheung Chau Island

Hong Kong has 263 islands. Traveling to one of these outlying islands will transform you into a different world. You will trade the hectic pace of the city’s downtown area to a peaceful and tranquil environment. There is plenty to explore and discover. You can find secluded beaches, tucked away villages and even traces of pirates.

Take a stroll on Lamma Island and enjoy the view

Take a stroll on Lamma Island and enjoy the view

The most three popular outlying islands are:

  • Lamma Island:
    Lamma Island is the home of famous local movie star Chow Yun-fat and also one of the most popular outlying islands for its scenery, beach and seafood.

  • Cheung Chau Island:
    Cheung Chau Island is famous for the traditional Bun Festival as well as its idyllic scape. It has been inhabited longer than most of other territories.

  • Lantau Island and Tai O:
    View of Tai O fishing village from the Tai Chung Bridge on Lantau IslandLantau Island has more than Big Buddha and Ngong Ping Cable Car. Tai O Fishing Village on northwestern coast of Lantau Island is famous for its traditional Chinese stilt-house community and is considered as “Venice of the Orient”.
    Locals love to visit this picturesque place, strolling through the small streets, taking photographs and tasting best seafood and snacks, having an escape from Hong Kong’s daily stress.

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Hong Kong has many hidden gems when it comes to architecture and art. When you wander and tour around, you are able to find the traditional next to the ultra-modern styles, designs, and projects. Also, Hong Kong is home to many famous art exhibitions, galleries, festivals, and events, many of which you can visit for free or for an affordable entrance ticket.

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Enjoy Free heritage and arts exhibition at Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Art Hong Kong

Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Art

Tai Kwun, restored from the former Central Police Station compound, is one of the latest addition to Hong Kong’s art scene. It has been redeveloped as the Centre for Heritage & Arts‎. Take one of the many free guided tours and find out why Ho Chi Minh was held in Victoria Prison or explore one of the many themed exhibitions. Tai Kwun offers you a wide variety and mixture of heritage, contemporary art, performing arts, exhibitions and dining options.

Keep updated from their official site: https://www.taikwun.hk/.

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Enjoy Free design and arts exhibition at PMQ Hong Kong

PMQ - Designer and Arts Hub

Similar to Tai Kwun, PMQ is another building restored from the heritage compound. The former Police Married Quarters are on the Hollywood Road, not too far away from Tai Kwun. Today’ PMQ is not only something for history, culture and architecture lovers, but also a creative arts hub.

If you are hunting for something made in Hong Kong or better souvenirs, it is the right place. Here you can find local artists and designers showcasing their craftsmanship and latest products. Besides, the historic venue offers also special events and fairs throughout the year.

Check more activities from their official site: http://www.pmq.org.hk/.

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Do gallery hopping for free in Hong Kong

Hip Galleries in Soho

In the past few years, Hong Kong witnessed an exceptional growth of art galleries. You can find an amazing range from classic to contemporary arts to fine-art photography. Well-known art galleries exist next to young, modern and innovative ones. Hong Kong has several art hubs. Take Hollywood Road as a good start, especially if you decide to visit Tai Kwun and PMQ. You should not miss the many art galleries along the road and side alleys.

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Enjoy Free Bruce Lee Street Art Graffiti Sheung Wan

Bruce Lee Graffiti

When talking about street art, Hong Kong was not on the map in the past. However, that has changed with the rise of Social Media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, while at the same time new vibrant neighbourhoods in Hong Kong appeared.

Nowadays, you can find street artworks from young local talents as well as from renowned famous international ones at almost every corner in Central and Western District (Sheung Wan and Sai Ying Pun). The best part is: it is all for free.

Enjoy Free Street Art Graffiti in Central

One of the Instagram Street Art Hotspots in Central

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There are more things that you can spend your time with. Some of them may not be that popular among tourists. However, they also represent a part of Hong Kong’s life.

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Take the Central Mid-Levels Escalator for free in Hong Kong

Ride the famous Mid-Levels Escalator

The Mid-levels escalators, or called Mid-levels Travelators, is on the top priority list of many visitors. This world’s longest outdoor covered escalator system links Central to the Mid-Levels and has been appeared in many TV soap operas, movies, and documentaries. So, just hop on and enjoy the ride, free of charge. Along the way will you find many shops, restaurants, bars, pubs as well as the real local residential living areas. It also links to the entrance of Tai Kwun.

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Enjoy some action packed Horse Racing in Hong Kong

Horse Racing

If you come to visit Hong Kong, then you definitely should experience the famous thigh lace up heels. There are two horse racecourses: Sha Tin and Happy Valley. Sha Tin is mainly for day races while Happy Valley is for night races. Both of them are very convenient to reach by MTR.

Before Hong Kong returned to China, the leader of China promised to keep horse racing as usual, showing that it is considered as a very important part of local’s life. Imagine sitting among thousands of crazy horse racing fans and your senses blur under the dazzling lights of landmark skyscrapers. For an HK$ 10 admission fee, you can stay a whole day (night) inside if you would like to.

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Chungking Mansions in Tsim Sha Tsui Hong Kong

Chungking Mansions on Nathan Road

Technically Chungking Mansions is not an attraction. It is well-known by tourists because of being featured in many famous movies (e.g. Wong Kar-wai’s Chungking Express) and novels, as well as being nearly the cheapest accommodation in town with high density.

Packed with cheap guesthouses, Chunking Mansions now reside with over 4000 people from over 100 countries everyday. Time Magazine commented Chungking Mansions as the best place to reflect globalization and Hong Kong’s multicultural society.

Majority residents here are Southeast Asian (e.g Indian and Pakistani) and African. If you are interested in some authentic Indian, Southeast Asia, Middle East or Turkish dishes or feeling for some typical African cuisine from Ethiopia, Nigeria, West Africa or Ghana, here has all.

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Kowloon Park in Tsim Sha Tsui Hong Kong

Kowloon Park

If you would like to enjoy the beauty of nature without traveling outside town, why not drop by one of the many (public) parks and take a break from the pressure of the busy city. All the parks are free of charge.

The most popular parks are the Hong Kong Park and Zoological and Botanical Garden (Hong Kong Island) surrounded by skyscrapers and Kowloon Park (Tsim Sha Tsui) where you even can find flamingos.

Victoria Park in Causeway Bay holds various traditional events, such as Chinese New Year Fair and thigh lace up heels.

Worthwhile to mention are also the Tamar Park (which sits just adjacent to the Central Government Offices) and Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Park, both of which are offering magnificent views over Victoria Harbour.

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Entrance of Snoopy's World

Entrance of Snoopy's World

Who doesn’t love the Peanuts gang? In case you love Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the rest of the gang, there are something for you. Right next to the New Town Plaza shopping mall has a little theme park called Snoopy’s World. It is the first one of its kind in Asia. The Snoopy’s World theme park has six small zones of amusements and 60 cute figures of Snoopy and his friends. It’s totally for free if you would like to have a selfie with Lucy, Charlie Brown or Woodstock.

Entrance of Charlie Brown Cafe

Entrance of Charlie Brown Cafe

If it’s not enough, head back to Tsim Sha Tsui to the Charlie Brown Café where you will find plenty of themed food, decoration as well as souvenirs.

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Due to the limited space, the prices of Hong Kong hotels are very high (sometimes are insane) compared with many other cities. Most of time, for the same price, the room sizes turn out to be much smaller than your expectation. However, besides the 4 and 5-star hotels, you can also look for a budget hostel, beds, apartments even campsites. In general, staying in hostel is safe even when you travel alone as Hong Kong is one of the safest cities in the world.

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Eating outside in Hong Kong can be expensive, especially if you decide to go dining in the finance center or one of the Michelin star restaurants. However, Hong Kong has more than just fancy restaurants. There are streets after streets of affordable restaurants opening from 7:00 am till after midnight. But cheap doesn’t mean bad. Many of Hong Kong’s beloved delicacies are coming from these small but authentic places.

You can spend very little money to enjoy the popular local food, such as egg tart, curry fish balls, wonton, pan-fried buns, egg waffle, etc.. Some of them have got on the list of Michelin guide. No matter if you have a sweet tooth or prefer more the hearty and savoury dishes, there is something for every palate. Isn’t it also a great way to experience real local life?