If you are visiting Hong Kong with kids then we have lots of family-friendly tips and things to do right here. We have lived in Hong Kong for nearly two years now, so we have plenty of experience in entertaining children and finding things to do with the kids.
Hong Kong can be a challenge with kids – firstly hardly anywhere is stroller friendly, as it is hilly and there are steps everywhere. Plus all the sidewalks are so crowded, the last thing you want to do is struggle through the masses with a buggy anyway. In the summer the heat and humidity can be stifling and you can’t imagine sightseeing with the little ones in tow. If that’s the case, then do as the locals do – either hit the beach, or take relief in an air-conditioned building.
The good news is, public transport is cheap, efficient – and fun! The Star Ferry and tram are great fun for kids and cheap too. The MTR (subway/underground) is clean and air-conditioned, and buses and taxis are cheap and plentiful.
And Hong Kong is a fun and culturally fascinating city. It may seem daunting to hit the streets with kids at first, but there are plenty of fun things to do with kids in Hong Kong. Here we highlight ten of the best.
Hong Kong Disneyland Resort
Everyone’s favourite mouse lives at Hong Kong Disneyland, where the family can enjoy all the usual magical Disney fun. There are seven themed lands to explore, including Fantasyland, Toy Story Land and Adventureland, with all the favourite rides such as It’s a Small World, Mad Hatter Tea Cups and Space Mountain to enjoy, as well as some that are unique to Hong Kong Disneyland.
With a whole host of Disney characters to meet, a Lion King show, the Fantasy Parade and fireworks, you are guaranteed a day of fun and much excitement from the kids. Hong Kong Disneyland is located on Lantau Island, near the airport. To complete the Disney experience, you can choose to stay at one of the two Disneyland hotels and start the day with breakfast with the characters.
Learn how to beat the crowds and Read our Tips for Visiting Hong Kong Disneyland here
Ocean Park Hong Kong
Long before Mickey Mouse and his crew graced Hong Kong with their presence, Ocean Park had been entertaining local families for years. Part aquarium, part zoo, part amusement park, Ocean Park is a fun family day out for all the family.
The Grand Aquarium is home to a wide array of sea creatures, such as sharks, stringrays and turtles, while the Polar exhibits showcase walruses, sea lions, seals and penguins. Then of course there is everyone’s favourite – the Pandas! When the kids have had enough of ogling the animals, there is a dolphin show to watch, a cable car to ride, and plenty of adrenalin-inducing rollercoasters and thrill rides – even for the really little ones.
Ocean Park is hugely popular with both local families and visiting tourists who arrive by the busload – read our Tips for Visiting Ocean Park with Kids to learn how best to avoid the crowds.
The Peak is Hong Kong’s most popular attraction (yes even more popular than Disneyland!), with people flocking here to admire the best views over the city from its viewing platform at 428m above sea level.
The best way to reach the Peak is to take the Peak Tram. The journey aboard the world’s steepest funicular railway is less than five minutes long, covering just 1.4 kilometres – but climbing almost 400 metres in this time, making it a fun trip. The angle of the tram is so steep – 27 degrees at its most extreme – that you get the impression that the buildings are leaning into the mountain.
Once at the top, there is plenty to keep the kids occupied. There’s the Trick Eye Museum and Madame Tussauds, plus a playground all located within the Peak Galleria. Another (nicer) playground is a short walk up a steep hill at Mount Austin Park.
Another must-do is the walk around Lugard Road, a 3.5km walk with great views over Hong Kong. This walk is flat, and is one of my kids’ favourite places to go scooting in Hong Kong. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, there are plenty of dining options here too – we like to take an outside table at the Peak Lookout.
You can buy discounted Peak Tram tickets online at Klook Travel here.
The Big Buddha
Visiting the Tian Tan Buddha on Lantau Island always features on people’s Hong Kong bucket lists. More commonly known as the ‘Big Buddha’, a daytrip over to see this famous landmark makes for a fun adventure with the kids.
Firstly there is the cable car that takes you up the mountain, then there is monastery to explore, the Big Buddha itself, and you can end the day with a visit to Tai O Village – Hong Kong’s oldest fishing village, where you can take a boat ride alongside the famous stilted houses.
You can buy discounted tickets or the Ngong Ping 360 cable car online at Klook Travel here.
Read more about Visiting the Big Buddha in Hong Kong with Kids here.
Outlying Islands of Hong Kong
Hong Kong has more than 200 outlying islands, and while reaching many of these is difficult without your own boat, the bigger islands are easily accessible via ferry, and make for a fun day trip.
The most popular island for a day trip is Lamma Island, thanks to its strip of seafood restaurants in Sok Kwu Wan. Other popular island destinations for a seafood lunch include Peng Chau, Cheung Chau and Po Toi Island. Kids will enjoy looking at all the fish and crabs in the seafood tanks, checking out the dried seafood in the market stalls, and you can combine lunch with a play on the beach (although beaches can be of varying cleanliness!)
What’s a visit to Hong Kong without sampling the most famous local cuisine – Dim Sum? This Cantonese specialty consists of several traditional snack-type dishes, including steamed or fried dumplings, buns and pastries, all served in small bamboo steamers or plates. Each serving is small, just three or four pieces, and so ideally a selection of dishes are shared amongst family and friends. Dim Sum is traditionally washed down with copious amounts of Chinese tea, hence the alternative name for eating Dim Sum “yum cha” (literally “drink tea”).
Going for dim sum can be a fun experience for kids too, with the procession of little dishes appearing on the table. My kids love the char siu bao (barbecue pork buns) particularly, and shrimp dumplings, spring rolls and egg tarts are also a hit.
Read our guide to the Best Restaurants in Hong Kong for Dim Sum here.
Hong Kong Museums
There are so many museums to choose from in Hong Kong, with topics as diverse as tea ware, horse racing, correctional facilities and movies. The two we have enjoyed most with the kids are the Hong Kong Museum of History, and the Hong Kong Science Museum.
The Hong Kong Museum of History takes you on a journey through the birth and life of Hong Kong, and includes galleries on Folk Culture, the Opium Wars, and the Japanese Occupation. There is plenty to keep the kids entertained, including boats to climb on, stuffed animals to hide from, and eye-catching exhibitions such as the reconstruction of festivals and entertainment such as Lion Dances and Chinese Opera.
Just next-door is the Hong Kong Science Museum. Over 70 percent of the Science Museum’s 500 exhibits are interactive, meaning lots of hands-on fun and learning is to be had here. Unfortunately the Children’s Gallery, which is the most fun for smaller children, will be closed throughout 2016 for the construction of a new gallery, although some of the exhibits will be relocated to the ground floor during this time.
Hike the Dragon’s Back
Most people associate Hong Kong with skyscrapers and fast-paced city life. But head out of the city centre and you will find some awesome hiking trails through Hong Kong’s country parks – in fact, around 38% of the land surrounding Hong Kong has been designated as country park,
The Dragon’s Back is one of the best introductions to hiking in Hong Kong. This 2-hour hike is relatively easy (children aged 5 and up should be able to manage it), offering spectacular views of Hong Kong’s southside and ends on Big Wave Bay beach, where you can spend the day playing in the sand and splashing in the sea (there is a café here too).
Read more in our article Hiking the Dragon’s Back, Hong Kong
Hong Kong Dolphin Watch
Hong Kong is home to a group of very special, very rare residents – the Indopacific Humpback Dolphin. The Indopacific Humpback dolphins can also be found in the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific, but what makes Hong Kong’s dolphins so special – is that they are pink! Yes, pink dolphins!
If you are interested in seeing these beautiful creatures in the wild, then the only company you should book with is Hong Kong Dolphin Watch. They are the only company offering ecological tours, and who donate a percentage of their profits to both the World Wide Fund for Nature and Friends of the Earth. Their trips are educational and are designed to minimize the disturbance to the dolphins. Plus they know these dolphins better than anyone in Hong Kong, so you have the best chance of spotting them than with any other company.
A favourite Hong Kong activity is to jump on a boat and head out to sea. For a traditional cruising option, choose from the Duk Ling or the Aqua Luna. The Duk Ling is Hong Kong’s oldest surviving sailing junk, having been built in 1955. Originally a fishing boat, it now takes tourists for sightseeing trips around the harbour.
Both the Duk Ling and the Aqua Luna offer afternoon and evening harbour cruises, including ones that coincide with the Symphony of Lights light show at 8pm every night. The Aqua Luna also offers a 90-minute cruise over to Stanley at the weekends.
You can buy discounted Aqua Luna cruise tickets online at Klook Travel here.
If you’re looking for something more exclusive, then you can hire a private junk (either traditional or high-tech modern speedboat) and spend the day exploring the outlying islands, frolicking on a beach or floating in rubber rings off the back of the boat. Boat hire ranges from the very basic to very fancy, fully-catered affairs.
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