Family fun in Hong Kong
Hong Kong, China, is one of the most densely populated cities on the planet. The majority of its seven million inhabitants are packed into an area that is about one tenth the size of the Swedish island of Gotland. This makes land expensive and explains why property developers reach for the sky. Hong Kong has more skyscrapers than anywhere else in the world.
So perhaps it is not the most obvious place to bring the kids to. But don’t be put off. Hong Kong is also one of the safest cities in the world and there are lots of great things to do with the children, including having fun at theme parks, marveling at the science fiction-like skyline, playing at the numerous beaches, and enjoying the many activities in the surprisingly rural countryside surrounding the city.
It’s also easy – and not expensive at all – to get around, whether by the MTR (subway), bus or taxi. Signs are always written in both English and Chinese and most people speak, or at least understand, some English. After all, Hong Kong was a British colony from 1841 until 1997 (excluding the years 1941 to 1945).
For the kids, the two leading amusement parks, Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park, are the most obvious places to head to first. But there are plenty of other activities that will provide fun for all of the family.
Sitting on the upper deck of the bus from Central District’s Exchange Square bus terminal to the picturesque town of Stanley on the south side of Hong Kong Island, is for example, an adventure itself. The bus route follows narrow, winding roads, past wooded hillsides, wide beaches with ocean views, and some luxurious residential tower blocks that will make the kids and the adults’ jaws drop.
Hong Kong is a shoppers’ paradise, with malls that are packed wall-to-wall with famous brands. And at Stanley market, the adults can enjoy shopping for clothes, jewelry, home furnishings, souvenirs, and ornaments. There are many family-friendly restaurants along the breezy seaside strip for lunch and the nearby sandy beach should keep the children entertained after all the shopping and eating.
Another cheap tourist attraction in the form of public transport that will entertain the whole family is the Star Ferry. This is an icon of the city that has been shuttling residents and tourists between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon on the mainland for over 120 years. The ferry offers unbeatable views of the breathtaking Victoria Harbor and is a genuine sightseeing bargain.
Grabbing an upstairs seat on the double-decker streetcars that travel across bustling Hong Kong Island is also a fun way to watch everyday Hong Kong street life in all of its traditional and modern detail. The streetcars take you past food and medicine markets, luxurious shopping centers, towering skyscrapers, and ancient temples.
Amazingly, for such a densely populated place, some three quarters of Hong Kong’s area is countryside, with a landscape that rises from the sandy beaches and rocky seashores of the coastline to wooded mountain ranges in the interior that reach heights of up to 1,000m.
There are 24 country parks where, as well as nature conservation and outdoor education, countryside recreation in the form of hiking has become a popular activity both for residents and tourists.
The whole family will enjoy Lamma Island where a 7km-hiking trail provides glimpses of relaxed village life, opportunities for swimming at the beach, and the chance to eat at seafood restaurants on the small harbor of a traditional fishing village. The 30-minute ferry crossing to the island from Central Hong Kong is also a great ride.
To really maximize the family fun in Hong Kong, check out the Gold Coast Hotel in Tuen Mun. It is 30 minutes from central Hong Kong’s busy downtown area and has really special themed bedrooms for children, a swimming pool, a kids’ water park, and indoor and outdoor kids’ play zones. And the Golden Beach, a 545-meter-long stretch of silky-soft sand, is just a short walk away.
Family activities in Chinese Hong Kong
Hong Kong Park
Hong Kong Park is a lush green retreat in the heart of Hong Kong Island’s business district. It has an aviary with more than 80 species of birds in a well-designed tropical rainforest area, a tea museum, fountains, lily ponds, playgrounds, and a restaurant.
Hong Kong Park
19 Cotton Tree Drive, Central, Hong Kong Island
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The Hong Kong Wetland Park
The Hong Kong Wetland Park has a stunning variety of wildlife, including birds, butterflies, dragonflies, amphibians, reptiles, and fish. The park has become a hub for conservation, ecotourism and education. The visitor center has exhibition galleries, a 3D cinema, and the Swamp Adventure indoor play area.
Hong Kong Wetland Park
Wetland Park Rd, Tin Shui Wai, Hong Kong
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Published: May 30, 2016
Last edited: September 18, 2018