Hidden Gems of Hong Kong: What to See, Eat & Experience

Hidden Gems of Hong Kong: What to See, Eat & Experience

Discover these 15 places that show you a glimpse of Hong Kong like you've never seen before.

There are definitely lots to see, eat and experience in Hong Kong that even frequent travellers will never get bored. Apart from the usual touristy sites, there are plenty of hidden gems worth discovering. From lesser known streets to secret eateries, here are some location to put on your list of places to visit in Hong Kong!

Places to See

1. Sai Wan Swimming Shed

Image credit: Raymond Ling

Sai Wan Swimming Shed

Image credit: Jonathan Leung

Built in the 1950s, this swimming shed is historically used as a changing room and wooden pier for residents who swam in the Sulfur Channel. Enjoy the beautiful sunset view as you walk along the pier while watching the waves crash against the rocks. It is truly an Instagram-worthy site and a notable location for wedding photographers. If you’re looking to escape the busy streets of Hong Kong, you can head to the shed in the late afternoon for a relaxing end to the day. 

Address: Mount Davis, Hong Kong
Opening Hours: 24/7
Directions: Kennedy Town MTR → Walk along Victoria Road for approx. 15-20 mins and look out for the red and white sign

2. Shek Kwu Chau

Image credit: lens

Located on the coast of Lantau, Shek Kwu Chau used to be known as the “Coffin Island”. The island houses a rehabilitation clinic known as Society for the Aid and the Rehabilitation of Drug Abusers (SARDA). Expect to see extensive classical-inspired structures built by the patients at the clinic over decades. Although the island is entirely off limits to the public, there is one day in November when it is open for visitors. Catch the date and head to this “secret” island!

Directions: From Cheung Chau, take a 20-minute ferry.

3. Tai Tong Organic Ecopark

Image credit: ttlv.hk

Image credit: ttlv.hk

The Tai Tong Organic Ecopark is a 30-acre farm located in Yuen Long. The park facilities include grassy lawns, covered pavilions, koi ponds, a mini zoo and a butterfly exhibit. It is a great place to take your little ones as the kids can learn more about organic farming and even grow their own vegetables. Popular activities include strawberry and lychee picking, fishing and BBQ as well as agricultural workshops. Strawberry picking season is from December to April. You can also choose to pay $100 for an activity package that includes the entry fee and four activity ticket vouchers. The Ecopark also holds public events such as the Tai Han Peony Flower Show annually.

Address: 11 Tai Tong Shan Road, Yuen Long, Hong Kong
Opening Hours: Daily 9am-6pm
Directions: Long Ping MTR Station → Take K66 bus to Tai Tong → Tai Tong Shan Road → Follow signs to Ecopark

4. Victoria Peak Garden

Image credit: Matt Kowalczyk

Many would be familiar with the popular breathtaking views of Victoria Peak. The Victoria Peak Garden nearby is a lesser-known attraction with streams and ample shade. As you head uphill along Mount Austin Road, you will be elevated 554 metres above sea level. Unlike other parks in Hong Kong, this garden allows pets to roam around. The garden, with its winding paths, open green lawns and pagodas, used to part of the governor of Hong Kong’s residence. Enjoy the greenery while taking in the views of the west and south of Hong Kong Island.

Address: Mount Austin Rd, The Peak, Hong Kong
Directions: Short walk from The Peak Tower which can be accessed via bus or the Peak Tram

5. The Bethanie

Image credit: Kevin

Located on the hills of Pok Fu Lam, The Bethanie is a grade II listed neogothic church and an academic complex. Originally built in 1875 by the Paris Foreign Missions Society, the church was an important base for the missionary work of the French Catholic church in East Asia until 1974. At present, the church is home to the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. It consists of three parts – the Chapel, Sanatorium and the Service Wing. The Chapel is perhaps the most beautiful section of the Bethanie with its symmetrical designs and verandah on all four sides. The basement of the church houses a museum displaying the historical items of Bethanie and French missionary’s activities in Asia throughout the past 300 years. Guided tours are available and you can also rent the place for wedding ceremonies.

Address: 139, Pok Fu Lam Road, Hong Kong Island
Directions: Follow signs to Chinese Cuisine Training Centre Institute, which is located next to the Bethanie.

6. HKwalls Murals in Sheung Wan 

Image credit: Tim Riley

Tucked between Sai Street and Upper Station Street, Sheung Wan can be considered as a gentrified hipster area. A designated spot for the HKwalls in 2014, Sheung Wan is filled with various street and graffiti art created by local and international artists. HKwalls is a street art festival held annually that showcases the artwork of talented artists all over the world on walls of hidden streets in Hong Kong. Artworks in Sheung Wan include the Fox Multi Coloured by Thai street artist Rukkit Kuanhawate and Untitled by French artist Hopare. There are 17 artworks along Sheung Wan – try to spot them all if you can! This year, HKwalls will be held at Wong Chuk Hang.

Address: Located between Central and Sai Ying Pun
Directions: MTR Sheung Wan

7. Yick Fat Building

Image credit: Jonathan Leung

Located on Yau Man Street, this residential complex comprises three towering apartment blocks that house thousands of homes. Perched atop launderettes, massage parlours and workshops, the building certainly embodies the allure of old Hong Kong. It is a huge contrast to the glossy residential towers just a block away. It is no surprise that the Yick Fat Building graced the cover of photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze’s book Vertical Horizon in 2012. It also appeared in Michael Bay’s Transformers. 

Address: 1048-1056 King’s Rd, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong
Directions: Tai Koo Station → Exit B → Head west on King Road’s for two blocks (building located behind you)

8. Cheung Po Tsai Cave

Image credit: Minghong

This cave is said to be the stash home of Cheung Po Tsai, a pirate who owned more than 60 ships and led 50,000 pirates, during the Qing Dynasty. The entrance of the cave is approximately 10 feet long while the distance from the entrance to the exit is about 88 metres. The cave can be accessed by climbing up an iron ladder. Visitors are expected to walk in single file to navigate the slippery floors and narrow pathways. Remember to bring a torch light with you as the cave can be quite dark.

Address: Cheung Chau Family Walk, Cheung Chau, Hong Kong
Directions: 30-55 mins ferry ride from Cheung Chau Public Pier to Sai Wan Pier OR 2km walk from Cheung Chau Village along Sai Wan Road

Where to Eat

9. Duen Kee Tea House

Image credit: gohan.hk

If you’re looking for a secret dim sum place near the mountains, Duen Kee Tea House is the place to go. Located near Tai Mo Shan, Duen Kee Tea House is a two-storey family-run establishment that is entirely self-serve. You can choose from a variety of dim sum from Siu Mai to Lo Mai Gai, as well as Hakka Rice Cake and Silver Rice Noodles. There is ample seating, with indoor seats on the top floor and al fresco dining on the patio. 

Address: 57-58 Chuen Lung Estate, Route Twisk, Tsuen Wan.
Directions: Trek to Tsuen Wan → 15 mins minibus ride

10. Yao Lei

This is seriously the most secretive establishment ever that we don’t even have a photo of it. Yao Lai is a breakfast place located in a tiny alley cutting through Tang Lung Street to Russell Street. This place has been around for 20 years and offers simple breakfast fare such as thick white bread sandwiches, fried eggs, noodles and HK milk tea. There are no English menus available, so be sure to get your basic Chinese right before heading down!

Opening Hours: Daily 6pm-2pm
Directions: A block away from Tiffany and Co’s Causeway Branch

11. Hung Fook Seafood Hot Pot

Image credit: Stella Kwok

Offering a wide assortment of traditional hot pot soups such as fish head, Hung Fook serves up their soups in charcoal hot pots. Barbeque options for meats and a wide variety of seafood are also available. If you’re looking for an outdoor casual hot pot experience, Hung Fook is the place for you. Although it might be quite warm for summertime, it is definitely worth the heat!

Address: G/F, 86 Lok Shan Rd, To Kwa Wan, Hong Kong

12. Yuen Kee Dessert

Image credit: Philip Lai

Yuen Kee Dessert. which has a long history since 1855, serves traditional Cantonese dessert soups. Stone grind is used to make their sweet almond and sesame soup, and the generous bowls of dessert are served in traditional Cantonese bowls. The store is known for their Mulberry Mistletoe Tea, Walnut Soup, Red and Green Bean Soup. All desserts can be paired with lotus seed and/or egg.

Address: G/F, 32 Centre Street, Western
Opening hours: Daily 12pm-11.30pm
Directions: 2-minute walk from Sai Ying Pun MTR Station (Exit B1)

What to Experience

13. Visage One

Image credit: Alex Daye

This swanky establishment is a hair salon during the day and transforms into a speakeasy jazz and blues bar by night. The narrow two-storey loft can only be identified by a handwritten sign that says “Visage One, Hair, Music”. Saturdays are jazz nights and the gigs are only by word of mouth as there are no official website or social media page. Owned by Benky Chan, Visage One offers a one-on-one experience in the shop. He invites various musicians to come together simply to jam. There are no stage, no entrance fee and no mixed drinks –just a pure night of jazz. Music starts at 8.30pm but do try to get there early to grab a seat.

Address: LG/F, Po Lung Building, 93 Hollywood Rd, Central

14. Tram ride to Shau Kei Wan

Image credit: Toby Oxborrow

The long tram ride itself to Shau Kei Wan gives you a glimpse of the bustling streets of Hong Kong from a distance. At Shau Kei Wan, you can explore the market and temples in the vicinity. The market is located in the middle of the old crowded streets with stocks of meat, produce, seafood, clothing and medicine available. Built in 1877, the Shing Wong Temple is popular amongst the local residence. The Tin Hau Temple, dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea, hosts a number of well-preserved murals, woodcarvings and pottery. You can also choose to visit the Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence built in 1887 by the British. The museum features a historical trail of the British in Hong Kong.

Directions: MTR Shau Kei Wan Station (Exit C)

15. Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance

Image credit: Doctorho

The Tai Hang Dragon Dance can be traced back to the 19th-century folk tale of the village trying to stop a run of bad luck. A typhoon, a bout of plague and then a python that ate the villagers’ livestock were inflicting much pain and suffering to the villagers. To stop this string of events, the villagers made a huge dragon from straw and covered it with incense sticks of which they lit. They danced for three days and three nights until their luck returned. At present, the dance has become China’s third national list of intangible cultural heritage. 72,000 incense sticks are used to make the dragon that is between 60-80 metres long and requires 300 people to carry it. The dance is held between 3-5 Oct this year at around 8.15pm-10.30pm on the 3rd and 4th and till 10pm on the 5th.

Address: Tai Hung, Causeway Bay (Best Vantage point: Wun Sha Street)
Directions: MTR Tin Hau Station (Exit A1) → Cross King’s Road and turn right → Walk straight to second junction on the left to enter Tung Lo Wan Road

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