12 Places to Visit in HK For Free for Budget Travellers

12 Free Places to Visit in Hong Kong for Budget Travellers

Here’s to enjoying Hong Kong and its wonders without spending extra.

Despite its towering skyscrapers, world-class hotels, and glitzy malls, Hong Kong is a haven for budget travellers looking for the city’s most affordable yet unforgettable experiences. Whether you’re into the cultural side of the “fragrant harbour” or the green side of the city, there’s always something for everyone going to Hong Kong on a budget. 

Read on to learn more about the best places to visit in HK for free, from scenic gardens with exquisite temples to beautiful promenades with stellar vistas!

Also read: 10 Affordable Airbnb Apartments in Hong Kong for Budget Travellers

Top and underrated places to visit in HK for free

1. Nan Lian Garden

nan lian garden places to visit in hk for free

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In the heart of the bustling city of Hong Kong is Nan Lian Garden, an oasis of lush greenery waiting to be explored. This Chinese classical garden covers an area of 3.5 hectares and was built with Buddhist and Daoist influences in mind. Expect rocks, pavilions, pagodas, walkways, ponds with lilies and Bonsai trees to welcome your refreshing getaway in the charming garden.

While you’re here, be sure to check out its main attractions: a red bridge leading to an intricate, Tang dynasty-style pavilion and the scenic Blue Pond with crystal clear waters. All of these for free? We’d sign up for it any day!

Address: Fung Tak Rd, Diamond Hill, Hong Kong

2. Kowloon Walled City Park

kowloon walled city park places to visit in hk for free

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Another one of the worthy places to visit in HK for free is Kowloon Walled City Park: a cultural gem that used to be a military stronghold in the 15th century. It later evolved into a “lawless haven” for fugitives and gangs in the 20th century before Kowloon Walled City was demolished in the 1990s. The beautiful garden you’re seeing today is a Jiangnan-inspired park housing conserved relics and the one and only building from the original walled city known as Yamen.

As you explore the tranquil garden further, you’ll come across bamboo groves, pavilions, Qing Dynasty–style Chinese gates, blooming gardens, and scenic ponds that serve as great backdrops for your picture-perfect moments. Psst — don’t forget to visit the remains of the ancient South Gate and the popular Garden of Chinese Zodiac in the park, too!

Address: Kowloon City, Hong Kong

3. The School

the school yau ma tei places to visit in hk for free

Image credit: Izzati Haron

One of the top free things to do in HK is to search for hidden gems like The School, between its modern development. The revitalised bookstore can be found along the busy street of Yau Ma Tei, within a gated square that also houses the Tin Hau Temple

Step inside the self-service mini library, and books on various Hong Kong topics such as religion, philosophy, and cultural creation products will greet your curiosity. The place is lit up with warm lights, and you’ll find a lush tree in the middle of the bookstore. It’s also less touristy, especially if you come early in the morning!

Address: Temple St./Public Square St., Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon, Hong Kong

4. Ocean Terminal Deck

Travellers going to Hong Kong on a budget should totally spend some time at the Ocean Terminal Deck. Trust us when we say it’s blessed with the city’s most spectacular views! You will find this free attraction on the rooftop of Ocean Terminal’s five-story extension building in Harbour City.

The observatory deck offers a panoramic view of Hong Kong, where you can easily spot the iconic Hong Kong Observation Wheel and the 108-storey International Commerce Centre from afar. Time your visit right, and you shall witness an unbeatable sunset or sunrise moment you won’t soon forget!

Address: Harbour City, 3-27 Canton Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

Also read: This Hong Kong Local Shares Her Recommended Places & Activities for Tourists

5. Man Mo Temple

man mo temple places to visit in hk for free

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As mystical as it looks, Man Mo Temple is yet another living proof of how well Hong Kong preserves its ancient cultural heritage amidst the rapid modernisation the city is undergoing. This ancient Taoist temple was built in the 18th century as a tribute to Man Cheong (the god of literature) and Mo Tai (the god of war), usually worshipped by youths sitting for Imperial China’s civil service exams. Walking inside this historic building is like stepping into another world, probably due to its heavy clouds of incense, hanging lanterns, golden relics, and mythical god figurines. 

Address: 124-126 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

6. Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery

ten thousand buddhas monastery places to visit in hk for free

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Another less touristy hidden gem in Hong Kong worth visiting is the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery atop a hill in Sha Tin, New Territories. That said, you will need to climb through a set of stairs comprising more than 430 steps dotted with golden Buddha statues of various styles and expressions before you reach the top. 

The climb will lead you up the mountain right to the hall housing the ten thousand Buddhas. While you’re up there, do check out the iconic nine-floor red pagoda and the intricate Kwun Yam Pavilion in the area. Definitely one of the best places to visit in HK for free!

Address: 220 Pai Tau Village, Sha Tin, Hong Kong

7. Edward Youde Aviary

edward youde aviary

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For budget travellers looking to be one with nature, Edward Youde Aviary is the place to be. This green oasis is one of the main attractions in Hong Kong Park. Here, you can find over 70 species of birds, of which exotic Bali mynas, Java sparrows, and golden yellow pheasants are part. 

What makes it more exciting is that the birds are free to fly and roam in the netted area of the aviary; some might even fly super close to you! Aside from these feathered friends, the place also houses exotic trees such as kapok and candlenut. And between the thick bushes and plants are beautiful ponds with the best views. Hands down one of the top free things to do in HK you shouldn’t miss out on!

Address: 7 Kennedy Rd, Central, Hong Kong

8. Avenue of Stars

avenue of stars

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What better way to explore Hong Kong on a budget than to venture into its own Walk of Fame — the Avenue of Stars — for free? The city’s artistic offering features life-sized statues of Bruce Lee and Anita Mui, to name a few, and a railing with handprints of Hong Kong’s prominent entertainment stars. 

This place also pays tribute to the breathtaking Victoria Harbour view along the promenade. You can come here at night and witness the nightly wonders of A Symphony of Lights: the world’s largest permanent light show illuminating the scenic Victoria Harbour. Talk about one of the worthy places to visit in Hong Kong for free!

Address: Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront, Hong Kong

Also read: 10 Movies Set in Hong Kong and Their Filming Locations

9. East Coast Park Precinct

east coast park precinct

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East Coast Park Precinct is one of the free places to visit in Hong Kong that offers a splendid 360° view of Victoria Harbour! You’ll find huge, yellow-infused windows standing proudly as the place’s iconic landmarks alongside benches and shelters that lit up at night. The ground is also painted with white lines to ease children’s learning to cycle. 

FYI, the promenade is also a pet-friendly spot. So, do bring your furry friends for a walk along the esplanade during your free time — they’ll love it!

Address: Watson Rd, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

10. Sam Tung Uk Museum

Sam Tung Uk Museum (or “three-beam houses” in Cantonese) is another cultural attraction that deserves every budget traveller’s attention. The 200-year-old Hakka walled village was converted into a museum after its restoration in 1987. The place covers an area of 2,000 square metres and comprises four individual dwellings in the centre. 

It offers an authentic insight into the lives of the New Territories’ people before the place was urbanised. Some of the unmissable exhibitions include multimedia displays on the creation of mahjong tiles and dim sum and not-to-forget traditional performances such as the Cantonese opera and more!

Address: Hong Kong, Tsuen Wan, Kwu Uk Ln, 2號, Sam Tung Uk Museum, 二號

11. Old Town Central (Street Art)

Your trip to Hong Kong is incomplete without hunting for its street art in the bustling Old Town Central. All you need to do is wander around its small alleys and open streets, and your sights will be graced with colourful murals and graffiti all the way through. Some of the famous street arts nestle along Staunton Street, Hollywood Road, Graham Street, and Tank Lane

And don’t miss out on the chance to visit the vibrant PMQ (Police Married Quarters) in the area. The free-entry artistic hub houses brilliant pieces of art created by Hong Kong’s budding artists and designers. The place also runs creative exhibitions all year round, so fellow travelling artists — buckle up!

Address: Old Town Central, Hong Kong

12. The Mills

the mills

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Another cultural treasure trove you can visit without spending a dime is The Mills in Tsuen Wan. The half-century former textile building creatively unveils Tsuen Wan’s past as a textile manufacturing district. One of the must-see attractions here is its Centre for Heritage, Arts, and Textile (CHAT), which features arts and cultural displays as well as exhibitions related to textiles. 

After you’re done admiring the storied cultural archives, make sure to spend some time snapping a pic or two against the lovely murals along Park Tin Par Lane downstairs. Look up from the end of the lane, and you’ll see a gigantic, monolithic portrait of Vanessa Cheung, the mastermind behind The Mills. So, do add this exciting attraction to your list of places to visit in HK for free this instant!

Address: The Mills, 45 Pak Tin Par St, Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong

Tips for travelling to Hong Kong on a budget

1. Get an Octopus card

An Octopus card is like a lifeline for every traveller visiting Hong Kong, especially a budget traveller. It helps you pay for most of the public transport fares in the city cash-free! So, no need to buy tokens each time you plan on boarding an MRT or a ferry throughout your journey. Expect minor discounts on the metro fare, too, when you use this card.

You can even pay for your desired items when visiting selected convenience stores and vending machines in the city. FYI, you can get this card from any MTR station nearby or buy one from the 7-Eleven or Circle K outlet at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) as soon as you land.

2. Always opt for MRT, tram, and ferry

tram in hk

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For travellers going to Hong Kong on a budget, it’s wise to get around the city using the three main forms of public transportation: MTR, tram, and ferry. All of the one-way trips will cost you less than HK$10 (~SG$1.74). The MTR lines stretch far wide across the urbanised areas of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, and the New Territories. 

If you’re keen on taking the tram and the ferry, you’re in for a double treat. Why? Not only are they relatively cheaper, but you can also enjoy the city or harbour views when you ride one!

Also read: 8 Budget Travel Ideas for Visiting the Most Expensive Cities in the World

3. Pick your food wisely

dim sum

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Instead of going to high-end restaurants with overpriced menus, you can always opt for affordable yet tasty local cuisines from any street food stall. Besides, most travellers would agree that you’re in for an authentic taste of Hong Kong once you do that. You might also want to ask for the locals’ opinions on the best food recommendations around the city. You won’t regret it; take our word for it!

4. Use Hong Kong’s free WiFi every chance you get

free wifi

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One of the essential tips when travelling to Hong Kong on a budget is to use the city’s free wireless internet to the fullest. You can easily connect your phone to public WiFi, mainly found in public areas such as the airport, MTR station, and other public transport stations around the city.

Plus, some places such as McDonald’s, Starbucks, Pacific Coffee, Kowloon Park, and local libraries are said to offer some of the fastest and most reliable WiFi connections in HK. So, do give them a try!

Also read: Solo Travel Guide: 16 Travel Tips You Should Know Before Travelling to Hong Kong

And that concludes our list of the top places to visit in HK for free and useful tips for exploring Hong Kong on a budget. So, worry not thinking whether you’ll have a fun trip to the “fragrant harbour” without forking extra because you will! (*Wink.*)

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About Author

Izzati Haron
Izzati Haron

Izzati is an author to two poem anthologies, a slam poet wannabe, and a full-time nanny to her kitties. She loves dreaming about traveling the world just like most protagonists in the movies, but more often than not, her bank account only permits her to travel to her backyard.