8 Ways to Have an Authentic Experience in Hong Kong

Downtown Hong Kong Things to do in Hong Kong

Travelling to Hong Kong? Looking for things to do in Hong Kong? Don’t get sucked into the busy tourist spots. Have an authentic experience in Hong Kong to truly understand the culture!

 

*This article contains affiliate links which are meant to help you research Hong Kong. If you choose to purchase I will receive a small commission, which helps me continue to create great content for you. Thank you!*

 

Hong Kong is known as an intense, cosmopolitan city. It’s one of the banking capitals of the world, and full of tall buildings, shopping malls, and stylish people. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the lights and sounds! If you can see past all of the glitz (and grime) of the big city it is possible to navigate yourself into a truly authentic experience.

 

Here’s what to do in Hong Kong for an authentic, cultural experience!

 

1. Take a Locally-Guided City Tour

Hong Kong photography tour hong kong walking tour things to do in hong kong

Taking a local city tour is a great way to get to know a new city. Locals will know more history and hidden spots than you could find on your own, and they provide a safe place to ask questions about the city.

We took a city photography tour with a local and it was amazing! Not only did we get to see parts of town we didn’t know existed, we also got some great candid family photo shoots a week later. If you’re interested in finding some great Instagram Hong Kong spots this is the best way!

>Book this photography Hong Kong tour through AirBnB HERE.<

 

2. Take a classical Chinese painting class 

Chinese painting class hong kong things to do in hong kong

 

Focus your attention on beautiful, fine details instead of the larger sights and sounds of the city with a beginner’s art class.

Aura art studio has two locations in Hong Kong which rent out easels to local artists. They also offer 2-hour classes on classical Chinese painting or letter seal carving, taught by professional Chinese artists! Classes are in either location and offered in English.


This is a great way to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for the art and culture of Hong Kong and mainland China!

>Book a painting or seal carving class online through AirBnB Experiences HERE<

 

3. Get a Reflexology Foot Massage

thai foot massage in hong kong thing to do in hong kong how to have an authentic experience in hong kong the obriens abroad family travel

 

Massage parlors are very common around Hong Kong. Throughout the city you’ll see Lite Brite-style colored signs featuring a foot and it’s reflexology sections and women on the street handing out massage price flyers. Don’t be alarmed- these massages are perfectly safe! The only difference among them all is going to be the cleanliness of the studios. More expensive parlors will cleaner, as expected.

You can get an hour-long foot massage for between $10-20 USD, which feels wonderful on feet that walk and walk and walk!

 

4. Take Public Transportation

public transportation in hong kong what to do in hong kong things to do in hong kong the obriens abroad family travel

 

The public transportation system in Hong Kong is one of the best in the world. It consists of single and double decker busses, double decker rail cars, subway, and ferries.

All of these modes accept coins as payment, but it’s easier to buy an Octopus Card, the local transportation card. Buy the card from an information booth at a MTR (train) station, and fill it as needed by the MTR machines or in any 7-Eleven or Watsons drug store. The card itself is pretty expensive but you get a refund on it when you turn it back in at the end of your stay.

Public transportation in Hong Kong is really easy to navigate! Signs are clearly marked and all stops are announced in English. If you do end up having any trouble stop in at an information booth in any MTR station; employees speak English and are used to foreigners!

 

5. Eat Your Weight in Dim Sum

Dim sum hong kong authentic experience hong kong things to do in hong kong

 

Dim Sum are little baskets of pasta filled with different meat or vegetables and then steamed or fried to cook. They are immensely popular in Hong Kong! You’ll find Dim Sum restaurants all over the place. Look for lines: those are usually the best!

The most popular Dim Sum house is Tim Ho Wan. It’s a Michellin-starred restaurant, and there’s usually a long line outside. If you choose to go you’ll be seated at long tables next to strangers, as they fill every possible seat. It can be a really fun experience, though, as you will probably see other tourists and can talk about which Dim Sum you liked!

In any Dim Sum house you’ll be given a long sheet to fill out with your order. Dim Sum usually come in sets of 4 and are relatively cheap, so order as many as you want! Our favorites are shrimp-filled and meatballs. Yum!

 

6. Take a Hike

Hike hong kong things to do in hong kong

We tend to forget that Hong Kong is an island surrounded by hills. There are many large public parks in the city, and many opportunities to get out in nature.

Check out this list of the top 10 hikes in and around Hong Kong to spend a day away from the crowds!

7. Take a Tai Chi Lesson

hong kong tai chi lesson things to do in hong kong the obriens abroad family travel

Tai Chi is a wonderful way to relax in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong. Its a traditional Chinese technique with a long history in Hong Kong.

This class is offered by a Tai Chi master with over a decade of experience. It’s taught in the middle of a popular Hong Kong neighborhood with a great view!

Book this Tai Chi class with a local Hong Konger through AirBnB HERE.<


 

8. Run Errands

Family travel journal hong kong

We believe the best way to get to know a new city and the people who live there is to run errands. We already covered taking public transportation, and the next steps are laundry and groceries. Find a nearby Marks & Spencer or PARKnSHOP and get an idea of what foods locals eat on a daily basis! Try new fruits, drinks, and candies for an authentic and delicious experience.

It’s easy enough to send your laundry out to a service if your hotel or AirBnB isn’t equipped with a working washer (or if you just aren’t interested in doing it yourself.) Search for laundry near you and you’ll probably be directed to a laundry district. There will be a block or so of laundry rooms, filling the street with beautiful smells and tranquil humming.

Bring your dirty laundry in a plastic bag, weigh it in the scale beside the door, and a woman behind a counter will write a ticket for how much it costs based on the weight. We did our laundry twice and it cost around $5USD each time! Pick up the laundry by closing that day and it will be freshly cleaned and folded in a branded plastic bag for you.

Easy, fun, and rewarding!

 

We hope you take some time to experience the local, authentic side of Hong Kong during your vacation!

 

Plannjng a trip to Hong Kong? Here are 8 ways to have a cultural experience in Hong Kong! Follow these tips to have the best Hong Kong vacation possible!

 

If you have any other tips on unique things to do in Hong Kong please share in the comments!

 

 

 

13 comments

  • kumamonjeng

    I have been to Hong Kong many years ago but I was thinking of going again as it was almost 10 years ago that I went. This make a great list of what to do with the authentic experience!

  • Chris

    I’m currently living in South Korea and I’m looking at possibly taking a trip over to Hong Kong. These are some great ideas for that trip. I especially like the Tai Chi. That looks like it would be fun.

  • Elizabeth O

    This is a great post. You provided some great information on things to do when visiting Hong Honk that are authentic. such a great idea as you can really get a feel for the culture!

  • Kevin

    Have always been doing DIY travels. Maybe I would try having a local guide to join me on some parts of my next trip which is 2 weeks from now. Thanks for the tip!

  • Sara Welch

    Hong Kong is such a culturally rich city. I feel like this is the only way you should experience it!

  • Corina

    I would definitely try the Tai Chi and the foot massage! Loved your post, really, the pics are great and the reading is interesting 🙂

  • Holly

    Oh how fun…it looks like you had a great time. This is definitely a beautiful city and a lovely place to visit

  • Aseky Bonnaire

    Hong Kong looks amazing!! Hong Kong is actually on my bucket list of places to visit, after reading this makes it more official!

  • Twinspirational

    These are such fantastic ideas for our next trip to Hong Kong. We haven’t been there in years, but hope to visit soon.

  • Jennifer Prince

    I would love to take an art class. How fun! And of course, a foot massage would be oh so fabulous to have. And relaxing, too!

  • Emman Damian

    I love a good dimsum in Hong Kong. I have been in HK three times and I keep on coming back. I just love their food. You should also try their milk tea,

  • Lisa Rios

    This is awesome! Hong Kong sounds so cool. The Dim Sum sounds really good, and also the tour around the city, but what I’d really like to do is to take one of the art classes! I love the Chinese style of art and that would be an amazing experience.

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