There are many fun activities to pamper one’s self while in Hong Kong but some people argue that there is a difference between experiencing Hong Kong as a tourist and experiencing the city as a traveller. Supposedly, travellers will often choose to forego the luxury of private transport and instead, opt to explore the city on foot.
Regardless of which side of the spectrum you identify yourself with: whether you prefer touristy activities which emphasise on comfort or you prefer the challenges of spontaneity, there’s no denying that there’s a certain charm in walking around a foreign city.
So here’s a walking tour itinerary, which covers some must-visit places in Hong Kong from the Tsim Sha Tsui District to Hong Kong Island.
Strolling through Nathan Road
Kickstart your tour on the famous Nathan Road. Also known as the Golden Mile, Nathan Road is more or less the main street of the Tsim Sha Tsui district in southern Kowloon. Lined with restaurants and numerous shopping malls on both sides, Nathan Road is an epicentre of activity in Hong Kong.
It is also home to some of Hong Kong’s historical landmarks, such as St. Andrew’s Church, which is the oldest English-speaking Protestant place of worship in Kowloon, having been built in 1904.
Being one of the busiest streets in the district, it’s not uncommon to spot a few talented street performers as you walk along the rows of shops and eateries. Nathan Road is especially crowded and lively at night and it is one of the best places to experience the urban culture of Hong Kong.
Walk among (comic) stars in Kowloon Park
Next up on the list is Kowloon Park. To get there, simply continue walking southward on Nathan Road until you arrive at an intersection on Austin Road. Head west on Austin Road and you will be able to see an entrance to the northern section of Kowloon Park. Alternatively, there are also multiple entrances into the park along Nathan Road.
Kowloon Park used to be a military barracks before it was opened for public use in 1970 after undergoing redevelopment. Situated in Tsim Sha Tsui and having multiple entry and exit points, Kowloon Park’s most unique attraction is its Avenue of Comic Stars.
Featuring statues of popular Chinese comic and cartoon stars such as Old Master Q (better known as Lao Fu Zi), the Avenue of Comic Stars in Kowloon Park is a major draw for children and the young at heart.
Apart from that, Kowloon Park is also a nice venue for a relaxing stroll. With a large variety of beautiful plants and an aviary and bird lake, it’s easy to forget that Kowloon Park is surrounded by skyscrapers and shopping malls in one of the busiest commercial districts in Hong Kong.
There is also a Heritage Discovery Centre for those who wish to dig deeper into Hong Kong’s cultural history. Admission is free and it’s a pretty nice, quiet place to spend a couple of hours taking a break from the hustle and bustle of city life.
A beautiful view of Victoria Harbour
Once you’ve had enough time exploring Kowloon Park, exit unto Haiphong Road and head due West until you arrive at Canton Road. If you find yourself in a dazzling shopping district, which reminds you a little of Times Square in New York, you’re on the right track. Your aim is to reach the Kowloon Public Pier.
On Canton Road, head south and eventually the pier will come into view as you cross Salisbury Road. Look for a clock tower if you’re unsure of the road names. Arriving at the pier, you’ll be greeted by one of Hong Kong’s most iconic sights: Victoria Harbour.
Admiring the beautiful Hong Kong skyline over Victoria Harbour is one of the top things to do when travelling in Hong Kong. But even more impressive is the light show which starts at 8pm every night called A Symphony Of Lights.
Every night, buildings across both sides of Victoria Harbour light up to the accompaniment of music, producing a mesmerising 15-minute lights and laser show, which is the largest of its kind in the world. If you find yourself at the pier in the daytime, while the view is still breathtakingly memorable, it’s always worth planning ahead to ensure you can return to the pier at night to catch the show.
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Ride the Mid-Levels escalators in Central
Since you’re at the pier already, head to the Star Ferry Pier and purchase a ferry ticket to Central on Hong Kong Island. A standard adult ticket costs 2.50HKD (0.32USD) on weekdays and 3.20HKD (0.41USD) on weekends and public holidays.
After alighting from the ferry at Central Pier, you can either grab a quick bite from one of the food trucks at the pier and go straight on towards the next item on the list: the Mid-Levels Escalators. Yes, you read that right. What’s so fun about riding escalators, you ask?
Well, for starters, the Mid-Levels escalators form the longest covered escalator system in the world, covering a distance of over 800 metres. Because of the hilly landscape of Hong Kong Island, riding the entirety of the escalators would take about 15-25 minutes.
To get there, the quickest way is to head southwest on Man Yiu Street after leaving the pier until you eventually reach Des Voeux Road Central, at which point you should head northwest until you arrive at Jubilee Street. Then, turn left and walk along Jubilee Street until you arrive at the escalators by the intersection of Queen’s Road Central.
There are several bars and eateries and even souvenir shops which line either side of the streets in which the escalators cut through. Of course, while taking a ride on the escalators itself is free of any charges, you’ll more than likely find yourself spending some money in one of the many bars and eateries on the sides where the escalators cut off.
Visit the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens
And now, on to the final official stop of this walking tour of Hong Kong (you might want to take another stop at the Kowloon Public Pier for the night view of Victoria Harbour on your way back).
Ride the Mid-Levels escalators until you reach the stop on Caine Road. Step off the escalators and turn left, heading in the direction of southeast. Keep on Caine Road and as you start to see mission colleges and a few Catholic cathedrals and activity centres, you’ll eventually reach a street called Glenealy. Follow it and you will find the entrance to the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens.
It is one of the oldest zoological gardens in the world. Since it first opened in 1871, the place has been a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.
As the name suggests, you will find many animals (mostly mammals and birds) and plants in the gardens. While at the southern entrance (on Upper Albert Road), don’t miss a memorial arch dedicated to the Chinese soldiers who lost their lives in the two world wars. Admission is obviously free and if you’re looking to get some fresh air, then this is one place not to be missed.
A walk to remember
Phew, talk about a workout. If you’ve managed to follow this itinerary to the very end, congratulations! You’ve just covered a walking distance of over 5km and seen some of the very best sights Hong Kong has to offer! Give yourself a pat on the back.
Travelling, essentially, is about getting the best out of every experience regardless of where you are and how you do it. Sometimes though, the best way is to (literally) take a walk.
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