What Not To Do In Hong Kong

what not to do in hong kong

Although commonly known as the shoppers’ haven of Asia, there’s plenty more to do in Hong Kong. This small but lovely city is filled with culture and tradition that travelers will never be bored. You can either go out on a food run, experience the festivals and fairs, and/or even go to the fun-themed parks. The locals are also very friendly as they are used to having tourists. But just like any other country, there are certain customs that travelers are expected to follow when in the area. If ever you catch yourself visiting the city, keep reading our list of what not to do in Hong Kong.

1. Don't only travel in taxis or the MTR

Red taxi
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Although taking the taxi or Mass Transit Railway is relatively cheap in Hong Kong, don’t only get around the city using these two! Avoid picky drivers and the full M.T.R during rush hours, and try taking the bus or walking instead. Taking the bus is a great opportunity to go see the city if you don’t like walking. The routes may have fixed stops but you can easily get off by telling the driver of the bus. You should try the ferries too.

2. Don't spit on the streets

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If you need to spit, I suggest you hold it in or spit it in a tissue or handkerchief, trash can or restroom nearby. Spitting in the streets is considered bad manners in Hong Kong and even an act of rebellion. You can be fined up to more than HK$5,000 for doing so.

3. Don't just carry beach and casual wear

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Even if you plan on just going to the beach and theme parks, be sure to pack yourself a pair of proper (semi-formal) clothes as well. In Hong Kong, they are strict about their dress codes so if you suddenly feel like eating in one of those fancy restaurants, you have to wear the appropriate attire before they let you in. In case you weren’t able to bring any, you can buy clothes at the mall too.

4. Don’t pay the entrance fee for The Peak viewing platform

Hong Kong Skyline
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No Hong Kong trip is complete without a view of Hong Kong’s skyline. Many say that the only and highest view of the city can be seen from the Sky Terrace but it is overpriced and the lines can be long - depending on the time and date you go. Instead, go to The Peak Galleria mall and enjoy the free platform on top of the building. It is free and there are fewer people too.

5. Don't smoke in prohibited areas

No smoking
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It is a strict rule in Hong Kong where they can fine people, even tourists, for smoking in prohibited areas. Save yourself the trouble and money and make sure to not smoke in these designated areas. Instead, you can check for places exempted from the smoking ban (ex: hotel rooms, cigar shops, etc.

6. Don’t fear the minibuses

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Like as mentioned earlier, you should definitely try riding the minibuses. It’s a fun and cheaper way to get around the city. It does not only help you get to interact with the locals more - since you’ll be talking to the driver and locals for directions - it’s a good way for you to appreciate the streets of the bustling city with its views. It can also save you a lot of travel time.

7. Don't just eat Chinese food

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The beauty of this city is that it is filled with so much culture and cuisine. Don’t just limit yourself to eating Chinese food, but try out other cuisines as well! Taste the world through the unique restaurants nearby. There are British, Japanese, Thai, French and African cuisines made available. We suggest going on a food run and trying everything while you are it.

8. Don’t go to crowded neighborhoods on weekends

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If you’re visiting Hong Kong, spare yourself from the crowd and don’t go on a weekend. This popular city can get crowded especially during the weekend so better plan your vacation wisely and go during the weekday instead. For tourist areas such as Mong Kok, Tsim Sha Tsui, and Causeway Bay, go visit them during the weekday, preferably early in the week and in the morning or early afternoon to avoid the crowds. This goes the same for shopping. Save your weekends for the less crowded areas like the islands or beaches, etc.

9. Don't shop only in malls

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We all know that Hong Kong is a shopper’s haven, but if we’re being strategic about shopping and you’re looking to score some cheap buys, don’t only shop in the malls. Instead, try visiting the neighborhoods, markets, boutiques, bazaars, and shops by the bay. For first-timers, be sure to check Tsim Sha Tsui, and for those on a strict shopping budget, there’s the Mong Kok neighborhood and Wan Chai. You also don’t want to spend too much travel time (one to two hours) going to the malls only to get the same thing in the bazaars.

10. Don't get the tourism tram pass

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When it comes to public transport, Hong Kong is the perfect place to try out the different modes. There’s plenty, such as the MTR (Mass Transit Railway), taxis, buses, minibusses, tramway, peak tram, and ferries that you’ll never run out of options to choose from when traveling. That’s why it is not recommended to get the tourism tram pass since you won’t be able to use it as often with the many options - buses, taxis, and MTR in getting around the city. It is also quite expensive compared to the other choices. You can save your money from the tourism tram pass and use it on other things and experiences.

Have a fun and friendly stay in Hong Kong

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Hong Kong is one of Asia’s most visited cities in the world. Tourists come from all over the place to experience the food, shopping, public transportation, culture, and tradition. There’s plenty to do and go in this city along with some rules to follow. Uncommon as some of them may seem, save yourself from trouble and unexpected costs and follow these tips on what not to do when in Hong Kong.

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Melissa is a 20-something-year-old storyteller from Manila. She's been to Europe and Asia but still dreams of going around her home, the Philippines. When she's not traveling, you can find her in...Read more

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