The most overrated places in Hong Kong and where to go instead
Hong Kong is one of the best places for travel thanks to its many incredible attractions, and you’ll always have things to do. But often, following the crowd can lead to disappointment. Of course, Hong Kong has its share of overrated places, but calling a hot spot “overrated” does not mean it is unworthy of a visit. It simply means there are less expensive and less crowded alternatives.
Whether it’s your first time in Hong Kong or your 20th time, it’s always easier to go with the obvious choices. But if you want to go a little unconventional, we have you covered. We sought the opinion of Hongkongers on which places they find most overrated and the best places they would visit instead. Here’s what they recommend.
Most overrated places in Hong Kong
Overrated: Dragon’s Back
Dragon’s Back is one of the most popular hikes in the city as it provides a spectacular view of southern Hong Kong. It’s the last leg of the Hong Kong Trail, with Big Wave Bay awaiting at the end. But because it’s so popular—and for some, a moderate hike—you will often find it crowded. Will you really be able to enjoy the “spectacular” view when there’s traffic ahead? We don’t think so!
Where to go instead: Cape D’Aguilar
There are many alternative hiking trails but if you don’t want to travel too far, Cape d’Aguilar with spectacular rock formations is one of the best places in Hong Kong. It’s an easy hike, complete with sweeping sea views and historical tidbits. The hike only takes a little over two hours to complete with mostly well-paved paths. Don’t forget to drop by the lighthouse, also known as Hok Tsui Beacon, which is the oldest surviving lighthouse in Hong Kong.
Overrated: Lan Kwai Fong
Lan Kwai Fong (LKF) is the go-to place for those who want to go bar hopping in Hong Kong – think narrow streets and alleys packed with restaurants, nightclubs, and bars. However, it can also get crowded, “meltdown” scenes are common, and prices aren’t as affordable as they used to be.
Where to go instead: Soho or Starstreet Precinct
Just a stone’s throw away from LKF is Soho. Take your pick from various dining and drinking options and hidden gems here. Elsewhere, Starstreet Precinct is fast becoming the next best night destination, with new restaurants and bars popping up now and then. Plus, the crowd is relatively quieter.
Overrated: Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade
Ah, the iconic view of Hong Kong’s cityscape! Sure, the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade offers the most postcard-perfect view of the city, but the area has become quite commercialised and crowded.
Where to go instead: Kwun Tong Promenade
For a different (but equally stunning) view of Hong Kong head to Kwun Tong Promenade instead. It’s an urban waterfront park built on the former site of the Kwun Tong Cargo Working Area. The area recently got a facelift so there are many new offerings and sights to see.
Overrated: Symphony of Lights
Light pollution is something that Hongkongers know too well. And the highly commercialised Symphony of Lights has been an “attraction” since 2004. It’s the world’s largest permanent light and sound show, taking place on Victoria Harbour. But this may not really be the best way to take in the glory of Hong Kong’s iconic skyline.
Where to go instead: The Peak at night or around City Hall/HKCEC
Head over to The Peak at night to witness some incredible views of the city skyline. If we’re being honest, it’s quite a breathtaking sight. Alternatively, you can enjoy the Symphony of Lights around the City Hall in Central or the Hong Kong Culture and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai.
Overrated: MTR ride
We’re not taking the MTR for granted. It’s accessible, convenient, and takes you where you need to be easily. For tourists, it might be the best option if you’re in Hong Kong for the first time. And for locals, taking it is a necessary part of the daily commute. But if you want to see more of Hong Kong, it’s better to take other public transportation.
What to use instead: Ferry, tram, and bus
Hong Kong’s ferries provide spectacular sea views of the city. The Star Ferry is an icon of Hong Kong, but the ride is short. A lesser-known route to take is the Kowloon or Hung Hom to North Point. In addition, trams are unique to Hong Kong and a wonderful way to see Hong Kong Island. We recommend taking the front seat in a tram. Some bus routes are also very scenic, such as Bus 9, which takes you from Shau Kei Wan to Shek O.
Overrated: The Big Buddha
We aren’t going to lie—the Big Buddha is impressive. After all, it’s the most recognisable attraction in Lantau and one of the largest outdoor bronze-seated Buddha statues. But it’s also just that—a statue.
Where to go instead: Lion Rock
Hong Kong is known for its magnificent structures and buildings and the Big Buddha is one of them. So, instead, we recommend heading close to nature to see a different side of Hong Kong. If you’re feeling adventurous, Lion Rock is great. At the end of the hike, you get panoramic views of the city from above. It’s a view that never gets old.
Overrated: Cheung Chau
For island hoppers, Cheung Chau is first on the list. As the island is more developed, there’s also a lot more to do there. But hundreds of travellers visit the island every weekend, so the alleyways are always packed. The restaurants are overprized too!
Where to go instead: Peng Chau
Skip the crowd and head over to the sleepy island of Peng Chau. You get to enjoy the quaint cafes, peaceful cycling routes, and laid-back vibes.
Overrated: Repulse Bay
Repulse Bay, once a beach with sparkling waters, is now littered with trash. Also, compared to most beaches in Hong Kong, it’s accessible. So, naturally, with the influx of tourists, it loses its status as a majestic beach.
Where to go instead: Turtle Cove Beach
Longing for a secluded private island kind of vibe? Turtle Cove Beach is a hidden getaway. As the name suggests, it’s a nesting spot for the city’s endangered green turtles. The beach itself is located in a protected area filled with rocks, lush greenery, and white sand. Please note that the beach remains closed from June to October.
So, get ready to explore these underrated gems!
(Hero image credit: Simon Zhu/Unsplash)
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