Although Hong Kong has an international reputation for being a seriously expensive city, it doesn't mean there is any lack of affordable activities. For every gourmet restaurant or luxury boutique, there is a bustling flea market and cheap dim sum shack on the street. In fact, due to the sheer amount of things to do in the city, it can actually be a great destination for the budget traveller. Those looking to stretch their cash a little further in Hong Kong should check out these eight options for the penny pinchers.
Eating Cheap on the Street
When it comes to eating in Hong Kong, it may be tempting to give one or two of the five star gourmet restaurants a try, but it will cost quite a bit of cash to do so. Instead, visitors will want to get their food on the street. Hungry Hong Kong tourists should keep their eyes open for signs like "cooked food market" or "food stalls" as they pass by the endless rows of buildings, as much of the street food in Hong Kong is served up in tightly packed little markets where the street food vendors gather. This makes deciding on food easy and all of the meals are cheap. At many stands, guests can get a filling lunch consisting of tea/iced coffee, soup, rice and three different meat or vegetable dishes for about $5. With so many things to sample in the food markets, travellers likely will never have to eat the same thing twice, unless they want to.
Explore Temple Street Market
Diego Delso [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Many people pass up the Hong Kong markets because they don't have anything to buy or little money to do so. However, markets like the famous Temple Street Market are entertaining places to watch the city and its people. Around night time, the housewives go home and the markets become packed with the young and restless that have drinks at the surrounding bars and dine at the nearby food stalls. Many of the strange goods in the stalls are also excellent for a little weird Hong Kong souvenir shopping at low prices.
Go to a Museum on Wednesdays
Museums in Hong Kong are a great way to learn about the city and see artifacts, art and oddities that visitors are unlikely to see anywhere else. However, visiting the handful of museums around the city can get pricey with all the admission fees. Thankfully, every single museum in Hong Kong it's free to visit on Wednesdays. This is a lesser known fact, usually used for students in the city, but visitors can benefit from it. Once Wednesday hits, take a trip to the Hong Kong Museum of History to learn about its colonial history, the Hong Kong Museum of Art to enjoy the paintings, calligraphy and sculpture, the Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware for tea history, and maybe the Foods of Mankind Museum just for the fun of it.
Visit the Beach
Visiting the beach? In Hong Kong? It sounds like a weird suggestion considering the surrounding skyscrapers, but the beaches of Hong Kong are actually quite beautiful. Perhaps not up to Thailand standards, but the sands are superfine and powder-soft, the sun is warm and it can be quite the peaceful place to escape the endlessly bustling city. The only downside to the beaches of Hong Kong is that they are usually pretty packed with other Chinese tourists.
Ride Junk Boats around Victoria Harbor
Victoria Harbour is considered one of the most beautiful bays in the world and one of Hong Kong's most recommended sights. While the rich and famous cruise it on their own private yachts, there are two cheap ways to see the coast line. Visitors can take the Star Ferry as a quick way to get across the city, or ride on the iconic Chinese junk boats. Visitors can ride either the ferry or the colourful bat winged boats for as little as $2.
Enjoy the 'Symphony of Lights' Light Show
Hong Kong's Symphony of Lights is one of the best light shows of the world and it is completely free. The sky is lit up every night with lights, lasers and sound from 40 buildings stretching across the Victoria Harbour. The best spot to view this spectacular light show is universally agreed to be the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade that overlooks the bay.
Visit a Temple
The city is flush with Buddhist monasteries and Taoist temples. Visitors don't have to climb any mountains or even leave the city to get to them either. The petite Tin Hau Temple is located just a few metres from the Mass Transit Railway stop of the same name, while the stunning Man Mo Temple is located along one of Hong Kong's busiest streets. Entrance to these temples is free and many even include free, but simple, vegetarian meals.
Watch or Take Part in Free Tai Chi Classes
Tai Chi is a passion among Hong Kong locals. Every morning, practitioners of this unique martial art flock into the parks to exercise both body and mind through a fluid series of movements. For visitors, it is a thrill to watch their soothing movements, but in some instances, visitors can even join in and learn. The graceful, simple movements are easy to pick up and the Hong Kong Tourism Board offers free classes with a trained Tai Chi practitioner. The classes are run on the Avenue of the Stars every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at eight in the morning to learn a unique and useful practice.