Two sets of steamed dim sum in bamboo baskets with chopsticks and dipping sauces

Our favorite Hong Kong tours and excursions

Think you know what Hong Kong is all about? You just might need to think again.

Our favorite tours and excursions will take you beyond the skyscrapers and into the backcountry — and yes, Hong Kong does have backcountry — introducing you to the people and places that make this region so special.

That might mean exploring the junk boat community of Aberdeen Fishing Village, or cycling through walled clan villages and wetlands in the New Territories. It might have you kayaking through the mangroves and caves of the Sai Kung Country Park, or venturing to islands where Bronze Age rock carvings litter sandy beaches fringed with palms.

Of course, that’s not to discount those iconic Hong Kong city experiences. Squeezing between cars on a double-decker tram, browsing Kowloon’s many kaleidoscopic markets, riding the longest outdoor covered escalator in the world in search of street-food treats — these are all part of Hong Kong’s DNA. But they’re just the beginning.

Our top picks

You won't want to miss out on these must-dos hand-picked by our expert team

Aerial view of night market in middle of street in Hong Kong

Hong Kong nightlife

Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s irrepressible energy doesn’t slow when the sun goes down — it just gets brighter, buzzier and infinitely more fun.

Begin your tour in Temple Street Night Market, the hub of Kowloon’s nightlife. Weave between stalls overflowing with everything from I heart HK t-shirts and knock-off watches to deep-fried pig intestine and bubble tea, while street opera performers serenade the crowd and roving fortune tellers offer to predict your future. Then, jump onboard a cruise boat and set out on Victoria Harbor, flanked by double skylines as you watch the Symphony of Lights: a nightly lights-and-lasers show that plays out across 42 skyscrapers to the strains of disco-infused classical music. Of course, it wouldn’t be a night out in Hong Kong if you didn’t round it off with a cocktail in one of Kowloon’s famous skybars, the lights of Hong Kong Island glittering below you.

People climbing steps up to St Paul's church

Day trip to Macau

Hong Kong

Just 60km across the Pearl River Delta, the Portuguese enclave of Macau makes a fascinating counterpoint to Hong Kong.

Having spent 450 years under colonial rule — longer than anywhere in Asia — Macanese culture is an all-embracing mish-mash of Portuguese and Cantonese influences. This unique hybrid flavor touches everything from its UNESCO-listed buildings (think Chinese characters carved into European baroque architecture at St. Paul’s) to its cuisine, which embraces everything from egg tarts and almond cake to pork chop buns and salt cod. Zip across by Turbo Jet in the morning, tour some of the city’s most famous historical landmarks, grab a delicious Macanese lunch, then (if you like) try your luck at the second-largest casino in the world. Macau may be a gambler’s paradise, but it has so much more to offer than poker and slot machines.

View from the top of the Dragon's Back Trail looking down at the sea

Hiking the dragon's back trail

Hong Kong

Snaking along the mountainous ridge of Hong Kong Island, the Dragon’s Back Trail was once named the best urban hike in Asia by Time Magazine — and it’s not hard to see why.

Just minutes from one of the densest concentrations of skyscrapers in the world, this hiking path winds through shady bamboo groves, lush woodland filled with birdsong and hills covered in wild azaleas and rose myrtle. The views are simply unbeatable, taking in Clear Water Bay and islands in the eastern sea approaches to Hong Kong, as well as the Stanley Peninsula and the South China Sea to the west. It can be a tough hike, but so incredibly wild and rewarding — it’s easy to forget you’re in Hong Kong at all. Conclude by descending to the village of Shek O, where a dip in the sea and an alfresco seafood lunch make the perfect end to the hike.

Colourful buildings with washing hanging and bicycle propped up outside

Cheung Chau Island tour

Hong Kong

Just a 35-minute ferry from Hong Kong Island, Cheung Chau might as well be on a different planet for all the resemblance it bears to its famous neighbor.

For a start, no cars are allowed on the island — a fact that contributes to the laid-back, peaceful vibe as you trek to the windsurfers’ paradise Tung Wan Beach, visit 3,000-year-old rock carvings, explore an old pirate’s cave hideout and take a sampan boat ride to an old fishing community where the locals still live on their boats. Your guide will let you in on some local history and culture as you dodge bicycles, visit 18th century Pak Tai Temple, and sample some of Cheung Chau’s famous street food. The giant fish balls and mango-filled mochi are particular specialties.

Red tram climbing up hillside to Victoria Peak in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Island tour

Hong Kong

Where better to begin a tour of Hong Kong Island than its highest point?

Ride the funicular tram to the top of Victoria Peak for phenomenal views of the whole caboodle: skyscrapers, Victoria Harbor, Kowloon and even the hills of the New Territories in the distance. Then, head down to the opposite side of the island to Aberdeen Fishing Village, where the locals still sleep on junk boats and live off the sea. Board a sampan boat to putter about on the water (look out for Jumbo Kingdom — one of the biggest floating restaurants in the world), then hop along the coast by car to Repulse Bay, with its golden sands, fabulous views and homes for the ultra-wealthy. Finally, head back into the heart of the city and board the Star Ferry for one of the most iconic experiences in Hong Kong: a cruise between the two skylines across Victoria Harbor.

Golden pavilion in Nan Lian Garden in Hong Kong

Hong Kong heritage tour

Hong Kong

Hong Kong may be best-known for its skyscrapers, but remnants of the old city still cling on between the glass and steel — and we know where to find them.

Start your half-day guided tour at the Chi Lin Nunnery, a huge wooden temple built in Tang Dynasty style. Wander the paths of Naan Lian Garden, winding between sculpted shrubs, trees, multi-level waterfalls and waterwheels against a dramatic backdrop of skyscrapers. Then, head into Mong Kok: formerly the preserve of gangsters and massage parlors; now one of Hong Kong’s most characterful districts. Here, food booths hawking fish balls and fried tofu line roads with colorful nicknames such as street bird garden, goldfish street, flower market road and even photocopy street. Get your HK dollars ready and prepare to haggle!