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“Budget” is not a word one associates with Hong Kong. This city is anything but! Still, we were lucky enough to spend a week there over fall break. It was largely made possible thanks to a friend who kindly allowed us to stay at her place while she was out of town. Even with the lodgings taken care of, the former British enclave can be pretty hard on the wallet. Yet, we found budget things to do in Hong Kong with our kids – a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old – that were both fun and affordable. Check out our list!
Why we liked it: This place is downtown and easy to get to. The grounds are beautiful, the zoo is small (perfect size for young children, really) but neat: I don’t think I’ve seen such active monkeys before in my life! They were swinging around, chasing each other, and having a great time altogether. There is a good-sized playground, the bathrooms are clean.
Such a relaxing place!
Are these real, mama?
Black-Capped Lories enjoying their lunch
This little guy was quite patient with me.
Why we liked it: You cannot beat the central location. The aviary was beautiful! Visitors walk on suspended bridges high off the ground and get to see all kinds of birds flying around, perching on the branches nearby or nibbling on the snacks (the feeders are hanging more or less at eye-level).
While inside, it’s easy to forget you are in the middle of a crazy, bustling city. There is a superb multi-level playground near the aviary that includes a giant sandbox.
Unfortunately, this part of the park isn’t very stroller-friendly.
Cost: Peak tram is HK$45 per adult and HK$25 per child (3-11) for a round-trip ticket.
Why we liked it: It was a great value for the money. The funicular was great fun for the kids. The view from the top was breathtaking! We enjoyed walking on the shady paths on the mountainside, our preschooler loved exploring the moss 🙂
If you are up to a little hike, there is a lovely park and a playground about 10 minutes away towards the Peak Garden.
We took a stop there on our way up and later wished we didn’t bother going any higher: the view wasn’t that amazing, the garden seemed rather unkept and the mosquitos were vicious (think 30+ bites per ankle). If you (and especially the children!!) need the bathroom, I would strongly suggest avoiding the one you enter from the outside and looking for one in the Peak Tower itself (I believe, it’s on the 2nd floor, there are signs).
IMPORTANT! If you arrive at the Peak Tram station before 9am, there will hardly be a line (at 8am, there were 3 people in front of us). If you arrive at 10, it will be a 2-hour wait. Plan accordingly.
Cost: HK$20 per person, children under 4 years old are free. If you want to stretch your budget even further, on Wednesdays, admission is free for everyone.
Turtle looking at an engine
Why we liked it: I always seek out a good child-friendly museum, maybe because there weren’t any hands-on museums in my childhood. We chose to go on a Wednesday so it was quite busy (seeing how it was a free admission day in the middle of a school break) but not so much as to be uncomfortable. We didn’t get to see half the things they had to offer. My kids, quite predictably, enjoyed the Transportation exhibit and the dinosaur skeleton the most. I loved the Home Technology section (I mean, you get to see what a washer and a dryer look like inside!) and the Hall of Mirrors. We also caught a science show (maybe 15-minutes long) on liquid nitrogen. Really cool stuff! Don’t miss the Puzzle Room on the ground floor (kind of tucked in the corner near the Mirror Hall. Let’s be clear here, this isn’t a Smithsonian, but it’s still fun. And the location can’t be beat.
5. Hong Kong Museum of History
Hong Kong Museum of History is next door to the Science Museum. Its permanent exhibition “The Hong Kong Story” is free for everyone. You get to explore the history of Hong Kong from prehistoric times all the way to 1997. There is an old junk boat on display (something I was excited about).
The Natural Environment gallery
Modern Metropolis gallery
Folk Culture gallery
6. Star Ferry
Cost: HK$2.70-3.70 per adult, $1.60-2.20 per child (3 and older), Octopus card can be used.
Why we liked it: Star Ferry is an iconic site in Hong Kong (here’s a good look at its history). At first, we were looking at a full-on harbor tour (about HK$150, if I remember right) but then decided just to do the budget trip from Central to Tsim Tsa Shui and back. It was worth it! The view is nice and it’s neat to be able to see the city from a different perspective. The ride is about 10 minutes long.
7. Repulse Bay Beach
Warm sand, warm sea
She wasn’t sure about the sand at first 🙂
8. Kowloon Park
His back pack is a penguin, too!
Why we liked it: it’s a peaceful oasis in the midst of busy Tsim Sha Tsui. We enjoyed walking through the Hong Kong Avenue of Comic Stars even though all of them were perfectly foreign to us. Our 4-year-old fell in love with the Maze Garden and insisted to go through it several times. I found the Chinese Garden very pretty. There is an aviary on the grounds as well as a really nice playground (partly wheelchair-accessible).
BONUS! Michelin-recommended Lee Keung Kee North Point Egg Ball stall is a couple minutes away at 492 King’s Road, North Point 178 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui. The famous Hong Kong egg waffles (or eggettes) were quite a hit with our family 🙂
I hope you will find these ideas helpful. Do you have favorite budget things to do in Hong Kong with kids?