Traveling abroad is very exciting. At the same time, pre-trip anxieties are often unavoidable especially if it’s your first time and you have many unanswered questions about your trip.

I can definitely relate because my first visit to Hong Kong was also my first trip abroad. Fortunately, enjoying a trip to this bustling city-state is a cinch even for newbie travelers.

Traveling to Hong Kong for the first time? This detailed travel guide will make it easy for you to plan a trip, save money, and maximize your time.

Scroll down to read must-know travel tips before you go, followed by a sample itinerary + budget breakdown, recommended hotels/places to stay, things to do/places to visit and lots of extra travel tips.

Hong Kong Travel Guide Blog Contents

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Hong Kong Itinerary

Hong Kong Budget

Where to Stay in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Travel Tips Before You Go

Things To Do in Hong Kong + Places to Visit

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How to Go — Touchdown at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), which serves flights from Manila (2 hours), Singapore, Taipei, Seoul, Tokyo, New York, London & more. From the Philippines, you can also fly direct from Cebu, Clark, & Iloilo. Flights are operated by Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, AirAsia and Cathay Pacific.

See cheap flightsManila to Hong Kong

How many days in Hong Kong? — Two to three days is enough to visit most major tourist spots in Hong Kong. Plan at least 3 days if you want to go on a side trip to Macau. Consider a longer trip to enjoy a relaxed pace, especially if you’re interested in exploring the local sights & food scene.

Book your hotel early — Tsim Sha Tsui, in downtown Hong Kong, is the most convenient base to stay for tourists. You can also find many excellent options in the areas of Central, Jordan, Mong Kok, Sheung Wan and Wan Chai. Grab rock-bottom rates and avoid fully-booked rooms by booking online as soon as you know you’re going. Click below to compare discounts and read reviews by other travelers.

Cheapest ratesBest hotel reviews

Check prices online and pre-book discounts — Save money by checking discounts on tours, airport/city transfers & sim card/WiFi hotspots. Booking before you leave also saves you time by avoiding the hassles of bringing large amounts of cash & exchanging currency/money during your actual trip.

See tours & discountsSee more

Hong Kong visa-free travel for Pinoys — Philippine passport holders do not need a visa to travel to Hong Kong. Simply show up at the airport and get your passport stamped. Filipinos can stay for up to 14 days visa-free per entry.

Getting around Hong Kong — Exploring Hong Kong is very easy, even for first-timers. The HK Airport Express train to the city center takes 24 minutes. The discount fare is HKD 72 if you book online (HKD 115 if you buy at the station). If you plan to get around using Hong Kong’s efficient train/bus system or on foot, Google Maps is super useful. The directions feature only works online, so you will need mobile internet to use the app.

Hong Kong 3G/4G internet data SIM card & pocket WiFi rental

See SIM/WiFi prices

Hong Kong top transport discounts & apps

Get an Octopus Card — Enjoy discount fares and easy payments on Hong Kong’s MTR (metro) trains and buses using this prepaid card. It can also be used for payments at convenient stores & partner shops throughout Hong Kong.

Pre-book online

Philippine Peso to Hong Kong Dollars — PHP is widely accepted as there is a huge Filipino community in Hong Kong. Exchange a small amount at the airport because rates are often better at the city center.

Sidetrip to Macau — Visit two countries in one trip! It’s even possible to go on a quick day trip to Macau because the ferry only takes 1-hour.

Top travel blogs + guide to Hong Kong & beyond

Hong Kong Itinerary

Here’s a sample 3 days & 2 nights (3D2N) itinerary to give you a quick look at how to enjoy a trip to Hong Kong’s top tourist spots. Click below to see prices & discounts online.

Day 1: Hong Kong Island & Victoria Harbour

Flight to Hong Kong

1000 am: Arrive at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) …Clear immigration checkpoint, claim baggage, and clear customs checkpoint. Claim online pre-orders — Pocket WiFi/SIM card, Airport Express tickets, Octopus Card, attraction tickets, etc.

1030 am: Hong Kong Airport to hotel transfer …Ride Airport Express train to Kowloon or Hong Kong Station. Ride train to MTR station near your hotel.

1100 am: Hong Kong hotel check-in.

1130 am: Transfer to Central Hong Kong. …Ride Star ferry to Central if coming from Kowloon/Tsim Sha Tsui).

1200 nn: Central Hong Kong sightseeing …Lunch and quick sightseeing at Exchange Square (the Hong Kong Stock Exchange), Statue Square & St. Johns Cathedral.

0200 pm: Ride The Peak Tram

See the view from Victoria Peak …Visit Sky Terrace 428, Madame Tussauds & more

0430 pm: Transfer to Tsim Sha Tsui

0500 pm: Tsim Sha Tsui sightseeing …Clock Tower, Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, Avenue of Stars (closed for renovation until the end of 2018), Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong Space Museum & more.

0800 pm: Victoria Harbour & Symphony of Lights …Best views on Aqualuna / Bauhinia harbor cruise or Tsim Sha Tsui promenade.

Day 2: Ngong Ping Village & Hong Kong Disneyland

0800 am: Transfer to Tung Chung …Ride train to Tung Chung MTR station.Ride Ngong Ping 360 cable car to Ngong Ping village

Ride Ngong Ping 360 cable car …

0900 am: Explore Ngong Ping …Tian Tan giant sitting Buddha, Po Lin Monastery, the Wisdom Path & more.

1200 nn: Transfer to Disneyland Hong Kong. …Ride Ngong Ping 360 cable car back to Tung Chung & ride the train to Disneyland Resort station.

0100 pm: Visit Hong Kong Disneyland

0600 to 0730 pm: Hong Kong at night …Visit the street markets/malls or enjoy Hong Kong’s nightlife

Day 3: Free time & Shopping

0800 am: Transfer to Ocean Park …Ride train to Ocean Park MTR station.

Oceanpark Hong Kong

0200 pm: Free time. Choose from below:

Option 1: Shopping at Central or Tsim Sha Tsui.

Option 2: Visit Sky100 observation deck

Option 3: Hong Kong food

0600 pm: Hotel check-out

0630 pm: Ride Airport Express train to Hong Kong Airport.

1000 pm: Hong Kong departure

Hong Kong Budget

Your travel expenses in Hong Kong will largely depend on your traveling style and how much you plan to spend on activities, accommodations & food. To help you set your own budget, here are budget estimates if you follow the 3 days and 2 nights (3D2N) itinerary posted above. Make sure to review all discounts & online booking prices.

Transport expenses breakdown
HKD 117Airport Express train — Roundtrip fare to Kowloon, per personBook discount here
HKD 136.4Tourist Octopus Card + train/bus/ferry fares — Initial cost of Tourist Octopus Card (HKD 98) + top-upBook discount here
Activities/attraction costs breakdown
HKD 70Peak Tram + Sky Terrace admission — Roundtrip 2-in-1 ticket package, per person.Book discount here
HKD 133Ngong Ping 360 — Roundtrip cable car ride, per personBook discount here
HKD 523Disneyland Hong Kong — 1-Day ticket, per personBook discount here
HKD 367Ocean Park Hong Kong — Admission/entrance fee, per personBook discount here
Budget Trip – Backpacker Expenses
HKD 253.4Transport — Airport train & transport within Hong Kong.
HKD 360Accommodations — 3 days / 2 nights hostel stay (dorm). HKD 180 per bed per night x 2 nights.
HKD 240Food — Per meal budget of HKD 30
HKD 853Total (excluding activities) — Transport, accommodations & food for the entire 3 days trip, excluding flights & attractions/activities. Approx. PHP 6,700 / USD 109. Or, a daily budget of HKD 284 / PHP 1,900 / USD 36.
HKD 1,946Total — Including activities above, transport, food & accommodations. Approx. PHP 12,400 / USD 253. Or, a daily budget of HKD 649 / PHP 4,133 / USD 84.

I’ve included backpacker budget estimates for food & accommodations to give you an idea of how cheaply you can travel in Hong Kong. If you have money to splurge on hotels, food, and luxuries, simply use the expenses posted to calculate your own budget.

Other expenses
HKD 54Hong Kong Pocket WiFi — Per day rental of HKD 18 x 3 days.Book discount here
PHP 1,620Philippine Travel Tax — For outbound Philippine citizens only

Where to Stay in Hong Kong

The best areas to stay in Hong Kong are Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) and Central. These locations are perfect if you want a convenient location close to many of HK’s popular attractions, MTR stations, ferry terminals and shopping malls. You won’t run out of options here when it comes to hotels with top review ratings.

TST offers a wider variety when it comes to prices. You can find hostels/guesthouses catering to backpackers and low budget travelers as well as 5-star hotels. Meanwhile, hotels in Central caters to a more upscale crowd. This is the best area to stay if you want a location near Hong Kong’s famous luxury shopping scene. If you’re set on a splurge, choose a hotel near the waterfront for sweeping views of Hong Kong’s skyline and Victoria Harbour.

The neighborhoods of Jordan, Mong Kok, Sheung Wan and Wan Chai are also great options as these areas are located next to Tsim Sha Tsui and Central. If you’re planning to get around Hong Kong by train or public transport, just make sure to choose a location near an MTR train station and you’re good to go!

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Hong Kong hotels & hostels

Here’s a list of recommended hotels, hostels & places to stay in Hong Kong. Click below to check prices, discounts & guest reviews.

Best Luxury Hotels in Hong Kong

Splurge at the best 5-star and 4-star hotels in Hong Kong.

Check all rates & reviews

Four Seasons Hotel

Central

Book here

InterContinental Hotel

Tsim Sha Tsui

Book here

HKD 800 / PHP 5,200 / USD 100 or less

4-Star & 5-Star hotel promo rates — Grab massive discounts on luxury rooms available for booking today.

Check all rates & reviews

HKD 600 / PHP 4,000 / USD 76 or less

Recommended 3-Star & budget hotels — Great-value rooms for travelers seeking comfort at affordable rates. Perfect for those traveling with family & friends.

Check all rates & reviews

The Salvation Army

Yau Ma Tei

Book here

Victoria Hotel

Tsim Sha Tsui

Book here

HKD 400 / PHP 2,600 / USD 50 or less

Best budget hotels in Hong Kong — For travelers looking for decent yet affordable accommodations.

Check all rates & reviews

Yiu Fai Guest House

Tsim Sha Tsui

Book here

Ukkei Inn

Yau Ma Tei

Book here

HKD 200 / PHP 1,300 / USD 25 or less

Best hostels & budget hotels — Cheap hotels & places to stay for backpackers/solo travelers on a tight budget.

Check all rates & reviews

Hop Inn on Mody

Tsim Sha Tsui

Book here

Apple Inn @ TST

Tsim Sha Tsui

Book here

Cheapest places to stay in Hong Kong

Click below to find accommodations in Hong Kong with prices for as low as HKD 100 / PHP 650 / USD 13 or less.

Check all rates & reviews

Where to book

Book your stay online through these trusted booking sites. I use them frequently to grab rock-bottom prices & enjoy convenient bookings.

Click below to see more places to stay and compare rates/discounts:

AgodaBooking.comAirbnb

Here are some of the top reasons why I prefer to book online & why you should too:

Wide selection of Hong Kong hotels/hostels for all budgets.

Often cheaper prices than walk-in rates. Earn rewards points for every booking. The more you book, the more you earn!

Trusted by millions of travelers. Read reviews from actual staying guests.

Instant confirmation & free cancellation on most properties.

Pay in your home currency. Worry less about bringing cash/exchanging currencies. Convenient & secure payment by credit card or Paypal.

Fast customer support.

How to find affordable yet decent hotels perfect for your budget

Step 1 — Go to Agoda.com.

Step 2 — Show the best locations only by filtering results by neighborhood. Tap the filter button and scroll down to “Neighborhood.” Then, select these places in Hong Kong:

Tsim Sha Tsui (TST)

Central

Jordan

Mong Kok

Sheung Wan

Wan Chai

Step 3 — View all properties within your price range by tapping on the “Filter” button. Then, scroll down to “Price per night” and select your price range. Tap on “Filter” to see the results. For desktop users, you can find the filters on the left side of the page.

Step 4 — See properties with the highest guest reviews by using the “Guest Rating” filter. Select “9+ Exceptional”. In case there are few results displayed select “8+ Excellent”.

To check the cheapest rooms/beds, simply sort the results by price from lowest to highest.

To check the best places to stay, sort the results by guest ratings. Tap the “Sort” button. Then, choose “Guest ratings” > “All guests” or any of the choices you like. For desktop users, the sort button is located on top of the results.

Carefully check the number of reviews, not only the review score. A higher number of reviews mean a more reliable review score.

Pro tip — Go to Booking.com to check more properties, reviews and rates. Use the “Location Score” filter to narrow down to hostels/hotels with the best location. Select “Superb location: 9+.”

Hong Kong Travel Tips Before You Go

How to get to Hong Kong

Flights arrive at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), the primary gateway to Hong Kong. Travel time from Hong Kong Airport to the city center takes 20 to 24 minutes by train. From mainland China, direct ferry links are available from Macau and many Chinese cities. There’s also the option of crossing the land border from Shenzhen by train or bus.

 

Philippines to Hong Kong

Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, AirAsia and Cathay Pacific operate direct flights from Manila to Hong Kong. Travel time from Manila by plane is 1 hours and 55 minutes. Direct flights are also available from Cebu, Iloilo, and Clark.

How to get from Hong Kong Airport to the city center

By train — The airport express train is the fastest way to get to the city center. Travel time is 20 minutes to Kowloon station. The one-way fare is HKD 105 per person. Getting to Hong Kong station takes 24 minutes and costs HKD 115 per person. Book your airport express train tickets online to enjoy up to 40% off the walk-in/regular fare.

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By bus/shuttle — A cheaper but more time consuming alternative than taking the airport express train. Use the directions feature in Google Maps to check airport bus routes that have drop-offs near your hotel. Or, book direct airport to hotel shuttle/coach transfers online.

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By Taxi/Grab/Uber — Taxi fares from Hong Kong Airport to downtown usually costs HKD 270 to 370. You can also use the Uber app for convenient & safe rides in Hong Kong.

Get Uber

By private car — For hassle-free transfers, book a private car with a convenient direct hotel drop-off/pick-up. You can hire a car that can seat up to 3 people or a van (MPV) for bigger groups (up to 6 people per car). Click below to see discount prices.

See discounts

How to find cheap flights to Hong Kong?

The easy way is to search on airfare comparison sites that can show you the lowest fares on multiple airlines in one go.

I use these sites often to find the best prices on flights. Check as many sites as possible because not all may display the same results. Click below to start your search.

Also, check Hong Kong promo alerts several weeks or months ahead of your trip if you are planning your trip early. The cheapest promos are usually sold well in advance of the travel/flight departure date.

To learn more, visit the guide on how to book cheap flights.

Do I need a Visa to travel to Hong Kong?

Filipino/Pinoy tourists (Philippine passport holders) do not need to apply for a visa before arriving in Hong Kong if the purpose of the visit is for tourism or transit only. Simply show up at the immigration checkpoint and get your passport stamped. Filipinos usually get a maximum stay of 14 days.

Always remember that all countries have the right to refuse entry to any person. Even if you are eligible for the free tourist visa or already have one on hand at the border.

For a hassle-free trip, make sure that you are able to provide the following:

Valid passport not expiring within 6 months.

Confirmed flight tickets — Especially a flight back to your home country or onward destination that you are allowed to enter.

Proof of accommodation— Hotel reservation or letter of invitation from your friend/family residing in Hong Kong.

Evidence that you are able to fund the entire duration of your visit.

Evidence that you are visiting for travel or holiday purposes only. You may show tours/activities that you have pre-booked online.

How to get Hong Kong Dollars?

Hong Kong’s currency is called Hong Kong Dollars (HKD or HK$). You should be able to exchange your USD, EUR, GBP & major currencies easily at most money exchange stalls. Don’t exchange a lot at the airport. Branches found in the city usually offer better rates.

Philippine Pesos (PHP) to Hong Kong Dollars — PHP is widely accepted at currency exchange stalls in Hong Kong because of the large number of OFWs. As mentioned, exchange most of your money at the city center, not at the airport. Better yet, save time on your actual trip by exchanging your pesos to Hong Kong dollars before you leave.

ATMs — I use my ATM card a lot when I travel. It’s way more convenient than to worry about bringing and exchanging cash. Because banks charge a fee (usually USD 5 or more) per withdrawal, I make sure to withdraw large amounts instead of several smaller ones.

Before your trip, it’s important to check if your bank requires you to activate your card for international withdrawal. Your card might be useless otherwise. I use a Bank of the Philippine Islands ATM card (Cirrus) and I have to call their 24-hour hotline to activate my card when I travel abroad. On the other hand, My Unionbank debit cards (Visa and Mastercard) does not need activation for international withdrawals.

How to get around Hong Kong?

If you want to travel on a budget, the MTR trains, buses, and trams are the way to go in Hong Kong. The city boasts of having one of the World’s safest, most efficient and frequent public transport systems. Get an Octopus Card for discount fares and easy payments.

Useful travel apps

Google Maps —This travel app will make it a lot easier to get around on your own. Download the offline maps before you go so you can check the map even if you don’t have mobile data. Internet access is still important because the directions feature only works if you are online.

Maps.me — Excellent offline maps & Google Maps alternative.

Click here & Grab — Reliable ride-sharing apps.

XE Currency — Free & easy currency converter.

Google Translate — Very useful to communicate with locals who do not understand/speak English.

Agoda & Booking.com — My go-to for convenient hotel bookings & cheap room rates. To display the total price (including taxes & fees) on Agoda, click here to download the app. Tap the menu on the top left corner of the screen. Scroll down and tap on “Price display”. Then, select “Total stay”.

Airbnb — Home/apartment rentals.

Momondo & Skyscanner — Top flight search & price comparison apps.

TripAdvisor — Reviews on the best places to eat & where to stay. Download the app on your iOS or Android device.

Where to get Pocket WiFi or buy a mobile data SIM card?

Stay connected online during your whole trip. Not only does it make it possible to share your travel moments instantly, you can also travel better by having access to all your favorite travel apps anytime. If you can’t get a good roaming data plan from your current provider, pre-book a local/roaming SIM card online.

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Hong Kong data sim card

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Hong Kong pocket wifi

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Where to book tours & attraction tickets?

Go to Klook for easy, fast, and convenient bookings. I often book online to enjoy discount rates and reliable tours. Click below to see today’s lowest prices.

See discounts

Here are some of the top reasons why I like to book tours online & why you should consider it too:

Maximize your trip & avoid wasting time walking around town shopping for tours.

Get a good idea what to expect. Knowing all the inclusions/non-inclusions & reading user reviews is very helpful to make an informed decision.

Grab bargain prices often cheaper than booking on-site.

Free cancellation (check if available).

Pay in your home currency. Worry less about bringing cash/exchanging currencies. Convenient & secure payment by credit card or Paypal.

If you’ve already finalized your travel dates, it’s important to book well before the trip. For join-in & private tours, Klook closes the booking period 1-3 days before the tour date. Also, the number of participants is limited on each tour & day. So, reserve early, especially if you are traveling with a group to lock-in those open slots for your group.

Things To Do in Hong Kong + Places to Visit

Check out these top tourist spots, best places to visit & things to do in Hong Kong.

1. The Peak Tram & Victoria Peak

The breathtaking panoramic view from Victoria Peak is one of Hong Kong’s most popular attractions for a good reason. Here, you can enjoy the best views overlooking the city’s famous skyline and Victoria Harbor. Getting to the top on abroad the scenic and thrilling Peak Tram is a worthy attraction on its own. Stop by Madame Tussauds Wax Museum on your way down.

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Top discounts

2. Disneyland Hong Kong

Experience a magical adventure at Hong Kong Disneyland. It is the second Disney-themed amusement park in Asia after Tokyo Disneyland.

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Top discounts

3. Ngong Ping & Tian Tan Buddha

The Tian Tan Buddha, also known as the “Big Buddha,” is literally the biggest attraction this side of Lantau Island. It is the World’s largest outdoor sitting Buddha that is made of bronze. See the Po Lin Monastery & Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery famous for its hall with almost 13,000 miniature Buddha statues. The best way to get there is by riding the fabulous Ngong Ping 360 cable car ride, which offers panoramic views overlooking Lantau Island, Hong Kong International Airport, South China Sea, and surrounding areas.

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Top discounts

4. Symphony of Lights

This is the World’s Largest Permanent light and sound Show by Guinness World Records. It lights up every night starting at 8 pm and includes more than 40 buildings on both sides of Victoria Harbour.

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5. Tsim Sha Tsui

Head to Tsim Sha Tsui’s waterfront for unobstructed views of Central Hong Kong skyline. This area is a popular shopping & food destination. It is also home to many museums & heritage sites like the Former Kowloon-Canton Railway Clock Tower.

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6. Star Ferry & Victoria Harbour

Take a scenic boat ride across Victoria Harbour for panoramic views of Tsim Sha Tsui and Central Hong Kong. The inexpensive way is on board the public Star Ferry crossing. You can also book a ride on traditional Chinese junk boats and luxury vessels for a longer slow cruise around the harbor.

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7. Central Hong Kong

The bustling business and shopping center of Hong Kong, filled with many of its most iconic skyscrapers, luxury malls, and hotels.

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8. Lantau Island

The largest of Hong Kong’s islands is home to many top attractions including Disneyland Hong Kong, Ngong Ping & Tian Tan Buddha. If you’re seeking a different view of Hong Kong, take a sunrise hike to the 934m Lantau Peak, see the stilt-houses at the Tai-O fishing village or enjoy the seaside views along Lantau’s peaceful coastline.

Top discounts

9. Ocean Park Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s most famous theme park and one of the World’s most popular marine-themed amusement parks. Don’t miss the giant panda habitat, a jellyfish & Chinese sturgeon aquarium, as well as the Grand Aquarium, which features the World’s largest aquarium dome.

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10. Sky100 Observation Deck

Enjoy fabulous views overlooking Hong Kong’s skyline. Located on the 100th floor of the International Commerce Centre (ICC), the tallest building in Hong Kong, it is the only indoor observation deck in Hong Kong that offers 360-degree views of the territory and its famous Victoria Harbour.

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11. Hong Kong Night Markets

At night, many of Hong Kong streets are transformed into havens for bargain hunters. Strolling around these night markets is an interesting way to experience local life and buy products/souvenirs at low prices.

Top Night Markets in Hong Kong

Temple Street — Located in Mongkok. The nearest MRT stations are Jordan and Yau Ma Tei.

Ladies Market — Located at Tung Choi Street, Mongkok. The nearest MRT station is Mongkok.

Sneaker Street — Located in Mongkok. The nearest MRT stations are Prince Edward and Mongkok.

Toy Market / Wan Chai Street Market — Located along Tai Yuen Street, Wan Chai. The nearest MRT station is Wan Chai.

Apliu Street Feal Market — Located at Apliu Street, Kowloon. The nearest MRT station is Sham Shui Po.

12. Hong Kong Outlet Shopping

Factory outlet discounts on branded clothing from 20% to 80% off.

Top Outlet Stores & Malls in Hong Kong

Citygate Outlets — Located in Tung Chung. The nearest MRT station is Tung Chung.

Horizon Plaza — Located at 2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau. Take bus 90 from Central to the Ap Lei Chau Estate.

China Hong Kong City — Located at 3 Canton Road. The nearest MRT station is Tsim Sha Tsui.

Sham Shui Po — Located along and near Cheung Sha Wan Road. The nearest MRT station is Sham Shui Po.

Kaiser Estate — Located along 51 Man Yue Street, Hung Hom. The nearest MRT station is Hung Hom.

Beyond Hong Kong

1. Macau

Famous for its giant casinos and Portuguese-colonial heritage sites, Macau is a short 1-hour ferry ride from Hong Kong.

See Macau discounts

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2. Shenzhen, China

Planning to visit Mainland China? Shenzhen is located just across the border. The journey from Kowloon to the Hong Kong-China border crossing takes around 45 minutes to 1.5 hours. You can go by train, bus, ferry or private car.

See Shenzen discounts

Don’t Stop Here

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