Hong Kong is not a cheap place to visit and prices creep up at every opportunity, as any local can testify. But don't despair: many of the city's best attractions – skyscrapers, nature trails, vintage transport – are free or cheap. With a bit of planning, you can save your pennies for indulgences.
Many of Hong Kong's major museums are now free; those that are not still sometimes offer free entry on Wednesdays:
- Museum of History
Get context on all of Hong Kong's history all in one place.
- Heritage Museum
Features exhibits on folk traditions, the life of Bruce Lee and Cantonese opera.
- Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware
An elegant showcase of vintage tea ware inside Hong Kong Park.
- University Museum & Art Gallery
Rotating art and sculpture alongside permanent Chinese antiques.
- Hong Kong Railway Museum
Featuring Hong Kong's railway history with disused train carriages for the kids.
- Museum of Coastal Defence
A museum detailing Hong Kong's coast defence over six centuries.
Places offering free English tours
- Tai Kwun
The former Central Police Station on Hollywood Rd is a complex of a dozen or so heritage buildings.
- Blue House Cluster
Hong Kong’s last remaining wooden tenement building is a heritage success story.
- Asia Society Hong Kong Centre
A former explosives magazine that stages top-notch exhibitions.
- Heritage of Mei Ho House Museum
This museum shows the development of public housing in Hong Kong with photos and replicas.
- Tai O Heritage Hotel
This former police station guarded the coast against pirates (book online).
Places You Can Only Visit on a Free Tour
Free Festivals & Events
- Dragon Boat Races
Dragon boat racing against a backdrop of decorated fishing junks.
- Hungry Ghost Festival
Elaborate rites to appease roaming spirits in the seventh lunar month at this festival when the gates of hell are believed to be open.
- Fire Dragon Dance
A smoky dance by a straw dragon stuck with glowing incense sticks during the Mid-Autumn Festival.
- Cheung Chau Bun Festival
Modern reenactment of a Qing ritual where climbers scramble up bun towers and try to pocket as many buns as possible at this festival.
- Freespace Happening
Annual kaleidoscope of live music, film, dance, parkour and handicrafts, in West Kowloon (www.westkowloon.hk/en/freespacehappening).
Hike, cycle or take long walks in Hong Kong's beautiful countryside.
Hong Kong's beaches come with lifeguards; just bring sunblock and beer.
Cheap & Cheerful
Not quite free, but near enough to warrant inclusion.
For a couple of dollars you can rattle your way through the urban canyon of high-rises on a tram.
- Star Ferry
Give up pocket change for the voyage of a lifetime on the Star Ferry.
- Off-peak-hour dining
Many Chinese restaurants offer discounted prices on either side of the noon to 2pm lunch hours. Cha chaan tang (tea houses) and fast-food chains have good-value afternoon tea.
- Happy Hours
Around sundown generous happy hours are a feature of many bars.
- Movie Tuesday
On Tuesdays, a movie ticket costs from HK$10 to HK$25 less than usual.
For only HK$10, you can experience a night at the races at Happy Valley Racecourse.