Hong Kong is famous for many things – its unique heritage, its food, its heavily populated city and for being a bridge between China and the rest of the world. We were most interested in whether it should be famous for being a fabulous family holiday destination!
We were very excited for our family holiday in Hong Kong. Josh and I are city slickers and Hong Kong has a buzz like few other cities. In fact, part of it is the most densely populated area in the world! We have both visited several times before. We love yum cha, Chinese food, the market, the public transportation and just being in the city.
This time we were excited to explore the attractions in Hong Kong for families – there are many! And to see more than the city itself. I think it’s easy for those of us from elsewhere to imagine Hong Kong as a big city and nothing else but Hong Kong actually consists of many different areas. Some are heavily populated and some are not. I was looking forward to seeing this other side of Hong Kong.
Below you will find our guide of what to do in Hong Kong with kids, where to stay in Hong Kong with kids, how to get around and other things to ensure you have a fabulous visit!
Top things to do in Hong Kong with kids
Hong Kong Disneyland
We couldn’t visit Hong Kong without visiting the most well known of the things to do in Hong Kong with family especially as the boys in our family were still yet to visit a Disneyland!
Hong Kong Disneyland is great. It has all the magic of Disney and it is so hard (impossible?!) to visit this place and not smile. Everything is done so well and I love the attention to detail. We were able to fly through space in Tomorrow Land, visit a haunted house in Mystic Point, hang out with Woody in Toy Story Land and walk through Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in Fantasyland. There’s also loads of indoor activities for kids in Hong Kong here.
Disneyland is really something special and the best part about visiting Disneyland Hong Kong is that it often avoids the terrible crowds at other Disneylands. I have now been to all of them except the new Shanghai one and this was by far the best we have visited crowd wise even though it was school holidays and the day before Easter long weekend.
Taking the Peak Tram up to Victoria Peak on Hong Kong Island must be one of the most popular of the Hong Kong tourist attractions for kids so it might surprise you to learn that we did not do it this trip! Both Josh and I have done it previously so we were happy to spend the time visiting more far flung places in Hong Kong instead.
However, if you haven’t done it before, it is definitely worth considering.
It’s actually not a tram but a cable-hauled funicular railway which takes you up to the highest point of Hong Kong Island. It has been running since 1888 and is a fun ride up the steep hill. At the top, you will find a beautiful view of towering skyscrapers on one side and lush mountainside on the other. The observation area can get busy but there are multiple viewpoints and indoor observation areas too.
You can spend a fair amount of time here with kids. There’s also lots of shops located indoors where you can escape the heat and some cafes and restaurants too.
You can skip the crowds by pre-purchasing your tickets with Klook here.
Hong Kong Science Museum
The Hong Kong Science Museum was one of the top items on our list of things to do in Hong Kong for kids as our kids absolutely lap up science museums. However, it was a disappointment.
There were sooooo many people. Like too many to see anything. If I wanted to be squishing through crowds, I’d take the kids on a train at peak hour rather than go to the science museum!
I hope this is just because we accidentally attended on a Wednesday when there is free admission and that it’s better on other days. I include it here so you can consider it but please don’t go on a Wednesday! We gave up after thirty minutes of only seeing things from a distance and, unfortunately, I cannot tell you much about it except it did feel like there were less hands on things than I am used to seeing in a science museum.
You can find more information on their site. We found it easy to visit using buses.
Hong Kong Museum of History
The Hong Kong Museum of History is located next to the science museum so it’s easy to visit these two Hong Kong things to do with kids at the same time. It tells the history of Hong Kong basically taking you through the time since the earth was formed until Hong Kong was returned to China.
Our experience at this attraction was so different to the science museum. We absolutely loved it!
It’s one of the best presented museums I have visited. The exhibits are hands on and set up to recreate the time period discussed. We saw a Chinese opera stage, fishing boats and wandered in old shops. There are many films as well with mini cinemas and the whole effect is a very family friendly, informative museum. I learned a lot and that was walking around with 3 usually impatient kids.
The kids loved discovering the different areas and trying to understand more of Hong Kong’s past. If you are going to go to one museum in Hong Kong – make it this one!
This museum isn’t just awesome, it’s also free! Except for special exhibitions anyway. Find more information on their website.
There’s a reason why taking the Star Ferry has been on every list I have read of Hong Kong attractions for families. It really does feel like the quintessential Hong Kong experience and it works well for adults and kids.
The Star Ferry crosses Victoria Harbour pretty much continuously. It only costs a couple of Hong Kong dollars and the crossing takes about ten minutes. It’s quick and easy and it’s awesome to feel like you are in the middle of everything as you look out the windows and realise how surrounded by Hong Kong you are. There are huge buildings everywhere!
It’s one way to get a grasp of how populated Hong Kong is and to soak up the city. We loved it!
Hong Kong Maritime Museum
Another worthwhile option of what to do in Hong Kong with kids is easily combined with catching a Star Ferry across the harbour – the Hong Kong Maritime Museum.
This museum is awesome. It’s spread over four levels and it tells Hong Kong Maritime history which in many ways is the story of Hong Kong. It’s well presented and informative and we found it very interesting.
There are many displays to make it more interesting for kids as well as activity corners and telescopes. What is especially cool if you are looking for kids activities in Hong Kong is that they have the KM Koo Ship Bridge Simulator available on weekends and public holidays included in the entry ticket.
This simulator is amazing! It’s the “city’s most state-of-the-art control deck for ocean-going vessels”. It’s a professional grade simulator and allows you to steer ships around the Victoria Harbour waterfront. There are many controls and it’s very life like. The 180 degree views of the rough sea had me feel like I was standing on a ship (some people get sea sick!).
It’s fun to try to steer with strong currents, during storms and it became night time while we were doing it! There are sailor hats for kids to wear while they have a go and everyone trying it out when we visited were either our kids’ age or younger, so this is one for all ages.
The building itself is lovely. It’s built on a pier and has great floor to ceiling windows with beautiful views across to Kowloon.
It’s located at the Central Ferry Terminal next to the Star Ferry pier. When we visited, entry was HKD$30 for adults and $15 for kids. Find more information on their website.
Hong Kong Observation Wheel
Another of the Hong Kong attractions for kids is also located right here – the Hong Kong Observation Wheel. This wheel is right on the waterfront so it has great views over the harbor, Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. It does feel right in the middle of things.
It’s a busy area to visit in Hong Kong with kids. Most of it is accessible and there’s loads of dining options nearby so that can spend a bit of time here.
A Symphony of Lights
A Symphony of Lights is Hong Kong’s famous light show in the evening. It’s also the world’s largest permanent sound and light show.
It takes place every night around Victoria Harbour. We watched the show from outside the Hong Kong Cultural Centre as we knew it was a spot where we would also hear the show. We watched it on a Friday night as it was in English. It’s in different languages on different nights.
It’s one of the fun things to do in Hong Kong for families. The kids had never seen anything like it and they thought all the flashing lights were very cool. We loved the atmosphere and the fact the kids were so well entertained 🙂
For a good spot, you do need to get there early. We were there ten minutes beforehand and couldn’t get a decent spot on the upper level. It was fine from the bottom but meant that we couldn’t see anything on our side of the harbour.
The show is at 8pm daily and lasts for 13 minutes.
Hong Kong Park
Hong Kong Park is an interesting park on Hong Kong Island with buildings on one side and mountains on the other. It’s home to many different things including a fountain plaza, conservatory, playground, viewing tower and museum.
It’s a good choice of where to go in Hong Kong with kids if you are looking for a chance for your kids to run around and also a great place if you’re interested in bird watching. It makes for a nice escape from the busy inner city although even the park itself can get quiet crowded.
Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens
The Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens was one of our favourite things to do for kids in Hong Kong. It’s great!
It’s a low key member of the Hong Kong kids attractions, but it is a lovely, good sized park with many birds, monkeys and other animals. There’s also a nice fountain area and a children’s playground at the top. It’s quite steep in parts, but there is a lot of shade which makes the walking more bearable.
There’s a road down the middle of the park with a tunnel between the two parts. Make sure you get to both of them!
Entry is free. It’s not that convenient to get here on public transport so we took a taxi. You can walk here from Hong Kong Park.
Man Mo Temple
Man Mo Temple is one of Hong Kong’s oldest temples built in 1847. It’s a Taoist temple dedicated to the gods of literature and war. It is also a worthwhile addition to the places to visit in Hong Kong for family. In addition to being a temple, it used to be a court of arbitration for disputes between locals and the colonialists.
It’s a peaceful sanctuary in the business district of Hong Kong Island with a few different temples side by side with lots of incense and many spirals suspended from the roof. It’s nowhere near as big as I expected from the huge write up it got in Lonely Planet, but it is a nice place to visit and we all enjoyed it.
We walked here from the Hong Kong Zoologial and Botanical Gardens which is a good walk through some nice neighborhoods.
Entry is free but we always make a donation at temples.
Temple Street Night Market
This lively night market seems to be one of Hong Kong’s most famous with many stalls and the chance to eat and enjoy the atmosphere. You might not think of visiting this market when working out what to do with kids in Hong Kong, but it is fun and the kids loved it too.
I did not find the market stalls that interesting – the products repeated a lot and there was not much variety. However, we did enjoy taking a look around and then sitting back with some food to soak it all in.
If you have younger kids and usually skip night attractions in Hong Kong for families (like us!), we found this did work well with the light show afterwards (and an afternoon nap!). We had a fabulous evening.
The trams on Hong Kong Island are a fun, cheap and a possibly essential activity for families. These skinny, double decker trams make for quite a sight and I felt like I was stepping back in time when I was riding them. The kids thought they were plain cool and loved sitting on the top level.
They rattle along Hong Kong Island. They are slow but definitely atmospheric.
If you are staying on Hong Kong Island (like we did) then you may need to take these trams anyway. If not, try to add one to your itinerary. They are not far from the Star Ferry terminal and you can walk to one from there.
Po Lin Monastery and Big Buddha
This huge Buddhist Monastery and temple complex is located on Lantau Island not far from the airport. It is home to a Big Buddha that draws big crowds.
At 34 metres high the Big Buddah statue is impressive but you do need to climb 268 steps to get to the top so be prepared for a bit of a hike. You can get here by taking a gondola lift, the Ngong Ping 360, from Tung Chung to NgonPing Village
The base of the steps of the Big Buddah is about a 10 minute walk from station but there’s so much to see on the way that it’s almost impossible not to stop.
The number one thing I wanted on our Hong Kong itinerary with kids was to visit a lesser visited part of Hong Kong. It’s easy to associate Hong Kong with just the city but I wanted to do something different this time and visit a more rural area. Lamma Island was a good choice!
Lamma Island is a quick and easy 20 minute ferry ride from Hong Kong Island. We caught a boat to Yung Shue Wan which is a lovely little village with plenty of restaurants and a temple. We enjoyed having a stroll around the alleyways in the town then eating lunch by the water before checking out the Tin Hau Temple.
Lunch at the Lamma Grill is perfect if you are looking for Hong Kong kids activities. They have a ton of games and we had fun playing them while we waited for our food. They also have colouring in paper and crayons and kids meals. It was a win for all of us!
I would have loved doing the popular hike between the two major towns on the island, Yung Shue Wan and Sok Kwu Wan had our kids been a bit older. It’s meant to take 90 minutes and is called a “family trail” so it sounds relatively family friendly. There are ferries to Sok Kwu Wan as well so you can walk the route one way.
We caught the ferry from Central. The fares are cheap.
Ocean Park is a great place for families with older kids to escape the heat and have fun in Hong Kong. The park is divided into two parks – the Summit and the Waterfront. To move between them you’ll either have to get the train or cable car.
The rides include water slides and roller coasters. Note that a lot of the rides have a height limit of 132cms so the park is more suitable for older kids. There’s also animal enclosures where you can see penguins, arctic foxes, giant panda and an amazing aquarium.
The park is open daily 10.30am – 7pm (11pm on weekends). The cost for adults is $55 and $25 for kids. You can buy discounted tickets in advance from Klook Travel.
Stanley is located on the southern side of Hong Kong Island and it does feel like a long way from the never ending highrises on the north side. Visiting here is a good choice of the activities in Hong Kong for family especially if you want to experience something outside the city very easily.
Stanley is famous for its market. I didn’t find it that interesting and it was smaller than I expected. Admittedly, I am not a shopper. Stanley is, however, a lovely little place and I enjoyed both the town and the drive here. There’s some lovely scenery on the way from the city.
In addition to the market, there is a great waterfront area. A few hundred metres away on the opposite side side of the peninsula is a beach popular for water sports and bathers.
It’s a nice place to wander around, hang out and to see a different side of Hong Kong. If you are after a better beach, you could also combine it with a trip to Repulse Bay.
You can catch a bus here from the rest of Hong Kong. There are many choices. We tried to take minibus 40 from near the Dorsett Wanchai but they were all full by that point. A taxi was only HKD$102. It was easier to get a bus back.
Everyone (even Baby J) in our family loves food, especially of the Asian variety, so there was no way we were missing out on a Hong Kong yum cha experience.
I highly recommend this as one of the family activities in Hong Kong because yum cha works so well with kids! Basically you order lots of small dishes so that you can try out lots of different things. It’s a great introduction to Chinese food or a great way to eat lots of delicious things if you already love it.
We had a great meal at Ka Ho Restaurant in Sheung Wan. See it on the map below.
If you have a day to spare while you’re in Hong Kong, why not visit Macau? It’s super easy to go there on the ferry. There are two main ferry companies that make the crossing: Cotai Waterjet and Turbojet and the ferry ride is an enjoyable experience in itself.
Macau is a unique destination known mainly for it’s casinos and gambling industry, but there’s plenty of other things to see and do. It has an interesting blend of Portuguese and Chinese architecture and you can easily spend a day (or more) here.
You can read our full guide of things to do in Macau here.
Other things to do with kids in Hong Kong
There are many Hong Kong attractions for kids and there was no way we could visit them all. Here are some others that you might want to consider:
- Green Bus Hong Kong Island – A hop on hop off bus that goes to Stanley.
- Noahs Ark – A park that sounds like lots of fun with a huge “replica” of Noahs Ark. Click here to buy discounted tickets.
- Hong Kong Space Museum – Hong Kong’s most popular planetarium, although it’s currently closed for renovations.
- Hong Kong Heritage Museum – A museum featuring 12 exhibitions that showcase Hong Kong’s history, culture and art.
Map of Hong Kong for kids
Sample Hong Kong itinerary with kids
The hardest part about planning a Hong Kong family holiday is working out what to do in Hong Kong for kids and what to leave out. These are my thoughts and they don’t vary whether you are planning a Hong Kong itinerary for family or for just adults although you may want to reconsider Hong Kong Disneyland if you aren’t travelling with kids (or not! I loved it as an adult going alone).
Try to have a minimum of three full days.
I recommend spending at least one day exploring the city and soaking up everything the city has to offer. Make sure this at least includes catching the Star Ferry, going to the light show and visiting a market. This is also a great day to slip in a visit to the Hong Kong Museum of History. You can also consider a visit to the Maritime Museum when catching the Star Ferry and a trip up the hill to the Zoological and Botanical Gardens. Of course, you should have yum cha for lunch.
Spend the second day getting out of Hong Kong city. Go to Lamma Island, visit the Big Buddha, shop at the Stanley Market or visit one of the other Hong Kong islands.
Finally spend the third day at Hong Kong Disneyland. Your kids will thank you for it!
Leaving the kids at home? Here’s some solo travel ideas for Hong Kong.
Where to stay in Hong Kong with kids
There are many different parts to Hong Kong. As long as you stay somewhat central on Hong Kong Island or Kowloon, preferably near a MTR station, you should find getting around quite easy and be quite accessible to shops and food.
On our most recent trip we stayed in both Wanchai and Sheung Wan and found both areas good with Hong Kong hotels for families with children.
The Dorsett Wanchai is a great choice for families. The prices are very competitive and it is in a handy location being within walking distance to many shopping and eating options. They also have free shuttle buses to take you to many nearby places on Hong Kong Island. These run regularly and make things very easy.
They also have rooms specifically for families with two queen sized beds. The rooms are on the small side (this is Hong Kong), but they fit our family of five with our travel crib on the ground for baby J.
The rooms also come with extras for kids like a teddy bear each for two kids, snack box, baby toiletries, kids gowns, kids slippers and some books to borrow. The kids loved that they found some extra lollies in a drawer with a note that they could have them.
Do take note, however, that the family rooms are not as pictured on their website or on hotel booking sites. They do not come with a big doll’s house full of books, dvds or a dvd player. The staff did not seem to know what I was talking about when I asked for these. We only were able to borrow books and get the snackbox and baby toiletries after I asked for them as well.
As long as you don’t expect them to come with all the promised extras, then it’s a great deal and we enjoyed it. The rooms are comfortable with great bedding and good climate control and we were happy. It was the best hotel deal I could find for a family as well.
My favourite thing about this hotel, actually, was the guide to the surrounding areas that was in the room with the details for the free shuttle buses. It had many eating and shopping options marked near the hotel and on the shuttle routes making it easy especially if you are feeling reluctant to try out local eating options.
Other best place to stay in Hong Kong for families
The best location to stay in Hong Kong with family is either Hong Kong island or Kowloon. There are many options among the best Hong Kong hotels for families and you’ll find a few of these listed below.
Charterhouse Causeway Bay – With multiple dining options onsite and comfortable family rooms, Charterhouse Causeway Bay is one of the good hotels in Hong Kong for family. The hotel is located within walking distance to Time Square Mall and among some of the best hotels in Hong Kong for families. During your stay you will have access to the gym, use of a smartphone and free WiFi and the prices are fairly affordable. Click here to see the latest prices.
Cosmo Hotel Hong Kong – Another pick for the best place to stay in Hong Kong with family is Cosmo Hotel. Positioned on Hong Kong island, this comfortable hotel has a complimentary smartphone for use during your visit and even free coffee in the cafe. Quadruple rooms are great for families with 2 single beds and 1 double bed. Click here to see the latest prices.
Rosedale Hotel Hong Kong – We recommend staying near an MTR station when you decide where to stay in Hong Kong with family, and Rosedale Hotel is located only 5 minutes from Causeway Bay MTR station. The hotel is also surrounded by dining and shopping options. Interconnecting rooms are cheap and great for families and make for an affordable Hong Kong hotel for family of 5. The hotel also has a 24 hour gym and free WiFi. Click here to see the latest prices.
Getting around Hong Kong
Hong Kong has a fabulous transportation system which makes it very easy to get around. We caught trains, buses and trams as well as a few cabs. I found Google maps an easy way to work out what to catch where.
Realistically, you need to buy octopus cards, one for each family member. These cost HKD$150 for adults (with $100 credit) and $70 for kids (with $20 credit). You can top them up at MTR stations, 7-elevens and probably many other places. You then use it on all public transport and you can also use it in many shops. At the end of our trip, we returned them to a MTR station and got all money back bar $9 for each card.
If you don’t have an octopus card, you need exact change for buses and trams which is obviously a nightmare for a family.
We caught taxis a few times where this made sense. For example, it did not cost much more than trains to get to the airport as a family (it was about HKD$400 for a taxi from Wanchai compared to $300 for airport train plus cost to get to airport train). We also caught a taxi to the zoological gardens since it wasn’t far and there was no good public transport option that would save us an uphill walk.
We loved visiting Hong Kong with kids! There are many things for kids to do in Hong Kong and we had a lot of fun.
It’s also an easy place to visit. English is on all the signs and enough people speak it that we never had any problems. We also love the public transportation which was easy and also made for fun Hong Kong activities for kids in itself. There is a range of food with plenty of different options and we never had to walk far to find something we were all happy to eat.
My only complaint is that it is expensive. More expensive than I expected. We burned through the money I got out of the ATM for our trip in the first 24 hours! I’m not even sure how all the money kept disappearing as things did not seem that much individually (although meals generally cost us at least HKD$300), but we definitely went through it fast.
One way to save money is to buy tickets beforehand from Klook. We did this whenever we could and it added up to a lot of savings over our time in Hong Kong and Macau.
There are some great accommodation options but it can get expensive as well and you can expect rooms to be compact.
If you have a little one you might be wondering whether to take a pram or not. It’s not a pram friendly city and we used our carrier (read about the Ergo Adapt here) far more than we used our travel stroller (read our Mountain Buggy Nano review here). After the first two days, we stuck purely to the carrier which was much easier with public transport (there are stairs and not really space on buses and none at all on trams).
Many places are crowded and I would definitely contain a toddler somehow to save yourself stress. As it was, I felt like a sheep dog constantly herding my 5 and 6 year olds!!
Hong Kong is fabulous though. It’s tons of fun with a great atmosphere and I’m sure we will travel to Hong Kong with kids again.
Have you been on a family holiday to Hong Kong? What are your favourite places for kids in Hong Kong?
You can also read our guide to what to do in Macau here.
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Tags: China Travel Blog Hong Kong Travel Blog