With the towering skyscrapers, the concrete jungle, the never-ending deluge of shiny malls, you might not think of Hong Kong to travel to with kids in tow. Noone would judge you if you instead think of a trip to the family-friendly neighbour, Singapore with its attractions for kids. But Hong Kong is much more than just a harbor city. A Hong Kong family vacation can definitely be enjoyable and this glittering island is a frequent stopover for many air routes. This post covers some known things to do in Hong Kong with kids like Disneyland and the Ocean Park, mixed with some off-beat ideas that are interesting attractions for kids.
Best museums in Hong Kong with kids
Hong Kong Science Museum and Hong Kong Museum of History are located in Tsim Sha Tsui district, an easy walk from the Garden of Stars, Kowloon Park, or Hong Kong Space Museum.
The Science Museum is a 4-story box of wonders and one of the top attractions in Hong Kong for kids. The exhibits range from biodiversity to electricity to home technology to sound. Our children enjoyed the Hall of Mirrors exhibit and the dinosaur skeleton the most. The Children’s Gallery on the top floor, aimed at younger children, is also a big favorite.
There are 6-7 science demonstrations throughout the day, about 15 minutes each. Do try to catch the one on liquid nitrogen! Also, make sure not to miss the Puzzle Room on the ground floor (kind of tucked in the corner near the Mirror Hall). The Energy Machine – the biggest exhibit at the museum and the world’s largest machine of its kind – is operated daily at 11am, 1, 3 and 5pm.
Hong Kong Science Museum costs HK$20 per person, with children under 4 years old allowed free admittance. On Wednesdays, admission is free for everyone but it can get a little busy. On Thursdays, the Museum is closed.
Hong Kong Museum of History is located next door – across the plaza – from the Science Museum. It has a permanent exhibition entitled ‘The Hong Kong Story’ that leads the visitors through the history of Hong Kong from prehistoric times to 1997, the year of reunification with China.
While this doesn’t sound like a great place for young children, our preschooler and toddler loved seeing the fossils in the Prehistoric Hong Kong gallery and the area’s flora and fauna in the Natural Environment gallery. Climbing into the iconic double-decker tram and walking through the old shops in the ‘Birth & Early Growth of the City’ gallery were the highlight of the trip for them.
The museum shop offers a nice selection of souvenirs and books set in Hong Kong for both adults and children. The admission to the permanent exhibition is free for everyone. On Tuesdays, the museum is closed.
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Big Buddha and Lantau Island
A visit to Lantau Island is a must on any Hong Kong itinerary and a great place to visit when traveling to Hong Kong with children of any age. The culturally themed Ngong Ping Village is family-friendly and has numerous shops and restaurants. Ngong Ping Village also has 4 themed attractions that kids will enjoy, including Walking with Buddha – an immersive multimedia presentation that follows the life of the man that became Buddha – and Motion 360 – an immersive 5D theatre that engages all senses, with moving theatre seats, water spray and wind effects.
The main attraction on Lantau Island is the Tian Tan Buddha (also known as the Big Buddha) which is one of the world’s largest outdoor bronze seated Buddhas. The Big Buddha is a 10-minute walk from Ngong Ping Village and there is a 268 step climb to reach a viewing platform near the top. Younger kids might have a hard time going up all those stairs themselves so they will need to be carried or they can still enjoy the views of the Big Buddha from below without making the climb.
Other not-to-be-missed attractions for families in Lantau Island include the Po Lin Monastery located next to the Big Buddha, the traditional Tai O fishing village and the Wisdom Path, a path surrounded with wooden columns.
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Cheung Chau Island
Cheung Chau island, Hong Kong is an off-the-beaten-path gem. It’s one of our favorite go-to places with the kids when we are in Hong Kong. It is a great place to go on a Hong Kong family holiday.
To get to the island you need to catch a ferry from the ferry terminal in Central. There are 2 options – the slow ferry is a little cheaper and takes around an hour. This is the one we prefer as our girls enjoy playing on the boat.
When you get to the island you will find that the hustle and bustle is a little different from the busy-ness on Hong Kong. Cars aren’t allowed on the island so you’ll find the chaos around the ferry stop comes from bikes and pedestrians! We love that there aren’t any vehicles on the island. It feels safer than Hong Kong and is a great place to rent bikes for the whole family.
You can walk or ride to the beach which is small but the sand is golden and clean. If you go on a weekday then it is usually fairly quiet. There are also lots of different street food stands selling all sorts of delicious snacks. We particularly loved the fried potato spirals. If you are quite an active family then there are plenty of beautiful hikes to go on. Just remember to take a map as you often have no cellphone data in more remote parts of the island!
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Disneyland in Hong Kong
Children will definitely squeal for joy when you tell them that you are heading to Disneyland! It is a must-do when you are planning Hong Kong attractions for kids. Being the smallest Disneyland in the world does not make this amazing theme park in Hong Kong any less fun than the others. In fact, Hong Kong Disneyland has put in tremendous effort to bring in Disney to almost everything: from train rides, room decors, Mickey Mouse waffles, to even Disney-themed dim sum!
Children of all ages would love the park for its variety of rides. The adventurous and brave souls can go on the thrilling ‘Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars’ while the meeker and younger kids can enjoy boat rides at ‘It’s a Small World’. Little girls can meet their favourite Disney princesses, take photographs and even dress up just like them while the boys can head to Toy Story Land to be inspired by the Toy Soldiers mascots.
Families can also enjoy the Disney parade and the park closing fireworks in the evening. Once night falls, even if the day is not yet done for the energetic young children, there’s still Disney Story Time for hotel guests at the Hong Kong Disneyland hotel. Parents can also wind down with the buffet dinner available at the various resort hotels. When turning in, room decoration packages available in Hong Kong Disneyland’s newest hotel – the Disney Exploration Lodge – where kids can sleep in a tent in the comfort of the hotel room is truly an exciting experience!
Be immersed into the world of Disney with the character dining experience the next morning where children can enjoy breakfast with their favourite Disney characters! Hong Kong Disneyland is truly the happiest place on Earth and definitely a must-do with kids!
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Ngong Ping 360
Ngong Ping 360 is a fantastic day-out location in Hong Kong with kids of any age. To get there, head to Tung Chung metro station on Lantau Island, which is on a direct line from Central station. When you exit Tung Chung, take a 2-minute walk to Ngong Ping 360’s cable cars. The journey up to Ngong Ping 360 is perhaps the best part for kids because it involves a 25-minute gondola ride high above Hong Kong. Children and adults alike can look out for planes over the airport or see who can spot the Giant Buddha statue at the top of Ngong Ping Village first.
There’s a vast array of shops and dining options in this cool village in the sky, as well as incredible entertainment options for children. At Motion 360, you can watch small cinematic experiences whilst having your senses heightened. Get ready for a little water spray or some wind effects. The VR 360 experience is a virtual reality game where kids can try things like walking a ropeway to playing hide and seek around Hong Kong’s city streets.
We recommend you book tickets for your gondola in advance to a save a little queuing time and don’t waste money on the crystal cabins. The standard cabins offer fantastic views and there are more of them so again, this can save a little queuing. From $145 per person ($70 for kids), this location is a don’t miss spot on Lantau Island for a day out with children.
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Ocean Park amusement park is one of the top Hong Kong attractions for kids. While many tourists come to Hong Kong with a plan to visit Disneyland, the real gem, according to me is the Ocean Park. On a recent trip, my daughter visited both and claimed that Ocean Park was the clear winner. Getting to Ocean Park is part of the fun and excitement! A colorful cable car ride connects the amusement park to the Hong Kong transportation system. Kids will love the thrill of visiting the park by using the gondolas and cable car.
What makes Ocean Park special is that it combines fun theme park rides and thrills along with a well-maintained animal park. The aquarium is fantastic with many marine animals for kids to enjoy including jellyfish, a shark tank and an exhibit on Arctic creatures. When kids get tired of waiting in lines for rides, there is plenty for them to do by walking the trails and exploring the well-curated Asian Animals exhibition.
Adult tickets cost $480 HKG and children 3 – 11 years old pay half price. Children 3 and under are admitted free. I recommend you plan your visit in advance using their itinerary planner to map your favorite attractions in the order you want to see them. You can easily spend a full day here from when the park opens at 10 am to close at 8 pm. The entire family will enjoy a day at Ocean Park in Hong Kong!
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Hong Kong was the first country in Asia we visited with the kids. It was the perfect choice, as its very easy to get around and the public transport system is fantastic. One of the best things I like to do when travelling is the hop on, hop off tourist bus. We decided to do the tourist bus on our first full day so we could get our bearings. In Hong Kong there are two choices, the green line and the red line. We took the green line because I wanted to visit Stanley Market on the other side of Hong Kong Island.
The ride out to Stanley Market is breathtaking, totally different to the skyscraper buildings we associate with Hong Kong. The views out across the South China Sea would have you believe you were anywhere but Hong Kong. Stanley Market is located on the beach front.
The market itself is much the same as Temple Market and the Ladies Market with fake handbags, cheap kids toys and plenty of knock off clothing brands. The kids loved exploring the market and seeing a different side to the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon.
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Star Ferry ride
This iconic image of Hong Kong is not just a tourist attraction below principle transport route. Founded in 1888,The Star Ferry Company operates a fleet of 12 ferries across two routes – from Victoria Harbour running between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. You can take these unique dark-green-with-white trimming ferries between Kowloon and central or between Kowloon and the Wan Chai ferry terminal. The ride is very cost effective –from just HKD$2.20 each way. While there are faster and more modern modes of transport between Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula, millions of people still use this iconic mode of transport even on their regular commute!
The seats on the upper deck still have a movable back so you can flip your seat to face in the direction of travel and the star emblem is punched into the seat so you won’t forget who you’re travelling with. This trip is great fun for travellers of all ages, especially if you are visiting Hong Kong with toddlers. Kids will love the old-fashioned feel that the ferry has, while parents will appreciate the cost-effectiveness of the trip.
The best ferry to take is the Shining Star on a Hong Kong family vacation – it’s a fabulous recreation of the original ferries that plied the Harbour in the 1920’s. Better still, it is air conditioned! This trip is one that National Geographic has listed as one of the “50 Places of a Lifetime” – you even now take a ‘World Star Water Tour’ which gives you a scenic ride between Tsim Sha Tsui and Hong Kong Disneyland. You’ll not just get to see the most amazing scenic landmarks, but there’s also a recorded commentary available in 4 languages too.
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Victoria Peak is a must do on a Hong Kong family vacation. Not only do you get the best view of the skyline from the top, but the Victoria Peak Tram is something you must experience for yourself. At the top of the mountain, there are some hiking trails to explore and a shopping center. I would recommend allocating at least half a day to see the Peak.
The Victoria Peak tram travels up (and down) the mountain almost 400 meters in about 1.4 kilometers. It doesn’t go fast, but at times it is pretty steep so some children may be nervous. As it passes by some skyscrapers, you have the optical illusion that the buildings are falling towards the mountain.
In a perfect world, you would take the tram up to the Peak and back down again. Realistically, the line at the bottom may be ridiculously long. If that is the case, you can take either a taxi or a bus up and then go back down on the Victoria Peak Tram.
Once you are at the top, take time to walk some of the paths and enjoy the view. Grab a bubble tea or egg waffle from the shopping center. Inside the shopping center, you will also find a Madame Tussauds wax museum and Madness 3D Adventure, a 3D interactive experience featuring famous Hong Kong scenes.
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Have you visited Hong Kong on a family trip? Any favourite spots that has been missed out in the above post?
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