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04/11/2013

14 Things To Do In Hong Kong With Kids I

I had the great fortune of living in Hong Kong (learn more via Hong Kong city guide) for almost 5 years. My daughter was born there and the Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong was her first home. We try to return every year, because underneath the modern skyscrapers is a surprisingly kid-friendly destination. People are familiar with its shopping and even its Michelin-starred dim sum, but confusion sets in when it comes to entertaining the kids in Asia’s World City. The truth is that though it’s not a large destination, being in Hong Kong with kids is easy.

1. Hong Kong Disneyland

It’s probably the smallest Disney park but we love going to Hong Kong Disneyland. I’m a fan of experiencing Disney in other cultures, because the food is different along with other aspects. Rides like “It’s a Small World” are sung in English though instructions for this and that are given in English, Cantonese and Mandarin. New areas like Toy Storyland and Grizzly Gulch usually have the longest lines. Dumbo almost always has a long wait. Of the major roller coasters, Space Mountain is the only one represented here.

Buy tickets in advance and pick them up at the Central MTR station (if in Central) or a Disney ticket booth at the park. If short on time, a half-day visit is still worth it. If you’re coming during summer months and would like to skip the lines, think about booking a Disneyland Tour Host (prices range from $2400 HKD to $3888 HKD). The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique princess dress up program and Hong Kong Disneyland character dining both take place at Disneyland Hotel, which is a quick shuttle bus away from the theme park. You’ll need to reserve either of these experiences in advance.

Though it’s small relative to other Disney parks, Hong Kong Disneyland is a must-do in Hong Kong with kids. See my post about Hong Kong Disneyland which has a good discussion in the comments.

2. Ocean Park

Sea-themed Ocean Park Hong Kong (one of must-see Hong Kong attractions) is on the south side of Hong Kong island and accessible by car, bus or taxi (no MTR service). Some prefer this park to Disneyland, because it’s unique with less crowds and opportunities for animal encounters (check the schedule). The park is divided into two, a lower level and upper level, connected by a sky tram that provides some of the best views of this part of Hong Kong island, though it’s a bit hairy on windy days. A train now barrels through the mountain to the other side too. I recommend taking one each way.

The Waterfront (lower area) area near the entrance has the pandas, a huge aquarium and a playground for younger kids. The Summit (upper area) has rides for older kids, the sea lions, the main show area and other attractions.

3. Ride The Star Ferry

The Star Ferry is a historic American football-shaped boat that journeys from Central to Kowloon or Wan Chai to Kowloon in just a few minutes (from 6-12 depending on the time of day). Depending on how far you have to walk to or from the ferry terminals, it can be faster to take the Star Ferry to Kowloon than the MTR. Starting at $1.4o HKD, it certainly is cheap. Try to sit on the upper deck to avoid inhaling coal fumes that trap themselves on the lower level. It costs a few extra cents, but I believe it’s worth it. There is no need to really check the schedule (unless you need to ride it very early in the morning or late at night) because the ferries run frequently enough.

First, pray for a clear day because The Peak offers the most spectacular view of Hong Kong (don't miss for your Hong Kong tour). The viewing deck on the top of The Peak Tower is the perfect place to take that holiday card photo of you and the kids. Go any time of the day but I think it’s best to maximize your time up here by also dining at the Peak Cafe or Cafe Deco (sit-down restaurants) or there’s McDonald’s and other fast food, too. Madame Tussaud’s is here as are many, many souvenir shops. In the building across from the Peak Tower (where Cafe Deco is) is one of my favorite stores G.O.D. (Goods of Desire), but these stores are all over Hong Kong.

Stroll around the Peak Circle Walk for more scenic shots. As the name implies, you can walk an entire circle around The Peak. There’s a little kids’ playground around the middle if they need a break.It takes around 40 minutes to do the entire walk, however, we’ve walked it for a few minutes and turned around back to The Peak Tower.

We usually take The Peak Tram up and taxi back down, because my daughter is tired from walking.

4. Visit The Peak

First, pray for a clear day because The Peak offers the most spectacular view of Hong Kong. The viewing deck on the top of The Peak Tower is the perfect place to take that holiday card photo of you and the kids. Go any time of the day but I think it’s best to maximize your time up here by also dining at the Peak Cafe or Cafe Deco (sit-down restaurants) or there’s McDonald’s and other fast food, too. Madame Tussaud’s is here as are many, many souvenir shops. In the building across from the Peak Tower (where Cafe Deco is) is one of my favorite stores G.O.D. (Goods of Desire), but these stores are all over Hong Kong.

Stroll around the Peak Circle Walk for more scenic shots. As the name implies, you can walk an entire circle around The Peak. There’s a little kids’ playground around the middle if they need a break.It takes around 40 minutes to do the entire walk, however, we’ve walked it for a few minutes and turned around back to The Peak Tower.

We usually take The Peak Tram up and taxi back down, because my daughter is tired from walking.

5. Hong Kong Science Museum

Here’s something to do on a rainy day (and, in the summer, there are plenty of rainy days). The Hong Kong Science Museum is located in Tsim Sha Tsui East in Kowloon and has over 500 exhibits on display including Cathay Pacific’s first DC3 airliner, which is suspended from the ceiling. Most of the exhibits are hands-on including a car simulator that you “drive” in an effort to avoid accidents. Another highlight is the 22-meter Energy Machine (the largest of its kind in the world) with audio-visual effects simulating energy.

6. Hong Kong Park

It’s not huge but passing through here is a pleasant thing to do with kids, especially if you’re walking from Central to Admiralty or vice versa. Turtles and koi fish can be seen swimming in little ponds along the walkway. There’s even a small teaware museum worth a quick stroll into. When it’s hot, it’s easy to duck into Pacific Place mall for a drink or bite to eat. This park is a little oasis off of the busy street.

7. Ngong Ping 360

Named for the stunning views seen during a ride, Ngong Ping 360 eliminates the need to endure a windy bus ride to the Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island. Take the MTR to Tung Chung station and the cable car is just a few minutes away by foot. Ride in a regular cable car, private cable car or even a glass-bottom cable car.

There’s quite a lot to do up here between Ngong Ping Village shopping and entertainment (it’s a bit touristy), nature walks and Po Lin Monastery where you may have a decent vegetarian lunch and see the Big Buddha. Do know that though people from all over Asia make the pilgrimage to see the Big Buddha, it was built in 1993.

Don't miss Hong Kong for your last minute China travel deals.

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