Hong Kong is ready to be explored, again! From new attractions to lesser-known outdoor beauty to a brand-new arts and culture district, the city is calling travellers to discover destinations new and old.

Once one of the world’s most popular cities, Hong Kong was rocked by the pandemic and soon-after, its protests. This of course became a challenge for tourism, and one of Asia’s most exciting cosmopolitans lost its momentum on the world stage. However, in February 2023, the Hong Kong government launched its global campaign Hello Hong Kong to invite visitors to once again explore the excitements it has to offer. Eager to show the world they were ready to welcome guests again, the campaign gave out 500,000 free airplane tickets to everyday global travellers.

So, it seems Hong Kong is confident to show the world what it has to offer; in the quiet three years, the city has refreshed its iconic attractions and also launched new ones, meaning both first-time and returning travellers will have something to see. So, what’s on this new Hong Kong Bucket List?

Museums and Cultural Sites

Those who come for arts and culture, Hong Kong has a flourishing scene with international art exhibitions like Art Basel and Art Central, and major galleries like the Hong Kong Museum of Art. West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD) were launched at the end of 2019. WKCD becomes a must-visit area for art and culture lovers. The neighbourhood is dedicated to arts and has many emerging art-related attractions and destinations, such as M+ that was opened publicly in 2021, Hong Kong Palace Museum, and Art Park.

M+ is Asia’s first museum of contemporary visual art and has the world’s tallest dynamic LED (65 meters high) which exhibits modern visual culture including art, design, architecture, and moving images.  

The Hong Kong Palace Museum, the latest addition to Hong Kong’s vibrant arts and culture scene which opened its doors to much fanfare on 3 2022. The museum offers a Hong Kong perspective and a global vision, presenting the finest objects from the Palace Museum and other important cultural institutions around the world. The museum regularly presents special exhibitions featuring Chinese art and culture, as well as art and treasures from other parts of the world.

And, if travellers want to see Cantonese and Chinese Opera just head to Xiqu Center which opened in 2019. Xiqu Centre is dedicated to bringing Cantonese and Chinese opera into the spotlight, and their role in Hong Kong’s vibrant cultural development. Located on the eastern tip of the WKCD, this striking, architectural building which takes design cues from traditional Chinese lanterns is a physical representation of the art form.

Shopping, Dining & Family Experience

 If shopping and dining are on your travel must-dos then make sure to pay a visit to Central Market. Opening in August 2021 with a new and revitalised public space, it has become a vibrant community hotspot with 255 market stalls to explore. This market focuses on showcasing homegrown talents and small business in retail and the food and beverage industry. Central Market was Hong Kong’s first modern wet market which opened in 1842 and a Grade III Heritage Building. Around Central Market, there are classic goods shops, cafes and bistros, vegetarian restaurants Jaja, and a Hong Kong Herbal Tea Center.

Now, don’t forget the kids! One of the city’s most popular family destinations is Water World Ocean Park, Asia’s first all-weather, year-round water park. It’s home to 27 indoor and outdoor attractions across five zones and promises a truly immersive adventure for all ages.

Of course, there are still the classics: the Peak Tram, one of the city’s most recognisable tourist attractions and the oldest funicular in Asia. The tram, which has been ferrying locals and tourists alike to Hong Kong island’s highest spot since 1888, is now in its sixth incarnation. Among the new additions to the attraction are longer cars, which means that the tram can now hold about 200 people per ride. The entire area–from ticket line to train car–has been made step-free to better accommodate wheelchair and stroller users.

Hong Kong’s Natural Wonders

 Hong Kong transcends an urban destination, with crystal-clear reservoirs, coastal shores with marine species, and small islands with unique cultures around the city. There are also many water activities to enjoy including in Sai Kung and Cheung Chau island.

In the eastern part of Hong Kong, lies the UNESCO Global Geopark that is home to many natural wonders. A popular way to explore the Geopark’s Sai Kung Vulcanic Rock Region, near the seaside town of Sai Kung into the New Territories is from the sea. Visitors can kayaking around the coast to admire the marvellous rock formations, sea caves, and other stunning island scenery up close, while enjoying an exhilarating outdoor workout.

Cheung Chau, or ‘long island’—covering almost 3 sq km—is well-known for its distinctive waterfront, crammed with gently rocking moored fishing boats and seafood restaurants. The island’s sandy beaches and scenic family-friendly hiking trail have always been appealing to those keen to escape the hectic city life. It’s no surprise that the last couple of years have seen younger people moving to the island to call it home, bringing with them a demand for contemporary, Instagrammable cafes. These vibrant new, hip joints sit in harmony alongside the island’s timeless, laid-back charms such as Pak Tai Temple—established in the 18th century by fisherfolk to honour the Taoist ‘God of the Sea’—which is the traditional venue for the island’s vibrant annual Cheung Chau Jiao Festival, also known as the Cheung Chau Bun Festival, activities.

To find out more about Hong Kong’s latest happenings, head to their official tourism board website at discoverhongkong.com

Sari Widiati

Sari Widiati

Sari has been an arts and culture enthusiast for many years. She has written extensively on the arts, travel, and social issues as Features Writer at NOW! Jakarta.