A solo traveler’s guide to exploring Hong Kong for the first time

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Hello, Hong Kong: A solo traveler’s guide to exploring Hong Kong for the first time

Make the most of your solo trip to Hong Kong with these tips on where to go, what to see, and how to explore hassle-free

Exploring a foreign place alone can feel nerve-wracking, especially if it’s your first time. From the places to the people and even the culture, everything feels brand new—but that’s also what makes it exciting. For your first-ever solo overseas trip, it’s best to start with a nearby yet adventure-filled tourist-friendly destination like Hong Kong. Whether you’re up for sightseeing or exhilarating activities, there are many things you can do solo on your trip.

To help you kick off your solo travel journey in the most exciting and hassle-free way possible, here’s a handy guide for navigating Hong Kong like a pro—no companion required!

Events to experience

In a bustling city like Hong Kong, you will never run out of exciting events to enjoy. For solo travelers, these events offer an immersive cultural experience while providing an avenue to meet new people with the same interests. If you enjoy art and nature, the Sai Kung Hoi Arts Festival 2023 fills the isles of Yim Tsin Tsai, Sharp Island, Kau Sai Chau, and High Island with stunning artworks that tell stories and inspire conversations. Held until January 14, the festival also offers free guided tours and public programs you can enjoy solo or find fellow tourists to participate with.

You can also treat yourself to a night of splendor aboard the Harbour Cruise, where you can indulge in a luxurious buffet dinner with live band performances to complete the mood. Mingle and dance the night away with fellow cruise guests, or sit back and relax with the breathtakingly beautiful view of Victoria Harbour in your background. You can also watch the world’s largest permanent multimedia light show called “A Symphony of Lights” on the open deck for an enjoyable healing experience.

Sights to see

Aside from world-class events and seasonal celebrations, Hong Kong also offers scenic sights and hidden gems to explore. Here are some recommended local attractions and activities that you can enjoy even without a companion:

● Museum hopping: Satisfy your love for the arts and discover cultural pieces at Hong Kong’s top public museums, including the Hong Kong Museum of Art and Hong Kong Palace Museum. Both places house a vast collection of items and antiquities that represent Chinese art and culture, including painting, calligraphy, and even trade art. If learning something new is on your solo travel bucket list, you can also head to K11 MUSEA and Tai Nan Street’s arty area to participate in arts and crafts workshops where you can also meet other travelers with the same interests.

● Hiking: If you want to do some soul-searching or enjoy a quiet but exhilarating activity, solo hiking is a must-try. This tranquil activity allows you to connect with nature, boost your sense of independence, and make way for self-discovery. Check out Hong Kong’s iconic getaways like Tai Lam Country Park and the Dragon’s Back for beginner-friendly trails with dramatic sceneries, which are perfect for moments of reflection and healing. You can reach Tai Lam Country Park by catching bus K66 at the MTR Long Ping Station and taking a short walk from the Tai Tong Shan Road bus stop, while the road to Dragon’s Back will require you to get off at the MTR Shau Kei Wan Station Exit A2 and catch bus 9 from the Shau Kei Wan Bus Terminus.

● Shopping: Whether you’re shopping for yourself or your loved ones back home, Hong Kong’s malls and street markets have many hidden gems to offer. Head to Temple Street Night Market to experience the colorful local bazaar culture and score everything from teawares and traditional crafts to fashion and tech finds at the best bargain prices. After shopping, you can even visit the fortune-telling booths by the market’s north end to see what’s in store for your future.

● Beach destinations: Being surrounded by water gives the island of Hong Kong many beautiful beaches to bask in, such as Cheung Sha Beach on the southern coastline of Lantau Island. Known as Hong Kong’s longest beach, its golden sand and crystal-clear waters make it a riveting sight for travelers. Aside from swimming and beachside strolling, you can also challenge yourself with beginner-friendly water sports like kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. Cheung Sha Beach is also an excellent surfing and sandboarding spot, making it a great place for new solo adventures.

● Healing: Clearing your mind and getting away from the hustle and stress of daily life are common goals for solo travelers, and there are many activities and sceneries in Hong Kong that’ll let you do those. At Lung Fu Shan Country Park, you can try the Japanese practice of “forest bathing” wherein the sounds, smell, sights, and feeling of nature will serve as your motivation for meditation. You can also calm your mind with leisurely bike rides from Sha Tin to Wu Kai Sha for a serene sunset view by the pier or from Tuen Mun to Sha Tin to visit historic villages and temples along the way.

Places to dine

Traveling solo means you shoulder the full responsibility of deciding where to eat, but don’t groan just yet—because here are must-try dining destinations in Hong Kong that are perfect for your solo trip.

Lan Fong Yuen

● Yat Lok: With your one-person budget, affordable dining spots like Yat Lok are a feast for your wallet. But don’t be fooled by this Cantonese BBQ place’s cheap eats, because it has a Michelin star to prove how delicious its meals are. Head early for their meticulously prepared signature roast goose, because this popular dish made with a secret marinade recipe easily gets sold out for the day.

● Lucky Indonesia: Another Michelin-starred restaurant that’s easy on your wallet is Lucky Indonesia, a hole-in-the-wall dining spot in Kwun Tong that serves authentic Middle Java dishes. For less than $200, you can already enjoy a hearty feast with best-sellers like charcoal roasted satay skewers and Nasi Goreng.

● Lan Fong Yuen: Keep your eyes peeled for one of Hong Kong’s oldest and longest-running “cha chaan tengs” or tea restaurants, Lan Fong Yuen, whose entrance is partially hidden by a shack. Solo travelers won’t have any trouble passing through a small space to enter this tea house, which is famous for its classic “silk stocking milk tea” made using an original family recipe.

● Lee Keung Kee: Getting food to go is also an excellent option for solo travelers, especially if you have a jam-packed bucket list. Your best bet for these convenient eats is street food from stalls like Lee Keung Kee at North Port, which serves delightful egg waffles that you can savor while wandering around the city. You can also look out for food carts and stalls in Mong Kok, Kowloon for other local street food selections like the flavorful Three Treasures and classic Cheung Fun.

Nightlife to enjoy


Even at night, Hong Kong’s streets remain vibrant and buzzing with excitement. Continue your food trip at the city’s Instagram-worthy restaurants and bars like Ozone and Sevva, which both become more enchanting at night thanks to their unparalleled scenic views of the iconic Hong Kong skyline. Dubbed the highest bar in the world, Ozone has a fantastic terrace where you can enjoy your main character moment by sipping drinks while gazing down at the city. Meanwhile, the lavish Sevva is a go-to place for socialization, making it highly recommended for solo travelers.

To elevate your nighttime dining experience in Hong Kong, the city is treating you to a bona fide visitor-exclusive HK$100 Dining Voucher that you can use at selected bars and restaurants after 6 p.m. You can claim your Hong Kong Night Treats dining voucher through designated online portals and at the Hong Kong Tourism Board Visitor Centres in Hong Kong International Airport and redemption counters in Kowloon, Hong Kong West Kowloon Station, and Causeway Bay.

If you’d rather quietly enjoy the city’s enchanting night scenery from a distance, hop aboard an open-top bus for a night tour that costs as low as HK$20. Available until January 2024, this laidback and convenient way to explore the city offers three designated routes: the Big Bus Hong Kong Island Night Tour, Big Bus Kowloon Night Tour, and Rickshaw Bus H2K Night Tour. Each route will take you around famous landmarks and attractions like the Central Pier, Man Mo Temple, and Argyle Street. Simply purchase your tickets for these nighttime bus tours at designated ticketing points to embark on a peaceful solo adventure after dark.

Transpo to take

Star Ferry aka Water Taxi

Wondering how you can go to every destination on your travel bucket list? Hong Kong has a variety of efficient and accessible modes of transportation you can choose from, and here’s a short breakdown for each of them so you won’t feel lost while navigating the city on your own:

● MTR: If you’re looking for public transport around Hong Kong that’ll take you to places at the fastest time, the Mass Transit Railway system or MTR is your best bet. It covers all of the territory’s major districts, and there are different routes you can follow depending on your destination. If you’re going to and from the city and airport, ride the Airport Express route which conveniently gives you the quickest travel time of only approximately 24 minutes. You can also take the MTR for destinations near Hong Kong’s boundary with Mainland China, as well as places between Yuen Long and Tuen Mun in the New Territories.

● Taxi: If convenience is your priority, you can hail a taxi along any street in Hong Kong. Just take note of the city’s three taxi categories: red, green, and blue. Red taxis operate throughout most of Hong Kong, except for Lantau Island’s entire south side and Tung Chung Road. If your destination is in the New Territories area, make sure to take a green taxi. Meanwhile, you should ride a blue taxi if you’re headed to Lantau Island. All of these taxis can give you a lift to and from Hong Kong International Airport and Hong Kong Disneyland. Make sure to prepare the exact amount if you’re paying with cash, but you can also pay some taxis digitally through Octopus, credit cards, and Alipay.

● Bus: Ever dreamed of riding a double-decker bus? Try them out on your solo trip to Hong Kong, where they are known for offering air-conditioned comfort and spectacular city views. All buses display their route numbers and destinations, so no need to worry about getting lost. Upon boarding, you have to pay your fare via cash or Octopus cards.

● Minibus: There are two categories for Hong Kong’s minibuses, which can board up to 19 people: Green and red. Green minibuses operate along specific routes at fixed prices, with fares paid upon boarding based on the travel distance. Red minibuses operate along routes that aren’t always fixed, so you can get on and off anywhere along the way except in some cases. For red minibuses, fares are paid as you alight.

● Ding Ding Tram: Wanna go for a retro aesthetic trip? Try riding Hong Kong’s historic street trams if you venture by the north corridor of Hong Kong Island through Western District, Wan Chai, Happy Valley, Causeway Bay, and North Point! These double-decker streetcars charge the same flat fare no matter how far you travel, and they accept payment through Octopus cards or cash—although you always need to pay the exact amount for the latter.

● Ferry: Are you up for exciting sea travel? Hop aboard Hong Kong’s ferries, which have connecting routes to Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, and the Outlying Islands. One of the most popular cross-harbor ferries is the Star Ferry, a charming vessel with upper and lower decks that offer scenic views. You can take this ferry if you’re going between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon – but do note that fares slightly differ depending on the deck and the day you board.

● Water Taxi: To save you more time for exploration, combine transport with sightseeing by riding water taxis at the world-renowned Victoria Harbour. Officially approved as the harbor’s water tourism route, water taxis offer a unique experience as they take you around top tourist attractions like the Hong Kong Observation Wheel, the International Financial Centre, Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront Promenade, and more. To make your trips easier, you can use the all-in-one travel mobile app developed by Hong Kong’s Transport Department called “HKeMobility” to get information on transport routes, fares, journey time, arrival time, and real-time traffic conditions for public transport.

Hello to Hong Kong

So, what are you waiting for? Bookmark this guide and prepare to unleash your inner independent explorer on a solo trip to Hong Kong. Whether it’s more events, more experiences, or more hidden gems waiting to be explored, Hong Kong is truly a city that never runs out of surprises.

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