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Things to Do in Hong Kong on a Budget - Top Ten

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Considering the city's pricey reputation, you might be surprised by the sheer number of things to do in Hong Kong on a budget. And budget doesn't mean bad, our list of the best things to do in Hong Kong on a budget, includes not only the city's cheapest sights but also some of its best.

1. Take a Free Tai Chi Class

Martyna Szmytkowska
Tai Chi is a Hong Kong passion, and each morning you’ll see young and old alike streaming into the city’s parks to show off their moves. This form of martial arts is used to both exercise the body and relax the mind and the graceful, simple movements are easy for beginners to pick up. The Hong Kong Kong Tourism Board offers free classes four times at week.

2. Pick Up a Bargain at a Hong Kong Market

Martyna Szmytkowska
Hong Kong’s markets are a thriving Hong Kong tradition and most Hong Kongers continue to shop at their local market for everything from the latest piece of electronic gadgetry to a freshly plucked chicken. Even if you’re not interested in splashing your cash around, the markets are bursting with life, filled with bright colors and the clatter of Cantonese bargaining. An essential insight into living in Hong Kong.

3. Ride Hong Kong’s Famous Junks

Courtesy of Duk Ling
These bat winged boats were once one of Hong Kong’s signature symbols, until they were superseded by fast ferries and vast fishing trawlers. One of the handful of boats remaining is owned by the Hong Kong Tourism Board, who offer an hour long cruise on a traditional wooden junk around Hong Kong’s iconic Victoria Harbour. The price is little more than pocket money.

4. Visit the Hong Kong Heritage Museum

Courtesy of Hong Kong Heritage Museum
Hong Kong’s biggest museum, and arguably its best, is the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, which traces the regions history from the T-Rex to the British. Aside from the usual displays of glass-cased fossils and dusty pottery, the museum also boasts an engaging mix of interactive exhibitions and multimedia displays. Entry is only HK$10, and free on Wednesdays.

5. Have a Flutter at the Hong Kong Horseraces

Rory Boland
Gambling is part of many Hong Kongers DNA and the races at the famous Happy Valley racecourse are the ultimate shrine to the city’s addiction. The racetrack itself is a jaw dropping spectacle; set right in the heart of the city, the course is banked by a wall of skyscrapers, which make for an electric backdrop during the regular Wednesday night meets. Inside, thousands of screaming punters urge on the horses, while expats drink from jugs of Heineken and dig into trackside hot dogs.

6. Visit a Hong Kong Temple

Martyna Szmytkowska
Hong Kong may seem like a temple to capitalism and money making, but, perhaps surprisingly, the majority of its residents remain remarkably religious. There is no better way to see this traditional streak than at the hundreds of temples that dot the territory, some of which are more than 100 years old. The temples are filled with statues to various deities, thick with the smoke from massive incense coils and littered with oranges, chocolates and take away noodles – all offerings to the gods.

7. Take a Trip on a Tram

Martyna Szmytkowska
Hong Kong’s iconic double-decker trams are the city’s answer to London’s red buses or New York’s yellow taxis. Winding through the heart of Central and Causeway Bay, the trams pass through the city’s busiest streets and take in some of its key sights. Take a seat on the top deck and watch the bustling streets below.

8. Eat at a Dai Pai Dong

Rory Boland
Hong Kong has a fearsome reputation for emptying your wallet in return for filling up your belly. It doesn’t have to be that way. Dai Pai Dong’s are Hong Kong’ s street side kitchens, offering basic, but tasty food for little more than the change in your pocket. The streetside seating also makes for an ideal people watching location, although you can also expect your main meal to be accompanied by a side of pollution.

9. Lie Back at the Beach

Rory Boland
Famous for its skyscrapers and shopping, Hong Kong’s great big and great green backyard is often overlooked, as are its superb beaches. Hong Kong is made up of over 300 islands, meaning there are endless stretches of golden sands, from fully geared up resort beaches, to unspoilt coves and bays. While you may want to give the water a miss, the clean sands, free to use bbq pits and the ease of access make the city’s beaches a great way to spend a day away from the noise of the city.

10. See Chungking Mansions

Martyna Szmytkowska
Hong Kong is a city of diversity; right from its very beginnings as a British colonial outpost, the city saw Indians, Pakistanis, and Australians arrive on its shores as policemen, army recruits and, later traders. The city is still a thriving mix of nationalities and this is no better seen than at the infamous Chungking Mansions. Voted as the best example of globalization in Asia by Time Magazine, this building, once riddled with crime, is now a maze of cheap phone shops, hostels and, best of all, bargain Indian and Pakistani restaurants. Not for the faint of heart, but the best way to get a picture of Hong Kong underneath all the skyscrapers and shopping malls.
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